[LMB] The Fall of Jackson's Whole?

Damien Sullivan phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Wed, 18 Aug 2004 09:54:20 -0700


On Wed, Aug 18, 2004 at 09:20:19AM -0700, Azalais Malfoy wrote:

> But I sincerely doubt that life for those unfortunate enough to
> attract the attention of perhaps the very worst Barons can be the
> norm for most of the population, and the prejudice that a society
> built upon libertarian grounds/laissez-faire capitalism has to be
> miserable for nearly everyone disturbs me just a bit.  No, most

But it's not built on libertarian grounds, as libertarians describe it.
Libertarians forswear initiation of force, or fraud; anarchist libertarians
forswear government as depending on force and being immoral.  This is an alien
concept to the Jacksonians we see.  JW is laissez-faire without any pretence
of respect for human rights, the Mafia run amok.

> of us wouldn't have wanted to work for a Carnegie.  But most of
> us wouldn't want to live in a feudal society either, and yet
> there's no such venom against Barrayar.

Barrayar is visibly moving away from its feudal roots, and we get seduced by
How Nice Everyone Is, and some of us still note that ImpSec is pretty creepy,
with press censorship (then people say that under Gregor they don't really
seem to do that), or that there's a fair risk of the next generation or two of
Vorkosigans and Vorbarras not turning out so well.

> reproductive rights.  I mean, isn't there some United Nations
> convention or something that a society is violating when it
> refuses to permit people to have children if they want to?

Probably.

But given a history of material constraints on one hand, and the appearance
that Beta's system works fairly, I'm not getting upset about it.  Most of us
have had the thought that some people shouldn't be parents; Beta and Athos
agree, and have done something about it.  The big danger is that being used as
a tool of oppression.  But Athos seems to have an objective system of "do X
social service and you're in" and Beta has psych exams or something.  Beta's
probably riskier than Athos; I wouldn't trust *our* psych exams.

I note Komarr seems to live under the same material constraints as Beta; do
they have reproductive limits?

> There're all kinds of tyrannies.  Most people have to give up
> some freedoms to get whatever security they have; but different
> people will find different freedoms more necessary than others.
> Barrayar, Beta, Cetaganda and JW are all places where Very Bad
> Things can happen to you. It simply follows that good things
> could happen as well.

I don't think it simply follows; that implies there's some conservation law of
freedoms.  There are tradeoffs (living in a city brings benefits but
neighbors) but I don't think they're total, I don't think living in North
Korea, or in a heavily abusive family, has compensations.  Some societies
enhance the freedom and power of individuals at large, others enhance the
security and belongingness of individuals at large, and others yet again just
view individuals at large as chattel of the rulers.

-xx- Damien X-)