Sunday, 17 January 2016
Emperor Or Archon
I had thought that it would be a good idea if Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry were to become Terran Emperor - all the way from Ensign Flandry to Emperor Flandry. Poul Anderson either did not consider or discounted this option. After a lifetime spent defending Imperial power, how would Flandry have wielded it?
Four men - McCormac, Molitor, Cairncross and Magnusson - planned or tried to seize the Throne by force during Flandry's lifetime. One succeeded. Flandry wound up serving a usurper, with legitimacy gone and the Long Night brought nearer, like the Ragnarok by the death of Balder. Flandry would not have seized power but might have been appointed by the Advisory Board if there were no surviving heir?
Archon Eric von Shrakenberg smiles wryly when wondering why he does not just retire to his estate, immediately after the US President has ventured that he seems to be both intelligent and empathetic. The wry smile is not good enough. An intelligent and empathetic man should be wondering how to end the Domination, not just to retire from leading it. Eric, quoting his "'...fathah...'" explains that:
"'...yo' nation is like yo' children; loved because they are yours, not necessarily because they deserve it.'" (p. 345)
Usually true but what if one of your children were guilty of genocide?
Privately, and using communications technology beyond ours, the Archon and the President can speak frankly about basic issues and even identify common problems while remaining irreconcilable enemies:
either would initiate the Final War if they believed that that was the right decision;
neither wants to be rushed into that decision prematurely;
both sides have vested interests pressing for intensification of the Protracted Conflict;
one common interest is to prevent the instruments of policy from setting the policy;
neither wants to destroy the planet;
the Domination must maintain border tensions in order to restrain the dynamism of the Alliance for Democracy;
both sides have military secrets that could upset the balance.
Are they incapable of ending the Conflict? Yes, the Draka are incapable.