Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2007 June 15

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June 15[edit]

Bureaucratic coup?[edit]

I know that there have been many historical instances where a country's military takes control of the country away from the country's political leaders. Have there been any instances were the country's bureacracy or civil service takes control from the political leaders? ike9898 01:08, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Would we be able to tell? —Tamfang 01:31, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

I do not think there is a straightforward answer to your question, Ike9898. I do not believe there are any cases where a pre-existing class of bureaucrats or state officials took over directly from politicians, though there are examples of states and forms of government that might loosely fit within a technocratic model, like Singapore, inasmuch as they are run by specialists of one kind or another. However, I think a far closer example of what you are looking for might be where a 'political state' evolves into a 'bureaucratic state.' What I mean by this is that a government may be taken over by a group of professional revolutionaries inspired by some universal ideal of freedom, only for this to be subsequently choked by a steady process of bureaucratisation. The classic example here is clearly that of Soviet Russia, where the growth of bureacratic power became increasingly marked after Josef Stalin became General Secretary of the Communist Party in 1922. The Stalinist state was one where the boundaries between the civil and the political broke down altogether. Some political thinkers, notably Max Weber and Robert Michels, saw the growth of bureaucracy as an inevitable part of modern political processes. Michels even invented a name for this, the Iron law of oligarchy, which he describes in detail in his book, Political Parties. Clio the Muse 02:27, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Two examples sprung to mind, neither of which may quite fit the bill. The Eunuchs of China and the Praetorian Guard. The latter was not "bureaucratic" as far as I know, but not exactly "military" either. And in both cases the groups did not exactly "take over" so much as dictate (sometimes) who would become the next emperor. My understanding is that both groups held quite a lot of political power during certain eras of ancient China and Rome. Pfly 04:21, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

The mamluks were a warrior-slave class that revolted against other soldiers... Neutralitytalk 06:01, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

The Ranas of Nepal, perhaps? Algebraist 10:40, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Or the Mayors of the Palace in 7th century Austrasia?  --LambiamTalk 11:03, 15 June 2007 (UTC)


I´m reading at the moment about the Three-State-Solution (Israel, West Bank, Gaza) but I can´t find it on wikipedia (am I missing it somewhere?). I wanted to know if it is considered a viable option. Thanks. --AlexSuricata 05:25, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Alex, I imagine this is a very recent term, based on developments in the region. The Wikipedia page is on the Two State Solution, the standard political expression hitherto. Clio the Muse 05:55, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

the phrase is just a play on words on the phrase 'two state solution'. you wont find any info on it on wiki or anywhere else, because its just a meaningless phrase. Its certainly not a viable option because all palestinians want one state including gaza and the west bank Willy turner 06:29, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

There's also the one-state solution, but the biggest problem with that is that Israelis would be vastly outnumbered, so they're not likely to go for it. And of course, there are fanatics on both sides who want all the land for themselves, and alas they're pretty influential. DirkvdM 11:14, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

CSS Alabama[edit]

Does anybody know what happened to the crews of the commercial ships sunk by CSS Alabama? Where they interened, dropped in the nearest neutral or friendly port or passed on to other neutral ships? What was the law and standard practice of that time regarding the crews of captured or sunk vessels? Mieciu K 14:01, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Officers were generally paroled. Shelby Foote's The Civil War: A Narrative mentions those paroles quite often. I'm not sure how high up one needed to be to get paroled, rather than sent to Andersonville, but I think the crews that escaped to shore simply got to shore, while those that surrendered were kept prisoner until ransomed. Utgard Loki 14:19, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
A Three state soloution would seemingly involve Israel Gaza and the west bank, probably although not definetly along the 1967 borders bur372
If the case of the USS Hatteras is anything to go by, the crews (possibly in their entirety) were probably paroled at a neutral port. Carom 14:24, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Apparently, the navy was also a way to be dashing and wealthy in the war. Utgard Loki 15:00, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Local Options[edit]

I was interested to learn about something in the US called a Local Option. Are there any places in the UK that are "dry", apart from Bournville? Do any other countries have Local Options?--Shantavira|feed me 19:35, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

The City of West Toronto was "dry" when it amalgamated with Toronto in 1908, and this was grandfathered as a local option that would end when only when the "wet" side won a referendum in that area. This did not happen until 1994 for one part of the former city and 1998 for the remaining area. Someone should add this to the article, I guess. --Anonymous, June 15, 2007, 22:59 (UTC).
I don't think there currently are any areas in the UK, but between the passage of the Licensing Act 1961, and the Sunday Licensing Act, 2003, on the application of 500 local electors in any council area in Wales a referendum could be held at seven-year intervals on whether the area should be "wet" or "dry" on Sundays (the whole of Wales having been dry as a result of the Sunday Closing (Wales) Act 1881). Most areas went wet in 1961, 1968, or 1975, with the last holdout, Dwyfor, going wet in 1982. The issue was thought to be dead, but in 1989 Dwyfor went dry again, on a 9% referendum turnout, before finally going wet again in 1996. The facility for further referendums was removed in 2003. -- Arwel (talk) 23:17, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
I've never seen anything suggesting that there is any kind of law (local or otherwise) keeping Bournville dry. I have been told (by a resident, but I have no references to back it up) that the Trust does not prohibited public houses, but simply stipulates that all profits must go to the trust.
Saltaire likewise had no pubs until about ten years ago. --ColinFine 23:19, 17 June 2007 (UTC)