Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Passover and Science Fiction

The message of Passover is, of course, No Truce with Kings.

By the way, I've recently noticed that the numerous right wings (earlier discussed here) include monarchists claiming to be reactionaries. This is a bit strange considering that a few centuries ago, absolute monarchy was recent and regrettable innovation. I won't more than mention that some of the faults of democracy (e.g., the Nanny State) are also present in monarchies.


Blogger Anomaly UK said...

Absolute monarchy was an innovation made possible by new technologies of transport and communication. When subordinates could not be supervised because of the difficulty of travel, it made sense to give them a large degree of independence, and ensure that they, like the Monarch himself, had permanent power and therefore a long-term view.

Monarchy died out because the enlightenment political philosophy, along with the propaganda pumped out by the English Whigs, became so intellectually dominant that even the monarchs believed it. By the end of the 18th Century, European monarchs were deliberately acting like democratic leaders, which hastened their end.

As Moldbug put it the other day, while technological competence is certainly an indicator of a successful civilization, it is also a lagging indicator. The story of the growth of demotism as I see it goes like this:

1. As above, technology (roads, literacy) improves, very gradually over hundreds of years, to the point where a King can actually control his realm and his armed forces without delegating permanent power to feudal vassals.

2. This creates a stable economic basis which produces an enormous boom of technological development and prosperity.

3a. Scientific discoveries undermine the religious world-view which was the traditional justification of the political regime.

3b. At the same time, many small landowners obtain, as a result of the economic boom, a degree of wealth previously associated with actual political power in the form of major feudal rights. They saw political power as a necessary accompaniment to their wealth.

4. Those two developments led to the overthrow of the absolute monarchy that had triggered them, and to the first liberal regimes.

5. The intellectual, technological and economic boom continued. It was erroneously seen as the product of the liberal political order, rather than of the absolutist political order that had actually triggered it in the first place.

2:55 AM  
Blogger Joseph said...

I thought many of the most progressive areas of late-Medieval and early modern Europe (Netherlands, northern Italy, Switzerland) were in what used to be Middle Francia, where central government disappeared first. This area is currently known as the "Blue Banana".

9:26 PM  

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