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Old 09-02-2020, 09:13 AM   #5021
malloyd
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Default Re: New Reality Seeds

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Originally Posted by Phil Masters View Post
Having them waste time on every half-functional democracy they meet looking for the Secret Masters just makes them look stupid. Unless of course they’re right, and any really successful “democracy” really is being run by Illuminati, and it’s Homeline, with their sentimental attachment to dysfunctional populism, who are stupid.
I think they could reasonably conclude they are half right, because I actually think they are.

There are really two parts to government:
the tactics and implementation part, which in any really effective government is in the hands of subject matter expert bureaucrats, who are more or less the people Centrum thinks should run everything;

and a policy and goal setting part, which can work OK regardless of how it is done, provided whatever mechanism is in place sets policies more or less in line with the beliefs of the population. Centrum lets the bureaucrats decide this too, and ensures that alignment by indoctrinating everybody believe the same things. Democracies just indoctrinate belief in democracy and then poll everybody to see what they want, which clearly has extra failure modes, but has the advantage of still working when your indoctrination abilities are more limited. Other successful systems basically work the same way, they only have to convince people to agree the *system* is the right way to do things, not to agree on everything. You can work with any of them really, gradually improving their indoctrination processes until everybody does agree on the goals, at which point it really no longer matters how the policy decision makers selected, since they'll know what decisions need to be left to the bureaucracy and have the "right" policy goals regardless of how they get into office.

In a lot of ways, it is a parallel to the theoretical route to ideal communism. Once everybody has the right beliefs, the state isn't really important anymore, since everybody will behave correctly without need to be told to, and it can "wither away", except Centrum doesn't think it particularly needs to.
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Old 09-02-2020, 10:42 AM   #5022
AlexanderHowl
 
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I believe that Centrum would be considered a communistic bureaucratic meritocracy. It does seem to have a low level of discrimination and a high level of equality of opportunity for its citizens, which is an admirable accomplishment, though the lack of diversity of cultures, opinions, and outcomes prevent it from evolving into a utopian society. It is probably close to Star Trek's Federation while Homeline is more similar to Firefly's Alliance.
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Old 09-02-2020, 12:48 PM   #5023
David Johnston2
 
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Centrum will like the equality a lot. The sticking point for Centrum is the democracy. You can pretend the British Empire isn't democratic because nominally the monarch is in charge.

I predict that Centrum will go with the "there must be Secret Masters who really control the elections" belief system. After all, real democracy can't work. So their efforts will concentrate on finding the Secret Masters of the USA and taking them over.
Centrum has no problem with believing democracy can "work" for various values of "work" in the source material. Their meritocracy just clearly works better as far as they're concerned. The mystery about Homeline that causes them to imagine a secret illuminated cabal is not that the democracies of Homeline haven't collapsed yet. It's how the world managed to survive so long with such mutually hostile nuclear-armed nations at such odds. Their own history and ideology inclines them to think that MAD could not possibly work for so many decades.
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Old 09-02-2020, 01:24 PM   #5024
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Centrum has no problem with believing democracy can "work" for various values of "work" in the source material. Their meritocracy just clearly works better as far as they're concerned. The mystery about Homeline that causes them to imagine a secret illuminated cabal is not that the democracies of Homeline haven't collapsed yet. It's how the world managed to survive so long with such mutually hostile nuclear-armed nations at such odds. Their own history and ideology inclines them to think that MAD could not possibly work for so many decades.
... and to be fair to them, there are plenty of people in Real Life who are surprised that we made it, and in some cases are certain that a conspiracy exists that prevented it, rather than our merely surviving due to good planning and a lot of dumb luck - e.g. people with good self-preservation instincts being in the right places at the right times.
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Old 09-02-2020, 07:07 PM   #5025
DangerousThing
 
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I believe that Centrum would be considered a communistic bureaucratic meritocracy. It does seem to have a low level of discrimination and a high level of equality of opportunity for its citizens, which is an admirable accomplishment, though the lack of diversity of cultures, opinions, and outcomes prevent it from evolving into a utopian society. It is probably close to Star Trek's Federation while Homeline is more similar to Firefly's Alliance.
The problem is that equality can be made two ways: raising everybody up to the level of the best, or bringing everybody down to the least.
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Old 09-02-2020, 08:37 PM   #5026
AlexanderHowl
 
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Or bringing everyone to the middle. Lowering the top while raising the bottom tends to be more effective than the former because inflation occurs and more effective than the latter because deflation occurs.
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Old 09-03-2020, 10:44 AM   #5027
Phil Masters
 
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I think they could reasonably conclude they are half right, because I actually think they are.
It occurs to me that Centrum - and for that matter Homeline - might sensibly ask when surveying a new timeline, "Okay, so we know what they say their system of government is - but who's really in charge?"

It's a rational question; I'm sure that we could all wheel out examples of democracies where the candidates on the ballot papers were mysteriously almost always elder sons of the wealthy oligarchy, theocracies where the College of Cardinals was largely made up of younger sons of the oligarchy, republics which were effectively run by self-sustaining bureaucracies, and monarchies where the monarch would have been very silly indeed to contradict certain powerful nobles. There's doubtless a bit of that in every government, and taking a nation's word for what their actual system is would be a mistake.

But equally, getting carried away with this is a rapid route into the dark heart of ugly, paranoid conspiracy theory, and bringing too many prior assumptions to the analysis will have the usual dangerous consequences.
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Old 09-04-2020, 08:36 AM   #5028
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Yeah. It's easy to survey a system and identify the people who, if they pitch an enormous screaming, spitting hissy-fit, will get their way today. It's very difficult for a layman to predict the long-term consequences of said hissy-fit in an unfamiliar system (and thus, perhaps, the reason said hissy-fit is not being pitched). "Who has a great deal of power but doesn't appear to be using it much at all" is always an interesting question that leads to more interesting questions.
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Old 09-04-2020, 09:54 AM   #5029
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Try this one...

This Q6 normal manna Myth Parallel is an annomolly is several ways. First, the geography and geophysics of Big Planet(named for the Jack Vance novel) are radically different from Homeline's Earth. The continents are shaped nothing like those of Homeline Earth and added to that the planet is far larger than Homeline Earth. Measurements made by Homeline scientists show the planet to have a circumpherence of around 125,000 statute miles, and thus an area twenty-five times as great as Homeline Earth. But the gravity is only 0.97G. However, the peoples of this world all resemble Homeline cultures and societies of the 200BCE-200CE period. The laguages, cultures, literature, religions, and many more traits seem identical, even with the presence of Magic and functional Wizards! The atmospheric pressure is 18psi at sea level, 20% more than Homeland Earth. Although human groups seem nearly unchanged when compared to Homeline Earth, the flora and fanna of this parallel includes large numbers of creatures that look like survivors form previous geological eras including most of the Pleistocene megafunna and some dinosaurs and Pterosaurs. Fully mythological creatures like dragons, unicorns, and griffins, haven't been seen, but are widely reported. Homeline can't tell if these creatures are present or their stories are simply much more popular than on Homeline Earth.

Amoung the strange chages that seem to have few if any cultural effects are the flying ships (I'm cribbing from Space 1889 here, look at the Martian War Kites and Mercant Kites) which are the main arteries of commerce and comunication. The keels of these ships are alchemical wonders.

Basically, sword and sorcery with real human cultures. Prehistoric beasts replace myhic beasts, but their roles are much the same. Homeline, Centrum, and the Cabal, are fairly neutral to each other on this parallel. There are interesting exotic trade goods here. This exotic world can distact agents from the threats that both of their other competitors present. Scemes to replace Homeline agents with doubles are most workable in this environment. Still, swagmen, particularly human trafickers, love this vast chaotic world. As almost all human groups on this world practise slavery it's very easy to legally buy slaves. Some of these slaves will find the conditions of servatude under the swagmen, brutal as it is, far better than anything else they've ever faced, and may not wish to be freed.
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Old 09-04-2020, 11:42 AM   #5030
johndallman
 
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Measurements made by Homeline scientists show the planet to have a circumference of around 125,000 statute miles, and thus an area twenty-five times as great as Homeline Earth. But the gravity is only 0.97G.
It is also hollow. It has 25 times Homeline Earth's mass, with that volume and gravity, but 125 times its volume. With an average density of about 1.1 grams per cubic centimetre, it's not plausibly solid, even if it has earthquakes and volcanoes. There's a bigger mystery to investigate here, and Pratchett's Strata may hold the answer.
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