Study Guide

Foundation Part II, Chapter 5

By Isaac Asimov

Part II, Chapter 5

  • Hardin is invited to another meeting of the Board of Trustees—seems they've been giving him the cold shoulder since the last time.
  • Why the sudden open arms? The Board has received a friendly letter from Anacreon, and by "friendly letter," we mean "ultimatum to war."
  • Hardin wonders if Pirenne informed Anacreon of Dorwin's assurances that the Empire has Terminus's back. Pirenne says he did. So, now instead of planning to invade, Anacreon is hurrying to invade. Go figure.
  • To make matters worse, Hardin is pretty sure Dorwin has no real intentions of protecting the Foundation.
  • See, Hardin asked a man named Muller Holk to analyze both the letter from Anacreon and a treaty between the Empire and Anacreon signed by Lord Dorwin. Holk used a type of discipline called symbolic logic. The results?
  • Anacreon's letters is pretty straightforward, "'You give us what we want in a week, or we take it by force'" (II.5.18). Doesn't get much more straightforward than that.
  • Dorwin's treaty is a whole other matter. The short and skimpy is that every word in the treaty cancels another out. The treaty, as a whole, is a bunch of words that means only one thing: "Obligations of Anacreon to the Empire: None!" "Powers of the Empire over Anacreon: None!" (II.5.25-26)
  • So, that seems a bit of a problem. But Pirenne and the Board still believe in Dorwin's assurances.
  • Hardin's not done yet. He took the liberty of recording all of Dorwin's statements during his stay. The Board finds the revelation scandalous, but Hardin's like whatever. It's not like he was caught or anything.
  • Turns out, Dorwin used a political silver tongue while on Foundation. During his entire stay, he used the same empty rhetoric and language that he did in the treaty. His assurances are worth about as much as the air he used to pronounce them.
  • This, Shmooperinos, is called doublespeak, the politician's most trusted sidearm.
  • The Board kind of rolls over and plays dead at this point. Should they just let Anacreon onto the planet?
  • Hardin doesn't think so, but he also doesn't want to continue their "campaign of doing nothing" (II.5.47).
  • Fara reopens his suggestion to just wait and see if a solution will come popping out of the Vault when it opens up.
  • Hardin that's illogical. If Seldon could see the problem fifty years ago, then they should be able to see the problem equally well now. As in today. So, if Hardin found the solution, they should be able to as well.
  • Fara tries to argue that they can't, but Hardin cuts him off, saying that they haven't tried. The Board, the Periphery, Lord Dorwin, the Empire, "Galaxy-wide. It's a worship of the past. It's a deterioration—a stagnation!" (II.5.76). Man, this guy sure gets you fired up, doesn't he?
  • He throws out one more question before stomping out of the room. Why was there was only one psychologist in the entire founding force of the Foundation? Why would Hari Seldon do that?
  • Ah, now the game is afoot.