Monday, 29 September 2014
Snelund's Understanding Of The Civil Service
The foundation of any government is an army of bureaucrats and functionaries who, every day:
operate spaceports and traffic lanes;
maintain electronic communication channels;
collect and supply data;
oversee public health;
allocate scarce resources.
Why "scarce," in the Terran Empire where it is said elsewhere that technology could make every being rich?
Snelund does not mention education. An advanced society needs a literate, numerate, healthy population. Hence, the public health which Snelund does mention. Even when crime is part of the economy, its curtailment is necessary, as crime bosses agree. Organized crime can operate only within an ordered society.
Fleet Admiral Hugh McCormac, self-proclaimed Terran Emperor, has seized control of several planets in Sector Alpha Crucis. Sector Governor Aaron Snelund plans to:
avoid direct space naval combat with the tactically superior McCormac;
but reject his Admiral's advice to wait for Terran support;
hit-and-run and harass commerce and industry in the rebel-held volume of space;
plant agents throughout McCormac's realm before it is strongly guarded;
persuade functionaries not to serve the rebellion enthusiastically;
exploit their timidity and conservatism;
bribe, threaten, assassinate or terrorize;
slow down McCormac's civil service, thus starving his navy.
It works. Flandry, spying, learns that:
"Manufacture, logistics, and communications were falling apart beneath Hugh McCormac. He had given up trying to govern any substantial volume of space. Instead, he had assigned forces to defend individually the worlds which had declared for him. They were minimal, those forces. They hampered but could not prevent badgering attacks by Snelund's squadrons. Any proper flotilla could annihilate them in detail." (pp. 492-493)
Snelund, able to outwork ten demons, has deliberately provoked the revolt, seeking only his own glory and enrichment. How would a rational society be able to get such a man to work not against but with and for others?