Jun 24, 2021 5:00 PM
An otherworldly inventor can't go unnoticed forever.
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"Yep. And I decided that the laws here were something I, personally, would be willing to comply with and live under. I haven't been breaking 'em. Most Americans wouldn't've."

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"Is that the only thing you and Valanda discussed?"

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"It was not."

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"What else did you two discuss in Milliways?"

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"No comment."

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"Do you know anything about Valanda's goals?"

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"Far as I can tell, he basically wants to import morality and end slavery. I'm all for it, if he can do it without setting the world on fire."

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"What would it mean to import morality?"

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"I suppose trying to make people understand and believe in a moral code - a code of behavior that exists alongside of, does different things than, and has punishments less severe and absolute than, the code of law. Done right, and when there's laws also, a moral code means you can trust strangers with your life." Sigh.

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"Can you give me an example of a moral code and associated punishments?"

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"They vary... And are kind of extensive... The sin of pride is believing too highly of yourself, complimenting yourself, treating others as if they are lesser. Someone who is too prideful might be talked to and warned that they are breaking the moral code, or insulted about it, or others will sometimes avoid them, or trust them less, or exclude them from some community stuff. Also you're supposed to feel shame and be uncomfortable if you don't follow the code of morals."

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"I can understand wanting a state free of annoying fools who overestimate themselves. And ending slavery, how do you think he plans to do that?"

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"Oh, you can say things that aren't questions. Lovely. I'm pretty sure he plans on eventually getting a voting majority who wants it ended and waiting for the next election."

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"He intends to put state laws to a vote directly?"

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"I don't know what he intends since I'm not him, but I meant getting someone who wants slavery gone elected to the relevant position."

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"And what would this hypothetical elected person who agrees with him do about a three-year-old human heat mage who boils his mother's brain by accident? Have him fined for murder and executed when it inevitably happens again to his next caretaker?"

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"I am not this hypothetical elected person. But one can have command magic placed on them without being a slave, I would imagine? Children or the ill who are a danger could be forbidden from using certain kinds of magic but otherwise left free. I'm sure there would be many layers and complexities to a revised law to this effect and it wouldn't be something they unilaterally declared without thinking it through. Maybe they could implement it in a single small city for a year, see what problems pop up, and abandon it if they're too awful or change the details so it's less awful."

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"And will these free people whose eyes haven't even opened yet be allowed to vote? And their mothers will have no responsibility to keep them from innocently clawing up someone's belongings?"

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"In most nations, only people of the age of majority could vote - and children were not entirely free, for exactly the reasons you're pointing out. I was not a statesman and do not confidently know all the details, unfortunately. If parents had an obligation to free their child upon them reaching the age of majority unless they could prove to an impartial judge that the child is incapable of following the law - and also were penalized for making their child incapable of following the law deliberately or through clear negligence - that would be a big part of America's probable objection solved. Not all of it, but a big part."

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"Did Valanda ask you to come because you also find slavery obnoxious in a moral way?"

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"Probably, yeah. I think he also thought I would be useful and profitable, though."

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"Did he tell you to read our laws first and to follow them after coming here?"

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"Yep, very insistent about that. Made me repeat them out to him, too."

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"Would you have been able to come here without his cooperation?"

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"Door only opens to your own world. He had to open the door. Maybe could've threatened him into it. Or snuck in."

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