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Discuss The Seanchan/Fortuona


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This fixation on the word ‘slave’ as if what you call mistreatment of those in a lower class makes the slightest bit of difference is rather tiresome.

 

Truly, the Seanchan are an improvement over most.

 

 

i don't think i would call a society that runs on slavery an improvement over most but hey that's just me.

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We should keep in mind that the Seanchan thread should be dealt with quickly. We only have one book left and the entire last battle to go. If Rand really kneels before the empress it has to happen before the last battle.

However, the strongly hierarchical Seanchan society allows it that only few people have to be swayed in order to convince the whole empire. There are several 'simple' solutions.

(1) Mat - he meets his wife again, gives her a copy of the medallion (which is a HUGE gift considering the obsession about channelers..). Either he sounds his horn and/or they for whatever reason have to go to another meeting with the Aelfin......... Or maybe he introduces his wife to second base (or more), and she gets so carried away that she moves her forces to the Waste instead of the White Tower. Or something weird happens (Elaida leading them), and the Seanchan accidentally end somewhere unpleasant (see point 2)

(2) Something bad happens to the Seanchan. Really bad (Shadow attack), and they get rescued by Aes Sedai, and Rand and Mat or something. Possible solutions: I: the ships we see in the prologue (Demandred with XX) attack Ebou Dar, or the Seanchan capital or sth. II: The Seanchan attack Caemlyn instead of the White Tower (Remove the Witch Queen), but get into troubles with Trollocs attacking Caemlyn too. III: Something crazy happens at the White Tower

 

Anyway, I predict whatever happens, it has to happen in the beginning. Maybe Rand learns Mat has finally married, and kneels in shock or something.

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i don't think i would call a society that runs on slavery an improvement over most but hey that's just me.

As I said, tiresome.

 

You'd prefer the Tairens, whose nobles routinely rape and brutalize commoners and suppress their peasantry with the sword? The Cairhienin, whose nobles commonly abuse and starve their servants? The similar feudal systems that seem to be in place in every single country in the land? Or perhaps Andor, where Morgase and Elayne have shown an admirable humanitarian streak–which, as the servant-whipping Arymilla and the servant-raping Nasin show, is merely a personal conceit? How about the Aiel, who slaughter and burn, rape and pillage their way across half the continent, who sell foreigners as chattel slaves in Shara for the smallest infraction? This is not the Two Rivers in its bucolic, Arcadian perfection versus the evil slaving Seanchan. This is a nasty world in which the Seanchan slaves seem better off in a number of senses than the Randland commoners, nominally free but held in bonds as tight.

 

I don't disagree with you about damane, but the Ottoman-style slavery of the da'covale system is not the brutal chattel slavery of the Americas which we were all raised to revile, and it by all appearances does not seem worse than the depredations currently taking place. So, yes, you are complaining about the word.

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i don't think i would call a society that runs on slavery an improvement over most but hey that's just me.

As I said, tiresome.

 

You'd prefer the Tairens, whose nobles routinely rape and brutalize commoners and suppress their peasantry with the sword? The Cairhienin, whose nobles commonly abuse and starve their servants? The similar feudal systems that seem to be in place in every single country in the land? Or perhaps Andor, where Morgase and Elayne have shown an admirable humanitarian streak–which, as the servant-whipping Arymilla and the servant-raping Nasin show, is merely a personal conceit? How about the Aiel, who slaughter and burn, rape and pillage their way across half the continent, who sell foreigners as chattel slaves in Shara for the smallest infraction? This is not the Two Rivers in its bucolic, Arcadian perfection versus the evil slaving Seanchan. This is a nasty world in which the Seanchan slaves seem better off in a number of senses than the Randland commoners, nominally free but held in bonds as tight.

 

I don't disagree with you about damane, but the Ottoman-style slavery of the da'covale system is not the brutal chattel slavery of the Americas which we were all raised to revile, and it by all appearances does not seem worse than the depredations currently taking place. So, yes, you are complaining about the word.

 

 

 

aah so now we are comparing the seanchan with the rest of randlanders eh? well i will say this the seanchan still loses. No matter how bad the tairens, the aiel etc are, no one can match the seanchan ills. no one. Me personally i rather live in the aiel waste rather than Seandar.

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I'm sure you're not alone–you have Beslan with you... or, well, at least people like Beslan. But I'm equally sure most lower-class Randlanders would not be with you, and that a sizable fraction of those would choose to be da'covale rather than free under their current masters. And in this kind of society the lower class is practically everyone.

 

Though our heroes manage to get by without sullying themselves interacting with them.

Edited by moratcorlm
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The Seanchan in their current form need reformation obviously, but I would /cheer and /clap if they turn the White Tower to rubble.

 

I hope 90% of the Aes Sedai are on the FOM while the Seanchan Travel to the White Tower and they take the place over. Then after the meeting at FOM the Aes Sedai try to return to their White Tower and suprise, it's controlled by the Seanchan. This would be awesome and I would love to see it. Give me Egwene's POV when she realizes her precious Tower's gone, oh yes please.

 

I would totally cheer too if this happens.

 

You'd prefer the Tairens, whose nobles routinely rape and brutalize commoners and suppress their peasantry with the sword? The Cairhienin, whose nobles commonly abuse and starve their servants? The similar feudal systems that seem to be in place in every single country in the land? Or perhaps Andor, where Morgase and Elayne have shown an admirable humanitarian streak–which, as the servant-whipping Arymilla and the servant-raping Nasin show, is merely a personal conceit? How about the Aiel, who slaughter and burn, rape and pillage their way across half the continent, who sell foreigners as chattel slaves in Shara for the smallest infraction? This is not the Two Rivers in its bucolic, Arcadian perfection versus the evil slaving Seanchan. This is a nasty world in which the Seanchan slaves seem better off in a number of senses than the Randland commoners, nominally free but held in bonds as tight.

 

Well said. The Seanchan are nasty bastards, no doubt. But then again so are most other rulers depicted in the series.

 

Maybe Rand learns Mat has finally married, and kneels in shock or something.

 

I like this idea. :)

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It's creepy to see so many people here defending a fictional society that is a depiction of pure fascism.

 

It's also annoying how many people would brand any oppressive society as fascism. The Seanchan are very obviously based on Eastern empires like Persia, Japan and China. Not on Hitler or Mussolini. Which doesn't necessarily make them any more humane than those two dictators, mind you, but let's call them for what they are.

 

Much has been made of the parallels between the Shadow and Hitler. I think RJ intentionally set the Seanchan up to serve as the early Stalinist Russia in that parallel. They may be a necessary evil at the moment, but that doesn't make them any less evil.

 

The Seanchan keep female channelers leashed. They're property. They're treated like dogs--they're given "cute" names and Tuon makes it clear that she considers men who lust after damane perverts--sex with a damane is considered a small step up from bestiality. Every single woman with the spark, purely based on this trait, is dragged from their home at a young age and kept in bondage for the rest of her life (which may be hundreds of years of bondage). Their sul'dam has complete power to punish them. They do whatever necessary to turn damane into compliant weapons--as we've seen from some of the rescued damane from Randland, they been psychologically tortured to a state of Stockholm syndrome on steroids. And weapon they are--they're forced to murder on command. What remote parallel can there be to any Randland culture, where female channelers almost as a rule occupy positions of some power. The damane system alone is more than enough to damn the Seanchan.

 

Male channelers are killed. Not tried and executed, but killed. Their lives are immediately declared forfeit, and they are hunted like animals. While the taint made the end inevitable, but cultures of Randland and the Aiel at least show mercy (read: humanity) in their treatment of male channelers. However difficult it is to call gentling anything other than an execution, at the very least we know it doesn't result in false positives (a male falsely accused of being able to channel and captured by the Red Ajah won't die in the end (if they follow protocol); a male falsely accused in Seanchan will be ignominously killed in the street).

 

The Seanchan burned the leaders of a village alive in The Great Hunt. How much resistance could they have possibly put up? The mainland faces a series of large scale rebellions (hmmm...perhaps the people aren't so happy after all). Do you think they treat those any more gently? How many tens of thousands are slaughtered or made property in quelling each rebellion? We haven't seen many burnings at the stake in Randland. Tylin made no mention of mass murder in response to northern Altara. Elayne wanted to behead Perrin, but she didn't consider hunting down his family and killing them or making them property.

 

It's a "future" crime, but they committed genocideon the Aiel. Assuming for the sake of argument that the Aiel "started it" and were to blame for the war, do you really mean to argue that justified their eradication? Make no mistake about it, what was shown in the book was a systematic and long-running slaughter. Aiel were hunted down for generations, long after they had ceased to pose a credible threat.

 

Non-channelers are also kept as property. Some here have excused because as a criminal sentence. Da'covale is forever. Their children and all their descendants will be da'covale as well. Would you be supportive of criminal sentences that also apply to the criminals child? We have seen no evidence of any Randland culture extending punishment to the child. We've seen only one brief allusion by the Whitecloaks, and they expressed discomfort with their own principle and we haven't seen them put it into practice. Da'covale are property completely without rights. Sure, they may be well treated, but would you be willing to give up every freedom for you and for your descendants for a hope and a prayer of good treatment? And of course nothing prevents the worst of treatment. No equivalent to hereditary, chattel slavery is present in Randland. The closest thing to it--the serf-type system in Tear, is a far cry from chattel slavery. Tairen peasants can own property and move about, including to outside Tear if they choose.

 

The secret police. If this isn't a blinking neon arrow pointed at the Seanchan that says evil, I don't know what is. They can detain and torture anyone, except the Empress, at their own discretion. Some of the POVs for Egeanin show how this leaves the Seanchan living in fear. No Randland culture has been shown to have this kind of fully functioning, incredibly powerful secret police, certainly not one with power over all but the sovereign. All other torture shown has been ad hoc and has required the approval of a noble or other authority figure of some sort. The torturers are given the discretion to choose who they torture. Torture is shown to be considered a bit shameful and something of a last resort. The only group that practices torture on a regular and widespread basis is the Whitecloaks. The people of Randland at least have political protection against them (e.g., the Queen of Andor won't take kindly to Whitecloaks wantonly snatching up her people and torturing them).

 

The Seanchan really do invest everything in the state. The Empress is treated as a godlike figure. All but a bare handful are forced to prostrate themselves before her, as most are to any one of the High Blood. As the very biased Bayle Domon put it, not even a Tairen High Lord would demand that. This is taken to its logical and terrible conclusion. It is what allows the secret police to seize anyone, as they are ostensibly acting on behalf of the Empress. Da'covale don't deserve our sympathy because they are criminals? All it takes is a declaration by someone highly ranked toward someone lower. Tuon makes Suroth property and strips Egeanin of her title with a simple declaration. Remember Colaevera's reaction to being stripped of her nobility by Rand and the shock of the other nobles? Suian got a trial from Bryne and even the Whitecloaks admitted Perrin had a right to a trial. Ji'e'toh comprises a complex set of customs and obligations that does more to govern Aiel life than their clan chiefs and Wise Ones. Before you mock rights for nobility and the crude form of due process afforded by a trial by lord without evidentiary rules or jury, understand that those are necessary predicate steps to full rights of life, liberty, and property for all guaranteed by due process.

 

The "Mussolini made the trains run on time" comment was apropo. Secret police and chattel slavery are designed to elicit a visceral response toward the Seanchan from the reader. The doubts by the characters--"well, maybe they aren't so bad after all"--are designed to elicit an even more visceral reaction. Given our knowledge of history, we know better than the characters the mass of dead that is the inevitable by-product of a authoritarian state such as Seanchan. Unfortunately, this seems lost on many. Although I perhaps shouldn't be surprised--columnists pour out columns daily extolling the virtues of a country that even today denies its citizens the most basic human rights and remains under the same regime with the blood of tens of millions on its hands.

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i don't think i would call a society that runs on slavery an improvement over most but hey that's just me.

As I said, tiresome.

 

You'd prefer the Tairens, whose nobles routinely rape and brutalize commoners and suppress their peasantry with the sword? The Cairhienin, whose nobles commonly abuse and starve their servants? The similar feudal systems that seem to be in place in every single country in the land? Or perhaps Andor, where Morgase and Elayne have shown an admirable humanitarian streak–which, as the servant-whipping Arymilla and the servant-raping Nasin show, is merely a personal conceit? How about the Aiel, who slaughter and burn, rape and pillage their way across half the continent, who sell foreigners as chattel slaves in Shara for the smallest infraction? This is not the Two Rivers in its bucolic, Arcadian perfection versus the evil slaving Seanchan. This is a nasty world in which the Seanchan slaves seem better off in a number of senses than the Randland commoners, nominally free but held in bonds as tight.

 

I don't disagree with you about damane, but the Ottoman-style slavery of the da'covale system is not the brutal chattel slavery of the Americas which we were all raised to revile, and it by all appearances does not seem worse than the depredations currently taking place. So, yes, you are complaining about the word.

 

If you would like, I'm sure I could find you some people who would swear that slaves in the antebellum South served merrily under their benevolent, paternalistic owners. By all appearances, the Seanchan system of slavery is very much worse than the other depredations currently taking place (which don't include slavery--since when is slavery just sort of bad?).

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Tuon makes Suroth property and strips Egeanin of her title with a simple declaration. Remember Colaevera's reaction to being stripped of her nobility by Rand and the shock of the other nobles? Suian got a trial from Bryne and even the Whitecloaks admitted Perrin had a right to a trial.

 

Come on now. Tuon was the Empress when she made Suroth a property. Hardly much different than say Morgase ordering Thom to be beheaded. Rulers have a lot of power not just in Seanchan but in Randland too. As for Colavaere no one would have said a thing if Rand had decided to execute her, so I don't think that's a good counter-example. The Whitecloaks have killed plenty of people without any trial, so I have no idea why you think they are a good example either.

 

No equivalent to hereditary, chattel slavery is present in Randland. The closest thing to it--the serf-type system in Tear, is a far cry from chattel slavery. Tairen peasants can own property and move about, including to outside Tear if they choose.

 

Well, there is the small matter of the vast majority of the Tairen population being serfs and other commoners who are treated like dirt by the nobles while a much smaller percentage of the Seanchan are slaves. It's a bit like Russia of 1820 against the Southern USA of that period - where are people more free in general? Where the average guy (the serf) has virtually no rights or where a sizeable portion of the population (the slaves) has no rights whatsoever?

 

The big problem when discussing the Seanchan is that we don't have any PoVs from Seanchan peasants, merchants and the likes. So we can only guess if they really like living under the Empress (may she live forever :)) or that's just propaganda.

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I specifically tried to use Whitecloak and Tairen examples, as the represent the worst of Randland culture. In each instance they clearly come out of the comparison looking better, relatively. I'm not arguing they're perfect, or even that they are not reprehensible. I'm only arguing that they are far less reprehensible than the Seanchan--it's not even close. Some of you appear to have difficulty making relatively judgments about the relative moral repugnance of the cultures represented. I don't know if that is due to the inherent difficulty of comparing cultures far removed from our own, an attraction to the exotic culture of the Seanchan, or, most disturbingly, a worldview that considers basic rights of life, liberty, and property unimportant, in particular in relation to relative prosperity.

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Even the Tairen system, from what we know of it (admittedly incomplete) is not a true serf system. We have seen no evidence that Tairen commoners are prevented from traveling from place to place or leaving Tear entirely. They are allowed to own property (we have seen references to Tairen's buying a new boat, etc.). Tairen commoners have the opportunity to better themselves. Being a innkeeper, merchant, etc. may be considered "low" by the Tairen nobles, but it's a heck of a lot better than what da'covale can expect.

 

I'm not sure how any sort of limited nature to the slavery system of the Seanchan diminishes its moral repugnance. Regardless, it is extremely widespread. They find every single female with the spark and enslave them. In response to rebellions they enslave people by the tens of thousands. Slavery isn't some sort of minor, irrelevant piece of Seanchan culture. It is central to it.

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The Whitecloaks come off looking better? Really?

 

Some of you appear to have difficulty making relatively judgments about the relative moral repugnance of the cultures represented. I don't know if that is due to the inherent difficulty of comparing cultures far removed from our own, an attraction to the exotic culture of the Seanchan, or, most disturbingly, a worldview that considers basic rights of life, liberty, and property unimportant, in particular in relation to relative prosperity.

 

So basically you know it all and everyone who disagrees with you is an idiot? Very convincing argument. Not. I don't see anyone saying they would love to go live in Seanchan or anything like that. And you may think that slavery is a million times worse than even the worst forms of serfdom but I don't really agree. Both are abominations and often throughout the course of history they differed only in name, not in reality. So saying that Tear is so much better than Seanchan because technically they don't have slaves, never mind that the law allows the nobles to abuse the commoners as much as they want with impunity, is not something I would agree with.

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The difference between Tear and the Seanchan is that slavery is institutionalised in the latter, whereas the former is not. In any case, we don't really have enough information to go on to make any kind of judgement in regards to Tairen serfdom (Unless there's something in the BWB or in the main series I've missed), but I'd say Agelmar's arguments are better in any case.

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If you would like, I'm sure I could find you some people who would swear that slaves in the antebellum South served merrily under their benevolent, paternalistic owners.
While I'm charmed that you're trying to associate me with a system of slavery I already specifically repudiated and contrasted with the da'covale system–a contrast which it scarcely needs–that won't be necessary.
since when is slavery just sort of bad?
The title you give, the word you use, is an ethically insignificant matter compared to how the people actually live. You can't eat prattle about rights.
I'm not sure how any sort of limited nature to the slavery system of the Seanchan diminishes its moral repugnance.
That is the key issue you should try to think about here. The world–Randland no less than our own–is not some black-and-white activist's fancy. Edited by moratcorlm
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The Whitecloaks come off looking better? Really?

 

Some of you appear to have difficulty making relatively judgments about the relative moral repugnance of the cultures represented. I don't know if that is due to the inherent difficulty of comparing cultures far removed from our own, an attraction to the exotic culture of the Seanchan, or, most disturbingly, a worldview that considers basic rights of life, liberty, and property unimportant, in particular in relation to relative prosperity.

 

So basically you know it all and everyone who disagrees with you is an idiot? Very convincing argument. Not. I don't see anyone saying they would love to go live in Seanchan or anything like that. And you may think that slavery is a million times worse than even the worst forms of serfdom but I don't really agree. Both are abominations and often throughout the course of history they differed only in name, not in reality. So saying that Tear is so much better than Seanchan because technically they don't have slaves, never mind that the law allows the nobles to abuse the commoners as much as they want with impunity, is not something I would agree with.

 

Yes, both the Tairens and Whitecloaks come off looking better. You're ignoring the larger picture to focus on one part of my argument. Even if you were to win that argument (and I've seen any terribly persuasive arguments), it isn't dispositive. Everything else still matters. How do you get past damane? Hunting down men who can channel like dogs? Secret police? Moreover, even if you succeed in arguing that the Seanchan are better than the Whitecloaks or Tear, it hardly follows that they are also better than the rest of Randland. Whitecloaks and Tear easily represent the bottom of the barrel.

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If you would like, I'm sure I could find you some people who would swear that slaves in the antebellum South served merrily under their benevolent, paternalistic owners.
While I'm charmed that you're trying to associate me with a system of slavery I already specifically repudiated and contrasted with the da'covale system–a contrast which it scarcely needs–that won't be necessary.
since when is slavery just sort of bad?
The title you give, the word you use, is an ethically insignificant matter compared to how the people actually live. You can't eat prattle about rights.
I'm not sure how any sort of limited nature to the slavery system of the Seanchan diminishes its moral repugnance.
That is the key issue you should try to think about here. The world–Randland no less than our own–is not some black-and-white activist's fancy.

 

This is no black-and-white activist's fancy. I'm using widely accepted moral standards as just that--a standard against which to measure Randland v. Seanchan relative to that standard and relative to each other.

 

You argue we should judge the societies by how they actually live, and you are correct. However, the depradations we have seen by the Seanchan far outweigh those of even the Tairens. Have we seen any Tairen commoners literally leashed like a dog?

 

You have consistently characterized da'covale slavery as more benign than it is. It has been shown to have no relative moral superiority to chattel slavery as practiced in the antebellum South. Outside of lacking the focus on race, it is essentially exactly the same. Pointing to benevolent ownership fails because: (1) it is merely something that i]may[/i] happen, not something that will, and it certainly may not happen; (2) if you give a person this kind of godlike control over another person, inevitably they will abuse it; (3) slavery is inherently corrupting, making it impossible for even a good person to practice slavery in a "good" way.

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Everything else still matters. How do you get past damane?
Of course everything else matters. Though the treatment of users of the One Power is one of the more ambiguous ones. I don't think I approve of damane, but the impulse to chain them is understandable. It's certainly less clearly wrong than is abusing others because of their economic station. Graendal said the Forsaken are not merely human, and the same argument applies even to the weakest channeler.
Hunting down men who can channel like dogs?
Not always; some warlords have attempted to use them equitably. In any event, male channelers should have been hunted down and appear to be so in every society depicted. Killed on the spot, drowned, severed and imprisoned, sent into the Blight to fight Shadowspawn (gee, thanks)... there's no way to treat someone who will inevitably become a heavily-armed psychotic humanely.
Secret police?
The price of modern civilization. I don't approve of how draconian their justice system can be, but it is a justice system, and it does seem to be applied disinterestedly. That's something of a novelty in these parts.
Tear easily represent the bottom of the barrel.
I do not believe you can demonstrate this. Cairhien does not seem much better. Amadicia is not. Altara was lawless. Andor is only better sometimes; there seems to be a notion of a social contract, but we've seen plenty of instances where it's flagrantly disregarded by the powerful. What do we know about the Borderlands? There, Faile tells us, "tyrants [can] be endured", suggesting they're hardly unfamiliar with tyranny. The Aiel? The Shaido showed us precisely what ji'e'toh is worth when they get a breather, not that we didn't already know they're ludicrously violent and slavers themselves to boot.
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You have consistently characterized da'covale slavery as more benign than it is. It has been shown to have no relative moral superiority to chattel slavery as practiced in the antebellum South.
No, you have not shown this.
Pointing to benevolent ownership fails because: (1) it is merely something that i]may[/i] happen, not something that will, and it certainly may not happen;
I do not believe we have sufficient evidence one way or the other for the legal protections afforded to da'covale.
(2) if you give a person this kind of godlike control over another person, inevitably they will abuse it;
Indeed! And, as you're saying, we should consider the societies relative to each other. This is exactly my argument: godlike control is omnipresent. If a da'covale is abused in Seanchan by a High Blood, it is not because one is a slaveholder and one a slave, but because one is high and one is low, and the abuse of the low by the high is sanctioned by culture and law. If a free commoner is abused in Tear by a High Lord, it is allowed for the same reasons. In the WOT world, stratification is everywhere. So what then? We find the society where the low are granted the most equal standing in the eyes of the law. And of the societies in the WOT world... well, perhaps Darlin will maintain the reforms in Tear that keep people like Mat's friends from raping farmgirls. Perhaps in the hundreds of years Elayne will rule Andor and Cairhien, her relatively liberal beliefs will attain the force of law in those countries. Beyond that? I'll take the Seanchan.
(3) slavery is inherently corrupting, making it impossible for even a good person to practice slavery in a "good" way.
Oh, please. I am not concerned with peoples' souls here. And that's not to mention that inherent corruption is not necessarily a bad thing; capitalism is based on it, as is the separation of powers in Western governments.
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Everything else still matters. How do you get past damane?
Of course everything else matters. Though the treatment of users of the One Power is one of the more ambiguous ones. I don't think I approve of damane, but the impulse to chain them is understandable. It's certainly less clearly wrong than is abusing others because of their economic station. Graendal said the Forsaken are not merely human, and the same argument applies even to the weakest channeler.

 

Shouldn't they be judged relative to the other societies in Randland? No other society in Randland has done so. The worst was to run them off (Amadacia and Tear).

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Hunting down men who can channel like dogs?
Not always; some warlords have attempted to use them equitably. In any event, male channelers should have been hunted down and appear to be so in every society depicted. Killed on the spot, drowned, severed and imprisoned, sent into the Blight to fight Shadowspawn (gee, thanks)... there's no way to treat someone who will inevitably become a heavily-armed psychotic humanely.

 

That is not the practice in Randland. It certainly happens, but we have every reason to believe that most male channelers are dealt with by the Red Ajah through gentling. First, why mess with a dangerous channeler when you can rely on female channelers dedictated to that purpose? Second, outside of the "unpleasantness," which was facilitated by Black Ajah not bound by the oaths, we have no reason to believe the Red Ajah did not follow Tower protocol (i.e., capture, not killing, the men). Yes, gentling eventually results in death, but those few years are something, are they not? You also continue to ignore the fact that gentling has no negative effect on a man who cannot channel. A false negative by the Seanchan, on the other hand, obviously results in the death of the man.

 

The Aiel method allows the male channeler the dignity of death on his own terms and the opportunity to take some Shadowspawn with him. The man is viewed as having taken the honorable route, rather than as vermin. The man chooses to go, addressing the problem of false negatives (we have heard no stories of Aiel men refusing to go--the system appears to work quite well).

 

You accuse me of black-and-white thinking, but you either seem incapable or or refuse to engage in analysis of the gray area yourself. All of your arguments rely on treating widely different customs and actions as being equivalent to each other.

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Secret police?
The price of modern civilization. I don't approve of how draconian their justice system can be, but it is a justice system, and it does seem to be applied disinterestedly. That's something of a novelty in these parts

 

Ummm...Secret police are not the price of modern civilization. We have the advantage of better knowledge of historical progress, and we know that modern civilization neither requires secret police to exist or to come into existence. I would go so far as to argue that secret police virtually prevent real "modern civilization."

 

If history has taught us anything, a justice system without due process will not be applied disinterestedly or in any sort of fair fashion. We have built up our entire modern due process apparatus because we regonize the state can be given only limited trust in running the justice system. Even the very rudimentary due process protections offered by the Randland societies are a big step up from no due process.

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Tear easily represent the bottom of the barrel.
I do not believe you can demonstrate this. Cairhien does not seem much better. Amadicia is not. Altara was lawless. Andor is only better sometimes; there seems to be a notion of a social contract, but we've seen plenty of instances where it's flagrantly disregarded by the powerful. What do we know about the Borderlands? There, Faile tells us, "tyrants [can] be endured", suggesting they're hardly unfamiliar with tyranny. The Aiel? The Shaido showed us precisely what ji'e'toh is worth when they get a breather, not that we didn't already know they're ludicrously violent and slavers themselves to boot.

 

Why single out Tear for your argument then? Do you instead mean to suggest that it is the best of the Randland countries, so an argument against Tear that fails is dispositive? Or do you mean to suggest you randomly chose a Randland country, and that it just happened to be Tear?

 

Altara is a particularly bad example. Order for order's sake is not a good thing (of course, neither is disorder). Slavery and draconian justice systems both provide order, but they're certainly bad things.

 

The Shaido certainly represent the worst of the Aiel (or did you pick a clan at random?). They are deplorable in large part, however, due to the Aiel customs which they departed from (in particular transforming the gaishan system into a slavery system). Use their actoins to damn them, but they can't be imputed to all Aiel. Despite what many Randlanders may think, they are not savages who merely are acting in a decent fashion because of Rand. They are not ludicrously violent. Their actions, in particular their conflicts between themselves (and outside of the Aiel War, prior to the books they weren't fighting anyone else) are governed by a complex system of honor and obligation. Is it effective at limiting bloodshed? They built up a huge population in the middle of the Waste. People die, yes, but if we're judging them in comparison to the Seanchan, the Seanchan are much worse (see the mass killings and enslaving in response to rebellions, see the future genocide of the Aiel). Yes, they sold Carhien (only those that took a certain action--entering the Waste) to the people of Shara. Does this excuse slavery by the Seanchan on a far larger scale?

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We really know too little about the laws of most Randland countries and the life of the common folks to make a full comparion between them and the Seanchan. The legal status of the da'covale for example, is unclear. Can they be killed by their master, or raped, without legal sanctions? Who knows. Though the way Suroth though of the half-naked da'covale with the infamous see through robes around her, as objects who don't deserve any consideration at all and not even noticing them, seems to imply they don't have much rights if any. Perhaps there's a difference between the kinds of da'covale, a so'jhin or a Seeker probably has some rights unlike a cupbearer.

 

In terms of laws protection the common folk against the nobles's abuse, we know that Tear and Cairhien didn't have those before Rand. Andor most probably had them in place. I don't think it's clearly stated, but Rand didn't try to enforce such laws, which implies they were already in place. We have this quote too:

KoD, Chapter 35

 

Conail, in gold-worked blue, colored as quickly as Hanselle had. He had gotten into a fight with a mercenary he thought had spoken disparagingly of Elayne and almost killed the man. It was well for him the other man had begun drawing his sword first. Even mercenaries deserved justice, and Andor was not Tear, where nobles could kill commoners with impunity.

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Tear easily represent the bottom of the barrel.
I do not believe you can demonstrate this. Cairhien does not seem much better. Amadicia is not. Altara was lawless. Andor is only better sometimes; there seems to be a notion of a social contract, but we've seen plenty of instances where it's flagrantly disregarded by the powerful. What do we know about the Borderlands? There, Faile tells us, "tyrants [can] be endured", suggesting they're hardly unfamiliar with tyranny. The Aiel? The Shaido showed us precisely what ji'e'toh is worth when they get a breather, not that we didn't already know they're ludicrously violent and slavers themselves to boot.

 

Why single out Tear for your argument then? Do you instead mean to suggest that it is the best of the Randland countries, so an argument against Tear that fails is dispositive? Or do you mean to suggest you randomly chose a Randland country, and that it just happened to be Tear?

 

Altara is a particularly bad example. Order for order's sake is not a good thing (of course, neither is disorder). Slavery and draconian justice systems both provide order, but they're certainly bad things.

 

The Shaido certainly represent the worst of the Aiel (or did you pick a clan at random?). They are deplorable in large part, however, due to the Aiel customs which they departed from (in particular transforming the gaishan system into a slavery system). Use their actoins to damn them, but they can't be imputed to all Aiel. Despite what many Randlanders may think, they are not savages who merely are acting in a decent fashion because of Rand. They are not ludicrously violent. Their actions, in particular their conflicts between themselves (and outside of the Aiel War, prior to the books they weren't fighting anyone else) are governed by a complex system of honor and obligation. Is it effective at limiting bloodshed? They built up a huge population in the middle of the Waste. People die, yes, but if we're judging them in comparison to the Seanchan, the Seanchan are much worse (see the mass killings and enslaving in response to rebellions, see the future genocide of the Aiel). Yes, they sold Carhien (only those that took a certain action--entering the Waste) to the people of Shara. Does this excuse slavery by the Seanchan on a far larger scale?

I dont think the argument is whether the seanchan way is better than all of the west countries, but that it is hardly the worst. the reason slavery was a nonissue in the dark ages was because all peasants were slaves. You pointed out that tairen's could buy boats, but in the middle ages there was a trade cast that could buy boats, live in cities, etc. not everyone was a peasant. The Tairen's are known for the way they mistreat their peasants. I would argue that before rand conquered them, they were just as detestable as the seanchan appear with their own slave system. I also thought that being a channeler in amidicia was punishable by death. Either way, I make no attempt to say any of these societies are better or worse than the others, since I strongly believe in self determination, and none offer it.
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those few years are something, are they not?
A few years in which suicidal men are kept alive by dint of constant surveillance? No, I don't see a great deal of difference between that and a swift death. And you're going to have to provide some evidence for these witch hunts of innocent 'male channelers' in Seanchan you've made several mentions of now.
Ummm...Secret police are not the price of modern civilization. We have the advantage of better knowledge of historical progress, and we know that modern civilization neither requires secret police to exist or to come into existence. I would go so far as to argue that secret police virtually prevent real "modern civilization."

 

If history has taught us anything, a justice system without due process will not be applied disinterestedly or in any sort of fair fashion. We have built up our entire modern due process apparatus because we regonize the state can be given only limited trust in running the justice system. Even the very rudimentary due process protections offered by the Randland societies are a big step up from no due process.

Any civilian police department today can be more intrusive than the Seanchan secret police. And a modern government's secret police? The Stasi, the KGB, the CIA have abilities undreamed of by Seanchan-era organizations like those in Imperial China or Russia. But my point is that an efficient and centralized bureaucracy coupled to an overwhelmingly powerful military capable of keeping its populace in line are the backbone of any government capable of maintaining and projecting peace. It's something that largely feudal structures like those in most of Randland lack, and it allows for a great deal more flexibility in governance. As for due process, well, the books tell us that the Seanchan justice system manages to be impartial without what you'd recognize as due process, and I'll buy it. The books at the least do not provide contradictory evidence.
Why single out Tear for your argument then? Do you instead mean to suggest that it is the best of the Randland countries, so an argument against Tear that fails is dispositive? Or do you mean to suggest you randomly chose a Randland country, and that it just happened to be Tear?
I choose Tear because it is one of the few countries in which specific laws are mentioned, and because I see very little to indicate that similar practices do not prevail elsewhere.
The Shaido certainly represent the worst of the Aiel (or did you pick a clan at random?). They are deplorable in large part, however, due to the Aiel customs which they departed from (in particular transforming the gaishan system into a slavery system). Use their actoins to damn them, but they can't be imputed to all Aiel.
And what about the Brotherless? The fact remains that the Shaido – whatever racist slurs the Taardad etc. threw at them in Rand's hearing – were considered Aiel in good standing until Couladin proclaimed himself the Car'a'carn. And less than a year later they were a dysfunctional bunch of drunks who took wetlanders gai'shain and abused and raped them as they wished. That is not a failure in leadership; it speaks to a profound vulnerability of their culture, and because they were considered Aiel in good standing just a few months earlier, I think it's reasonable to infer that it speaks to a weakness in the culture of the Aiel as a whole. Certainly Aviendha's vision supports that belief.
Despite what many Randlanders may think, they are not savages who merely are acting in a decent fashion because of Rand.
No, I don't think so.
“His toh was to the man he murdered,” Rand said coldly. Rhuarc looked shocked.
Should I add in the Aiel War itself? An orgy of slaughter, and for what?
Yes, they sold Carhien (only those that took a certain action--entering the Waste) to the people of Shara.
Not just Cairhienin. This is considered an appropriate punishment for theft among the Aiel, for instance:
It had been all Rand could do to keep her from being sent off to Shara tethered like a goat
Does this excuse slavery by the Seanchan on a far larger scale?
It is not only a difference of scale but of kind. Sharan slaves are "like animals"; da'covale simply are not.
In terms of laws protection the common folk against the nobles's abuse, we know that Tear and Cairhien didn't have those before Rand. Andor most probably had them in place. I don't think it's clearly stated, but Rand didn't try to enforce such laws, which implies they were already in place. We have this quote too:

KoD, Chapter 35

 

Conail, in gold-worked blue, colored as quickly as Hanselle had. He had gotten into a fight with a mercenary he thought had spoken disparagingly of Elayne and almost killed the man. It was well for him the other man had begun drawing his sword first. Even mercenaries deserved justice, and Andor was not Tear, where nobles could kill commoners with impunity.

Right, but this is Elayne's POV, and the possibility of bias certainly has to be considered. She aspires to provide that kind of justice to her subjects. But in Arymilla and Nasin, for example, we see that this justice can fall completely by the wayside without repercussion and to nobody's surprise. Andor seems to have a culture in which vocal political participation by commoners is expected, where outright tyranny would not be tolerated, but with many grades of abuse which are allowed. Perhaps Elayne's centralization will change that, but it was not so long ago when the powerful could behave as they wished.
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