Thursday, February 22, 2007

Paging Jenna, NotJenna, And Neo-Con Spawn! Attention Death Cult Descendants!

In a move sure to brighten the hearts of feudalists everywhere...
LONDON (Reuters) - Prince Harry, who is third in line to the British throne, is being deployed to Iraq, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) said on Thursday.

Harry could become the first member of the royal family to face combat since his uncle, Prince Andrew, flew helicopters in the 1982 Falklands War. Harry's great-grandfather, King George VI, saw action in World War One.

[....]He has trained to become troop commander and will be leading 12 men in four Scimitar armoured reconnaissance vehicles.
A codicil here: he will be posted near Basra which is one of the safest cities in Iraq, or so rumour has it.

You know, feudalism had some advantages over our current system, which is feudalist without the responsibilities: the vast number of us, even if we own our own businesses, take a knee to the lord of the manor, who may sign our paychecks, or be our biggest customer.

Corporate feudalism, I like to call it, but it also extends to politics.

In a true feudalist (more correctly in this example, manorialist) society, those who stood to gain the most from a war were at the front lines. They may not have been infantry or regular cavalry, but they stood there and saw the battle and helped direct the troops and yes, rushed into the fray. Why? Because they were forced to under contract to the monarch or local noble.

The vassals and serfs, of course, were the foot soldiers and archers that did the bulk of the fighting and dying, to be sure, but the thing is, if you knew the other side's king was on the field, he immediately became the target with the biggest bull's eye. Vassals in particular were eager to claim amongst coup the lords and royals of the other side, since their lord would grant them rewards of lands and serfs.

This arrangement is fractal, you'll notice: barons, dukes and counts were vassals to the king, the free peasants were vassals to the dukes and barons and counts, and the serfs, quasi-vassals to the peasants. If a king went to war, say in a Crusade, he dragged his knights with him as well as the various nobles as he could reasonably spare from overseeing his lands. Similarly, if a noble had to go join a war that he was contractually committed to (say an invasion of a neighboring shire), he dragged his knights and vassals with him.

What structure does that remind you of? Anyone? A multinational corporation, perhaps? I don't think that's a coincidence, and certainly explains recent corporate developments that ensure protection of the centralized authority of the "kings" of a company (and by extension, the "kings" of the United States, our elected Presidents, who are really more duke than king, but that's a different post. We'll talk about plutarchies some other time).

The difference is, rather than go and get hands dirty and doublets bloody, our current vassals and nobles and royals would prefer to get manicures while those who are least among us fight and die for their hege-money (Oooooh, someone go post that in Wikitionary!). Or as Michael Moore put in in Fahrenheit 9/11:
Not a single member of Congress wanted to sacrifice their child for the war in Iraq. And who could blame them? Who would want to give up their child? Would you? Would [Bush]? I've always been amazed that the very people forced to live in the worst parts of town, go to the worst schools, and who have it the hardest are always the first to step up, to defend us. They serve so that we don't have to. They offer to give up their lives so that we can be free. It is remarkably their gift to us. And all they ask for in return is that we never send them into harm's way unless it is absolutely necessary. Will they ever trust us again?
And, they're under no contractual obligation to do so. After all, this is a "free" society. Until you sign your life away for the $20,000 bonus and $50,000 in college tuition assistance.

Or, again from F9/11, as Orwell puts it in 1984:
In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia but to keep the very structure of society intact.
Heven forfend that society be defined to include all of its citizens.

Draft Jenna and NotJenna now!

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