Marriage Equality

On the island, Hypothica, a group of people have been lobbying the government for marriage equality laws.

But here’s the twist. The Hypothican government currently recognizes NO marriages. The idea has gained interest and the government has decided to consider a case for implementing a legal framework for marriage. But it has the chance to do it from ground up. There is no legal or expectational precedent here.

  • Should the government recognize marriage?
  • What is it’s interest in doing so?
  • How should marriage be defined (and with what limits)?
  • What are the extents of the legal benefits?

Consideration 1: The Hypothican government is agnostic and won’t be swayed by religious arguments. But it is open to the possibility of an “argument from nature” if well made.

Consideration 2: You can assume the society already has a cultural “marriage system”, that’s never been legally acknowledged. You could base it off that, but should a cultural snapshot be codified into binding law?


(Moving forward, I’ll add new posts 3 times a week: Mon, Wed,  and Thurs or Fri)

Killing in Self-Defense

Imagine you are trapped on an island with another person. There is no hope of any rescue or contact with anyone else ever (no procreation potential either). In effect, you two are completely isolated from any larger social consequence of any action. This is the island Hypothica, where outside considerations are not at play.


Suppose you believe your companion plans to kill you. Is it moral to kill him in self-defense? Instead of simply answering “yes, duh…”, I’d like to know why.

In the real world, self-defense is never an isolated concept. You are protecting society, your family, etc. If you let a mugger kill you, your family may go hungry, society remains in danger, etc.

But here, taking his life only preserves yours. Does your life have a greater moral value simply because it is you? Is the value of his life diminished based on his character or actions? How do you weigh in your own taking of his life?

Is Aversion to Immigration Always Xenophobic?

Imagine a town of 4,000 on the island nation of Hypothica. This is not in the U.S. or any other real country, so what follows is not about what is “legal”.

This town is very ethically and culturally homogeneous. Its residents are mostly of the same background, have a strong shared culture, and share mostly the same values. However, they greatly value freedom of expression, legally and culturally. Although they greatly value their shared culture, they wouldn’t ever willfully force it on another. Tolerance has historically been very valued.


But one day, 1000 people of a different background want to move into town. They have a different culture, lifestyle, and values. They would suddenly make up 20% of the population.


Is it wrong for the town to not accept these immigrants? Is it “racist” or “bigoted” to act on a preference that their community avoid cultural demographic swings? Is it hypocritical for the townsfolk to say they tolerate those of different backgrounds, but to desire not to assimilate competing values into their town?

Or does tolerance by definition include willful and indiscriminate association and assimilation with others?


For fun, I’ll leave the reasons for this immigration open. To what extent does it make a difference?



I said if I got at least 10 upvotes, I would create a blog with a more rational slant than persuasion slant. So here goes…


I’m creating this blog as a space to explore ideas of politics, ethics, sociology, morality, or anything else interesting with in the context of rational debate. I’ll be presenting thought experiments of scenarios that take place on an imaginary island, Hypothica.

Hypothica can be whatever it needs to be for the scenario. No aspect of it survives between posts. I want to use this blog to explore underlying principles. The real world is complicated and we could spend forever debating mitigating factors. So these experiments try to create controlled scenarios.

I’m hoping to find rational discussions. This is a place to get to the essence behind these ideas and explore their merit and debate rationality. A lot of these thought experiments will relate to things Scott has talked about or other current events. I hope it can be a corollary blog to Scott’s; somewhere we can take the principles at work behind the ideas he surfaces, strip them down and deconstruct them.


  • This isn’t a blog about persuasion or hypnosis. That’s not to say rhetoric is off limits. But “Because identity trumps reason” is not a winning argument here.
  • This isn’t a blog about religion. That’s not to say religion is off limits. But “Because the Bible says so” is not a winning argument here.
  • This isn’t a blog about what is legal real world. That’s not to say that implementation is off limits. But “That’s unconstitutional” is not a winning argument here.

There may be a blog where a religious or a rhetoric argument or reality is the best argument, but support your claim with reason.


Finally, I’m hoping to get the ball rolling. But I don’t need to control this. If this picks up any steam, and anyone else is interested in contributing Hypothica thought experiments, I will welcome the collaboration!

Scott Adams says reason is useless. Let’s find out.


(P.S.  I’ll put some actual effort into the site aesthetics and layout only if this takes off.)