[LMB] Sergyar government, was Cordelia's Honour

Damien Sullivan phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Thu Nov 4 14:59:05 GMT 2010

On Tue, Nov 02, 2010 at 11:45:07PM -0700, Royce McDaniels wrote:

> this is actually a more fascinating topic than many may realize. Lois
> is frontloading a LOT of assumptions into the Barrayaran system of
> government and not explaning them at all. But clearly they include a
> free press, freedom of galactic information access, freedom of travel
> both on Barrayar and offworld (both to Komarr and Sergyar as well as
> The Nexus), freedom of education (witness how casually everyone
> assumes getting post secondary educations is possible for non-Vor),
> freedom of employment, freedom of where to live and work (voting with
> their feet from the legislation of aral and cordelia heh heh), freedom
> of whome to marry, freedom from harrassment both physical and sexual,
> and on and on..

I think you're taking as "clearly" many things which aren't in fact
* free press, dubious
* free galactic information access: even more dubious
* travel on Barrayar: probable
* offworld: probable, not that most could afford it
* education: yes
* employment: perhaps.  There could well be lots of historical Imperial
or Countish monopolies we haven't heard about, though that's also the
sort of thing Aral and Gregor would be likely to try to rationalize.
* marry: probably

Of course, we're talking about legal freedoms.

* freedom from harrassment: contradicted by the text.  Even authorities
might abuse you, and Barrayaran society certainly will.

> in short, Barrayar is the United States of America with Gregor as President
> for Life and the Council of Counts as Congress for Life. 

Or the earlier UK with Crown and Parliamant for life, or any of many
other examples.

> The Barrayaran bureacracy matches the US bureaus almost exactly both
> in design and behavior. 

Not sure what you base that on.

> The freedoms assumed by the people of Barrayar are the same as
> those taken for granted by the US population (with no realization of how

No freedom to bear arms, for a rather obvious US example.  No guarantee
of such de facto freedoms as exist against future changes of mind.
Gregor's son could take away the freedom to vote with your feet,
re-institute or re-empower the Ministry of Political Education, etc.  If
Barrayar seems US-nice today, that's because it's been run by mental
half-Betans for the past 35 years.  (Also that it's a heavily
romanticized and filtered view of monarchy or aristocracy.)

-xx- Damien X-) 

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