Monday, July 4, 2011

Battlestar Galactica and post-disaster government

I've just started watching Battlestar Galactica on BBC America. Yeah I'm really late to this. I've heard great things and I'm intrigued so far. I just got finished with the second episode "Water". What is interesting to me is how quickly they moved from the chaos of being attacked to being relatively calm and organized. Granted, the president just asked the military to serve as the police on a ship that is becoming hostile because of the water rationing. But all things considered, things are going ok.

What strikes me about this episode and the show so far is how such a few people are making these huge decisions. Once the secretary of education got word that the president and the rest of the cabinet were dead and she was now the president she made the decision to rescue as many survivors as the ship could hold. The commander of the fleet disagreed. But the decision, possibly a human race saving one, was made by two people. That's kind of scary.

Under the circumstances that's probably the best that could be done. And once things settled down they formed a makeshift cabinet in order to get multiple opinions. But things still seem to be largely decided by the commander of the fleet and the president. In the real world I could see something like this happening. Perhaps democratic ideals are so imbedded in Americas and others that a handful of survivors would want at least some level of input into decisions. But at some point you still need a few final decision makers.

The one thing I think I would want in the BSG universe and in the real world is some sort of a revote. Like in BSG we have a procedure for who moves up the ladder to be in charge given the death of the leaders. But once the dust settles a bit I think it would be a good idea to reevaluate the leadership. The president in BSG seems competent enough so far. But in the real world I'm not sure a secretary of education would be a suitable replacement for the president. Though if they were, I think people would have more confidence in the final decisions if they had signed off on the person in charge.

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