Sunday, 3 July 2016

Politics on the planet zaláx

(Neil's Note: This is a section from an article in a copy of the Great Galactic Encyclopaedia, which recently fell into a space-time warp and miraculously ended up on Earth. It describes the history of the political system on a highly civilized planet which the inhabitants call zaláx, meaning “no place”.)

The zaláxpaxīm, as they call themselves, are extremely individualistic. Therefore they don’t have any politics, in the sense in which that word is used by uncivilized and pre-Galactic species today.

Long ago, different pieces of land on zaláx were ruled over by different monarchs. These petty tyrants imposed, on the individuals who happened to live in their realms, whatever laws they thought they could get away with. They also stole between 5 and 10 per cent of individuals’ total wealth each year. They kept some of this wealth for themselves, and distributed the rest to their favourite cronies. In addition, when they attacked or were attacked by other monarchs (which was frequent), they would also demand military assistance from “their” people. From those days come several now disused words in the dictionary, like “monarch” (bapérxh), “tax” (boxhfêx) and “war” (zâgh).

At what is called the Great Awakening (zīmŷlxh), the idea took root that all zaláxpaxīm are morally equal. The first implication of this was that what is right and wrong in a particular situation is the same for every individual zaláxpax of the species. This led to attempts to codify or write down what is right and what is wrong in each set of circumstances. To act rightly is én, so this code of law was called zebexén (literally, “list act rightly”), and the procedure which went with it was called tēchmabéx (justice), literally meaning “hand equal number.” The primary mark of this justice was (and is) that every individual deserves to be treated as they treat others.

All taxes and wars were ended by the new code. But some monarchs had imposed harsher laws than others (for example, prostitution had been illegal in many realms, and guns illegal in some). The new code included only those laws which were common to all realms, or should have been common to all realms according to the view of the sages of the day. Individuals were free to contract with others to mutually keep to stricter codes of law (zebexhén) if they wished.

The second implication was that the monarchs and their cronies could have no privileges over those who lived in their former realms. And in particular, land and other property that individuals had fairly and rightly earned should belong to them, not be plundered. This led to what was called the Justification (tēchmabéxdax). This was far from a socialistic idea; it did not take away from the monarchs or their cronies anything they owned that wasn’t rightly someone else’s. It merely returned to all zaláxpaxīm the rights to what they had justly earned.

The third implication was that the monarchs and their cronies had to find some way to live, other than by stealing or making war on other monarchs. Many, indeed most, of them offered their services as judges (tēchmabéxpax) in return for a payment. As the market for justice became more competitive, a system grew up whereby anyone could offer their services as a judge, if clients would have them.

Judges could award compensation (īhomfêx) for damage done. Some of them, at first, imposed criminal punishments (zapenza’endál) too. However zaláxpaxīm, like all fully Galactic species, are by nature extremely honest, and will ostracize those they consider to be criminals (zapenza’ôr or “criminal not see”). So today, murder (zapenza’ŷlxhma) is the only crime which carries a punishment beyond restitution and ostracism.

When zaláxpaxīm joined the Galaxy, they found that Galactic law (galaxhén) was very similar to their own code. So they describe other species and individuals, who obey such codes, as pén, a good person; or galáxhlō, like a Galactic.

No comments: