So, remember back last December I made this quick post, pointing out how the baroque formality of the Imperial Senate served as an effective Schelling fence against certain kinds of bullshittery?
Well, given the fun that is the current 2,300 page-plus, two-hours-to-print omnibus spending bill, I feel the urge to point out that there’s a Schelling fence against that too, there, both the bullshittery and the micromanagement inherent in the system.
Namely, the reason that the President of the Imperial Senate has to read out all Harmonious Proposals of Unquestionable Justice and Incontrovertible Benignity in full to a quorate Senate (i.e., none of that speechifying to an empty room one sees on C-SPAN) before anyone can even open debate on them, and again – if they’ve been amended – before the final vote is taken.
Concision. Not just a virtue, it’s the only way to get anything passed at all.
On this day in which we here in the US observe the attempt to make law a 497-page document issued too late to read before the vote, in the form of a non-searchable PDF with handwritten, barely-legible marginal annotations…
…an observer from a far distant land might turn to another, one who has mocked the baroque formality of the Imperial Senate – and in particular the requirement that all Harmonious Proposals of Unquestionable Justice and Incontrovertible Benignity be submitted in the proper formal register of language, poetic form, and exquisite calligraphy with accompanying testimonials likewise, lest they be discarded by the President of the Senate into the Brazier of Insufficiency to the Mandate (and Other Poor Form) at his left hand – and say unto him:
“This, my dear skeptic, is what it is for.”
(It’s not the only Schelling fence against attempted last-minute Senatorial bullshittery, but it is undoubtedly the most beautiful.)