Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Thursday, January 24, 2013

“absolutism” is “the basis of all civilization.”

 "The National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre ... claims “absolutism” is “the basis of all civilization.”
“Without it,” he said, “Without those absolutes, without those protections, democracy decays into nothing more than two wolves and one lamb voting on, well, who to eat for lunch.”
 Surely as a generation that has seen these kinds of negotiations demonstrated on reality TV programs such as Survivor we should be able to see that in the situation where "two wolves and one lamb [are] voting on, well, who to eat for lunch" the lamb would last at least into the second round, on the basis that the lamb would say to the weaker wolf "Look, eat me now and you'll be up against your superior in the second (and inevitably tied) round - vote for him, and you'll clear out your toughest challenge for the top spot."

and of course see

And, carrying that a little further, if you started with 53 lambs and 47 wolves you could use the same arguments to carry it through to the point where you had 53 lambs and one wolf and they could rush him or just hire him as an enforcer against minority lambs.

Which would, I suppose, be an illustration of how the rich lambs do in practice manage to retain their position of power.

And however it all ends,  it's not easy to see how voting actually makes the lamb's chances worse.

Interestingly, exactly the same wolf/lamb reference comes in to a libertarian/anarchist rant here that wants to discard the constitution entirely, guns amendment included -

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I see that someone has:
"The New Agrarianism and the Economics of the Shire," University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt., April 9, 2011.

Shire Reeve

One weak spot in the Lord of the Rings is the hangover from The Hobbit, which is the whole situation of the Shire. The Shire is, of course, rural England, but Tolkien's determination to see it unstained by commerce or craft means that it has nothing other than gentry and yeomen farmers and peasantry -  no soldiers, no lawyers, no MPs; no governance structure of any sort, and no defence.  We're told that they're protected by the Rangers, but we're not told why.  Why doesn't Rohan look for lebensraum? What are their major exports?  Nobody else seems to value pipeweed. It's very hard indeed to splice a 1910 rural village on to warrior societies like Rohan and Gondor, and the economics and politics have to be written in as exceptions virtually hobbit by hobbit. Has anybody attempted to do the politics of the Shire?  Are police mentioned at any point:  what preserves the social hierarchy?  Where is the hangman?

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Xmas 1996

Kittens flood our yard in plague proportions;
The vapours weep their burden to the ground;
John Howard twists through more extreme contortions
On race and Hansen. Challenges abound.

Balding, clumsy, bickering and forgetful
My manners grow less polished every year.
My range runs from facetious down to fretful:
I am not as awake as I appear.

I do not need the things I buy and own.
I am encased, encrusted with possessions.
We come with only bone and flesh, we leave with bone,
And in between exchange our Christmas presents. 

My fiftieth Christmas looms. 
The cat shits on my pillow, and it's runny.
I can't run from it.
I have to laugh (or else I have to vomit);
The world may be appalling, but it's funny.

Xmas 2012

Call me an old grump, but I’d have to be on my second flagon of sweet sherry
Before I coupled the words ‘Christmas’ and ‘Merry’,
Dragging along as it does the whole Dickensian baggage of snow and robins and holly
While we at this end of the world revel in sun and iced coffee and cricket and (by the way, the same goes for ‘Jolly’)
Going down to the coast drinking white wine in the sun with the rellies
And overstuffing our bellies,
So let’s just settle for the maximum this world allows us to truthfully say
As we sincerely voice the benison “Have a nice day”. 

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