A Traveler's Report
By John Taylor; 2009 Nov 24, Qawl 03, 166 BE
Sir Thomas More in Utopia told of a traveler just returned from a visit to a far off land where things were as they could and should be. Here is a traveler's narrative told by a neighbor only a few blocks away from a development built and run under the tutelage of the newly formed Comenian world government.
Son: I am glad to be home. I cannot remember when I saw so many relatives all together in this room. The walls are bursting. Did you all come out just for me?
Cousin: Let us just say we are curious. Tell us about everything you just saw.
Son: Well I still think you must be up to something. Usually I cannot get a word in edgewise. Now whenever I shut up you can hear a pin drop.
Aunt: Never you mind about that. Just tell your story.
Son: Okay. In case there is anybody here who does not know what I have been up to lately, I was asked by the Chronicle to spent a couple of months in the global village. If they like my report they said they might hire me to write a regular column about the place. It is just a few blocks down the road but I feel like I just got back from the moon.
Mother: I often do my shopping there. I prefer their small shops to the strip malls around here though I must say they force you to work. First you have to park the van before you go in. You end up doing a lot more walking than I am used to.
Brother: Is it true you have to become a world citizen before you can live there?
Son: Not entirely. You can technically come in as what they call a national but, as with everything there, they definitely make it worth your while to start taking the exams. Doing so is not only in your interest but in that of everybody around you. So there is a lot of peer pressure.
Father: You mean you have to study to become a world citizen? I thought I was one already.
Son: This is an entirely different system. It is a lot more complex than anything we have here. There are hundreds of new laws, rules and regulations you have to be aware of. But strange to say, when you leave, our way of doing things seem not simple but oddly barbaric.
Sister: Is it true what they say, that everything is owned collectively, like in a commune?
Son: Not entirely. They told me that the large items you see on the street, the buildings, streets and avenues, are mostly owned publicly. But the closer you get to a home or business, the more likely it is that the larger items are owned by a local group and maintained cooperatively. You often hear them repeat the codicil from Kant's sketch of a permanent peace: "The law of world citizenship shall be limited to conditions of universal hospitality." They say that this means that no matter who you are and where you go, there will always be somebody there to welcome you. But this places heavy reciprocal obligations on you as a guest. If you take advantage of your hosts, the welcome mat gets narrower, as they put it.
Mother: I think we are interrupting him far too much. Let the boy tell the story from the start.
Son: Thanks, Mom. I will do so.
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