[LMB] Ezar - - the hand he was dealt

Judy R. Johnson jrj at fidalgo.net
Thu Sep 22 06:25:49 BST 2011

-----Original Message-----
From: lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk
[mailto:lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk] On Behalf Of Harimad
Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 7:19 AM

KH> --- On Fri, 9/16/11, Karen Hunt <huntkc at gmail.com> wrote:
KH> Whether Ezar could have made a Betan-style democracy appear looks 
KH> very questionable to me.

Are we discussing Betan-style democracy and nothing else?  There are many
varieties of representative democracy...

As it happens, I think Ezar was firmly committed to keeping Barrayar's
feudal(-ish?) system but realizes that it has to be reasonably effective or
it won't last.  He's aiming for, at best, a benevolent dictatorship.

KH> Whether Aral could have done the same?  Not at first, that's clear 
KH> enough.

I'm not convinced that Aral would have wanted to, even if he didn't feel
constrained by the terms of his regency.  Aral likes meritocracies, and
democracies don't necessarily promote based on merit.  So when faced with
the implicit question of "who decides?" I think Aral chooses a hereditary
caste with a (greater or lesser) tradition of leadership and noblesse
oblige.  He's less innovative than he appears, sometimes.

What I find interesting is that *Miles* doesn't exhibit any inclinations
toward a more representative system.  You'd think he'd know the limitations
of the Barrayaran system, growing up under Cordelia's tutorage, knowing
Barrayaran history, and having such a broad exposure to other systems in
practice.  And seeing that freer systems are generally associated with more
and more broadly-distributed innovation; Beta being the most extreme
example.  JW is also highly innovative but fails on the broadly-distributed


NEW from JRJ> What I've been wishing I'd said at the beginning of this
thread is that of those present in the Green Silk Room, Aral in particular
was straining every resource to come up with some alternative better than
Ezar's plot.  He hated it every way there was, but could think of no better.
And Aral, the pre-eminent strategist of his generation, came to the
reluctant conclusion that doing nothing was even worse that Ezar's plot.  So
he went along with it, almost single-handedly made it work, so that he could
arrange the retreat to save as many lives as possible.  ...And paid the
price with regard to his personal honor.

I do wonder if Ky Tung ever realized that the reason that retreat was so
classic was that Aral knew long in advance that there would have to be one.
Big difference from most retreats.

Entwife Judy
The Skiffy Minded

Catching up from behind; work, you know...

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