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New Secular State


Of late I find myself day-dreaming about the formation of a new secular state that accepts atheist immigrants and refugees who are fleeing persecution from extreme religious doctrines. I guess this would be similar in nature to how the independent republic of Liberia was established through the repatriation of American slaves. though free atheists will be far more empowered than emancipated slaves.
Of couse there would be a number of obstacles to overcome such as where to find the land required to establish a successful state, and how to aquire it etc. I have lots more ideas but I'm throwing it open for general discussion. I'm sure many interesting thoughts will be teased out.


35 Comments

Hey, I have one of those. It's nearly 400ac in Northern NSW.
It would be fascinating to see the emergence of an atheocracy. To be honest, if we can have avowed anti-democratic theocracies, one little atheocracy shouldn't be a problem :)

I think where a lot of new, non-historical emergent nations, free states, secessionary colonies etc fall down is that they face extraordinary opposition from the parent/neighbouring state. If you were to establish an Atheist Free State in Australia, for example, I think publicly the government would be dismissive 'Oh them? <chuckle> yes, aren't they silly?' but out of the glare of the media, Asio and the AFP would be routinely harassing you.

At the end of the 19th/start of the 20th century in the US there were no less than four secessionary wanna-be states. Three were crushed with unrelenting hostility by federal forces. Only one was left alone - the 'empire' of the quite mad 'Emperor Joshua Norton I' in San Francisco. Mainly because he was just one guy, and local SF citizens liked him and took pity on him, even accepting his home-made currency.

Should an emergent atheocracy survive, the biggest challenge is really to put our money where our mouth is. We've always said society would be better under secular law, we then have to prove it. We have to establish a functioning, protective charter of rights. We have to create an enlightened jurisprudence. We have to find a way of allying together the many divergent and disparate atheistic models of thought.

I imagine it is not so much the desire to build such a state that would be a challenge, but the need to make it succeed and thrive in the face of determined opposition.

KillerQwerty
Feb 05 2012 09:02 AM
While I agree with you that emergent nations usually fail, that's because they attempt to start up within another already established country.If you’re trying to establish a new country two thirds of the planet is uninhabited and unclaimed. It may take more money to establish a sovereign nation it's much less likely that it will be reabsorbed or taken over by another country.
So Goddess are you saying you might be willing to allow your 400 acres to become the physical space of a new atheocracy? For the moment disregarding any conditions such as financial compensation etc. That could all be determined later.

Mike thanks for your valuable and carefully considered comments as always. I think the most we could achieve within Australia is a symbolic gesture. The new state would never be recognised by existing states. Aquiring land from some other state where such a state could actually be legitimately established as happened in the case of Liberia is a much greater challenge.

What are your thoughts on pursuing the goal of a true seperate and recognised state? Or should we be satisfied with the symbolic gesture we may achieve within Australia?
lol... no.  I don't like people, there's already going to be three people living on the 400ac and even THAT'S too high a density for me...  

Seriously, though, It is an interesting proposition, I wonder how the guy with the Hutt River Province is going? I believe his state is Atheistic and he seceeded from Australia...   In any case, I think to survive it'd need to be a HUGE area, not a pissy 400ac, like a minimum of 100,000 ac, or a million is even better, as I think you'd need to become self sufficient, economically, to be taken seriously by other governments...

You'd also need enough people to establish such things as a judiciary, medical and educational infrastructure, and other social infrastructure right down to the "little things" like rubbish removal and road work, without which a "civilised" society can't run.

Just a thought.

L.
Yeh you're right. That's why I say there are 2 options here. One is to just make a symbolic gesture that wouldn't be taken seriously by anyone, much like Hutt River. The other is to take it as seriously as the Liberian option. This would mean international fund raising to start and would be an enourmous endeavour. Don't really know if I'm up to it but its interesting to think about. Cheers
@Killer Qwerty sorry I only just noticed your post. I agree completely as you can see from my subsequent posts. On the one hand I feel motivated to try to initiate something like this and I'm sure we could get support from high profile atheists but on the other hand I find it a very daunting prospect. What are your thoughts?

KillerQwerty
Feb 06 2012 16:59 PM
I've wanted to start up an ocean state for quite a while now and for that reason I have given it quite a bit of thought.
The main problems beyond the normal problems of starting up a country would be in increasing difficulty to solve:

1. annexing a large area in the middle of the ocean
2. Policing the area annexed
3. Building infrastructure that could float and not float away
4. Building infrastructure that is able to withstand the extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes and waves
5. Procuring a stable food source.

And some hypothetical solutions:

1. I have no Idea how you would do it but it can’t be that hard
2. The simplest solution but probably worst way would be getting a few speed boats, some weapons and a radar system and just intercepting boats that enter the territory going up to organizing a significant naval and air force to police and protect the new territories
3.  This could be solved by building large purpose built ships, however this would probably less impressive than an proper floating city which would be in theory be mechanically similar and to an in some ways better if harder to implement and the buildings of an city proper could be constructed on site after pontoons and a wave guard have been put in place
4. Large ships would not have problems with weather conditions and waves wouldn’t have enough energy to affect them. However for cities proper once the infrastructure is sufficiently large and stable wind conditions would cease to be a problem and a wave guard would stop it from being affected by waves, however while it was being built these things would be a problem
5. Food could be ether shipped in or farmed on site, however both these options would be a problem, food could be procured through fishing, however I’d advise against it due to dropping fish stocks

I would absolutely love to do it but I have neither the money nor the time, if you or somebody could organize something like this I would be happy to help them as much as I can but as far as I can see the people who would be willing have neither the money nor the time and the people with the money and the time would not be willing.
Thanks KillerQwerty some really intersting stuff there. I think you're right though, there may be too many complicated and expensive barriers to overcome. I think the future of our oceans is going to be pretty hostile with global warming causing more frequent and more violent storms.

But if we could put our heads together on some ideas for a land-based location we might come with some viable ideas. Someone would need to research where we might be able to acquire a large tract of (preferably) arable land that can be purchased from the owning nation. Then we would need to launch an internation fund raising program - a big challenge in itself.

Meanwhile smart guys like you could be planning the infrastructure and design.
Cheers mate.

KillerQwerty
Feb 06 2012 17:36 PM
I'm not saying that there are too many complicated and expensive barriers to overcome just that barriers and cost would just be different and I was stating what they would be. I think that it would be far easier and far less costly than starting a new country on land and on a personal note I think that doing something as bold as that would send the message ‘look at what we can build when we put our mind to it’ as opposed to the message of ‘go away, we want nothing to do with your problems’ the annexing of a large tract of land would send, and the more impressive we make our republic the more likely it is that other nations recognize it as a nation in its own right.
I agree Sasha it would be a very powerful statement to the rest of the world. But getting other people on board with this idea I'm afraid would be impossible. Most would see us as mad scientists like Dr Evil *puts little fingertip to mouth*. "Throw me a bone here Sasha". The prospect of living on what would virtually be a glorified floating oil rig in the middle of the ocean would not appeal to too many people. It's a grand idea and I love it, but if we're to achieve anything we have to be practical. Looking foward to further interesting discussion with you. Cheers!

KillerQwerty
Feb 07 2012 21:00 PM
I agree that the thought of a ocean nation would be outlandish to most and therefore less likely to have people fund it but that doesn’t mean that we can’t consider it and if we actually start making plans, including multiple places on land we could annex and including this option. We should try to make as diverse plans as possible so that there is the greatest possible chance that we can implement one of them. And when I say a floating city I don’t mean a few oil rigs with houses on them, I mean a proper city.

If we could get prominent atheists to give their opinions it would probably help with making this more viable and implementing the eventual plan that is chosen.

I understand what you’re saying and while I would love to see a ocean nation I concede that the chance of it happening is small so we must look elsewhere and I hope that I can help you see this through to completion.
Sasha, wouldn't it be easier to buy an island if you did want a fully self-contained space out in the ocean?
I mean, an island would make sense as it's got no borders to worry about people wandering over, it's not likely to sink (well, certainly not as likely as your floating city), and much easier to map, protect and survive a hurricane on (yes, I know, there's always tsunami, but they'll getcha either way).

I think, if you get a reasonably sized island, this would fix all the issues, big enough for agriculture and it's own economy, big enough for structured towns and it's own infrastructure.

For that matter, I think you might be able to pick Fiji up for about $20...  :D

KillerQwerty
Feb 07 2012 21:26 PM
That's a good Idea- to fiji!!!
LOL an island is a good option. There are many privately owned islands and they are bought and sold quite often. One with some reasonably sized hills is preferable to provide high ground in the event of tsunami, but either way tsunami defences on a small scale are quite achievable. This is probably our best option to date, thanks Goddess!

Check out Mouton Island Nova Scotia: http://www.privateis...january2008.htm

It's 1000 acres. I wonder is that large enough. Maybe there are larger private islands. Someone needs to research this. Cheers!
1000 acres would be an absolute minimum, I'd think.
Keep in mind, you need roughly 1km x 100m for an airstrip (assuming you want one), just for light aircraft to land on (cessnas and the like), and that needs to be fairly flat. It can be sloped, but not undulating. Also, with something that small I'd steer well clear of any islands which are snowed in during winter. You really want to be able to maximise production by growing crops all year round, and feeding stock year round without having to ship fodder in.
Yeh this one has airstrip capability, but there are other options like a strip extending out to sea. On reflection I think 1000 acres is probably too small. Maybe there are larger islands available from time to time.
Yup, as I said, absolute minimum...

I think you'd be 'smarter' working the other way. Figure out what's needed, figure out the SPACE that's needed for what you want, this should give you a minimum size, then, I strongly suggest, you use that as a 10% figure. (multiply it by 10 to get the actual size), because, land size, like budgets, never quite works in the cap you set yourself.

L.
So that really comes down to our optimal population. How many citizens should we have? 10,000? 20,000? If we plan to accept refugees we might want to make it 100,000 and that would just be the start. Where would we expand to? Thoughts?
hmm, problem with 'accepting refugees' is, are we then going to become a landing point for refugee boats?
I think a 'buy in' would be better, unless someone has particular skills that are required, they need to buy their place. Dunno, that was a thought, and I'm not against accepting some refugees, particularly skilled ones, but, to just allow anyone who lands on the shores entry will be dangerous and result in 'standing room only' within a short space of time.  

I think 10,000 is a good figure for an island. If you want 100,000 you're really going to be looking at a bloody big island. :)
Do you think atheists necessarily have enough in common politically to establish a form of government? Surely there are atheists on both the far right and far left of the spectrum?
Funnily enough, I was reading about the Principality of Hutt River (as it is now known) just this morning. Its official home page is at http://hutt-river-province.com. I don't know that it is necessarily atheistic, though I do intend to visit the place one weekend in the not-too-distant future (which was my reason for reading about it this morning). It has fascinated me since I was a kid and, now that I am living in Perth, it is less than a day's drive away.

According to its Wikipedia article (Principality of Hutt River) it is not recognised officially by the Australian Government, nor generally by overseas nations, though Prince Leonard is certainly about to quote enough constitutional and legal evidence to assert his status and provide sufficient doubt on the Australian Government's position to prevent statutory authorities such as the Australian Tax Office from taking positive action.

The article actually says that PHR is "the oldest micronation in Australia" which suggests there are others and, indeed, http://en.wikipedia....iki/Micronation lists a number of others in Australia, New Zealand and around the world based on land, sea and cyberspace.

In fact, reading about the Aerican Empire from the above link, puts me in mind to consider that we could quite literally and legitimately create an atheist nation in cyberspace. It does raise the whole question of what reality is. The Aerican Empire already lays claim (among other places on this planet and others) the northern hemisphere of Pluto, which leaves the southern hemisphere of Pluto entirely open for grabs. The United Federation of Koronis claims the Koronis family of asteroids as its territory. Furthermore, cyberspace is big; bigger in theory than the entire universe, since a domain needs only to be registered to become real and its content is limited only by the language that describes it.

Joan Vaccaro
Apr 01 2012 21:38 PM
I think the idea of setting up a new atheist-based community is quite romantic.  I must be a bit old fashioned, or perhaps just plain old, but I would miss the delights of our conventional society as it is.  Only large and affluent societies can afford to support the kind of work (basic research) I like to do.  I would have to stay put I am afraid.  I also like the other cultural advantages in conventional society - large museums, art galleries and so on.  It's easier for me to put up with the strange mix of beliefs people have and enjoy the other benefits.

DjinnWired said:

Do you think atheists necessarily have enough in common politically to establish a form of government? Surely there are atheists on both the far right and far left of the spectrum?
We have more in common than with the theists we currently establish government with. :-P

I've always though that the easiest way to get this started is by establishing an 'Atheist Monastery'. Monasteries have always been a kind of socialist micro-nation with a strong focus on education and community support (where the monastery is near a community). All we need to do is take the religious teachings out and we already have a working model that would be hard for governments to touch.

As it grows in popularity, another can open, until we have a large network of Atheist Monasteries worldwide and the political influence that comes with it.
I think this is a great idea, i.e. Himinows idea of starting at one Monastery level and expanding to a network of them.