On Revolutions and Governance

— a guest post by Lieutenant Colonel (And fellow Baen Author) Tom Kratman

Colonel Kratman sent me a message with this post in answer to my challenge to discuss the pros cons and intricacies of a Starship Trooper Type Regime.  For those of you (lucky souls) not afflicted with our writing but and our oddness, this is how science fiction works — someone writes a book and someone else looks at it and goes “Oh, h*ll no* or perhaps *Yes, but–”  or even “How about like this instead.”  I make no mistake of the fact a lot of my stuff is that sort of dialogue with Heinlein — to wit the Earth revolution stuff is my answer to The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress (“How about without a supercomputer?” resulted in A Few Good Men and the other notes in the background of that will do for the rest of the series.)  Colonel Kratman says his Balboa Union books came as his taking of the basic principles of Starship troopers and adjusting them for a particular country on a particular planet, in another solar system. (More on Balboa and its narrative universe here.)

And now, I’ll get out of the way and let Colonel Kratman speak.

Government of Balboa, from Global Affairs Magazine, Volume 121, Issue of 10/474 AC


Balboans self describe their state as a “Timocratic Republic,” where Timocratic is taken to mean “the rule of virtue,” as opposed to the rule of wealth which has all too often been presumed, despite copious evidence to the contrary, to be virtuous. Balboa is more properly said to be a mixture of a popular republic and a limited military near-dictatorship, existing side by side but with the better funded, more aggressive military branch gradually taking over more and more of the functioning of the country, even as it becomes less dictatorial. That process continues as of this writing.

In structure, the government of Balboa appears conventional, with three branches, Executive – consisting of the President, two vice-Presidents, a cabinet and sundry executive agencies, Legislative – with both Senate and Legislative Assembly, and Judicial – consisting of a national level Supreme Court and lower, provincial, and district courts.

In terms of domestic politics, the geography of the country is profoundly subdivided. The bulk of the state is split into two parts, eastern and western, by the existence of the Tauran Union-occupied, World League-mandated, Transitway Area, running approximately through the center. Of the remainder, a fair chunk of the capital, Ciudad Balboa, is under the sway of the previous government as a result of an order, intended to prevent civil war, from the Federated States of Columbia.

The bulk of the state, the Republic of Balboa, proper, is further subdivided in two ways. Conventionally, it consists of eleven provinces, ranging from Valle de las Lunas, in the east, to La Palma, in the west. Although provinces sometimes have a considerable emotional pull on their inhabitants, politically they do not mean much in Balboa. They have no degree of individual sovereignty, no independent police or militia, nor any right to make province-specific laws. Even provincial governors are appointed by the national government.

The military division of the country is the more profound one. In the year 470 AC, the Senate, initially an appointed lawmaking body composed entirely of military veterans (though gradually becoming an elected body, still composed entirely of military veterans and elected by veterans), divided the national geography into several overlaying and overlapping grids, which grids paid absolutely no attention to existing provincial or district lines. These grids, the exact boundaries of which fluctuate slightly, are regimental.

One grid layer is composed of combat regiments, of which it is believed there are about forty. Parallel to that is another grid which defines combat support regiments – artillery, combat engineers, air defense artillery, military police, and the like. Parallel to those is a grid layer of headquarters and service support regiments. There are further grids for the air and naval arms, as well as for certain unique regiments, such as the Tercio Amazona (qv), which is female, the Tercio Gorgidas (qv), which is male homosexual, the Tercio Socrates (qv), for the elderly, and the Tercio Santa Cecilia (qv), for the handicapped. Which grid a given citizen belongs to, if he or she belongs to one, is determined at the time of their voluntary enlistment into the armed forces of Balboa, the Legion del Cid. It is believed that age, health, sex, and, where applicable, sexual orientation are the primary factors in assigning a prospective recruit to a layer of the grid and a regiment.

A Balboan may or may not have a deep emotional attachment to his district or province. If he is an immigrant, as many are, of late, he probably has no attachment to his district or province. His devotion to his regiment, however, if he belongs to one, is profound. His regiment has recruited and trained him, given him the most exciting years of his life, and paid for his education after service. It may well have fronted the loan for his house, his farm or his business. It may have built his house.

If he is married, the odds are good that the reception was held in the regimental hall, of which there are about one hundred and fifty scattered about the country, and the ceremony itself presided over by the regimental chaplain. His young children may be educated at a regimental school or attend a regimental summer camp. He and his family likely receive primary medical care, at low cost, at a regimental clinic. He drinks with his regiment. He goes fishing with his regimental comrades, at the regimental fishing hole. He shops for food and clothing at the tax-free regimental exchange or commissary or at the larger exchanges at legion or corps level. When he takes his wife or girlfriend to dinner, it is probably at that same, low cost but not inelegant, regimental hall, he was or will be married in, surrounding by the tokens of glory he helped earn, and of which he is a part. Moreover, his regiment is his primary political representation, via the Senate, elected by the regimental centuriate assemblies.

Each tercio, or regiment, of the Legion del Cid, the armed force of the Republic of Balboa, sends to the Senate one senator who serves for an eight year term, with one quarter of all senators being reelected – or not, as the case may be – every two years. Senators are elected by their regimental centuriate assembly, composed of the discharged veterans of the regiment.

Upon graduation from initial entry training, all newly minted soldiers are assigned to a political century, an arbitrary grouping of exactly one hundred. (That is to say, officially it is arbitrary. In practice, wealthier and better educated people appear to be deliberately scattered among the centuries not only to reduce their political influence but to force those wealthier and more influential types to watch out for their century-brothers.) Soldiers killed in initial entry training are also counted, and their names enrolled in the other centuries being filled at the time of graduation.

That is one type, one might call it the “post-revolutionary” type, of century. The other type consists of those who were soldiers prior to the “revolution,” which is to say prior to the election of Raul Parilla as President of the Republic and prior to the establishment of the Senate. These, plus their dead comrades, of which there were very many, were formed into political centuries shortly after the Parilla assumed power.

No one is ever added to or dropped from a century’s rolls. No one votes within his century until formally discharged from the Legion. No century ceases to exist, or loses its voting power, until the last member has died. This has not yet happened.

Biennially, all the centuries of a tercio meet, together, at the tercio’s main cantonment area or on the grounds of the regimental club, whichever is most convenient. There, six classes of decision are made by the voting members of a century. The first of these is for the political centurion, a position of some local honor and thus avidly sought. The political centurion directs the century in its voting, runs administration for the next two years, oversees the century’s Health, Welfare and Mutual Aid Fund (managed by Banco de la Legion, S.A.), tallies the vote and, in the ultimate extremity, leads the century in combat.

The second decision is whom the century shall support in the political campaign for the National Legislative Assembly, before which campaign the centuriate assembly is invariably set to meet. The second decision is only the century’s preference, as the final decision of support is determined by the full regiment’s centuriate assembly. Support in this case means two things: A) Members of the regiment are honor bound to vote for the candidate selected, as a group, even though votes for election to the National Assembly are individually tallied by secret ballot and B) the members of the regiment, indeed the entire regimental organization, will canvas aggressively for that candidate. In practice this has meant that not only do the veterans of the nation’s armed forces absolutely control the Senate, but that they also exercise de facto control of the legislative assembly, given that the purely civilian populace tends to scatter its own vote. Nothing requires that the civilians do this, of course. It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway, that no regimental centuriate assembly has ever yet endorsed a non-veteran for public office. Note that the veterans never win every seat in the Legislative assembly. They have never yet failed to take over half.

Thirdly, in presidential election years, the century votes for whom the entire national centuriate assembly shall support for the offices of the President and Vice Presidents of the Republic, the President also being Commander in Chief of the Legion and Princeps Senatus. There is currently a constitutional amendment pending to make this office completely the purview of the centuriate assembly.

The fourth decision concerns the regiment’s senator. This is decided by a majority vote of the centuries. It is entirely possible, and sometimes happens, for this to be a minority popular vote.

It is also worth mentioning that regiments are of different sizes, different annual intakes, and have varying numbers of political centuries. Senators do not vote their own persons, in senatorial deliberations; they vote the number of centuries in their particular regiments.

Fifthly, in addition to regimental senators, there are also another five percent at-large seats which are open only to persons who have earned high awards for valor in action, the Cruz de Coraje en Oro con Escudo y Espadas, or higher. In practice, this level of award is so rare that these could conceivably become lifetime seats were Balboa ever to have a lengthy period of peace. These at-large seats are voted on by all the political centuries of all the regiments, with those half dozen or so candidates garnering the most centuries being seated.

As an aside, there is a theoretical third class of senator, composed of ex-Presidents who have completed a second term without being impeached. These seats are to be for life.

Both valor seats and for-life seats vote the average number of centuries for the rest of the senate, i.e. total number of political centuries divided by the number of regimental senators.

The sixth class of decisions made by the centuriate assemblies is called ratification. In the ratification process any century may, by popular vote, call for any law or treaty passed by the Senate, or any decision of the National Supreme Court, to be subject to ratification. If said law or decision is not ratified by at least one third of all centuries, they are rendered null and void. Since the legislative system is bicameral, nullification of the Senate’s passage of a law also nullifies the bicameral passage of the law. This, because it is something of a pain for the centuries, is rarely used, though it has happened and laws have been nullified and decisions overturned because of it.


A word should be said here about minority representation. The typical, average regiment, because women only enter the Legion at about twenty-three percent of the rate of men, is predominantly male, said males being typically nationalistic, conservative, heterosexual, and more or less religious and patriarchal. Nothing has been done to ensure atheist or internationalist proportional political representation, but there are four “special” regiments, the Tercio Gorgidas, the Tercio Amazona, the Tercio Santa Cecilia and the Tercio Socrates that are set aside for gays, women – both lesbian and heterosexual, the handicapped and those very aged who elect to serve in some capacity in their sunset years. (These four regiments are the only regiments into which someone can permanently transfer after accession into a different regiment, though such transfers are voluntary and rare.) If nothing else, this gives each of those groups a distinct voice and the opportunity to barter their votes for fair treatment, beyond which perhaps no political system dependent upon consent of an empowered majority can really go.


Finally, we must address two peculiarities of Balboa’s political system: 1) its structural traditionalism and conservatism – so at odds with its partial but widespread socialism – and 2) that, as a practical matter, the dead keep their vote, if not indefinitely, then often long after they have died. The latter is reinforcement for the former.

Consider: War, which is perhaps the Balboans’ major export industry in the form of high priced auxiliaries, typically reduces the numbers, hence the political power, of those who have no objection to waging it. Under the Balboan system, while those individual numbers may be reduced, the political power of the class that feels that way remains at full strength, since the centuries in which those people were joined vote at full strength on their behalf, even after death.

Consider: People tend to grow more conservative with age. The fact that members of centuries are not replaced means that those centuries grow older and more conservative even as their strength of numbers lessens. This weights the Balboan political process, more or less heavily, in favor of conservatism and traditional values.

Consider: The entire gamut of philosophies we tend to think of as Liberalism, Internationalism, Cosmopolitanism, Tsarist-Marxism, Progressivism, Humanitarianism, etc. have as one of their major values one form or another of anti-militarism. These people, and Balboa has something approaching its share, tend not to join the Legion, not to be accessed into political centuries, to be barred from most public offices (though some do squeak through into the legislative assembly), and thus to be effectively politically disenfranchised, even though they may retain the right to vote for the Legislative Assembly.



157 thoughts on “On Revolutions and Governance

  1. In my experience, military veterans have their heads inserted rectally in about the same proportion as the general population, and those drawn to political office are as weaselly as the civilians. Pace Robert Heinlein, but rule-by-veteran is just another social-dominance ploy.

    1. There is truth in this. One only need look at those at the highest levels of command, either active duty or those who’ve retired and become talking heads on news shows, to see that there’s about a 50/50 split, no matter the ideological axis used to split them.
      Though it does tend to reinforce the notion that the military is one of the most egalitarian of organizations, which is why it baffles me that liberal-types oppose it so.

    2. If you’re talking about intelligence in voting, you’re talking a fantasy. Nobody votes intelligently, not you, not me either. People vote instinctively, as they do nearly everything instinctively, and then rationalize from there. I invite your attention to The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt. In any event, since people vote instinctively, the important thing is getting more people voting with the proper instincts, and fewer from, say, the free shit army or gulagsRus.

      1. Um… I have several problems with that theory of human behavior. It’s an offshoot of behaviorism, and like Heinlein I think every time a dog drools a Pavlovian rings a bell. (I ran screaming from Psychology after a couple of semesters, largely because of behaviorism and its offshoots.)

        It is by itself incompatible with a democratic republic or individual freedom of any sort. Philosophically and from observation, I reject it. In fact even if it were proven to be true, I would reject it, because it’s a justification for enslavement and a pushing of of humans to the level of (mere) animals. In fact, I would strive to make it untrue. (None of this is needed, if required I can do a post debunking it. Like most theories of the human mind it ignores the inconvenient facts.)

        In my experience humans default to instinctive behavior only under extreme stress — which I’ll grant you most of humanity lived under for most of history. The rest of the time we’re controlled by other processes some of which could/should be called thought, and some of which are purest indoctrination and fall under “instincts would be more rational.” A lot of this, yes, has to do with our “instinct” as social animal, but that said has been twisted to serve irrational purposes by people NOT acting on instinct.

        I’ve read the books of the instinct-people and the ones of the “everything is predetermined” (Closet Presbyterians who try to fit this with alleged atheism. Pfui.) I think in most of it they’re seeing what they want to see.

        Also, and btw, observed more and more is a partial or total failure of instincts in a certain type of mind, which is why they keep classing kids as Aspergers or Autistic (and I don’t think most of those diagnoses are valid.)

        Anyway — I know we have different views of society, and I think they come from this. I think humans most of the time have if not the actuality the ability to be rational authors.

        I realize it is a total side note. But I’ve expressed this opinion before and it bears reiterating.

        Such as it is, it is my opinion from extensive reading and study and obviously you’ve reached different conclusions.

        1. Lemme tell ya the hilarious part of that, Sarah. I wrote an afterword for COUNTDOWN: H Hour, in which I said precisely that, that intellect is a fraud, for the most part, (an opinion I acquired in law school but which was heavily based on experience in the Army) and people operate instinctively and emotionally, and _then_ read Haidt’s book, which pretty much proved I was right. Oh, and annoyed the left like you wouldn’t believe, not least because Haidt became a recovering liberal in the course of his research.

          My experience of people, which is not small, is entirely different. They operate instinctively and only use real thought, as opposed to rationalization, as a last resort when all else fails. Why? Among other reasons because they’re lazy and fearful. Fearful of what? Of having their instinctive universe crumble. Takes a brave man, like Haidt, to face the destruction of his conceptual universe.

          That’s how we get you, and me, and Eric Flint, all bright people, coming up with such radically different sets of opinions, outlooks, and values. Now, someone can say that I’m stupid and I’ll admit it’s a matter on which people of good conscience can differ. But they can’t say you are stupid or that Eric is stupid within earshot of me or I’m going for my gun. And yet how can you and Eric differ so greatly? Instinct and emotion.

          1. There’s also rational ignorance involved. The amount of effort to be educated is grossly disproportionate to any impact of one’s individual vote.

            1. And then there’s the difference between educated and indoctrinated. Higher education, once concerned with the former, is now mostly geared to the latter, where the latter means, “reduction in the ability to think.”

              1. Higher? Sorry — my kids had to start being de-programmed in elementary AND when they told me their classmates couldn’t think at all, I thought it was just my kids being my kids. Then a bunch of their classmates (gifted, brightest of the bright) invaded my blog. The horror wasn’t that they wouldn’t THINK. The horror was that they couldn’t. (And I’ll grant you it is possible to reduce someone to that state by indoctrination — where all they have is fear and instinct. But it isn’t right, and it isn’t natural, not for everyone.)

          2. Nah. I’d probably have been a dyed in the wool communist, if I hadn’t got to experience their little fiefdoms and paradises from sixth grade on. It’s like a vaccination. 😉

          3. Is it possible, Colonel, that your evaluation of humans is biased towards how we behave under stress? Professionally, you mostly encountered people in the military training for a very stressful occasion, and then trained for what is essentially the civilized version of dueling or trial by combat.

            As for the different conclusions argument, it might be a matter of different data sets leading to different conclusions. IIRC, you once acknowledged that based of the data from the end of WWI, pacifism made sense.

            1. And based on the common (aka non specialized) dataset of late 19th century communism wasn’t a bad idea.

              The reason I said except for my experiences I’d be a dyed in the wool communist is that I tend to be attracted by shiny ideas, and it would probably be worse if I hadn’t got my nose shoved in with force. As part of this my brother and I are very similar in temperament and he’s a communist (though he’d describe himself as a socialist, but he’s drifted redder through the years.) The problem is that for him the experiences came too late, and also he didn’t have the same ones I had. (I have a tendency to run afoul of rules. No, I don’t know why. I’m sure it’s not my fault. 😉 )

            2. Might, Ori, except you can give people exactly the same data sets and they will still, typically, come up with different conclusions. People reason, sometimes flawlessly, from certain innate premises. Those premises differ. That is how I can be a militaristic hyena and conservative, minarchical timocrat, what Sarah’s a libertarian and Eric is not called “Eric the Red” for nothing. Things in data that affront those innate premises? They are almost always rejected. For an experiment, try asking an objectivist how a society of Rand’s rugged individualists, _incapable_ of giving their lives to a higher purpose because, beyond themselves, there is and can be no higher purpose, deals with the altruitically motivated troops and secret police of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. The answers will a) set you to laughing and b) illustrate how immune to reason or contrary facts people can be and usually are.

              1. The answer to your to your question, to Objectivist, is that if you would rather die than work together with someone, you are not truely working from self-interest.

                If you want to live or die for the sake of someone, like a child or a higher cause you are free to make that choice, and are more than likely (My opinion.) work from self-interest that the price payed is worth it, or if something bad happened I couldn’t live with myself. If I’m expected to be resonsible, I expect everyone else to be the same. What I feel most Objectivist object to is that anyone that is not willing to work in their own self interst has any claim on what they have worked for and invested their life in.

                With few exceptions, children and those with reduced mental capasity to the point they can’t function in society like schizophrenia, no one is helpless.


                I wrote that before I even new who Ayn Rand was, and it comes from something my dad told me, “Josh, for every decision and action you make there are consequences: some will be good and some will be bad. So every time you make a decision or take action, you need to ask yourself, ‘what will the consequences be and can I live with them?’ If the answer is no then don’t do it. If you decide to do it anyway and the consequences comes to pass don’t whine about it, don’t make excuses and accept it like a man. You will have no one to blame but yourself.”

                And I wrote this because I’m not sure if anyone understands personal responsibility anymore.


                The left would say, “Government help us, because we can’t be bothered anymore.” But I’ve kind of given up on them understanding this one.

                Well that is my understanding of self-first, self-interest. It’s about taking responcibility for you self-first, then moving beyound that if needed. But I’m not an Objectivist, so I can’t really speak for them.


                1. That’s not really the answer the objectivist gives, Josh, largely because objectivism is just a warped fantasy emanating from a sick twisted bitch.

                  1. In her defense, Ayn Rand grew up philosophically abused. She went to a school system operated by true believers of the Communist religion, before it corrupted into something that could be called human. It would he surprising to see sane people come up from that environment.

                    Later generations at least had the benefit of growing up with people who mouth the platitudes instead of true believers.

                    1. Given how much her leading men resemble Hitler, on the one hand, and Stalin, on the other, I am skeptical of that, Ori. What? Hitler? Stalin? Oh, yes, both transcendentally motivated supreme eogists with utter ruthlessness. John Galt is their live child.

                      Josh was also making an error fairly typical of the intelligentsia and intellectuals, generally, and libertarian or objectivist intellectuals, in particular. This is the underestimation of the utility of emotion, and the power of habit or custom. See, reason cannot lead one to self sacrifice (except for one’s gene pool, and even that’s emotional in good part) if its at all possible to get someone else to sacrifice themselves. You know the old meme about cowardice on the battlefield carrying its own (death) penalty. Utter horseshit! The smart money runs early, while it’s safe. The ones who get butchered are the ones who stick around too long. Why don’t armies run, then? because reason had not a fracking thing to do with it. EMOTION is what holds them together, that, and the inertia of custom. Reason cannot. “A rational army would run away.” –Voltaire. Pity he wasn’t bright enough – a typical intellectual – to continue on to the logical inferences of that. Emotion rules reason both in the individual and, per his quote, the wider world.

                    2. The only Portuguese to survive world war I (btw, one of the utterly disgraceful feats of the early Portuguese republic, they sent the guys in unarmed and barefoot) ran, stole the messengers bikes, and when those failed, walked home. A local boy (disproportionately the regiments were drawn from the North. Partly because they are. If you view it as the opposite of the US in North/south Polarity, you’ll be right most of the time. Partly because the North was disproportionately conservative/royalist) who did this died in the eighties and there was a massive funeral.
                      I will agree with you on instinct on ONE thing — if my kids are even vaguely threatened I become… something else. It doesn’t seem to lessen with age. Forget momma grisly. I think it’s more momma dragon. It’s irrational and direct to the gut.

                      That said, while being libertarian, I DO understand societies change very slowly if they ever change and also that the experiments in changing them fast, like the last seventy years of indoctrination and the current unpleasantness normally come to grief.

                      And I’m not an objectivist. I’m a religious believer. As a joke — Ginny once got on AIM quite exasperated because she couldn’t find her Ayn Rand for a while. It had been packed for her move the same way RAH had them shelved. it took her a while to realize he’d shelved AR under “Fantasy.”

                    3. The Charge of the Light Brigade

                      Half a league, half a league,
                        Half a league onward,
                      All in the valley of Death,
                        Rode the six hundred.
                      ‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
                      Charge for the guns’ he said:
                      Into the valley of Death
                        Rode the six hundred.

                      ‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
                      Was there a man dismay’d?
                      Not tho'(though) the soldiers knew
                        Some one had blunder’d:
                      Theirs not to make reply,
                      Theirs not to reason why,
                      Theirs but to do and die:
                      Into the valley of Death
                        Rode the six hundred.

                      Cannon to right of them,
                      Cannon to left of them,
                      Cannon in front of them
                        Volley’d and thunder’d;
                      Storm’d at with shot and shell,
                      Boldly they rode and well,
                      Into the jaws of Death,
                      Into the mouth of Hell
                        Rode the six hundred.

                      Flash’d all their sabres bare,
                      Flash’d as they turned in air
                      Sabring the gunners there,
                      Charging an army while
                        All the world wonder’d:
                      Plunged in the battery-smoke
                      Right thro’ the line they broke;
                      Cossack and Russian
                      Reel’d from the sabre-stroke
                      Shatter’d and sunder’d.
                      Then they rode back, but not
                      Not the six hundred.

                      Cannon to right of them,
                      Cannon to left of them,
                      Cannon behind them
                        Volley’d and thunder’d;
                      Storm’d at with shot and shell,
                      While horse and hero fell,
                      They that had fought so well
                      Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
                      Back from the mouth of Hell,
                      All that was left of them,
                        Left of six hundred.

                      When can their glory fade?
                      O the wild charge they made!
                        All the world wonder’d.
                      Honour the charge they made!
                      Honour the Light Brigade,
                        Noble six hundred!

                      —Alfred, Lord Tennyson


                      I really don’t believe in absolutes. I do state most of my guiding principles in as absolute a fashion as possible. Guide posts if you will.

                      And no, I haven’t for gotten about emotional (monkey) brain.

                      I run to the tri-brain model of thought (Lizard, Monkey & Think).

                      In “Machete Season” Jean Hatzfeld documents a man in the Rwandan genocide who went out every morning to hunt Tutsi and hack them up—men, women and children—with machetes.  The man said that the taunts and jeering and laughter if he didn’t join in were much worse, ‘like a poison.

                      By Rory Miller from: http://chirontraining.blogspot.com/2013/02/cofv-lesson-3-second-model.html

                      Yes, emotion is great bonding experiance coupled with training & discipline with out guidance of the thinking brain it can lead you to some realy bad places, and you have to push your morals down deap to get the monkey to notice them With out This eads to groupthink and fanaticism easily abuse by those incharge. “I was just following orders.” “We must save the children!!! We must ban guns!”

                      If you just let your emotions rule…

                      My 2 cents,

                    4. Unsurprisingly, people miss the point. We live in a hostile world. There is not yet any practical theory on how to change that, because every theory for change begins locally, leaving that locality at the mercy of those who have not changed yet and won’t…because there is loot to steal, land to settle, women to rape, and slaves to take. So we are going to continue to live in a hostile world. To survive in that hostile world requires military force on a large scale. The individual doesn’t really count. While reason has a place in the application of military force, absent emotional ties of soldier to soldier and the mass to the society, the military force is worthless. It cannot stand in line of battle. Make them purely rational and you get Sarah’s distant kinsmen in the Great War, or Voltaire’s military ideal. Moreover, those emotional ties cannot simply be decreed. They grow naturally and strongly or they don’t grow at all.

                    5. Thus the utility of the Viking belief in Valhalla … and Hel’s worm-pit for those dying without sword in hand.

                      I presume, Col., that you have read Cornwell’s Uhtred of Bebbanburg novels. Do you care to comment on them?

                    6. Part 1 

                      Starts by addressing this & asking some questions:

                      “…absent emotional ties of soldier to soldier and the mass to the society,..”

                      And to tie it back to the the original post, what in your system, as described here, blocks or checks the rise of elitisism & shepherds mentality* from arising with in the regiments?


                      It’s seems  you’ve set the regiments a part from those who do not serve. You’ve isolated them from the civilian? You did mention marriages; not sure if that was between civilians & the regiments or between regimemts (Tercio Amazona)?

                      Onto my Logistics questions:

                      “Balboa is more properly said to be a mixture of a popular republic and a limited military near-dictatorship, existing side by side but with the better funded, more aggressive military branch gradually taking over more and more of the functioning of the country”

                      You mentioned a Command & Support regiment. Support usual entails; inteligence, communications, construction engineers, maintenance and logistics (Aquiring and moving supplies around, but rarelly manufacturing or growing their own food.).

                      I’m assuming the regiments are completely self-funded and pay for food an resources needed from the the civilian population. In times need who get’s priority on resources? I’m assuming the regiments. Are there contingencies for feeding the civilians (victory guardens)? I see no need for taxes, if the Regiments lone themselves out. I can see levied in times of personal strife. 

                      Policing is performed by the executive I take it?

                      How do the civilians feel about this gradual taking over the functions of society? Alluded to veterans getting out retiering and farming, is this just a gradual shift where there is less and less civilians with out prior service? Is this leading to two classes veterans and active, with vetrains taking over, by attrition, manufacturing & food production?

                      I guess I need to read the books to find out. 

                      Now of to bed. 

                      Part 2 will cover. (If anyone is interested?)

                      How I would set up a *Government* based on the Militia system & Anarcho-Capitalist principles.

                      How just because I advocate for forethought and restraint, doesn’t make me a pacifist of the sit back and do nothing about threats kind. I’m of the school of be decisive, swift and set an example of, you do not want to do that again.

                      The Prince

                      by Nicolo Machiavelli

                      CHAPTER XVII

                      “Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with. Because this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life and children, as is said above, when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you…”

                      “…Nevertheless a prince ought to inspire fear in such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred; because he can endure very well being feared whilst he is not hated, which will always be as long as he abstains from the property of his citizens and subjects and from their women.”

                      Can be said of those you lead and of those you fight.


                    7. Sarah, where did your premises come from? Let’s concede you reason superbly from them…but where did they come from? Do they arrive from the intellectual mostly-fantasy of natural law and natural right? Those don’t happen naturally; they’re the emotionally derived dreams of things some people wish were true. But in nature they rarely occur. There is almost no natural law or natural right, and what there is is not enough to build a society on. Are those premises things you wish were true, because they’d make you happy if they were? That’s emotion.

                      Oh, what natural law or natural right is there? You have the right to contract and it is somewhat self enforcing, hence natural, because people who violate their contracts in nature often find no one will contract with them any more. ANd you have the right to TRY to use violence…but no right to succeed in that use. Frankly, beyond those, I am stumped.

                    8. Premises arise from our fundamental values, which are emotional in origin. That is one of the few things gotten right by Citizen Kane.

                    9. Boot camp, basic, initial entry training, OSUT, don’t really change people in any serious or profound way, Sarah, however much the left wants to believe it, and however much the armed forces – any armed forces – self-congratulate about it. People, when they leave basic, are about 99% what they were when they entered it. All the really important – really important because the armed forces CAN’T give it – training the soldier gets he takes in with mother’s milk. Basic and unit training (which is far more important than basic) can build on that, but if the troop doesn’t come to the colors with the right outlooks and values, _emotionally_ and _instinctively_. we are not going to change 18 years of growing in 8 weeks…or 80.

                    10. Well, and these poor kids came from a chaotic country. But what I mean is also that there was NO unit cohesion and they barely knew each other. From what I’ve read (and I grant you I never served. In my day and where I was born it wasn’t an OPTION) you fight for the guy next to you as much as for whatever cause. You don’t turn and run, because then your friends will take in the neck.

                    11. My understanding is that military unit cohesion derives essentially from the basic infantry formation — the phalanx, the shield wall, the pike square — in which the safety of the unit depends on each member holding to their assigned duty. To what degree modern military tactics and doctrine have altered that psychology is an interesting topic.

                      It is also worth noting that this subordination of the individual to the whole is a primary attraction to the Left, forever seeking to achieve “something or other without war.” Which raises the question: are humans genetically evolved for this ability to fall into line and obey a commander?

                    12. Thing is, what are they striving for, eh?

                      My personal theory of why we lost the War in Vietnam was that, for the first time in American history, young men’s odds of getting laid were better for being antiwar than in uniform.

                    13. @ Josh. 1) Pretty sure I did _not_ mention a command and support regiment, though there are command regiments and support regiments. 2) How much apart do you think a militia system can be and how in creation can you imagine it being apart? 3) Why would you imagine they’re completely self funded?

      2. With all due respect, Colonel, the “Proper instincts” sentiment is what gets the whole idea into trouble.

        One of the cornerstones of our designed system of governance is the concept of equality before the law, that no matter who we are we are represented in the legislature and have equal access to justice. If we fall short of that ideal (and boy, do we ever), the flaw is in our execution of the idea, not a thumb on the Constitutional scale.

        I’ve seen many schemes to limit the franchise, whether based on military service, property ownership, or what-have-you, and every one is based on notions of class which are A. false and B. the very thing libertarians and conservatives are supposed to be fighting against. “Our folks have the proper instincts, those others just vote for goodies.” The moment you allow disenfranchisement based on class you have destroyed equality before the law.

        Military service as a prerequisite to the franchise has another fatal flaw: Militaries cannot accommodate everyone who might wish to become a full citizen. We couldn’t afford the damned things if they did, and what would happen to society if that many people marched off behind the band? What do you say to the willing applicant for whom there is no room? What about those who can’t serve? I am only not a veteran because my feet were too bad for either the Air Force’s or Navy’s Surgeon Generals to approve. You’d deprive me of the vote because of my feet?

        There are a limited number of billets available that place one in mortal peril for the benefit of one’s countrymen. Soldiers, cops, firefighters, that’s all I can think of at the moment. You can make the argument that these vocations are necessary to society, and they are, but they are not the only ones necessary. In our society as it is now (not some wishful-thinking ideal), the people who grow our food are necessary, as are the folks who clean our streets, repair our plumbing, build our ships, manufacture our tires, right down to wedding planners and nail artistes, who are necessary to somebody or the Marketplace wouldn’t have coughed them up.

        You are also faced with the problem of determining where the lines should be drawn. I know you didn’t address this but while I’m ranting I want to cover this one, too. How much property gets you the franchise? If I buy a 1-acre lot and subdivide it into square-yard parcels and sell them to the propertyless, would they qualify? If I did that in Midtown Manhattan, those parcels would be worth more than an acre of inaccessible Idaho mountaintop, I can assure you. Once you begin to set arbitrary boundaries like that you cannot prevent the process from becoming politicized, and morphing into a naked power-grab by the majority to shut out the minority.

        Like it or not, the universal franchise is the only system that offers the possibility of equality before the law. You don’t like how we’re doing it at present, and neither do I, but building class into our highest law won’t fix the problem, it will only make things worse. We can persuade, we can educate, we can, if we have to, simply stand aside while people reap the rewards of their shortsightedness, but we may not create an aristocracy in law. The one we have in fact is bad enough.

        1. As long as you admit you’re ranting…

          Property has nothing to do with this system.
          They take the mentally retarded and Quadraplegics, your feet wouldn’t be an issue.
          You are, unsurprisingly, missing the point with wedding planners, etc. It is not about utility to society. It is not about any kind of property requirement. It is about two things. One is recognition of the Great Helmsman’s eternal truth: “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” The other is self selection of people who place society’s good at least somewhat above their own. BY TEST.

          We have reached the end point with our society. Universal suffrage worked for a while. Now it doesn’t. We’re toast. History. Over and done with. A corpse awaiting burial. Get over it; it doesn’t work anymore. The electorate was educated to loot the fisc for short term gain and now the free shit army must continue to do so before it’s all gone.

          I have, by the way, absolutely no problem with figuring out where the lines should be drawn. Please don’t attrubute your limitations to me.

            1. That’s not personal, any more than claiming I have problems I do not, in fact, have is personal. It is, however, one of the sad truths of modern life that people, left and right – though the left is worse, I think – simply make the incredible assumption that what they don’t understand cannot be understood.

  2. For those of you not overly familiar with Colonel Kratman, his opinion of every member of the military above a certain level (anyone with General in their rank, as well as the upper echelons of the NCO ranks) is nearly unprintable in polite company. They define what is wrong with the military today, and therefore what the military-leadership-cum-talking-heads think or opine is virtually irrelevant to his point. They are in fact the PROBLEM, not the solution.

    If you want to understand where the Colonel is coming from, I highly recommend reading A Desert Called Peace – available in the Baen Free Library! – to understand the type of force the Legio del Cid is designed to be and how it differs from the US (or, FSC in the books) military that you are thinking of. It makes a drastic difference.

    As to why the Progressives hate the military, it’s simple. Be it ever so egalitarian, still it would not comply with their wishes, as personal honor and integrity SHOULD be a central part of any military. They have somehow succeeded in corrupting the leadership ranks, but those virtues in large part hold true at the lower levels. This is what they cannot understand, and therefore both fear and refuse to tolerate.

    1. I’ve known a couple of general officers personally. I’ve also known quite a few lower-ranking officers, and TONS of NCOs at all ranks. I can tell you in one sentence what is wrong with the generals AND the majority of those above the rank of E-7: they forget that their primary duty is to support and defend the Constitution. THEIR primary duty is to be “good soldiers”, and not make waves. That’s also the reason, though I am eligible to join them, I do not belong to any of the national veterans’ associations. The leadership positions of every one of them is filled by those same officers and NCOs. I am quite proud of my military service, and my rank of E-7, and I don’t need to show it off by being a “big wheel” in any group.

      The Progressives hate the military for the same reason they hate dozens of other groups: they can’t be in total control of it. If they can’t control it, it must be destroyed, or at least so weakened it has no influence.

      1. Mike, in the case of the Generals, the reason is simple: every General officer must be confirmed by the Senate. If you aren’t a politician, you simply won’t make it. That may have been a rubber stamp at one point, or we would never have had Patton; I can assure you that the politicians have noticed it now.

  3. Damn you Tom Kratman. After reading this I checked the sample chapters on Baen, and now I want the book – and I can’t AFFORD to buy books right now.

    1. you propose and I’ll deal. I have them all somewhere on my discs. let me look and I shall…email them to you. I have them in Kindle format though Winch Wench so …if you want them in another format you’ll have to use Calibre to convert them…

      1. I’ll speak for the wench. She has kindle.

        NEXT — Wolfie, ask his peevishness, the Basset, if he has his kindle (?) with him, because in that case I shall send stuffs. Oh, his kindle address or his amazon email might help too, though I can work around it.

        1. Sarah…he’s got his tablet with him I know that.
          odds are that’s got a kindle app on it. I’ll ask him next time I talk to him.

  4. Hmm, beginning around paragraph 8, I started thinking of Sparta. Given what I think of Sparta, I wouldn’t be looking to immigrate to your Balboa anytime soon. Granted, you talk about membership in these regiments being a matter of voluntary enlistment, but then go on to describe how they pervade and substitute for normally civilian functions of this society. I’m picturing the whole-country-as-army-post. In Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, however long you think his state of affairs would persist, the military/federal service was at least not the center of mass of the civilian society.

    In order to become a full citizen, you have to do it through these regiments. You have to live entirely at the mercy and within the bubble of this artificial culture. They feed you, they clothe you, they define your circle of friends. (Presumably they shape you to be the sort of person the government wants you to be.) So how much independent power does any citizen have if his regiment is the *problem* (whether he’s a nominal member or not, since they seem more all-pervasive than in Heinlein’s example)?

    Also, I don’t think it matters much if the veterans are the ones doing the voting. How much of a check on the power of the military officers is it if citizens have to spend years under the near-total control of this sub-society before they are “passed”? Having these guys as gatekeepers basically ensures that this particular class (and it will become a separate class with it’s own interests) rules the greater society with near absolute power. Given a monoculture among the political class, how would the rights of the citizens be protected? What sort of rights can you be said to have if everyone in power is unified in their interests and opinions, and sees you as not-of-their-tribe? IMO, it is a rare and principled person that has any respect for the rights of those not-of-his-tribe, when it comes time for action, not talk.

    Anyway, I suppose it depends on what the goals of the architects of this society are. America’s founders made a rather inspired attempt to keep the government subordinate to civilian society. The government is a tool of the people, not the other way around. I have a hard time imagining this society, that sees it as its duty to form and filter its politically empowered class according to a military ideal, as remaining servants of the people they seek to shape.

    1. “Full citizen only through these regiments?”

      Sorry but I didn’t take it that way. A non-military Balboan has the same citizens rights as a military Balboan including the right to vote.

      1. Hmm, I thought it was one of these “only the veterans vote” systems, as in Starship Troopers. A few paragraphs up it says that veterans of the regiments.

        As for the Senate – I think a lot of our problems with the Senate are that they are in power for far too long as it is, and too little accountable. Ours are 6 year terms with 1/3 being re-elected every two years. Yours are 8 year terms with 1/4 being re-elected. That’s even less responsive to the voting class.

        1. On first reading — and a quick review — I saw nothing regarding term limits on members of the Senate, and only an implied term limit on presidents (“have completed a second term without being impeached.”) It is through accumulation of seniority (and living in the capital bubble) that the worst senatorial abuses tend to accrue.

          Because the senators are accountable to their centuries it is possible that they will be more responsive; it is easier for 1% of the populace to caucus, among other things, and to express their views on their senator’s conduct.

          Nothing in here about the other house, or did something slip past my notice?

        2. Tom’s giving his “regiments” (both servicing military and retired military) a strong voice in the Balboan government but it isn’t the only voice in the government.

          While I don’t remember Tom mentioning the following (in the books), the Legions are the most powerful group in Balboa as well as the major source of income for Balboa.

          They (or their commanders) would have the potential to become the true rulers of Balboa even without an official voice in the government.

          Of course, direct rule by the military has taken place both here on Earth and on the fictional Terra Nova.

          IMO what Tom did was to give the Legions an official voice in Balboa’s government in order to prevent the Legions from being the *only* voice in that government.

          In addition, this voice is not controlled by the military leadership of the Legions but is answerable to the “rank-and-file” of the Legions both active and retired.

          Finally, from what Tom has said elsewhere, there are no perfect forms of government including his fictional one for Balboa.

          I doubt that he thinks that this form will “remain pure and good”.

          1. Well, I don’t mean this to be read as hostile. Just trying to raise potential flags with how I can picture this society as operating.

            I suppose I’ll have to read his books to get a better picture of what he has in mind.

              1. I didn’t either. I think it was the Colonel’s intent — he first asked my permission to post this as a comment (because it’s so long) but being a writer of incredible evil and being busy as h*ll today, I swiped it for a guest post — to stimulate discussion.

          2. Which raises a question: to what extent, in discussing this post, are we addressing the underlying texts, and to what extent do those merely illuminate the system described? It seems … wrong … to disadvantage in the discussion any who have not (yet) read the Colonel’s excellent tales.

            1. In my case, I was responding more to Sarah’s “wrapper” of the post regarding Heinlein, who I have read, and not Col. Kratman, who I haven’t.

            1. You know that many of the mercenaries that came to the States to fight Washington and his troops stayed, right? I was watching a genealogy program that was done by Ancestry.com (Who do you think you are). The lady found out that her third great or more grandfather was on the opposite of the Revolutionary War as a Hessian. He stayed in the US when given the option to stay. Many of his unit went home. This particular soldier became a landowner, married into one of the good families, and supported the newly formed US with contributions. It was pretty interesting.

              1. When we took prisoners during the Revolution, we had a tendency to go marching them up and down the colonies. They tended to disappear.

                Oddly enough, English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh — they all tended to disappear all over the place, but the Hessians disappeared overwhelming in Pennsylvania. Odd, that.

                1. Actually– 😉 after they were marched to certain places, the towns mayors would give the soldiers a way to stay. It was actually aboveboard– but they seemed to slip into some of the best houses i.e. the soldiers guarding the prisoners knew what was happening. This particular guy had to sign a paper that he would not fight against Washington’s men. It was the people who proclaimed themselves royalists that had a hard time in the Colonies. Ben Franklin had a son who stayed with the Royalists.

                  1. _Lost Men of American History_ covers this — a German baker (name escapes me) in the Colonies who provided bread for Hessian POWs, and while there regale them with tales of how nice it was to live here….

            2. There’s a technical difference, the difference defined by Machiavelli, between the Hessians (which term covers all the Germans who were sent here for the “Revolution”) and mercenaries. Technically the Hessians were auxilliaries, forces of a legitimate state, rented out by the state, rather than non-state individuals joining on the own or joining private organizations.

              1. Yes– I have been to a castle that was the center of sending auxillary troops to the Colonies at that time. It is now owned by the village and is a restaurant and hotel. Thanks for pointing out the difference– I do know it– but, I was doing a short-cut. 😉

              2. I was fascinated, though — I don’t remember what in heck I was reading this for (A lot of what I read in history hinges on finding an interesting title in the thrift store) — to discover that this COULD be a form of income for a small nation. As someone who grew up in a country whose major form of income was immigrant’s remittances, that part made sense. But that it was earned at war? Odd.

                1. It has been a while since I read into this, but as I recall the Hessian troops were conscripted troops not volunteers. I can just see the Lord of the Hesse looking over this year’s crop of troops.

                  1. Hesse wasn’t a super-duper nice place. The Crossing the Delaware book that came out a few years back had a ton about the Hessians, and they didn’t just conscript their own people, either. Some poor monk who shortcut through Hesse got conscripted and wasn’t even allowed to send word home to his monastery in another country. Same thing with merchants, beggars, people who didn’t speak German, etc. Sometimes travelers even got kidnapped out of towns near Hesse. A lot of Hessian families tried to encourage their kids to run to other countries as teenagers, when still too young to get conscripted. That said, a lot of the soldier groups themselves weren’t bad, once in them.

          3. That’s true, Paul, but what i really expect to happen, at some point in time, is that the Senate and the Legions will either get rid of the legislative assembly or subordinate it to them, or put it under the same rules. I, and Carrera, would argue against them doing that but they won’t listen.

        3. Our problem with the US Senate was that it was created to be the voice of State governments at the national level. Since the passage of the 17th Amendment, they’ve been the same kind of kleptocrats elected to the House. I am all for repealing the 17th Amendment.

        4. It is a case of only the veterans voting, but those are _discharged_ veterans, not serving troops at any rank. And the discharged veterans, still armed, by the way, counter the tendency to coup d’etat of the latin military mindset. “You can’t, because you’re outgunned.”

          I would say the problem with our senate is that they’re too much accountable to the lumpenproletariat. They were supposed to be a deliberative body above all that, but we screwed it up with the 17th amendment. This senate, however, isn’t a mirror of ours, nor is the bicameralism in Balboa quite as important, because this senate has its own funds.

          1. Self-funding the Senate is a good start.

            I propose elected representatives be paid from an annuity fund tied to the growth of (non-governmental) GDP. As the economy grows, their salaries and pensions grow, in direct proportion.

            I would like to require they forfeit all personal property to the fund upon winning election, but that’s just me being mean-spirited.

              1. That seems almighty harsh. I suggest they be fined* an arm and a leg and that we restrict hanging to repeat offenders.

                *Fine to be levied by properly certified surgeons (for example, in Britain use NHS cutters) and the option of robotic prostheses be held out as incentive to do better in the future.

        5. The Senate was forever corrupted when the Constitution was changed with the 17th Amendment which changed how Senators were chosen. Senators were originally decided by the states. They could could be appointed, which most were, or any other method the State determined. Therefore the Senators loyalty was to the state and not necessarily the voter or the whims of the voter which can be flighty at best. The House of Representatives was the peoples reps and that is why all fiscal matters are supposed to originate from that body. Today we have strayed so far from original intent that we no longer have a Republic and instead have devolved into a Democracy and the inevitable failure that awaits.

    2. To be fair, there are examples of national mandatory military service where the military doesn’t have total control of the resulting culture. South Korea is an example. But South Korea has a fully formed and independent civilian society that people can leave for after they serve their two years (and it is only two years). Even with that limitation, I had heard that the Korean military is somewhat abusive of its conscripts for whatever period of time they have them. If people have no choice, any authority they are placed under *will* be abused.

    3. PPS – A military monoculture in government may not even make for very effective military leadership. A previous commenter mentioned your opinions of our current military upper echelons.

      Think of the Air Force under the fighter generals, arguably the same group that still runs them today. They came into power during the Korean War, when fighter pilots got all the combat glory and promotions. Now, in order to make it to the O-6 level, you need to be the sort of person the promotion boards (staffed by O-6’s) approve of. The culture is now entrenched, and it weighs on the sort of procurement decisions the Air Force makes. (Provided they can get anything through the massive military-acquisitions tumor that has grown in Washington). They’ve gone for the shiniest most gold-plated fighters they can get their hands on (granted, they are peerless at what they do), while dropping extremely effective support fighters like the A-10, and letting air logistics languish. In our military history class, they’ve gone so far as to suggest WWII showing the ineffectiveness of the older “bomber general” doctrine of strategic bombing. (head-desk). History is being rewritten according to the tastes of the current leadership.

      1. Nothing in here about the “Fourth Estate” (or is that “Fifth Column”?) Wouldn’t each century have its own news aggregator/blogger? How might that affect affairs?

        One of the gravest weaknesses of our present culture is the celebrification of the culture, as witness many polls and Leno’s “Jay Walking” segments which demonstrate people are generally more conversant of the American Idol politics than actual politics, largely because the nation’s Front Page has become indistinguishable from our Page Six.

        OTOH, the system described sounds like one that frees the individual citizen from having to pay close attention to politics, which in my view has always been a strength of the American system.

        1. I am going to quote you in an epigraph someday soon saying, “Fourth Estate…Fifth Column? What’s the difference.” Now do me a favor and write it out _exactly_ that way so it can be a quote rather than a mod. 😉

          1. “Fourth Estate…Fifth Column? What’s the difference.”

            Ooh, I have always wanted to be epigraphinated! The best epigraphs ALWAYS seem to be misquotes, e.g., “Play it again, Sam” or “You dirty rat.” Chesterton’s quip about “when man ceases to believe in God … he’ll believe in anything” and Orwell’s line about “an idea so stupid only intellectuals could believe it” both seem wholly not of their actual writing.

            1. Speaking of epitaphs — I misread first time — anyone know the origin of the epitaph in Starman Jones, “He ate what was put before him”? I feel sure I should remember, but I can’t.

              1. He wrote it, though it was differently worded:

                Oops – I thought the minor alteration of phrasing was a key part of the point I was making. The same circumstance applies to the Chesterton, Bogart and (to a lesser extent) Cagney “quotes.” Alteration of a quote to something that rings more psychologically true is a long-standing tradition which I am proud to join.

      2. That’s more a case of you are what you were back when. They’re starting with pretty solid military leadership (a few holes, of course, the world being both imperfect and difficult) selected by somebody who’s not too tightly wrapped (starkers, in other words, at least to begin with) but militarily competent. He sets up systemic methods of fielding larger forces, that will probably last a while after his death. They will not be perpetual. Perpetual anything that isn’t supernatural is noinsense. Everything weakens. Everything dies. Everything rots. This does not mean one shouldn’t try for the good for a practical amount of time.

      3. Oh, and speaking of “back when,” one of the flaws of all revolutionary theory is the notion that you can start completely afresh…even in turning the clock back to their mythical golden age(s). Nonsense, what you were, how you got to where you are, etc., all continue to have effect.

        One of my goals in developing the Balboan Timocracy is to answer, “How does somebody get there and what does it actually look and act like when they think they’re near the goal.” So, for example, as with a lot of Central American (or, on Terra Nova, Central Colombian) states, provinces don’t mean much. How do you get federalism, which is important to individual liberty and good governmental perofrmance, generally, when the sub-polities mean essentially nothing. That’s how the regiments ended up standing in for states and provinces.

        There already is a badly fund starved civil government that is mostly pretty corrupt. When Carrera turns most of his huge wealth over to the country does he put it in their hands? I don’t think so. Whose hands does he put it in? I mean, it’s his money; he wants it well spent. In practice, he and his boss _choose_ the first iteration of the senate themselves, one man or woman (well..not women, yet, because there aren’t enough in the legions yet) per regiment. Only later does that become democratic. And they chose _conservative_ which will carry on into the foreseable future, most likely.

    4. There is one other thing that you kinda missed. This is largely a militia army, like Israel’s and Switzerlands, though they spend more time training than the latter and have a larger cadre than either. Thus, the typical future citizen volunteers and is assigned to a unit in one of the 7 overlapping grids in the country (included among these, if he swings that way, is the Tercio Gorgidas and for women, Tercio Amazona). Then they do basic and MOS training, then get a few months with their regiment. After that, they are released from active duty and subject to training for 25 days and nights a year, plus a few admin days, if militia, or 77 days if they’re reservists. The regular cadres amount to 6% of the total force, reservists 18%, amd militia the rest.

      They don’t vote on anything nor hold any public office, until discharged after 10-12 years. The regulars, who are lifers, didn’t really prove they had much in the way of civic virtue – they, like me, liked that crap – so they don’t get to vote within their centuries until retired, at which point they won’t be around long enough to screw things up much, ere they croak.

      1. If it’s more of a reservist thing than 10 years of active duty prior to being granted the vote, then that is less of what I thought would be a corrupting/class-forming influence on your society.

        As in, these guys are still mostly civilians, earning their keep with civilian work and living in the society they will eventually govern; than a professional military class living apart in an all-military bubble for 10 years. In the latter case, I don’t see how they would avoid becoming a classic military aristocracy eventually. People’s loyalties lie with their families and those sharing their way of life, after all.

        1. That is indeed what I expect to happen eventually; the system will break down and the cadres will start looking out for each other’s kids. Bound to happen. Know what? So what? Every system breaks down eventually. And any system can be fine, for a while. That something is not perpetual, when nothing is perpetual, strikes me as no serious objection.

          See, people, in measuring right and wrong and good and evil, tend to meaure intensity, scope, breadth, depth. But all of those measures, taken together, are meaningless without the time dimension, duration. Paradise between two split seconds in worthless. Paradise between two split seconds followed by an eternity of Hell is worse than that.

          The question here, there, is does this work reasonably well for a while and, if so, how long. Do the alternatives – in this culture, pure military rule, corrupt oligarchical rule, or democracy that rapidly leads to one or the other – work better, for longer. No, they don’t.

          1. Heinlein says as much in _Starship Troopers_: “Why do we do things this way? Because *at the moment*, it works. If we need to do things differently later on, we will.” (I’d quote chapter, but my copy’s inaccessible at the moment.)

            The *really* smart monkeys are the ones who see the collapse coming, understand what sort of collapse it will be, and start setting up the replacement before the society itself has actually collapsed, thereby minimizing the time-between-civilizations….

  5. At first I was thinking Balboa (near Panama) so I was confused. I lived in that area for seven years. Then I realized a fiction world. I wanted to say that I used to repair phones and phone lines for flag officers. It was a very rare officer who didn’t abuse his power in the real world. Many of them had fiefdoms.

    1. I visited Balboa once 40 years ago, as a civilian teen on an aircraft carrier (long story). I remember the lecture we got before going ashore on never looking a policeman in the eye or having any expression other than a smile in his presence…and I remember the fruit vendor on the dock with a rat on a leash.

      1. We were there right after Just Cause so there were no street signs or traffic lights. You took your life in your hands if you drove (and yes, I drove). It was a strange place. The children who were their with the US military (families) had to leave Panama after three years because the lead from the gasoline was so terrible that the children could get lead poisoning. It was very interesting– I liked the animals actually. You knew were you stood with the snakes (don’t touch) and frogs. You never quite knew where you stood with the people.

          1. But Tom, aren’t you the baddest mo-fo in any valley you happen to be in? I thought that was a given.

          2. I was there seven years (2 years in the Navy) and the rest as a civilian contractor for the Army. 🙂 The hubby carried a .45 on his hip and was one of the baddest mo-fos there. I had a guy try to rob me at one of the stop-lights. I hit him with the door and yelled for the street corner sellers. They chased the guy off– I made friends with most of the sellers. I wasn’t known for my politeness when dealing with thieves. I started on the Colon side– now that wasn’t fun. 😉

            1. Let me tell you who the true baddest Mo-Fo in Panama was. He was an artillery forward observer who worked for me as a truck driver in my second platoon. Kid had done time in the Illinois States Pen as a 17 year old for murder II, until a fresh witness showed up who got him retried and acquitted. While he worked for me he killed, ISTR, four more people, and put five other in wheelchairs, paralyzed from the neck down. Always in self defense. Might have been five killed and four crippled.

              When Himmler thought “Superman,” he had somebody like this kid in mind.

              The kid drove ammo for me, and spent a lot of time at Rodman, so it wasn’t particularly unusual not to see him for a day or two, sometimes even three. Lots of initiative and very reliable, as well as very smart. (GT-136, I think it was.) Anyway, one day three days have passed and I haven’t seen him. I ask my platoon sergeant, “Hey, Sgt, Gregory, where’s Dau?” “Ummm…didn’t I tell you sir? Ummm…I could have…” “No, you didn’t tell me.” “Ummm…he’s in the hospital with some…ahh…knife wounds…quite a few of them.” “And what happened, sgt?” “Ummm..gee, I’m sorry, sir. Could have sworn I told you. Five Panamanians with knives jumped him.” “And how many lived.” “Ummm…two sir. They’re paralyzed and the others are dead.” “And Dau?” “He’ll be fine, sir. And the locals aren’t pressing charges.”

              THAT was the true baddest mo-fo in the valley.

              1. I agree that young man was the mo-fo of the year (decade or even century)– my hubby and I used to work on equipment for several Army and AF installations there. (I know where Rodman is)– Anyway, we met a lot of Seals and Rangers. One Ranger would invite us to his house (he had a wife and two children) for grilling steaks when he wasn’t on missions. He was crazy– great family, great guy, but crazy–

                1. For me Dau was great because I was significantly smarter than he was. But for anybody else they tried to put him under, he was an amazing pain in the ass. It took effort and talent to keep him interested and under discipline.

                    1. Too bad– I lost a lot of friends when we moved from Panama. I keep in contact with a few that worked with me at Quarry Heights as a civilian… but I have also lost contact with some of our interesting friends.

                      We had a friend who used to play Jazz, etc. at the Quarry Heights Officer’s club when we were there. He’s now in Orlando (retired) and plays in some of the clubs there.

                  1. he was an amazing pain in the ass. It took effort and talent to keep him interested and under discipline.

                    Sort of you like yourself, but with less self-discipline?

                    1. Having written for hire — the only interest being “I need to pay the mortgage” — it ended up feeling like I was two people — mom and unruly infant. I chased the infant all over, set it at the keyboard, where it drooped and sagged and said “Don’t wanna.” Then I squeezed out a few lines, and the infant was off again.

                      It CAN be done — for me at least. Though if I didn’t have a family and love the idiots, I wonder if I’d have bothered. I could always move — but it gave me a case of burnout like nobody’s business.

                    2. I have found the secret of this type of thing is to find a way to find a necessary task interesting. Otherwise I would never do much beyond … well, leave us not go there, eh?

                      For the lively mind there is usually a way to find any task interesting, believe it or not. Okay – no data entry. I would rather dig ditches than data entry. Data entry makes my system go into power save mode faster than anything else I’ve ever done.

                    3. I skipped most of the tedium of being a major by being either an Inspector General or a Director of Plans, Training, Mobilization, and Security. Most major jobs suck little green…never mind, but those two aren’t bad.

  6. Vaguely reminds me of the African warrior society in King’s Solomon’s Mines. I wonder what these people face to accept such militarization of daily life.

    You’ve saved me the trouble of continuing on working on the book I was starting. I was thinking of something with “an adaptable monarch”. It was basically a society where the corrupt political classes and masses were ruled by a monarch placed there by the republican leaning military (the military acted as if they hated the monarchy) which ruled Earthside and the spaceside was made up of those willing to serve in the military or become armed colonists spaceside while under threat by a truly alien life form. The colonists had a much harder life physically but were freer and were made up of those sick of the Earthside lifestyle. The monarchy was designed to leave alone those who left Earth by basically considering them traitors to Earth thus freeing them from Earthside citizenship.

    I need to make my potential book more personal. The Colonel has this really thought out.

  7. Reading this — and the comments — I realize what we left out of the discussion (So You Say You Want a Revolution) the other day. One of the major differences between the American Revolution and almost all others was that the people were involved in both fighting a revolutionary war, but also formulating a government. The Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress, and even the Articles of Confederation were mainly formulated DURING the war, not afterwards. Most other revolutions, including the French Revolution, the fighting came first, and any thoughts of a new form of government came later.

    1. Yes, and the Articles stank. They stank so much that they scared off skunks and inspired the government they formed to dissolve itself in the face of no opposition whatsoever. They just were so incompetent that they couldn’t stand it.

      Whereupon some representatives got together — after the war — and made our constitution in total secrecy. The people were not involved until it came up for ratification. (Which was Good. It meant those people could backtrack without ruining their careers.)

      1. Yea– if you read any of Washington’s letters, he was very unhappy with the government and their inability to give his troops food and clothing. It was so weak it stank. Oh yea, and soldiers. Many of them would leave for planting and harvesting.

    2. Mike, the French Revolution example depends on what you mean by fighting, because in some ways the Revolution preceded the war. 1789’s events began with the Revillion Riots, then the meeting of the Estates General, the Tennis Court Oath, Bastille Day, a new form of assembly is created, the Great Fear, which swept the country as peasants worried that the nobles will try and regain their feudal rights, and then the women of Paris hauled Louis et al into Paris. Just over a year later, in 1791, after a lot of legal changes and unrest, Louis tried to flee. Between that and the massacre of the Champ du Mars (military fires on protesters), the National Assembly panicked, thinking and that a conspiracy was underway to put Louis back on the throne. Then in 1792, the Hapsburgs announced that they indeed wanted Louis back on the throne, and what we think of as the French Revolution (the Terror, the Jacobins, et al) got rolling. With various local murders, massacres, arson, and other things continuing almost from 1791 on. And in the middle of this you had the Vendee (civil war at some of its worst, in 1793) followed by Thermidor (1794), the Directory, and then this artillery officer with grand ambitions got involved. France was at war from 1792 – 1815.

            1. In order to keep from inundating the innocent, would those interested in a slightly-annotated bibliography of the French Revolution (with a little Napoleonic overlap) please e-mail me at AlmaTCBoykin [at] AOL[dot]com? Thanks. I’ll send it out as a Word doc unless someone needs it in another format.

              1. awwwwwww…… c’mon, you know you want to inflict totally innocent (there are innocents on here?) bystanders who are searching later, put it up for posterity!

                This place is getting infamous for expanding reading lists – join the madness!

          1. *looooong sigh* I’ll see what I can pull up that is relatively non-academic (i.e. deadly dull).
            If I’m never heard from again, someone had better check my storage unit and see if I’ve been buried under a bibliolanche.

        1. (Sorry for picking on a typo, but the spirit is weak.)

          I wasn’t aware pert could be taught.

          I now I must muse on the idea that pert typically is only used to describe young ladies and boobies. There must be some other way to use it in a sentence … although I am now considering the implications of somebody being ex pert …

            1. So – carpe piscatus, seize the fish?

              Wait – Google Translate says “catch” is “capere”, so “capere piscatus”, catch the fish. 🙂

          1. As a soon-to-be 55 year old female, I know that my boobies are definitely ex pert.

            I don’t hold with denying my age. Every birthday is celebrated as another year that the universe didn’t take me out.

    3. Yes but the Continental Congress was not originally a revolutionary group. It was a group that was formed to represent Continental grievances with Parliament and it hoped to be recognized by Parliament and if not Parliament then by King George III (whom they respected much more than Parliament). When recognition was refused and Parliamentary stupidities like the Intolerable Acts exacerbated the tension then the Declaration of Independence was written and signed. This only strengthens the argument that a revolution just cements what is in reality existing. The Americans had a social structure whereby trusted leading citizens could be elected to solve a problem (how to achieve representation within the British governmental system). Were a mature society with the means to fund, and maintain a Congress and then an army (which meant a workable and recognized system of taxation and of formally hiring soldiers). Great Britiain bleeped up by seeing the 13 colonies as a rebellious entity whose creation of a Congress showed a tendency to be wayward and primitive rather than as mature and organized and needing a formal fair relationship. Imagine how a future people would see a potential rupture in America. A country with all the advantages and a stellar future unable to appreciate its own citizens. From a historical perspective the Obama bleepups deserve to be ruined, poor and ridiculed.

      1. Indeed, our “revolution” began and, arguably, ended as no such thing. We already had our rights, our systems, our way of doing things, that we were fighting to preserve against a parliament grown grasping that was trying to unilaterally change the deal. Even later, post 4 July, 1776, we were still doing nothing but trying to preserve what we had, we’d just come to the conclusion that it couldn’t be preserved while we remained attached at the hip to England. We, rather than having a revolution, had a conservative – in every sense – _counter_revolution.

        The nearest to a real revolution we had was the writing and ratification of the constitution.

  8. Voting by gut is rational; it is intuitive and encompasses the entirety of one’s life experience, including things one can’t put one’s finger on but know to be true. People hire and marry by gut, when it comes down to it.

    Of course, it’s possible to mess up people’s intuition and gut knowledge by limiting their life experience and teaching them nothing but lies. The advantage is that those treated that way tend to teach the next generation the same way, except without the knowledge that it’s lies they’re teaching.

    Voting by logic is apt to be irrational, because people tend to oversimplify decisions when they think they’re being logical. Spherical cows are a fine approximation for certain math purposes, but real life cows have a lot of non-spherical attributes.

    Of course, combining intuition, experiment, and logical thought is the most powerful way to go, but it still doesn’t guarantee infallible results.

  9. Starting a New Thread(Hope that is OK.)

    Tom Kratman –

    @ Josh. 1) Pretty sure I did _not_ mention a command and support regiment, though there are command regiments and support regiments. 2) How much apart do you think a militia system can be and how in creation can you imagine it being apart? 3) Why would you imagine they’re completely self funded?

    1. Upon reread it looks like I confated some of it into my own understanding.

    One grid layer is composed of combat regiments, of which it is believed there are about forty. Parallel to that is another grid which defines combat support regiments – artillery, combat engineers, air defense artillery, military police, and the like. Parallel to those is a grid layer of headquarters and service support regiments.

    2. See Part 2. But in short it wouldn’t be apart from, but a integral part of society. I’m talking old school Militia; meaning an armed populace and all able bodied men (&women) should be armed ready to defend themselve & their community. 

    3. I don’t know you mentioned:

    “War, which is perhaps the Balboans’ major export industry in the form of high priced auxiliaries…”

    Thought they’d charge enough to cover expenses and to set up a buffer for between engagements.

    But that might just be the capitalist in me.

    The only time I saw them needing to ask anything of the civilian population was if Balboa itself was attacked or during extended times of peace, when the reserves tapped out.

    Still working on Part 2. My job actualy expects me to do work. Can you believe that? The nerve of them.


    1. A militia system is what Israel and Switzerland have, and most of the Scandies used to have. The key is in the word “system.” It is possible to have a merely conceptual militia, as we do, without the system that makes it effective. Yes, the _Legiones del Cid_ are self funding. Individual regiments are not.

      1. Yes Sir, I know, and it is what we in the US use to have too. From my understanding Switzerland’s is based on what ours was(kind of) and was ment to be.

        The problem with the Colonial & Ariticle of Confederation was it was ad hoc with no standardization between tactics & training; i.e., states and the organized milias in them were doing their own thing. Plus at that time the states still saw themselves as seperate, so what happend in one state wasn’t always seen as import in an other.

        Sorry, I’m such a slow writer.

        Should have part 2 done by noon (2/26/13) today.

        Think about posting it here: https://accordingtohoyt.com/2013/02/25/what-a-piece-of-work-is-man/#comment-58143

        Or both replying here & there.


        I was thinking The Legiones del Cid was like the name for the whole Balboa millitary. But I guess it more in line with the French Foreign(?).

      2. Part 2: (This just kept growing and growing & still needs serious editing.)

        Points of reference:

        “Unsurprisingly, people miss the point. We live in a hostile world. There is not yet any practical theory on how to change that, because every theory for change begins locally, leaving that locality at the mercy of those who have not changed yet and won’t…because there is loot to steal, land to settle, women to rape, and slaves to take. So we are going to continue to live in a hostile world. To survive in that hostile world requires military force on a large scale… …Moreover, those emotional ties cannot simply be decreed. They grow naturally and strongly or they don’t grow at all” – Tom Kratman

        “Boot camp, basic, initial entry training, OSUT, don’t really change people in any serious or profound way, Sarah, however much the left wants to believe it, and however much the armed forces – any armed forces – self-congratulate about it. People, when they leave basic, are about 99% what they were when they entered it.” – Tom Kratman

        If I was mad supreme dictator for the day this what I would do. (And I would start with # 8 if not.)

        1. Disband Congress all they do as pile laws on top of laws. In the name of fixing problems they created.

        2. Disband the Executive, Treasury and The Fed. 

        3. Disband the Judiciary reinstitute a fixed common law as the supreme law of the land. Instead of courts a mediation system will be instituded with a fixed yearly fee of 10% of the average monthly income or $100.00 whitch ever is higher (guesstimation as example). Mediators will have a stipend( fixed @ the adverage yearly income), a house and a car provided, but will not be allowed to hold any assets in their name. (Any assets that they aquired before becoming a mediator will be donated to help pay for the standing military. Concept stolen from Michael Z. Wiliamson.)
        Mediators will be called on to settle disputes and mediate negotiations be tween parties. 
        If caught taking bribes expulsion from the country or a fine of  3 times the average person life time earning potential (see 4.). Money goes to those damaged for any bad decisions. 

        4. No prisions. People work off debt incurred (If someone brings suit against someone for a capital offence the mediator will oversee a jury of peers passes judgment. Punishments include a fine for damages (In the case of lose of life total expected Life earnings.), expulsion, confiscation of assets to pay damages, from the country or the family can call for a duel to be held by a member/proxy (also stolen from Micael Z. Williamson.). They will be monitored with an ankle bracelet & assigned a publics work detail any fines debt owed. Debt owed goes to those harmed. They will be payed 2/3 under market value to incentives use of them, will be mostly grunt work, and 1/3 of what they do make goes to pay off debt.

        5. Re-institute the Militia, requirer everyone to go thru a 2 to three week gun safety course & and a rifle marksman’s course like Appleseed’s. Teaching history of Militias & expected duties & responsibilities.
        (Not everyone will buy in. But requirer everyone to own a gun, if they just want to store their guns in a gun safe and never touch them, fine).

        6. No license to cary or transport weapons of any kind, any kind!

        7. No institutional police force. Each community, group or business can sponsor or set up volunteer public safety like paramedics & firefighters. People can set up private investigating firms, and security firms to provide security for business & persons. But mostly you are responsible for your own life and keeping it safe. 

        8. Education. Starts with the family. Home Schooling shall be the norm. But if communities want to set up community learning centers that would be grate. Also what is taught in Basic military training can be taught at the High-school level, an example: http://www.mma-tx.org/

        The model I would institute:

        9. To support Militia training and healthy competition between community Militias. There will be different national competitions and leagues to compete in. With sponsors & the like. This I feel would also produce a national unity and pride.
        Traing norms should be one weeked a month with once a year a two week training exercices at the local county level. Once every two years a month long reginal/state traing exercise to be interposed with a national training exercices. 

        10. There will be a standing military force; not to exceed 10% of the population. As our goal is not to invade or hold any territory but our own, a large standing infantry army is not needed. The Army well be comprised of Spec Ops & Combat support troops. Air Force’s job insure our own airspace is secure.
        Navy & Marines role will be as a mobile ready strike force. And should be able to field one to two Carrior Strike Groups for each of the major oceans (1 in the Atlantic, 1 in the Mediterranean, 1 in the Indian Ocean, 2 in the Pacific, 2 to cover roving duties; cover shore leave and anytime carrier is off station.  28 Carrier Groups needed for a 6 month deploment to 1&1/2 year training/repair schedule. The millitary will be payed for with a 2% national sales tax, and I feel vets will contribute extra & certain interested industries will too.
        The Millitary will be under a central command and be commanded by the senior ranking officer. No power to levey extra funds so he better be judicious in using the resourse at hand.
        The millitary will have no perminant bases over seas. If places like South Korea want us to proved military cover they can pay us. No free rides. 

        11. I believe that vets once out will have a thriving business in training and insuring the Militia is up to speed and passing it on to their kidds.

        12. The economy will be pure free market. What will keep it in check is that the companies will be 100% liable for lagitimite damages; i.e., Not damages caused by consumers own stupidity. I feel that more and more publications like consumer reports will become the norm.
        Also employees will be able to organize over safety issues; not pay.! If you don’t like what you’re being paid quit or negotiate a better deal.

        13. On War Lords, Terrorist Groups and crime. They don’t just magicaly appear. It takes time & resources. Take Al Qaeda 9/11 was their third attempt take them down, plus the USS Cole, Somalia ’92… For what ever reason we didn’t take them seriously. We had plenty of reason and opportunity we didn’t take it. Will there be lone gunmen incidents & small groups, yep. Even today the percentage of the population that commit these acts is quite low. Under this system I don’t see it being any worse and probably much lower, because of attrition and better education of youth. Hard to grow a criminal organization when your target population is as well armed as you.

        1. Correction:

          “…plus the USS Cole, [along with] Somalia ’92… For what ever reason we didn’t take them seriously [and they sure as hell didn’t take us seriously].”

        2. The Colonel could answer you on permanent bases overseas much better than me, I do however believe that some are probably needed for our national well being (probably not as many or in the same places as what we currently have). I would make some changes however, as you stated those countries that want us to provide military cover can dang well pay for it, those would be classed as long-term temporary bases however (technically a forward base). Our permanent overseas bases should be OURS, not a small area in a technical ally’s (ie Pakistan) territory, where they restrict our operational capabilities.

          1. I was think more a long the lines of something like the French Foreign Legion where veterans can join, with the expressed agreement that they would take no action against there own people. They would be independent of the military. Whose responsibilities of defending the mainland.

            As to foward operating bases, that role would be better served/covered by the Navy Carrier Groups.


            1. What about operations that need a signifigant number of boots on the ground? Navy Carrier Groups wouldn’t be ideal for that. Unless you are planning on expanding them to carry large amounts of infantry, including mechanized? They simply do not work as well as a staging area for large numbers of troops.

              1. The militaries job is not to hold land, but only punish offenses. And if someone piss you off bad enough, you fill you might be their a while, you build a beachhead and stage from their. With the understanding it’s just long enough to get the job done, then you go home.

                1. I disagree with you, but don’t feel I have the knowledge to argue this point further articulately, so I’ll leave it be. (Also because I tend to lean towards the philosophy that if someone PO’s you bad enough, and you don’t want their land, or to save something on it, the proper response is to remove them from existence, not punish them.)

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