[BLML] The Porpoise of the Lores [SEC=UNOFFICIAL]

richard.hills at immi.gov.au richard.hills at immi.gov.au
Fri Nov 12 00:14:33 CET 2010

Richard Hills (earlier post):

>>The actual principle behind the ABF Alert regulation is ->
>>"Your principle should be to disclose, not as little as you
>>must, but as much as you can, and as comprehensibly as you can."

Richard Hills (current post):

The ABF correctly embeds the porpoise of its Alert Regulation into
the above statement from its Introduction.

Richard Hills (earlier post):

>>And the actual principle behind the WBF Claim Laws is that the
>>number of tricks scored by the claimer should be no more than
>>the number of tricks she would have scored had her claim not
>>occurred, and in particular had the objection to her claim
>>therefore not occurred.  (i.e. the fact that an opponent has
>>objected to her claim is UI to her, hence Law 70C etc.)

Robert Frick:

>Where does it say this? I mean, your conclusion follows logically
>from it, you just need to prove that is their intended principle.

Richard Hills (current post):

Likewise, the overall guiding porpoise of the Lores is listed
in the opening paragraph of the Lorebook's Introduction:

"The Laws are designed to define correct procedure and to provide
an adequate remedy when there is a departure from correct
procedure. They are primarily designed not as punishment for
irregularities but rather for the rectification of situations where
non-offenders may otherwise be damaged. Players should be ready to
accept gracefully any rectification or adjusted score awarded by
the Director."

Richard Hills (current post):

When a disputed claim occurs, both the claiming side and the non-
claiming side are usually non-offenders, so therefore both sides
are entitled to "rectification of" their claim "situations" so
neither will "otherwise be damaged".

What's the problem?

Is blml's problem irrelevant application of logic-chopping, as in
Heidi Bond's intentionally irrelevant (and hilarious) post below?

Best wishes

Richard Hills
Work Experience coordinator
Recruitment Section, Level 5 Aqua, workstation W569
Phone: 6223 8453
DIAC Social Club movie tickets

The Lores of Contract ->

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"

"As a small token of your friendship Sauron asks this," he said:
"that you should find this thief," such was his word, "and get from
him, willing or no, a little ring, the least of rings, that once he
stole. It is but a trifle that Sauron fancies, and an earnest of
your good will. Find it, and three rings that the Dwarf-sires
possessed of old shall be returned to you, and the realm of Moria
shall be yours for ever. Find only news of the thief, whether he
still lives and where, and you shall have great reward and lasting
friendship from the Lord. Refuse, and things will not seem so well.
Do you refuse?"

Heidi Bond, 9th December 2003:

It seems to me that's really two, maybe three separate offers. The
first seems to be unambiguously an offer for a unilateral contract
(to find the supposedly piddling ring for three of the Dwarf rings
of power plus the estate of Moria), to be completed by performance.
Dain wouldn't want to bind himself to produce a ring; it's too
risky. This seems like the straight-forward reward scenario
envisioned as a prototypical offer for a unilateral contract.

A few comments on material facts: You might say that Sauron should
have disclosed the Balrog living in the deeps of Moria. But the
Dwarves had ancient records of Moria which probably mention this,
and Sauron is old enough to imagine that the Dwarves knew. It seems
silly to require disclosure of a fact which, though admittedly
material, is known to both parties, even though they never actually
mention it to each other. The same sort of reasoning applies to the
fact that the Dwarven rings are actually tainted (although Dwarves
tend to resist his power a little better than men).

The second (offer to exchange news of the whereabouts of the ring
and owner in exchange for great reward and lasting friendship) also
seems like a unilateral contract, for the same reason; it's not
clear that the Dwarf-lords would be able to get information about
the ring, and so again, it looks like a standard reward scenario.

But then we get to the last statement. "Refuse, and things will not
seem so well." There are (at least) two ways I can think of to view
this. One possibility is that Sauron is not actually proposing
unilateral contracts at all. After all, a reasonable interpretation
of his offers would be that they were unilateral, but we're talking
about Dark Lord Sauron who really wants to enslave all the free
peoples. He might not contemplate reasonable contracts. In fact,
given the ease with which agents of the Dark exact damages from
lackeys who fail them, it seems possible that in Mordor, where the
shadows lie, all contracts are bilateral, no matter how ridiculous
it seems to contemplate such a thing. So maybe what he's saying is
that if they fail to produce the ring or any information, he'll
exact expectation damages.

But this reading doesn't really make sense given the express
language of the offer. The Messenger from Mordor isn't claiming
that if they fail to deliver the ring they'll suffer expectation
damages unto the fourth generation. He's saying "Refuse, and things
will not seem so well." The "Refuse" comment modifies the offer.
The law doesn't contemplate expectation damages if you don't accept
an offer, although Sauron might. So it seems to me that the proper
reading of this is that there are three bilateral contracts.

You give me the One Ring in exchange for these three tainted
Dwarven rings and Moria (bilateral contract) if you find the One
Ring (condition precedent).

You give me information about the One Ring in exchange for great
reward and lasting friendship (bilateral contract) if you find
such information (condition precedent).

You promise to make a good faith effort to find the One Ring or
information about it, or I march my Wargs and goblin hordes to your
doorstep and make mincemeat of you all (bilateral contract; if the
Dwarves agreed to it, but wanted out they could argue duress).

Now suppose Dain agrees to this, and finds the One Ring. Could
Sauron enforce this contract to get the One Ring?

If the contract were valid, this might be one of those things where
specific performance would be allowed. The item is unique. And
damages are nearly impossible to calculate. If they produce the One
Ring, Sauron rules over all the peoples of Middle Earth and orcs
overrun everything. Sauron gets his body back. He can _blink_ his
eyes. He can use eye drops. If your eye had been wreathed in flame
for millennia, how would you value that?

Damages are clearly uncertain. And enforcing the contract wouldn't
require that the court do much by way of babysitting. So it seems
like a straight-forward contract for a unique item, where specific
performance may be contemplated.

On the other hand, there's a little problem with the One Ring. See,
Sauron can use it to enslave everybody. And courts don't like
specific performance in cases which smack of personal servitude.
The problem is, though, this is a case of first impression.
Normally they eschew specific performance in the case of, say,
employment contracts, where the proximate result of the contract is
that someone is forced to do work they don't want to. We've never
had a case of supernatural exchange, where you're forced to give
over something that would enslave all the Free Peoples of the
earth. Some courts might understandably balk at this result.

But others would say that what Sauron does with the One Ring to
enslave people really doesn't matter. After all, if this were a
standard employment contract, and all you could do was collect
money damages, you might very well use the money to employ someone
else. The Dwarves would argue that this is disanalogous in the
extreme, since you'd be employing someone who freely chose to be
there. The One Ring, they'd say, would rob Men, Hobbits, and Elves
of their free will.

Ultimately, I don't think Sauron should win this one; even the most
conservative judges would balk at the idea that the right of
contract is so sacred that we should throw away everyone's
collective ability to make free choices. If anything should be void
on grounds of public policy, this contract's it. But we can't
underestimate the corrupting power of the Ring. It wants to go back
to him, my preciousss.


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