Discarding Embers

The Anti-Antipyrian Act, introduced to the Senate on 7284 Yrnaes 11 by Senator Samív Ollianos (Chamber of the People; 1001st Century; Ascended Illuminance of Ancas Iliaster) with the sponsorship of Senator Verloc mor-Kjan (Chamber of the People; 1450th Century; Imperium Bellipotent) and Senator Diracháné 0xCDEE998A (Chamber of the People; 888th Century; Rationalist Stringency) was today debated by the Committee of the Whole.

The proposal, as in its previous five recensions debated over the past millennium, proposed the reclassification of all individuals adhering to metaphysical determinism as objects rather than persons, citing classical definitions of sophoncy as the capacity for choice, and addressing themselves in particular to such outworld groups as the Antipyrianists and their promotion of toxic memes derived from this viewpoint.

With pause for a brief interruption by Senator Korathly min Ilmar (Chamber of Demesnes; District of Úneï; Alliance for Balance), observing that Senate protocol called for a Harmonious Proposal of Unquestionable Justice and Incontrovertible Benignity, not one of Incontrovertible Hilarity, the now-traditional rebuttal was delivered by Senator Chloé Leiravál (Chamber of Counselors; Alliance for Balance), declaring that however frustrating it might be dealing with individuals sufficiently deranged as to consider themselves soulless automata and their ratiocinations around the point, going so far as to concur with them – even only for legal purposes – would be neither true nor kind, and thus in exceptionally poor accord with the sacred values of the Empire.

In the absence of further comment, the proposal was then placed before the Chamber of the People for a vote, that Chamber being quorate, and failed of enacture in that Chamber, three Senators voting for and 1,422 against.

In later debate, Senator Leiravál accepted without condition a reprimand jointly submitted on behalf of the Speaker of Starlight, the Functionality of Mechanicians and Clockwork Engineers, the Sanctified Order of Theurgists and Shrine Maidens, et. al., with regard to her use of the phrase “soulless automata”, which many automata and their associates believe to be both demeaning and inaccurate in contexts in which it might be interpreted as applying to all automata.

– Proceedings of the Senate, 7284, Issue DXIV

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.)

Snippet, and Unnamed Project Begins

Today’s random snippet:

Select Committee on Long-Range Planning

Perhaps better known as the committee on “excruciatingly long-range planning”, the SCLRP concentrates on planning for the long term defined as deep time – ranging from several kiloyears to matters of megayears and gigayears. Such matters include long-term secular stellar and planetary climate changes, continental drift, very-low-frequency disasters (in conjunction with the SCET), the effect of the decay of planetary rotation on the calendar, genetic drift over evolutionary timescales, planning for navigational adjustments in light of stellar drift, the upcoming galactic collision, and the eventual heat death of the universe.”

In other news, work has commenced – well, it commenced a while ago, but metaphorical pen has finally been set to metaphorical paper – on Unnamed Project, a work intended to be of rather greater length than the nanofiction which has thus far been my primary oeuvre, and a first shipment is expected to go out to the beta readers sometime this week.

In light of how fast (or rather not) I tend to write, great anticipation would perhaps be unwise at this time, but maybe a little bit of anticipation is in order?

Trope-a-Day: Color-Coded Patrician

Color-Coded Patrician: Played straight with the uniform colors for each of the Ministries, the Senate, and the Curia, along with all of the runér; of course, there are no sumptuary laws rendering those colors off-limits for anyone else, but you can usually tell on any formal occasion by looking for people wearing the right kind of formal dress, then divide them up by the colors.

An Unexpected Honor

The Office of the President of the Senate of the Empire of the Star, great and glorious beyond all greatness and glory, to Citizen-Shareholder Horulgavis Lariantinos-ith-Larios, greetings.

In the names of the Imperial Couple, the Senate, the Curia, and the Citizen-Shareholders of this Empire, in accordance with the duly executed procedures for the selection of the Senators of the Chamber of the People in Section VII, Article V of the Charter of the Empire, and under the authority of the Responsibility of Politics established in Section III, Article V of the Charter of the Empire, you are hereby summoned to serve in the Office of Senator for the 1,336th Century for the six year term commencing with the Senate’s 5,980th annual opening.

Commensurately, you are hereby requested and required to present yourself at the Office of the President of the Senate at the Great Hall of the Senate no later than one month before the Opening Session of 5980, or within six months following the dispatch of this writ, for formal induction into this Office.

Given under our hand and seal this day, 5979 Dalethmot 1,

Calcíë Videssos-ith-Videssos
Procurator of Sortition

for and on behalf of

Ches Andracanth-ith-Cyranth
President of the Senate

A Factual Opinion

Senator Glandyth Muetry-ith-Muetry (Imperium Bellipotent – 13th): “…let the record show therefore, gentlesophs, that my honorable colleague is an immitigable ass.  Furthermore –”

The colleague in question, Senator Arvenix Quendocius-ith-Quendocius (Assertive Benevolence – 142nd), moved to object, but was preempted by the President of the Senate.

President of the Senate: “Senator Muetry-ith-Muetry, I must ask you to withdraw that unparliamentary remark.”

Senator Glandyth Muetry-ith-Muetry: “On a point of order, Mr. President, I claim privilege for that remark under section XIV.4 of the Senate Rules, which states that true statements on matters of fact are always admissible.”

President of the Senate: “I do not see the applicability, Senator Muetry.”

Senator Glandyth Muetry-ith-Muetry: “If I may draw your and my honorable colleagues’ attention to the board, these are the reputation network scores of my honorable colleague, Senator Quendocius-ith-Quendocius.  As can clearly be seen from the ninth-percentile score in the Capital Consciousness rep score and the sixth-percentile score in the amalgamated courtesy rep score, my honorable colleague is clearly considered an ass by those citizen-shareholders with whom he has interacted recently – as a matter of recorded fact.”

“I withdraw, however, the ‘immitigable’, since I am unable to demonstrate it to the required degree, and for that I apologize to my honorable colleague.”

Various Senators rose and cheered; or rose and cried shame.

– Proceedings of the Senate, two years after the mainstream release of rep-net technology

Reading Back

“On the one hand, yes, we do find it repugnant to restrict the freedoms of speech and information, even to this limited and circumscribed extent.”

“On the other hand, since we have an entire ward filled with babbling lunatics who thought that the Silent Library was ‘where we’re hiding the good stuff’ rather than ‘a prison for hideously dangerous brain-eating information life’, we’re still pretty sure it’s the right call, y’know?”

“No, you can’t see them. Some of that babble is also hideously dangerous brain-eating information life, and we’re not absolutely confident that the rest isn’t.”

– briefing new members of the Select Committee on Existential Threats