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The Rubinshteinic Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Societies

Updated: Mar 22

A lonely environment.


It was last year when an anonymous contact reached me, telling me that they are looking for a philosopher to assist them with a certain issue: to write a couple of guidelines for a post-apocalyptic society. They told me that, according to their calculations, it will be "soon" when civilization will collapse due to global warming, making the world flood due to the arctic icebergs melting.

Let me put a disclaimer here and say that I don't know if they are right. By contributing to their cause, I simply wish to produce philosophical content and nothing beyond. I saw it as an opportunity to write something new and hopefully contribute more to society as a result.

Since this contact has been absent ever since, I decided to publish this article nonetheless, as we did not sign any privacy agreements in the matter. Thus, the following article is essentially a list about how I think a post-apocalyptic society should be managed. Of course, whatever I say isn't necessarily correct, as the role of a philosopher is to strive to be correct. How can we get closer to the truth without making mistakes unintentionally? Can we even be correct all the time?

Here are the guidelines. Feel free to comment if you have anything to say, as long as you are respectful. Feel free to agree to disagree peacefully per the site's rules.

The Guidelines

  1. A functional post apocalyptic community needs to juggle and balance two core values: survival and freedom. The first is to ensure existence; the second, satisfaction and political stability.

  2. It should be an indirect democracy, where any adult can try to run for president. He or she who gains the most votes should be the one elected.

  3. The president will be able to appoint the community's management positions, but the candidates can resign at any time for their own freedom of occupation, unless the community's future depends on their role (which makes it imperative that they stay in office, unless they're charged for crime and need to be imprisoned as a result).

  4. Each elected president should have a limited amount of time during which they are eligible for such leadership. That should be determined by a referendum to better reflect the will of the members. Furthemore, the same applies to the number of terms of office each president is allowed to have.

  5. Education should prioritize survival in order to ensure the community's future. Basic education should, first and foremost, reflect the need for collective survival — and perhaps then the rest. Philosophizing and other higher studies are fine, but there are more urgent matters to attend to when you're trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. Only when the community is not in urgent need of basic labor, higher studies should be given greater priority/access. Deem it an education system that adjusts with societal and individual needs at the time.

  6. There should be an armed force that will answer to three positions: the current president, the head of said force, and an additional minister or manager. That way, the force will not betray the democratic procedures of the smaller political entity, which is the community in question. Militarism makes sense for a reason.

  7. There should be no paramilitaries or other armed forces that could overthrow the current government, and thus risk the community's longevity through civil war. The community's military should hold exclusivity on firearms if ever needed. Private gun ownership could mean the end of said community, given its small scale. A lone gunman can have greater impact on a small scale community than in a country comrpised of millions. On the other hand, citizens should have the right to some kind of self-defense should military officials be too corrupt for their own good, like being able to carry tasers or pepper sprays.

  8. The community should be capitalistic and allow free market trade in order to raise satisfaction and decrease the chances of an uprising. Private property should exist and allow a reasonable tax income for basic government functions. On the other hand, this small-scale country should not be a pure meritocracy.

  9. No one should be imprisoned or punished for thinking differently. Thus, freedom of thought and religion should be welcomed. And to better allow social order and reduce factionalism, interfaith dialogue should be considered.

  10. The community must try and develop financial self-sufficiency in order to be less dependent on external resources, which could endanger lives. Likewise, there must be a form of currency. Conversly, students would need to learn about the double-edged sword of greed. Additionally, should the community find other communities, it should not consider isolationist philosophies like the North Korean Juche, when trade can allow greater prosperity of all parties involved.

  11. There should be no slavery. One either works or volunteers. One will not be forced to volunteer.

  12. There should be no executions, as that could endanger public morale and compromise overall cooperation through coercion. For extreme situations, a jail or an asylum are the answers. Exile could lead to a security threat from hostile, external communities, and thus should be re-considered.

  13. Marriage should not be mandatory, but only monogamy should be allowed. Monogamy is a comfortable setting that can save you time and energies, which you can invest in working for the community; something that's more crucial in a smaller-scale society. Polygamy, on the other hand, could lead to a jealousy-derieved competition that can result in the death of a partner's other wives or husbands, along with increased crime rate.

  14. A flag, a name, and so on should be offered in a referendum in order to increase collective morale and identity. In addition, the community must be fortified in order for the members to feel safe and not desire to escape into the wilderness. Losing community members can be fatal to the community as a whole.

  15. Potential immigrants need to be scanned to decrease suspicion. They could be spies, assassins, or terrorists. The community's leadership can accept or decline anyone they want and be held accountable for doing so.

  16. No one is above the community's law. The law should be trusted to avoid rebellion and the creation of gangs, hence why its preservation is important.

  17. There should be a court of justice in the community, appointed by yet another referendum that is separate from general elections. The president has no authority to prevent this, which should allow the formation of checks and balances.

  18. The president cannot declare a dictatorship or serve indefinitely as president, not even through emergency powers, like Hitler did. The court of justice should review and comment on the president's actions externally to prevent him/her absolute power.

  19. Recreational drugs that are not too dangerous, such as alcohol and caffeine, should be allowed to increase morale. However, only coffee should be allowed while working as a drug-infused beverage. People are allowed to feel alive and not just live from day to day to increase overall happiness.

  20. The public is free to criticize the current management, but only replace it during elections. The leadership shouldn't be an "emotioncracy".

  21. There should be two types of elections, outside the court of justice: for a law-making body, such as a parliament, and for the president's office. They do not necessarily need to be on the same day. The president, however, should be more dominant than a political party, by working on an inner core so they won't be so easily influenced.

  22. Electricity should be considered in order to boost public morale. It could also be a great help to further convince potential immigrants to prefer living within their community over others, thus increasing the workforce.

  23. A community center should be built for greater social cohesion, but no one should be forced to use it unless they work there.

  24. For the preservation of all resources, several warehouses should be built for greater protection. These structures should be categorized to avoid confusion. Additionally, there should be a place for resources to be held in secrecy should the community be attacked by raiders.

  25. No one should give up on life after the collapse of civilization, when it can be rebuilt. Suicide should be treated with extreme seriousness for the benefit of all. Members with suicidal tendencies should be met with the required services in order to preserve their part in the community.

  26. Military service should be mandatory for those who are physically and mentally fit and have reached the minimum age of 18 or older for a period of service determined by leadership. Within the armed forces, freedom should be limited in order to increase discipline and competency as an organization. It will be led by a single head, such as a general, who is subordinate to the president. The main purpose of this force is to ensure safety externally and internally. It may not be unfairly influenced by politics, which could bring partisanship, institutional endorsements, electoral influence and so on. An apolitical military is one that serves all citizens.

  27. Public protests should be allowed unless there is a likely possibility of danger from a public gathering. Transperency could be useful in increasing compassion during protest, which could decrease overall harm that might be made in clashes between citizenry and state enforcers.

  28. Death should be kept at a minimum. To do that, one must invest in medicine and security. The more people who die, the smaller the community's overall contribution to itself.

  29. Assuming that there will not be an internet in such a scenario, books should be hoarded en-masse in order to preserve the knowledge of the world before it suffers a global catastrophe. This can aid in the education of community members in fields relevant to the community's survival.

Final Words

An apocalyptic event can mean the end of the virtual world. I am aware, regardless, that this sphere of reality will not continue forever. While it makes me sad, I at least hope that I will manage to contribute as much as I can, even if such an event does not occur, according to that person who suggested this article's idea. Thanks for your reading time.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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