In the classical model, women, children, young adults, slaves, travelersi and other 2nd tier denizensii were blessed with the immediate acquaintance in their own social circle of a privileged entity, the fabled adult male. Absent this, they were pretty much SOL.
Adult males congregated in their own social clubs, of varying description and complexity. Men in charge of large householdsiii had perhaps direct access to a Senator. Men of lesser proeminence has perhaps mediated access to a Senator, through their priest, or head tradesman in their trade, or politicaliv relations and so on. Then the Senators would get together, and work out the distilled voices that had filtered to their ears into some sort of convention for the land, have it carved on a rock and be done with it.
This system leverages a large number of fundamental human behaviours, such as the very universal tendency of people to tell another their troubles, and the particular workings of memory, and the strictures of speech and language and the ancient institution of the gift and of hospitality and on it goes. This system also leverages a number of convenient bits of math. To understand, let's do some. Take the average notable man, who has on average two women, one slightly older with five surviving children, the other slightly younger with three. That is so far ten people. He further has five apprentices in his shop, two of which are married, so seventeen. He has three house servants, which are old (and perhaps the younger woman started as a fourth, as oft is the case), two of which care for their parentless grandchildren : two one, one the other. Twenty-three. He has maybe a dozen client relatives, younger brothers, cousins, what have you. Thirty five. There's still room in the Dunbar numberv and so we may well consider our man average.
People above him socially, such as for instance the guildmaster of his craft, the priest in charge of some local temple, the owner of a significant bit of real estate and so on probably would maintain relations with a hundred or two such men, which extends their second tier reachvi to a good three to five thousand individuals, in all walks of life. A congregation of a hundred or two such men can reasonably interact with one Senator, and so a Senate in session can maximally represent say 5`000 souls * 100 per Senator * 100 Senators = 50 million peoplevii! And this representation would be factual, rather than statutory : the murmurs of each woman and child heard in the Senate through the filtering of a voice four steps removed, but heard nevertheless.
This system has one major flaw : it only works among the naive. Once people start thinking in meta-terms, (something that's called genre savvy when discussing literary characters) the whole shebang's trivially hackable, and in so many ways mere enumeration is an impossible taskviii.
The first result of that unfortunate circumstance is a shortening of the strings. If back in the days of darkness you could trivially find five-jointed proteins, taking word from a woman to her husband to his boss to his Senator to the Senate (and generally expect this to work, even), under the merciless gaze of the ultraviolet star above you'd be much surprised if three joints do anything. So the hierarchy flattens, the franchise is expanded "to everyone" - even those cursorily unqualified or incapable to exercise it - and yet generally you can't even trust your Senator to carry your voice past the bathroom, in spite of this "direct" contactix.
Sadly each node lost means a huge decrease in coverage : if you go from five to four you also go from representing a maximal 50 million to representing a maximal half million - a 99% loss of coverage corresponds to a 20% node loss. This was the exact failure mode of the Greek statex : as rhetorics challenges the naivite of the population, rendering more and more (especially younger) men genre savvy, the links shorten and so the maximal size of a state that can be supported drops significantly. There's a good reason Constantinople could rule over millions at a point those millions were clueless, but by and by ended up in charge of five villages swimming among pastures within the immensity of its ancient walls, proportionately to the increased refinement of the villagers in question.xi
Long story short :
- representative democracy worked fine five to two millenia ago, back in a time when people were doing it without knowing that's what they're doing - much in the way Monsieur Jourdain speaks just fine for as long as nobody's told him that's prose.
- the only way representative democracy may work is with limited franchise and complex social hierarchy.
- while it is perhaps the case that genre savvy people may nevertheless deliberately choose to live in a civilised worldxii rather than starting fires in their own beard, so to speak, it is certainly the case that what currently passes for "democratic" is the exact opposite and also the exact bane of any sort of functional democracy.
This would also be why I don't think so very much of the libertards, and why I find myself so often in contradiction with people who view them as either powerful or in any sense a threat (usually both) : they aren't, either, nor could they really be, either, because the only tool they knowxiii actually works for them only a short distance of its run, and for us the entire length of that same run. The libertard's gambit is essentially the position of the Catholic church, hoping that it may teach people to read and write in such a way that they'll actually continue to take the "Holy Scripture" seriously. Why would they ? They won't, they don't, it's just not how that works.———
- The notion that people traveling are subject to the laws of wherever they find themselves is at least strange, if you stop and think about it. The saner, and historically more prevalent approach, was to make them immune to law (going both ways - it wouldn't protect them nor would it do anything to them except for banishment) and dependent upon whatever citizen they were visiting or was willing to extend them his protection, as guests.
With the migration of the law from a protective device to the harness preventing human development and individual enjoyment of life that it is in the socialist world, its scope increased, ballooned and eventually metastasized into a dysfunctional "everything's proper subject of law" with its expected fruits arriving in due time : "Congress shall pass laws to improve the workings of gravitation, fix the economy and provide the
citizenryyeomanry with footwear." [↩]
- The notion that "everyone's a citizen" is relatively novel, and makes about as much sense as "everything's a car : the wheels, the headlamps, the upholstery... [↩]
- Not strictly a matter of either headcount or wealth. Particularly large groups that were poor were discounted, because the only way to stay poor as a large unit is to be quite stupid, lazy and generally undesirable. Particularly wealthy groups that were small, and unvigorous (ie, old) were discounted for the obvious reason - who cares about them!
A balanced situation - large group with a good chunk of wealth - was likely to have its head male destructively promoted into a position of social responsibility, which is universally unwelcome for his own social group because it forces them into uncharted territory.
Consider the case of dependent women as a good working example to examine the mechanisms of this destruction : if you and your two best friends are the fucktoys of this particularly great guy you all love and respect, his attention is probably already divided past what you'd ideally like. If he becomes a Chief Of Whatever there's going to be even less time for you now, which directly sucks, and there's going to be a lot of idiot women you don't particularly like trying to force you into a relationship similar to what you originally had with your beloved - ie, that you listen to their problems and pass them along up the social hierarchy. To him. Well... confound this shit, innit ? So you either go nuts in the leisurely situation of what's now a proper harem - that sad replacement of the warmly shared intimacy of yesterday - or else you try and pretend like the new office of your beloved now means you inherited his old office, and try to be, or at least socially play, the role of an adult male, only slighty younger than you are. Obviously the former's laced with bitterness and obesity, whereas the latter has all the weird in it that attaches to secretly wearing your mom's underwear, but what's one to do ? Not like there are any alternatives.
You see this problem to this day : Nancy Reagan was more inclined to the latter (to no small degree due to both her age and dry WASPish tits&ass. That created the ridoinculous office of the "First Lady", and now the very juicily tit&assed Michelle Obama is stuck pretending like she's interested in anything besides growing fat by the pool. Reagan resented the expectation she be more like Monroe, Obama no doubt resents the expectation she be more like the Anglo drycunt bitches, nobody's happy and for pretty good reason : social promotion of the successful head of a successful herd is bad for the herd. If you ever wondered why and how could L. Q. Cincinnatus abandon the imperial purple - why the answer's plain : he was happy at home.
The shadow of this problem extends over all seekers of offices : they're obviously idiots, by the very fact of their seeking. If they were any good a) they'd have much better things to do and b) office'd be a curse not a blessing, something the brighter of them at least figured out. It's just more of the same amuk boyishness that makes a habit of putting the carriage before the horses : seeking "a woman to make him a man", unwilling to comprehend that's exactly backwards, and once one's actually a man women do an excellent job of seeking you out themselves, the problem being more of somehow sorting them and somehow keeping them out ; seeking "your advice as if you were me", because totally, that's exactly what the world is, a giant highschool, and everything's the office of the prom queen, which is to say everything exists conventionally, and what would the outgoing seniors wish to impart upon the impetuous freshmen, who necessarily will get their own everything because hey, everyone gets everything all the time! It's nonsense of the first degree, and nobody even remotely qualified for any sort of office'd be wasting their limited time entertaining such. [↩]
- The proper use of this term is at work in Spanish : your relatives on your parents' side have various names, and the people occupying the same positions in the family tree on your spouse's side are called the same names, but prefixed with "politico". So abuelo, grandfather, abuelo politico, grandfather-in-law. [↩]
- It's generally observed that the headcount of people any one person might maintain social acquaintance with is about one hundred. The proposition that this variable plays a major limiting role for social organisation seems well supported on the face, and it is generally expected that various technological advances such as writing or the printing press worked their social effects principally through its mediation. [↩]
- What in modern parlance is referred to as "their L2" [↩]
- Obviously the number's smaller, due to overlap : one's employee can well be another's son-in-law and so on, which would mean we've counted him twice. This however gives one good incentive to participate socially : the more relations, the louder one's voice in the final product. Which, obviously, is exactly as it should be (on both ends : people should have incentive to participate socially, and the voices of the vigorous should be heard above the aspies & other sufferers of assorted conditions). [↩]
- See The Six Dumbest Ideas in Computer Security for a discussion of why you shouldn't even try - and yes, there's no difference between the society of men and the network of computers. Networks are networks. [↩]
- Contact that is rejected, blocked or ignored is not in fact contact at all. The illusion of contact, the pretense of contact, no matter how pious the fraud, is still no actual contact. You are better off, and society is better off with you having a fiftieth of the ear of a man who has the fiftieth of the Senator's ear, than with nothing at all. Which is what you're presently getting, and for very good reasons. [↩]
- And of the Roman Empire, too, if we are to credit the early emperors' desperate and ultimately doomed attempts to limit importation of Greek arts and fashions. [↩]
- The matter's further expounded on in Povestea celor trei imparati smecheri si a celor trei negustori fraieri - fabula in versuri ilustrata. [↩]
- This is basically what the WoT is trying to construct. The wilful submission of men that understand that they are submitting and wish to do so is in fact just as functional as that of unwashed German hordes trying to "make it" in ancient Rome. If slavery can be reconstructed among genre savvy, intelligent and informed people as an intimate arrangement far superior to anything else available - notwithstanding its charged history - then perhaps classical antiquity can shine again, this time among people that generally understand what's going on (not that selected ancients didn't, but nevertheless the bulk had absolutely no idea). [↩]
- "Education" and "information", as for instance very aptly displayed by Mark Twain. [↩]