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Author Topic: A Second Speech to the Ziu from a Citizen  (Read 2836 times)

Offline Baron Alexandreu Davinescu

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A Second Speech to the Ziu from a Citizen
« on: December 04, 2021, 07:01:12 PM »
Talossa:

We have a problem.  Well, we have many problems, but only one is actually important: disinterest and inactivity.  It's not just our biggest problem, it's an existential problem.  If we don't solve it, then none of the other problems will really matter.  You might want the monarchy's powers restored or eliminated; you might want the Cosa shrunk to twenty seats or eliminated entirely; you might want to restore your vision of a Talossan past or abandon it for a new future.  But none of those things really matter that much if Talossa simply ceases to exist.  And that's the threat.

I'm not trying to play up the drama.  I'm not going to claim that the country will die next week or next month.  But our Secretary of State is right to call this a decline -- and we're deep into it.  When our Ministreu del Interiör points out that "the number of new, active citizens in Talossa is worryingly low," he's just noting the obvious.  We've been on this decline for years.  It needs to be the top priority, before it becomes too late.

And it will, eventually, be too late.  There will come a point of no return.  There will be a moment where our active citizenry has shrunk to the point where we can no longer credibly attract interested new citizens.  Citizens are active in Talossa because they feel like they can really make their mark on something that's old enough and big enough that it matters.  Laws matter because there are citizens to help.  Leadership matters because there's a nation to guard.  Culture and media matter because there are readers to reach.  If there's no one to govern or lead or listen, then what's the point?  To reign in the ashes?

In other words, Talossa works because it's not a vast ocean like so many countries, but neither is it a solitary puddle.  It works because you can be a big fish in our small pond, and your ripples might matter.

I made a speech raising the alarm four months ago.  Things have gotten worse since then.
  • We're very nearly a one-party state.
  • The flow of active immigrants has slowed to nearly a dead stop -- the last post on the Immigration board was a month ago.
  • In the last Clark, 3 MCs (21% of the total) lost their seats because they hadn't voted in the last two months.
  • Some promising programs and ideas seem to have stopped entirely: TalossAssistant, L'Chronica, Cafe Talossa, ID cards.

I have a bunch of ideas how to help.  I've offered them before, and I will be happy to do so again.  Start actually tracking immigration.  Revive the Zuavs.  Centralize discussion/socialization on Wittenberg.  Redirect state dollars away from things that aren't priorities and towards an advertising campaign.  Maybe you don't like those ideas and you have better ones.  Great, let's do those!  There isn't really any politics right now, so who cares about credit or blame?  Let's all work together to focus on the real problem!  We're all on the same team.

If we don't act, someday we'll lose our chance.  I'm not ready to give up on Talossa.  Are you?
Alexandreu Davinescu, Baron Davinescu del Vilatx Freiric del Vilatx Freiric es Guaír del Sabor Talossan

    Bitter struggles deform their participants in subtle, complicated ways. ― Zadie Smith
    Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve. ― Robert Heinlein


Offline Marcel Eðo Pairescu Tafial

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Re: A Second Speech to the Ziu from a Citizen
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2021, 09:26:37 PM »
I'm not ready to give up on Talossa.  Are you?

Honestly, after having witnessed the absolute state of the Ziu, supposedly the main attraction of this country, yes.

Talossa is too complex to be saved by individual motivated people. There is only so much a single person can do to revitalise a given subsection of the country until they get frustrated by the apathetic supermajority‘s unwillingness to do anything except go through the motions and thus either burn themselves out in very unhealthy ways or become part of that supermajority themselves (or both, of course). That‘s why the promising programs and ideas you mentioned died.

The only people you will reach with speeches like this are the motivated individuals who are ultimately powerless to stop (let alone reverse) this development. And unless you want to do something about the supermajority’s stranglehold on this country (which would potentially involve extreme measures like rescinding inactive people’s citizenships en masse), maybe it’s better to simply let Talossa run its course and die?
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Offline Baron Alexandreu Davinescu

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Re: A Second Speech to the Ziu from a Citizen
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2021, 10:21:35 PM »
Yes, it is true that individual motivated people can't bear the burden alone.  But I think it's pretty hard to make the case that eliminating swathes of our citizenry would help at all.  For one thing, that group represents people with a significant interest in Talossa, either consistently over a while or recently, and so they're fertile ground for possible recruitment to active life.  For another, it's hard to really say how their sheer existence somehow interferes with vigorous debate in the Ziu or the success of a program like TalossAssistants.

But your pessimism is flat-out wrong.  Because even though just one single person can't do it, a group of them could.  If we focus on the problem, we can change things.  I obviously favor a vehicle like the Zuavs that already exists to service this problem, but there are other possible solutions.

For that to work, we need to take the first step.  We need to say, "Inactivity is the most important problem and it needs to be our focus above everything else."  If we can be honest and commit to that, then we have a good chance.

Then we just move hard to judging everything in that light.  Reforming the University, for example?  First ask: how will it help The Problem?  Keeping TalossaWiki updated?  First ask: how will it help The Problem?

Talossa can be amazingly fun.  You get a chance to do things and learn things you never thought you'd do.  You can join a community dedicated to ideas that are both silly and serious.  You can make a historic impact on something that's older than you, and then still be around to watch it react and evolve.  It's a great thing, and it's worth saving.

If you and I both agree on that, then that's two people right there.  And that's a great start.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2021, 06:53:02 AM by Baron Alexandreu Davinescu »
Alexandreu Davinescu, Baron Davinescu del Vilatx Freiric del Vilatx Freiric es Guaír del Sabor Talossan

    Bitter struggles deform their participants in subtle, complicated ways. ― Zadie Smith
    Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve. ― Robert Heinlein


Offline Miestră Schivă, UrN

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Re: A Second Speech to the Ziu
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2021, 02:00:26 PM »
There is only so much a single person can do to revitalise a given subsection of the country until they get frustrated by the apathetic supermajority‘s unwillingness to do anything except go through the motions and thus either burn themselves out in very unhealthy ways or become part of that supermajority themselves (or both, of course).

The problem, as you've noted is of course with the institutions, which are set up to making actually accomplishing anything stupidly hard. Some people even think "democracy" means "making sure majorities can't do anything if a minority is ornery enough" (what a very American way of seeing things - gridlock as the final triumph of self-rule!).

I've even heard that argument that making change impossible is good because it enables people to take a few years off and then Talossa will be just like it was when they left it. Like a daytime soap opera. Except... people take a few years off, then they take a few more years
off.

Anyway, I think someone once said that if you stop people doing what they want with Talossa, they won't do what *you* want, they'll do nothing. But it was said by someone who couldn't see the irony.
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Offline Baron Alexandreu Davinescu

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Re: A Second Speech to the Ziu
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2021, 06:13:31 PM »
Anyway, I think someone once said that if you stop people doing what they want with Talossa, they won't do what *you* want, they'll do nothing.
Yes, it should certainly be plain by now that you can't force people to be interested in something.  I've said it many times, and I'm glad you've taken it to heart. If I was suggesting passing a law to require enthusiasm for tackling our most important problem, then I would be foolish.

Instead, I'm calling for leadership. We can unite in common cause to save our country, without anybody forcing us to do so.

We clearly are in dire straits, and we need to make a change. Business-as-usual isn't working. And there will come a point of no return.

We should try a new approach. We might fail, but Talossa is worth the effort.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2021, 06:22:12 PM by Baron Alexandreu Davinescu »
Alexandreu Davinescu, Baron Davinescu del Vilatx Freiric del Vilatx Freiric es Guaír del Sabor Talossan

    Bitter struggles deform their participants in subtle, complicated ways. ― Zadie Smith
    Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve. ― Robert Heinlein


Offline Eiric S. Bornatfiglheu

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Re: A Second Speech to the Ziu
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2021, 06:24:08 PM »
For all of the Westminster trappings, the Talossan legislature is really set up along American lines.  This is not a condemnation, but instead an acknowledgement of the way things are.

One of my first degrees in college was "Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy," which specialized in the study of the US Consititution.  It is a document that tried to reconcile "all men are created equal" with the institution of chattel slavery, resulting in the 3/5's compromise.  The upshot of the US Constitution... as well as the Talossan Organic Law as currently realized... is a document that makes systemic change as difficult as possible.

Take, for example. the Equal Rights Amendment... which guaranteed rights to employment regardless of sex. It passed the legislatures... but the states did not approve it at the required rate.  Essentially, this is a feature and not a bug of American constitutional jurisprudence.  It was a system put in place by slaveholders in order to preserve the "peculiar institution."  Anyone who says otherwise is either a fool or a goddamn liar.

But despite the Westminster trappings, Talossan legislature is very much American in structure.  Any focus on the ability of an individual to sustain an objection or oppositions is... largely meaningless.

For whatever it is worth, I've got to back Miestra here.  Reflexive rejection of change is, ultimately, siding with the powers that be.  Given that the powers that be have proven themselves unequal to ruling Talossa... time for change has come.
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Offline Dr. Txec Róibeard dal Nordselvă, Esq., O.SPM, SMM

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Re: A Second Speech to the Ziu
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2021, 06:41:58 PM »
Anyway, I think someone once said that if you stop people doing what they want with Talossa, they won't do what *you* want, they'll do nothing.
Yes, it should certainly be plain by now that you can't force people to be interested in something.  I've said it many times, and I'm glad you've taken it to heart. If I was suggesting passing a law to require enthusiasm for tackling our most important problem, then I would be foolish.

Instead, I'm calling for leadership. We can unite in common cause to save our country, without anybody forcing us to do so.

We clearly are in dire straits, and we need to make a change. Business-as-usual isn't working. And there will come a point of no return.

We should try a new approach. We might fail, but Talossa is worth the effort.

I agree changes need to be made. What raises my ire here in at least some small part is when people who shout from the rooftops that something needs to be done come in every now and then, shout their pronouncements, then disappear for a month or longer.

The good baron gives us food for thought without having to actually DO anything. I challenge him to put his actions where his fine words are and actually do something. I know as soon as I'm done the baron will point out times he was stifled and prevented from doing something. That's not good enough. Practice what you preach. Form a party of your own, take over an existing one, become a permanent secretary of something, etc.
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Offline Baron Alexandreu Davinescu

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Re: A Second Speech to the Ziu
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2021, 08:17:39 PM »
For all of the Westminster trappings, the Talossan legislature is really set up along American lines.  This is not a condemnation, but instead an acknowledgement of the way things are.

One of my first degrees in college was "Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy," which specialized in the study of the US Consititution.  It is a document that tried to reconcile "all men are created equal" with the institution of chattel slavery, resulting in the 3/5's compromise.  The upshot of the US Constitution... as well as the Talossan Organic Law as currently realized... is a document that makes systemic change as difficult as possible.
The past few terms have featured sweeping transformations of the entire criminal justice system, the legislative process, and the process for choosing our Seneschal, plus unopposed efforts to trim and reform the laws relevant to most of the Cabinet offices, plus a constitution that was broadly revised as a whole and passed with almost no opposition.

I agree changes need to be made.
Good.  So we've already established that a bunch of us recognize the problem.  And hopefully we can further agree that we need a change from business-as-usual?

I see that both you and Miestra are suggesting that I should respond to the crisis by jumping back into politics.  But that would just make me a target again, and it's really unpleasant to be told you're acting like a rapist, you're the symbol of systemic oppression, and so on.  I'm happy to contribute, and I will continue to do so whenever I can: volunteering as TalossAssistant, entering contests and programs, and so on.  And I'll jump on any other opportunities as they come up, as an enthusiastic booster.  I offered to vigorously work in support of an LCC or coalition government, and I stick by that.  Heck, if someday things change and Miestra isn't going to be my boss, I'd even be happy to join an FDT Government as a minister or secretary.  But I'm not a masochist, and so I don't really like the idea of trying to lead a party right now.

For that matter, it seems obvious to me that it wouldn't actually help for me to return to being a politician; I don't think Talossa really needs more nasty arguing, after all.  No one's staying away from our country because they miss vicious flame wars.  There's better ways I can be involved, and hopefully starting this dialogue is one of them.

I guess I should say that I am open to the idea, if it really does seem like it will help the country.  But it really doesn't seem like it would.

But forget my rambling and let's just stick to the main thing, without casting any blame: we agree there's a problem, and we agree that we need changes in Talossa, right?  No one seems to dispute the diagnosis.  That's a great basis for moving forward.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2021, 08:54:12 PM by Baron Alexandreu Davinescu »
Alexandreu Davinescu, Baron Davinescu del Vilatx Freiric del Vilatx Freiric es Guaír del Sabor Talossan

    Bitter struggles deform their participants in subtle, complicated ways. ― Zadie Smith
    Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve. ― Robert Heinlein


Offline Miestră Schivă, UrN

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Re: A Second Speech to the Ziu
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2021, 08:54:36 PM »
For whatever it is worth, I've got to back Miestra here.  Reflexive rejection of change is, ultimately, siding with the powers that be.  Given that the powers that be have proven themselves unequal to ruling Talossa... time for change has come.

To be more precise, there are two sets of "powers that be". The Government and the Ziu majority have positive power, i.e. we are entitled to do things. The Ziu minority, the Uppermost Cort, the King and - crucially - those people who have the inactive King's ears and can wield his powers for him have veto power, i.e. they can stop things happening. There is currently an impasse between the two.

Those with veto power have successfully stopped those with positive power enacting their programme. Now nothing is happening. And some of those with veto power are trying to make those with positive power enact their programme. Which is not the way anything works, but try telling that to some people.
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Offline Tric'hard Lenxheir

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Re: A Second Speech to the Ziu from a Citizen
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2021, 09:08:28 PM »
When i joined Talossa i was assigned to a province, this was weeks before the last election. After the election provincial citizens were encouraged to "claim a seat" in the provincial government, which i did thinking that it would be a good way to learn how things work. I read both the Talossan constitution, organic law and the provincial constitution and didn't really understand a lot of it but hoped to gain a working knowledge by participating in the provincial government. A total of three citizens claimed seats in the provincial government and suddenly i found myself elected as Premier! I truly didn't understand what this meant but i was informed that i basically was in charge of enacting laws or repealing certain types of laws all of which can of course be overturned by a vote. The other officer referred to as the Presiding Officer has the responsibility of convening and conducting legislative business. As far as i know nothing has ever been convened. In short i must say that it is very difficult to get involved when you don't really understand how things work, even if you are thrust into a position of some authority, if you don't understand how to use that authority it is pretty much useless. Hell i suggested a bill to name a provincial bird just to try to get something going and i was told to put together an act and present it in the next grand session but as i said i don't believe a grand session has ever been convened so i couldn't bring anything forward. Any way, i just wanted to explain why i haven't been very active, i love the idea of Talossa but don't really understand how i can be involved other than voting in the music contest that just got done LOL

Offline Baron Alexandreu Davinescu

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Re: A Second Speech to the Ziu
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2021, 09:19:12 PM »
Any way, i just wanted to explain why i haven't been very active, i love the idea of Talossa but don't really understand how i can be involved other than voting in the music contest that just got done LOL
It's certainly not your fault to the smallest degree, and I know everyone is very glad that you're here and interested. :)  If you ever have any questions about how anything works, how you're supposed to do something, or anything at all in Talossa, please don't hesitate to private message me.  I'm very responsive and I have been here a while, and most of the time I'll be able to either advise you myself or tell you who can help.
Alexandreu Davinescu, Baron Davinescu del Vilatx Freiric del Vilatx Freiric es Guaír del Sabor Talossan

    Bitter struggles deform their participants in subtle, complicated ways. ― Zadie Smith
    Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve. ― Robert Heinlein


Offline Ian Plätschisch

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Re: A Second Speech to the Ziu from a Citizen
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2021, 09:21:53 PM »
other than voting in the music contest that just got done LOL
;D

Offline Tric'hard Lenxheir

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Re: A Second Speech to the Ziu from a Citizen
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2021, 09:24:16 PM »
I had a lot of fun with that Ian, next year i plan to nominate some local artists from my area just to introduce them to a wider audience. Who knows maybe someone will find a new favorite!

Offline Ian Plätschisch

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Re: A Second Speech to the Ziu
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2021, 09:27:55 PM »
The upshot of the US Constitution... as well as the Talossan Organic Law as currently realized... is a document that makes systemic change as difficult as possible.
I'm afraid I have to agree with AD on this. While I think that passing the Compromise on the Compromise would probably at least make the King more active, I am at a loss for what other legal "systemic change" could possibly address the problem we are discussing.

Quote
Essentially, this is a feature and not a bug of American constitutional jurisprudence.  It was a system put in place by slaveholders in order to preserve the "peculiar institution."  Anyone who says otherwise is either a fool or a goddamn liar.
I don't want to start a macronational political argument here, but suffice it to say that this is a serious strawmanning of the merits of Federalism. Obviously this point is more applicable to the US than Talossa given the unfortunate state of the provinces.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2021, 09:30:41 PM by Ian Plätschisch »

Offline Ian Plätschisch

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Re: A Second Speech to the Ziu from a Citizen
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2021, 09:36:25 PM »
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

A thread from Old Witt from four years ago talking about the same issue, for your reading pleasure:
https://talossa.proboards.com/thread/12322/ailing-talossa

(You may have to log in to see it because it's in the Chat Room)

This is probably my best contribution from that thread:

Quote
A catch-22: the only way to attract new manpower to run cultural activities is to already have cultural activities.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2021, 09:38:17 PM by Ian Plätschisch »