RLwtP: How A Bill Becomes A Law II

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.


RLwtP: How A Bill Becomes A Law

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.)


Everything’s Shiny, Not to Fret

CALMIRÍË, ELIÉRA – The new composition of the Chamber of the People following the 7124 reselection has had little effect on the balance of the Senate, indicate the latest declarations of branch affiliation reported by the Scrupulous Monitor of the Will of the People.

The only statistically significant shift identifiable in the data is a 2.4% shift (0.8% overall) towards Status Quo, which gained 14 out of the 576 Senators up for reselection, these gains coming at the cost of no particular branch. Inasmuch as the Status Quo branch’s platform is one of steadfast opposition to shifts in established policy, it would appear that the Empire’s citizen-shareholders once more continue to be comfortable with the present state of affairs.


Trope-a-Day: Blood on the Debate Floor

Blood on the Debate Floor: It’s not usual.

That said, it has nonetheless happened and occasionally still does, especially in the early days when any hint of the sort of sentiments that led up to the Drowning of the People reoccurring would tend to lead rapidly to the defenestration of the misbegotten wight who proposed such a thing. (The Defenestrative Gallery is now on the public tour.)

And when particularly sensitive topics arise, some Senators – especially from more hot-blooded or kinesthetic species – have been known to start the odd brawl.

The Guardians of the Senate always finish it, though. What, you thought those weapons were ceremonial?

Although when it comes to protecting the Senate from itself, at least they usually stick to the electrolasers.


Imperial Succession

In a comment in the previous post, there is some curiosity as to how the Imperial Couple is selected. So, behold, I answer:

It’s semi-hereditarian. The heir is notionally picked from among the members of the Imperial family, in an attempt to capture the hereditarian advantage of having someone trained for the job lined up, not just some random schmuck1; especially since the Imperial family also serves the Imperial Couple as a talent pool for extraordinary tasks so they can get an idea of what their on-the-job performance is like.

But it’s not directly primogenitive, etc.: the current incumbents get to nominate their heir from among all the possible candidates, so if Mr. Firstborn wants to succeed to the throne, he’s got to work hard at putting himself out in front of the rest of his generation. And also any really exceptional candidates from outside, because succession-by-adoption is also part of how the system works.

After that, first, in order to be nominated in the first place, you have to be, well, a couple. This is a diarchy; the system’s not set up to have singletons on the Dragon Throne. It would eliminate checks and stabilization factors that are supposed to be there. (You also have to be a happy, well-adjusted, non-dysfunctional one that’s capable of working together successfully, but that pretty much goes without saying.)

(Now, as for triads and other topologically-different marital forms, to broach the obvious question: well, it will be an interesting day, Charter-law-wise, when one of those is the best candidate for succession, but it hasn’t happened yet.)

After being nominated, as a check to ensure the process is working properly, they have a triple gauntlet to run:

First, the Senate can veto successions they don’t approve of, which eliminates anyone who either lacks the arete to lead – which, eldrae being eldrae, culls everyone who isn’t an adequately polymathic genius with a history of achievement in multiple fields to prove it – or who can’t garner enough support to lead.

Second, the Eupraxic Collegium can veto anyone who doesn’t meet their strictest standards of sanity and rationality, because no-one wants a crazy person on the throne, even a well-hidden one.

And third, they have to be accepted by the Imperial Presence, the composite mentality of Imperial Couples past dwelling in the Transcend’s mind, as a subset of itself.

…but after fulfilling all those hurdles, then they get to be the officially designated heirs.

1. Just to continue a little on the theme of the Democracy Is Bad trope, while I’m at it, the Imperial opinion of the sort of people we put in charge of various executive branches on Earth is that while the process does ensure that they have some talents in the areas of rhetoric, amateur memetics, and graft, their gifts in the areas of actual leadership and sovereign administration wouldn’t qualify them to run a lemonade stand in, y’know, civilized parts.

Aftershocks (5)

CALMIRÍË, ELIÉRA – The Imperial Senate today rejected unanimously the petition of the Temporary Tyrancy of Ódeln for admission to the Empire as a stage-1 colony world. Announcing this decision, Incorruptible Secretary Tirill min Dinkoss stated, “While the Imperial Charter permits flexibility in local governance beneath its core principles, provided that the fundamental and imperial rights of citizen-shareholders are respected, and the Senate is permitted considerable discretion in approving admissions, we have chosen not to accept the application of Ódeln for membership at this time.”

Upon further inquiry, the office of the Incorruptible Secretary issued the following additional statement:

“In the interests of our existing citizen-shareholdership and prospective newcomers both, it is the responsibility of the Senate to ensure that new constituent nations are a good fit for the Imperial family. At this time, the Senate remains unconvinced of the Temporary Tyrancy’s ability to govern within the acceptable bounds of our libertist-technepraxic consensus, and is also skeptical that it is able to speak consensually for the population of Ódeln.”

The legate of the Tyrancy, rral-Fran-din, could not be reached for comment. Further commentary, including reactions on Ódeln to the Senate’s decision, will follow in later flash updates.

Today in 4521…

…the Senate discussed a proposal to include parthenogenesis in the alpha baseline recommended capability list, for further insurance against the requirement to rebuild population following an existential event.

(After three hours debate, the proposal was returned to the Select Committee on Health and Genomic Affairs pending further studies on techniques to artificially ensure genetic variability.)