Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Modern Structure diagrams

Just posted on The Modern Structure, with diagrams showing the patterns of influence over policy and ideology.

I used a few diagrams, if anyone wants to play with them, their source is in dot, and they can be rendered into postscript, bitmaps or svg with the free software graphviz (use the rendering command "twopi"):

Diagram 1 (power)

digraph cath1 {
 ranksep = "2";
 splines = "true";
 size = "5,4";
 
 media [label="Media"];
 pol   [label="Politicians"];
 cs    [label="Civil Service",style=bold];
 elec  [label="Electorate"];
 edu   [label="Education"];
 bus   [label="Business"];

 media -> elec[style=bold];
 media -> pol;
 edu   -> elec;
 elec  -> pol;
 cs    -> pol;
 pol   -> cs;
 cs    -> media;
 bus   -> pol[style=bold];
 bus   -> cs;

 root=pol;
}

Diagram 2a (ideology)

digraph cath1 {
 ranksep = "2";
 splines = "true";
 size    = "5,4";
 
 ivy   [label="Elite Academia",style=bold];
 media [label="Media",style=bold];
 pol   [label="Politicians"];
 cs    [label="Civil Service"];
 elec  [label="Electorate"];
 edu   [label="Mass Education"];
 
 ivy   -> media[style=bold];
 media -> elec[style=bold];
 ivy   -> cs;
 ivy   -> pol;
 media -> pol;
 ivy   -> edu[style=bold];
 edu   -> elec;
 elec  -> pol[style=bold];
 cs    -> pol;
 pol   -> elec;

 root=ivy;
}

Diagram 2b (ideology, including business)

digraph cath1 {
 size = "8,8";
 ranksep = "2";
 splines = "true";
 sep = 0.2;
 esep = 0.1;

 ivy   [label="Elite Academia",style=bold];
 media [label="Respectable Media",style=bold];
 pol   [label="Politicians"];
 cs    [label="Civil Service"];
 elec  [label="Electorate"];
 edu   [label="Mass Education"];
 
 ivy   -> media[style=bold];
 media -> elec[style=bold];
 ivy   -> cs;
 ivy   -> pol;
 media -> pol;
 ivy   -> edu[style=bold];
 edu   -> elec;
 elec  -> pol[style=bold];
 cs    -> pol;

 node [color=red];
 edge [color=red];
 
 right [label="Right-wing Media"];
 bus   [label="Business"];

 right -> elec;
 bus   -> right;
 bus   -> pol;
 ivy   -> bus;
 media -> right;
 pol   -> right;
 
 root=ivy;
}

Friday, 21 June 2013

Notes ahead of discussion of elective monarchy

(working document, will be edited).

Reasons I support Primogeniture:

  • The power of electors can be leveraged into an independent power base, leading to struggles (they can request promises in exchange for support)
  • Electors will favour candidates they think they can control
  • Disputes over methods of succession can produce war. (What are the exact rules of who votes, who is eligible to be elected, etc? Who counts the votes, where is it held, how much notice is given?)
  • Composition of the electorate is unstable. The historical trend seems to have been from popular elections to narrower councils of the elite (e.g. folkmoots to the wintagemot) The mechanisms driving this evolution is unclear, but smells of politics.
  • The heir should be raised to rule, not to compete. What are the disappointed candidates going to do with the rest of their lives? (cause trouble would be my bet).
  • The King should not believe his power derives from his personal merits. It is a job which has landed on him, not been awarded to him.

I am more open to a compromise of the King nominating his successor. Even that is problematic — Edward the Confessor’s and Henry I’s nominations caused wars, and Edward VI’s nearly did. On the other hand, their right to dictate the succession was never really recognised. I am particularly worried about a geriatric King being pressured to nominate towards the end of his life — a highly unstable situation.

Failing that, what to do about the prospect of an obviously unsuitable heir?

First, I don’t see that as a large danger. A King does not require high intelligence, selflessness, strength, but just a basic level of sanity, and an above-average level of self-confidence and drive. His upbringing ought to provide the self-confidence and drive, so the only truly unsuitable heirs would be the grossly stupid and the insane.

Nevertheless, these are dangers. My feeling is that in such exceptional circumstances, the right solution is an exceptional extra-legal ad-hoc action to bring an alternative to power. This is problematic because it weakens the authority of tradition for there to have been exceptions, but any kind of formal institution for settling the matter is bound to grow beyond its intended scope and bounds — institutions always do.

The laws of England and the Commonwealth are in the process of being changed to pass the succession to the first-born regardless of sex. As I have written before, I support this change. Ideally, we would have Kings rather than Queens, but (Henry I again), it is better to have a certain succession than the most suitable candidate.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Time passes

I've been busy with work and other things for a month or two, and haven't written much. I have a piece on the curious "mortar-round execution" story from North Korea, ready to go out, and a bit about the drugs debate I attended between Peter Hitchens and Brian Paddick, which might be done soon. Both of those have rather lost their topicality since I started writing them, but I don't think that matters much.

The Police and Crime Commissioner elections were this week; I might get something written about those, but there isn't much to say beyond the obvious: that if you hold an election and nobody comes, there is clearly something wrong with the political theory that ascribes tremendous importance to elections, regardless of quibbling about levels of official publicity.

The US elections came and went, but I don't have much to say about them.  I had a bit of fun with the twitter account @gladiohydrocrat , which I created to retweet any favourable mentions of the concept of strange women lying in ponds distributing swords as the basis of a system of government. A handful of twitterers were induced by the pre-election televised debates to give that idea another thought.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Links and Tweets


A whole lot of links.  Many of these I posted on twitter, but they could do with being categorised and indexed.

UK as potential tax haven: Mail

Putinism:
"Putinism has both systemic and structural characteristics, but it is also a system of personal rule."

Free Northerner - the collapse: brief look at forms of collapse

Wealth and trustworthiness -

Kevin Drum - trustworthiness as key employee characteristic

Helen Rittlemeyer - Smash the Meritocracy

Definition of old democracy - Jeffery Hart 1973 via Helen Rittlemeyer

Inter-service rivalry in The Empire

Problems in the courts

One of the normally most open-minded and cautious of liberal writers decides that free speech must just be an absolute good for no reason at all


Long article on "Liberal arts"  - mostly drivel but what struck me was the line :
 Everyone who has ever worked on a newspaper knows that what one learns in four years in journalism school can be acquired in less than two months working on a newspaper. But as journalism schools spread, it slowly became necessary to go through one in order to get a job on a large metropolitan daily. Going to “journ” school became a form of pledging the fraternity.

A tweet: @umairh @Phillip_Blond In Netherlands, CW [Conventional Wisdom] is that landowners hated serfdom; 19th-C serfs had good deal (rents flat for 200+ yrs)

Discussion of monarchy and aristocracy  links I think to the "Egalitarian Monarchism" Medaille idea I blogged about in 2010
Lots on aristocracy - I've emphasised absolute centralised monarchy, but recent posts have seen the idea of aristocracy forcing its way in, so I can't ignore on that basis. Good links in there.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Programming for All

There's been a bit of a debate in tech circles about the idea that everyone should learn to program.

It's of particular interest to me, because I have two home-schooled children, and while my wife does the rest of the teaching, it's up to me to teach them computer stuff.

I want them to understand computers and what they do.  I won't be teaching them to write software beyond one or two sessions to get an idea of how it all works.  I started a few months ago, working up from transistors to logic gates to microprocessors, and I have a syllabus sketched out that goes on to networks and the web and so on.  Currently we're on compilers and interpreters and virtual machines.

One thing that became very obvious is that those of us who were really into computers as children in the 1980s spent enormous amounts of time learning about them -- probably more than I spent on the whole of my formal education, in my case.  There's no possibility of teaching what I learned in a scheduled classroom setting, unless the children were to show the same fanaticism.

Bloody Tanistry

If North Korea is a monarchy, it is not one with primogeniture.  It is more like Tanistry (which I never heard of but found on Wikipedia).  The Wikipedia article also mentions "Blood Tanistry", where the possible heirs basically fight it out among themselves. 

This is not a good thing.  Googling around suggests that "Blood Tanistry" is a bowdlerisation by one writer of what was originally termed "Bloody Tanistry".

Blood tanistry is the principle that “the most talented male member of the royal dynasty should inherit the throne, commonly by murder and war”.[4] It is used to describe the practical ramifications of the Turco-Mongol, as well as other Central Asian steppe nomad, principles of inheritance and succession. Because all male members of the royal clan are considered to have equally legitimate claims on power, the ruler is the individual who eliminates competitors and re-subjugates the rest of the state formation. The structure may be determined by bonds of personal loyalty to the ruler, which are considered to be dissolved on the ruler's death.
So, there's another problem with North Korea.