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Heartland: Definitions & Propositions

'Heartland' = 'Homogeneity of Values'
A 'heartland' is an environment where your personal values are shared, to a 'large' degree, by others within the same environment. Values which are shared can also be said to be homogeneous. Such homogeneity is a 'fuzzy' quantity - i.e., measured in degrees rather than all or nothing.
'Values' = Ethics, Esthetics, Abilities, Habits, Priorities...
The term is used very broadly here to underscore the fact that almost every aspect of a person's existence is a result of underlying values: one develops certain abilities and habits largely as a result of value-priorities.


1: Heartland Is A 'Good Thing'
This is based upon the observation that, other things such as economics aside, free people will generally choose environments with greater rather than lesser homogeneity of values. People feel greater affinity toward those who most closely resemble themselves.
2: Economics Is Generally Opposed to Heartland
This is perhaps the central dilemma: alongside the desire for homogeneity of values within a community are the economic rewards of trading with those who have different values. There is no advantage to trade if buyer and seller both value an item equally or have exactly the same skills, knowledge, etc. If such heterogeneous populations intermix there will be conflict alongside the economic rewards: laws eventually replace dialogue for settling differences and the most violent factions control the policing agencies. Heartland is lost.
3: Equilibrium Is Related To Collective Homogeneity Levels
Equilibrium is reached when the marginal return to the 'homogeneity of values' within a given population is zero, with respect to population size, other things being equal. For example, each person will naturally weigh the advantages of having a new neighbor differently, according to the subjective appraisal of how many values are shared and not shared and how important each of these values is. Each person, therefore, has his own 'optimal' population size within the heartland. Equilibrium of the entire population will only occur if every individual is at personal equilibrium - i.e., does not want to leave and does not desire any change in the size or quality of the population.
4: Values Are Not Static; Equilibrium Is Fleeting
This is true of equilibrium in any market, due to the changeable nature of all things.
The inherent contradictions between economic forces and the desire for homogeneity render the long term stability of any heartland doubtful. On the smallest scale, this is most evident in relations between man and wife who are drawn together as much due to differences as to common values. When costs of divorce are low enough, that is the usual result of marriage, over time - if death does not come first.
4: Diversity of Heartland Populations Is Optimal
Due to the diversity of individual values, the maximum degree of homogeneity for everyone will be achieved when many distinct populations exist, each having a different set of dominant values for individuals to choose from. This is contrary to the practices of nation-states, and other governing jurisdictions, where a single set of values is imposed, by force, upon many diverse individuals.
5: Heartland Is Usually Optimized When Knowledge Is Good
It would be easiest for individuals to choose an ideal heartland if the values held by other members of a population were well known. Lack of knowledge often leads to much suffering when an individual discovers that certain values are not shared or respected.
6: Secrecy of Values May Be Necessary For Heartland Survival
This is especially true for a geographically based heartland, which is the most vulnerable to attack. In the case of a community whose values arouse persecution by more violent and powerful neighbors, it may be suicidal to advertise generally. Such conditions would also generally require greater barriers to entry and ostracism or exile for those who might place the heartland at risk. Such a community would need to place greater emphasis on homogeneity at the expense of economics and population size.
7: Geography Is Not The Best Basis For Heartland
The central problem with geographically based communities is the control of land. Such control ultimately depends upon the successful use of force. Those who are not willing or capable of exercising such force will, in time, lose their heartland. Geographically based communities will tend toward lesser homogeneity of values over time.
8: Economics Should Be Focused According To Heartland Values
In light of the inherent contradictions noted above, the best solution for an economically viable heartland is one in which trade is not undertaken without consideration of the values of the person you are trading with. Trade should be focused within the heartland community. This has been the secret of success for many immigrant communities.
9: The Economically Focused 'Virtual Heartland' - Best Solution
'Virtual', as used here, means primarily non-geographical (such as nomadic communities) but also includes the idea of transcending the requirement of physical association through the use of electronic communications technology to supplant many economic, administrative and cultural activities of a physically united community.
The 'virtual' heartland community has these advantages:
  • Less vulnerable since not geographically based
  • More homogeneous: membership can be more selective; individuals do not give up power to any centralized and unrepresentative 'immigration authority'
  • Secrecy, if desired, is easier to maintain - especially with the use of public key encryption technology
  • Economic activity can be more selective if one is not limited to trading with people who happen to be physically close by and whose values you may know little about
10: Vonu
11: Political Takeover
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© 1998 by tppt: Tom Paine, Perpetual Traveler