With more and more prominent success of extremely niche subcultures, I'm curious about whether we can get the kind of strange chaos necessary to give them space in real life. ISIL is a disgusting influence, and perhaps the only meme to get a nation. Why not have a nation of people who like Harry Potter? There are less dysfunctional memes out there. Pick a random one and it's better than ISIL – so why not make room for ones we think might be good?
Truly, I'm interested in letting a thousand nations start out, each a different culture, a different attempt at making something sustainable. Most of these would be self-destructive cults, I imagine – those are unavoidable, and you wouldn't want to be so cautious as to have a 100% success rate anyway – but some would be like Mormonism. A little offbeat? Sure. But a seriously thoughtful and sustainable community. Mormonism is better than the default in America, and it's also completely optional. What a huge win! The idea that there's a place for that culture (not specifically allocated, but Salt Lake City is pretty anomalous) makes me proud of the American experiment. And I'm not a Mormon.
I am a little more sad to see places like Texas lose their quintessential Don't Mess With Texas feel, which feels like it's been happening for a while. I don't know precisely why I feel this way, but if you charted "in Texas, you can shoot someone for not leaving your property" over time, public sentiment would definitely be on the downwards trend. Who knows if that was ever true, or if it still is? But the feelings, I think, fit that model.
California remains bonkers, for the most part, so I suppose that's a fair test of that culture, but I'm a bit concerned about the dysfunction of government in New York. I'd prefer to see the "everybody's here for the money" insular city either get destroyed by it's worship for money or get diluted past recognition by an influx of others. Perhaps we've already seen the later – success brings people, people from less capital-focus areas bring the sort of politics that see Wall Street as a tax piggy bank and sort of ruin the strange system by driving it into New Jersey (which will obviously fall into the same trap).
I also sort of fell in love with the idea you could make a Sacred Contract, one where violation demands specific performance and not payment of damages, for instance – and to avoid the worst inefficiencies, these sacred contracts made in this state could only be undone by climbing to the top of the highest mountain. I like the idea of sacred contracts being an option, and one enforced by the state as well, and that leaving them should come at a real cost (if it is possible at all). Of course, no one would have to make such a contract, and no one would even have to live in the state. But I like the idea and would like a society to try it in.