[LMB] (Supposed) feudal nonsense pizzaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Mon Nov 1 16:27:58 GMT 2010

> Date: Mon, 1 Nov 2010 04:03:40 -0700
> From: Damien Sullivan <phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu>
> Subject: Re: [LMB] (Supposed) feudal nonsense
> To: "Discussion of the works of Lois McMaster Bujold."
> <lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk>
> Message-ID: <20101101110339.GA15208 at ofb.net>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> On Mon, Nov 01, 2010 at 03:08:01AM +1100, Gwynne Powell wrote:
> > Here's some of the points that have been used to judge governments, both 
> > during the term of that government and now, as we look back on it. And 
> > don't forget, in the words of someone we all know, we have to beware of 
> > our own cultural conditioning.
> A key one you forgot is "do most people get much of what they want,
> whatever that is?"
> > ... And so it goes on. All of the above, and many more, have been 
> > used at the time and later as standards to judge societies. The one 
> > thing we can't do is to say, "I wouldn't want to live in this place, it's 
> > not like MY society now, so it's wrong." You have to judge each 
> > society, government and culture by the standards of its own day as 
> > well as by our own.
> Which standards of those days, and whose? The standard of the peasant
> rebels advocating for more rights or the standard of the nobles cutting
> them down? The standard of the slaves, or the slaveowners?
> > What will we give New Barrayar to make it 'better'? And how are we 
> > going to define 'better' at all? I'm fine with making new plans for their
> > government, I can think of a few things I'd love to add or change, but 
> > we need to agree first on where we're going with it.
> Well, we could ask the Barrayarans. Oh wait, no we can't, they don't
> live in a democracy.
> If you're defending autocracy, you may as well pick whatever standard
> you like and defend it, because that's just what the rulers are doing:
> imposing their desires by force.
> -xx- Damien X-) 

First, they've called pizza on this.
Second, I'm not defending anything.  I just wanted us to define our terms, 
since so many posts seemed to be based on the idea that anything that's 
not a democracy is automatically bad, and that democracy is the only and 
best goal when forming a government.  Which may or may not be true, 
but if you make claims you have to prove it, and I have yet to see anything 
that came close.
Third, there's some HUGE problems with democracy, and if you're going to 
inflict it on anyone, perhaps it'd be an idea to try to do so in a form that 
avoids the worst of the problems.  
And fourth, if you've studied world history at all, you've seen the often 
disastrous consequences of imposing a democratic government on a people 
who lack the education, communications, motivation and readiness for that 
kind of system.  It has to come from within, not be plonked down without 
But... we're at pizza on this one, so let's find another topic.

More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list