This is a repost from a comment at File 770. The background is this piece http://dacuteturtle.livejournal.com/926038.html which is analysis of how/if the puppies failed, which is OK in places but I don’t think gets it quite right.
Why the Puppies lost.
Politically they coalesced around political stances that represent somewhere around 15% of the US population and also in a particularly US sort of way (despite their multinational backgrounds) but saw themselves as representing >50% of the US population that doesn’t self identify as liberal.
While the movement morphed into various approaches the core complaint was a bias in Hugo voters against conservative fiction. However, they also believe that the bias exist in *publishing* against conservative writers – which implies that very few get published (i.e. the bias would lie at stages long before Hugo voting) and hence look to indie or self-published novels. They have been singularly unsuccessful at finding he mother-lode of exceptional, indie/self-published conservative fiction around which they can rally a successful campaign.
Without an actual literary movement to boost, the Sad Puppies have ended up as campaign that either has no purpose or, if it has a purpose, is to promote the standout writers of a non-existent literary movement.
However, having brought together some kind of coalition, the Sad Puppies still exist. They are lacking purpose and direction but their capacity to either morph into something positive or morph into something destructive remains.
Jim Henley replied to that comment:
Jim Henley on February 29, 2016 at 9:57 am said:
@Camestros: Oh man, you just sidled up to the irony of ironies. Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracies* applies to the Puppies. The Pups are a little bureaucracy, so of course they are going to keep on keeping on. They can’t help it.
*Which is kind of just a pithy restatement of Public Choice economics and for that matter the well-known principal-agent problem.
Pournelle’s Iron Law can be read here: http://www.jerrypournelle.com/reports/jerryp/iron.html
Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people”:
- First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.
- Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.
The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.
Sad Puppies 4 does look like a move in that direction. It has an emphasis on rules, structure and procedure and even Sad Puppies 3 can be seen as part of that process – it existed to continue Larry Correia’s previous campaigns but it lacked a clear goal or objective.