Hypothica: Where Echo Chambers are Outlawed

(This is built on the ideas and questions Drowlord101 raised in his post about echo chambers.)

On the island of Hypothica, the Hypothican government has issued a decree stating that every club, party, or organization that discusses serious or important ideas must hire a “court jester”. A jester is someone whose JOB is to question and disagree with the group’s consensus opinion. For example, the NRA’s court jester is someone who vocally opposes private gun ownership. The law is intended to ensure that “echo chambers” do not arise, and that organizations and political parties do not become removed from consensus reality. It is also intended to improve their society’s discourse, so that people don’t just shout party-approved slogans at each other all the time.

Obviously, there are moral problems with this scenario, which completely ignores freedom of speech and association. The Hypothican government doesn’t care about that, and neither do we. What I wonder is, would this have the intended effect on society as a whole? We had something similar to this with the “fairness doctrine”. As a libertarian, I am opposed to fairness doctrines, but I have to admit that political discussions seem to have become much more polarized as technology has allowed us to build our own echo chambers and remove ourselves from people we disagree with.

So, setting all concerns about freedom of speech and government overreach aside, do a thought experiment and imagine Hypothica 5 years after the law is passed. What does society look like? Was the intended effect achieved? Why or why not?

Balance of Powers

The three branches of the U.S. government are supposed to balance each other and keep any one group from gaining too much power. They can keep each other in check, but because they are so constrained, they may not have enough power to keep OTHER factions of society in check. (If the government is too weak, some people believe that the rich will take advantage and gain too much influence in society.)

Your goal is to establish a government that can be limited and controlled, but is still strong enough to keep the powerful from taking over society and gaining too much influence.

Let’s assume that we’re going to start inhabiting Hypothica¬†right now, at this point in history. You can look at the pros and cons of modern American constitutional government, as well as all governments throughout history, democratic and otherwise. You can use any modern technology you wish, and nobody has to have any rights if you don’t want them to. Your goal is to balance ALL of the powers in society, and set up a form of government that keeps any one faction from gaining too much power.

(Edited for simplicity and clarity. -AF)