Would you serve?

Posted by $ winterwind 6 years, 9 months ago to Politics
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-- LONG POST - please stick with me --
In a day to talk and think about politics more than most other days, when people discuss leadership, and what kind the U.S. needs, I am wondering: if, by some fickle finger of fate, you were elected to office in the House or the Senate, and the recount confirmed it, would you serve?

I have to say "I don't know."

I think what the U.S. needs is individuals who don't want to lead anybody and have to be dragged into office kicking and screaming as if to the gallows. [figuratively, of course; there still is no good reason to initiate force] What should they do once they get there? Tear it down. Start by insisting that every single bureaucrat begin by dismantling his own fief and send everyone home to do something productive, if they can.

Yes, it would be a mess. A hideous, horrible, unforgettable mess, in every way that you can imagine. People will die, and bad things will happen to good people, and some of the science fiction writers will be right.

All the people who, while able-bodied, truly can't do anything at all, will wander and maybe fall under the sway of a group of someones who will say something like Edmund, in Ringo's heroic work which begins with "There will Be Dragons". "We can feed you and rest you for three days. Then you will begin to work through a training program to see what work you may be suited for and might even like. You will learn how to fell trees, run wood through a sawmill, cook, build rudimentary buildings, handle firearms, etc, etc. If you decide that this program is not for you, keep walking. Why am I the one telling you what to do? It's my sawmill. It's his professional kitchen. It's her fabric and thread and needles. We take suggestions every day from 6 to 6:30 in the bath-house. We do not take complaints."

Or, those able bodied but incompetent people might hook up with a bunch of other people just like them, and decide that society always owed them a living before, and it still does, and if they have to take it, they will. And, "If men like Boyle think that force is all they need to rob their betters - let them see what happens when one of their betters chooses to resort to force." - Ragnar Danneskjold

Or Steve Stirling might be right - he started writing a trilogy, now about 9 books, about what happens when no chemical force more complicated than fire works any more. People organize themselves into whatever kind of society they wish [and can get to work]: the Norsemen, the SCA, a Celtic clan, tribal life on the American plains, and more - and life, with all its complications, proceeds.

Those people in Washington who decide not to dismantle their petty kingdoms will be increasingly isolated, and lonely, and....hungry. When they decide to go somewhere, like back to "their" state, probably the best thing they could do is say "no, I don't have any skills, but I'm willing to learn." I imagine if they say something like "I'm [censored]! I'm your Senator! I'm your leader, listen to me!!" they'll be lucky if they've run into a group of Amish or the like, who might just laugh.

Remember, every possible outcome that you can think of, will probably happen. I'm always thinking about what I'll do, and what I might have to do, and whether I could do it, and who I'd want at my back.

I would hope that eventually, there would be stories about the heroes who brought us all back from the brink, and then went home, because they had made sure that there were homes to go back to for as many Americans as possible.

If winning an election had THAT kind of outcome - one that reinvented the Real America, I would reluctantly serve. Not eagerly, but honestly and as ably as I could.

Otherwise? Well, the Wizard had some oral surgery this afternoon and he's taking a nap, covered in cats. I'm feeling a little sleepy myself.

Thank you for your kind attention.




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  • Posted by $ Susanne 6 years, 9 months ago
    Yes. It would be an honor to possibly return the offices from a symbol of sloth, moocherist pull, and selling out to one of real honesty, service, and honor... Especially if it displaced the likes of Peloser, Fineswine, and Harry Raid... I would consider it my civic duty and obligation, rather than let some flake represent my people.
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  • Posted by edweaver 6 years, 9 months ago
    I would willingly serve if there were a reasonable number of people that believed in limited government serving at the same time. I did not say I would enjoy it. There is a big difference. I was an elected county supervisor for 4 years. People always asked if I was enjoying it. My answer was always no but I did not believe that it should ever be fun to play with people's lives. To me anyone who is enjoying it should be removed from office at the next election.
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  • Posted by $ 6 years, 9 months ago
    I realized, from some comments, that I had been making a dazzlingly necessary, yet unspoken, assumption that changes everything. sorry!
    I had stipulated, in thinking about this, that your service would be in concert with 1 or 2 people from every other state, all dragged in kicking and screaming, to do the same thing.
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  • Posted by xthinker88 6 years, 9 months ago
    I would never serve. However, I might willingly hold office if it benefited me by providing me with a chance to liberate our society from the government shackles that currently hold it. It would be unpleasant. But so was the infantry.

    It seems very un-Randian to use the term "serve" at all. It brings me to mind a quote from her speech, delivered to my alma mater, Philosophy: Who Needs It?

    "You have chosen to risk your lives for the defense of this country. I will not insult you by saying that you are dedicated to selfless service — it is not a virtue in my morality. In my morality, the defense of one's country means that a man is personally unwilling to live as the conquered slave of any enemy, foreign or domestic. This is an enormous virtue. Some of you may not be consciously aware of it. I want to help you to realize it."
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  • Posted by Zenphamy 6 years, 9 months ago
    Sure, I'd serve. But a couple of points. I despise the concept of a politician as a leader--they are servants and maybe examples to others at best (or worse).
    What would I do? Raise as much hell as possible as quickly as I could. (Rand Paul's example against drone assassination on US soil)
    Contact everyone in the district that I represent and encourage everyone to rebel in any way that they're capable of including a refusal to pay income tax.
    Introduce Bills to eliminate every agency of the government except the Navy and begin an Amendment process to reverse all previous Amendments down to only the Bill of Rights.
    Call for a Congressional review of every law on the books with a super majority vote required to retain each or institute any new one.
    Call for a complete dump of any and all government information on any topic with the exception of technology.
    Call for the complete and total transfer of any and all supposed Federal ownership of lands excepting that detailed in the Constitution.
    Do everything else in that vain that I could.

    Then expect to be assassinated by someone who's later determined by a government panel to be a crazed lone wolf killer like Oswald.
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    • Posted by $ 6 years, 9 months ago
      That is exactly what I proposed - I think you would have help from 49 other people with the same idea. and I don't think it would be in vain. Stop paying people, eventually they're going to stop coming in to "work", and start looking for a real job.
      The first thing I want to do is to get rid of that nasty red carpet that only Senators are allowed to walk on, so no on can interrupt them.
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  • Posted by CTYankee 6 years, 9 months ago
    Absolutely! In fact I ran for the US Senate in 2012 on the Libertarian ticket. One of my campaign promises was: 'If elected, I expect to be voted "most prickly" by the other 99 Senators, by constantly asking the members: "Have you actually studied the Constitutional aspects of that piece of legislation?"'

    It looks like I'll be running again in 2018, unless I decide to run in '16...
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  • Posted by $ ObjectiveAnalyst 6 years, 9 months ago
    I would not run. If I was drafted or somehow nominated and won a position without running for the office. I would serve without consideration for re-election and that would make me a fearful leader. I would carry the Constitution in my vest pocket and pull it out at every opportunity. I would point out all things not listed and work to abolish them. I would have integrity and that would make for me many enemies. No... it would not be a safe time for me, but it would be a healthy kick in the pants for the plutocrats.
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  • Posted by $ 6 years, 9 months ago
    The part of the question that I was the most curious about was "What should the people in this governing body DO?"

    My suggestion was to tear it down, send everybody home, and see what would happen. But I'm serious. DISMANTLE IT.
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    • Posted by jpellone 6 years, 9 months ago
      I think you have the right idea!!! I also believe we need to throw out at least 3/4ths of the present laws that are strangling this country. It bothers me that everyone that goes up there needs to make their mark with some stupid law that strangles either business or personal freedoms. The laws that should be written should be more like our Constitution's laws that prohibit government intervention in our freedoms.

      If I were suddenly thrust into the position you describe, I would have many, many enemies. Serving the public should not be a life long job, it should be a responsibility with few if any compensations. They should earn their keep by a real job not get rich while screwing the public!!! I believe that they would not write legislation that choke businesses because they would be choking themselves...
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  • Posted by $ jlc 6 years, 9 months ago
    No. I would flee, screaming.

    Jan
    (Loved the Nantucket Sterling books and the first 3 of the Emberverse series (I am SCA)...lost track after that; will pick them back up again some day.)
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    • Posted by $ 6 years, 9 months ago
      I had never seen "Emberverse" applied to the not-Nantucket Stirling books, but Amazon agrees with you...They get rather strange in the middle, and I have about the last 5 or 6 books that I haven't read because I have to go back a bit. What about 1634 and its offshoots? That strikes me as the one this gang would not only like, but fit into, the best.
      Happy reading!
      and remember, you get dragged in and MUST serve. bailing, the most intelligent of the choices, is not a choice.
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      • Posted by $ jlc 6 years, 9 months ago
        Yes, I am enjoying the 1634 series too. (I bought one of the middle books, which turned out to be a series of stories not a novel - this threw me off the track. I need to start back on the series again.) I am a bit put off by the strong pro-Union aspect of the novels, but everything else in them speaks eloquently of competence and freedom. I do acknowledge that when people could not move around easily, and Unions were new, they were actually a good idea; it is just now that they are parasitic. (Kinda like the EPA, which initially did some good work, but which are now a big slimy green albatross around the neck of people who are trying to accomplish things.)

        (I have checked out some of the other books mentioned in this thread and wishlisted them, for future musing.)

        Just a feminine intuition* here: I have a feeling that 'they' would be about as successful at MAKING me serve as they would making you serve...

        Jan
        *officially licensed to have feminine intuitions
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  • Posted by freedomforall 6 years, 9 months ago
    How would this magical event take place?
    At present it takes about $10 mill to win a senate seat plus the volunteer unpaid (unproductive) efforts of thousands of people. It also requires that the candidate leave behind his principles or the major party he "works for" will destroy the candidate by any means possible.
    Assumiing that miracle occurs, after the election victory it gets worse unless there are a majority of the senators who have the level of integrity, understanding of history, and ability to be rational that (we in the Gulch know) is needed for the job. That is mathematically impossible in the senate because only 33% of the seats are up for grabs and over 90% are won by incumbants by design. So even if, in a miracle, you win and retain your integrity through the election process, you will be faced with the impossible task of not compromising your principles with 90+ corrupt looters (senators like just re-elected Minnesota Senator Al Franken) and resisting the temptation of nearly limitless power and wealth offered by bankster looters.

    Sure, I love a challenge.
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  • Posted by $ Temlakos 6 years, 9 months ago
    I have a plan--which I have shared before.

    If, by some chance, I could go to the House with a body of like-minded people who amounted to two-thirds of the chamber, I would proceed at once to bring measure to expel the remaining third--in the hope a similar like-minded body in the Senate would do the same in that chamber.

    After that, we would bring out the Long Knives. Through impeachment, that is.

    About the science-fiction angle: did anyone here ever read, or hear of, a science-fiction book from the late Fifties, called "The Syndic"? In a post-apocalyptic world, two vast organized "crliminal" syndicates inherit full responsibility for keeping some kind of order in the land. Until the bad ol' U.S. government tries to re-emerge.
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    • Posted by $ 6 years, 9 months ago
      We are thinking along the same lines here. The same Fickle Finger of Fate which put you there put at least 49 other people there as well. Most of them would have the same view of the system that you do.
      Problem: you can't impeach a Second Undersecretary in charge of writing the rules by which meat is graded. If he's still there, whatever he does will still have effect.
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    • Posted by $ 6 years, 9 months ago
      I read it long ago - it was nominated for the Prometheus Hall of Fame. I was just thinking that I should read it again, because I don't remember it well. Onto the list it goes!
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  • Posted by DavidT 6 years, 9 months ago
    I am of the opinion that public office, with few exceptions, should be filled by the same method that juries are supposed to be filled. Everyone's name goes into a big hat/bowl/database and when your name comes up you go and do that job for whatever the term of office is. There is no way that this method could do as much damage as our current system of career politics, and perhaps we could end up with a true "do nothing congress", or even better the system from the book "Hope" by Aaron Zelman and L. Neil Smith (read it if you haven't, it should be as much our playbook/wish list as "Atlas Shrugged).
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    • Posted by teri-amborn 6 years, 9 months ago
      Putting names in the hat must be preceded by an MMPI or similar personality tests to insure that no one is a sociopath. (Then again, maybe we should implement that policy now...!)
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      • Posted by khalling 6 years, 9 months ago
        you know, I just watched an interesting interview with Peter Thiel, and at the end, he was asked if in 2100-people look back to 2014, what would they say is the biggest problem our country faces. He didn't want to answer and then he said-sociopaths. and that's all he would say...great minds I guess terri!
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      • Posted by $ root1657 6 years, 9 months ago
        Why would you want to do that? Sociopaths would leave emotion out of the decisions. Maybe we need a few of them up there.
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        • Posted by teri-amborn 6 years, 9 months ago
          Perhaps you have never had a sociopath in your life.
          They aren't good.people.
          They take.power from you, assault your reality with their lies and manipulation and view life as: Create loss in order to "win".
          Good people are what we need in government. Sociopaths are the LAST thing we need.
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          • Posted by $ root1657 6 years, 9 months ago
            You are right, I completely cross concepts in my mind. I was thinking "Psychopath". Seems we already have to many sociopaths up there now.
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            • Posted by teri-amborn 6 years, 9 months ago
              True. However, there is no fundamental difference between the two.
              Both lack a conscience, are immune to boundaries and correction and spend time subduing people for amusement.
              Now, sounds even more like our President, doesn't it?
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              • Posted by $ root1657 6 years, 9 months ago
                It's also the 'official' diagnosis for Sherlock Holmes, but it is possible to use that lack of boundaries for good. Imagine a congress full of Vulcans.
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                • Posted by teri-amborn 6 years, 9 months ago
                  LOL!
                  However that would circle back to your lack of emotions premise.
                  A little ability to relate to others and picture what it's like to be in another's shoes helps a bit.
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                  • Posted by $ root1657 6 years, 9 months ago
                    I think relating and all that emotion non-sense is how we got in this mess. We need a lot more people saying, um, sounds good, feels right, but the actual data doesn't support it, so no.
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                    • Posted by teri-amborn 6 years, 9 months ago
                      Being able to see things big picture is what I mean by "relating".
                      Reagan was a good president because he had held multiple jobs before getting into politics.
                      He also WASN'T a lawyer...which helps.considerably.
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    • Posted by $ 6 years, 9 months ago
      I agree with you about Hope, and juries as well. No excuses allowed. Did you know that Hope is the second book, preceded by The Mitzvah?

      My curiosity is not so much HOW you got there [which is why I postulated the Fickle Finger of Fate] but what you would do, once there.
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    • Posted by $ root1657 6 years, 9 months ago
      I've often thought of this same thing (and chuckle at the thought of someone getting their notice in the mail... Damnit... I'm a Senator). The problem would be the same we have with juries... the smart people know how to get out of it, and you are left with the few who see it as an honor to serve, and the others who were too dumb to get out of it. Not enough are there to serve with honor...
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  • Posted by khalling 6 years, 9 months ago
    I imagine that if it came to the point of dismantling, there 'd be serious world stuff happening as well. So you 'd try to be leading decisions that way while doing the mass lay -offs. Let's see, how many 3 letter agencies are there? I 'd go. Tell wizard to feel better.
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  • Posted by $ jbrenner 6 years, 9 months ago
    Give my best to the Wizard.
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    • Posted by $ 6 years, 9 months ago
      thanks. feline-assisted sleep always makes us feel better.
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      • Posted by $ jbrenner 6 years, 9 months ago
        We have three cats and a dog. Two of the cats are kittens. That definitely cuts down on the sleep.
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        • Posted by $ 6 years, 9 months ago
          hide their toys before you try to go to sleep. At our house, "hide" means putting them into a latched box. Sometimes, they still manage to find something, and bring it to the base to play with it. The base, of course, is our bed. The other complication is that we have Tonkinese twin boys - breed characteristics of Tonkinese are eagerness to play throughout their lives, very acrobatic, and smart. Hiding the toy under your pillow do not work - one of them will assume that's a new part of the game and dig it out. But we do love them.
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  • Posted by jdg 6 years, 9 months ago
    Sure, I'd serve. And I'd insist on following the Constitution to the letter. Nobody there would like me, and the lobbyists would try to make sure I'm never re-elected, but in the meantime I'd have a field day writing bills to repeal the bad things Congress has been doing for more than 100 years. I'd also seek every opportunity to blow the whistle on all my corrupt colleagues.

    I take the same attitude about jury service. Sure it oughtn't be compulsory -- but if you want to appoint me to office for a day, I'll go. Maybe I'll be able to get somebody freed who deserves it.
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  • Posted by jimslag 6 years, 9 months ago
    I would serve but only for one term for whichever office. That way I would not have to be continuously campaigning if the House. I also would not be beholden to lobbyists and listen to my constituents. I would work to reduce the deficit to a surplus and pay down debt. Many other things on my mind that should be done but we all know that Washington will never do, like term limits and shrinking government.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 6 years, 9 months ago
    I would serve, provided I was 35 again and know what I know now. I would be setting lots and lots of pants on fire. Being in national office, I would promote a "reality" show in which I would ambush various Washingtonians, such as congressmen, senators, judges, and executives and ask them to answer questions on history, economics, government and their actual jobs. If they ran from my camera or couldn't answer simple questions, I would call press conferences showing the tapes. I would be ostracized, but getting on a committee would not be my ambition so much as showing the hypocrisy of know-nothings trying to run the country.
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  • Posted by johnpe1 6 years, 9 months ago
    well said, winter! . I would serve, but only to employ
    every possible trick or slimy deal to dismantle those
    bureaucracies which are a cancer on our national ass. -- j

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    • Posted by $ 6 years, 9 months ago
      Thank you very much!
      This is one of the most fun "what if?" games I've ever played. Can't you just imagine a Senator's assistant managing to get back to "his" state, and then having to keep his "former job in another state" a secret to keep from having to to go the back of every line, every time? hee, hee, hee.
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  • Posted by $ blarman 6 years, 9 months ago
    I would, yes. Government isn't going to get any better unless we have better people in office. If the good guys stay home, then all we get is more of what we already have.

    That being said, I don't want to RUN for office. I don't need that kind of scrutiny or headache. I would serve if appointed, but there is no way I'd put my wife through the special kind of hell that politics has become.
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    • Posted by $ 6 years, 9 months ago
      Remember, you have been chosen for this task by the Fickle Finger of Fate. You're there. What would you do? I would tear it down and send everybody home.
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      • Posted by $ blarman 6 years, 9 months ago
        I think the first thing I'd do is give everyone an economics test. On that test would be basics and definitions about supply and demand, origins of government funds, and a few Future Value calculations.

        Next, I'd give them a test on the Constitution of the United States. It would have them successfully match up the first ten Amendments to their wordings, then would proceed onto Constitutional duties and limits of each of the three Branches.

        If a person couldn't pass both, I'd declare them unfit to serve and send them packing. By my estimates, that would get rid of about 80% of each chamber of Congress and all of the Cabinet.

        Can I retire some of the Supreme Court Justices as well? Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan would be out at the snap of my fingers, and I'd demote Roberts and replace him with Alito. I'd nominate Trey Gowdy as a replacement, along with possibly Andrew Napolitano.

        Wow. Don't get me started. Now I'm thinking about Constitutional Amendments like "The Federal Government shall not spend more in a single year than their total tax receipts of the second year prior to the budgeted fiscal year." and "Executive Orders shall be subject to the review and approval of both the Senate and House when called for by simple majority vote."
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        • Posted by $ 6 years, 9 months ago
          blarman, dear, the whole point of the exercise IS to get you started.
          How would the Federal Government GET this money which you [quite rightly] restrict their spending of? You sent all their hired thugs, even the ones with "J.D." after their names, home.
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  • Posted by Kittyhawk 6 years, 9 months ago
    I'm reading through Stirling's series right now. I'm on book four, The Sunrise Lands. There's an assumption in his books that too much freedom (i.e., lack of government) will lead to chaos and war, which I disagree with. Nonetheless, I like the characters and creativity in the plot.

    I would definitely do what I could to make our country a freer place, but my service might be more like that of Grant Collins in Larken Rose's The Iron Web. Great book, in my opinion.
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    • Posted by $ 6 years, 9 months ago
      Hmm, I've never gotten that from Stirling. I have seen that he thinks that, to certain people, might makes right [the PPA].
      I'll read your suggestion - this is a subject that interests me, obviously.
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      • Posted by Kittyhawk 6 years, 9 months ago
        I hope you like The Iron Web. I thought it was well done.

        With the Stirling novels, it seemed to me like, from the very beginning of the catastrophe, there were an abundance of people eager to hurt and steal from others. Though I think there are some people like that in the world, I still think most are good and would cooperate. I envision more Junipers and fewer Lord Protectors or even Lord Bear types.
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  • Posted by $ Thoritsu 6 years, 9 months ago
    Clearly I would. Whatever negative things one might learn their would be overcome by even the most minor influence one could have over legislation and people listening to simple arguments for freedom.

    Not to mention all the free stuff they get...just kidding.
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    • Posted by $ 6 years, 9 months ago
      Remember, I'm there too, and my agenda is to tear the place down and send everybody home. I don't know if the arguments would be simple or not. We might just agree that I would take the agencies etc. that begin with the letter "W", and you would have those beginning with the letter "T", and so on.
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