"Star Wars" despots vs. "Star Trek" populists

Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk Philip.Belben at powertech.co.uk
Thu May 23 12:24:03 EDT 2002

A debate seems to have started on political ideologies, and I'm afraid I'm going
to have to join it, despite the fact that I know very little of politics.

(I regard myself as a conservative Whig - please note that that is small C
conservative, and I am not aligned with the Tory party, whom I consider radical
rather than conservative, or with the Labour party, whom I consider to have lost
most of their whiggishness since the Thatcher era).

Before we start talking about "Left" and "Right", I think it is worth
considering that there may be too many independent variables to represent one's
political stance by a position on a line.  I would recommend everyone interested
in this debate to have a go at


which measures your political stance on two independent variables, and plots it
in a plane.  There aren't enough questions to get great precision, but it has
the advantage that it can be done quite quickly.  (And in case you're worrying,
it asks no personal details, and claims not to store anything you enter at all)

This bit was Jon Noble:

> century BC? However Athens and Rome demonstrated that
> a democrarcy any larger than a single city didn't work
> with pre-industrial technology. However in fantasy we

Hmm.  Probably true.  But I have heard it pointed out (and think it worth
repeating) that the modern form of democracy, which usually involves elected
leaders and/or an elected assembly, who do the ruling on behalf of the people,
is not the same as the ancient Greek form, in which the people themselves
actually ruled, with all citizens (in Athens, free adult males) having a seat on
the assembly.

Modern (parliamentary) democracy probably could work with pre-industrial
technology, but I'm not convinced that it is actually very democratic :-(

More to the point, now that we do have the technology, why aren't we adopting a
form of government more democratic than the elected assembly?

> have  magic as a substitute for industrial technology.
> This is something very few authors explore. Randall
> Garrett's Lord D'Arcy stories are an example that
> spring to mind. I once had fun incorporating this into

Good point.  I like it!  I must also find some more Lord D'Arcy stories - I've
only ever read one...

As for DWJ, I think she doesn't really put a political stance into her books,
more a political attitude, along the lines of "whatever political system you're
in, question it!".  Perhaps this is what we're missing from Charmed Life?


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