It is the year 2075 and the nation is now becoming free of all social problems. As was predicted by the media as far back as 1990, the major breakthrough toward Utopia occurred in 2030, when scientists finally created life in a test tube, i.e., with no traditional genetic material, only the strictly synthetic.

During the last four decades of the twentieth century, the societal trend was toward something the social engineers labeled “total-being liberation.” Others called it simply “permissiveness.” It caused the society to descend into a virtual swampland of malaise. It seems that the hopelessly antiquated traditions of marriage and family, as described by the engineers, albeit the cornerstone of existence in civilized societies for thousands of years, had finally eroded about 2020 to the point that terms such as “parents” and “children” were practically non-existent. The notion of family included everything from shack-up to same-sex marriage to all forms of cohabiting, homosexual arrangements being considered more normal than heterosexual ones. Indeed, millions claimed no family relationship at all, since to do so was an admission, under the traditional protocol, that other people mattered. Incest was not only not stigmatized, it was somewhat glorified as the “ultimate liberation,” the final step toward total sophistication.

“Total-being liberation” advocates had as their touchstone the notion that every person should be free to do his/her own thing; thus, it became gauche to countenance “infringement upon personal rights,” the devil take the hindmost. The natural consequence was a trend toward anarchy as evidenced by rampant crime, a breakdown of government (most officials on the “take”), and a gradual collapsing of the society. Serial polygamy (marriage, divorce, remarriage, re-divorce, ad infinitum) became the norm, at least when marriage was invoked at all. It was suggested that children be given numbers instead of names and that they wear bracelets listing their respective DNAs so that parent-ship, if it ever became an issue, could be established.

Ultra-tolerance became the accepted social attitude. The criminal became a pampered misfit (though never called by that tag in the politically correct society) and the victim of his society, his rights therefore superior to those of his victims, whose main responsibility was to understand him and his “needs,” at least as long as they were conscious. Legislatures and courts became the marketplaces where anything could be bought and sold, not that such activity had not always existed; rather, it just became the norm to the nth degree, with maybe two percent of officials remaining honest. Wimpish legislators refused to enact tough but sensible legislation and gradually shifted that responsibility to the courts. The economy deteriorated to the point that citizens fought in the streets for an ever diminishing supply of the necessities. The credo: Why work when the welfare system is operative?

Finally, the Senate, its members actually fearing for their lives, and having settled a vital century-long dispute regarding just how long a filibuster should last, approved the formation of a commission to determine how to institute a viable society. The result was something called the Social Problems Act of 2020. It was achieved when a cadre of centrists formed by members of each party decided that debate was passé and that partisanship, though effective from the beginning of the nation in keeping the country stabilized, was terribly unsophisticated, an attribute shunned by even the most unsophisticated.

After poring over the history books, the commission’s initial judgment was that a reversion to the family-anchored traditional concept of existence would solve the problem. However, and realizing that passing new laws had not been solving problems for the past forty years, especially since the un-elected, life-terming judges made new law as a routine matter, the commission deserted the family-mandate concept, knowing that such an anachronism would be completely ignored anyway, even by the legislators, most of whom had embraced the total-liberation theory, which allowed them to collect and spend funds in any way they liked, legal and illegal. Besides, there was no agreement on the definition of family, even to the point of arguing whether or not people had the right to exclude cats and dogs from the decision-making process within a household or commune or passion pit or whatever.

The commission recommended that an agency for social engineering be established, its purpose to be the creation of a new type of person who would harmonize totally with every other person, the obvious design eventuating in a frictionless society. The social engineers employed the best brains in the land, and by 2030 the first such person was synthetically created in a test tube, at least hopefully, and would be tested for 20 years. Cloning had been considered as desirable if acceptable attributes could be guaranteed to exist in a clone, but there was no agreement on what was acceptable. Moreover, the surprises emanating from the cloning of animals had become a genuine source of worry. Also, a supposedly human clone created in Italy had become enraged by a whiff of cigarette smoke and knocked down the leaning Tower of Pisa.

Having passed all the tests for harmonious living by 2050, the new synthetic person was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Indeed, the new person could be configured in a number of models, depending upon an allocation method determined by the lawmakers. The subject of race had to be faced, and this naturally became a thorny issue. Finally, an agreement was reached on the allotments to be made to each ethnic group, and the manufacture of the new people immediately resulted in a population explosion. Naturally, each political party attempted to set the political orientation of the new persons, only to find that the new persons eschewed politics, since politics caused friction.

Further legislation was reluctantly passed by the lawmakers requiring the sterilization of everyone above age six within the next two years so that none of the old liberated persons could ever reproduce and destroy the society again. Pregnancy became obsolete, and sex was for pure pleasure, though that was not much different from how it had become in the “liberated” world. The new persons functioned in public and private capacities on an absolutely equal footing totally devoid of friction, inculcating a blandness out-blanding even a politician’s speech, until other nations caught on to what had happened. Then came the crunch. Blandness lost.