This will be rough.
I’ve always been attracted to the idea of identifying unifying characteristics of desired society, and defining those ideals as sacred to the group that embraces them. The Constitution does this, of course, but it deals with principals where I aim to talk about behaviors. I come to this from decades of observing dissimilar people living with each other. I’m struck by how different they are, and most importantly, how much they dislike one another.
I’ve always wondered if there was a way to insist that people be nice to each other. A way of building unity and pleasantness into a society through a philosophy, or a set of ideals that everyone is pounded in by parents, taught in every grade of school, pushed through public service announcements, etc. Here’s a first attempt at capturing ideas that will go into such rules (which I’ll create properly later):
You should be pleasant to those who pass you on the street. Smile, give a greeting. Nod. Whatever. Do not ignore someone unless there is a reason (you’re on the phone, talking to someone else, etc.)
Speak quietly while in public. Whether on the phone or speaking with others, attempt to use a volume that will reach your audience and nobody else.
Smoking in public is extraordinarily rude. Smoke can be detected and cause annoyance hundreds of feet away, and going to the entrance of a building to do so will not help, as that’s the door for non-smokers as well.
Assume the best of others at all times.
A standard language.
Give people ample personal space in public. Do not crowd or rush them to gain advantage in some way. We are not competing here. We are cooperating.
When in public, be aware of those around you, and be willing to engage them in eye-contact, polite conversation, or a simple smile. Do not tune out to those around you because you consider them different than you or somehow unimportant.
The tenets above are behavior-based, and these metrics, i.e. how people treat each other, are the only grounds on which someone can be judged. Membership in our country/city/whatever is based on these concepts alone, and judging others negatively based on any other criteria will not be tolerated by our society.
A belief in education. Work is not enough. You must be educated in order to participate as a full citizen of an advanced society. The nuances of building a society, and the ability to filter bad information and avoid being manipulated all depend on education. The question is not whether you will do well in school, it’s which school you’ll do well in.
[ Not really sure about a couple of these… ]
Finally, and most importantly, the purpose of the charter is to say that if you can’t embrace these ideas you’re simply not welcome here (wherever the place is that embraces this). If you wish to be rude to others, think yourself separate and above interacting with those around you, or better than someone because of their race, religion, etc. — you simply can’t play in our sandbox.
And our sandbox will be the best one, because we’ll have the best people here from everywhere in the world. The only thing we’ll have in common is an agreement on the Constitution (think U.S.) and these core behavioral beliefs. These combined make us the most pleasant place to live, with the smartest people in the world clamoring to join the community.
We must end the Balkanization of our largest cities and countries. This is how to do it. Insist on cohesion and unity. Make it part of the identity of society.