Post by J. Clarke
On Sat, 10 Mar 2018 20:00:59 +1100, "Gary R. Schmidt"
Post by Gary R. Schmidt Post by The Zygon Post by Lynn McGuire Post by The Zygon
I have noticed that almost all human governments which span multiple solar systems are autocratic to some degree. There is almost always an Emperor or someone who is effectively an emperor. This happens even when the position is largely ceremonial as most royalty is today. There seems to be an assumption that Democracy would not be an effective form of government for a multi-system society. This seems to be so when the society has FTL both in travel and communications.
I have never understood why there is so much agreement on that point. If people can communicate with, and especially travel to and fro as easily as we now do between Washington and Los Angeles, why shouldn't they be able to build a functioning democracy?
Have any Republics (the USA since 1789) or Democracies (Greece many
years ago) lasted 300 years or more ?
We don't know how long democracies can last because the world has not seen any before the last 100 years.
France? I'm sure I remember something about elections in France a few
Might have been at some point, but it certainly wasn't a democracy in
1789. The US wasn't the only place that had a revolution around that
time, and in France it didn't go quite as well.
The US were republics with democratic elements, and a limited franchise,
from 1776 on. The confederation was strengthened in 1789, in that
there was representation directly elected to serve in the national
capital (House of Representatives), in addition to deputies of the
state governments (Senators.) The latter have been directly elected
for over 100 years. This slid our "compound republic" a little further
down the continuum to "direct democracy" than it had been. Other
reforms introduced in the "progressive era" were the initiative* and
referendum,** in the various states, though not at the Federal level.
Interstellar federations where communications are no faster
than ship travel, and even FTL travel takes significant time,
lends itself to arrangements similar to far-flung colonies on
Earth prior to the telegraph and radio. Once you introduce
"subspace radio," an ansible or the like, and the center can give
the periphery orders in real-time, or a trans-galactic assembly
can convene in a virtual space, then less distributed arrangements
can make sense. We could have the latter now, but while business
makes frequent use of teleconferencing and online document sharing,
representative government sticks with in-person interaction,
for the most part.
If both transportation and communications are FTL, and trekking
to Altair VI and back is like flying from London to Wellington,
a unified or closely federated polity is possible.
What makes me wonder is; why be connected? For trade? What
would Sufficiently Advanced Humans trade for across interstellar
distances that would have to be physically moved? Encrypted
information that couldn't be entrusted to transmittable form?
Actual humans with unique skills or knowledge not committed
to some media? DNA in the form of sperm and eggs to increase
genetic diversity on colony worlds or habitats? This is why
we have had "thionite," "spice" and "dilithium crystals"
as goods that are in high demand but only available in some