Monday, 29 May 2017

Two Cogs Of Empire

Dominic Flandry meets the Imperial resident on Diomedes:

"Flandry had met his kind by the scores, career administrators, conscientious but rule-bound and inclined to self-importance...Lagard had advanced methodically, by the book, toward an eventual pension.
"He was uncreative but not stupid, a vital cog of empire."
-Poul Anderson, A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows, Chapter VII, IN Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (Riverdale, NY, 2012), p. 436.

James Bond meets the Governor of Nassau:

"He belonged to a routine type that Bond had often encountered around the world - solid, loyal, competent, sober and just: the best type of Colonial Civil Servant. Solidly, competently, loyally he would have filled the minor post for thirty years while the Empire crmbled around him..."
-Ian Fleming, "A Quantum of Solace" IN Fleming, For Your Eyes Only (London, 1964), p. 86.

Fleming goes on to mention the pension and describe the retirement.

The British Empire and the Terran Empire! Then, let's have no more of Empires...


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I don't quite see your objection or point here. If both the Imperial resident and the British governor were conscientious, solidly competent, and loyal, they (and the states which had enough decency to appoint decent men to these offices) should be commended, not condemned. It's my view that whatever form the state has its civil service will need such solid, competent, loyal officials. And it's more likely than not that the human race will always need people like the resident and governor.


Paul Shackley said...

No point! No objection to either of these guys in themselves. Just a hope that mankind will go beyond imperialism.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Understood. And I don't think the human will ever "go beyond" imperialism, however that is defined. Because the state, large or small, whatever its form, is a necessity due to our fallen, imperfect human nature. So, it will never disappear till the Second Coming of Christ.


David Birr said...

Paul and Sean:
Hal Clement wrote an article, "Chips On Distant Shoulders," published in *The Future At War: Orion's Sword*. An excerpt points out:
Getting rid of war, on the other hand, seems to me far more difficult [than FTL travel]. It demands at least one, and probably two, psychological developments radical enough to be called breakthroughs, and our progress in developing and utilizing the psychological sciences has so far been disappointing.

The really necessary advance would involve some method of eliminating the almost universal human attitude that one’s own rights are as important as anyone else’s.

Not MORE important. AS important.

I am not saying that people shouldn’t feel that way, or don’t have a right to feel that way, or that it’s immoral or even unreasonably selfish. I simply say that unless and until it changes, conflicts of interest will continue to lead to violence in the name of right, freedom, and The People. What specific situation starts things off – the population of a landlocked country believing that it has the right to a seaport of its own, women believing that they have the same rights as men, or junkies believing that they have a right to a fix at public expense – is trivial beside the general principle that my right is as important as yours. If a way were actually discovered to alter this bit of human nature there would be screams against the dangers of psychological research; and if a government or some other group tried to apply the techniques, plenty of people (including me) would fight for the right to their own minds.

Please note that death, destruction, and mayhem are not primary aims of war. They may be secondary ones, as when a cannibal tribe attacks its neighbors for meat, but more usually they are just inconvenient by-products. The aim and end of war is to IMPOSE ONE’S WILL ON AN OPPONENT.

Unfortunately, imposing one’s will on another includes the situation in which YOUR will is merely that he not impose HIS on YOU.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, DAVID!

Now those were very interesting and illuminating comments by Hal Clement! And they help to explain why we have strife, conflict, war, etc. And why the "ideal" state envisioned by St. Thomas More was called UTOPIA, "no place," by the book's author.

And if this is what the human race is like, then we have to keep in mind that if any non human alien races exist and if they have Fallen, then they too will very likely feel THEIR rights are as valid as ours. Or more valid than ours, hence helping to explain the aggressive racism of the Merseian Roidhunate.

I checked, and, alas, I only have the first two volumes of the anthology edited by Reginald Bretnor, THE FUTURE AT WAR, not including ORION'S SWORD.