Monday, May 28, 2007

Fluff and Flutter, and political succession

The fluff and flutter refers to how I've been developing the knowledge base. Anyone who's more interested in political succession should skip to the end.
Saturday night, after I had done my blog post, I thought more about the idea I had, and decided it probably wasn't going to work. But I was also rather unsatisfied with the pace things are going. The demand-oriented approach is still basically the approach I want, but it was starting to look like a lot of others that have lost focus and bogged down; too mechanical and not satisfying enough. I decided that this was because I had made too many arbitrary rules for myself that resulted in a lot of bouncing around and not making the connections that needed to be made while focusing too much on ones that were less important. Fluff and flutter, in other words. So, I decided, it was time to go back and revise my rules for deciding which connections to look at next. On to the review of progress.
The connections of the main history page to the rest of the base are fairly solid and well developed, and there wasn't anything that called for a general overview of history, so no additions there. For Classical and medieval history, I made connections to National governments and government structure. Modern history included reviewing of links to cities of Western Civilization. In the 19th century, international government (There were plenty of alliances and diplomatic agreements that preceded the kind of international arrangements we are familiar with), and government structure. The 20th century now has links to the section on particular schools, not that I have any of them yet) , and to Educational organization. The early 21st century now allows a peek into periods just before ( late 1990s) and just after ( the future), and future studies can make some use of the industrial revolution (and developments related to it) and industrial societies.
For sociology, there is a connection to educational organization and cultural institutions (for instance libraries and museums). People are connected to religious beliefs, modern compact types of international government, national governments, government forms, and government activities. Nations are clear to connect to a couple more cities. Communities in general weren't called on to link to anything, but for Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro have summaries for the 19th century. (I'd heard of Copacabana, but I didn't know that's where it was) There wasn't anything at the general level for social structure and change, but the industrial revolution can now be connected to peoples, and industrial societies to the 20th century.
There was a fair amount of work within institutions. For religion in general, I have a connection to futures studies, and for beliefs, one to peoples. There was more activity in government, to the early 21st century and into the future, and particular governments also into the early 21st century. For international governments there is a connection to culture, and modern compacts have a connection to sociology. National governments have a connection to peoples and institutions, government structure to the 20th century, and forms of government have some connection to modern history. (That's forms like republics, monarchies, and so forth, not like those the United States Internal Revenue Service inflicts on taxpayers, .although eventually I may get around to those, too). In government activities, I added a new page, succession. That's for inheritance, appointments, elections, coups and assassinations,, and other methods for gaining political position and power. There wasn't any call for economics, this time, but there was for education. There were a couple of checks called for. In particular schools I added a page for secondary schools, educational organization linked to peoples, and for cultural institutions, to modern history.
There were a few other link checks I didn't mention, but most of the others involved either creations of new links, or some expansion on the discussion. that was already in place. Overall, it felt more like real progress.

Since a great deal of what is recorded as history is political, I thought I'd throw in an aside. Few things make you more aware of how important the problem of succession in government is than a review of history. There are several possible methods, including inheritance (not used much anymore), appointment (usually for lower officials), election, and coups and assassinations. Have I left any out, or does that cover most of the possibilities? Inheritance has a problem, mostly because there is no way to guarantee that your heir will be any good at the job. of governing. Appointment is a problem, because who is going to do the appointing, and do they have power to rectify a bad decision? Election has problems, because what if the election is rigged, the loser doesn't accept the results, and what if the incumbent refuses to step down when the term of office is up? Coups and revolutions present a problem, because the ruler has the advantage and you usually have to catch him (rarely her) by surprise, the struggle is likely to be bloody and disruptive, and it sets a very bad precedent: The next fellow has just as good a right to overthrow you.

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