Are there any positive traits of the Jovian Junta?

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ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
Leng Plateau wrote:MAD Crab

Leng Plateau wrote:
MAD Crab wrote:
An anarchist hab as described is an open forum without mods. Keeping it civil would be... Interesting.

Though if you think about it in that way you could definitely have community appointed moderators. Not to mention the fact that many trollish behaviors are curtailed by knowing that those you are trolling know where you live.

Know where you live, know where you are this very second, have access to firearms and airlocks...

And ain't nobody going to stop them if you try to cyberbully them into suicide and instead they decide to go and homocide your ass. Or forcibly desleeve you. Hell, if you're particularly odius, the mob will likely turn on you and help them. Not to mention that your Rep score will already be in the shitter if you're doing that kind of shit.

But yeah. If you get off on conspicuous consumption, an anarchist habitat is not the place for you, try Extropia or Luna or Mars or Venus. If you do not need to own more, more, more, though, an anarchist habitat is perfect. Instead of being forced to work 40+ hours a week with the sword of damocles - or rather, the constant threat of being evicted and dying homeless on Mars or (more likely,) being scooped up for the crime of indigence, forcibly separated from your morph and sentenced to ten years' time as an indenture - you pitch in your four hours a week doing the really mucky shit nobody wants to do and after that you can do whatever you like. If you have the stomach for more than four hours of the mucky shit, your rep will reap the rewards, if what you like to do otherwise isn't going to be generating any rep. Maybe you just want to be alone in your simulspace environment of the greatest library ever imagined. Maybe you'd rather play and make (or just play) games, or talk to people, or have sex, or whatever.

Almost anything you do, if it's making things better for the hab or even just having a positive impact on peoples' days, will get you a reputation you can live with. If you go the extra mile, you'll be well-regarded and people will be willing to put up with more requests from you. But remember what is and is not cheap on an anarchist habitat. Raw materials aren't cheap. Processing power and electricity are dirt-cheap. With full-immersion VR, AR, etcetera, that leads to some interesting possibilities, as long as you're not the kind of wanker who wants to show off how materially wealthy he is over his neighbors.

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MAD Crab MAD Crab's picture
I think you're wearing some

I think you're wearing some heavy duty rose glasses on that. People who are bullied now sometimes snap, and they don't generally stop shooting with the first person. Maybe the bully would get a bad rep - but lots of bullies now are popular. And hey, the little guy isn't fighting back, so he must be OK with it.

I just don't see people changing. These things are not new. Reputation economy is not some magical force to prevent people from being dicks to each other.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Freedom Geek wrote:

Freedom Geek wrote:

I question the wisdom of going to a professional fashion designer for a date. The purpose of dating should be to determine compatibility - unless you're exceedingly desperate you're not just trying to catch anyone you can. If you spend the dating process trying to pretend you're someone you're not then the relationship is on shaky grounds as the other person is in love with the mask - not you.

I was thinking more in the sense of the sales assistant, but it doesn't change the point much. I have average fashion sense and for that reason I'd never even consider picking my own clothes (why settle for looking average?), so letting other people pick my outfits is who I am. I don't see it as any different than other areas where I don't have much skill and I rely on professionals like mechanics, doctors and lawyers instead of going with my gut feeling.

I don't really buy into the whole be yourself thing anyway. On dates and throughout the relationship I expect more than that, from me and her. If both parties focus on giving what the other one wants and regularly goes out of their way to do something extra for eqchother, that's going to be much more enjoyable than just laissez fairing through it.

I think you and I are very different people :)

Pyrite Pyrite's picture
Smokeskin wrote:

Smokeskin wrote:

I was thinking more in the sense of the sales assistant, but it doesn't change the point much. I have average fashion sense and for that reason I'd never even consider picking my own clothes (why settle for looking average?), so letting other people pick my outfits is who I am. I don't see it as any different than other areas where I don't have much skill and I rely on professionals like mechanics, doctors and lawyers instead of going with my gut feeling.

You expect to find a sales associate, whose likely also just doing what they need to to get by, to have a fashion skill significantly above 40? Maybe if you're really wealthy you could expect that.

on the other hand if it's important to you to look good you could probably find an anarchist fashionista willing to make you their project.

'No language is justly studied merely as an aid to other purposes. It will in fact better serve other purposes, philological or historical, when it is studied for love, for itself.' --J.R.R. Tolkien

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
MAD Crab wrote:I think you're

MAD Crab wrote:
I think you're wearing some heavy duty rose glasses on that. People who are bullied now sometimes snap, and they don't generally stop shooting with the first person. Maybe the bully would get a bad rep - but lots of bullies now are popular. And hey, the little guy isn't fighting back, so he must be OK with it.

I just don't see people changing. These things are not new. Reputation economy is not some magical force to prevent people from being dicks to each other.

When people are bullied snap, it's because they're under immense pressure to do the socially-accepted "right" thing and inform the hierarchy to do something about it, only for the hierarchy to say "I didn't see it, I can't do anything," or to fail them.

If, on the other hand, the socially-accepted "right" thing to do is to strike back immediately, many of those subjected to outrageous treatment will do so. The easiest way to do this is to slam their reputation on the circle-@ list, and it's a good bet that most people on your habitat will agree with you and slam him as well, if they don't feel you started it or deserved it somehow. Sure, his personal friends will bump him, but do recall that rep systems like the circle-@ list apply far less weight to the reputation bumps of those you interact positively with frequently than those you don't know.

Douchebag frat boys on an Anarchist habitat would very quickly be isolated into a small clique of their personal friends who think and act much like they do, all of whom have very low @-Rep ratings because everybody else thinks that their little collective is full of colossal douchenozzles they wouldn't give the time of day to. If they'd keep that kind of shit up, there's a very good chance they'd wind up being exiled from the habitat, or at least stripped of their morphs to give to people who haven't got morphs yet and haven't yet proven themselves to be massive assholes, or massholes for short.

Plus, you know, if one of these goons gets up in someone's face, acting all alpha and physically aggressive, that someone would be perfectly justified in pulling out a shredder and sending him straight to the healing vats/recycler.

He probably would take some rep hits for destroying the morph outright, but quite frankly everybody ought to have medichines, so unless he intentionally took a called shot to the brainmeats/cyberbrain, that wouldn't be an issue. And even then, folks would still rep bump him for putting down the alpha jerk.

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MAD Crab MAD Crab's picture
You've got lots of "people

You've got lots of "people would" in there, and I cannot take much of it seriously.

I mean, your idea that the bullied party should pull out a shredder and go to town is insane. First off, I shudder to think about the socialisation of such a person. Second, it is innifective short of spacing the target's stack. He'll be back up and even more pissed.

As far as community censure, the problem now is not that it isn't seen, just that it isn't taken seriously. Again, I just don't see it changing.

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
Also: I would not expect the

Also: I would not expect the average salesperson in a store to have even a 40 skill in any related fields to what they're doing. Otherwise they'd be working on the back end making the stuff, not doing mindless grunt-work hocking it to your consumerist ass for minimum wage!

Quite frankly, I'd trust the AI with Interest: Fashion 60, Academics: Fashion 60, and Profession: Tailor 40 (for which either or both of the preceding skills will be complementary,) than I would some bored store-drone, who desperately doesn't want to be where he is, selling a jacket to me but has to be there otherwise the alternative is starving to death on the streets (or forcible indenture.)

He doesn't have Profession: Tailor 40. He doesn't have Academics: Fashion 60, or Interest: Fashion 60. He has Profession: Salesperson 40 [Clothing], Persuasion 40 [All Sales are Final], and Deception 40 [It'll Ride Up with Wear]. He isn't Mr. Humphries, fashionable himself when allowed to be and well-versed in all manner of popular trends, nor even Mr. Grainger, an experienced, veteran salesperson whose long years in the trade have given him insight into the ebb and flow of trends. He's Mr. Lucas, the young man who's more interested in getting the skirts off the salesgirl across the floor, or getting some credits in his pocket so he can go spend them at a spacefuture discotheque, a triad brothel, an authentic imitation sushi bar, or whatever-the-hell else he wants to do. He doesn't want to be here, he doesn't want to see your face or take your inside leg, those are but things he must endure so that he can go do the things he wants to do.

His interest is not in seeing you walk off his salesfloor looking as sharp as you possibly can. His interest is solely in seeing you walk off his salesfloor bearing as much of his expensive product as you can physically carry (and if you're interested in buying more than that, he will be all too happy to have more packaged up and delivered to your home,) and with as many of your credits going into his wallet as commission as possible.

Unless he's not even getting commission, in which case his only interest is in seeing the back of you as soon as humanly possible so that he can go back to chatting up the leggy blonde, or texting his friends, or just miserably checking the clock to see how much longer he has to go until he can skip merrily out the door, spend eight hours doing his own things, eight hours sleeping, and get back to doing the whole miserable fucking ordeal for another eight hours.

And that's assuming he's even his own man, and not an indentured slave. If he is a slave, he doesn't give two fucks about you, or this shop, and just wants to get the fuck out of here. Maybe he's been offered some kind of incentive if he does well selling, but that's very unlikely. At best, he's probably been threatened with punishment if he does poorly, in which case he's going to put in the bare minimum effort required to get you out the door without you complaining to his slavemaster and getting his sentence extended.

So, yes. All-in-all, I'd quite rather have the AI who's throwing a minimum of 60 dice counting complimentary skills, and is more than capable of taking extra time to push its score up to 100 if you demand the extra attention and are willing to wait.

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ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
MAD Crab wrote:You've got

MAD Crab wrote:
You've got lots of "people would" in there, and I cannot take much of it seriously.

I mean, your idea that the bullied party should pull out a shredder and go to town is insane. First off, I shudder to think about the socialisation of such a person. Second, it is innifective short of spacing the target's stack. He'll be back up and even more pissed.

As far as community censure, the problem now is not that it isn't seen, just that it isn't taken seriously. Again, I just don't see it changing.

If someone physically threatens you, you are within all of your rights to go to town on their asses with a shredder.

Read the Autonomist Alliance Points of Unity sometime, particularly Point 4. That doesn't just mean that Anarchists have the right to defend themselves when the PC comes calling, it means that Anarchists have the right to defend themselves against anyone who would oppress them - for example, by chest-beating assholery and trying to make the dweeb bow down.

If he comes back at you at all, he's going to be in deep shit, because an autonomist community will not stand for that shit. He was already violently rebuked once for attempting to coerce someone. He's likely to be summarily unsleeved if he presented a credible enough physical threat to you that you felt the need to kill him to save yourself from harm and coercion, or to see his rep take a nosedive at the very least.

As far as community censure, community censure is very ineffective in societies with strong central hierarchies, because they strip all power and influence from local community.

Have a counterexample. (WARNING: THOUGH A CNN STORY, NSFW. Also trigger warning: Rape.)

This story is an example of how community censure is anything but ineffective in the absence of hierarchy. Granted, it's also horrible, because of the details, but the details can change to be not-horrible whilst still putting teeth behind community censure in the absence of a hierarchy that restricts it.

Spoiler: Highlight to view
The details are that a young man attempted to forcibly rape a man's wife, but was not successful. In response, the community censure mechanism, in this case an elected council of old men, decided the appropriate punishment would be to inflict deep and incredible shame upon the would-be rapist's family, and the best way to do that would be to have his sister raped.

So they directed the husband of the woman whom the man attempted to rape to rape his fourteen-year-old sister. He and his wife went to her house, the wife dragged her out by her hair and told her husband to take the girl into the woods and rape her, which he then did.

Absolutely fucktrocious, and in no way acceptable in an anarchist society, but it's a stellar examplar of how community censure is extremely effective in the absence of a hierarchy which cripples it and makes it laughably ineffective. Anarchist communities would obviously not go for that, what with the cultural meme of family honor being all and the additional meme that said honor can be stripped by raping a female member of the family not being present, but will have their own mechanisms.

A community of anarchists is certainly capable of censuring someone above and beyond pinging the living shit out of his rep, if it is called for; ranging from having the whole community shun him for a while, cutting off their access to non-essentials like VR simulspace games and MARGs, forcibly stripping him from his morph so an infomorph who wants to be instantiated can have it and he can be an infomorph for a while, issuing him an ultimatum to undergo psychosurgery to alter the problem-causing parts of his personality that he can't keep under control or exile, or just straight-up exiling him. In very extreme cases, they may not even exile him and may simply grab him, forcibly strip him of his morph, and delete him and his backups, though that would have to excessively extreme.

Community methods of censuring people are far from toothless, except in the presence of laws and hierarchies which make them so. Not that community censure is always a good thing, as the story I linked shows, but awful or not, it certainly can be highly effective.

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Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
MAD Crab wrote:

MAD Crab wrote:

I mean, your idea that the bullied party should pull out a shredder and go to town is insane. First off, I shudder to think about the socialisation of such a person. Second, it is innifective short of spacing the target's stack. He'll be back up and even more pissed.

Third, the killer (do they call them that in EP when the ego doesn't die?) would face whatever justice they have for murder on the hab.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
ShadowDragon8685 wrote:Also:

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
Also: I would not expect the average salesperson in a store to have even a 40 skill in any related fields to what they're doing. Otherwise they'd be working on the back end making the stuff, not doing mindless grunt-work hocking it to your consumerist ass for minimum wage!

I typically don't ask the average salesperson for advice, so that's not really relevant. I have a few people whose judgment I trust.

And why are you speaking so negatively about salespeople? I'm sure that far from every salesperson only cares about tricking the customers, or are as lazy and unmotivated as you try to make them out to be.

Pyrite Pyrite's picture
So you look outside of what

So you look outside of what capitalism provides to find fashion advice? You ask your friends for a favor?

You might get lucky and find the rare sales associate who loves the brands available at the store that happened to hire them, but it's fairly likely that personn will soon move up the ladder away from where you can access them. Some retail arrangements do manage to attract people who are passionate about the thing they're selling, but they'll have just as many or more who are just following their capitalistic incentives, where actual customer satisfaction is, to paraphrase Schlock, 'like job 4'.

'No language is justly studied merely as an aid to other purposes. It will in fact better serve other purposes, philological or historical, when it is studied for love, for itself.' --J.R.R. Tolkien

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
Smokeskin wrote:MAD Crab

Smokeskin wrote:
MAD Crab wrote:

I mean, your idea that the bullied party should pull out a shredder and go to town is insane. First off, I shudder to think about the socialisation of such a person. Second, it is innifective short of spacing the target's stack. He'll be back up and even more pissed.

Third, the killer (do they call them that in EP when the ego doesn't die?) would face whatever justice they have for murder on the hab.

A hearty slap on the back for putting a coercive asshole who was trying to establish a hierarchy of him-over-you by physical force in his place, reputation bumps, and promises that if he tries to come at you again, they'll be right there by your side to space the son-of-a-bitch.

Because the guy who pulled a shredder is not in the wrong.

Smokeskin wrote:
ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
Also: I would not expect the average salesperson in a store to have even a 40 skill in any related fields to what they're doing. Otherwise they'd be working on the back end making the stuff, not doing mindless grunt-work hocking it to your consumerist ass for minimum wage!

I typically don't ask the average salesperson for advice, so that's not really relevant. I have a few people whose judgment I trust.

And why are you speaking so negatively about salespeople? I'm sure that far from every salesperson only cares about tricking the customers, or are as lazy and unmotivated as you try to make them out to be.

Very, very few people would choose a service sector job by choice. They take those jobs so they don't starve to death of hunger, freeze to death of cold, expire from heat, or catch ill and die in the rain.

They don't want to be there, serving your ass a plate containing a cheeseburger with bacon and a fried egg on it. They don't want to be in that shop, ringing up your goddamned purchase of a new sweater and some socks. They want to be kicking a football around with their friends, or headbanging in a crowded mosh pit, or reading something for the joy of reading, or playing a video game, or engaging in sexual intercourse, or masturbating, or driving a vehicle at a high rate of speed through spirited turns, or whatever.

Go up to any salesperson or waiter and ask them "If I told you that you had fifty million dollars, what would you be doing, right now," approximately 0.000000001% of people would say "I'd still be here, handing you this plate of food."

Everybody has their hobbies in life, their interests, their joys. Almost none of them would find that joy in conveying food product from an eatery kitchen to the tables upon which it is to be eaten. Some of them might find joy in cooking, but if they do, chances are they wouldn't be in a greasy spoon diner slinging fried eggs, they'd be crafting meals worthy of saying "Gordon Ramsay, eat your heart out."

And some people certainly do have a flair, a taste, a joy in fashion. We don't call them "Salespeople," we call them "Tailors" and "Dressmakers." They aren't slinging mass-produced stuff in your face, they live and breathe the art of fabric and customization, of design and delight.

Nobody takes service-sector jobs because they graduate from school and say "You know what I want to do? I want to be a waiter!" They take that job because the alternative is having no job at all and starving.

Are you starting to get the picture? I'm not speaking negatively about them, because they're people. They don't want to be there, and as a consequence their only interest in it is getting paid, and I cannot fault them for this. Especially when they likely have to deal with insane, entitled, abrasive, or otherwise nutjob customers on at least a daily basis, and they can't tell someone who starts screaming in their face to go take a flying fuck lest they find themselves unemployed.

They're not lazy because they have a moral failing, they're lazy, to whatever extent they can get away with, because they've been saddled with obligations they don't wish to shoulder and have to deal with unreasonable conditions for subsistence wages. Sure, even under such conditions, some people do take pride in their work, but I guarantee you that if you handed them "You won't ever have to work again" kind of money, they would all immediately choose to quit working and go pursue their interests in life. Those with a sense of honor and obligation would dutifully put in their two weeks' notice and work out the two weeks. Most would walk off the job either at the end of their shift (if they have a slight sense of duty but not enough to put in two weeks' notice,) or immediately, and the exceptionally downtrodden, angry, and irate amongst them would tell the boss to get stuffed on their way out.

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Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
ShadowDragon8685 wrote

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:
MAD Crab wrote:

I mean, your idea that the bullied party should pull out a shredder and go to town is insane. First off, I shudder to think about the socialisation of such a person. Second, it is innifective short of spacing the target's stack. He'll be back up and even more pissed.

Third, the killer (do they call them that in EP when the ego doesn't die?) would face whatever justice they have for murder on the hab.

A hearty slap on the back for putting a coercive asshole who was trying to establish a hierarchy of him-over-you by physical force in his place, reputation bumps, and promises that if he tries to come at you again, they'll be right there by your side to space the son-of-a-bitch.

Because the guy who pulled a shredder is not in the wrong.

It's obvious that threat displays are not acceptable. However, shooting or spacing people for it is not a reasonable punishment.

When you told me: I swear to god, if I heard someone wank the free market IRL as much as you do in here, I would fucking punch them right in the gob and tell the judge "Yeah, I did it, and I ain't sorry.", would it be ok that I retaliated in the same disproportionate manner that you suggest here?

Seriously, sometimes people lose their temper, or they're scared of losing face, or whatever, and act unappropriatedly. You don't shoot them for that.

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
And some people certainly do have a flair, a taste, a joy in fashion. We don't call them "Salespeople," we call them "Tailors" and "Dressmakers." They aren't slinging mass-produced stuff in your face, they live and breathe the art of fabric and customization, of design and delight.
[...]
They're not lazy because they have a moral failing, they're lazy, to whatever extent they can get away with, because

Making clothes and selling them are two very different skill sets and personality types. You really think that poorly of salespeople?

I also think you're painting with a pretty broad brush here, and being quite condescending. People might be in a shop because they actually have an interest in the product, or they like selling, or they're the manager, or they're young and its an entry level job to b2b sales or purchasing positions.

Or they might be there as you say, because they to have some job, and that's the best one they could find, but they still don't enjoy it much. But that still doesn't mean that they're going to be as lazy as they can get away with. There are people who take pride in their work ethic, or have an energetic personality.

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
Smokeskin wrote

Smokeskin wrote:
ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:
MAD Crab wrote:

I mean, your idea that the bullied party should pull out a shredder and go to town is insane. First off, I shudder to think about the socialisation of such a person. Second, it is innifective short of spacing the target's stack. He'll be back up and even more pissed.

Third, the killer (do they call them that in EP when the ego doesn't die?) would face whatever justice they have for murder on the hab.

A hearty slap on the back for putting a coercive asshole who was trying to establish a hierarchy of him-over-you by physical force in his place, reputation bumps, and promises that if he tries to come at you again, they'll be right there by your side to space the son-of-a-bitch.

Because the guy who pulled a shredder is not in the wrong.

It's obvious that threat displays are not acceptable. However, shooting or spacing people for it is not a reasonable punishment.

When you told me: I swear to god, if I heard someone wank the free market IRL as much as you do in here, I would fucking punch them right in the gob and tell the judge "Yeah, I did it, and I ain't sorry.", would it be ok that I retaliated in the same disproportionate manner that you suggest here?

Seriously, sometimes people lose their temper, or they're scared of losing face, or whatever, and act inappropriately. You don't shoot them for that.

One: If someone is acting like they're about to become physically violent, then yes, you damn well do shoot them for that.

Two: The very fact that I mentioned a judge makes it an invalid comparison, as quite clearly I was operating under the presumption of a hierarchy of legal monopoly on force which would indeed punish me for my action, but would also protect me against retaliation by you. If we were operating under an anarcho-collectivist horizontal system on some habitat in the Saturnine Trojans, I wouldn't throw a punch, I'd look for allies to take the anarcho-capitalist prisoner at gunpoint, drag them in irons to a sleeving station, and ride them out of the habitat on an express datastream to Extropia.

Mods: I would like to point out that Smokeskin brought up that old business, and I answered strictly in the context of Eclipse Phase.

Quote:
ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
And some people certainly do have a flair, a taste, a joy in fashion. We don't call them "Salespeople," we call them "Tailors" and "Dressmakers." They aren't slinging mass-produced stuff in your face, they live and breathe the art of fabric and customization, of design and delight.
[...]
They're not lazy because they have a moral failing, they're lazy, to whatever extent they can get away with, because

Making clothes and selling them are two very different skill sets and personality types. You really think that poorly of salespeople?

I also think you're painting with a pretty broad brush here, and being quite condescending. People might be in a shop because they actually have an interest in the product, or they like selling, or they're the manager, or they're young and its an entry level job to b2b sales or purchasing positions.

Or they might be there as you say, because they to have some job, and that's the best one they could find, but they still don't enjoy it much. But that still doesn't mean that they're going to be as lazy as they can get away with. There are people who take pride in their work ethic, or have an energetic personality.

I think they don't want to be doing what they're doing. Nobody says "I want an 'entry-level job' that pays me starvation wages and demands performance like I'm being paid Union factory work wages, with no advancement prospects beyond the vauge notion that someday I may be the manager overseeing a bunch of other twats like me."

Even if they're not being lazy, I can still guarantee you that they can come up with a better use of their time than what they're being forced to do to survive if you told them they wouldn't have to worry about the survival thing because it was taken care of.

Even if that better use is "sleeping" or "having a wank." That's still something better than what they're doing.

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Erulastant Erulastant's picture
ShadowDragon wrote:

ShadowDragon wrote:

Mods: I would like to point out that Smokeskin brought up that old business, and I answered strictly in the context of Eclipse Phase.

Perhaps the two of you should both step out of this discussion for a bit? (How bullying is dealt with in an anarchist hab is a bit off-topic anyway...)

You, too, were made by humans. The methods used were just cruder, imprecise. I guess that explains a lot.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
ShadowDragon8685 wrote:

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:

It's obvious that threat displays are not acceptable. However, shooting or spacing people for it is not a reasonable punishment.

When you told me: I swear to god, if I heard someone wank the free market IRL as much as you do in here, I would fucking punch them right in the gob and tell the judge "Yeah, I did it, and I ain't sorry.", would it be ok that I retaliated in the same disproportionate manner that you suggest here?

Seriously, sometimes people lose their temper, or they're scared of losing face, or whatever, and act inappropriately. You don't shoot them for that.

One: If someone is acting like they're about to become physically violent, then yes, you damn well do shoot them for that.

Two: The very fact that I mentioned a judge makes it an invalid comparison, as quite clearly I was operating under the presumption of a hierarchy of legal monopoly on force which would indeed punish me for my action, but would also protect me against retaliation by you. If we were operating under an anarcho-collectivist horizontal system on some habitat in the Saturnine Trojans, I wouldn't throw a punch, I'd look for allies to take the anarcho-capitalist prisoner at gunpoint, drag them in irons to a sleeving station, and ride them out of the habitat on an express datastream to Extropia.

Mods: I would like to point out that Smokeskin brought up that old business, and I answered strictly in the context of Eclipse Phase.

ShadowDragon, relax. I've tried to bury the hatchet between us, in post and PM, and still you come here and over the last posts pour vitriol all over me for no apparent reason. You repeatedly refer to me as "your ass", and I'm sure you're perfectly aware just how condescending such objectification is.

Now you're at it with thinly veiled threats again and implying that political violence is acceptable. On top you're even implying that I'd commit criminal acts and assault you too.

Shouldn't we try to get a more civilized tone here?

branford branford's picture
The discussion as per the OP

The discussion as per the OP wasn't the comparative merits or faults of anarchism, but rather does the setting actually portray any positive qualities about the Jovians. Let's not get too off-track.

As I stated, I believe that the basic Jovian ideology and conduct definitively has merit, particularly in this post-apocalyptic setting. In fact, given the Firewall snippets throughout the books, the Jovians may be the only viable faction left standing in the event of the TITAN's return or other assorted x-risks.

Sadly, I also feel that instead of developing them more realistically, the authors, through both content and narrative tone, chose to caricature conservative and religious ideologies that they obviously find somewhat repugnant, and instead used them as "Space Nazis" to be killed without compunction.

With a little work, however, it's not too difficult to easily sympathize with the Jovians, as both a polity and individuals, and tweak the setting to make them formidable, more humane, far more complicated and ultimately playable. As I and others discussed earlier, I would re-imagine them politically along the lines of the Federation from Heinlein's Starship Troopers (including only providing voting rights to veterans), with the paranoia, vigilance, intentional and necessary technological suppression and pervasive, yet certainly not universal, spirituality of Moore's Battlestar Galactica.

Lorsa Lorsa's picture
Luckily we do have moderators

There's only been a day since this thread got really out of topic. I would hate to lock it but will do so if:

There are any more posts that isn't related to the positive traits of the Jovian Junta.

I feel as though people are using this thread for a personal "discussion".

Lorsa is a Forum moderator

Red text is for moderator stuff

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
Mostly on topic, hope it's acceptable.

Here we see the perfect example of the problems with anarchist, if not necessarily autonomist, habitats.
I can't help but love it.
I have to say I agree with ShadowDragon in part; physical assault is a likely method of conflict resolution in anarchist habs, in part because blowing someone away with an assault rifle isn't murder any more, it's inconveniencing them and essentially enacting a "fine", as they have to wait and pay favours to get a new morph.

It's one of the big disadvantages of the anarchist lifestyle.

It's the old, glorious paradox - if you have absolute freedom, then others are absolutely free to take it from you, and so you must spend an ever greater amount of your time and resources to defend that freedom.
This is contrast to the PC, where you have little freedom, but it is largely assured.
In short, it's the endless interplay of liberty and security, with the anarchists and PC exemplifying the two ends of the scale.

And now, back to the actual topic.

I find it interesting that the Jovians are so reviled on this forum – it's quite clear that in the paragraph from Rimward that they can be SpaceNazis if you play up that side of them.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that they're nice, mainly because of the rampant corruption, but they never seemed to me to resemble the love-children of Dick Dastardly and Ming the Merciless as they seem to be perceived here.
Maybe it's a cultural thing; I saw the name Pinochet and immediately thought of a little wooden boy who's nose grows when he lies... in french.

The thing is, I find it really easy to understand them; all you need to do is realize that from their point of view, they're one of the last – if not the last – bastions of humanity in the solar system, and they're surrounded by borderline hostile genetically engineered creatures and scary robot monsters, which could turn on them at any time.
From that point of view, a lot is understandable. They could use more advanced tech... but who knows if it's just a trojan horse from the barbarians at the gate?
Better to stick with engineering that you understand. Sure, it doesn't work that well, but it won't spontaneously grow tentacles and pull your liver out through your ears.
So, less Space-North-Korea, more a mix of Cold-War era America mixed with Charleston from Falling Skies.
“Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Transhuman species?”

So, paranoia and mistrust, having to interact with a group of technologically advanced beings of dubious nature and unknowable intent.
Even better, though they don't trust transhuman tech, they're forced into using it to stay competitive, as their fleet – although they have the tonnage and experience to be a major power– is being outdeveloped by everyone else.
On the other hand, they're one of the last places you can find evidence of otherwise defunct languages, technologies and other esoteric knowledge, thanks to their love affair with old-earth, and generally be masters of “simple” engineering solutions and Macgyvering solutions to advanced problems.
I could see some very interesting technological developments coming out of the Junta, as they'll be approaching problems with a vastly differing toolset and methodology as the rest of the system.

There's also the somewhat interesting consequence of the rules, that means that Jovian PCs are kinda badasses.
They're not going to be spending CP on programs or augmentations or advanced morphs, so those points will be going into skills, attributes and Moxie instead.
So a Jovian PC is going to be wealthier, tougher, more skilled, and more generally heroic that an equal transhuman.
It makes sense if you think about it – these are the guys who will throw themselves against exsurgents, exhumans and other x-threats without the comfort of a stack to back them up.

That said, it's pretty easy to get thematic reasons to go around the stack restriction, and that can result in some pretty interesting characters.
Maybe he doesn't buy into that part of the dogma, and has to hide that from his peers, bringing the character overtones of religious and cultural persecution.
Maybe Firewall put one in, and gave him an awareness block so he's unaware he's got one. No problems at all, except for the stress and mind-shredding cognitive dissonance when he's restored from backup.

Or maybe, and this is my favourite, he believes the dogma, and accepts it.
So he simply thinks that he doesn't have a soul any more, having sacrificed it to protect his people. Bonus points if he's a fork, who's original is alive and well, but didn't leave the Rebublic.
Double points if he's a Priest.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

obsidian razor obsidian razor's picture
I like this approach to them

I like this approach to them if you fancy painting the Junta in a better light.

The thing is, none of this clashes with them being "Space North Korea". As a faction they might be dictatorial, corrupt and ultimately a paper tiger... but their citizens might have very positive individual traits and their ideals might be quite positive for a Firewall sentinel, so yeah, you could have a very heroic and cool Jovian character.

MAD Crab MAD Crab's picture
[qutoe]Here we see the

Edit: Removed continued off topic comments.

To look back at the Jovians for a moment, I'm not sure that very many people in this forum DO hate them. It always seems like the majority of the people who talk about them here are of the opinion that they were given the short end of the stick in the books and that they need balancing in game.

Tiberia Tiberia's picture
ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:Or

ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:
Or maybe, and this is my favourite, he believes the dogma, and accepts it.
So he simply thinks that he doesn't have a soul any more, having sacrificed it to protect his people. Bonus points if he's a fork, who's original is alive and well, but didn't leave the Rebublic.
Double points if he's a Priest.

I have had a similar idea bouncing around my head for a while now. The idea that some people, particularly from the priesthood would Voluntarily have their ego's digitized, and resleeved into an advanced morph. To them this would be an act of martyrdom, as they chose to die for to help their fellow man. the person in the new morph would not think of themselves as the original person, but as a copy of that original martyr, and so would live their lives to honor that martyrs memory.

I forgot, but remembered, one thing that was mentioned was that the Junta outlaws Indentured servitude. So That is at least one positive quality. To me all the other qualities mentioned are more utilitarian qualities. They are qualities that make the Junta effective, or hardy, or better in practical ways, but not better as an ideological faction.
There is a difference between saying that a man is strong, and resourceful, and saying that he is a decent man.

on an individual level you can't paint with broad sweeps, but as written I feel that the only Jovians you will have as players are likely those who are freedom fighters, dissenters, and refugees from the Junta.

capybara capybara's picture
ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:

ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:

Or maybe, and this is my favourite, he believes the dogma, and accepts it.
So he simply thinks that he doesn't have a soul any more, having sacrificed it to protect his people. Bonus points if he's a fork, who's original is alive and well, but didn't leave the Rebublic.
Double points if he's a Priest.

This is... beautiful.
Perhaps this is what most of Jovian operatives are - people who sacrificed their very soul to remain competitive enough to protect humanity. Very poetic. There was some irish christian legend about a saint who did something like this, if I'm not mistaken.

Actually, if we leave the Jovians alone for a bit, Christianity rhymes quite well with transhumanism - I totally see a transhuman Catholic church that views the Fall as Rapture and embraces resleeving. "Аnd I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades".

Edit: wait, wait, guys. The Fall = Tribulation. Everything after = Battle of Armageddon. TITANS, exsurgents and exhumans = forces of Satan. Prometheans = Angels. It's perfect. Totally writing a faction like this for my next campaign.

Tiberia Tiberia's picture
Godspeed on your journey.

Godspeed on your journey.

The most interesting thing about the junta can be it's bio-conservatism in a transhuman world. Couldn't many of them look upon the rest of transhumanity as just a collection of literal ghosts in the machine, Doubly so for infomorphs. I could very well see them looking at everyone else with pity, cause they're dead and don't even realize it.
Alternatively see them as an entirely new species of sort. And they're not yet sure how to deal with this new species. Do they isolate from them, work with them, or destroy them?
I've said it before, but onew of the best things about Tabletop is the ability to do this sort of thing. No programming language needed. straight from idea to game.

and if you still need Nazis that you can kill without feeling bad, there is still Nine Lives.

or the Ultimates.

Or the Space Nazis led by Hitler 2

branford branford's picture
The authors' admitted,

The authors' admitted, notably on p. 195 of Rimward, that the Jovians were written and presented in content and narration as, quite literally, "Space Nazis" to be killed without an afterthought. That is the problem that confronts the OP and many other readers and players. The authors similarly acknowledge in Rimward that a more realistic view of the Jovians might (should?) be more nuanced and then present a few very short ideas as to how the Jovians could be portrayed. It's unfortunate that the explicit text and setting about the Jovians offered so little depth or understanding of them, unlike the authors' preferred anarchists and socialists, to support any major revisions.

One does not need to be religious, (bio)conservative, or even an American nationalist or Republican, to sadly realize that the authors' own politics and editorial choices intentionally stunted and caricatured the only large bioconservative faction in the game, and as a result, a potentially rich source of role-playing opportunities. It is not uncommon to play RPG characters that are absolutely nothing like ourselves, whether it concerns politics, economics, culture, religion, sexuality, gender, etc, particularly and most emphatically in a transhuman setting like EP. Heck, if most of us were anything like the characters we play in many RPG's, we would be little more than unrepentant sociopaths. Although I am somewhat liberal, the idea of playing a bioconservative in EP might be enjoyable, especially since their paranoia and precautions might be well justified in-setting, with the Jovians ultimatley acting as the savior of the (trans)human race.

Who, at some point, wouldn't want to play one of the last true and noble humans selflessly protecting the meager remnants of our dying race against alien monstrosities, traitorous exhumans, murderous exurgent cults, and even echos and corrupted memories of pitiful humans now long dead, yet who inhabit profane and degenerate flesh, no less venal metal and plastic, that has so recently served as the instruments and vectors of our near annihilation, and may do so again without the vigilance and perseverance of the virtuous and faithful. If that doesn't describe a ruthlessly committed Firewall Sentinel, nothing will.

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
branford wrote:Who, at some

branford wrote:
Who, at some point, wouldn't want to play one of the last true and noble humans selflessly protecting the meager remnants of our dying race against alien monstrosities, traitorous exhumans, murderous exurgent cults, and even echos and corrupted memories of pitiful humans now long dead, yet who inhabit profane and degenerate flesh, no less venal metal and plastic, that has so recently served as the instruments and vectors of our near annihilation, and may do so again without the vigilance and perseverance of the virtuous and faithful. If that doesn't describe a ruthlessly committed Firewall Sentinel, nothing will.

You mean play a reactionary nutjob who looks at teeming masses of people and sees nothing but monsters who deserve nothing more than to be cleansed in fire, both out of hatred of them for what they are and out of fear they'll be subverted by my enemies?

I, for one, would not want to play that. If anything, that extremist whack-a-ling sounds like someone to be killed, and fast, before he kills me.

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Tiberia Tiberia's picture
And that is why I feel it is

And that is why I feel it is wrong for that to be the only major portrayal of bio-conservatives in EP.

They don't need to be saints, just not extremist whack jobs.

Panoptic Panoptic's picture
I posted quickly earlier in

I posted quickly earlier in the thread but will throw in my two credits.

The Jovians, as written, are easiest to see as one dimensional bad guys fit only for mockery and shooting at. Anything else being an alternative intrepretation that requires work on the reader's part. The authors made some effort to flesh them out in Rimward, but even there the default assumption is pretty damn close to "space nazis", the phrase even cropping up in the text. There is dissonance between their supposed military capabilities and that they somehow have not managed to secure all of the Jovian moons.

Positives? Utilitarian strength itself is a positive, one that many of their ideological rivals ignore or even mock. They have an actual military, as opposed to cobbled individuals who happen to be fighting. They are actively preparing to survive X-risks, and they have plausible reasons to think those could emerge from transhumanity.

I love the Eclipse Phase setting despite aspects such as this, and I'm keeping an eye for ways to make factions less visibly "good" or "bad" without a finetooth comb.

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branford branford's picture
ShadowDragon8685 wrote

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
branford wrote:
Who, at some point, wouldn't want to play one of the last true and noble humans selflessly protecting the meager remnants of our dying race against alien monstrosities, traitorous exhumans, murderous exurgent cults, and even echos and corrupted memories of pitiful humans now long dead, yet who inhabit profane and degenerate flesh, no less venal metal and plastic, that has so recently served as the instruments and vectors of our near annihilation, and may do so again without the vigilance and perseverance of the virtuous and faithful. If that doesn't describe a ruthlessly committed Firewall Sentinel, nothing will.

You mean play a reactionary nutjob who looks at teeming masses of people and sees nothing but monsters who deserve nothing more than to be cleansed in fire, both out of hatred of them for what they are and out of fear they'll be subverted by my enemies?

I, for one, would not want to play that. If anything, that extremist whack-a-ling sounds like someone to be killed, and fast, before he kills me.

First, as I mentioned in my post, one does not need to agree at all with a philosophy or group for it to nevertheless be fun or interesting to role-play. If that were not the case, entire mainstream lines of RPG games wouldn't be so successful (for an RPG, anyway), including many White Wolf/Onyx Path titles, Warhammer, Shadowrun, and every edition D&D. In fact, the actions of Firewall and its Sentinels are, at best, morally dubious, and at worst, psychopathic in the extreme.

Second, it's easy to uncharitably read your post as proof of the confirmation bias that infects EP and the authors' portrayal of Jovians as easily to kill "Space Nazis." The authors and many who read and play EP have very strong, often well outside the mainstream, left-wing views. As this thread and many others about the Jovians easily attest, many actually believe the stereotypes and caricatures of conservatives and the religious, or at least feel no compunction about ridiculing the "other," (religious, conservatives, Republicans, etc) represented mostly by the PC or Jovians, in a setting or environment where the players and their characters are in the majority. Unfortunately, we humans are a nasty bunch and very much alike, even when roles of power and privilege are reversed (and one of the primary reasons why I find the near-romantic and idealistic portrayals of the anarchists so unbelievable).

Posthuman's owners and writers have often advocated that we should leave our comfort zones, from everything to politics and economics to gender and sexuality. Although I enjoy EP, I believe that it would have been a significantly better and more thoughtful RPG if the authors also left the comfort zones of their favored ideologies and gave depth to bioconservatism and religion in the EP setting, whether through the Jovians or another major faction. Their failure to do so was more noteworthy because some of the more recent setting fiction implies that the Jovian paranoia and precautions may be the correct course of action to protect transhumanity.

Lastly, my post was meant with a sense of levity (and a little call-out to Warhammer 40K), yet still provided more potential depth to the Jovians than much of the EP setting materials. As the only major Bioconservative or religious polity, wouldn't you agree that the authors and us, as the audience, would have been better served by at least a little more nuance?

branford branford's picture
ShadowDragon8685 wrote

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
branford wrote:
Who, at some point, wouldn't want to play one of the last true and noble humans selflessly protecting the meager remnants of our dying race against alien monstrosities, traitorous exhumans, murderous exurgent cults, and even echos and corrupted memories of pitiful humans now long dead, yet who inhabit profane and degenerate flesh, no less venal metal and plastic, that has so recently served as the instruments and vectors of our near annihilation, and may do so again without the vigilance and perseverance of the virtuous and faithful. If that doesn't describe a ruthlessly committed Firewall Sentinel, nothing will.

You mean play a reactionary nutjob who looks at teeming masses of people and sees nothing but monsters who deserve nothing more than to be cleansed in fire, both out of hatred of them for what they are and out of fear they'll be subverted by my enemies?

I, for one, would not want to play that. If anything, that extremist whack-a-ling sounds like someone to be killed, and fast, before he kills me.

A few more points:

ShadowDragon, if you read much of the Firewall setting fiction throughout the EP books, even as recently as the "Morph Cospiracies" in the Morph Recognition Guide, it becomes increasing likely that the Jovians may have the greatest sense of what transhumanity represents and how its own actions could spell its doom, sooner rather than later. In fact, Firewall exists, in part, to prevent transhumanity's near suicidal behavior. Remember, EP is a post-apocalyptic horror setting.

If one holds a contemporary and moderate mainstream religious perspective, most of humanity in EP is simply dead (soulless) and just hasn't realized it. That alone would be an interesting theological discussion related to the game. However, in the EP universe, and despite your (or my) preconceived notions, the teeming masses of people may actually be little more than monsters, already subverted by TITANS, aliens, the ETI, or who knows what else.

Strip out my obvious and hyperbolic religious terminology and view EP more like a zombie apocalypse film. The zombies, no matter how "human" they may look or act, and despite any deeper motivations that may invoke sympathy, still intend to infect or kill you. The zombie may have once been a lover or friend, even have their memories, but sadly it's not them. Their destruction, no matter how tragic and difficult, is necessary, and often may be a mercy.

My points are simply that regardless of whether I agree with the Jovians (I don't), nuance generally makes a more interesting role-playing experience, little in life or RPG's is black-and-white, and playing a character that is different than oneself is often fun and illuminating.

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
At the risk of being yelled

At the risk of being yelled at for “Microaggressions” again, since I’ve been given two big ol’ Walls o’ Text to answer to...

Tiberia wrote:
And that is why I feel it is wrong for that to be the only major portrayal of bio-conservatives in EP.

They don't need to be saints, just not extremist whack jobs.

“Bio-Conservative” is “Bio-Chauvinist++”, in the same way that “Racial Supremacist” is “Racist++”. We’ve already established that Bio-Chauvinism is assholery of the highest order, but the folks who double down on it somehow are entitled to being shown in the most positive light?

I’m 100% sure that if I go out of my way to do so, I can find positive things to say about the Ku Klux Klan, or the Nazi party, or Josef Stalin. That doesn’t make any of them any less despicable, and no matter what good aspects the Jovians might have, they are still despicable assholes.

Also, not extremists? At the least extreme of bio-conservatism, they’ve managed to successfully Other about half of the remaining members of transhumanity as below them, base, unworthy, by not being in biomorphs, or being sleeved in biomorphs which are heavily modified, or which have no intention whatsoever of dying on anything approximating a “natural” timeframe - but the Jovians go one step further!

To the Jovians, by and large, everybody who can’t trace intact, unaltered continuity from the moment they were born isn’t a human, they’re a monster wearing a sick mockery of human skin, a soulless, a blank, a created construct wearing human form and acting and talking like a man, but not a man. They have Othered ev-er-y-body, even a lot of their own! That’s bloody extreme there, mate! That’s why I called “Extremist”, they’re an entire bloc of extremists. This isn’t even touching their other heinous shit, like massive censorship, oppression, ignoring technologies which could stop their habitats from being septic shitholes even when the Titanians offer to bring them up to speed free of charge out of humanitarian concern, preventing people from having some of the most vital basics of modern transhuman dignity (mesh inserts with muses,) and so forth and so on.

Oh, and the Space Pope. They have one, and not only do a lot of thier population pay attention to him, some of their leaders do, too. Yes, I consider that unforgivable.

branford wrote:
ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
branford wrote:
Who, at some point, wouldn't want to play one of the last true and noble humans selflessly protecting the meager remnants of our dying race against alien monstrosities, traitorous exhumans, murderous exurgent cults, and even echos and corrupted memories of pitiful humans now long dead, yet who inhabit profane and degenerate flesh, no less venal metal and plastic, that has so recently served as the instruments and vectors of our near annihilation, and may do so again without the vigilance and perseverance of the virtuous and faithful. If that doesn't describe a ruthlessly committed Firewall Sentinel, nothing will.

You mean play a reactionary nutjob who looks at teeming masses of people and sees nothing but monsters who deserve nothing more than to be cleansed in fire, both out of hatred of them for what they are and out of fear they'll be subverted by my enemies?

I, for one, would not want to play that. If anything, that extremist whack-a-ling sounds like someone to be killed, and fast, before he kills me.

First, as I mentioned in my post, one does not need to agree at all with a philosophy or group for it to nevertheless be fun or interesting to role-play. If that were not the case, entire mainstream lines of RPG games wouldn't be so successful (for an RPG, anyway), including many White Wolf/Onyx Path titles, Warhammer, Shadowrun, and every edition D&D. In fact, the actions of Firewall and its Sentinels are, at best, morally dubious, and at worst, psychopathic in the extreme.

That’s nice, and?

White Wolf titles never propose that they should operate off anything other than protagonist-centered morality.
Warhammer is called “Grimdark” for a reason. Playing a non-asshole is all but impossible.
Shadowrun likewise to White Wolf tends to run on Protagonist-Centered Morality, but a lot of people who play Shadowrun play their Shadowrunners as the ones who are not so completely without any moral concerns but nuyen that there is nothing they won’t do if the money’s good enough. Dumpshock even had a thread about jobs too heinous for a runner group a few weeks ago.
And every edition of D&D has an absolute moral differentiation, laid down in the books. The only ambiguity is if you get a GM who’s absolutely anal and jackassy about it

And the actions of Firewall Sentinels can be questionable. This came up in my group. My players decided to burn down a hotel in the heart of Elysium, leading a team of Scum asskickers, to liberate the 140+ indentured slaves. Even though they did, in fact, try to minimize the casualties of uninvolved civilians, there was absolutely no way to prevent it. Civilians died, but you know what? They still escaped to the Scum Swarm as heroes. (Most of them chose to keep their own names unaffiliated with the event so as not to wind up on the Oversight or Shui Fong hit lists, but still, heroes.) Are there people who think their actions were monstrous, of course. But they’ve successfully Othered the Shui Fong triad as usurious criminals and the Consortium as a pack of slave-traders, so they don’t really give a damn what those guys think.

Now, expand that Othering to the whole transhumanity. That’s what the Jovians have - not even ideal-based Othering of “I like this governmental system and I hate yours,” or “you’re stealing mah credits by stealing mah Eye-Peeeees!,” or “You’re a slave-trading monster who deserves no quarter.” No, no, no, no, it’s far deeper than that.

The Jovians have Othered everybody as being outright monsters. They view everybody alive as being dopplegangers, sick mockeries of people who walk like people, and talk like people, but aren’t people. They’re living Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and to them, everybody who has ever resleeved is a pod person!

Now, if this were Warhammer 40K, the Inquisition would be fully justified in ordering an Exterminatus on the entire system, because of the massive amounts of HERESY that constitutes, and in WH40K, we have it beaten into our heads time and time again that the Inquisition is the good guys no matter what horrible things they do, because stamping out HERESY by any means nessessary is the ultimate good! In fact, even so much as questioning that fact is, itself, Heresy. *BLAM!* [Heretic executed for questioning the Inquisition.]

But this is not Warhammer 40K. This is Eclipse Phase, where everybody is meant to be sympathetic to the poor bastards who escaped the Fall as the most destitute class of refugees who have ever existed, and to the Scum resleeving every week just for laughs, and to the uplifted animals who have full, human-level, can-hold-a-philosophical-conversation-to-your-face sapience, and to the AGIs who are glad to have escaped the Fall with their data integrity, and so forth and so on. Even the Consortium, arguably the biggest dickbags of “normal” EP polities, guarantees a transhuman’s right to morphological freedom, even if they clamp down on technologies which threaten their precious economy of enforced scarcity that puts the rich folks at the top and keeps the poor down.

But not the Jovians. To them, that doesn’t matter, because all of those people out there? They’re not people, they’re skinwalkers, disgusting, horrifying mockeries of humans, monsters in human form that they have to try and get along with because they aren’t strong enough to exterminate them. The Jovians are in the wrong genre, they’re the Inquisition, but this isn’t Warhammer 40K, it’s Eclipse Phase, and there’s no living corpse on a golden chair that they can point to say that the are Objectively Right in unleashing Exterminatus. (*BLAM!* [Heretic executed for doubting the Emperor’s divinity.])

Quote:
Second, it's easy to uncharitably read your post as proof of the confirmation bias that infects EP and the authors' portrayal of Jovians as easily to killed "Space Nazis." The authors and many who read and play EP have very strong, often well outside the mainstream, left-wing views. As this thread and many others about the Jovians easily attest, many actually believe the stereotypes and caricatures of conservatives and the religious, or at least feel no compunction about ridiculing the "other," (religious, conservatives, Republicans, etc) represented mostly by the PC or Jovians, in a setting or environment where the players and their characters are in the majority. Unfortunately, we humans are a nasty bunch and very much alike, even when roles of power and privilege are reversed (and one of the primary reasons why I find the near-romantic and idealistic portrayals of the anarchists so unbelievable).

Oi.

You’re right. I do feel no compunction against ridiculing the religious, the conservatives (especially the Republicans,) etcetera, except inasfar as doing so overtly here will get me a smacking from Kindalas, because from where I’m standing? Those are the guys who are holding humanity back, the ones responsible for the vast majority of the societal ills which I, personally, suffer under! If I Other them, that’s because they have proven themselves through words, through deeds, through words-as-deeds, to be my very personal enemies, and I see no reason not to treat them as such.

And yes, the Jovians do represent them in-game, because the Jovians are the conglomeration of all of them, in-game. The Jovians are where the right-wing warhawks, backed up with the power of SPACE CRUISERS, wound up. The Jovians are where the last bastions of organized, traditional religion-as-political-mover-and-shaker wound up, because they have a Space Pope for crying out loud! The Jovians are the conservative ass-tards who refuse to allow their people access to modern medicine and modern human dignities because they don’t trust it. They are all of these things and more, and they will never not be those things unless their government is cast down by force and a new one forcibly installed. Which is not really the Alliance’s style, and wouldn’t be very good for business, so unless it’s a revolution from within, you’re screwed.

Quote:
Posthuman's owners and writers have often advocated that we should leave our comfort zones, from everything to politics and economics to gender and sexuality. Although I enjoy EP, I believe that it would have been a significantly better and more thoughtful RPG if the authors also left the comfort zones of their favored ideologies and gave depth to bioconservatism and religion in the EP setting, whether through the Jovians or another major faction. Their failure to do so was more noteworthy because some of the more recent setting fiction implies that the Jovian paranoia and precautions may be the correct course of action to protect transhumanity.

I do believe that is their stab at going outside their comfort zone, writing in the nagging feeling that, despite all of their extremism and assholery and monstrousness, at the end of the day the Jovians might just have been right after all.

And you know what? Quite frankly, if I were in the setting, I’d choose a final death over life as a Jovian. That’s not a life worth living.

Quote:
Lastly, my post was meant with a sense of levity (and a little call-out to Warhammer 40K), yet still provided more potential depth to the Jovians than much of the EP setting materials. As the only major Bioconservative or religious polity, wouldn't you agree that the authors and us, as the audience, would have been better served by at least a little more nuance?

They have all the nuance they need; they’re still the assholes. It doesn’t matter how nuanced you make an asshole, if his deeds are assholery, then by his asshole deeds I know him. Past a certain point, I don’t care if he was himself abused and bullied as a child, or what kind of pressures he’s under; he’s still being an asshole, to me, and I will treat him as such.

branford wrote:
A few more points:

ShadowDragon, if you read much of the Firewall setting fiction throughout the EP books, even as recently as the "Morph Cospiracies" in the Morph Recognition Guide, it becomes increasingly likely that the Jovians may have the greatest sense of what transhumanity represents and how its own actions could spell its doom, sooner rather than later. In fact, Firewall exists, in part, to prevent transhumanity's near suicidal behavior. Remember, EP is a post-apocalyptic horror setting.

I think I addressed this line of thought best in the example character questionnaire I wrote out for my own character, so I’ll paraphrase it here.

If the first cave-man to light a fire in a cave wound up dying because of carbon monoxide build-up, the other cave-men to look in would see a dead caveman and the remnants of a fire. They would completely lack the scientific understanding to grok what happened to old Ugh, all they would be able to tell is that Ugh lit a fire, and it killed him, yet they can see no signs of burning or other obvious injuries to his flesh.

If they thought like the Jovians, they would have said “Fire is dangerous. You cannot control it, it kills in unseen ways. You must never light a fire!” They would then go out and bash anyone who lights a fire upside the head, for fear of unleashing the invisible killer, especially lest he light the wilderness on fire and unleash it on all of them.

We would still, in 2014, be eating cold meat and berries and squatting around in a huddle for heat if that were the case.

Quote:
If one holds a contemporary and moderate mainstream religious perspective, most of humanity in EP is simply dead (soulless) and just hasn't realized it. That alone would be an interesting theological discussion related to the game. However, in the EP universe, and despite your (or my) preconceived notions, the teeming masses of people may actually be little more than monsters, already subverted by TITANS, aliens, the ETI, or who knows what else.

Yeah, that’s one of the main reasons that the Jovians are the assholes. If you start thinking along those lines, then yes, you’re fully justified in exterminating every last transhuman alive. And you know what? That makes them the bad guys.

Because they have no absolute authorization, they don’t have an Inquisition which can tell them that no matter how bad the exterminatus hurts, allowing Chaos, or the ETI, or the TITANs, or the aliens, or god-knows-what-else to get a foothold. Because the setting doesn’t work like that; it’s a whole bunch of very frightened people running around with nothing but their best guesses, working often at cross purposes, trying to keep transhuman civilization alive.

And the Jovians chose to turn to reactionary, fundamentalist and even religious mores to guide their way, and that turns them into the would-be Inquisition.

Quote:
Strip out my obvious and hyperbolic religious terminology and view EP more like a zombie apocalypse film. The zombies, no matter how "human" they may look or act, and despite any deeper motivations that may invoke sympathy, still intend to infect or kill you. The zombie may have once been a lover or friend, even have their memories, but sadly it's not them. Their destruction, no matter how tragic and difficult, is necessary, and often may be a mercy.

Except that that is not the case here. It’s not a zombie, or a lover, it actually is your lover and friend, until you can prove that in fact it is not. Might they be the skinwalker impersonating them? Yes, and that’s why nano-infection and brain-rewriting is so damn scary!

But the Jovians have decided that eveyone who ever resleeved is the horrifying skinwalker. And that is where they’ve gone wrong, because once you’ve decided that everyone out there is a monster, you have become the monster, because you can justify doing anything to stop/destroy the monster. Just look at the Inquisition - not the Imperial Inquisition of Warhammer 40,000, but the Spanish Inquisition of 1478-1834. Or the wars between Protestants and Catholics. Because once you’ve established that the immortal soul is the only thing that matters and any mortal stuff doesn’t, and once you’ve established that only the people who follow the One True Faith are going to Heaven, you’re justified in doing anything, no matter how evil, to make them convert. It’s for their own good!

That’s where the Jovians are, only there’s no converting back from “Skinwalker” to “Human Being,” so they’ll settle for exterminating them.

Yes, they are in fact the bad guys!

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My points are simply that regardless of whether I agree with the Jovians (I don't), nuance generally makes a more interesting role-playing experience, little in life or RPG's is black-and-white, and playing a character that is different than oneself is often fun and illuminating.

They have all the nuance that is required.

Mod Edit, Red is a Moderator colour. I changed it to Green in your post. -Kindalas

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Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
branford wrote:The authors'

branford wrote:
The authors' admitted, notably on p. 195 of Rimward, that the Jovians were written and presented in content and narration as, quite literally, "Space Nazis" to be killed without an afterthought. That is the problem that confronts the OP and many other readers and players.

Others have pointed this out previously - it doesn't say that. I says that you can play them like that. It then goes on to say how you can also play them that makes them nice.

And while the actions of Nazi Germany as a country and ideology where horrible, I would also point out that anyone who thinks that everyone in Nazi Germany were singularly evil is certainly wrong. Not everyone would have agreed, and many followers would be reacting to peer pressure and social expectations (like in the Stanford Prison Experiment).

The Space Nazi description doesn't have to be onedimensional, either. Yeah, that JR soldier is part of a JR operation but he thinks what their plan is despiccable, he's been conscripted, he'll get executed if he doesn't obey orders, he's in a Flat with no backup, and he has 2 kids at home that needs their father.

Have the PCs infiltrate the JR squad and have them hear his story, then throw some tough choices on them on how how to stop the JR op.

branford branford's picture
Smokeskin wrote:branford

Smokeskin wrote:
branford wrote:
The authors' admitted, notably on p. 195 of Rimward, that the Jovians were written and presented in content and narration as, quite literally, "Space Nazis" to be killed without an afterthought. That is the problem that confronts the OP and many other readers and players.

Others have pointed this out previously - it doesn't say that. I says that you can play them like that. It then goes on to say how you can also play them that makes them nice.

And while the actions of Nazi Germany as a country and ideology where horrible, I would also point out that anyone who thinks that everyone in Nazi Germany were singularly evil is certainly wrong. Not everyone would have agreed, and many followers would be reacting to peer pressure and social expectations (like in the Stanford Prison Experiment).

The Space Nazi description doesn't have to be onedimensional, either. Yeah, that JR soldier is part of a JR operation but he thinks what their plan is despiccable, he's been conscripted, he'll get executed if he doesn't obey orders, he's in a Flat with no backup, and he has 2 kids at home that needs their father.

Have the PCs infiltrate the JR squad and have them hear his story, then throw some tough choices on them on how how to stop the JR op.

I use the term "Space Nazis" only because that phrase was used by the authors in Rimward. The authors also concede that "as superficially presented" in the text, the Jovians (the only large bioconservative polity) are, and were intended to be, the setting's Space Nazis. No other faction requires any digging or analysis to find any positive qualities.

Also, as I mentioned in earlier posts, my family was decimated in the Holocaust. I'm well aware of the true nature of the Nazi regime and those who supported it, both actively and passively. As to those who may have succumb to "peer pressure," that offers families like mine little solace. Remember, all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

In any event, to me, the Jovians (and PC) are more a poor parody of American Republicans and Catholics in space. Although I am neither a Republican nor Catholic, it's not too difficult to understand how their portrayals can easily be considered offensive, particularly as compared to the idealistic and often romanticized treatment of other groups and ideologies. However, as I have repeatedly stated, my primary criticism is not that that conservatives are treated badly in the game, but that such one-dimensional depictions of any group narrows great role-playing opportunities, at lease without house-rules and revisions.

uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
I would argue against the use

I would argue against the use of the phrase: "...contemporary and moderate mainstream religious perspective..."

Hinduism and Buddhism alone are two major religions that would not (and in game are explicitly described as such) have a problem with the supposed death of a soul caused by resleeving.

While I run, EP has having plenty of religious movements moderating and adapting to Transhumanity, but the Jovians as per the book are literly regressives who cling to religious and spiritual justifications for their bioconservativism.

I would also argue that Bioconservative is more than Biochauvinism, despite a huge overlap, as Biochauvinism is bias against robots and AGI while Bioconservatives not only hate synths/AGI, they also hate uplifts, and in real life as well as EP, despise Genetic Engineering (fun note, Technoprogressives ans Biocons both agree that GMOs made by U.S. Agricorps are bad but for two different reasons).

Closer to topic, I think certain aspects of the Jovian faction are being tightly relied upon for condemnation (their fascist govt for instance), but no polity is perfect, and the positive traits, rare as they may be, such as their tenacity and their precaustionism.

EDIT: spelling sucks on a mobile browser, my apologies.

Exhuman, and Humanitarian.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
branford wrote:Smokeskin

branford wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:
branford wrote:
The authors' admitted, notably on p. 195 of Rimward, that the Jovians were written and presented in content and narration as, quite literally, "Space Nazis" to be killed without an afterthought. That is the problem that confronts the OP and many other readers and players.

Others have pointed this out previously - it doesn't say that. I says that you can play them like that. It then goes on to say how you can also play them that makes them nice.

And while the actions of Nazi Germany as a country and ideology where horrible, I would also point out that anyone who thinks that everyone in Nazi Germany were singularly evil is certainly wrong. Not everyone would have agreed, and many followers would be reacting to peer pressure and social expectations (like in the Stanford Prison Experiment).

The Space Nazi description doesn't have to be onedimensional, either. Yeah, that JR soldier is part of a JR operation but he thinks what their plan is despiccable, he's been conscripted, he'll get executed if he doesn't obey orders, he's in a Flat with no backup, and he has 2 kids at home that needs their father.

Have the PCs infiltrate the JR squad and have them hear his story, then throw some tough choices on them on how how to stop the JR op.

I use the term "Space Nazis" only because that phrase was used by the authors in Rimward. The authors also concede that "as superficially presented" in the text, the Jovians (the only large bioconservative polity) are, and were intended to be, the setting's Space Nazis. No other faction requires any digging or analysis to find any positive qualities.

That's not what it says. It says, to use actual Nazi Germany as an example "Nazi Germany does [x] and has an official ideology of [y] - so you can choose to have Germans be evil henchmen the PCs can shoot without remorse, or you can present them in a more nuanced manner."

Quote:

Also, as I mentioned in earlier posts, my family was decimated in the Holocaust. I'm well aware of the true nature of the Nazi regime and those who supported it, both actively and passively. As to those who may have succumb to "peer pressure," that offers families like mine little solace. Remember, all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

Just to make it absolutely clear, I don't believe that anyone can defend their actions with "everyone else was doing it" or "I was just following orders", and I fully and totally believe in stamping out oppression with full force instead of just being a scared bystander.

That doesn't make the psychological realities any different, and they are important, both in terms of ethics but also in how to avoid oppressive regimes and ideologies to take hold, and how you handle the previously oppressive population in the aftermath. If in 1947 everyone thought that the Germans were inherintely evil and should be treated as subhumans, we'd likely just have perpetuated the cycle of oppression and hate. Instead Germany has become a modern, civilized society and one of the most pacifistic countries in Europe.

Quote:

In any event, to me, the Jovians (and PC) are more a poor parody of American Republicans and Catholics in space. Although I am neither a Republican nor Catholic, it's not too difficult to understand how their portrayals can easily be considered offensive, particularly as compared to the idealistic and often romanticized treatment of other groups and ideologies. However, as I have repeatedly stated, my primary criticism is not that that conservatives are treated badly in the game, but that such one-dimensional depictions of any group narrows great role-playing opportunities, at lease without house-rules and revisions.

The only concrete things I've heard you mention that were parodical were the Pinochet moon and the Pope. As we've been over, many right wing South Americans (who are a large part of the JR) comsider Pinochet a hero. And I still have no idea what you think is parodical about the Pope.

And you want the JR leaders to be saints, which to me sounds like you want them to get special treatment instead of a realistic depiction.

And what is so romanticized about the other factions? That when people are given full and unrestricted access to advanced technology their quality of life improves?

branford branford's picture
uwtartarus wrote:I would

uwtartarus wrote:
I would argue against the use of the phrase: "...contemporary and moderate mainstream religious perspective..."

Hinduism and Buddhism alone are two major religions that would not (and in game are explicitly described as such) have a problem with the supposed death of a soul cqused by resleeving.

I admit I should have more accurately phrased my comments as " . . . contemporary and moderate mainstream religious perspective in the West," although I think my point was clear.

Quote:

While I run, EP has having plenty of religious movements moderating and adapting to Transhumanity, but the Jovians as per the book are literly regressives who cling to religious ans spiritual justifications for their bioconservativism.

"Adapting to transhumanity" does not necessarily mean acceptance or approval of all aspects of transhumanity, including resleeving, ubiquitous or artificial intelligence (particularly after the TITANS), invasive bio- or nanotechnology, etc. Moreover, much of the Jovian Republic is not religious, nor do they "cling" to religion as justification to their opposition to certain aspects of transhumanity (that per the setting fiction may lead to our extinction). As detailed in Rimward, religious belief is hardly universal in the Republic, and at least two of the seven members of their Security Council are explicitly atheists or non-religious, and only one is identified with any strong religious leanings. (Rimward, p. 41).

Transhumanity just experienced a near extinction-level event just 10 years prior. The Jovians are justifiably taking precautions to survive another possible annihilation while other factions are proverbially playing with fire (alien Factors, Pandora gates, etc.). As evidenced by the existence of Firewall as the main player character motivator, it is quite possible that the Jovians are "adapting" quite well, and that many of the other fractions are rapidly evolving transhumanity to oblivion.

Quote:

I would also argue that Bioconservative is more than Biochauvinism, despite a huge overlap, as Biochauvinism is bias against robots and AGI while Bioconservatives not only hate synths/AGI, they also hate uplifts, and in real life as well as EP, despise Genetic Engineering (fun note, Technoprogressives ans Biocona both agree that GMOs made by U.S. Agricorps are bad but for two different reasons).

Closer to topic, I think certain aspects of the Jovian faction are being tightly relied upon for condemnation (their fascist govt for instance), but no polity is perfect, and the positive traits, rare as they may be, such as their tenacity and their precaustionism.

It's more than simply criticizing the Jovian's fascist government. First, they don't need a fascist government to support their policies. Since they are obviously a parody of American conservatives, the Jovian government and its policies would easily receive popular democratic support from a willing and believing populace.

Moreover, their abject corruption and incompetence is not explained. For instance, why are their habitats dirty and irradiated when the technology and resourced exist to prevent it, and such technology is well withing their approved restrictions. Radiation shielding and basic municipal cleaning and maintenance are certainly acceptable. The Jovians are conservatives, not Luddites.

Similarly, despite the fact that their leadership is comprised of blood and bone military, intelligence and security survivors of the Fall, they possess a large population and resources, all citizens have comprehensive military and/or technical training, and they possess the largest space fleet, are they considered a paper tiger by neighbors. The Europans and Titanians should be terrified of such an aggressive polity on their doorstep, yet the Jovians have conquered nothing, and their military prowess and threats are barely met with a "meh."

If the Jovians were intended to be Space Nazis (or Republicans), well, they should at least be allowed to truly be "Space Nazis." Nazi's (neoconservatives?) may be irredeemably evil, but they most certainly are not incompetent, and they should be scary!

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
branford wrote:

branford wrote:

Similarly, despite the fact that their leadership is comprised of blood and bone military, intelligence and security survivors of the Fall, they possess a large population and resources, all citizens have comprehensive military and/or technical training, and they possess the largest space fleet, are they considered a paper tiger by neighbors. The Europans and Titanians should be terrified of such an aggressive polity on their doorstep, yet the Jovians have conquered nothing, and their military prowess and threats are barely met with a "meh."

If the Jovians were intended to be Space Nazis (or Republicans), well, they should at least be allowed to truly be "Space Nazis." Nazi's may be irredeemably evil, but they most certainly are not incompetent, and they should be scary!


,
The problem is mutually assured destruction, isn't it? It's like the Cold War, outright invasion is not an option. Between WMDs, orbital velocities and everyone depending on vulnerable life support systems, you can't handle a retaliation strike.
branford branford's picture
Smokeskin, we obviously view

Smokeskin, we obviously view the Jovians in a very different context.

However, just a few points:

1. In no way did I ever think that you sympathized with the actual Nazi regime or their ideology!

2. I understand that the authors used the term "Space Nazis" as a vernacular shorthand to simply mean "(fascist), evil bad guy, shoot at your discretion without remorse." Not all fascists have been Nazis. However, the Jovians (and PC) were undoubtedly intended as a caricature of American conservatives and religious believers, and the implication was that such individuals are little more than fascists. Pointing to some positive aspects of fascists in no way diminishes the perceived offense.

As for the Pinochet reference, to the vast majority of mainstream conservatives in the USA, it would amount to little more than a reference to them as torturers and murderers, despite possible commonalities concerning economic policies and similar matters.

3. If the text of EP did not so obviously make the Jovians one-dimensional bad guys, we would never have such repeated and lengthy discussions about them, and more importantly, the entire entry in Rimward would be superfluous and entirely unnecessary. Do any of the other factions in EP require such a entry in either Rimward or Sumward?

4. I do not believe that the Jovians or their leaders are, nor need to be, saints. In fact, as I state in post #137 above, I would be more than content for them simply to be competent, or at least have their policies and opinions rationally explained in a context other than to someone who feels mocking conservatives is the natural course of events (and I'm not even conservative or religious).

branford branford's picture
Smokeskin wrote:branford

Smokeskin wrote:
branford wrote:

Similarly, despite the fact that their leadership is comprised of blood and bone military, intelligence and security survivors of the Fall, they possess a large population and resources, all citizens have comprehensive military and/or technical training, and they possess the largest space fleet, are they considered a paper tiger by neighbors. The Europans and Titanians should be terrified of such an aggressive polity on their doorstep, yet the Jovians have conquered nothing, and their military prowess and threats are barely met with a "meh."

If the Jovians were intended to be Space Nazis (or Republicans), well, they should at least be allowed to truly be "Space Nazis." Nazi's may be irredeemably evil, but they most certainly are not incompetent, and they should be scary!


,
The problem is mutually assured destruction, isn't it? It's like the Cold War, outright invasion is not an option. Between WMDs, orbital velocities and everyone depending on vulnerable life support systems, you can't handle a retaliation strike.

That may be reasonable, but is certainly not anywhere in the text. The Europans, who would be little more than a practice run for a proper Jovian military, simply have no fear of the them (Rimward, p. 50), and the Titanians barely consider the Jovians a "minor irritant." (Rimward, p. 44). Quite frankly, that's nothing like a Cold War / MAD scenario, particularly given the militarism and paranoia of the Republic and Hyoden's unexplained fears (Rimward, p.47)

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
Taking Europa would be

Taking Europa would be essentially impossible for the Jovians, it would be like taking Ceres from the Hidden Concern.

It would be rough going for a modern military which isn't afraid to sleeve people into combat synths and to innovate technologically. The Titanians could do it, but unless they're given a real reason to do so, they won't.

Now, back up to where the Jovians are. Europa is a big planetoid, an order of magnitude larger than Ceres. The Jovians could bombard it all day long and they'd never make a dent in it, and neutrino farcasters built in the subcrustal seas would be impossible for them to jam. Any individual subsurface habitats they did invade could be simply nuked and anyone who was in there resleeved from backup.

The Junta could make life annoying for the people of Europa, but it would require a massive military blockade and commitment for them to do so.

Meanwhile, the Titanians find them irritating because the Jovians' ability to project force is very limited, and the force they can project is not as multiplied as their own power. Attacking the Jovians would suck, and without the Alliance behind them, the Titanians wouldn't be able to pull it off without resorting to wholesale habitat extermination. Defending against the Jovians, on the other hand, is comparatively easy for those in Saturnine orbit.

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Tiberia Tiberia's picture
conservative is noit the same as chavinist

Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
At the risk of being yelled at for “Microaggressions” again, since I’ve been given two big ol’ Walls o’ Text to answer to...

Tiberia wrote:
And that is why I feel it is wrong for that to be the only major portrayal of bio-conservatives in EP.

They don't need to be saints, just not extremist whack jobs.

“Bio-Conservative” is “Bio-Chauvinist++”, in the same way that “Racial Supremacist” is “Racist++”. We’ve already established that Bio-Chauvinism is assholery of the highest order, but the folks who double down on it somehow are entitled to being shown in the most positive light?

I’m 100% sure that if I go out of my way to do so, I can find positive things to say about the Ku Klux Klan, or the Nazi party, or Josef Stalin. That doesn’t make any of them any less despicable, and no matter what good aspects the Jovians might have, they are still despicable assholes.

Also, not extremists? At the least extreme of bio-conservatism, they’ve managed to successfully Other about half of the remaining members of transhumanity as below them, base, unworthy, by not being in biomorphs, or being sleeved in biomorphs which are heavily modified, or which have no intention whatsoever of dying on anything approximating a “natural” timeframe - but the Jovians go one step further!

To the Jovians, by and large, everybody who can’t trace intact, unaltered continuity from the moment they were born isn’t a human, they’re a monster wearing a sick mockery of human skin, a soulless, a blank, a created construct wearing human form and acting and talking like a man, but not a man. They have Othered ev-er-y-body, even a lot of their own! That’s bloody extreme there, mate! That’s why I called “Extremist”, they’re an entire bloc of extremists. This isn’t even touching their other heinous shit, like massive censorship, oppression, ignoring technologies which could stop their habitats from being septic shitholes even when the Titanians offer to bring them up to speed free of charge out of humanitarian concern, preventing people from having some of the most vital basics of modern transhuman dignity (mesh inserts with muses,) and so forth and so on.
...
...
...

you seem to have completely misunderstood what I was saying. I'm not saying they aren't extremists. I', saying they shouldn't be. as the only representation of a differing viewpoint it is wrong to essentially demonize them. as the Junta looks on transhumanity, we look at them. it is wrong if they do it, it is wrong if we do it.

EP is not a history text book. History can have crazy extremist shits.
In this setting factions are representations of idea. They are ideas. and EP is saying anyone not down with transhumanism is evil, or at the very least a rogue state. It is saying that the people who disagree with us are assholes. And when you start thinking along those lines, YOU become the extremist, because you begin to feel infallible because in your mind only assholes, and idiots would disagree with you.

And how is bio-conservative bio-chauvinist++. I am not even sure where the thought line to this is. conservative does not mean supremacist, or hateful, or anything. it means your conservative. When speaking on politics and ideologies liberal and conservative generally describe that groups preferred amount of change.
conservatives want a conservative amount of change
Liberals want a liberal amount of change.

bio-conservatives want a conservative amount of change in regards to, in this case, the human condition. they resist change, but as mentioned they are not Luddites, so they don't stonewall change. They just resist it to slow it down to a pace they consider desirable, and restrict what they consider wrong.
They are in this same way techno-conservative.

Bio-chauvinism is about the supremacy, or betterness of biological forms over computerized or synthetic. and can be further about superiority over other forms like uplifts and pods as well. But a bio-chauvinist can be very bio-liberal. Some of them are called the Ultimates. some are potentially ex-humans. Many of them might be your neighbor on the moon.

So bio-conservative is not the same as bio-chauvinist++, it is at most a distant cousin of bio-chauvinism. they send each other Christmas cards occasionally.

"hey bio-conservatism still refusing to become a better human?
sincerely, bio-chauvinism"

"Hey bio-chauvinism, still being a dick and playing with dangerous technology?
sincerely, bio-conservatism"

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
Oh, and the Space Pope. They have one, and not only do a lot of their population pay attention to him, some of their leaders do, too. Yes, I consider that unforgivable...

I'm not going to touch that one with a ten foot pole

branford branford's picture
ShadowDragon8685 wrote:

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:

You’re right. I do feel no compunction against ridiculing the religious, the conservatives (especially the Republicans,) etcetera, except inasfar as doing so overtly here will get me a smacking from Kindalas, because from where I’m standing? Those are the guys who are holding humanity back, the ones responsible for the vast majority of the societal ills which I, personally, suffer under! If I Other them, that’s because they have proven themselves through words, through deeds, through words-as-deeds, to be my very personal enemies, and I see no reason not to treat them as such.

And yes, the Jovians do represent them in-game, because the Jovians are the conglomeration of all of them, in-game. The Jovians are where the right-wing warhawks, backed up with the power of SPACE CRUISERS, wound up. The Jovians are where the last bastions of organized, traditional religion-as-political-mover-and-shaker wound up, because they have a Space Pope for crying out loud! The Jovians are the conservative ass-tards who refuse to allow their people access to modern medicine and modern human dignities because they don’t trust it. They are all of these things and more, and they will never not be those things unless their government is cast down by force and a new one forcibly installed. Which is not really the Alliance’s style, and wouldn’t be very good for business, so unless it’s a revolution from within, you’re screwed.

* * *

And you know what? Quite frankly, if I were in the setting, I’d choose a final death over life as a Jovian. That’s not a life worth living.

I chose the above quotes just as a small sampling. There was no need to highlight your entire reply.

I must say that I was not reading your posts uncharitably. Your ideas go well beyond confirmation bias, shoot right over "microaggression," and land well within the boundaries of the bigotry, dogmatism, aggression and provincialism that you claim to abhor. To you, even playing a character in a RPG who does not agree with your views cannot be countenanced.

Although I have thoroughly criticized the authors for lack of nuance within certain factions in the setting (and acknowledge that they recognized in Rimward that they initially might have gone too far with the Jovians), they at least clearly recognize that human nature and institutions are complicated and not simply black-and-white. Moreover, they undoubtedly respect players, no less their characters, who may have differing ideologies than them, except for the most extreme and aggressive examples. You unfortunately appear to condemn anyone who would dare consider, associate, empathize or seek understanding or accommodation with those whom you personally despise, including individuals of character and empathy who are well-within the mainstream of the left or right, agnostic or religious. You seem to accept every nasty trope and stereotype of your "enemies" and your hatred sounds exactly like the bigots you detest. The Jovians are an admitted right-wing caricature, and you are the other side of the same coin.

Surly Surly's picture
I think the thing to do is go

I think the thing to do is go back to the Jovians’ inspiration in early-2000s politics. Portray them as neocons, not as fascists. The reason Europa and Titan don't fear the Jovians is because the Jovians genuinely believe in democracy. They know that the Jovians are very unlikely to invade fellow democracies over internal policy disagreements.

Make it clear that their bioconservatism is rooted in concerns about freedom and equal rights, not just revulsion. It’s very easy to see how forking could threaten democracy, as could mass production of AGIs or uplifts by a particular faction, as could psychosurgery. Add in the argument that human enhancement could destroy social mobility – this is best done by playing up Jovian opposition to the PC, having the Jovians decry the gap between the hyperelites and the infugees + clanking masses.

If they're genuinely democratic and anti-transhuman rather than hypocrites at the highest levels, it's also easy to have them attack the way human enhancement technologies create new means of social control. There's room for disagreement on whether inhumanly good social skills and Enhanced Pheromones are coercive, but Jovians should be as horrified as any anarchist at the prospect of Freeman morphs.

It’d also help to discuss conservatism among other groups, so that the Jovians don’t have to have neoconservatism + fascism + religious fundamentalism + extreme inequality + every other right-wing meme players might oppose. Point out how bad things are for the Extropian poor. Explicitly emphasize that the Ultimates are fascist. Play up isolate religious groups, and give players reasons to interact with them (say, that some of them have valuable pre-Fall databases).

Similarly, even if you don't elide their arbitrary dysfunctional habitats, you can include other factions to make the Jovians look less like Luddites - and to make it clear that low-tech doesn't mean low-threat. Say, evangelical neo-primitivists whose memes are very good at inspiring violence. They broadcast lessons to other stations about how to corrupt a cortical stack's input with blows to the occipital, or that people who use AR tend to have an exploitable blindspot caused by their feeds.

And discuss a prominent neoreactionary habitat somewhere, in detail. Pointing out the really extreme conservatives would definitely make the Jovians more relatable.

branford branford's picture
Surly wrote:I think the thing

Surly wrote:
I think the thing to do is go back to the Jovians’ inspiration in early-2000s politics. Portray them as neocons, not as fascists. The reason Europa and Titan don't fear the Jovians is because the Jovians genuinely believe in democracy. They know that the Jovians are very unlikely to invade fellow democracies over internal policy disagreements.

Make it clear that their bioconservatism is rooted in concerns about freedom and equal rights, not just revulsion. It’s very easy to see how forking could threaten democracy, as could mass production of AGIs or uplifts by a particular faction, as could psychosurgery. Add in the argument that human enhancement could destroy social mobility – this is best done by playing up Jovian opposition to the PC, having the Jovians decry the gap between the hyperelites and the infugees + clanking masses.

If they're genuinely democratic and anti-transhuman rather than hypocrites at the highest levels, it's also easy to have them attack the way human enhancement technologies create new means of social control. There's room for disagreement on whether inhumanly good social skills and Enhanced Pheromones are coercive, but Jovians should be as horrified as any anarchist at the prospect of Freeman morphs.

It’d also help to discuss conservatism among other groups, so that the Jovians don’t have to have neoconservatism + fascism + religious fundamentalism + extreme inequality + every other right-wing meme players might oppose. Point out how bad things are for the Extropian poor. Explicitly emphasize that the Ultimates are fascist. Play up isolate religious groups, and give players reasons to interact with them (say, that some of them have valuable pre-Fall databases).

Similarly, even if you don't elide their arbitrary dysfunctional habitats, you can include other factions to make the Jovians look less like Luddites - and to make it clear that low-tech doesn't mean low-threat. Say, evangelical neo-primitivists whose memes are very good at inspiring violence. They broadcast lessons to other stations about how to corrupt a cortical stack's input with blows to the occipital, or that people who use AR tend to have an exploitable blindspot caused by their feeds.

And discuss a prominent neoreactionary habitat somewhere, in detail. Pointing out the really extreme conservatives would definitely make the Jovians more relatable.

You raise some interesting points for a more nuanced and relatable Jovian Republic.

I also wanted to mention some other apparent contradictions in the Jovians. They are portrayed as corporate fascists with significant economic interests and potential resources with ubiquitous and corrupt lobbying, yet they do not appear to trade with anyone, even the more conservative of the PC corporations.

Similarly, despite leadership comprised of top military, security and intelligence officers who actually survived the Fall, body and mind, possessing the largest and most well equipped fleet in the system (that is even designed specifically to resist mesh-based attacks (Rimward, p.44) , a large, loyal and determined populace with near universal military training and experience and distrust of most transhumans, and a professed and expansionist dogma, the Jovians appear to have expanded nowhere and conquered no one. Heck, the one notable reference of actual Jovian military activity in the text was when they surreptitiously aided the Autonomists(!) in the Second Battle Locus! (Rimward, p. 151).

Despite being avowed and corrupt fascists, the Republic apparently does not even have the courtesy of curtailing free speech by its citizens, routinely rounding-up and torturing the populace, or permitting indentured servitude. It even appears that many other polities have killed far more godless and profane uplifts and AGI's that the Republic.

Quite frankly, the Jovians are the most boring and apparently incompetent militant fascists that I recall ever seeing in an RPG.

My theory is that the authors had to ensure that the Jovians were sufficiently conservative and religious to support mocking them with little subtlety, but also ensure that they did not pose an actual threat to their preferred left-wing polities in the outer system.

LatwPIAT LatwPIAT's picture
branford wrote:I also wanted

branford wrote:
I also wanted to mention some other apparent contradictions in the Jovians. They are portrayed as corporate fascists with significant economic interests and potential resources with ubiquitous and corrupt lobbying, yet they do not appear to trade with anyone, even the more conservative of the PC corporations.

This is very strange; the Jovians have ample access to metals (far more than other trans-Asteroid Belt locations), the second-largest source of antimatter in the Solar System, and can extract near-unlimited amounts of electrical energy from Jupiter's magnetosphere. In addition, they can effectively control, tax, and embargo all trade through Jupiter's gravitational sphere of influence. One of my friends said they're basically Saudi Arabia, and I think the comparison is apt; they have both raw materials and taxes on shipping through one of the most lucrative routes from the Inner Solar System to the Outer Solar System (while space isn't exactly an ocean, you can save quite a lot of fuel by swinging by Jupiter on your way out).

branford wrote:
Similarly, despite leadership comprised of top military, security and intelligence officers who actually survived the Fall, body and mind, possessing the largest and most well equipped fleet in the system (that is even designed specifically to resist mesh-based attacks (Rimward, p.44) , a large, loyal and determined populace with near universal military training and experience and distrust of most transhumans, and a professed and expansionist dogma, the Jovians appear to have expanded nowhere and conquered no one. Heck, the one notable reference of actual Jovian military activity in the text was when they surreptitiously aided the Autonomists(!) in the Second Battle Locus! (Rimward, p. 151).

Personally, I chalk this up to that huge economy of theirs; war means interrupting the business. Their military is therefore there to protect their economic interests and protect the Jovian Republic from attacks, such as "hostile takeovers" by the cocky PC hypercorps or "liberation" by the Titanian Commonwealth. And the TITANs.

As for Europa, I figure that's a handy realpolitikal move by the Republic; because they effectively control all shipping to and from Europa, Europa basically has no choice but to sell to the Republic - and as an economic powerhouse in the ice-abundant Outer System, the Republic has no problems buying water. For that matter, even if they couldn't buy water or mine it from the other Jovian moons, there's basically nothing the Europans could do to stop the Republic from landing on Europa to just take the ice they want by literally digging it out of the topsoil.

So instead, the Republic leaves Europa independent, in order to mellow international relations and show how they're actually not all that bad; how can they be aggressive militarists if they've left Europa free and unmeddled with for nearly a decade? (Of course, there definitely are a bunch of Jovian hardliners who want to annex Europa, Hyoden and the Trojans in order to protect the Republic...)

branford wrote:
Quite frankly, the Jovians are the most boring and apparently incompetent militant fascists that I recall ever seeing in an RPG.

My theory is that the authors had to ensure that the Jovians were sufficiently conservative and religious to support mocking them with little subtlety, but ensure that they did not pose an actual threat to their preferred left-wing polities in the outer system.

They suffer a bit from Baen Syndrome, where they're simultaneously supposed to be dangerous, clever, conspiratorial and threatening to everyone else, but because they haven't bought into the glorious perfect philosophy (this time, liberal transhumanism), they're evil, incompetent, and couldn't possibly be an actual threat to anyone, which creates a big dissonance.

@-rep +2
C-rep +1

capybara capybara's picture
It seems that you are very

It seems that you are very focused on American viewpoint. I see how from a North American perspective the decision to make the Jovian Republic a non-democratic fascist polity might look as unsubtle mocking and imply all sorts of unpleasant things, but believe me when I say that from oustide North American discource it doesn't look that bad.

When we look at specific policies (free speech, slavery outlawed, not conquering anyone despite having superior military, sensible motives) the Jovians are much nicer people, than, say, even PC. In essence, you blame the authors for making the Jovians non-democratic, but "non-democracies are bad by their very nature" is a rather niche meme.

branford branford's picture
capybara wrote:It seems that

capybara wrote:
It seems that you are very focused on American viewpoint. I see how from a North American perspective the decision to make the Jovian Republic a non-democratic fascist polity might look as unsubtle mocking and imply all sorts of unpleasant things, but believe me when I say that from oustide North American discource it doesn't look that bad.

When we look at specific policies (free speech, slavery outlawed, not conquering anyone despite having superior military, sensible motives) the Jovians are much nicer people, than, say, even PC. In essence, you blame the authors for making the Jovians non-democratic, but "non-democracies are bad by their very nature" is a rather niche meme.

My American viewpoint can certainly be attributed to the fact that I'm, well, American, born and bred. :)

I confidently believe that virtually all Americans, no less those of a conservative, capitalist or religious disposition, would immediately recognize the authors' obvious distaste for individuals holding such beliefs based upon their depictions of the Jovians and PC. The fact that it might not look as bad from the perspective of non-Americans may speak more to some ludicrous stereotypes of Americans by foreigners or even a greater historical, and often fairly contemporary, experience and tolerance with fascism in their own countries.

I was also being somewhat facetious with part of my list of the "nice" Jovian qualities.

However, to balance my prior post, Jovian free speech is illusory due to strict anti-sedition laws and no freedom of the press or assembly; banning indentured servitude is almost meaningless when informorphs are property, resleeving almost non-existent and the resultant lack of issues with infugees and available morphs; their lack of military conquest is inconsistent with their explicit aims and totally inexplicable given their purported capabilities; and their bioconservative ethos and precautions that are disfavored by the authors explicitly results in the unnecessary suffering of the population (although I have no idea why even strict bioconcervatives would object to proper radiation shielding and routine maintenance and cleaning of their habitats).

Most importantly, the choice to make the Jovians fascist rather than an actual Republic, or at least a closer facsimile like the PC or Morningstar, was gratuitous and unnecessary. Only 10 years from near extinction, the Jovian population truly believes in bioconservatism and isolationism, both for religious and more practical and secular reasons. The Republic would have absolutely no difficulty maintaining its bioconservative and militant nature while operating as an actual democratic republic. The authors base the Jovians primarily on American conservatives (and they no doubt believe that the American Democratic Party is only slightly less conservative than the Republicans), yet are still unable to concede that the majority of Americans democratically and voluntarily hold views much to the right of other developed nations. It's still democracy, even when your preferred policies are voted down again and again, and being conservative and capitalist does not make someone a fascist.

bblonski bblonski's picture
branford wrote:That may be

branford wrote:
That may be reasonable, but is certainly not anywhere in the text. The Europans, who would be little more than a practice run for a proper Jovian military, simply have no fear of the them (Rimward, p. 50), and the Titanians barely consider the Jovians a "minor irritant." (Rimward, p. 44). Quite frankly, that's nothing like a Cold War / MAD scenario, particularly given the militarism and paranoia of the Republic and Hyoden's unexplained fears (Rimward, p.47)

Sure it is. Same page you reference (Rimward, p. 44) describes the relationship between the Titianians and Jovians as a détente which is strongly evocative of a cold war.

branford wrote:
the Titanians barely consider the Jovians a "minor irritant."

Doesn't mean they are correct. They way I interpreted that section was not that the republic is incompetent, but more that the Titanians don't have the same warlike outlook. The Titanians are mostly academics. They don't see the Jovians as a threat not because they're not dangerous, but because they don't understand why the Jovians would attack them. When they look at Jovian Republic, they see all the human rights issues rather than an enemy. Like how when many think of China, they think about the bad living conditions and worker exploitation rather than the very credible economic and technological threat. I'm sure there are plenty in Titanina's leadership that are worried about the Jovians, but popular opinion is they a humanitarian cause more than a threat.

I'm also confused by your complaint. You think they Jovians are too evil, and to make that better you'd have them indiscriminately attacking and invading their neighbors? Wouldn't that make them even more evil? Wouldn't a conservative government be conservative about starting costly wars that would result in the death of many of their citizens, especially when the enemy can simply come back to life when their soldiers can't? Didn't you say you wanted a Jovian government that was more concerned about providing for and keeping their citizens safe? Well, there you go.

Another page you reference (Rimward, p. 151) also gives lots of good reasons for them to be conservative. They're hoping the PC and Autonomists will take each other out, so for now they play them against each other and build up their defenses. They also have to worry about the Factors and TITANs. Starting a war with the transhumans might just leave them weak for an even more inhuman threat.

I'll also bring up that not all religious or bio-conservatives are Jovians. There are plenty of religious people especially around Luna and Mars. Not as many as today, but still a significant amount. Also anyone can be bio-conservative by taking the bio-conservatism+ motivation. There are lots of them out there, but most people don't have the luxury of being bio-conservative because they depend on modified morphs to survive. Remember most people who made it off during the fall did as an infomorph, so they wouldn't even be considered to be alive by hardcore bio-conservatives. I think that would soften most people to transhumanism. Ironically uplifts are mentioned to often be bio-conservative as many disapprove of being uplifted in the first place. Jovians may be the only faction with bio-conservatism as a core value, but this is a transhuman game. I'd expect most factions to be transhuman. It's like if I played Vampire the Masquerade I'd expect most people would want to play vampires. The fact that the Jovians are a playable faction, and quite a good one at that (their drawback being easy to overcome with some roleplaying) show that they are meant to be more than just villians.

Now there are plenty of people biased against the Jovians. ShadowDragon8685 is a good example of that. But you yourself, Brandford, have mentioned many positive or at least understandable aspects of the Jovians that you've gleamed from the text. Many of us agree with you. They are certainly a controversial and polarizing group, but there are many different opinions on them so I feel the fact that they are presently as one-dimensional or purely evil is unsupported. I haven't done a page count, but I don't think there is significantly less material about the Jovians than any other single faction. In fact if I had to pick a one-dimensional faction, it'd probably be the Ultimates. I didn't get much info about them besides that they are some sort of warrior-philosopher mercenaries.

Surly Surly's picture
bblonski wrote:I'm also

bblonski wrote:
I'm also confused by your complaint. You think they Jovians are too evil, and to make that better you'd have them indiscriminately attacking and invading their neighbors? Wouldn't that make them even more evil?

I think the objection's about inconsistency, not evil. If they really are terrifying warmongerers, why haven't they conquered anyone?

That's a useful segue, actually - it's easy to talk past each other when discussing the Jovians, because their portrayal has a bunch of inconsistencies.

Rimward p. 38 says "While a civilian enjoys some rights, they do not have absolute freedom of speech and may be detained or confined to their quarters by the authorities, no justification needed."
p. 39 says "It may surprise those that have never been to the Republic to discover that we have absolute freedom of speech. While there are rather strict sedition laws, merely criticizing the government will not get you hauled off to prison." And then adds "This freedom of speech is limited due to restrictions against the press and public gatherings, of course."

The top of p. 37 says "You are unlikely to suspect that Jovian medtech is on par with the best found elsewhere in the system— we do, after all, have a vested interest in keeping our bodies alive, rather than just slipping into a new one."
The bottom of p. 37 says "even those citizens willing to undertake longevity treatments can expect to live a life considerably shorter than the rest of the system—and one that is likely filled with no small amount of pain and suffering."
On the same page, contrast "Medical nanotech is allowed under the strict supervision of licensed professionals" with "the best techniques for treating these cancers remain on the banned list or are restricted to a handful of licensed practitioners because they involve invasive nanotechnology."

p. 37 says "schools are also top of the line, given the importance we place on rebuilding our population and raising future generations."
p. 50 says "Europans pride themselves on their schooling and reject the Jovian notion that only a privileged few should receive the full benefits of a higher education." And Transhuman recommends giving Jovians the Faulty Education trait, p. 89.

If the intent was to give GMs multiple sharply contrasting options for portraying the Republic, or to make Tio Silencio look like a disingenuous propagandist, bang-up job. Otherwise, it's just hammering on the point that the Jovians are bad, in ways that there is no particular reason for them to be bad. Same deal as with the Reagan cylinders - Jovian accomplishments in areas other than human augmentation suck, for no apparent in-setting reason.

It's more interesting to run the Jovians as perfectly competent in areas other than human augmentation than to run them as Space North Korea.

Tiberia Tiberia's picture
I agree. I've said it before,

I agree. I've said it before, but Jovians should have the best medical care in the system, because it is a more important field to them.

the Jovian opposition to PC expansion could be a good starting point for having them play a more active role, and be less of the space bad guys. Have the Jovians side with the Autonomists against the PC more often. They would likely never join the alliance, but would make for interesting bedfellows.

someone mentioned infomorphs being slaves. where is that mentioned?

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