You probably know H. L. Hunt as a billionaire oilman with multiple wives and a tendency toward eccentricity.
You may even know that the TV series Dallas was based upon his doings.
But you probably don’t know that in 1960, Mr. Hunt wrote a novel about a fictional Latin nation known as Alpaca. The story was wrapped tightly around his idea of utopia: a world in which people earned more votes by paying more taxes, aging, or attending college.
It was a land where the cream floated to the top, people were enlightened and taxes were low.
He privately published it (because he could) and sent copies to world leaders, who sent him glowing reviews. He’d certainly come a long way from the East Texas field!
During the 1960s, Hunt was also obsessing over the Fountain of Youth and looking to miracle foods to help him live to be 140!
His HLH Products company not only published his books, but would also sell you these fine health products so that you, too, could live forever and keep Hunts families in new shoes.
In 1967, when tides were changing politically and the U.S. involvement in Vietnam was peaking, Hunt published Alpaca Revisited, the second volume in the conservative utopian saga.
In the second book, his system of "premium suffrage" was fleshed out more...folks aged 18-22 got one vote each; everyone else got 2...to start. But one could earn up to FIVE votes based on income, excellence in education or foregoing a government salary or retirement pay.
The framers of the Alpaca constitution concluded that the masses had rarely proven capable of selecting competent leaders, so a graduated voting system would give more power to those contributing most to the welfare of the nation.
Alpaca's two parties, called the Liberal and Constructive Thought Groups, were each given 2% of the total space in printed news publications, and clearly the idea of our modern 24-hour news cycle would have mortified him.
Hunt expressed via his Alpacan constitution: "Discussions of governmental affairs & persons are confined to printed media, precluded from radio, TV and cinema and shall not be voiced or pictured in public meetings attended by more than 700 persons."
His purpose here was to keep ill-informed groups of people from getting their news in entertainment venues and hopefully steer them back to getting information from the wiser members of their communities...the readers.
There would be no "indispensable man" in Alpaca.
Nope. The presidency was too big a job for one guy and too exhausting.
Instead there would be a three-headed Executive: an acting President who served a year, and two Assistants who would rotate in to the office of President, in their turn.
This would prevent a sole leader from becoming a popular idol and lessen the chances of a burgeoning dictator.
Speaking of which...citizens of Alpaca were innocent until proven guilty.
Government officials and employees, on the other hand, were assumed guilty until proven otherwise.
The former home of H. L. Hunt on White Rock Lake in Dallas.
Remind you of some place?