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Re: His Highness's New Clothes
Poster: Henry Best <email@example.com>
> No Melys I absolutely disagree. Remember that somethings are more
> important, that includes respect and courtesy to our Crown. If a retraction
> should need to be made let them do it. We have no more right nor reason to
> do it for them. The will of our kingdom is our crown, your honor is your
> own, do not think you may impinge your personal beliefs on an entire
> Kingdom. Perhaps utilize a little discretion and a great big heap of
Okay, I respect everyone's right to play whatever game they want. But, in
that this is a _social_ game with lots of people playing at once, how
about a brisk look at the ground rules?
At minimum, each person must recognise two layers of reality here:
1) The Crown rules by divine right and His Word is Law. We live and die
at his command. If he bids me fall upon my sword, that is what I must do.
Only my personal honor remains my own. All else, my property, my family,
my life, are at the whim of my Absolute Monarch.
2) The Crown is the most recent guy to have won a play-pretend tournament
fought with pieces of an old papasan chair. One presumes that he won this
tournament through superior ability or honest luck. He adds value to our
game by being a focal point. Last Wednesday, he asked me if I wanted fries
with my Big Mac; but I don't mention that on weekends.
Now, you can break it down further and have several layers in there. You
may even have personal favorite layers you like to hang around in.
But, if you only use ONE layer, you are missing the point. If your one
layer is too much like layer #2, you are missing out on some fun. If your
only layer is too much like #1, you need to crack open a window before
you hurt yourself and others around you. Ideally, you should keep both
layers in mind at all times, and act appropriately.
some rather hypothetical examples:
If the King stands up and announces that we will all go fight and die
gloriously to defend our honor against people whose only sin is they
reside in Florida, I'm all for that.
If he makes a Royal Proclamation that pi equals 3.0, exactly, I will
slavishly make a show of using the new value of pi in all my work.
I will even collect some friends and begin a very public back-stabbing
competition for an appointment as Court Mathematician. I will go on to
demonstrate that 2+2=5; but only for exceptionally large values of 2.
If he announces, in court or not, that smoking grass is okay in Virginia
if you are on private property and that we should all therefore feel free
to light up, then (much as I might WISH that were the case) I will be
obliged to stand up and correct him. I will do it right then, quickly,
before the crowd has time to disperse with ill-considered legal advice in
Why am I willing to DIE at my king's whim and yet still support the
notion that we might correct non-factual e-mail about the corporate
insurance policy? It's very simple:
I don't _really_ die. I just _pretend_ to.
He's not _really_ a king. We just _pretend_ he is.
But the insurance policy is real.
I think I may be onto a mathematical relationship which defines the
balance between the two layers of reality:
If the purpose of the Crown is to enhance our game by being the
King and Queen, for us to venerate and obey in all things, on a
then the ability of the Crown to do their jobs well is INVERSELY
PROPORTIONAL to whatever Real Power they wield.
Gosh. You know, I looked long and hard at that relationship after I wrote
it. I can see no flaw in it.
To whatever extent the Crown wields real power on real matters,
pay-to-fight, waivers, fund raising policies, etc, then the Crown is that
much less free to wield play-pretend power. How can we tell the two
apart as a group, on the fly? Well, mostly, we can't.
Ordering warriors to die upon the lawn for His amusement, ordering that a
snowball from 12th Night be brought to Her Pennsic camp as tribute,
declaring mushrooms anathema, bestowing a knighthood upon a worthy
subject, these are the things that the Crown is for. And, in the areas
mentioned and others like them, I can tolerate no public dissent. And why
not? Because, if I turn a blind eye to such treason, I have turned down a
chance to _play_.
But, if that same Crown begins to wield power about how much REAL MONEY it
should cost me to attend his court, he is reading his own press releases
a little bit too literally. He shouldn't have that kind of power in
conjunction with the kind we want him to have. It is too confusing and
therefore too dangerous to combine, in one entity, both absolute power
over royal matters and consensual power over mundane. We are just too
likely to grant such an entity absolute power over mundane matters,
blindly relinquishing our responsibility to think for ourselves.
Maybe we should re-examine the idea that the king/queen should run the
_kingdom_ and the seneschal should run the _regional_chapter_. I think
that we must have overlooked that idea, one tiny reign at a time, until
we began to lose track of it altogether.
When we begin to seriously state that one may not put forward matters of
pure documented fact on mundane matters via an e-mail list if those facts
contradict something the latest prince said, well, it's time to rethink
| Ld Henry Best | "People don't quit playing because they |
| John Strauss | grow old. They grow old because they quit |
| firstname.lastname@example.org | playing." -Oliver Wendell Holmes |
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