Okay, so I meant to write this post about 2 weeks ago, but I wanted to get these thoughts out no later than this week.
Basically, these are thoughts I have had swimming in my head, especially of late.
What Is This Based On?
One year, I once read a thread where the OP asked posters to come up with 10 basic laws that a new society should have. As several of the posters would remark, 10 laws are too few, even for a new society.
Let’s say that it is a social experiment. The ultimate goal should be to innovate and improve upon modern-day systems. However, that is easier said than done.
There are so many variables. Which laws on the books in your country work best and why? Which laws need to be struck down? Are there any laws you would like to add and how can you revise laws that have a good basis but need some work?
Additionally, there are laws that work best for specific societies and are geographic needs. Not to mention that people have general rules of conduct, part of which should be made into law. As a result, one would need to have more than ten laws regardless of the size of a population or geographic area.
Now, I would like to go with that general idea but change it up a bit. Instead of 10 laws, I would like to talk about the top 10 issues I think are most important.
What Are My Top 10 Issues?
Of course, there are a whole host of issues I care about, but I have to choose 10 that I think are the most important. In short, this is my list:
- The Environment
- Human Rights
- Personal Health (Health Care & Nutrition)
- Free Speech & Freedom of the Press
- Fair Democracies
- National Security
- Foreign Affairs
1. The Environment
This might not be “my” issue, but it is the most important. Without a planet to live on, nothing else matters.
The most pressing matter we face is global warming. Studies have shown that the planet is warming at a faster rate than when the Earth emerged from the Ice Age.
Currently, the planet is warming at faster and faster rates than scientists predict. At different turns, we are told that we would need to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we release within a decade or less or else our climate will spiral out of control.
Eventually, certain areas will become uninhabitable. For instance, there are pockets in the Middle East and North Africa that will have heat so high that no one could survive. Sea levels are also rising, so coastal areas will be under water.
We are already seeing the effects. The floods in New Orleans since 2005’s Hurricane Katrina are a sign of climate change. Some species of birds have changed their flight patterns and other animals are losing their habitats.
Also, the effects of man-made chemicals can doom certain species. For instance, we are seeing the decline in honeybees, which are important for pollinating crops. This is due to a mixture of factors, including pesticides and fungicides.
But that’s not all. Clean water is a real concern. Water has been polluted by chemicals and oil spills, leading to a shortage of clean water and the deaths of fish and other animals. This will only be exacerbated by floods.
People in Third World countries struggle to find clean water. It is also a concern in the United States. We have a drought in California, but there are issues in states like Michigan due to government negligence.
The heat and lack of clean water could lead to fewer food supplies. All the above could lead to wars.
There are clear solutions for the above, including things like renewable energy. Governments need to stop dragging their feet and protect this planet.
2. Human Rights
I feel this comes before any big governmental action because the people are more important than nations, not the other way around.
Child welfare is the top subcategory. Children should often be put first. We need to help children become responsible adults, for they will be tasked to lead the world in the future.
Adults should protect children from sexual predators. Authority figures should seriously and fairly deal with bullying. And social workers and judges should make sure abandoned, abused, and orphaned children are put in safe homes.
Everyone else deserves fair treatment. No one should be physically abused by agents of the government, receive excessive jail time for minor offenses, or be enslaved. Crimes should be fairly investigated and there should be just punishment for offenders. There should also be rehabilitation programs for drug and many nonviolent offenders.
Now, everything else should contribute to overall social health, although that subcategory alone is important. What do I mean by social health? Well, this involves various social issues like racism, religion, and sexual preference.
3. Personal Health (Health Care & Nutrition)
First of all, everyone needs to eat and eat well. Produce should be affordable and available for all. We should provide food for the poor and populations in starving countries. It is actually affordable and feasible, especially given how much food we waste.
We need to get rid of food deserts and make more stores, public parks, and workplaces within walking distance. These are simple solutions to help combat obesity.
Next, I think health care should be affordable and available for all with no conditions. It should be a basic human right. Europe and Canada are ahead of the United States. The U.S. ranked the lowest among 11 of the wealthiest countries according to a 2014 report by the Commonwealth Fund.
We need to do better. We also need to help the uninsured and give more people greater access to excellent doctors. Basic health care like checkups, preventative care, prenatal care, and screenings should be top priority. Those small things will help save on emergency care, which is incidentally where the U.S. excels.
Furthermore, states and countries should be allowed to negotiate fair prices for prescription drugs and improve regulations. Our lack of this ability to negotiate has partially led to the EpiPen seeing a 600% rise in price since 2009. Also, we should legalize drugs that have clear benefits, yet regulate them (like marijuana in various cases and Kratom, which was recently named by the DEA for Schedule I placement).
Additionally, I would include dental insurance as a right. Dental health impacts overall health, so real efforts to save teeth and gums will go a long way. This care needs to be affordable.
This is an underrated issue. Everyone needs a good education.
Want to reduce poverty? Want to find more qualified workers? What to reduce the number of low-information voters? It begins in school.
We need: uniform standards for basic education; dedicated teachers, and; standards that apply to certain areas. Things like mathematics and history should not be tampered with or politicized.
Beyond high school, students need to know of their options. College isn’t for everyone, but everyone needs some form of training (for work).
Also, post-secondary education should be affordable and more available. No one should be saddled with massive debt in earning a diploma they are told they need to get certain jobs.
In order to go to school, go to work, or for a society to properly function, we need working infrastructure. Roads and bridges need to be repaired and maintained.
Buildings should be built with respect to environmental impacts. If the land isn’t fit to support a building, there needs to be no construction there. Also, if an area is likely to have earthquakes, old buildings need to be retrofitted and new buildings need to be as earthquake resistant as possible.
Additionally, communication infrastructure needs to be maintained.
This might be ahead of free speech, as it is very important.
Once people have been educated, there needs to be a clear way for every able bodied person to find a job for the disciplines they trained for. We need clear plans to combat unemployment and produce more jobs with livable wages for people entering or reentering the workforce.
Fair employment practices should be in use at all times. Qualified candidates need to have a fair chance of getting hired. Also, there shouldn’t be sexual harassment and people should receive equal pay for equal work (within industries/companies).
No one should be exploited. Anyone who works for free should do so under a legal agreement, for volunteer work, and receive some sort of benefit. People who work overtime and on their days off should receive extra pay.
Unions are important. First and foremost, unions should protect regular workers’ rights. Union members should not be tasked to protect their union leaders’ jobs and political interests, especially when the leaders fail to do their jobs.
7. Free Speech & Freedom of the Press
I think these two things are inseparable, once they are instituted within a nation.
Free speech is crucial for any free society. Individuals should be able to criticize their government or any authority figure who is abusing their power, with a few caveats. Individuals should also be able to petition their government and lobby for better laws (without bribes).
News reporting should also supplement an education. People need to be informed so they can make sound decisions (with their diet, with their money, with their vote, etc.)
There should be an open, fast Internet. Not only is this an important tool in education, it is also crucial for business and free speech. Strict control of the Internet is mainly for the purpose of controlling information and punishing dissenters. And that is often helped by greed.
8. Fair Democracies
Men and women should have the right to vote in democracies and know about their rights and options. The right to vote needs to be protected and governments can do this by being open and having efficient, transparent vote-counting procedures.
Voter suppression needs to be curtailed. If ID’s are required to vote, governments should make it easy for citizens to get identification.
Also, it needs to be easier for eligible voters to participate in the electoral process. For one thing, there should be voter holidays by which people have the day off to vote. Additionally, voting precincts should not be far and few between to make sure everyone who goes out to vote gets the chance to on designated days.
9. National Security
Above, I said that people are more important than nations. Nations are still important, of course. People are united by one cause, but that cause should be just and it should thus be protected.
That should follow in law enforcement. That should follow in how we treat members of our military (as people first). And that should follow in surveillance practices and how we treat our press.
There often is no “greater good” when governments spy on their citizens without warrants, without good reason, and without the results to justify it.
10. Foreign Affairs
This issue rounds out my top 10. Nations need to get their acts together before they can be effective worldwide leaders beyond reproach. Diplomacy is important and used as a tool to improve relations between nations. Additionally, international laws should be respected.
What Did I Leave out of My Top 10 List?
I purposely left out Economic Health. I did so because I think it is overrated. Like people say, the economy is a made up thing. Although people need money, money often serves as an unnecessary barrier for basic human needs. Also, deflation would help people more than governments. The reverse is true for inflation.
Perhaps taxes should be in the top 10, because they are needed to fund many programs.
What Do You Think?
Are these your top 10 issues? If they are, would you put them in the same order? Or are there other issues you would put in your top 10?