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(TFT) Politics ramblings
- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subject: (TFT) Politics ramblings
- From: Jay Carlisle <email@example.com>
- Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2012 14:05:26 -0700
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How the ethics of the polis are determined is a very odd subject considered
from a gaming standpoint.
I am unaware of a political game that addresses politics as a general
concept but know of many games that model more specifically framed
situations like the u.s. presidential election or a small South American
Political systems are in the same class as religions or other social
institutions with foundations based in fantasy.
Dig to the heart of one of these systems and you start coming across stuff
like apologies for the divinity of rulers or a holy of holies with priests
crying "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain".
This sort of thing often serves as justification for stuff like elite
privileges and slavery and is usually fundamental to the cultures mythology.
I saw this bit on Sci-Fi "visionaries" on the Science channel the other day.
They were talking about George Lucas (a highly questionable choice) and
some director or writer was saying that the modern era was lacking a modern
mythos until Star Wars rolled around.
Obviously this guy was conceiving mythology as the old stories our
ancestors told each other around the fire at night for entertainment.
It never occurred to him to consider modern assumptions as part of our
The logic seems to make an assumption that modern man is some sort of
advancement over our backwards ancestors and therefore modern axioms are in
a different class than those of the ignorant past.
(He also made the common mistake of associating the americans with the
Rebel Alliance but it seems quite obvious to me that the u.s. is MUCH
better modeled as the Empire.)
The poor guy isn't alone in overlooking the modern mythos.
I like Robert Krulwich from Radio Lab and NPR and enjoy reading his
articles but even the best of us can miss a mythological assumption from
time to time.
Mr. K has been doing some reporting on a book that details research done on
"cheating" showing a tendency for most people to cheat a little bit but not
as much as possible.
"The moment something is one step removed from money ... people can cheat
more and [still] feel good about themselves. It basically relieves people
from the moral shackles. And, the reason this worries me so much is because
if you think about modern society, we are creating lots of cashless
economy. We have electronic wallets, we have mortgage-backed securities, we
have stock options, and could it be that all of those payment modalities
that as they get more and more further from money become easier for us to
cheat and be dishonest with them."
The modern mythology's whispering were so strong that Mr. Krulwich forgot
to question the assumption that money is "fair".
A fiat currency under fractional reserve banking doesn't strike me as being
remotely close to a state I would call fair or honest and that's a problem
for the worldview he's expressing here.
I've been alive for two different u.s. currencies.
Just because you print the two different types of certificates to appear
very similar doesn't make them so even if both are called dollar but it
makes it easier to treat both the same when they look so similar.
I live in a militaristic police state.
I say this because the united states nearly matches the rest of the planet
dollar for dollar in military spending in recent years and its roughly 5%
of the global population holds about a quarter of the worlds prisoners.
What else do you call such?
Calling symbolic, ritualistic, cannibalism a sacred rite doesn't change the
validity of the words symbolic, ritualistic, or cannibalism in describing
such a practice it just covers the silliness of it all in a cloak of
religious authority that establishes some "order in the court" when it
comes to such blasphemies.
How one initially responds to the claim that "I live in a militaristic
police state" is a pretty good indicator of of one's level of belief in the
The political term for blasphemy is treason.
Such a S.O.B. is no longer a member of the make-believe fold.
The stage magician that tries to teach the rubes the tricks is a threat not
just to the other magicians but to the portion of rube "true believers" as
The altruistically minded often forget to question whether or not the rest
of us actually WANT any "help" to begin with much less the kind of
"payback" such help might elicit (it's hard to help someone who doesn't
know their "place").
My thoughts are that the key gaming concept here is "Happiness".
In game terms I'd think it makes sense to set the effects of government
actions in terms of a +/- to Population Happiness as a rule of thumb.
Build a Theater, + Happiness.
Raise Taxes, - Happiness per x%.
Modifier subjects that spring to mind are stuff like Illusions, and Talents
Casting a successful Illusion in oratory or text is a somewhat different
consideration than the holographic idea.
Success is more limited and difficult lacking full sensual inputs like
sight but the potential audience is larger.
That would connect propaganda with Illusions which seems appropriate.
There is a strong element of the group conceiving the political system
expressing their "will" on the population at large.
The more that will is kept in accord with the mythos of the culture and the
will of the overall population the less unhappy making government is.
In a situation where the government is directly at odds with the cultural
myths and the populations will is not considered discontent runs highest.
And of course fear by threat of force is a less subtle form of control.
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