The way to think of revolutions is as national bankruptcies. Like bankruptcy, the debts are cleared so the enterprise can start fresh. In the case of a company, the debts are the manifestation of bad decisions by prior management. In the case of the country, the debts are the ruling class and the system that makes them possible. These are the results of decisions made by prior generations. Wiping those away allows the new generation to reinvent the enterprise of society.
People are much more practical about a big sprawling corporation that go through bankruptcy than they are a country going through revolution. In the former case, the focus is on the mundane. The company needs to shed product lines and business entities in order to focus on the profitable stuff. In the latter case, all of the talk is about grand plans for reorganizing the very nature of society. Revolutionaries want to reinvent the people that make up society.
The better way for revolutionaries to think, at least in the planning stage, is about the small things that make up daily life. Airports, for example, are a thing that most people now experience with some regularity. There is nothing more populist, democratic and elitist than a nation’s airports. When you travel to a foreign country, your first impression of the place is in the airport. You hear the strange new language and maybe see some strange new things for the first time.
An airport is a symbol of a country. As a public works project, it is one of the more complicated things a country does. It is a system that has to guide millions of people who are often out of their element, thus easily confused. Those people expect to be cared for as they leave for a journey or return from abroad. The airport is not just the welcome mat of a country, it is the welcome home sign. You can judge a nation by its airports because it reflects the nature of society.
For example, when you travel into an organized society like China or the United Arab Emirates, the first thing you notice is the orderliness of the airport. Everything is clean and works as expected. In a disorganized country like the United States, airports are often an incomprehensible mess. The best airports are worse than the worst airports in high functioning societies. The worst airports are what you expect in Africa. There is a genre of video for this experience.
Assuming things continue on the current path in the United States, what would the revolutionary committee do to change the airports? How would these vital ports of entry and transit hubs be changed to reflect the sensibilities of the revolution? The point of the revolution is to change the nature of society, so there is no better place to start than where tens of millions of citizens frequent. How would the revolutionary airport serve the goals of the revolution?
The first change would be how people dress in the airport. Shorts for men would be banned inside all revolutionary airports. Men and women would be required to dress as they would at a proper office. There is no reason for men to be in shorts at an airport other than slovenliness. Men arrive in an air-conditioned car and are quickly transported on an air-conditioned bus then to an air-conditioned terminal. You can hang meat in most airports, so there is no need for beach wear.
This is not about comfort or aesthetics, even though the latter is important. It is about instilling confidence and self-respect back into the people. The reason people dress up for special events like weddings is they want to feel their best. Erasmus famously wrote, “vestis virum facit”, which means clothes make a man. The reason this is true is how you dress reflects how you think of yourself. The same can be said for how we dress our people in our airports.
The next change is to ban roller bags on planes. A feature of the modern airport experience is people wheeling bags the size of steamer trunks around, calling them carryon luggage. Every plane is late because they run out of overhead space and the extra bags must be stowed in the belly of the plane. Of course, people also carry a huge second bag that needs space. None of these ever fit properly in the bins, so people waste time figuring out how to get them into the bin.
Watching this circus on every plane, you are reminded that the people, and the people in charge, are no longer able to operate an airport. The revolutionary airport will assign space to each passenger for their carry-on. Their bag will be measured in advance and if it is too big then they and their bag will be hurled into a crusher installed in every airport for this purpose. This solves the immediate problems, and it solves the problem of people who cannot or will not follow basic instructions.
This sounds harsh, but you know that the people who carry steamer trunks and giant backpacks are the sorts of people who cannot order off the menu. These are people who prove they are special by making sure they are a public nuisance in every aspect of life. Eliminating them from the airport system by eliminating them from the gene pool turns the airport into a selection mechanism for society. The revolution has no place for those who cannot follow simple instructions.
Fixing the passengers is one half of the problem. The other half is the people running the airport, especially security. In organized countries, security is not handled by blue shirt wearing simpletons. Security is not just a matter of forcing people into long lines, hoping that the bad guys have less patience than the good guys. In well run countries, airport security is close to invisible. It is there but it is woven into the system in such a way that you barely notice it.
America is a heavily armed country. There is no reason we cannot rely on the tens of millions of gun owners to handle security. The revolutionary airport will license citizens to be air marshals. In exchange for their service on flights and in the terminal, they get to fly free domestically. This is a country where 65% of fires are put out by volunteer fire companies and 70% of EMS workers are volunteers. There is no reason the bulk of airport security cannot be handled by volunteers.
There also needs to be a tonnage tax at airports. Another horrible aspect of American airports, aesthetically and operationally, is the fat people. Frequent travelers know the joy of being wedged into a seat between two fat people. Pass through an American airport at holiday time and it is a circus of fat guys in shorts and fat women testing the physical limits of yoga pants. All tickets will be hit with a BMI tax to both limit fat people on planes and encourage a healthy weight in the population.
In fact, this is an idea that should be extended to all food sellers. Imagine the checkout at the grocery store having a scale. Before you pay for your food, you weigh in and calculate the tax. Even more fun, imagine Starbucks installing scales. Social pressure alone would lower the national BMI. The fat tax would also be a voluntary tax, which is the best kind of taxation. After the revolution, people will care about how they look, because they will have pride in themselves again.
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