Derby Lecture Series

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Derby Lecture Series

The Derby Lecture Series (DLS), sponsored by the Derby Hospitallers, is part of the Eastern Federation's ongoing effort to bring civilization to Shartak in general and Derby in particular. The DLS brings speakers from across the island to speak on topics for the education of Derby's populace. Should you wish to speak, contact Black Joe on the official forums, or James Barnes on any other forum.


May 4

  • "Law and Order: The Case for Codified Law in Derby"
    • Speaker: Derby Hospitaller Tribune James Barnes

May 15


Ladies and gentlemen,

For far too long, Shartak has been a lawless land. Oh, certainly, there are vigilantes that patrol towns for signs of murder or other crimes, but there are persistent accusations of arbitrary enforcement and abuse of power. These accusations are correct.

Why do I say this? I will cover both accusations in detail, and then I will detail the solution I propose.

First, there is the problem of arbitrary enforcement. Law enforcement requires that the norms of society be codified and that they be enforced in a fair and unbiased manner. Good people of Shartak, we have no laws! Oh, certainly, we have standards regarding certain things. The dark art of zerging is frowned upon, and outsiders killing outsiders in anything but self-defense is similarly frowned upon.

However, in practice, these definitions are far less clear than they seem. If two clans are at war, and the war ends, is interclan killing still acceptable? If someone is fomenting unrest, and that person is killed, is it justified? Each clan has different standards on this, and disagreements are a frequent cause of discord.

The other problem is abuse of power. Is murder still murder if it is committed by a policeman? Who decides what proper punishment is?

The solution to the second is easy enough. We Derbians already have a court system in place. However, for the first problem, that of arbitrary enforcement, I propose that we, as Derbians formulate our own code of laws. Those laws will be advertised to Derby, and then they will be voted on. If they pass, we will consider them the laws of Derby. If they fail, then it is back to the drawing board.

Perhaps you are asking what justification I have for suggesting a code of laws. I would like to point out several philosophers who would support this.

Isidore is quoted in the Decretum as saying, "Law is an ordination of the people which is sanctioned by the elders and approved by the people." People of Derby, WE are the elders of this community! By being present, you have shown your interest in this, and that makes your input worthy of attention.

Similarly, Isidore said that it must be approved by the people. Therefore, I suggest that we put this to a vote. We will post our suggested laws in a public place, so that all can see them.

Then, the people of Derby can choose for themselves how they feel. We will advertise it in the medical, trader, and ammo huts to encourage voter participation.

However, there is more support. St. Thomas Aquinas, in his work "Politics and Law" stated that there are two entities with the power to make law. Those with the power to punish, and the community as a whole. By involving the Eastern Federation, the only body organized adequately to punish criminals, we fulfill the former requirement. By involving the people of Derby, we fulfill the requirement for the community as a whole to participate.

By publicizing it, we will fulfill another of Aquinas' requirements of law: that of promulgation. If the people are not made aware of Derby's laws, they cannot be expected to follow them. By codifying and promulgating the laws, we both remove the arbitrary nature of the enforcement, and we remove the excuse of ignorance.

This still leaves the question of what we will outlaw. Again, I return to Aquinas. He said that the law should not cover all evils for, by doing so, it will forbid much good. Additionally, we can not know the internal workings of men's minds. We must therefore pursue only the worst criminals guilty of the worst crimes.

However, I disagree with Aquinas on one point. He was of the opinion that the ruler is above the law. I disagree. No one can be above Derby's law. Not its police force, not its defenders, not me, not you.

People of Derby, what do you say?

Le Penseur's Lecture on Settlement Conduct

I beg your collective pardons for the wait. I hope we haven't lost anyone...Although I see we have gained a famous personage! Welcome, sir. Le Penseur rearranges notes, noticing that some are missing.

This following lecture is on the new modes of settlement and colonization of new and dangerous lands. It has been compiled by the collective efforts of the Philosophe Knights, and the European Scientific Community. As well as some commoners and assistants, but they matter little.

In this day and age, expansion and settlement, for profit or for survival is on the minds of men like monkeys on a mango tree. It has become all the rage - the fashion of the day - for nations to send out their best and their brightest to travel across the ocean, enduring storms and braving the most treacherous of seas to land upon an uninviting, unknown land, throw together a few shacks, and declare it new civilization. Many expeditions have set out, found land, stuck their flags in the ground, and after a month or two set sail for home having lost 50 pounds, 50 men, and 50 thousand gold in investments.

Therefore, the Philosophe Knights travelled the countries of the old world, seeking out sailors, settlers, adventurers, and business men in order to discover the reason for this rash of failures. What we found was shocking - most of the sailors could not swim, spoke a language saltier than the sea and sounded like it had been crushed beneath a small mountain, and almost all of them had little to no opinion as to the reasons for these settlements’ decay. The settlers were narrow-minded, had tried planting crops unsuited to the alien climates, shot any animal they saw, including their own dogs, and chewed cheap tobacco which they spit out on our nice shoes. The adventurers were mostly racists, regaled us with tales of pointless, wasteful, and ultimately tragic battles with otherwise benign natives, and showed us collections of ears, shrunken heads, and fingers they’d collected as trophies of war. The businessmen were greedy, cared little for farming or living conditions, and had done more golfing than work on their expeditions.

We asked pirates and privateers, tyrants and kings, missionaries and gold-seekers, and collected their stories. We found a common trend in all of these. The attempts at settlement had all been doomed by Ignorance of the task ahead of them, shortsightedness on the part of the planners, and the belief that the native peoples were inferior, and could in no way aid them.

We have worked with the top scientists (Theoretical Settlers), the top philosophers (Theoretical Scientists), and the top settlement planning engineers (Theoretical Philosophers), and have come up with a new strategy for the settlement of new lands. Instead of the imperialistic view of colonialism, which is to conquer all that meets the eye, rake up as much wealth as one can lay his or her hands upon, and declare it was in the name of King and Country Estates, or for God, Gold, and Great Tracts of Land, we have come upon - quite by accident - the best possible way of settling an unknown land.

First, one must explore the coast of this land to its entirety. Chances are, the first spot of beach you hauled your brig onto is not the ideal spot for settlement. There must be a river nearby your settlement - but not too near. Swamps and wetlands will be thick with insects carrying diseases as of yet unknown to the Old World. Arable land, an accessible source of timber, and a defensible location are best, though a defensible location is least important, and may be ignored if one cannot find all three of these near a source of fresh water. ‘Why?’ you ask, would one not need to care as much about defence from natives than farm land? Why, because unless one is very foolish, very rash, or very unlucky, any natives present will be friendly(which I will get to in a moment) and a reliable source of food and wood to build shelter with are key to a month of survival.

On the subject of food, one must first be prepared to bring crops suitable for the climate one is to settle in. Tropical climes are suitable for crops which need humidity, heat and sun, rather than shade, while colder climes will not be kind to citrus. Better yet, the use of crops native to this land is better, as plants introduced to a country by man have a tendency to run wild, strangling native plants and taking over entire stretches of land. Animals are even worse, especially those bred for their fast reproductive habits and meat, as a certain penal colony discovered not long ago. If you are to bring animals of plants, let them be easy to control, and not the type to stray afar. Chickens are good, as are roots and tubers, though it must be stressed that edible plants native to the land are the best choice for any new farmer.

If one encounters natives, do not threaten them, shout at them, approach them at high speeds or make threatening gestures. Shows of force are tempting, but probably not the right idea. More than one expedition has been destroyed due to posturing, however peaceful their actual intents were. A settler must gain the natives trust. Trust between invader and native is key to a successful colony. If you do not have the trust, you will have the trouble. No matter how contemptible these natives may be - wearing rude animal skins, reed skirts, or - shockingly - nothing at all, they are probably quite capable of surviving off this land far longer than you are, and thus are a resource to be valued as much as food and water.

Trade is one of the best methods of gaining early trust. Doubtless, you will have objects utterly foreign to the natives, such as coloured jewellery, dogs, and shoe buckles, but no matter how valuable you find your offers, and how low and pathetic their items are, respect their offers, and Do Not push your limits. What they deem to be valuable may easily be far different than what you treasure.

Once you have established friendly ties, invite their elders or representatives to your settlement, feed them, and give them a good place to sleep. A show of hospitality has been found in nine out of ten cases to cement an earlier friendship, and further pollsters have discovered that many cultures see this sort of invitation as an indication that you are not about to attack them. If you are invited to the natives’ village, accept. Cannibals are rarer than many sailors would have you believe, and refusal to accept may be interpreted as a declaration of war, or something very similar.

Once you have established these friendly ties, make sure you remain in contact with these natives. Encourage further trade, allow them to show you how to live in this new world, and do not try to force your way of life upon them, especially not in terms of religion, women's clothing, or hygiene, as these tend to be sensitive subjects capable of creating ill-will in the natives. Remember to see these natives as people on an equal status as you, and do not, whatever you do, try to become their god. This has been known to result in the ‘god’ uttering the words “The Horror, The Horror”, followed closely by said deities' untimely death, although more likely, the natives will realize you are having them on, and will toss you off the nearest cliff, possibly by cutting the rope bridge you are crossing, and mutilating your companions limbs. Playing God is dangerous work, and requires more theatre than the Globe in London.

Once you are assured of a safe environment to live in, begin establishing the traditional image of a village. Build a school, a church(or other centre of worship), a house of government, and - the hallmark of every civilized town - a pub with an adjacent brewery. These are important, as it marks the time when your settlement ceases to be a settlement, and becomes a town of cultured people in its own right. It allows the mind to forget that you are located on an isolated part of the world, surrounded by thick jungle, endless salt water, and thousands of miles from the next village that knows what a tea cosy is.

Now, as I stated before, contact with your neighbours is very important. However, this contact will lead to problems out of your control. Disease is a good example. You and your fellows, having arrived, no doubt, on a filthy, rat-ridden tub, are loaded with all sorts of diseases, like the flu, smallpox, and all sorts of diseases which are located in the intimate areas of the body. The natives, and the land as well, will be equally equipped, with malaria, dysentery, syphilis, and all sorts of other delightfully disgusting afflictions. So, it pays to be prepared to combat both of these. First, make sure that your doctors and the native doctors, shaman, witch doctors, or witches collaborate. Diseases contracted on your new home will probably be well known to the natives, and they very likely have a cure for it, so don’t bother wearing out your medical textbooks in search of an answer, you Oxford-Educated twit.

However, when the natives begin to succumb to the bad humours you brought them, you are obligated to help them as well. Unused to even a cold, they are vulnerable to the least significant maladies of Europe, and must be seen to. If their people are killed by your diseases, you'll have no help with their diseases, so it's in your best interests to help them, and see that they survive.

And now, the exciting bits! Well, if your tastes run that way...War, Politics, Alliances, Mutually - Beneficial Arranged Marriages, and You! If there are more than one native tribal groups on the land you have inhabited, they may feel less than friendly to one another. If they go to war, prepare to be launched into the world of tricky politics. Both tribes will likely want you on their side, and if the natives are of a war-tempered tradition, your refusal to enter into battle on their side may be seen as a betrayal, cowardice of the worst kind, or an alliance with the other tribe. Wriggling out of that sort of situation is tricky, and one way to get out of it is to stop the violence through negotiation. Some people, of course, are terrible in the diplomatic field, but will blunder very Seriously through it. War is something to be avoided, as it alienates one population, and sticks with a group of people you may later regret being allied with. Supplying both sides with weaponry is an equally bad idea, as whichever side wins will have those weapons you gave them, and if they have not annihilated the other tribe, the defeated will also have guns, and may see you as the reason for their loss.

Le Penseur adjusts his mask, wiping away some perspiration, and takes a sip of water. My, I've talked up a storm, haven't I? And look, I'm still not yet finished! I do hope you understood the jokes...

Le Penseur clears his throat, and prepares to continue. Also in the realm of politics comes women. And I don’t mean territorial Warrior Queens either. I mean the daughters of powerful chieftains, and the like. Strong bonds can be created by means of marriage, but also shattered if you are less than kind to your spouse, or refuse the offer without tact. Note that women may be faced with the sons of powerful chieftains as well, and the same things apply. The best thing to do is either make the best of it(And it might not be all bad, either), or politely refuse on the grounds that you already have a significant other if you feel the alliance it would create is not so important.

...And... that’s were an alligator chewed on my notes. If you really need to know more about politics, I’m sure there are places to found on the island where that knowledge can be obtained to the point of exhaustion. And Dramatic theatrics, I should imagine. Thank you all for attending, and having the patience to wait for my delays. I say, is that chap asleep? I thought there something chewing at the walls, but I believe its his snoring...

Mark D. Stroyer said “The topic is colonization of foreign lands. And I certainly can sympathize, there. At least you merely have to project. In the military, yelling is the key. Does wonders to the voice.”

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