[LMB] Dark Brittanic Mills, Saruman

Pat Mathews mathews55 at msn.com
Wed Jul 24 14:23:41 BST 2019

Yup. Straight out of the "backward people improvers" handbook, whether missionaries, NGO's, or whatever: We are here to Bring You Out Of Darkness Into Light. To mention that this might be paternalism run rampant would be greeted by most with "But they NEED it!" But the top-down approach has many weaknesses.

Am reminded of Donald Kingsbury's Courtship Rite, in which the fastest-growing clan is successful because they *ask* future clients "What is happening that should not?" and "What is not happening that should?" and then addressing that. Even if it meant, in one case, deposing the local rulers and suggesting they turn their talents to architecture, their only positive achievement to date. Now, if Saruman had gone around asking the poorest people of Middle Earth what they wanted on needed, I'm sure he - and the squirearchy as represented by the Baggins family - would have gotten an earful.

One minor thread in the Georgette Heyer Regency Romances I read is the landowners going in for agricultural improvements on their own lands, whether it be canals, new crops, etc ... a very good *start* in dealing with an agrarian population. Then when they felt the need for railroads, frex, to get their crops to market (one weakness of the Confederate plantocracy.. the North had and used railroads etc to great effect)... well, you can take it from there. Bottom-up tends to be more lasting.
From: lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk <lois-bujold-bounces at lists.herald.co.uk> on behalf of Damien Sullivan <phoenix at mindstalk.net>
Sent: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 4:03 AM
To: Discussion of the works of Lois McMaster Bujold. <lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk>
Subject: Re: [LMB] Dark Brittanic Mills, Saruman

On Tue, Jul 23, 2019 at 02:45:32PM +0000, Pat Mathews wrote:
> BTW, thank you all for confirming my original argument several times over: that Saruman was not, in his own mind, a villain, but a Prometheus figure. Except, of course, in his determination to do what he saw fit and to blazes with the cost to others.

Saruman says as much in his pitch to Gandalf.  Gaining power so the Wise
can order things better.

‘He drew himself up then and began to declaim, as if he were making a
speech long rehearsed. “The Elder Days are gone. The Middle Days are
passing. The Younger Days are beginning. The time of the Elves is over,
but our time is at hand: the world of Men, which we must rule. But we
must have power, power to order all things as we will, for that good
which only the Wise can see.

..As the Power grows, its proved friends will also grow; and the Wise,
such as you and I, may with patience come at last to direct its courses,
to control it. We can bide our time, we can keep our thoughts in our
hearts, deploring maybe evils done by the way, but approving the high
and ultimate purpose: Knowledge, Rule, Order; all the things that we
have so far striven in vain to accomplish, hindered rather than helped
by our weak or idle friends. There need not be, there would not be, any
real change in our designs, only in our means.”

-xx- Damien X-)
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