Re: Evolution of governments (was: Consistency in naming)
|Isidora Zamora <isidora@...>
|Sunday, November 16, 2003, 19:53
At 01:12 PM 11/16/03 -0500, you wrote:
>Isidora Zamora scripsit:
> > > on a regular schedule, perhaps annually for
> > >a month or so. The list of henchmen becomes fixed.
> > By what process does the list of henchmen become fixed?
>Politics, how else? Giving henchmen a Council vote is a way of
>trading off the obvious one-person-one-vote convention against the
>fact that some warlords have more power than others. At first,
>the henchmen provide bloc votes behind their superiors. Later,
>they discover the advantages of tactical -- and later, strategic --
Of course, if the henchmen are sworn to obey their warlord, then the
balloting had better be secret if they're going to go engaging in strategic
voting :) - or else you have to get past a point in history where the
henchmen are under such an oath. At some point in the history of the
country, the warlords lost military power and the military became
professional soldiers under the command of the central government, which is
where they are today, although there are still mercenaries to be found.
> > I'm pretty sure that the Assembly is unicameral, so if there ever were two
> > houses, one of them will have to be gotten rid of.
>Oliver Cromwell did manage to abolish the Lords for a while, but it
>didn't stick. Perhaps some similar military genius from a country-squire
>background grabbed temporary supreme control, and managed to hang onto
>it a bit longer before dying of natural causes? Some things Cromwell
>did, like abolishing military land tenure by converting it into ordinary
>leasehold, did stick, because it was impossible to undo all the chains
>of events -- real-estate transfers -- that had happened since.
I'll have to study that era of English history and see what it can teach
me. I am not certain how feudal of a society Trehelan ever was or wasn't,
so it may not be coming out of the same background as England. I do know
that the central government was never a monarchy. I am not certain that
the warlords even necessarily passed their position on to a son; it may
have been a question of whoever was strong enough making a successful grab
for power. Traditionally, (Conquest-era, not necessarily modern), Trehelo
respect whoever is powerful. That is really why they worship Death. They
believe that Death is the strongest of the gods, and therefor they worship
him; it's not because they like him. I think that their attitude toward
temporal rulers would be similar: the man with the most power and the
ability to wield it is worthy of their respect, and warriors will pledge
their loyalty to such a man.
> > >But it seems to me that 150 years is a little short for such a process.
> > How long would it take?
>Hard to say. From the Norman Conquest to the Second Reform Bill was
>a little less than eight centuries, so that's a generous upper bound.
>Half that much time might be sufficient.
> > I could lengthen the timeline. I'm not locked into those lengths of time
> > at this point. I am also not at all certain that the Trehelish state had
> > its modern form when the Conquest was over, some 400 years ago. The
> > evolution of the government into its current form could well have
> > continued past the end of the Conquest.
>Indeed, if the completion of the process was within living memory,
>that would be quite a reasonable length of time.
And if the completion of the process was that recent, or perhaps somewhat
outside of living memory, say 100-120 years ago, that might also account
for a certain historical event which I know happened. Within a few years
of where I now consider present, a large landowner will attempt to carve a
personal dominion out of the south-central plateau. He is in a position to
do this, among other reasons, because the land that he inherited contains
one of the old fortified cities, so he has a good military
stronghold. (Cities built since the Conquest are not militarily
defensible, in general, because they didn't need to be.) He also has the
monetary resources to hire a private army. The area that he wants to carve
out for his own private rule is larger than what he now owns but still
small compared with the whole of Trehelan. There is also the problem of
Trehelan keeping a good-sized standing army (mainly) in Sovchilen, which
would be brought against him the moment he moved to take over his corner of
the country. He found some treacherous ways of partially dealing with that
issue and with the central government in Sovchilen, but, if there are a
number of other landowners in the country who can remember that their
great-grandfathers were something closer to local rulers than to merely
another citizen in a representative democracy, then perhaps he was counting
on them rising up and taking back their old lands, as well, and that would
get the army of Sovchilen off his back - and cause Trehelan to revert from
a centralized representative democracy to something else entirely.
Thank you very much for the idea. I may well take it and run with it. If
the government reached its present form only 100-120 years ago, then that
might well leave a few men discontent whose families used to wield more
power in the days before democracy took its final hold on the land. But a
century of fairly static government would leave everyone else fairly
content with the status quo and wishing to maintain it. The event might
make a good deal more sense if Trehelish government has not been static for