Monday, January 28, 2013


From Larry Niven's Ringworld: "If the Patriarchy tried to force such a law on kzinti, we would exterminate the Patriarchy for its insolence."

The context was a discussion of human "Fertility Laws" which (in Niven's universe) people put up with but which startled the alien.

It brings to mind an interesting question: Is there a law that would make Americans rise up more or less as one and summarily remove the lawmakers? (Tar and feathers are traditional.)

I'm trying to think of some usurpation that would simultaneously gore enough people's oxen to get a majority angry. The only thing I've come up with so far is banning cars, and even that issue has a powerful constituency supporting it (for the peons, of course). First amendment, second amendment, 4'th, 5'th amendment, 6'th? Nah. Spending money without budget, oversight, or limit? Nah. You only get half the people interested, if that much.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

First Amendment, if it were enforced generally. Not because people had thought that through in an organised fashion, but because we are all accustomed to shooting our mouths off. Too many of us would be getting arrested, and there would be problems.

If the 1A were only ignored selectively, however, so that the only ones punished would be those who had it coming, I think that one would fall as well.

james said...


And the ones who applaud would self-censor--to be part of the tribe at first, and maybe later, when things get more fraught, to avoid attention.