11 April 2010

A note about politics and complex systems

"We don't defend Canon Space; we destroy Canon's enemies.  It's different."

That's a quote from Glen Cook's The Dragon Never Sleeps, an interesting and much-neglected and recently back in print space opera.  (And the Guard Ships do destroy Canon's enemies.)

If you want a complex social structure that allows lots of individual exercise of choice, you need to enact and defend a bunch of complex ideas like the rule of law and the rights of man.

If you want to break that, destroying your enemies—which is simple and straightforward to do, comparatively speaking—will do just fine.

I note this because it gave me an "aha!" moment about my sense that the progressive and conservative political movements in Anglo-NorAm weren't playing the same game.

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