The Deceased, an example

An individual’s right to bodily integrity expires at the time of their death. The People therefore assume responsibility for the body upon that event, with a temporary allowance for directives in wills or from relatives.

It may seem odd to start the Matchlist with a dead body, but it is actually the simplest illustration of how Matchism works. This situation involves making those key distinctions between utilitarianism and our traditions and existing moral codes, yet is relatively free from the inflamed emotions that make it so difficult to deal with so many other issues that involve public policy (abortion, gun rights, childrearing, welfare, etc., each of which this document will address in turn), making it perhaps the easiest issue to see clearly and objectively with. It also nicely highlights the interactions between our level of technology and our moral codes. Finally, it will also prove to be a useful litmus test/wedge issue that will help us determine where we stand on a Matchism-readiness scale, both individually and collectively.

What to do with the body is clear under strict utilitarianism. Barring serving it up to the public for Sunday Dinner or converting it into animal feed (both of which risk the spread of disease, particularly prion disease), the efficient choice is liquefaction, where the body is reduced to a liquid and then poured down the drain to be handled by the public wastewater treatment system (note that direct composting is also not a good alternative: Too many non-biodegradable bits of metal and plastic in modern humans, and too high a level of heavy metals for use as a soil amendment for growing food). Liquefaction requires a fraction of the energy and imposes a fraction of the impact on the environment as cremation, let alone the large environmental impact of burying, especially in a cemetery where the grounds are maintained to a high standard.

Disposing of the body is also a Natural Monopoly: Everybody needs this service and as long as a professional standard of service is met there can be no marketable difference between providers meaning there is no economic benefit to be had from allowing advertising or other open market competition. Therefore it would be most efficient for The People to send the requirement out to bid and have the low bidder perform the service for every body.

So, why not just pass a law putting this new system in place right now and save everyone a lot of time, very unpleasant effort (frequently at a very stressful time), and money? Because most people simply aren’t ready for this, based primarily on their ignorance of this option, their attachment to tradition, and what their internal moral codes tell them is the right thing to do. This being the case, Matchism defines a process rather than a directive. The People will define a Goal in this area that there be a certain percentage increase in liquefaction procedures every year, establish the bidding and payment process for this default action, then let the process play out over however many years it takes to achieve full compliance, encouraging it as necessary to keep pace with the Goal (e.g., increase the target rate by 5% each year, ensuring full compliance in 20 years).

Next: Our Internal Moral Codes