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Re: Selecting Our Crowns

Beornheard suggests an army combat to choose a monarch.

First, I'd like to note that this is the technique used in the Kingdom
of Acre (an SCA split-away group formed two decades ago, based in the
East Kingdom).

While there are historical precedents, I think this is no better (and
may be worse) than our current method.  Our current method is erratic
of results.  Choosing by battle would prevent "walk-in" outsiders,
but would still have nothing to do with the skills necessary to be
a good king (which we all hope to select for).  Further, some of the
nastiest feelings I've seen in the SCA are connected to "winning" or
"losing" wars.  How much will this be magnified if there is some
real prize to be won?

Rhino-hiding is a problem in Crowns.  In a war there are constant
accusations that the other side isn't taking blows.  The social
pressures that induce fighters in Crowns to be thick will still exist
when the "fighter" is a group of people, and the limited social control
we have over such behavior (which consists of a clear event--a single
combat--and a microscope, followed by vague general distaste for those
who are seen to misbehave) would be even less effective at controlling
(or even recognizing) misbehavior in the confused situation of a melee.

Worst of all, we would be spreading the bitterness that occurs in those
cases where one person rhinos over a whole group of people.  This is
going to exaggerate the feeling of "us" versus "them" which is the
backbone for the worst aspect of politics in any medium.

Finally, one of the things going for our current technique is that
Monarchs change.  Sometimes this works better than others, but in
general, if you wait then a less-bad Monarch will come around.  The
Army technique will be much more likely to spawn dynasties, as the
group which has a successful large melee team will likely win many
Crowns.  This is also bad.

Against these negative factors we have the single positive one that
the army method will select for the fighter with the most tough friends,
rather than the fighter that is the toughest.  I don't think this is a
sufficient advantage to offset the disadvantages I mention above.  
Many of the Monarchs who have (in my opinion) done a poor job of being
King in the last half-decade have had a lot of tough friends; I don't
think a dynasty of thugs is a result to be hoped for.

Dafydd ap Gwystl, who has some tough friends too, but still doesn't like
the idea :^)