David Louis Edelman
MultiReal
'MultiReal' trade paperback cover

On Government

The whole of humanity has never agreed on a single form of government, but with the so-called L-PRACG system of governance, it can be said that the race has largely agreed on a common framework for government.

The L-PRACGs

After the collapse of the ancient nation-states during the Big Divide, people turned to locally organized civic groups to provide the basic services of government. Often these ad-hoc groups came together to solve a particular issue and ended up taking on matters of security, trade, and justice by default. Basic principles varied wildly from culture to culture and place to place.

Eventually, as civilization built itself back up from the ravages of the Autonomous Revolt, civic groups began to band together. Larger groups had greater collective bargaining power and were able to specialize on certain aspects of governance. Thus was born the Local Political Representative Association of Civic Groups, more colloquially known as the L-PRACG (pronounced ELL-pragg).

In modern society, L-PRACGs are responsible for the day-to-day services of government, including security, taxation and regulation. Often L-PRACGs are organized around a central tenet (such as governmentalist or libertarianism), culture (Japanese, West African, Texan) or geographical area (the Shenandoah and Harper L-PRACGs). Other L-PRACGs use formulas or free market tenets to determine the blend of services they provide. While some L-PRACGs are localized in one particular place, the vast majority are not.

Luckily, nothing prohibits citizens from joining more than one government at a time. (This freedom was in fact codified into law by the efforts of High Executive Toradicus in the year 145.) Most people today hold three or four simultaneous citizenships and rotate to new governments every few years. Likewise, in a free market system, L-PRACGs are constantly shifting their policies and priorities to attract new members for their tax base.

It’s not uncommon to subscribe to a local L-PRACG near one’s home to provide basic neighborhood services; a vocational L-PRACG to streamline one’s work life; and a personal L-PRACG that practices the tenets of one’s particular creed or culture.

The Congress of L-PRACGs

Founded in 143 through the tireless lobbying efforts by Prengal Surina and High Executive Toradicus, the Congress of L-PRACGs was intended to be an organization that could treat with the Prime Committee as an equal.

The Congress’ main function has turned out to be the settling of inter-L-PRACG conflict. Given that there are tens of thousands of L-PRACGs spread throughout human space, the administrative aspects of coordinating laws and dealing with contradictions are formidable.

Most of the Congressional representatives are elected directly by L-PRACG citizens, but some representatives are still appointed by L-PRACG management. As of this writing, there are over 2,200 representatives on the Congress headed by a single Speaker. Given its large membership, the Congress tends to be slow to make decisions and often professes opinions far outside the mainstream of public opinion. This in turn means that the Congress generally has a difficult time commanding the drudges’ attention.

Since the ascendancy of Len Borda to the head of the Defense and Wellness Council in 302, the Congress’ power has been limited. Governmentalists loyal to Borda control the Speakership and a slim majority of seats. Critics complain that under the leadership of the current Speaker, the Congress has become nothing but the Council’s rubber stamp. There is a strong opposition element in the Congress, however, led by the radical libertarian Khann Frejohr. Political watchers agree that given a strong enough catalyst, the scales of power could easily be tipped to the libertarians.

The Prime Committee

The major governing body of the centralized government is the Prime Committee. However, since so many of the traditional functions of government have become the province of the L-PRACGs, the Committee is largely a legislative body and an umbrella organization to the various branches of centralized government.

The Prime Committee is divided into 23 voting and 6 non-voting groups known as bailiwicks. Voting members of the Prime Committee include the bailiwicks of:

  • Congress of L-PRACGs (12 members)
  • Meme Cooperative (3)
  • Creeds Coalition (2)
  • orbital colonies (2)
  • Dr. Plugenpatch (1)
  • GravCo (1)
  • TeleCo (1)
  • Vault (1)

Non-voting members of the Prime Committee include the bailiwicks of:

  • Islanders (2 members)
  • Data Sea networks (1)
  • Pharisees and other unconnectibles (1)
  • Prepared (1)
  • TubeCo (1)

The number of representatives on the Committee from business interests has always been a concern of libertarians. They charge that no government in the history of humanity has ever been so slanted towards the concerns of its business class; governmentalists counter that this slant in fact provides for a great degree of stability in what would otherwise be a very rocky system. In 200, High Executive Par Padron took action on the libertarian complaints by arranging the passage of a resolution which decreed that the Congress of L-PRACGs will always hold a one-member majority on the Prime Committee.

There is a growing movement in the libertarian side of the aisle for a non-voting representative from the various groups of the diss. Many expect that this will be passed into law within the decade.

The Defense and Wellness Council

The world’s largest military and intelligence organization, the Defense and Wellness Council was founded in 107 by the newly formed Prime Committee. Technically it falls under the jurisdiction and oversight of the Committee, and its single High Executive and six Lieutenant Executives are appointed directly by the Committee.

In practice, however, the Defense and Wellness Council has been the dominant voice in governmental affairs for many years. Its research budget alone far outstrips that of the entire Prime Committee by many orders of magnitude. Not helping matters is the fact that the Committee has a history of appointing strong-willed, independent thinkers to the post of High Executive.

The Council’s peacekeeping officers have a complicated relationship with the tens of thousands of private L-PRACG security forces throughout human space. In years past, the Council’s ubiquitous troops acted mostly as backup and support for private L-PRACG security; the Council’s pledge of neutrality kept its officers distinctly above the fray of inter-L-PRACG conflict. Under Len Borda’s tenure, however, the Council has largely moved away from its supporting role and become a force acting on behalf of the central government itself.

Notable Council High Executives

  • Tul Jabbor (served 107 – 117), a well-respected military man, was the Prime Committee’s first choice for the post of High Executive. He served as head of the Council from its founding in 107 until his assassination in 117. Since the Committee did a poor job of defining boundaries in the Council’s charter, Jabbor’s aggressive, crusading style ended up defining the organization more than anything else. Jabbor’s major accomplishments include the building of the Tul Jabbor Complex in Melbourne, the organization of the first central government army, the successful breakup of OCHRE’s stranglehold on nanotechnology, and setting up governmental oversight for Dr. Plugenpatch.
  • Toradicus (138 – 147) continued the expansion of central government power begun under the reign of Tul Jabbor. He was largely responsible for persuading the L-PRACGs to accept Council and Prime Committee oversight. Along with Prengal Surina, he also convinced the L-PRACGs to form an umbrella organization (the Congress) that could deal with the Prime Committee as an equal. Toradicus’ other major accomplishment was the Islander Tolerance Act of 146, which legitimized the Islanders’ withdrawal from technological society and established the principle of the Dogmatic Opposition.
  • Par Padron (153 – 209) oversaw one of the world’s major periods of technological change. During Padron’s term, multi technology made the leap from theory to reality; practical gravity control allowed the colonization of Luna and the building of orbital population centers; and the bio/logics industry scaled to exorbitant new heights. Padron became known as “the people’s executive” because of his decisive actions to limit the powers of the business community. The bio/logics industry, seeking to head off prosecution by Padron, formed the Meme Cooperative as a self-policing entity. Not satisfied, High Executive Padron cemented legislation which decreed that the Congress of L-PRACGs would henceforth always hold a one-member majority over the industry-appointed representatives of the Prime Committee. Unsurprisingly, Padron’s actions led to great civil unrest and one of recent history’s most vehement rebellions.
  • Zetarysis (229 – 232) was notable mainly for the excesses of her reign. Appointed by a deeply divided Prime Committee, she spent her three and a half short years in office conducting a pogrom against the diss and intimidating her enemies. It was not for nothing she was known as “Zetarysis the Mad.” Her assassination by a member of the diss in 232 ended her short tenure.
  • Len Borda (302 – present) brought power back to the High Executive after a long series of lackluster office holders. Given Borda’s squabbles with Marcus Surina over teleportation early in his career, many felt that Borda would be a vehement anti-technologist. But after Surina’s death and the subsequent Economic Plunge of the 310s, Borda became a champion of the bio/logics industry in general, and the fiefcorps in particular. His massive programming subsidies have been credited by many for lifting the world out of the Economic Plunge. Critics point to the stifling of civil liberties and dangerous expansion of the Council’s military presence under Borda’s rule, as well as the exponential increase in anti-Islander and anti-Pharisee violence.

Outside the Domain of the Central Government

A number of political entities exist that claim no fealty to the central government and do not follow its edicts. Among these are the Luddite government in the Pacific Islands, the numerous tribes and clans in the Pharisee Territories, the uncounted numbers of the diss, and certain orbital colonies and remote outposts beyond the reach of the Council’s military forces.

Still, the Committee and the L-PRACGs do treat with these outside governments fairly regularly (see Dogmatic Oppositions and the Diss L-PRACG movement).

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Excerpted from “MultiReal” by David Louis Edelman. Copyright © 2008 by David Louis Edelman. Reprinted by permission of Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books. Excerpt licensed under a Creative Commons License.