I had a strange thought last night. stonesundial was over and we watched Appleseed -- a movie that relsqui and I saw in the theatre a while ago and were sufficiently enamored of as to obtain it.
One of the interesting points of the film is the way their utopia is governed -- it's intended to be a mix of man and cyborg, but in such a way that both sides have an unimpeachable trump card over the other. Both sides have non-segregated armies which cooperate, most of the city is run by computer, the computer must justify itself to a panel of humans, and on top of one of the buildings is a tank with a virus which will cause all cyborgs to die.
That's a reasonably spoiler-free explanation -- in any event, I highly recommend it if you haven't seen it. It's a blend of wonderful realistic CGI and less realistic animation.
I was thinking about all the checks and balances and it occurred to me that an interesting way to run a democracy would be to have so many checks and balances that the sheer number of people you'd have to convince to go along with it would ensure the will of the people.
Technically speaking, that's not a democracy, but it's a democracy in the typical schoolkid's understanding (e.g. "Majority rules").
The problem, of course, is that nothing would get done and that suggests a point of balance. babe_of_beyazit once relayed to me something from one of her teachers. When news reached ancient Athens, the senate would need to verify it. They'd do so by appointing a group of 7 men to travel to the place in question and verify it.
It's interesting to note that the more sensational the news, the slower the group they sent. When they heard that the battle of Marathon was won, they sent their oldest and lamest men.
One of the hazards of the so-called Information Age is the speed with which information travels. We have a tendency to react as quickly as possible to news -- especially politics. The hazard is that reacting in short order to so many things has a tendency to dilute perspective and to react out of proportion. I've been thinking about this with respect to the commutation of Libby's sentence. One friend hastened to defend it by pointing out Clinton's pardons. One friend hastened to reconvict him of what may have been a simple case of a short memory.
It is an unfortunate thing when anyone exercises power in a way which people disagree with. It is a terrible thing when someone exercises power in a way you don't agree with.
Over the course of my career, these things have happened a few times. At the moment, I'm actually working this weekend because of what I believe was a misapplication of power.
As a former employer of mine was fond of remarking: "This too shall pass". Incidentally, I didn't know until just now of the purported histories of that phrase.
In other interesting reading, Clinton's defense of his pardons. As he says at the get-go, a decision to pardon is almost inherently controversial. Before you begin questioning the morality of this administration or the justification for Clinton's pardons, remember that someone else's wrong in combination with the wrong you defend does not make it right and that true justice is blind.