“are the dothraki ready for democracy?”

heh! (^_^) from ed west @breitbart london:

“The moral structures we have today, based around the idea of the freedom of the individual and the universal rights of all men, were developing in the Christian West throughout the later medieval period but would not truly flourish until the 18th century. Today in much of the world western ideas about the individual are still alien because people think in terms of the clan, which is why it is so hard to export liberal democracy to countries like Somalia or Afghanistan. Foreign policy experts could do worse than watch Thrones and ask themselves: are the Dothraki ready for democracy? What do you reckon…?

“The Left’s version of history is not just wrong, it’s boring, because it assumes that people are all good and all history is simply a path towards a glorious future utopia; it isn’t, and in reality lots of people are brutal and selfish – something George RR Martin captures much better than many historians or academics.”

read the whole thing!: Why One Episode Of Game Of Thrones Is Worth A Thousand History Lessons

see also: steve sailer’s Cousin Marriage Conundrum

previously: whatever happened to european tribes?

(note: comments do not require an email. where are my dragons?!)

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23 Comments

  1. I was watching it thinking the exact same thing. Having read the books and knowing what’s coming for the idealistic dragon mother, Martin might not be HBD aware, but he surely doesn’t believe that thousands of years of culture can be swept away in the blink of an eye. Every choice has consequences, which is why I find his books worth reading, even if they felt interminable. Well, and also the Arya story… man I love that whole thread and it’s just getting to the best stuff.

    ~S

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  2. Mind you “the universal rights of all men” is a silly bloody idea. Man is a social animal, so his rights are part of the current nature of the society he inhabits. Nothing universal about them.

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    1. Yes the idea that there humans have no natural rights, only privileges that one might have bestowed upon them by their society (just for being alive or that they might earn) is an interesting one. Heinlein wrote several novels exploring various aspects of the idea. Being a military man though he thought in military terms which I think limited him.

      ~S

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  3. I hadn’t seen that Sailer article before — excellent.

    It’s sorta funny how we use language when talking about democracy. I think people have absorbed too much rhetoric. Ed West writes, “[A]re the Dothraki ready for democracy?” But the implicit assumption here (and maybe I read too much into this) is that democracy is the natural progression of the Dothraki’s current power structures, the next step. The contrast is a bit amusing given the whole “all history is simply a path towards a glorious future utopia; it isn’t.”

    And, indeed, the statement looks even stranger (Kafka-esque?) if it’s rewritten as, “Are the Dothraki ready to have democracy forced on them?”

    Plus, pushing the logical implications a little further, we find ourselves faced with the question, “If there’s a natural progression of power structures, what’s next for *us*?” Do we want more democracy (perhaps directer, more input of the people, flatter) or maybe something “leaner” (my favorite argument from the Monarchists)?

    Also, I always experience an intense urge to pepper my comments with emoticons here.

    (x_~); (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

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  4. dearieme – “Mind you “the universal rights of all men” is a silly bloody idea.”

    I read the other day, can’t remember where, that rights can’t and don’t exist except within the jurisdiction of a state which is committed to, and has the power of, enforcing them.

    That seems correct once you think about it. People who live in societies in which there is no authority capable of establishing rights — clan-based societies like Afghanistan are a perfect example — really don’t have any “rights” at all.

    And even in Western-style liberal democracies such rights are conditional, not absolute, not even life and liberty. Go ask the millions of people in prison and on death row if they enjoy these rights. Felons lose the right to vote for the rest of their lives if I am not mistaken.

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  5. Democracy or Liberal Democracy? There is a world of difference.

    I suggest that the order of evolution is: State monopoly of violence. Order, Law, Justice, Liberty, Democracy and finally Social Justice (or is Democracy an inhibitor here?). Have the Dothraki even reached Law? At which end of that list lies real power? Modern Russia that it is always necessary to begin at the begining.

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  6. We might extend this thought experiment to “were the Neanderthals ready for democracy?”.

    Miss Chick, may I suggest Svante Paabo’s newest talk, jump to 31:00:

    The ROH in the best Neanderthal sample genome so far, sequenced at over 40x, implies that the Neanderthals had the typical pattern of very strong endogamy – our only high-confidence neanderthal genome so far proves to have descended from something like double first cousin mating, or perhaps half-sibling mating.

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  7. I tried watching it as it’s on public tv here but it was just too much violence and weird sex (I understand that little people need sex too but is it good entertainment?)

    But more to the point, lots of pc liberals love this show. It’s what Jung calls compartment psychology – they won’t generalize what they see on the show to other situations. They love Harry Potter too, who saves Hermione from that troll and she throws her arms around his neck. They love Tolkien with his thinly veiled peoples with their innate characteristics. It seems they are unwilling or unable to connect and synthesize information to a coherent picture.

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    1. @Staffan But the violence and the weird sex are the best part! Seriously though, I agree… so many geeky/nerdy folks find themselves attracted to these stories that are nothing but abstractions of realities they would never accept if stated directly. It’s just like superheros, so many are just regurgitated Greek/Roman/Christian gods/angels. They memorize every tiny detail of their stories, wear tokens of devotion in the form of T-Shirts and caps and every other manner of branded item. Often they profess atheism or agnosticism yet never see how similar their fandom activities are to worship.

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  8. Strictly speaking we live in a constitutional federal republic with (near) universal sufferage. We call it a democracy for shorthand, but it definitely is not majority rule. It takes a republican super-majority to change the rules and it is unlikely that the smaller states will ever give up their advantages. I can see more state legislators deciding to allot their state’s electoral votes proportional to the vote (instead of winner take all).

    I can also imagine the states and Congress reversing the Constitutional amendment (forget the number) which ended the practice of state legislators choosing each states Senators since this would probably be favored by a supermajority of state legislators (duh!) and might conceivably pass in a partisan Congress. That kind of indirect election of representatives was one of the features of the Constitution that convinced the Founding Fathers to entrust as much power as they did in the Senate and House. Or so I read in a book about that period in our history I recently read, whose title escapes me (Rowdy Americans or something like that by a college professor in South Carolina).

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  9. All Game of Thrones is, is trash. Sure, addictive, but each time feels like another dose of meth… just killing your soul. Martin subverts history, transforming it in a postmodern (meaning, recycling, making it something it isn’t) way just kills its relevance. I’d rather say knowing no history is better then watching Thrones which just does a complete dirty on it.
    I’d rather agree with Hitchens on it,
    “Mr Martin’s imaginary world is frighteningly cruel. The society it describes is far worse than the Middle Ages, because its characters are entirely unrestrained by Christian belief. There’s a lifeless, despised religion but nobody takes it seriously.

    I fear it will make those who watch it worse people than they were before.”

    The idea that this trash is a “modern classic” is laughable, television cannot make classics, it is built up upon constant seduction through advertising. Martin to me looks more like a homeless man who has eaten too much from the food shelters, riding on the high horse of popularity by rehashing history. I wouldn’t advise anyone watch it, since it doesn’t help anyone, it has no use in life and just makes your vision worse. The intelligent get annoyed, the idiots get influenced. Sadly, there is no middle ground.

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  10. @adbge – “I hadn’t seen that Sailer article before — excellent.”

    oh, i thought everyone had read that article by now! should be required reading for all. (~_^)

    it is excellent. a classic!

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  11. @adbge – “Ed West writes, ‘[A]re the Dothraki ready for democracy?’ But the implicit assumption here (and maybe I read too much into this) is that democracy is the natural progression of the Dothraki’s current power structures, the next step.”

    oop! yeah. very good point.

    @adbge – “(x_~); (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻”

    heh! mind if i steal some of those? i like this (modified by me) one a lot!: (°□°)

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  12. @redzen – “The ROH in the best Neanderthal sample genome so far, sequenced at over 40x, implies that the Neanderthals had the typical pattern of very strong endogamy – our only high-confidence neanderthal genome so far proves to have descended from something like double first cousin mating, or perhaps half-sibling mating.”

    yes! might explain why they had no compunctions against killing and eating neighboring (rival) neanderthal clans (if that’s what they did).

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  13. @hbdch

    I came across a comment you made some years ago, on a SS article I think, in which you said tribalism is biological but not natural. do you still hold to that view? and if so why?! how do you explain tribalism as anything other than ‘natural’ when it is essentially just an extended endogamous family? I’m interested in the process of cultural evolution and *choosing* to outbreed seems to be a major developmental step.

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  14. Martin’s imaginary world may seem frighteningly cruel because he dwells upon themes from the ‘weird fiction’ genre of pulps, especially Lovecraft by his own admission. And the cruelties and treacheries are inspired by the real life Medicis and the Borgias.

    The ‘lifeless, despised religion’ is likely Martin’s own negative opinion of Catholicism, although the structure of the pantheon and its head figure are based upon the Yezidi seven mysteries – a point maybe not irrelevant given that Martin stated the figure of The Stranger to be inspired by E.Hoffman Price’s fictionalised Malek Tawus presented in ‘The Stranger from Kurdistan’. In this short story it is Satan himself who destroys the Satanic worshippers, maybe implying the future fate of the Westerosi religion.

    There are also kind characters such as Ned and Danaerys in GoT and most of the cruelty featured is against a survivalist backdrop so that characters like Joffrey are exceptional. I guess Hitchens writes insightful books, but his column is just talking crap at times.

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  15. @kate – “I came across a comment you made some years ago, on a SS article I think, in which you said tribalism is biological but not natural. do you still hold to that view? and if so why?!”

    did i really say that? i wonder what i could’ve been thinking/what i meant? (*^_^*) have you got a link to that comment?

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  16. What Martin does with GOT is to revive a kind a storytelling that was common in premodern Europe that was inspirational as well as entertaining. Even in Weteros is a fictional place, it is still a credible place and hence as real as any history writing of yore, like the legends of King Arthur.

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  17. @hbd chick

    well I have to apologise because I wouldn’t have posted the comment if I hadn’t been sure I could find the link….woops … since you don’t think that, I assume I misunderstood your original comment. So, outbreeding was a choice to break with ‘tradition’ and we don’t know why. or rather we can assume that it was a sociological innovation akin to changes that emerge following technological innovations.

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