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Old 11-22-2011, 12:43 AM   #171
jason taylor
 
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Default Re: 'Imperial Culture' (non-canonista)

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Originally Posted by combatmedic View Post
I tend to assume that, much as in the real world, all that jazz about 'human rights and democracy' and 'defending freedom' provides a smokescreen for dominating "the wogs" and stealing their stuff.

So, yes, I suppose there's some early 21st century America in there, just not the nice parts.




I find the idea that globalization made all the billions of people on Earth into good little Americans or, even less likely, Europeans, to be too hard to swallow. There would be a lot of cultural, national, economic, ethnic, and religious conflicts simmering under the surface, even as the ISW raged on.

In my conception, the TC government deliberately exploited and magnified fears of the Vilani in order to get people on Earth and in the colonies to obey its edicts.


Of course, such shenanigans don't fool everybody, and they can't work forever.

This helps explain why the TC lost power so soon after the wars ended. The 'Great Satan' was gone and the propaganda had long ago worn thin, in any case. Hiroshi saw the opportunity, and he took it.
Myself, I couldn't buy that. It sounds to much like, well, like something Smurf would think up. Besides I really don't see the TC deliberately encouraging a war against a power several hundred times it's size just to keep the proles in line.

Moreover the TC didn't exist until after the Vilani were a clear threat.
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Old 11-22-2011, 01:02 AM   #172
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Default Re: 'Imperial Culture' (non-canonista)

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Myself, I couldn't buy that. It sounds to much like, well, like something Smurf would think up. Besides I really don't see the TC deliberately encouraging a war against a power several hundred times it's size just to keep the proles in line.

Moreover the TC didn't exist until after the Vilani were a clear threat.
I don't think I made it clear enough. Allow me to elaborate.

I didn't write that the TC encouraged war before the wars began, only that it made political hay from fear of the Vilani.

The TC justified its control of Earth and the colonies by the use of fear-mongering, hatred directed at 'The Other', and other tried and true methods of government.

In the beginning, it encouraged people to accept its decisions on the basis of 'homeworld security.'

As Confederate forces pushed deeper into the Ziru Sirka and seized more and more worlds, the propagandists began to talk about 'the high destiny of Terran civilization' , 'universal human rights' and 'liberating the peoples now oppressed by the Vilani Empire.'

Those in power reaped vast material and political benefits from the wars, of course. Governments during wartime are often able to enact 'emregency measures'- and when the war never really ends, neither do the extra powers claimed by the state. As important as any territorial gains were the internal shifts in power that made the TC supreme over the old nation states, kept colonies in line, and enriched the Confederation elite.

Your second point only reinforces my thinking on this. Without the Ziru Sirka, the TC would not even exist. It needed the Great Satan, the Enemy at the Gate, or it would lose its power. When the Vilani were finally conquered, that actually happened.


Of course, this is all speculative historiography, at least as much as Word of GM. There's more than one way to look at things, IMTU. I'm just giving my own personal interpretation.


YMMV

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Old 11-22-2011, 01:47 AM   #173
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It's plausible at least in part. I think the simplest answer to why the ISW went on is simply that there were no balancing powers and the motive for war was stronger then that for peace. During the Vilani initiative, war didn't cost the Vilani all that much. During the Terran initiative, it would have been quite easily argued that as even if they made peace their would be another round they might as well get as much advantage while they were winning. If they make a cease-fire they leave an undestroyed fleet or an unconquered naval base for the next generation. With only two powers in the area, war was inevitable as long as there was no obvious stalemate.

Also it's not as if it was just the government's manipulations. It was after all a good job and the Vilani incompetence at war made it more safe then it might have been. Once that was done pocketing ones retirement benefits and setting up on ones own with a few likely lads was a good deal.
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Old 11-22-2011, 01:51 AM   #174
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It's plausible at least in part. I think the simplest answer to why the ISW went on is simply that there were no balancing powers and the motive for war was stronger then that for peace. During the Vilani initiative, war didn't cost the Vilani all that much. During the Terran initiative, it would have been quite easily argued that as even if they made peace their would be another round they might as well get as much advantage while they were winning. With only two powers in the area, war was inevitable as long as there was no obvious stalemate.
I wasn't explaining why the ISW happened, but rather how the TC gov't exploited the wars, security issues, xenophobia, etc. to maintain power and control for a long time. Of course, all that fear-mongering made a peaceful solution that much less likely.
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Old 11-22-2011, 07:08 AM   #175
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I don't use the USA as a model for the Imperium.
Nor was I. I was useing a very limited frame of refference to say that an Empire, which has a very religious populace, could have a secular governing elite. The original arguement was about China. The USA has never been an Empire (we won't argue that point), but it has been a highly religious society with a secular government. And you will note the reference to Roman attitudes to religion in one of my posts.
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Old 11-22-2011, 12:42 PM   #176
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I wasn't explaining why the ISW happened, but rather how the TC gov't exploited the wars, security issues, xenophobia, etc. to maintain power and control for a long time. Of course, all that fear-mongering made a peaceful solution that much less likely.
Of course a government is just people,(perhaps even "notably ungoverned" to continue the quote). Governments, corporations, classes, and ideologies don't really have a hive mind. They do have a pack instinct that resembles one and that has both good and bad aspects but it is not the same thing.

I doubt every single Terran who was part of The Government(which, given the draft and the Military Diaspora caused by the war was really most Terrans) was thinking in those terms. Perhaps a FACTION of the government was; in fact probably. But that is different.

Or to be closer to home, I am a library volunteer. Therefore I am a part of "The government." However if you say "The government cares about nothing except it's own power and ability to exploit", I would beg leave to point out that I am rather disappointed in being exempted from all that wonderful power.

Also much of the Terran conquest ran on inertia like most famous conquests. There seems to be times when the TC government would actually have preferred to halt it, but it just wasn't. The Free Traders for instance were often in defiance of the TC.

To say the government had ulterior motives in spreading propaganda is a truism; everyone has ulterior motives for everything they do. However the idea that the government in general were consciously acting cynically against their own actual beliefs is unlikely. Some might have been doing so. Certainly they exagerrated how evil the Vilani were; they were no worse then a typical Terran hydraulic despotism. However they were right that the Vilani were a great threat. Moreover to say that the anti-vilani propaganda comes from the government ignores the fact that most of it probably came from private sources acting on their own and the fact that their would have been times when the Terran Government(or rather key members of it) would have wished to downplay the threat.
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Old 11-22-2011, 08:29 PM   #177
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Not if it enumerated the rights the Imperium was not allowed to infringe rather than the rights the Imperium intended to force the member worlds to grant their people.

Well, except IYTU, of course. ;-)


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Saying "We can't but you can" is no protection to the people, only the member states. It's worse than no protections at all for many of the people.
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Old 11-22-2011, 08:36 PM   #178
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Default Re: 'Imperial Culture' (non-canonista)

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Of course a government is just people,(perhaps even "notably ungoverned" to continue the quote). Governments, corporations, classes, and ideologies don't really have a hive mind. They do have a pack instinct that resembles one and that has both good and bad aspects but it is not the same thing.

I doubt every single Terran who was part of The Government(which, given the draft and the Military Diaspora caused by the war was really most Terrans) was thinking in those terms. Perhaps a FACTION of the government was; in fact probably. But that is different.

Or to be closer to home, I am a library volunteer. Therefore I am a part of "The government." However if you say "The government cares about nothing except it's own power and ability to exploit", I would beg leave to point out that I am rather disappointed in being exempted from all that wonderful power.

Also much of the Terran conquest ran on inertia like most famous conquests. There seems to be times when the TC government would actually have preferred to halt it, but it just wasn't. The Free Traders for instance were often in defiance of the TC.

To say the government had ulterior motives in spreading propaganda is a truism; everyone has ulterior motives for everything they do. However the idea that the government in general were consciously acting cynically against their own actual beliefs is unlikely. Some might have been doing so. Certainly they exagerrated how evil the Vilani were; they were no worse then a typical Terran hydraulic despotism. However they were right that the Vilani were a great threat. Moreover to say that the anti-vilani propaganda comes from the government ignores the fact that most of it probably came from private sources acting on their own and the fact that their would have been times when the Terran Government(or rather key members of it) would have wished to downplay the threat.
You seem to be arguing against positions I haven't actually taken. I never said that the TC was a monolith, or that policies never varied. I simply described an overall trend.
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Old 11-22-2011, 08:42 PM   #179
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Nor was I. I was useing a very limited frame of refference to say that an Empire, which has a very religious populace, could have a secular governing elite. The original arguement was about China. The USA has never been an Empire (we won't argue that point), but it has been a highly religious society with a secular government. And you will note the reference to Roman attitudes to religion in one of my posts.
The Romans did have a state religion, Astromancer. They had one from the time of King Numa all the way to the end of the Empire in 1453 AD; it just wasn't the same state religion the whole time. I suggest that polytheists make a different sort of claim than monotheists. Syncretism is possible with either set of theological assumptions, but it's arguably easier with polythiesm. The same goes for pluralism. Please note that the Romans did, at various times, ban certain cults that made trouble for the Republic/Empire, or that grossly offended the sensibilities of the elite.

Oh, and it's no fair to make bold claims, like 'the US has never been an empire' and then forbid anyone to challenge said claims. Either make statements you can defend, or don't make them. :)

I'm going to ask again- can we please move the non-Traveller stuff to PMs? I'm perfectly happy to discuss imperialism, secularism, federalism, militarism, and Astromancerism in a more appropriate venue. I'm offering you that venue; let's talk about this stuff in PMs.

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Old 11-22-2011, 09:36 PM   #180
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Default Re: 'Imperial Culture' (non-canonista)

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You seem to be arguing against positions I haven't actually taken. I never said that the TC was a monolith, or that policies never varied. I simply described an overall trend.
Yes, but you attributed a specific motive to "the government", other then what would have been it's stated one. To do that you would either have to posit a conspiracy containing enough government members to be said to represent it in a meaningful sense, that is yet kept from the general population, most of whom serve the government at some point in their lives. Or you would have to assume false consciousness.
Alternatively you can posit that this only refers to the topmost levels of The Government. For two hundred years.
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