Dated Pamphlet

You step back and quietly begin to read through the old pamphlet...

Practical Organisation

Every human story has a cast of characters and a social context. People descend from other people; they begin life as weak creatures incapable of independence. No man is an island; human nature and practical reality ensures that social organisation is necessary for our welfare. Society has an impact on everything from material conditions to education and emotional wellbeing.

There are many ways to structure human relationships; history provides countless examples and scenarios for study. The social or political science reaches its conclusions by carefully considering the ethical and material realities of a given scenario. It is not acceptable to apply one model in a procrustean fashion. Further, the greater model generally contains many minor social units. The conclusions reached by a law-giver who is organising a nation on Earth will be different from those reached by one who is designing a new colony on Mars.

Some have claimed that the greater organisations arose from the lesser - the family unit ultimately giving rise to society as a whole. At any rate, it is clear that all social organisations serve an ethical function. We know this because we have all experienced the benefits of society, and society provides us with an avenue to do good ourselves. At the very least, we were fed as children and kept safe. We were also educated by our parents and other adults, and in turn we will create and promote the next generation.

The political science also calls on one to design institutions that can survive the transition from generation to generation. Education and culture can inure a society against danger and grant some capacity to adapt to new circumstances. Yet, ultimately the law-giver must consider how things may be abandoned or dissolved. Everything with a beginning has an end – a given society or institution is no exception to this rule.

There will come a time when the circumstances that gave rise to the organisation have passed. Generations differ in quality, technology changes, and fate can end lives early and cause tremendous disruption. What was once designed to further the common welfare may become corrupted; a select few may hoard the benefits for themselves absent any great ethical justification. Law givers look beyond the instant generation, acknowledging the imperfect nature of their subjects.

Principles of Political Organisation

People constitute political society; they are the principle resource and concern of all related institutions and practices. Therefore, performance in this field may be judged by considering the human impact of the institutions. Traditionally, there are three human-focused principles that define institutions and practices - Monarchy, Oligarchy, and Democracy.

As the name suggests, monarchy refers to the rule of one. It represents institutions and practices that concentrate power and focus upon one individual. The idea of an emperor enjoying independent, absolute, and inherent authority may be the ultimate expression of this ideal today. Similarly, the family unit might fully empower the pater familias. However, all principles may be partially applied and combined – perhaps the criminal prosecution function of government might be entirely bestowed upon a single individual, but he may be selected by lot and only serve for a set time. There are a multitude of different possibilities.

Oligarchy expands the focus to select groups of people. They may be chosen by property class, professional license, or any other exclusive mark that allows them to be distinguished as a special class. They might simply be well-connected and influential, and by that influence be granted admission to an exclusive institution. The formation of the class and the practices that characterise it admit of great complexity. For example, direct election is a common oligarchic method of filling offices today (based as it is on prominence or influence). However, it may be tempered by a democratic spirit when the institution allows a broad franchise to cast the votes that elect the regional oligarch.

Democracy is the final expansion of focus; it renders all members of the society equal. On a national level, it might be characterised by a grand assembly that welcomes every citizen to participate equally. It may fill offices or other positions by the democratic method of sortition - any citizen may be entered into the draw, and any participant has equal chance of selection irrespective of prominence, wealth, or other advantages. There are also particularly democratic methods of cutting the tall poppies, such as ostracism.

In practice, these idealised principles are rarely seen alone. We have separated the three substances and presented them as pure, but in crafting a model the law giver combines them all in various ways. The law giver does so by considering a particular scenario and citizen body, coupled with his ethical understanding.

As an example, consider a government that has a king as its nominal leader. The king controls the national church and holds absolute authority to dissolve a legislative assembly of elected officials. That oligarchic body may have its members approved via a ritual of submission by the general populace, such as by having them cast a vote for their preferred regional lord. The oligarchs may be responsible for a broad range of matters, such as proposing and approving new legislation. The system may also have a democratic aspect; the public might serve as jurors and have authority to decide guilt, although their decision might also be subject to review by an oligarchic judiciary.

There is a tremendous number of possible combinations and methods. The good law giver will fit the pieces together and create a harmonious model that brings stability and elevates the citizenry. This is a highly complex field, and there is much left to be discussed elsewhere.

The rest of the pamphlet appears to have been torn off. Putting it away, you decide to...


  1. Step outside and get some fresh air; the Grove is not too far from here...
  2. Continue to the Guesthouse...