by Jason C. Stone, commenting on ieet.org
I hope there will someday be an “International Social Contract” (ISC), based on Enlightenment principles, that allows people who enter into it to live in host countries around the world in a way that is respectful and beneficial to all parties. The goal would be to create explicit agreements that allow members of an ISC to move freely between “International Zones” (IZs) without inflaming right-wing groups or encouraging the abuse of local citizens or indigenous cultures.
I believe there would be economic, political and cultural advantages to local communities hosting an IZ, as long as participants willingly enter into social contracts that clearly define the rights, roles and expectations of all parties, and where those contracts are based on human rights, mutual aid, tolerance and peaceful progress.
Citizens and ethnic groups that are aboriginal to a host nation (Native American Tribes, etc.) could be respected as the perpetual stewards of their unique ethnic culture and natural resources. There could be portions of major cities, or other regions, that would be open to the internationalist to semi-autonomously inhabit, modify and conduct business within, while other areas would be reserved for the local citizens.
There could be special laws governing things like the status of children born through mixed relationships (i.e. citizen/non-citizen) and some agreement for fairly requesting that internationalist relocate, should the need arise – with respect for the property rights and safety of all parties. These IZs could also provide a safe haven for refugees without angering local populations – who may fear that a sudden influx of foreign refugees would threaten their citizen’s ability to pursue their preferred way of being.
Every internationalist could have a registered official nation of origin they could return to without restriction. Perhaps children would need to confirm their commitment to the social contract at some age of consent (18?). If they rejected the contract, there could be a provision for their safe return to the nation they are officially registered as belonging to. The child’s nation of origin would default to the parent’s nation of origin. If parents from two different nations had a child in an IZ, perhaps the child could elect their nation of origin or have dual citizenship.
All of this could be agreed to explicitly through an ISC that would be binding on the local governments and internationalists, even outside a particular host country (e.g. extradition agreements, economic treaties, etc.). I don’t suggest the IZs be allowed to raise an army to protect their interests. Instead they would rely on the countries that join the ISC and human rights protecting forces like the UN.
I’m not suggesting ethnocentric nationalism. I see this system running parallel to the normal naturalization process. I believe in ground-up, dynamic pluralism as an expression of individual rights. The special relationship indigenous cultures have to a particular geographic location should be allowed to be perpetuated if it is the will of the citizens and the institutions that legitimately represent them. If someone is naturalized, they should become an equal citizen that is allowed to peacefully pursue their preferred way of being individually and to vote on how the nation organizes to perpetuate or dismantle cultural norms (e.g. funding for arts and culture; preservation of monuments, festivals, holidays, religious and folk traditions).
About author: Jason C. Stone graduated holds an M.S. in Computer Science from The University of Texas at Dallas. He has several years of experience working as a developer and consultant in software development, network security and digital forensics. His philosophical interests include ethics, technology, the future of The Enlightenment and the interaction between science and spirituality. He is currently a director at OHM Space Corporation, a nonprofit community workshop in Oklahoma City.