Are there any positive traits of the Jovian Junta?

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Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
branford wrote:Smokeskin

branford wrote:
Smokeskin wrote:

branford wrote:

No one is suggesting that the Jovians should be perfect or cannot have real world flaws, only that such realism should also apply to the authors' favored factions to avoid the current caricature of which many, including myself, have complained.

You cannot look at small slices of Jovian life in isolation to the rest of the setting. The problem is context, comparison to the other factions, and overall tone. Apparently, only capitalist or conservative groups repeatedly suffer from any discernible "realism" (as you appear to define it). The authors' strong political, social, religious and economic preferences couldn't be more obvious. I need not support or oppose the underlying contemporary philosophies of the writers or Jovians (or PC, LLA, MC, Ultimates, Scum, etc.) to recognize bias and feel it detracts from the verisimilitude of the setting.

Plenty of negative things about that autonomists have been brought up. You've just chosen to ignore them as far as I can tell.

I think we have very different definitions of what constitutes "negative" as it may concern the autonomists compared to the capitalist or conservative groups. Your recent examples of autonomous negatives include a willingness to change bodies and achieve immortality (resleeving), recreational drug use, liberal sexuality and social mores, body piercing and some laziness. Not only are many of your purported negatives clearly perceived as positives by both the the authors and the vast majority of transhumanity in the setting, they are relatively insignificant and more closely describe issues in a freshman college dorm than major cultural shortcomings. To be fair and give you and the authors the benefit of the doubt, Rimward did mention that the Titanians had a little crime and some technosocialists could be a hypocritical, hardly the impetus for revolution.

If we look at the current war on drugs, the massive effort and resources that most countries pour into it, the number of people imprisoned for victimless crimes, the massive crime problems we have to deal with as a consequence - if that's just "stuff that happens on freshman dorms anyway" then why does the majority of the population take it so seriously?

And the issues with resleeving are parallel to the issues with abortion, another issue that is fought over with great fervor across the world.

Quote:

The lack of demonstrable and significant negatives concerning the anarchists was additionally unbelievable as applied anarchasim has not existed in any contemporary setting except in all but the smallest social experiments, and certainly not with millions of people. With virtually no history to act as a guide, and then established in response to a near apocalypse, the anarchists should more rationally resemble Lord of the Flies just 10 years after the Fall. Their miraculous and continued success, no less in direct competition and conflict with polities like the PC, Jovians, Hypercorps and Ultimates, strains credulity and often appears far more like author wish fulfillment.

Why should they resemble Lord of the Flies?

Titan has a government and security forces.
Extropia has security contractors.
Anarchists have volunteer militia.

Quote:

Comparatively, the list of malfeasance and suffering endured by the inner system and Jovian factions could fill a treatise co-authored by Machiavelli and the Marquis de Sade, and includes everything from needlessly oppressive living conditions, rampant corruption, denial of basic human rights, and artificial shortages to actual slavery.

Those places have their reasons to restrict fabber access. Obviously that will have a large, negative impact on quality of life.

Why wouldn't corruption be rampant? Do you think there's going to be less of that when certain parts of the elite gets to create a society from scratch?

And indenture is different from slavery. It also mostly ties into the morph - people who can't afford them finance the purchase with a loan. Indentures aren't unheard of. Many people who came to America financed their trip with years-long indenture contracts that the captain would sell upon arrival.

Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Tiberia wrote:

Tiberia wrote:

And the idea of some jovians being supportive of Uplifts seems very interesting, and I rather like it. the biblical analogs do feel a bit strained

branford wrote:
Axel, you have some interesting ideas for what would be considered a "progressive" Jovian citizen, although I find the extended Christ imagery a little strained.

Thank you. And, yeeeeah, it was strained. I knew it even as I typed it. Still, I wonder how Uplifts interact with what are ultimately human religions. Human religions freely adapt to Uplifts easily in most cases, at least amongst more liberal sects. Even more conservative ones can typically account for it by accusing them of being abominations.

The thing that I'm curious about is the other way around. How does a neo-corvid react to a faith that says God loves all creatures, even them, but that God made humanity in His image?

branford wrote:
Sadly, as per canon, EP, p. 75

Quote:
Both uplifts and AGIs are strictly forbidden and
treated as property without civil rights.

Rimward, p. 36,

Quote:
Uplifts, in any form, are seen as abominations; even
when allowed by the government, they can expect
overt hostility and prejudice.

See, also, Panopticon, pp. 135-37, Allies and Enemies: Bioconservatives and Religious Groups (uplifts are freaks, Jovian support of violent anti-uplift hate groups)

While I agree with the "If you don't like it, scrap it" rule that Tiberia noted, I don't actually see this as a death knell. As noted, I imagine that most Jovians will see AGIs as machines to be feared and hated; they're easy to make the Other. Uplifts are oddly easier to treat as monsters in person than on the mesh, so wealthier Jovians with mesh access to outside feeds may be a touch more tolerant; they'd have potentially seen Uplifts in transhuman habitats.

But for others, it makes sense they'd be treated with hostility and prejudice; when you don't give someone a chance to speak, you already know what they're going to say. Thus, a lot of people definitely would treat them that way.

Doesn't mean all of them will, though.




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Pyrite Pyrite's picture
Axel the Chimeric wrote:

Axel the Chimeric wrote:

The thing that I'm curious about is the other way around. How does a neo-corvid react to a faith that says God loves all creatures, even them, but that God made humanity in His image?

I think that there would be a lot of fixation on the apple of knowledge story, and that a devout uplift would feel that they were forced into the fallen world, and out of automatic obedience to God's will, when they were effectively force-fed the apple.

But that's just my take on the kind of rhetoric I hear from religious people.

'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

branford branford's picture
Axel, I like your ideas that

Axel, I like your ideas that differentiate between possible Jovian perceptions of machine intelligence and uplifts. My citation to the text about how the Jovians view both groups as abominations was certainly not a criticism of you, but rather a note that the setting, as written, sadly leaves little room to explore such novel ideas. But as Tiberia observes, the Ultimate Rule is great and powerful! :)

You also raise a very interesting theological conundrum,

Quote:
The thing that I'm curious about is the other way around. How does a neo-corvid react to a faith that says God loves all creatures, even them, but that God made humanity in His image?

Although I'm generally not one to propose biblical interpretation or spiritual doctrine, I think a religious sect that is fairly conservative, but still wishes to include and convert uplifts, has some options consistent with current biblical thought.

Jovian Reform Church of Branford

Many Jovians are very loyal and spiritual, but nevertheless found that Catholic doctrine was too narrow and unyielding to accommodate the realities of their near extinction. They broke away and formed the slightly less conservative Jovian Reform Church of Branford.

The members of the new church shared a belief that uplifts were not monsters, but rather fellow survivors of the Fall, who too were lost in an uncaring and unyielding universe and seeking redemption. Eager to expand their numbers and appeal to uplifts, they sought to formalize their beliefs in the Edicts of God's Bountiful Creation.

The Edicts stated that God as the ultimate Creator made man in His image, and His image is wise, compassionate and industrious. Given the tools endowed by his Creator, man, too, became a creator and passed these gifts on to his flock given to him by God at the dawn of Creation. Thus the uplifts were born and truly in the image of both man and God, and loved equally by their Creator.

This theology could also incorporate AGI's, although it would be easy enough to develop an "exception."

Some members of the Illustrious Convocation of the Reform Church bristled at these edicts, for while they wanted to welcome their new uplift brothers and sisters, they feared it would ultimately lead to the acceptance of machines into the flock, and the ultimate sacrilege of the forgiveness and redemption of the TITANS who were the enemies of man and God.

To prevent a schism in the new church, the edicts were quickly clarified and unanimously adopted. Machines, unlike animals, were made solely by the imperfect and impure hand of man, and never part of God's original creations. They therefore do not possess the divine spark (soul?), and thus cannot be in His image and are unworthy of His gifts. To create or recognize a machine that mimics man as an equal is a hateful mockery of the image of God and thus an abomination. Such irredeemable sin created the TITANS, and God punished man with the Fall.

Blessed is the Lord, for his merciful light delivered us from the TITANS!

[NOTE: the above does not reflect my personal views and is written solely as a suggestion to incorporate uplifts into conservative EP religious dogma]

LatwPIAT LatwPIAT's picture
Smokeskin wrote:And I'll

Smokeskin wrote:
And I'll reiterate - if you and others simply agree with the autonomists, why does that make them unrealistic? As you say, many agree with them, which suggests that many people would indeed want to build such a society.

But don't try to pretend that those things don't have negative consequences. An unproductive society like the anarchists, you don't think there is anything negative about that? Their lack of security, that's not a problem (many progressives are typically very in favor of gun regulation for example)? You don't think that drug addiction ever ruined the life of an anarchist or scumborn?


(emphasis mine)

Oh hey. Putting words into my mouth with leading questions. I see you're returning to your old tactics.

The claim we're discussing is "If this purported "realism" was also demonstrated in the far more left-leaning and techno-progressive factions like the beloved Titanians or anarchists, I would find your rationale more convincing". The "realism" in question was about things like the problems of corruption, callousness, and pollution faced by the Jovian Republic. When it was pointed out that the Jovian Republic was loaded down with a ton of these, you responded that such problems are realistic, so why should we hold the Jovian Republic to a higher standard?

The problem with this claim is that left-leaning techno-progressive factions (in specific, the anarchists) do not have "realistic" problems in the same way. For one, the Jovian Republic's problems are real, tangible, and pretty much universally regarded as problems no matter where you fall on the political spectrum. Pollution, corruption, slow and painful deaths... In particular, these aspects of "realism" are largely unrelated to the political spectrum the Jovians occupy. "Fascist" is not synonymous with "polluter", to take one example.

These are not things that happen to the Autonomists in general and the anarchists in particular. They are never marred by institutional corruption, or continuous problems of stinky habs. Pretty much every single one of their "negative aspects" are things that quite a lot of people (and I think it bears repeating, this includes EP's authors and a large portion of the fanbase) don't have a problem with in the first place. In many cases, to even portray these as negative, you've had to project and extrapolate; correct me if I'm wrong, but there's no mention that drug addiction is a problem at all among the Autonomists, nor do the books give any indication that the "laziness" of the anarchists does, in fact, make them unproductive societies.

There is no equivalent "realism" in the anarchists and autonomists having all but flawless utopian societies where you have to dig, extrapolate, and conjecture to find even possible problems, while the less left-wing techno-utopian societies are characterized by decadence, corruption, slavery, pollution, civil rights violations, and inefficiency.

Smokeskin wrote:
I read them that way. There's several mentions of it, of their consensus culture, of how you lose rep if you don't fit in. Maybe it is because that as a Scandinavian I have personal experience with the culture they stem from.

(emphasis mine)

With regards to the bolded part, if there are not one, but several, mentions of political correctness, you should be able to find one and quote it. As for your claim that you have personal experience with the culture the Titanians stem from, so do I, and my experiences do not support your claims.

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Lorsa Lorsa's picture
Perhaps discussion of the

Perhaps discussion of the negative traits of the autonomist alliance deserve its own thread?

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Tiberia Tiberia's picture
Lorsa wrote:Perhaps

Lorsa wrote:
Perhaps discussion of the negative traits of the autonomist alliance deserve its own thread?

I think this is a good idea.

Lets try to keep things civil. we already got one warning from a moderator earlier.

I like The Jovian Reform church of Bramford. the only concern is that dependinhg on how well connected the catholic church is connected with the govt., couldn't they squash the separatist church? Wouldn't necessarily be a malicious act to do so, as many would do it for the sake of unity in the face of dark timers.
If the govt. is fairly hands off on church matters then it is likely not an issue.

From the Governmental perspective they may be tolerant of such churches and doctrines as long as they do not promote unrest, and insurrection. The moment a riot breaks out in the name of uplift rights, the govt. may very well come down on the reform church.

plot hook!
a prominent Jovian politician known for his opposition to Uplift rights has been kidnapped. All fingers point towards the Jovian Reform church of Bramford. Firewall gets word that the church has been framed, and that this is the start of a bigger conspiracy.
The Sentinels are sent in to investigate the kidnapping, and learn who got word to firewall if possible.

or if you don't run a firewall game

The players are hired by the Reform church to investigate the kidnapping and prove the church's innocence

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
LatwPIAT wrote:

LatwPIAT wrote:

The problem with this claim is that left-leaning techno-progressive factions (in specific, the anarchists) do not have "realistic" problems in the same way. For one, the Jovian Republic's problems are real, tangible, and pretty much universally regarded as problems no matter where you fall on the political spectrum. Pollution, corruption, slow and painful deaths... In particular, these aspects of "realism" are largely unrelated to the political spectrum the Jovians occupy. "Fascist" is not synonymous with "polluter", to take one example.

These are not things that happen to the Autonomists in general and the anarchists in particular. They are never marred by institutional corruption, or continuous problems of stinky habs.

Rimward, pg 83: KRONOS CLUSTER, Allegiance: Independent (Anarchist/Criminal/Ultimate)
The interiors of this cluster’s modules are dirty and overcrowded. The station desperately needs to grow, but lacks the planning and infrastructure forcing thousands of others to live in tin cans and permanently docked ships lashed irregularly to the cluster’s exteriors.

Rimward, pg 159: without armies of indentured slaves at our disposal like the capitalists have, we sometimes run short on fuels, metals, or other critical resources.

Rimward, pg 159: Lacking any central authority to force agreement, local schisms sometimes escalate into larger conflicts.

Rimward, pg 159: Since we don’t restrict tech like the hypercorps do—and in fact, with our open science programs, make it even more available to everyone—there’s always the chance that someone will endanger those around them.

LatwPIAT wrote:

Pretty much every single one of their "negative aspects" are things that quite a lot of people (and I think it bears repeating, this includes EP's authors and a large portion of the fanbase) don't have a problem with in the first place. In many cases, to even portray these as negative, you've had to project and extrapolate; correct me if I'm wrong, but there's no mention that drug addiction is a problem at all among the Autonomists, nor do the books give any indication that the "laziness" of the anarchists does, in fact, make them unproductive societies.

To begin with, a book quote:
Rimward, pg 159: anarchism is not for everyone. There are plenty of people for whom this type of life sounds like a version of hell

But ok, let's do it your way.

It says they only work 4 hours per week, but if it doesn't say their society is unproductive, it can't be. They're going to just as productive as the PC and the Extropians, because anarchism.

And if it says that the scum does a lot of drugs, but it doesn't mention anyone could get addicted or do something stupid under the influence, so that doesn't happen, because anarchism.

Does that sound reasonable to you?

LatwPIAT wrote:

There is no equivalent "realism" in the anarchists and autonomists having all but flawless utopian societies where you have to dig, extrapolate, and conjecture to find even possible problems, while the less left-wing techno-utopian societies are characterized by decadence, corruption, slavery, pollution, civil rights violations, and inefficiency.

No you don't have to dig. You just have to accept the fact that not everyone agrees with you. Like drugs, you keep on insisting that free drug use is a good thing, but that is not the case in any of the world's democracies. This is not what the majority wants, on the contrary the majority wants to spend massive resources on fighting it and punishing people for using it.

Please tell me, why do you think that everyone, or even the majority, think the free drugs are ok in any way?

LatwPIAT wrote:

Smokeskin wrote:
I read them that way. There's several mentions of it, of their consensus culture, of how you lose rep if you don't fit in. Maybe it is because that as a Scandinavian I have personal experience with the culture they stem from.

(emphasis mine)

With regards to the bolded part, if there are not one, but several, mentions of political correctness, you should be able to find one and quote it.

A few Rimward page references:

96 a preference for consensus over conflict, and respect for Janteloven (the old Scandinavian ideal of self-effacing egalitarianism) are all powerful memes.

103 because a good reputation tends to be earned through consensus rather than competition

100 Nyhavn in particular has a large underclass of working people who haven’t resolved themselves to the loss of Earth, don’t wish to participate in the Plurality, and won’t adapt to the reputation economy.

Translation: Not into consensus? Here, take a rep hit and enjoy your underclass life.

LatwPIAT LatwPIAT's picture
Lorsa wrote:Perhaps

Lorsa wrote:
Perhaps discussion of the negative traits of the autonomist alliance deserve its own thread?

It would be an interesting discussion, but as long as the question of whether the autonomists and the Jovians are unequally portrayed is relevant to a discussion about the Jovians, it will be difficult to avoid the subject of anarchist portrayal in a thread about the Jovians.

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branford branford's picture
Tiberia,

Tiberia,

Although I definitely had a little fun with "my" church, I do not really believe it would ever be tolerated in Jovian society, at least as portrayed in the book. It would likely be closed due to government or popular pressure, as there appears to be no actual broad freedom of protection for religion in the Republic, or worse, subject to viable terrorist threats.

However, as I thought Axel's ideas were thought-provoking, I employed the Ultimate Rule© to tweak the setting. :) As I indicated, I definitely could see a slightly more liberal Republic accepting, or at least tolerating, uplifts, particularly those professing similar religious faith. Nevertheless, given their fear and loathing of the TITANs and advanced transhuman technology, I believe acceptance of AGIs would require a far more significant change to core Jovian ideologies and motivations.

Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Tiberia wrote:the only

Tiberia wrote:
the only concern is that dependinhg on how well connected the catholic church is connected with the govt., couldn't they squash the separatist church?

Yes, and no. They can make it difficult for them, but the Jovians love their religion. The government squashing a faith, instead of simply using bureaucracy to relegate it to the limelight, would create far too much blow-back, I imagine. Instead, they'd simply require extreme bureaucratic hoops, lots of regulation, etc., that the Catholic Church has no trouble meeting but which is extremely difficult for small groups to meet, all in the name of "Protecting people from scam artists". It's what China does right now, after all; can't host private worship services, it's got to be registered with the state.

Tiberia wrote:
From the Governmental perspective they may be tolerant of such churches and doctrines as long as they do not promote unrest, and insurrection. The moment a riot breaks out in the name of uplift rights, the govt. may very well come down on the reform church.

Quite likely. Wouldn't be the first time.

Tiberia wrote:
The players are hired by the Reform church to investigate the kidnapping and prove the church's innocence

This fits better, I think. Firewall is only really in the business of stopping dangerous technologies. The Jovians are not their area of specialty.

On the other hand, rumours that the church is involved in that sort of business and a subsequent crackdown may get them involved; talk of unrestricted intelligence enhancement and smuggling of dangerous technologies might get Firewall looking into it, only to find that all they're doing is removing behavioural control implants from uplift refugees.




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Tiberia Tiberia's picture
@Branford

@Branford

Very true. The Jovians as written would likely tie the church to the train tracks while laughing maniacally.

AGI tolerance would take ALOT of change to the Jovians.
As is, I am surprised the Jovians have any AGI's, even shackled ones. in the setting description chapter in the main book there is a side bar with a message from one anarchist to others calling for solidarity in accepting AGI refugees from the Junta. It strikes me as odd that the Junta has AGI's at all.
I could easily imagine the Junta having a kill on sight order for AGI's.

Who is the leader of the Jovians anyway? if they are a military Junta then there must be someone on top of the dogpile. Is it ever said who that is?

Lorsa Lorsa's picture
LatwPIAT wrote:Lorsa wrote

LatwPIAT wrote:
Lorsa wrote:
Perhaps discussion of the negative traits of the autonomist alliance deserve its own thread?

It would be an interesting discussion, but as long as the question of whether the autonomists and the Jovians are unequally portrayed is relevant to a discussion about the Jovians, it will be difficult to avoid the subject of anarchist portrayal in a thread about the Jovians.

Of course. Some tangential discussion is to be expected. But someone might be interested in one and not the other. The point of this thread is to find positive qualities about the Jovian republic that can be portrayed. Which I would argue doesn't get much easier by finding negative qualities about the autonomists.

I think it is quite obvious that the two factions aren't portrayed equally. The question is whether you agree with the inequality or not.

Also, as far as dirty and poorly maintained habitats go; I've always assumed that the Scum swarms are the worst offenders. The difference in cleanliness in habitats between Jovians and Autonomists could have to do with the lack of cleaning swarms. Still, I am pretty sure most of the Jovian habitats are very well maintained and rather polished. If it's something the military is good at, it is keeping things clean. Yes, you could tell me that the book says otherwise, but I can run my Jovians however I like!

The worst quality about all anarchist habitats is that they're very vulnerable to trolling and abuses of the system. Anarchism only works as long as all participants actively want it to work. If only a single invidivual or three are a problem, the group can deal with them easily. But if a large minority of the population starts hoarding resources, trolling the rep system and in other ways behave very un-collectivist, it can easily break down.

In theory, I do think the ideals and goals of the anarchists ARE very romantic, fluffy, and full of positive qualities. The whole question you have to ask yourself is "does it really work at all". This, I think, is the major problem. The authors have decided to explore the premise that indeed, anarchism does work in small-scale communities (which is where it has worked historically). Either you accept the premise, in which case the anarchist habitats WILL be a very nice place to live, or you conclude that it's completely unsustainable, and start exploring all the reasons why we don't have large-scale anarchism in society today.

However, if you want to keep having the autonomists as a major faction, yet find some negative qualities that could be placed on them, I really would prefer to go into length on that somewhere else.

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Tiberia Tiberia's picture
I think from what we have

I think from what we have seen that it is a topic that can hold its own.
We've moved on from finding positives in the text, to finding positives we can add/make/explore. At that point whether or not the autonomist have negatives does not come into play. I think most discussion from here on will be focusing on aspects of the Jovians we can focus on and explore.
Religion
Bio-conservatism
Security vs. Liberty
Merits of Authoritarian government
Flaws of Authoritarian government
Personhood

Personhood may be another that can shine greatly here.

Everywhere else when you ask "is it a person?" you are going to answer yes. personal feelings aside, The Junta is the only place where AGI's Uplifts, and many transhumans can be called not persons.
Most here would agree that all those are persons, but the junta will give a place where you can explain why they are persons. Everywhere else, you say "yes" and move on. Here you actually have to make a reason for why. The Jovians are the only ones questioning your belief, and questioning your beliefs is a good thing.
and if you treat the only people questioning your beliefs as caricaturesque clowns, then congrats you have successfully defended yourself against the dreaded thing called "thinking".

some of that might be hyperbole, but I think it still holds true.

The Autonomist Alliance seems like it could benefit from this sort of analysis, and critiquing.

CodeBreaker CodeBreaker's picture
AGI and Uplifts don't really

AGI and Uplifts don't really have personhood in a fairly large part of the system. Most of the inner system considers them sentient property.

-

Tiberia Tiberia's picture
how much of that is actual "I

how much of that is actual "I don't believe they are persons"? Most of it is "Look! Free labor!". There will be many in the populace who do not think they are persons, but at its core their lack of personhood is a legal matter, and is propagated philosophically by the hypercorps and hyper elite.
In the junta it is the opposite. it is at its core a philosophical matter that then led to legal matters.

With one you argue that the slaves should be freed and given equal rights. you fight economics and law.
With the other you argue that the things are people. you fight to change the definition of person.

You may not agree, as this is merely my interpretation of inner system culture and politics.

Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Tiberia wrote:

Tiberia wrote:

AGI tolerance would take ALOT of change to the Jovians.
As is, I am surprised the Jovians have any AGI's, even shackled ones. in the setting description chapter in the main book there is a side bar with a message from one anarchist to others calling for solidarity in accepting AGI refugees from the Junta. It strikes me as odd that the Junta has AGI's at all.
I could easily imagine the Junta having a kill on sight order for AGI's.

AGI is a broad term, but there's a key point missing here: Not all Jovians are reactionaries. Even the ones that are understand the maxim "Know thy enemy".

Many Jovians are precautionists; they believe that a technology should be proven safe before it's used, but they're not luddites. They're looking to prove AGIs safe; to create a foolproof system by which AGIs are made and set to serving a common good. AGIs provide an undeniable benefit, after all - who doesn't want copyable geniuses who provide for your needs while wanting little in return? - but are dangerous as-is. Precautionists want to find a way to have the benefits without the risks.

Meanwhile, others want to be ready in case of an attack. They can't fight without knowledge. That could mean the Jovies buying AGIs from the hypercorps to experiment on; examine them, pick them apart, find their weaknesses, all so they can more effectively disable and kill them when the time comes.

As for a kill-on-sight order... Maybe in some jurisdictions but I imagine not, for the most part. AGIs, to the Jovians, aren't fundamentally different from AIs except in degree, and they use AIs all the time. An AGI is property. Intelligent, dangerous property, but property none the less. The analogy isn't perfect but they can be considered akin to firearms; potentially dangerous in the wrong hands but having plenty of legitimate uses in the right ones.

Tiberia wrote:

Who is the leader of the Jovians anyway? if they are a military Junta then there must be someone on top of the dogpile. Is it ever said who that is?

Yup. Don't know off the top of my head but check Rimward.

Lorsa wrote:
Also, as far as dirty and poorly maintained habitats go; I've always assumed that the Scum swarms are the worst offenders.

While I would say that the Scum are likely, indeed, the worst offenders next to some refugees living in derelict habs, I would like to add that the Scum are a varied bunch. A highly regimented and ordered vessel with a clear command structure and rigid authority is very much still Scum, as much as the stereotypical flip-off-the-norms Scum are.

Lorsa wrote:
The worst quality about all anarchist habitats is that they're very vulnerable to trolling and abuses of the system. Anarchism only works as long as all participants actively want it to work. If only a single invidivual or three are a problem, the group can deal with them easily. But if a large minority of the population starts hoarding resources, trolling the rep system and in other ways behave very un-collectivist, it can easily break down.

"Abuses of the system" is an exceedingly benign term for what is a very dangerous problem. "Abuses of the system" herein covers dangerous monopolization of resources, tribalism and the resulting violence, favouritism, etc.

"Where there are humans, there will be jerks" is an age-old maxim and the rep system is no defense. When people decide they don't like you, pointing to old favours and numbers on a rep score are little defense. When people decide to be nepotistic and there's no legal aid, things hit the fan fast.

Hell, one of the chapters in Rimward opens with an anarchist threatening to throw the person recording the report out the airlock and cheerfully noting that no-one would do a damn thing to stop them because they're known and the writer isn't.

Anarchist life is kind of scary like that...

Lorsa wrote:
In theory, I do think the ideals and goals of the anarchists ARE very romantic, fluffy, and full of positive qualities. The whole question you have to ask yourself is "does it really work at all". This, I think, is the major problem. The authors have decided to explore the premise that indeed, anarchism does work in small-scale communities (which is where it has worked historically). Either you accept the premise, in which case the anarchist habitats WILL be a very nice place to live, or you conclude that it's completely unsustainable, and start exploring all the reasons why we don't have large-scale anarchism in society today.

Problem I have is, most anarchist habs aren't really small-scale communities. If they were all bands of maybe 100 people at most, likely less, they might have less issues. Even then, they'd still be horrifying at times.

A lot of the anarchist habs mentioned in the book, though, have populations in the thousands and that seems much more predisposed to problems.

I don't doubt that anarchism can work, or that it can even lead to good times for people, but I'm a big believer in the maxim that human beings are a liquid that will flow down into the lowest niche.

I don't think, therefore, we have to conclude that anarchist habs are necessarily nice places to live or that they don't work. I think what we conclude is that they simply are, and that some places are nicely functioning, peaceful communities that are mostly good, and some are stinking, piss-soaked hellholes into which no sane human would safely walk. Like with anything to do with humans, places run a gammut.




[@-rep +1, f-rep +2]

branford branford's picture
A few quick points:

A few quick points:

1. Many of the anarchists habitats and societies are most definitely not small. In fact, the most prominent anarchist habitat, which actually fought and beat the PC, is Locus with a combined population in the millions. (EP, p. 101).

I appreciate that the authors hold very left-wing views and apparently believe attendant cultures are more mature and benevolent. That's fine. However, a failure to more honestly acknowledge the true nature and scope of even their potential faults, no less in a post-apocalyptic, transhuman RPG, was heavy-handed and rather lazy. This unfortunate deficit was more noticeable and greatly emphasized due to their caricature treatment of the more conservative and capitalist factions like the PC and Jovians, who we know from real life are far more nuanced (unless you are so partisan and hyper-ideological yourself that you dehumanize those with whom you disagree - definitely not a transhuman value!).

2. Much of our discussion has revolved around the authors idealization of the anarchists, particularly since much of what would, or could, be part of their culture is purely theoretical. However, we should not overlook the veritable utopia that is the techno-socialist Titanian Commonwealth, a near platonic view of Scandinavian social democracy. Despite real world examples of problems and failures in these societies, including the very many contemporary issues facing similar countries today, and the fact that history is littered with failed socialist experiments, the socialist Titanians are virtually flawless and actually humorous in their unintended satire.

The Titanians remain near perfect paragons of universal acceptance and compassion, democracy, military acumen, scientific advancement, economic prosperity and humor. Socialists, it seems, are just better people. The biggest critique that the authors could muster for such a space socialist culture in Rimward is that the Commonwealth has a small amount of (mostly non-violent) crime and some small groups (Oligarchs?) who are agitating for more free-market principles and fewer entitlements may become popular, and therefore dangerous! Den fasa!

3. I can definitely imagine a more fractured Jovian society where some people, including religious groups or "liberals," have no problem with uplifts and consider them part of the community of "man" (assuming they are also in their original bodies and otherwise subscribe to Jovian ideology). My proposed Jovian Church offered just one small example.

Acceptance of AGI's, however, at least in my estimation, would require a far more radical rethink. The Jovians are bioconservative primarily because artificial intelligences and their advanced technological and biological creations rendered the human race nearly extinct a mere 10 years earlier. Jovians do not even like or generally use AI's, no less AGI's, for the basic reason that any one could ultimately evolve into a TITAN-class threat. Assurances that AGI's could not develop seed intelligence ring hollow when the survival of the human race is at stake.

Note that even in the passages about the Jovian AGI refugees, the description of the AGI's reveal that the Jovians may right in their concern, and the AGI's could pose an actual seed AI threat or worse. (EP, p.77)

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Lorsa wrote:

Lorsa wrote:

The worst quality about all anarchist habitats is that they're very vulnerable to trolling and abuses of the system. Anarchism only works as long as all participants actively want it to work. If only a single invidivual or three are a problem, the group can deal with them easily. But if a large minority of the population starts hoarding resources, trolling the rep system and in other ways behave very un-collectivist, it can easily break down.

Why? Hoarding for example is equivalent to stealing - anarchists don't recognize private property, only personal property. The lines of personal property are a bit blurry and there's going to be edge cases where the small-scale hoarder will just take a rep hit, but outside of that you're going to get a visit by armed militia and eventually get egocasted out of the hab.

Trolling the rep system (if that is even possible - I've always imagined they're complex and AI-regulated to prevent such things) is likely to get you the same treatment.

If a large minority decides to arm themselves and fight back, that could be a problem. But that's a problem anywhere.

Quote:

In theory, I do think the ideals and goals of the anarchists ARE very romantic, fluffy, and full of positive qualities. The whole question you have to ask yourself is "does it really work at all". This, I think, is the major problem. The authors have decided to explore the premise that indeed, anarchism does work in small-scale communities (which is where it has worked historically). Either you accept the premise, in which case the anarchist habitats WILL be a very nice place to live, or you conclude that it's completely unsustainable, and start exploring all the reasons why we don't have large-scale anarchism in society today.

I think that anarchists pretty much needs robotics and fabbers for it to work. Their economic system is horrible, and without post-scarcity tech it's infeasible.

They also need the tech for an advanced rep system - social ostracization is an important mechanism for regulating behavior and accountablity, and without a rep system to keep track of things, con men and anything but the smallest community could prove problematic.

Also, the anarchists in EP aren't a random area that became anarchist. It is people that gathered to build an anarchist society. They didn't have to deal with an established hierarchy of power with lots of people being dependant on it or people who have gut reactions like "I don't like drugs, we should have armed men assault people who do them". In Rimward they even say that anarchism would be hell for many people. You can't have a non-oppressive society that most people hate.

Quote:

However, if you want to keep having the autonomists as a major faction, yet find some negative qualities that could be placed on them, I really would prefer to go into length on that somewhere else.

There's plenty of negative things about the anarchists in the books already though. I'm considering a thread were we could collect the bad stuff about autonomists (or maybe one per faction).

uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
Didn't the part in Rimward

Didn't the part in Rimward include a sidebar with a complaint about Titan by someone who would be happier in the PC on Mars? Thry didn't like mandatory voting, shitty chores, and no money, preferring the indenture enslavement for a few years then decadent life after? So the "the anarchists are depicting as too perfect" argument seems weak. The bias of the authors is clear but the anarchists aren't totally without flaws.

Exhuman, and Humanitarian.

branford branford's picture
uwtartarus wrote:Didn't the

uwtartarus wrote:
Didn't the part in Rimward include a sidebar with a complaint about Titan by someone who would be happier in the PC on Mars? Thry didn't like mandatory voting, shitty chores, and no money, preferring the indenture enslavement for a few years then decadent life after? So the "the anarchists are depicting as too perfect" argument seems weak. The bias of the authors is clear but the anarchists aren't totally without flaws.

The sidebar (Rimward, p. 100) is by a rebooted gang leader who is an unrealistic, selfish and criminal ass. Rather than portray what might be wrong with the socialist Commonwealth, it is a snarky commentary on the horrible type of person who would want to live in the hyper-capitalist inner system. If you read between the lines and in context with the whole setting, it's also a commentary on the falsity and illusion of the capitalist "American Dream."

If the authors actually wanted to use the sidebar to critique the Titanians, it should have used a diligent and law-abiding entrepreneur who respects hard work and community, but believes that the inner system factions would permit him to employ his ingenuity and diligence to more generously provide for his wife and children rather than support other lazy Titanians who voluntarily choose not to work but reap the benefits and comforts of his labor.

Quote:
So I have to vote every six hours, I’m expected
to clean recycling vats in the name of ‘community,’ and
I live in a cold dark hell hole at the ass
end of the solar system? And that’s the good
life? The fuck is wrong with these people? I’d
rather spend sixteen years as a robot slave on
Mars. Then I could work off my indenture, get
rich, and own a bunch of pleasure pods with
big tits. That’d be the life. This is a bunch of shit.

—Nils Högarn, Rebooted gang leader

ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
branford wrote:If the authors

branford wrote:
If the authors actually wanted to use the sidebar to critique the Titanians, it should have used a diligent and law-abiding entrepreneur who respects hard work and community, but believes that the inner system factions would permit him to employ his ingenuity and diligence to more generously provide for his wife and children rather than support other lazy Titanians who voluntarily choose not to work but reap the benefits and comforts of his labor.

Right, because that somehow makes him not a horrible, selfish person?

Because he is.

He holds certain values re: what kind of work ethic a person should have. He then decides that those same values should be forced upon everyone, and those who will not comply with his work ethic values (IE, the "lazy" people who would quite frankly rather put in the bare minimum of work needed to do their part for the Titanian community and then spend the rest of their time cocking about or whatever,) should be punished by deprivation of basic transhuman needs (IE, such requirements as a comfortable place to dwell, a reasonable expectation for physical and ego security, food if sleeved in a biomorph, power if sleeved in a synth, runtime if an infomorph.)

Furthermore, he not only decides that everyone should have to have his form of work ethic - not only must they be "working" for large parts of their time - but they must participate in his economic system of preference, IE, capitalism, a system in which the majority of the effect of their "work" is not to enrich or provide for themselves, it's not even to enrich or provide for their community, but it's to enrich and provide for the person who owns the means of production which they labor at to produce. Or who owns the company they count beans at, or whatever - point is, they're working to enrich someone else, who magnanimously doles out scraps of credits compared to what that person's labor gives them.

That is, of course, assuming that our "Lazy" schmuck in question can even find employment at all. Most unskilled jobs - and, by 2143, most skilled jobs - are being performed by cheap AIs. Even now, in 2014, a lot of them have been automated or made efficient to the point that they employ far fewer people than they used to.

So, now this poor "Lazy" schmuck, who's operating under a capitalist system on Mars, who may or may not have any skills which are marketable at all, let alone marketable in the Martian economy. And worse, for those posts which can be filled by any warm body, or even a cold, synthetic body, or even no physical body at all, even without sing an AI, the Martians enjoy gluts of those things called "Indentures" - IE, enslaving someone. He's competing with literal slave labor, if he doesn't have any marketable skills.

So now he's facing a real grim choice: sign away his autonomy, or sell his morph and live as an infolife in the dregs of the Martian infosphere.

But hey, that guy who's using schmucks like him to make more money sure is happy, because he can shower his wife in comparative luxuries. What does it matter that their indentured servant lives in conditions that the Dursley family would find appalling.

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Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
I've made a thread about the

I've made a thread about the negative aspects of the autonomists, as portrayed in the EP books: http://eclipsephase.com/%E2%80%9Cautonomists-officially-suck%E2%80%9D-thread

branford branford's picture
ShadowDragon8685 wrote:

ShadowDragon8685 wrote:

Right, because that somehow makes him not a horrible, selfish person?

Because he is.

He holds certain values re: what kind of work ethic a person should have. He then decides that those same values should be forced upon everyone, and those who will not comply with his work ethic values (IE, the "lazy" people who would quite frankly rather put in the bare minimum of work needed to do their part for the Titanian community and then spend the rest of their time cocking about or whatever,) should be punished by deprivation of basic transhuman needs (IE, such requirements as a comfortable place to dwell, a reasonable expectation for physical and ego security, food if sleeved in a biomorph, power if sleeved in a synth, runtime if an infomorph.)

Furthermore, he not only decides that everyone should have to have his form of work ethic - not only must they be "working" for large parts of their time - but they must participate in his economic system of preference, IE, capitalism, a system in which the majority of the effect of their "work" is not to enrich or provide for themselves, it's not even to enrich or provide for their community, but it's to enrich and provide for the person who owns the means of production which they labor at to produce. Or who owns the company they count beans at, or whatever - point is, they're working to enrich someone else, who magnanimously doles out scraps of credits compared to what that person's labor gives them.

That is, of course, assuming that our "Lazy" schmuck in question can even find employment at all. Most unskilled jobs - and, by 2143, most skilled jobs - are being performed by cheap AIs. Even now, in 2014, a lot of them have been automated or made efficient to the point that they employ far fewer people than they used to.

So, now this poor "Lazy" schmuck, who's operating under a capitalist system on Mars, who may or may not have any skills which are marketable at all, let alone marketable in the Martian economy. And worse, for those posts which can be filled by any warm body, or even a cold, synthetic body, or even no physical body at all, even without sing an AI, the Martians enjoy gluts of those things called "Indentures" - IE, enslaving someone. He's competing with literal slave labor, if he doesn't have any marketable skills.

So now he's facing a real grim choice: sign away his autonomy, or sell his morph and live as an infolife in the dregs of the Martian infosphere.

But hey, that guy who's using schmucks like him to make more money sure is happy, because he can shower his wife in comparative luxuries. What does it matter that their indentured servant lives in conditions that the Dursley family would find appalling.

ShadowDragon8685,

First, I note that you did not dispute the fact that the sidebar was actually a gratuitous criticism of capitalism, not a viable critique of the Titanians / socialists that it purports to be.

More importantly, I and others have been through this entirely one-sided ideological war with you before. We are first and foremost discussing an RPG game, not a political campaign, a college sociology reading assignment or your personal tribulations. This forum is not about your politics (or mine or anyone else), so stop having an ax to grind in this thread.

I guess we should be happy that this time you're not wishing death and other ill fortune on those who do not share your political, social or economic views. (See post #132).

It is readily apparent that you are precisely the type of hyper-partisan, hypocritical, insensitive and undiplomatic type of person who stereotypes and dehumanizes those with whom they disagree and does not even posit that other people of good faith, character and experience may hold different views. You are doing no any favors to the other amicable posters who may otherwise share your beliefs.

Simply, you certainly need not agree with my suggested manner of utilizing the Commonwealth sidebar to actually criticize the Titanians, no less approve of capitalism, but your strident, aggressive and demeaning tone is unwarranted, inappropriate and personally insulting.

Other than a diatribe railing against capitalism, do you have anything to offer concerning the setting's treatment of the Jovians, comparative perspectives between the Jovians and other polities, or ideas for other players to bring greater depth to the Jovians and enhance role-playing opportunities?

Lorsa Lorsa's picture
branford wrote:It is readily

branford wrote:
It is readily apparent that you are precisely the type of hyper-partisan, hypocritical, insensitive and undiplomatic type of person who stereotypes and dehumanizes those with whom they disagree and does not even posit that other people of good faith, character and experience may hold different views. You are doing no any favors to the other amicable posters who may otherwise share your beliefs.

While my presence as a poster here makes it impossible for me to unbiasly moderate the thread, I would like to ask that you do not make such attacks or accusations on your fellow posters. This isn't a forum for you to make character judgements.

ShadowDragon may have been attacking a character, but it was a hypothetical character. Instead of choosing the approach to label SD an insensitve hypocrite, you could attempt to explain why the hypothetical character is not being a selfish ass. It may not work in convincing him, but at the very least you made the attempt. You are only responsible for the failings of your own opinions, not those of others.

Furthermore, I could argue that SD's reaction highlights part of the problem with providing real critcism towards the TC. Your premise was that the criminal's rants in the book only serves to function as a gratitous criticism of capitalism, based partly on, I assume, the character (or lack thereof) of the criminal himself.

You could read SD's posts as an attempt to show why your proposed alternative, to many people, will also be a gratitous critique of capitalism as the character supplying it appears to be a selfish asshole.

If, indeed, you do not feel that the hypotehtical character in question is a selfish ass, you could say that. Then you could proceed by saying that, perhaps, criticism towards the TC should appeal to those holding the opposite view (as in, being moderate-to-high capitalists) and that even though SD feel that it would make him into a selfish ass, to many people he wouldn't be.

This would then help show the problem with opinions and that it is very difficult to find real criticism of your own held stance, that will appeal to the opposition. Thus if you want to incorporate criticism of the autonomists in the book, the argument could be that they would need to be written by adherents to capitalism. This way, even if several readers, like SD, might not agree with the proposed critique, at least it will appeal to other capitalists.

While it is true that I often try to view others in as high regard possible, it is possible to take the entirety of SD's post as a criticism towards your proposed criticism of the TC and why it wouldn't be any better than the critique already present in the book. And even if do you conclude that SD is a partisan, calling him a hypocrite will hardly help further constructive discussion.

In your opinion as a professional argumentativee, how am I doing so far?

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branford branford's picture
Respectfully, Lorsa, my

Respectfully, Lorsa, my reaction to SD's comments was not in a vaccum, and I would never have posted my admittedly strong reaction without adequate context. I would additionally refer you to our private correspondence with Kindalas.

I viewed SD's tone and content as consistent with, and in furtherance of, his post #132 (quoted in representative part below),

Quote:
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.

Moreover, as I expressly indicated in my post, my point was certainly not that someone could not reasonably disagree with my example of a type of setting fiction potentially critical of the Titanians, no less have a basis to oppose capitalism (as I believe you do). Nevertheless, somehow you, I and the other posters manage to discuss game issues with underlying political, social and religious concerns without insulting or demeaning each other. In fact, despite our admitted and wide differences, I believe we remain quite amicable.

By way of example, your own post respectfully explains your perspective about the sidebar and critique's my own without the obvious (and prior) implication that to hold a view not shared by SD is worthy of "ridicule" or much worse.

The fact that my suggested replacement was ancillary and minor to the discussed issue of whether the sidebar in Rimward was actually a criticism of capitalism or socialism made what can only be described as a vicious rant about the evils of capitalism, and those who may agree with it, all the more astonishing, aggressive and personal.

I understand how you may find my response overly personal or lacking in tact, but still feel it was warranted. In your capacity as a mod, I will, of course, abide by your directives to edit or delete the post.

As to how I feel about your post in my capacity as a "professional argumentativee," I would note two things: (1) I have never been given any reason to doubt the good-faith or good-nature of your comments, nor believed you lacked some reasonable basis for your perspective or opinion, even when we strongly disagreed; and (2) I do not view my, or anyone's, posts on RPG forums as I would a legal brief or appellate argument. In my capacity as a trial attorney, I work long and hard and am paid for my persuasive undertakings. Unlike a role-playing game, it (usually) is not entertaining, and my professional desire to "win" is not analogous to a friendly disagreement concerning a fictional game. Just as I have no desire to "lawyer" my family and friends, and most certainly do not, I similarly do not take such a tone here, at least intentionally.

Lorsa Lorsa's picture
branford wrote:Respectfully,

branford wrote:
Respectfully, Lorsa, my reaction to SD's comments was not in a vaccum, and I would never have posted my admittedly strong reaction without adequate context. I would additionally refer you to our private correspondence with Kindalas.

I understand how you may find my response overly personal or lacking in tact, but still feel it was warranted. In your capacity as a mod, I will, of course, abide by your directives to edit or delete the post.

As I believe I explicitly stated, it was not a statement of directive from a moderator, but rather a suggestion from me. It would be very poor form to try and give directive to someone whom it is already shown I disagree with (on some things, I am certain we agree on others).

There will never be any requests to delete posts however. If, for any reason, posts need to be deleted, I would do so myself.

I well understand the overall context, and I am glad to hear that you understand why I feel it was overly personal. My requests was simply that you avoid such things in the future, as ultimately I hope that both you and I can agree that it rarely leads to any constructive discussion.

Also, my question about how I was doing was more of a "in your opinion, how well do you feel I am laying out my arguments". Being a professional argumentatee, I would value your opinion in the matter.

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branford branford's picture
Lorsa wrote:

Lorsa wrote:

Also, my question about how I was doing was more of a "in your opinion, how well do you feel I am laying out my arguments". Being a professional argumentatee, I would value your opinion in the matter.

You mean I didn't answer you question? :)

You know, people pay good money for me to write pages and pages of not exactly answering questions! :p

All kidding aside, with respect to areas of disagreement or contention, I believe that you directly and succinctly lay out your points, cite references when appropriate, and endeavor to demonstrate context and understanding of your adversary without unnecessarily conceding points. On matters of narrative choice and setting depth, I similarly believe you account for variables, avoid caricature and hyperbole, strive for realism, and are creative and compelling. Without meaning to sound condescending or trite, keep-up the good work!

You arguments and ideas do not, however, read like legal memoranda. I assure you that this a compliment. If they did, it would be boring, cold and often argumentative. As I indicated before, "winning" is not a great strategy when engaging in a friendly exchange of ideas.

Shunka Shunka's picture
I side with Tiberia's comment

I side with Tiberia's comment that they are a straw man, an exaggerated caricature which is inconsistent to its own internal logic.

I would much rather have had a villainous faction which more clearly weren't villains in their own minds. Take the Junta as it is currently described in terms of its outlook about technology and humanity, now make the following simple change:

Imagine that they really, really care about their people. That they are, at the core, bound and determined to preserve "Humanity" as they see it. That nobody starves in the Junta. Nobody dies from lack of medical care in the Junta. Imagine that within the Junta, for all its apparent fascist mentality towards the rest of the system, it is actually bound and determined to see its own people happy and healthy and well-cared for.

Imagine that they see themselves as fighting to preserve that. I believe that makes for a FAR richer villain. Someone who in a heartbeat will still use any dirty trick they can to undermine 'nonhuman' factions and to eliminate technology that they fear is harmful, because they have something at home worth protecting.

It's much too easy to make an enemy and then undermine their humanity by suggesting that their people aren't as well off as our people, that they're crueler and more awful than we are, that they eat babies and slaughter the elderly, etc., etc.

That's a horribly stock propaganda trick.

I would have more respect and fear for the Junta if they were space Nazis who somehow had managed to maintain their little blond-haired, blue-eyed community in accord with the dream future that people like Speer envisioned. All those happy children doing calisthenics on vast green lawns and playing in the parks and signing up to be part of the Humanity Scouts.

Make an enemy that is hostile because it has something to protect, and make what it is protecting dangerously seductive, because except for a few elements of belief, it's beautiful and enviable. Now THAT is a dangerous enemy.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Isn't that the ultimates you

Isn't that the ultimates you're describing, Shunka?

ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
Smokeskin wrote:Isn't that

Smokeskin wrote:
Isn't that the ultimates you're describing, Shunka?

I don't think so. the ultimates are about perfection of the human form and survival. Considering the list of references for EP includes Andromeda i suspect they are a face lift on the Nietzscheans faction in that tv series. I consider them a hair's breath away from singularity seekers and exhumans.
Lorsa Lorsa's picture
branford wrote:You know,

branford wrote:
You know, people pay good money for me to write pages and pages of not exactly answering questions! :p

The stuff people get paid for these days...

branford wrote:
You arguments and ideas do not, however, read like legal memoranda. I assure you that this a compliment. If they did, it would be boring, cold and often argumentative. As I indicated before, "winning" is not a great strategy when engaging in a friendly exchange of ideas.

Indeed. I would not strive for composing legal documents on a forum such as this. It would be very counterproductive.

So, since I feel that part of my post was being ignored through all the talk of ShadowDragon, do you agree that any criticism of anarchism should appeal mainly to the opposition, and that even if an adherent to the anarchist ideology find the criticism appaling, it can still be good criticism?

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Tiberia Tiberia's picture
There is now a thread devoted

There is now a thread devoted to critiquing the autonomists, so the debate over the titanian sidebar would likely fair better there.

Branford is a lawyer? neat. Learn something new everyday

If the Jovians got a hold of a pandora gate, what do you think they would do with it? Would they immediately try to colonize another planet? or would they try to destroy it, or lock it up?

Also Locus, one of the major anarchist habs is in the jovian trojans (or was it greeks?) Seeing as they have not destroyed them, how do you think they get along. assuming we have the jovians be more open to taking part in the world.
maybe an uneasy mutual protection act that is also unspoken. neither one wants the PC moving in.

additional: that might be another issue with the jovians as written. They are so isolationist that they don't take much active part in the setting. The story has to come to them, they don't come to the story. I'll explain if that's a tad confusing

the players find a macguffin. word gets out they have the macguffin.

Hypercorps get involved as they want the macguffin for fun and profit
Ultimates sghow up because they were hired by the hypercorps for fun and power
Titananians show up as they want to study the macguffin for fun and science
Extropians show up for profit and profit
anarchists show up for fun and freedom
Exsurgents show up for fun and extinction
Firewall shows up for fun and not-extinction
even Scum might show up for fun and fun. also fun

The Jovians don't show up. They decided to stay home and collect tolls on Jupiter. So unless the macguffin needs to get slingshotted around jupiter the Jovians are not showing up to the party.

unimportant note- I like the Scum, because they are just made of fun. Scum swarms are just burning man in space! it's just fun. I like fun. There should always be a "fun" faction, and eclipse phase has one, actually a few, as there are multiple scum swarms.
The stars our destination was just a joyous read.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Tiberia wrote:

Tiberia wrote:

Also Locus, one of the major anarchist habs is in the jovian trojans (or was it greeks?) Seeing as they have not destroyed them, how do you think they get along. assuming we have the jovians be more open to taking part in the world.
maybe an uneasy mutual protection act that is also unspoken. neither one wants the PC moving in.

The Trojans and Greeks are as far away from Jupiter as the Sun is. They're not close neighbors, quite the opposite.

Tiberia Tiberia's picture
Really? huh.

Really? huh.
I have been imagining my astrography all wrong then. it may be a bit off topic but could you give me a clearer idea of where/what the trojans and greeks are?

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
They're at the L4 and L5

They're at the L4 and L5 lagrange points:

bblonski bblonski's picture
Shunka wrote:

Shunka wrote:

It's much too easy to make an enemy and then undermine their humanity by suggesting that their people aren't as well off as our people

Doesn't this make them more sympathetic and human? Propaganda is usually showing the enemy as inhuman monsters coming to take our women or something like that. This is more like those Pulitzer Prize winning journalistic reports showing the human cost of the war. "Look at that poor woman just trying to feed her kids. She's not a monster, she's just like us but stuck is a shitty place." That's why the Titanians treat the Jovians as more of a humanitarian cause than an enemy.

Tiberia wrote:

The Jovians don't show up. They decided to stay home and collect tolls on Jupiter. So unless the macguffin needs to get slingshotted around jupiter the Jovians are not showing up to the party.

Not necessarily. They might determine that the macguffin is a threat to humanity and needs to be kept out of transhuman hands. In which case, they'll show up for fun and explosions. In fact, I'd expect running into Jovian covert ops teams would be almost as common as running into OZMA since you're all dealing with x-risks.

branford branford's picture
Tiberia wrote:

Tiberia wrote:

If the Jovians got a hold of a pandora gate, what do you think they would do with it? Would they immediately try to colonize another planet? or would they try to destroy it, or lock it up?

Given their bioconservative views, and fear and distrust of aliens and potential x-risks, I believe that the official position concerning the Gates would be the proverbial "kill it with fire." I'm surprised that the setting does not explicitly state that forcibly stopping Gate travel is a goal of the Republic.

However, the sneaky, paranoid and corrupt leadership would probably engage in limited exploration (accompanied by overwhelming firepower) to procure resources or even establish emergency military bases or colonies in the event of catastrophe such as the return of the TITANS.

Tiberia wrote:

Also Locus, one of the major anarchist habs is in the jovian trojans (or was it greeks?) Seeing as they have not destroyed them, how do you think they get along. assuming we have the jovians be more open to taking part in the world.
maybe an uneasy mutual protection act that is also unspoken. neither one wants the PC moving in.

The Jovians do like any of the Autonomists. As described in Rimward (p. 44-45), there is little interaction or visitation between Republic citizens and the AA, particularly the anarchists. Such interaction is discouraged or prohibited, as is interest in any non-authoritarian societies.

As for why they haven't attacked the Locus or other anarchists settlements, if they did, EP would be a very different game, but this thread would be more interesting. As we've discussed, despite their purported aggression, the Jovians have been very isolationist.

It should also be noted that, as with the Battles of Locus, the Titanians would come to the aid of Locus. Since the Commonwealth's their military capabilities appear respectable, such adventurism without definitive and reasonably achievable goals might simply not be worth the resources in blood and treasure.

Lastly, there actually is some nuance in the text. In Rimward (p.151) it is implied that the Jovians actually assisted the AA in the Second Battle of Locus by destroying some PC assets. However, their actions were far from altruistic. They simply did not want the PC expanding into the Jovian's sphere of influence, and they were sending a message to the PC.

branford branford's picture
Lorsa wrote:

Lorsa wrote:

So, since I feel that part of my post was being ignored through all the talk of ShadowDragon, do you agree that any criticism of anarchism should appeal mainly to the opposition, and that even if an adherent to the anarchist ideology find the criticism appaling, it can still be good criticism?

I didn't mean to ignore you point. It just got a little lost in the noise.

I believe that most well reasoned, rationale and cited criticism of any ideology should have an impact on both its adherents and detractors, and the best arguments usually do. Of course, there is always a time and place for more directed criticism that is designed for certain audiences (sometimes we even call it propaganda). I do agree that even if an adherent finds criticism appalling, it may still be justified, reasonable and effective.

My reference to the sidebar in Rimward (p.100), however, was not about the pros or cons of techno-socialism. Rather, it was to demonstrate author bias not only through explicit text, but through editorial choice and tone. My very ancillary and minor suggestion of a different idea for the sidebar unfortunately detracted from my primary point.

The sidebar was contained in the section of Rimward concerning the Titanian Commonwealth and related to a small dissident opposed to core techno-socialist ideology. As the authors often did with the conservative polities, the fiction would normally be used as a subtle (or even overt) critique of Commonwealth culture or society, particularly to give support to the relevant group in the text. Although at first glance the sidebar appears to do this, the writers actually used the purported "criticism" as yet another subtle and snarky attack on the personally disfavored capitalist factions, and read in context with the other text, a negative commentary on contemporary America.

Shunka Shunka's picture
bblonski wrote:Shunka wrote:

bblonski wrote:
Shunka wrote:

It's much too easy to make an enemy and then undermine their humanity by suggesting that their people aren't as well off as our people

Doesn't this make them more sympathetic and human? Propaganda is usually showing the enemy as inhuman monsters coming to take our women or something like that. This is more like those Pulitzer Prize winning journalistic reports showing the human cost of the war. "Look at that poor woman just trying to feed her kids. She's not a monster, she's just like us but stuck is a shitty place." That's why the Titanians treat the Jovians as more of a humanitarian cause than an enemy.

It's undermining them by characterizing the government as brutal. "They treat their own people like slaves." You really do need to take it in the context of the rest of the sentence in this case rather than picking it out on its own.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Shunka wrote:

Shunka wrote:

It's undermining them by characterizing the government as brutal. "They treat their own people like slaves." You really do need to take it in the context of the rest of the sentence in this case rather than picking it out on its own.

The government isn't brutal?

bblonski bblonski's picture
Shunka wrote:

Shunka wrote:

It's undermining them by characterizing the government as brutal. "They treat their own people like slaves." You really do need to take it in the context of the rest of the sentence in this case rather than picking it out on its own.

Sorry, didn't mean to try to take your sentence out of context. I thought this criticism was of the Jovian people in general rather than their government specifically. Your comments about dehumanizing and eating babies threw me off.

I don't find the criticisms of the Jovian government that different from countries like Russia and China. Any sufficiently large government is going to have corruption, especially totalitarian military states like the Jovians. That doesn't necessarily reflect the people or even the government as a whole though. It's just a few people who abuse power.

Shunka Shunka's picture
Smokeskin wrote:The

Smokeskin wrote:
The government isn't brutal?

Oh, hey, look at these words...These words which didn't come out of my mouth. I've only been back on these forums for a few days and I've already seen a lot of you in a lot of threads...Enough to note some behavioral consistencies.

I've seen too much to believe you're that obtuse. Which means it's intentional. If I really want bait, there's a tackle shop down at the corner.

bblonski wrote:
Sorry, didn't mean to try to take your sentence out of context. I thought this criticism was of the Jovian people in general rather than their government specifically. Your comments about dehumanizing and eating babies threw me off.

Yeah, it definitely could've been worded better. The point I was making was that it fit a particular propaganda pattern.

bblonski wrote:
I don't find the criticisms of the Jovian government that different from countries like Russia and China. Any sufficiently large government is going to have corruption, especially totalitarian military states like the Jovians. That doesn't necessarily reflect the people or even the government as a whole though. It's just a few people who abuse power.

Exactly. They fit that same pattern. The contents of propaganda may not be internally self-consistent, but their application is often very consistent. Sometimes the criticisms have nothing to do with reality and everything to do with 'this is a pattern we apply to enemy states.'

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Shunka wrote:

Shunka wrote:

It's undermining them by characterizing the government as brutal. "They treat their own people like slaves." You really do need to take it in the context of the rest of the sentence in this case rather than picking it out on its own.
Smokeskin wrote:
The government isn't brutal?

Oh, hey, look at these words...These words which didn't come out of my mouth. I've only been back on these forums for a few days and I've already seen a lot of you in a lot of threads...Enough to note some behavioral consistencies.

I've seen too much to believe you're that obtuse. Which means it's intentional. If I really want bait, there's a tackle shop down at the corner.

Here's the "evil tackle" laid out. I thought you would
- either defend their brutality because of the necessity of their situation, in which case we could discuss the degree to which this necessity was real
- or you would say they were brutal, in which case we would discuss "it isn't slander if it is true".

Perhaps I could have come up with more examples and laid out the whole system of branches our discussion could take. But I really don't have to make all your possible points for you - it would have been a waste of time and probably come off as a bit lecturing.

I'd also have been wrong. I didn't see it coming that you would dodge the question by attacking my character instead.

bblonski bblonski's picture
Shunka wrote:Exactly. They

Shunka wrote:
Exactly. They fit that same pattern. The contents of propaganda may not be internally self-consistent, but their application is often very consistent. Sometimes the criticisms have nothing to do with reality and everything to do with 'this is a pattern we apply to enemy states.'

Or often even our own state. I supposed I don't find the term propaganda particularly useful in this context since you can apply it to almost any criticism. Just because we tend to be more critical of other countries than our own doesn't mean the criticisms aren't valid.

Tiberia Tiberia's picture
I think your all missing the

I think your all missing the point. The point isn't whether or not so and so is brutal. The criticism is of the writing, not the faction itself. The writing follows patterns of propaganda, that is the issue. It's not the criticism that is the propaganda, but the pattern of it.

And Smokeskin, intentional or not it did come off as baiting since Bunka never said the Jovians weren't brutal.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Tiberia wrote:I think your

Tiberia wrote:
I think your all missing the point. The point isn't whether or not so and so is brutal. The criticism is of the writing, not the faction itself. The writing follows patterns of propaganda, that is the issue. It's not the criticism that is the propaganda, but the pattern of it.

What's wrong with the writing? Is it the in-character stuff that is the problem? As I read Rimward, the Jovian came off as a quite levelheaded fellow, while for example the Titanian had a ridiculous holier-than-thou attitude.

Or is it the game information stuff?

Tiberia wrote:

And Smokeskin, intentional or not it did come off as baiting since Bunka never said the Jovians weren't brutal.

I'm sorry if it came across that way. I wasn't attempting to bait (and I don't even know how it would work as a bait, I don't see the trap in my question). As I explained in my previous post, I expected a "yes, but... " answer - but I don't know what the answer would be.

ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
it comes off as bait because

it comes off as bait because i think most people are appending in their mind [/sarcasm] at the end of it

bblonski bblonski's picture
Tiberia wrote:I think your

Tiberia wrote:
I think your all missing the point. The point isn't whether or not so and so is brutal. The criticism is of the writing, not the faction itself. The writing follows patterns of propaganda, that is the issue. It's not the criticism that is the propaganda, but the pattern of it.

So if the argument is that the Jovians are written like how a foreign country might be written in an history textbook while the Autonomists are written more like how the home country would be written, I guess I don't disagree. Most of the text comes from the perspective of Autonomists so this really isn't unexpected or unreasonable. It's about as fair you can be coming from an obviously biased source.

I guess that's where the disagreement comes from. Are you expecting the Jovians to be written like a foreign country or like your home country? Personally I'm impressed on how fair the authors tried to be despite their biases, similar to how most history books try to be fair despite author biases. That's different from the outright propaganda you get from places like North Korea.

branford branford's picture
bblonski wrote:Tiberia wrote

bblonski wrote:
Tiberia wrote:
I think your all missing the point. The point isn't whether or not so and so is brutal. The criticism is of the writing, not the faction itself. The writing follows patterns of propaganda, that is the issue. It's not the criticism that is the propaganda, but the pattern of it.

So if the argument is that the Jovians are written like how a foreign country might be written in an history textbook while the Autonomists are written more like how the home country would be written, I guess I don't disagree. Most of the text comes from the perspective of Autonomists so this really isn't unexpected or unreasonable. It's about as fair you can be coming from an obviously biased source.

I guess that's where the disagreement comes from. Are you expecting the Jovians to be written like a foreign country or like your home country? Personally I'm impressed on how fair the authors tried to be despite their biases, similar to how most history books try to be fair despite author biases. That's different from the outright propaganda you get from places like North Korea.

I think you may be inadvertently agreeing with a great deal of the criticism of how the non-Autonomists are portrayed in EP.

Despite the number, variety and perspectives of the narrators and setting characters, no less the purportedly unbiased GM materials, you concede that the Jovians (and to a lesser extent, the other capitalist or more conservative factions) are always depicted as caricatures, while the more left-leaning polities are often idealized or romanticized. You appear to simply excuse it because you just expect the setting, both fiction and non-narrative materials, to reflect the authors' political biases. In fact, you praise the authors for not completely overwhelming everything in the setting with their political, social and economic views.

I think the point of Tiberas, myself and others was that the obvious author bias, particularly with the Jovians, was heavy-handed, gratuitous, effectively reduced role-playing opportunities, forced an even greater suspension of disbelief in connection with the setting, and actually managed to alienate or offend a number of readers.

I respect the authors, and believe they did a pretty good job creating an interesting and developed setting. No PRG is perfect. Nevertheless, it is precisely because of the writers' demonstrated potential that many are disappointed with their inability or unwillingness to at least try not to insult a potentially large portion of the customer base and tone down their bias concerning factions they find personally unsympathetic.

In any event, as other have stated, there exists more than ample opportunity and material for players to redefine and re-imagine the Jovians to give them greater depth and purpose.

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