You take a mortal man and put him in control....

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You take a mortal man and put him in control....

Post by Destructionator » Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:49 am

Watch him become a god!
Watch people's head a-roll.

Earlier today, I read the newest chapter of Stuart Slade's awesome fic, "Armageddon????" over on SDN, in which he realistically described, in some detail, what Sarin nerve gas did to some people. (Well, they were actually demons, but I don't make that distinction.)

Anyway, this triggered the same primitive part of my brain that was triggered when I read the detailed realistic depiction of what happened to people in a nuclear attack in Matthew J. Lineberger's absolutely splendid fic, "The Humanist Inheritance".

Just like last time, I almost literally cried out loud, and I did make a knee-jerk post exclaiming my hatred of war and pain itself.

Later, some other posters described horrible deaths by other means, and I eventually conceded to Her Grace The Duchess of Zeon that nuclear and chemical weapons are no more or less immoral than just about any other weapon.

All weapons suck. Later, I started thinking that if I was God, I'd put a stop to all of it. There would be no more violence, no more pain, no more death. It would all be gone.

There would be no more health problems, no more hunger, no more sadness (but see below). I'd snap my fingers and they'd all be gone.

(As an aside, tomorrow I feel I must watch Hide and Q [TNG], since I remember Q offered Riker that same power, and I want to watch it to see how he handled it. I think I'd take it.)


Now, what gets interesting is I am basically God in this universe, and my self-insert happens to get a great deal of power over his life. If real life me was given the chance, like I said, I'd do it. But, would author-insert me? I'm not so sure; it doesn't seem to fit so well into his background and character.

If it does, that has a fair bit of storytelling potential, and could actually fill up the plot void from AW 3100 - AW 3900, which is virtually undefined. (The only thing that is defined is Adam&Leila competently reigned, but they hate it. By the present, they are both just very tired of it all, but believe they must continue doing the job, since it is their "sacred duty". I'll write more of this in the old kingdom government thread, when I detail succession - they'll be some quotes from them in there that will help fill it out.)

(As a side note the AW 3009 - AW 3099 is indeed moderately well defined, and will make up the last one or two chapters of my core plot fic. In that time, they consolidate control and preserve the A'millian Star Empire, but the old kingdom fades away - the people are gone and many of its old ways die too. It marks the beginning of the author-insert's fall into full blown virtual depression, with only his wife, granddaughter, and duty keeping him going day to day. It's quite tragic.)

(And bringing up the fall to depression in a thread about becoming a god, the reason he does is that real world me probably would in that situation too. In the A'millian culture, power comes with responsibility, and absolute power comes with absolute responsibility. It is a lot of fucking work and it just seems entirely sucky. Only fools covet power. If I took the god powers, I'd likely be the only sad person left, but the needs of the many... Then again, as God, I might be able to fix myself too. Hmmm, that might just work. But I'm getting off topic here.)

(But since I'm off topic, I kinda wanna win the lottery too. No where near as useful as being a god, but I might be able to do a few nice things for people if I did. I have some specifics in mind - a million bucks would be more than enough, and at least a couple lives would be better.)


Anywho, this thread is about two things:

1) How hard it actually can be to write a consistent self-insert. The difficulty comes in, at least to a setting like this, because the self-insert has a completely different life than I do, a completely different background. Hence, what he and I would do and what he and I believe in often don't perfectly match up, and sometimes, are completely different! I might actually be able to call him a legitimate character in his own right.

(The worst part is I maintain a couple different forks of him too - a different copy from each universe of the expanded multiverse, and then his life is so long that he can actually be quite different depending on the era in question. Then it gets worse since I also maintain Mrs Author Insert in similar detail - and I think she actually takes more of my brain hard drive space, due to lacking the easy reference pointers back to real me. And, Mr and Mrs author insert are both vitally important in each other's development; I can't change one without looking at the other, making character tweaking all the more hard.)

I have something else I want to say about this, but I keep getting mentally sidetracked before I can type it and I forget what it is. Oh well, it will come later.


And 2) Do my desires here fit into his character at any point over his life? If so, what happens? (Enter potential fic material! It will be nice to flesh out that plot-void. Especially when his god-ambitions fail.)

This will of course be the bulk of the thread. What it will require is me talking about the life and character of the self-insert, and his wife, who, like I said, is vitally important to how his life goes. I'll probably talk about a couple of the multiverse forks (understanding what might have been helps show why things are the way they are), and then get into the meat of the matter: filling in that plot void if the characterization allows it.

This will wait for tomorrow, as it is bed time now.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: You take a mortal man and put him in control....

Post by Destructionator » Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:24 am

I've been doing an analysis on the A'millian noble's (and my own) ethical system over the last couple days, and I think it requires conquest of less responsible nations. This puts me in a bit of a pickle.

To get a feel for how these ethics work, examine these random brief blurbs:

1: The ends must justify the means.

2: Rights are irrelevant. Fairness is irrelevant. 'Fun' is irrelevant. Freedom is irrelevant. Privacy is irrelevant. 'What one deserves' is irrelevant.

3: The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.

4: With power comes responsibility.

5: If you aren't willing to do your duty, your power must be revoked.

6: Indirect and secondary consequences are consequences too.


How does this require conquest? Statements 4 and 5 are the big ones: someone with the power to carry out his ethical imperative must indeed carry it out, or he should have that power revoked and given to someone who will.

For internal matters, this justifies things like welfare taxes: that money could be used to help the poor, and if you aren't willing to donate it yourself, it should be taken away and given to someone who will do the right thing with it.

But, an ethical system doesn't care about things like national borders. If it justifies taxing your own people, it also justifies taxing other nation's people if they won't do the right thing by themselves.


This is a very interesting result. But it gets worse.

Suppose a foreign country is fine now, but its succession laws would put someone unethical in power. Under statement 6, your inaction now which allows that to happen is also unethical. Thus, you must intervene to ensure that their government remains good. This may include messing with their elections, or assassinating someone in line (statements 1 and 3 can justify this).

But surely they have a right to chose their own government! Or they publically elected this new government, they deserve what they get. Wrong, statement 2 says otherwise.

(Statement six could potentially be used to require someone to attempt to rise to power himself too if he currently lacks power. Does a peasant not also have an ethical duty to try to help other people too? He lacks the power now, but he could work to increase his power. And a king could work to increase his power more to do more good - such as becoming a god, like I mused about in the OP. This seems to be an imperative under the system as well, which again puts me in a bit of a pickle.)



Why are these problems? Well, the storyline doesn't include the required conquest even though some places are set up where it would be the right thing under this ethical system. You also have several lazy commoners who do not work to raise their power, so might be held accountable for that.


So, how am I going to get out of this? I see a few options:

1) Revise the ethics. I'm meh on this; these principles seem fairly sound to me (and there are of course a few more details that I left out here, like actually defining the utility function, but that shouldn't change the general result).

2) Revise the storyline. I might do just this to some extent in the AW 3xxx era. But it doesn't really fit in the AW 2xxx era, where this is even more relevant. We won't be seeing the king start to raise a huge conquest force, it just isn't in character for, well, anyone.

3) Simply say the characters are imperfect. This is my solution for the self-insert, but can I really apply it to everyone? To an extent, yes, but I don't want to go too far.

4) Do a more detailed utility analysis to see if the consequences of the implementation really work out this way: do the ends actually justify the means in these cases?


And a humourous aside: if an AI was programmed with these ethics as its utility function, it just might go for perfection, and we'd end up with all sentients united under its benelovent rule. Might be interesting to explore some time later. AW 4xxx? Hmmm....

And, of course, this also gives me some justifications to have fun in the mirror universe.

Bed time, but I'll return to this. Eventually.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: You take a mortal man and put him in control....

Post by Destructionator » Tue Jun 24, 2008 6:20 pm

I overlooked the simplest solution for peasants and even some nobles: they simply don't need to subscribe to this system. The ones that do wouldn't treat them any differently thanks to statement 2.

The conquest duty is actually probably a good thing internally. Say Duke Evil is trying to gouge his people on their rent. Duke Good would be compelled to stand up to Evil and do something about it. And so would Duke Evil's own men - if Good's army had to show up, there shouldn't even be a battle. (This actually comes back to something I alluded to in another thread on OZ: the Knights' loyalty is to the ideals of the crown, not to the crown itself. If the King orders them to do something unethical, they are sworn to disobey that order and do the right thing anyway.)

Externally, though, the same thing would probably lead to actual war. The full analysis is still required.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: You take a mortal man and put him in control....

Post by Destructionator » Sat Jun 28, 2008 5:34 am

I just now got the chance to watch "Hide and Q" from ST:TNG.

A few notes: "ancient ball and powder musket" - that ancient silliness came around well before Brannon Braga. And the phaser explosion we see there kicks the crap out of most what we see Star Wars blasters do. The special effects people in both productions weren't very consistent.

But anyway, I wanted to watch it to see how Will Riker dealt with becoming a god. When Q gives him the power, Riker thinks small - like I used to do - and decided to not use it. Then he has the chance to save a little girl killed in an accident, but due to promising Picard that he wouldn't use the Q power, he doesn't. This pisses him off and he starts to act like a jackass.

Then Q comes, and Riker, still thinking small, starts to offer the bridge crew what he thinks they want, and one by one, they all refuse for various reasons. After this, the other Qs undo it all and pull John de Lancie back to the continuum and the episode wraps up as if nothing happened.

I could edit the above for proper tense, but fuck that. Moving on to analysis.

There are four interesting viewpoints seen here:

1) Q uses his power to learn things - by offering Riker the power, he could see how they all responded to it. Eventually, he could use this knowledge to expand his power, but his ethics don't have the same goals as my own or the main cast.

2) Picard is against taking the power, since he feels that humans aren't ready for it at their current state of development and Riker individually is no exception, since Picard thinks absolute power corrupts. Thus, by taking the power of the Q, it would end up making things worse in the long run. He makes some good points, and Riker's sudden jackassery (which I think was a bit out of character...) seems to vindicate it, but I'm not sure I agree. Riker could have saved that little girl and billions of others with that power. Picard's rule against it might have made sense from a viewpoint assuming corruption, which is probably valid about humanity as a whole, but he was wrong in this case. Riker might have became a bit of a jackass, but he still seemed interested in trying to do the right thing - Riker as god probably would have been a net gain for humanity.

3) The crew turning down Riker's offer to fulfill their dreams. They were pretty much fine. Since it was to them personally, they might want to do it a different way and experience the journey or not really change, or maybe they actually want a different end goal. Them turning it down is ethically neutral (well, you could argue that it was bad, since the consequences was Riker didn't take the power which could have done a greater good... but ignoring that, it is neutral). But, I would argue that Riker making them the offer was still a justified act, and apparently, most of them, and Captain Picard, did too. He should have also given that little girl a chance to live though - but then Picard would have been wrong, and the script couldn't have that...

4) And of course, Riker himself. Like I said above, he was thinking far too small. I used to think the same way - if I was given Q's powers, I used to figure that I just wouldn't use them. But just like Riker did when he saw that little girl, I changed my mind about that. Unlike Riker, I would want to think on a large scale. He made offers to his friends - that's valid, I'd probably do that too. But what he didn't do is snap his fingers and stop the Bajoran occupation. He didn't snap his fingers and rescue people from the Borg. (Of course, at this point, neither one of them was in Star Trek, but the general idea is that he didn't even consider solving problems on a big scale.) He didn't try to eliminate crime on Tasha Yar's homeworld. Obviously, I reject the Prime Directive here too, but no one brought it up in the episode (thank Q).

You could argue that the Q don't actually have that power, and you'd be able to survive a suspension of disbelief debate on that issue. But Riker didn't even think of it. I don't think he's necessarily a bad guy for it, but that would have changed things entirely. Someone probably should have brought it up - maybe Tasha should have suggested it given her background, or Q could have used it to tempt Riker all the more. Sadly, the writers didn't want to tread there (and it could have been done without breaking anything; just say Q got the information he wanted then took the power back. Q is a known liar and was supposed to be a villain at the time anyway.)

At that point, Riker really should have been ethically required to take the power and do what he can with it. Which brings me back to the ASE 'verse character's dilemma - some of them do have power. Not god like power, but power nonetheless, and the same analogy applies. They should take it and use it to do what they can.

Picard's point about how it could be very bad if given to someone not ready for it still holds true, and this is reflected in the government type and succession rules, which I'll be typing up later in the government thread. The short of it: "We have a sacred duty to ensure our successor is at least as good as we are, who thus will choose a worthy successor and continue the line forever." OK, maybe that isn't a direct quote since I don't actually like that specific wording, but you get the idea.


Umm, I thought of something else to say while typing the above paragraph and now forgot what it is. Blast this imperfect human brain of mine! Intelligent design my ass. Oh well, it might come to me later. If it does, I'll just make an addendum post.

Oh, good, it just did. Riker didn't save the little girl because he promised Picard that he wouldn't use the power. My in universe character would have had a hard time with that too: honor says he can't go back on his word, but ethics say he has a duty to use his power to help her anyway; the needs of that poor girl outweigh his own personal honor. So what would he do? Aside from try not to make such a harmful promise in the first place, ethics trump honor, so he'd have to break his word. Luckily, since an honorable man would realize that ethics are more important, he shouldn't be in trouble for it. Much. Picard might be mad, but he's a good guy too; he'd get over it.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: You take a mortal man and put him in control....

Post by Ford Prefect » Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:52 am

To be honest D, I don't really think much of the ends justifying the means, at least for a person who claims to be truly ethical. At what point does the end justify some truly horrifying means? Is it really okay for you to kill ten thousand people to save a hundred thousand? If you play the numbers game, sure, but what about the ten thousand that had to die? Is it really okay for one person to suffer in lonesome agony for eternity to gaurantee utopian happiness for all other people? Talking about 'net gains' is terrifyingly mechanical and simplistic. Invading an conquering another country 'for their own good' is pretty tenuous unless the person in charge is some sort of moustache twirling dictator who kills babies for fun. Not every dictator is Hitler - Saddam Hussein made it possible for women to walk freely in the streets, all but eliminated religion in the legal system and was behind movements that taught hundreds of thousands of people to read, and provided universal free education to the highest levels.

See what I'm getting at here? Invade a country for their own good, and the secondary consequences of this might be pretty awful. Also, the irrelevancy of freedom, privavy, fairness and rights seems kind of weird. By suggesting that rights are irrelevant, you could 'justify' doing anything to a person so long as it is vindicated by the end result. And that's scary.
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Re: You take a mortal man and put him in control....

Post by Destructionator » Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:16 am

Finally! I was beginning to think no one was reading anything in here; I even had a rant typed up that included such lines as "these arguments aren't going to defeat themselves!".
Ford Prefect wrote:To be honest D, I don't really think much of the ends justifying the means, at least for a person who claims to be truly ethical. At what point does the end justify some truly horrifying means?
One of the beauties here story wise is you get to choose your own villain. You might be a loyalist who subscribes to the doctrine described here, or you might side with the rebels and champion things like personal freedom and fairness for the few even if at the expense of the many; neither one is objectively evil, and both make good points that almost anyone can agree with at least to some extent.

I even try to make the people who wiped out my precious aliens look justified, from a certain point of view ("Give me liberty or give me death!" + "Better them than us!" + long term thinking = nasty results for 'them'). Read on.

Is it really okay for you to kill ten thousand people to save a hundred thousand? If you play the numbers game, sure, but what about the ten thousand that had to die?
Ask yourself the reverse: is it okay to let a hundred thousand die for you to save ten thousand?

You could argue that those questions are different since one requires you to take action, but I would argue against that if someone is drowning and you walked away, that would be bad by most standards because your inaction still produced undesirable results. You didn't push her into the water, but you might as well have; she's still dead thanks to your choice.

Thus, by ignoring the option to help the hundred thousand, you are making a choice that will lead to their deaths. By helping them, you are making a choice that leads to the ten thousand deaths. The question and its reverse are both applicable to the situation.

This isn't an easy question, but it is the kind of thing ethics has to address. If all things are equal, shouldn't the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few? (And if all things aren't equal, all those other things need to be taken into account too.)

For a quick example of where things may not be equal, imagine you are Captain Picard and the Prime Directive is irrelevant for the scenario. The Enterprise gets a cry of help from a nearby world. It turns out that a settlement there is about to be destroyed by some kind of disaster. Geordi and Data come up with a solution to save the people, but in doing so, technobabble would destroy the Enterprise and a chunk of the crew (surely including Geordi and Data themselves to keep the question hard). Of course, Enterprise is the only ship in the quadrent, so if he doesn't do it, the settlement is most certainly doomed.

What does he do? Does he sacrifice his ship and part of his crew to save the alien of the week's city, or does he instead opt to preserve his ship and let them die?

The simple numbers analysis says he should sacrifice the Enterprise, but a realistic analysis must also look at the side effects of this: if he lets the poor aliens die, his ship and crew would still be available to do all kinds of good things later, possibly saving dozens more of planets in dire situations, but not so dire that he'd be forced to lose the ship in helping them. If this is after Q Who? and before Best of Both Worlds, then he knows the Borg are coming and as the best ship in the fleet and the only one experienced if fighting the Borg, the Enterprise would sure be useful in stopping them. Would sacrificing the ship here to save these random aliens and potentially letting the Federation be assimilated be worth it?

That's a hard question too, especially since he can't guarantee the Enterprise will actually be necessary in stopping the Borg or doing whatever other good deeds it could do down the line. It is gambling these current lives for many more potential lives down the line.

Picard stopping and helping and preserving the ship for later are both justifiable under
my scheme, so he isn't duty bound to one or the other. The decision here is does saving these aliens outweigh losing his crew AND potentially losing the whole Federation (though unlikely from his perspective; surely Enterprise, Geordi and Data alone won't make that big of a difference against the Borg?)


Another example from the ASE canon comes when the ships come to help dig Earth out of the nice deep hole human shortsightedness have dug for themselves. Hundreds of millions of people are starving on the ground thanks to several bad effects adding up. Starfleet's supply ships carry food in for the A'millians here, enough to feed several hundred. While a few hundred is a tiny percentage of the total starving, it would at least help some of them. So, would the A'millian commander be duty bound to order her people to cut back on their eating to give some of their rations to starving humans? The answer is only slightly - if the A'millian team starves themselves to death giving their food away, they will be unable to complete their mission which would result in setting up domestic agriculture to feed millions. So their short term selfishness of keeping the food to themselves is justified here by saying it permits them to continue working to do a greater good in the future.

Furthermore, a simpler argument can be made: starving 200 people to feed 200 other people isn't a net gain at all, so it isn't justified anyway. But sharing to have 400 people eat minimal diets would probably be the right thing to do, except here, minimal diets for those 200 building the farms would mean they lack the energy to complete the local farms, leading to more problems in the long term.

Then you get into really nasty situations, like soldiers being ordered to shoot hungry people who try to raid the newly built farm to eat the seeds (something certainly not acceptable under normal circumstances when you have a food surplus). The justification of course being if they eat the seeds now, the farm won't be able to do any good at harvest time, so shooting them, while certainly tragic, is necessary for the greater good in the long run.
Is it really okay for one person to suffer in lonesome agony for eternity to gaurantee utopian happiness for all other people?
Yes it is, and any ethical person should see that as his duty if there is no other way.

His own agony would indeed be counted in a utility calculation, but if meant far greater happiness for a huge number of people, it is quickly outweighed, and thus becomes the right thing to do.

Ideally though, he'd want to spread the pain around, especially if you subscribe to my idea that happiness is on a logarithmic scale next to effort and such put into life: small input can make a big difference on a miserable person, but it takes much much more pain or happiness to make a significant difference on an already happy person.

Thus, if the suffering person could delegate small amounts of the suck of his life to a large number of happy people, this is a justified action (and thus, the happy should ideally feel it necessary to volunteer to help so they can do their part for the greater good), despite being technically entirely selfish for the ruler. The little loss on the happy people is now outweighed by the big gain for the miserable person. (On a smaller scale, this is my justification for heavily taxing the super rich and giving that money to the poor and middle classes. The relative loss on the super rich person for losing the money is small compared to the gains on the poor person for gaining that same amount.)

But, even if this isn't possible for some reason, if one person's pain can help many people, or if his small pain can make a big difference on one person, he should endure it. No one ever said fulfilling your duty would be easy (and thus, most real people don't actually take it to the logical extreme, and you'd have a hard time practically faulting them for it).

Talking about 'net gains' is terrifyingly mechanical and simplistic.
However, the alternative to a mechanical system is an arbitrary one (and see above for a counter to viewing it as simplistic; it is actually rather complex in something closer to a real world situation).

While all ethics are arbitrary at their foundation (objectively, it would be just as valid to say an ethical person is one who maximizes the number of guitars in existence as it is to say reducing suffering is ethical), if you don't build up from that foundation with mechanical logic, you'll have inconsistent results, and the system won't really be useful for the hard questions - you can't trust its analysis.
Invading an conquering another country 'for their own good' is pretty tenuous unless the person in charge is some sort of moustache twirling dictator who kills babies for fun.
Yes, a Hitler is certainly pretty clear cut, but the morally gray areas are far more interesting, both philosophically and in a literary sense - like I said above, I find villains who are sympathetic and at least partially correct to be far more compelling characters than black and white ones. (Naturally, black and white ones can still be fun, like Darth Vader is certainly entertaining, but he is a different category than what I'm going for in this setting.)

What about invading a country whose government is just simply incompetent? Now we're getting into something more fun to talk about.
Not every dictator is Hitler - Saddam Hussein made it possible for women to walk freely in the streets, all but eliminated religion in the legal system and was behind movements that taught hundreds of thousands of people to read, and provided universal free education to the highest levels.
Hell, even Hitler did some good things for Germany. But, if we could invade them and keep the good while eliminating the bad, if the invasion is free (big if), why shouldn't we do it?

Take Hussein: yes, there is a list of good things he did, but he still slaughtered people. Contrast to a country like the US, which certainly has its faults (if I had a column of Knights, we'd be marching on Washington right now), but it does almost all the good things Hussein's regime does, and it doesn't do the random killing he did. In short, we'd do a generally better job.

So if the United States could competently (key word here separating this situation from reality) overthrow him and implement an American like government in Iraq, shouldn't we actually do it to save the lives of the people Saddam would have killed?

Or better yet, of course, would be making Saddam Hussein an offer he couldn't refuse: keep him in power to avoid the invasion, but let him know that if he doesn't shape up to our standards, we'll replace him with someone who does. Just if he does refuse, we'd have to be prepared for the invasion anyway.



The downside here comes back to long term side effects. If people value their own sovereignty, however flawed it might be, and think that superpower X (henceforth just 'X') is going to push them around with threats of force whenever they veer from the path X has deemed acceptable, then it might drive them into preemptively knocking X down to size when given the opportunity. Even if X's terms are reasonable now, what's to say they won't change their mind later? Can you really trust your freedom to the whims of a foreign government?

If the leaders of X realize this, they might decide the right thing to do is actually ignore little problems and focus on preventing the long term war their short term actions might cause, like how in the TNG scenario, Picard might have decided saving the Enterprise for the Borg was more important than saving aliens of the week (that isn't really in character for Picard, but like I said above, I think that would be a valid course of action to consider).

Of course, if the leaders of X are aliens who don't fully understand how humans think....

See what I'm getting at here? Invade a country for their own good, and the secondary consequences of this might be pretty awful.
Certainly true, which would have to be taken into account. If an invasion would be fiercely resisted by the populace, then the steps you'd have to take could cause more damage than you would fix by taking over. And of course, war is nasty business itself, for everyone involved.

(I'm looking at a picture of Saddam Hussein right now, and I don't think I could actually bring myself to hurt him. He looks like a nice guy and that is triggering that primitive part of my brain that went off after reading the Armageddon chapter and comments that led to my starting this thread. Despite being able to justify killing of some people in text on an Internet message board, I don't think I could actually do it in reality. I'd probably go insane if I were to ever get drafted into a war. Yet another cost that would have to be considered to see if attacking is really worth it.)
Also, the irrelevancy of freedom, privavy, fairness and rights seems kind of weird. By suggesting that rights are irrelevant, you could 'justify' doing anything to a person so long as it is vindicated by the end result. And that's scary.
Now, irrelevant might be too strong of a word, despite it evoking the awesome terror that is early TNG Borg (Death is irrelevant. Negotiation is irrelevant. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.). It might be better to say that they are flexible. Breaking rights requires justification, but if you can argue that it is worth it, you can indeed break them. (Though, there is at least one set of inalienable rights in the A'millian kingdom's laws: the rights of married people. You also cannot force anyone to give any information about himself or hide any knowledge he might have (with only one exception: hiding things for national security may be required). This would eliminate copyright and non-discolosure agreements, but maintain personal privacy and protect against self-incrimination. It's not as bad as I might be making it sound up above.)

So, yes, you can indeed justify doing anything as long as it is vindicated by the end result, which can be scary; an example off the top of my head that is potentially very scary is it might justify forced human experimentation to cure a disease or something like that.

But if rights are inalienable, you could justify sitting back and doing nothing when horrible things are happening so long as you don't break those rights. That's scary too. For the experimentation angle, if this disease is going to wipe out your civilization if you don't treat it early before it spreads, and nobody who is infected volunteers to be a drug test subject to treat it, is it right to let everyone else potentially die? Or does the good of society as a whole override the right of the infected to refuse to be test subjects?

Neither course is ideal, but if you don't override those rights and the disease wins, there won't be any people left to exercise any rights at all.





As a quick note to anyone who is still reading here, I do love comments, any comments, so if you guys would rather talk about some other issue, I'm always open to suggestions on new topics too.
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Re: You take a mortal man and put him in control....

Post by NoXion » Mon Jun 30, 2008 8:46 pm

2: Rights are irrelevant. Fairness is irrelevant. 'Fun' is irrelevant. Freedom is irrelevant. Privacy is irrelevant. 'What one deserves' is irrelevant.
Since all "rights" are abstract constructs with no basis in material reality that can be created an abolished on a whim, those things are only irrelevant if one decides them to be.

Personally, stuff like rights, fairness, fun, freedom, privacy and what people "deserve" I consider most relevant. In fact, I would consider the off-handed dismissal of such concepts to be bordering on the sociopathic - such customs provide a social "glue" that enables society to function. A society which considers my rights, freedom and privacy "irrelevant" is not one I would want to be part of.

True, in extreme situations rights can and probably should be suspended, depending on the situation. But those are the exceptions - most of the time, society does not need to completely trample over an individual's rights, privacy and freedom.

I feel that such things are not to be discarded lightly.

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Re: You take a mortal man and put him in control....

Post by Destructionator » Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:51 pm

NoXion wrote:Since all "rights" are abstract constructs with no basis in material reality that can be created an abolished on a whim, those things are only irrelevant if one decides them to be.
Indeed, all ethics are the same. Any ethical statement is completely arbitrary at its foundation; none is objectively better than any other, unless it is illogical.
Personally, stuff like rights, fairness, fun, freedom, privacy and what people "deserve" I consider most relevant.
Of these, even in the real world, I see the whole deserve thing as actually being irrelevant. I reject concepts like revenge and debt. Fairness is in the list for two reasons: not everyone is actually created equal, so they shouldn't be necessarily treated equally (should a cripple have the same responsibility to work as someone in good health?), and the culture in question has a hereditary nobility in charge and enshrined in law, which isn't fair for obvious reasons.

Back to rejecting what one deserves as being a factor in how one should act, this is why in the government thread, I said criminal justice doesn't force punishment on someone. You might argue that a criminal doesn't deserve to go free, but if punishing him would do no benefit for society as a whole, then why do it? You'd be hurting someone just because you feel that's what he deserves, and that's wrong.

If someone is lazy don't doesn't work a job, you might argue that he doesn't deserve to eat. But does that mean you should actually let him die?

Or an aristrocratic bigot might say that a filthy commoner doesn't deserve a place to live. But leaving the poor person out on the streets is still wrong.


Now, like I said above, this also rejects the concept of debt. If I give you money, you might say that I deserve to be paid back, but I reject that. It is a gift (this is just like those judge shows DEFENDANT: "It wasn't a loan! It was a gift!" :lol: ). Thus, if I am later in need, I couldn't say 'well, you owe me, pay back the loan!' No, I'd have to depend on your generosity, which you might not have, in which case, I'd be on my own.

Or later, if you are in trouble again, it would be wrong for me to withhold money on the grounds that you still owe me. You might not deserve another gift, but I can't just leave you under the bus for that reason.


In the words of Worf: "It is clear to me that none of you are worthy of my blood or my life, but I will stand for you."
In fact, I would consider the off-handed dismissal of such concepts to be bordering on the sociopathic - such customs provide a social "glue" that enables society to function.
So does saying the good of the many should be maximized. I'm just defining good as being things like individual happiness and knowledge instead of listing things like freedom as an end in itself.
A society which considers my rights, freedom and privacy "irrelevant" is not one I would want to be part of.
Excellent: if everyone was happy with it, it'd ruin my storyline; there would be no man vs man conflict. At the same time, I want to avoid making something where someone is clearly evil (well, there are a few evil individuals, but I want to avoid evil groups as a general rule), so their motivations should be justified from an at least partially agreeable point of view.
True, in extreme situations rights can and probably should be suspended, depending on the situation. But those are the exceptions - most of the time, society does not need to completely trample over an individual's rights, privacy and freedom.
And most the time it wouldn't be trampled, even under a scheme like this, because it would be contrary to the goal of maximizing happiness among the most people.

It wouldn't be discarded lightly on an absolute scale: again, irrelevant is a bit of a strong word for most of them; 'flexible' is more accurate, but like I said above, the foundation is different, since the rights are a secondary effect, not an end in themselves, so they would be discarded more easily than in a rights based ethics system, but not discarded without reason.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

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Re: You take a mortal man and put him in control....

Post by NoXion » Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:38 pm

(should a cripple have the same responsibility to work as someone in good health?)
Of course the cripple will not have the same abilities as an able-bodied person, but unless the cripple is paralysed from the neck down they can still perform socially useful work. Even then, look at Stephen Hawking.

As to fairness, I consider it a bit of a strawman to say that means "giving everyone the same treatment" (in fact it sounds an awful lot like the typical uninformed objections to communism) - when I talk about fairness, I talk about fairness that takes into account individual circumstances. Obviously a diabetic will need insulin, so withholding it will not be fair, neither will giving it to somebody who doesn't need it.
Back to rejecting what one deserves as being a factor in how one should act, this is why in the government thread, I said criminal justice doesn't force punishment on someone. You might argue that a criminal doesn't deserve to go free, but if punishing him would do no benefit for society as a whole, then why do it? You'd be hurting someone just because you feel that's what he deserves, and that's wrong.
I can't imagine an circumstances where it would be better to allow a convicted criminal to walk free rather than sentencing them. Thieves should work off the value of their thefts. Rapists, murderers and violent criminals should be removed from society on a permanent basis (you can either kill them by inches (prison) or save time, labour and resources and simply execute them. Other options are also available to really high-tech civilisations).

Making punishment voluntary makes a total mockery of the whole idea. If given a choice between freedom and 20 years in the clink, no sane person is going to willingly incarcerate themselves, and if they are so wracked with guilt that they choose that option, what's the point in jailing them?
If someone is lazy don't doesn't work a job, you might argue that he doesn't deserve to eat. But does that mean you should actually let him die?
No, I think that gives the hard-working people licence to make the lazy sod's life hell. Basic necessities should be provided, but the bum should be given plenty of earbending with regards to finding some work. Social stigma is fairly powerful, but currently there isn't that much of a stigma against lazyness. Maybe we should bring it back.
Or an aristrocratic bigot might say that a filthy commoner doesn't deserve a place to live. But leaving the poor person out on the streets is still wrong.
Of course. But in this case the aristo has a vested material interest in exploiting the lower classes.
Now, like I said above, this also rejects the concept of debt. If I give you money, you might say that I deserve to be paid back, but I reject that. It is a gift (this is just like those judge shows DEFENDANT: "It wasn't a loan! It was a gift!" :lol: ). Thus, if I am later in need, I couldn't say 'well, you owe me, pay back the loan!' No, I'd have to depend on your generosity, which you might not have, in which case, I'd be on my own.
Nevertheless, I would feel compelled to respond in kind. Basic human decency and a sense of altruism bids me to help those who have helped me, even if it was a "gift".

I'm not a terminal misanthrope, even though it seems very fashionable to be one nowadays. Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if misanthropes were actually projecting their own inadequacies onto the rest of the human race in order to make themselves feel superior: "Hah, humans may be stupid, lazy, vicious, greedy and spiteful, but at least I'm not one of the mindless sheep lulz humans suck!" (apologies for the tangent but I really find misanthropes infuriating - yes, humans can be evil little shits when driven to it, but constantly hammering the point home every time there's a particularly gruesome murder or somesuch tells us nothing new and only serves to make one look like a miserly asshole).
Excellent: if everyone was happy with it, it'd ruin my storyline; there would be no man vs man conflict. At the same time, I want to avoid making something where someone is clearly evil (well, there are a few evil individuals, but I want to avoid evil groups as a general rule), so their motivations should be justified from an at least partially agreeable point of view.
Fair enough - sounds like a good way of creating conflict. I do admit that in the FFFverse, the Fang Empire is "evil" for ideological reasons - their geopolitical goals conflict not just with Transhumanity's geopolitical goals but also the comfort and safety of Transhumanity.

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Re: You take a mortal man and put him in control....

Post by Destructionator » Tue Jul 01, 2008 12:12 am

NoXion wrote:As to fairness, I consider it a bit of a strawman to say that means "giving everyone the same treatment" (in fact it sounds an awful lot like the typical uninformed objections to communism) - when I talk about fairness, I talk about fairness that takes into account individual circumstances. Obviously a diabetic will need insulin, so withholding it will not be fair, neither will giving it to somebody who doesn't need it.
I think we conceptually agree here. The in character people still look at it differently though, due to their old culture of different social classes being treated differently from birth - a system that, despite its theoretical flaws, has worked for them for hundreds of years.
I can't imagine an circumstances where it would be better to allow a convicted criminal to walk free rather than sentencing them.
Suppose there was a one time crime of passion. The person isn't going to do it again, and punishing him isn't likely to deter someone in the future from doing the same thing. What is gained by punishing him?

The only thing I can think of here is sending a message to everyone else saying that the law in general is swift and brutal when you violate it, but this message should be sent out by other crimes where punishment is more applicable.
Thieves should work off the value of their thefts.
Thieves are an interesting problem here. Assume that it is ethical for the government to tax people in small amounts and use that money to help the less fortunate using the justification that the taxed won't feel a big loss whereas the beneficiary will see a big benefit. Assume that if someone doesn't pay his taxes that the government is justified to send men with swords/guns to collect it anyway.

If it is OK for the government to do it, shouldn't be be ok for a private individual to do it too? A peon could skim a little off the top from work; the bosses and shareholders won't miss a few cents each, but he sure could use the money.

If this peon must pay back the money, shouldn't the government have to as well? They both used the same justification in taking it, and he didn't even send armed tax collectors to do the deed.

The easy way out, of course, is to say that the government has the benefit of the social contract - it is permitted to coerce money out of people, whereas the thief is not. But are the different standards justified under the system?

Perhaps a slightly different take would work. Tax money isn't coercered from people, it simply belongs to the government from the get go. Thus, someone refusing to pay it is in fact a thief, stealing from the big G. Therefore, a tax evader is forced to pay back what he stole - pay his back taxes - and by the same logic, the thief is forced to pay back what he stole.

That seems workable, though it has the unwritten assumption of personal property being important in the first place, but since we are talking human like beings all around, it is easy to say that people's happiness is in part resting on their property, so the right to possession can follow from the same utility function.

So yeah, that works. Cool.
Rapists, murderers and violent criminals should be removed from society on a permanent basis (you can either kill them by inches (prison) or save time, labour and resources and simply execute them. Other options are also available to really high-tech civilisations).
The guillotine or firing squad is probably the most straightforward way of dealing with things like this. There's a number of arguments against this (capital punishment), but that's a lengthy debate in itself. In any case, I'll agree that such people should be fixed (somehow) or removed from society, since them staying there doesn't do much good.
Making punishment voluntary makes a total mockery of the whole idea.
You misunderstand: it is up to the judges, not the criminal; there is no minimum sentence for a crime. If you can convince the judges that punishment will do no good, they can and should give you a very light sentence.
No, I think that gives the hard-working people licence to make the lazy sod's life hell. Basic necessities should be provided, but the bum should be given plenty of earbending with regards to finding some work.
I completely disagree here. If a person is happy living off just the basic necessities, he should be free to do so. Especially in a highly automated society where finding work may be easier said than done; why would someone pay a human to do a job when a cheap robot can do it? Thus, it may be extremely difficult for your average person to outcompete the robot and get the job, so it isn't practical to give him hell over that reality.

The only reason you should force someone to work is if society will collapse without him - it comes right back to placing the needs of the many above the right of the one to choose not to work.
Of course. But in this case the aristo has a vested material interest in exploiting the lower classes.
Aye.
Nevertheless, I would feel compelled to respond in kind. Basic human decency and a sense of altruism bids me to help those who have helped me, even if it was a "gift".
As it probably should - though you aren't required to repay anything, you do anyway, which lets a society without forced debt repayment continue to function.
I'm not a terminal misanthrope, even though it seems very fashionable to be one nowadays.
I just might be :P Have you noticed how many times I've called humanity a grievously savage, shortsighted child-race? Though I'd rather see humanity "grow up" than die off or anything like that. Which is really what this thread is about: why someone might feel obligated to use what power he has to accomplish just that.
Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if misanthropes were actually projecting their own inadequacies onto the rest of the human race in order to make themselves feel superior: "Hah, humans may be stupid, lazy, vicious, greedy and spiteful, but at least I'm not one of the mindless sheep lulz humans suck!"
Hah indeed: ask yourself this, why is my self-insert character an alien and has been since the original conception? Tells you a bit about me personally.
(apologies for the tangent but I really find misanthropes infuriating - yes, humans can be evil little shits when driven to it, but constantly hammering the point home every time there's a particularly gruesome murder or somesuch tells us nothing new and only serves to make one look like a miserly asshole).
Tangents aren't a problem at all. But, yes, I agree that it is annoying to hear someone constantly whine. It is productive if you have a solution and are willing to work in whatever small part toward it, it's just a waste of bandwidth to tell us what we already know.
Fair enough - sounds like a good way of creating conflict. I do admit that in the FFFverse, the Fang Empire is "evil" for ideological reasons - their geopolitical goals conflict not just with Transhumanity's geopolitical goals but also the comfort and safety of Transhumanity.
Aye, it really makes far more compelling villains, and if your foundations are good enough, it lets the storyline almost write itself. What I'm doing here is trying to extrapolate character development from a starting premise, just like how I try to extrapolate technology development from a starting point of real science. If I do it right, it should make for a pretty fun storyline.
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Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

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Re: You take a mortal man and put him in control....

Post by Destructionator » Tue Jul 01, 2008 4:40 am

Something I really want to do eventually is actually write up some A'millian law and the discussions that went into creating the unified government, something like the Federalist Papers the United States had and then the debates between the lords. It'd be a real blast explaining the formation of a new government then going right into the laws themselves; it'd be like the government thread brought to a whole new level. See how their biology shapes the culture and then how the culture and philosophers shape the government. Then of course the reformation under Queen Anna where even more things change as technology advances from medieval like levels up to a space age.

Then I'll want to do one for one of the break away space governments too. I'll have to start writing this up before too long. I'm kinda on a history kick right now, and what would be cooler than this?
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Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

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Re: You take a mortal man and put him in control....

Post by Destructionator » Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:35 am

If you guys want to read some ramblings similar to what I'm discussing here, take a gander at this wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_ends_justify_the_means
It is worth noting that I am NOT a traditional hedonistic utilitarian, nor is that what I'm proposing here (while the proposals in this thread are similar to what I believe in the real world, they are still slightly different in places to fit the setting better). A hedonistic utilitarian should see no problem in things like human uploads to computers rewriting themselves to constantly be in a state of perfect ecstacy; this isn't a consequence that I see as desirable. Similarly, a hedonistic utilitarian probably wouldn't have a problem with recreational drug users, whereas I don't approve of that one bit. But still, the basic logic and some of the support and criticisms of utilitarianism apply to my philosophy as well.

Somewhat related is this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prince
You've probably heard of this book: Niccolò Machiavelli's most famous work. I'm going to be reading the original text over the next couple days (hilariously, to the tiny list of books I've actually read I will be adding a sixteenth century piece as research toward writing science fiction) if damn work doesn't eat up all my time (I HATE PHP!), and might write up a small post discussing my thoughts on it. From the Wikipedia page, I think I'm going to be about 50% in agreement with it, so it should be a very interesting read. The wiki says he used a utility function that held princely power as a means in itself, which I do not agree with; I instead see power as a means to a different end, as I've discussed above. Nevertheless, I'm sure they'll be a lot of fun stuff in there.


Oh and above I said that a certain amount of someone's income simply belongs to the government, so tax evasion is simple theft rather than failure to pay. How can this be justified? Simple - without the government, the society that allowed you to make that money wouldn't exist; the government and society as a whole both did a chunk of the work, therefore they get a chunk of the money. This implies that people who work deserve the money for that work, but since money as an abstraction of that very work, this is trivially defended.

The government gets society as a whole's chunk of the cash too because it acts as the representative of society, holding that money in trust for the whole. This can easily be said to lead directly to saying that some of that money must be put back into infrastructure, since otherwise you could say the government is stealing from society. Thus, if the government just kept it for itself, it is not only not doing its ethical duty, it is also breaking the (unwritten) social contract by outright stealing from society, and thus should be replaced on two counts. This seems to make sense to me and helps lead to a functional government in universe.
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Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

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Re: You take a mortal man and put him in control....

Post by Destructionator » Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:38 am

A favorite quote of mine, from Worf in DS9: "Kahless said 'a great man does not seek power; he has it thrust upon him.'" I've lifted that very same quote to be the first king of the united A'millian kingdom. How can you reconcile this with an ethical duty like described here? If an ethical person wants to do his duty which needs power, would he not seek it?

(Reconciling random ideas with good Worf quotes is a fun exercise all the time. Remember a while ago I had some trouble working with "Only fools have no fear." from Coming of Age TNG: a great quote, but it takes some rationalizing to actually make it fit in with the rest of A'millian doctrine.)

There is an easy way out in theory: someone seeks not power for personal ambition, but may still do so for his ethical duty. Figuring out the difference is part of the difficulty in choosing a successor. This is probably the best way to combine them.

You could say too that even though he recognizes his duty, maybe he doesn't really seek power anyway; he simply seeks to serve (and power is serving all your subjects).

Or you could simply say that his duty only applies to the power he currently has. Since a king does have the power to invade an evil person, he may be duty bound to do it, but he is not duty bound to actively seek out more power. I think I like this the best. Yeah, this works really well in a lot of ways.

Of course, I must now ask: is it really ethical or is it a kind of moral cowardace? I think it is, but I'll return to this later.
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Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

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Re: You take a mortal man and put him in control....

Post by Destructionator » Thu Jul 03, 2008 12:17 am

As a quick note, when I finish reading "The Prince", I think I want to read one of Machiavelli's republic promoting books, then Thomas Hobbs' "Leviathan".

Then I'll start to post up some more governments here. I'll write some constitutions! And of course the arguments having a constitution at all for the A'millian kingdom.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: You take a mortal man and put him in control....

Post by Destructionator » Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:55 am

Here are some transcribed awesome speeches I just typed up. The speaker is Gihren Zabi, from the original Mobile Suit Gundam, which is possibly the greatest show ever made. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giren_Zabi

I'm posting the speeches here because they are awesome. And I kinda love the Zeon. Applying the meaning to idea behind this thread will be left as an exercise for the reader.


The first one, from Mobile Suit Gundam episode 12. Gihren gives this speech at the state funeral for his little brother, Garma, after Garma is killed in battle. There are a few parts which I couldn't make out due to other characters talking over the TV.
We have lost a hero to our glorious and noble cause, but does this foreshadow our defeat? No! It is a new beginning.

Compared to Earth Federation, the national resources of Zeon are less than 1/30 of their's. Despite this major difference, how is it that we've been able to fight the Federation for so long? It is because our goal in this war is a righteous one.

Its been over fifty years since the elite of Earth, consumed by greed, took control of the Earth Federation. We want out freedom! Never forget the times when the Federation has trampled us.

We, the Principality of Zeon have had a long and arduous struggle to achieve freedom for all citizens of our great nation. Our fight is sacred, our cause divine.

My beloved brother Garma Zabi was sacrificed. Why? The war is at a stalemate, perhaps many of you have become complacent. Such a lack of compassion .... [couldn't make it out]

the Earth federation has polluted our most cherished planet for our own greed. We must send them a message .. and our message is composed of words. [the last sentence was hard to make out] We have wasted too much time with words. We need action now!

The Earth side elite must be taught a strong lesson for their evil corruption. This is only the beginning of our war. We've been putting more and more of our resources into our effort to make our military stronger than ever and the Earth Federation has done the same.

Many of your fathers and brothers have perished valiantly in the face of a contemptible enemy. We must never forget what the Earth Federation has done to our people.

My brother Garma Zabi has shown us these virtues through his own valiant sacrifice. By focusing our anger and sorrow, we are finally in a position where victory is within our grasp and once again our most cherished nation will flourish.

Victory is the greatest tribute we can pay those who have sacrificed their lives for us.

Rise, our people, rise! Take your sorrow and turn it into anger. Zeon thirsts for the strength of its people.

Hail Zeon!
HAIL ZEON!

-------------------------------

The next one is given in Mobile Suit Gundam, episode 41, after Gihren fires a giant laser (the Solar Ray) at the Federation fleet, killing its commander (and his own father), and seriously wrecking a good chunk of it. This fleet was going to attack his last stand, the space fortress A Baoa Qu.
My brave and loyal Zeon soldiers, I'm pleased to report that the Solar Ray has reduced half the Federation forces to stardust. This brilliant light has proven that Zeon's justice is served. With the massive damage incurred, any battle strength the Federation forces may have left will be of no consequence.

In other words, what remains of them is little more than debris. It is with confidence that I hereby declare it impossible for the weak host of enemies to force its way past A Baoa Qu.

There is no other way for mankind to last forever, except by living under the direct control of we, the chosen, superior race of Zeon. If this war drags on, it will pose a serious threat to all of mankind. We must teach those slow-witted people of the Earth Federation a lesson they will always remember.

Now is the time for mankind to stand up for the future!

Hail Zeon!
HAIL ZEON!
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Destructionator
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Re: You take a mortal man and put him in control....

Post by Destructionator » Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:11 pm

ST:TNG "True Q" was on TV last night (along with Relics and Chain of Command, both good eps) and I sat down and watched it.

This episode reminded me of "Hide and Q" quite a bit. We have someone who is living as a human, then suddenly gains all the powers of the Q (she had them all the time, but only learned how to properly use them during the course of the episode).

The Continuum gives her an option: becomes a Q and live with them, never use the powers again her whole life, or die. (WTF: why not just strip her of the powers instead of killing her? The stripped Riker of them in season 2 and Q himself of them in season 3's utterly outstanding "Deja Q". I guess the writers didn't bother watching the existing material. Ditto for her parents. And her parents are fine here, but Voyager rises a WTF in "The Q and the Gray" where there is the whole idiocy about no kids in the continuum for like ever. I guess that can be excused since Amanda's parents weren't actually in the continuum. That and it's Voyager. But then again, Voyager's "Q2" was awesome, which followed from this. And the first Q ep in VGR, "Death Wish" was also pretty good. Anyway, I digress.)

She said she would resist using the power, but very quickly changed her mind and went to live with Q when an opportunity arose to save a planet from themselves. She waved her hand and instantly cleaned up their whole atmosphere instead of letting an explosion happen in a cleaning device that would have taken hundreds of lives.

As you can probably guess from my position in the rest of the thread, I applauded this. She did the right thing. The crew seemed to accept this, which is good.



...and then Chain of Command came on, and god Jellico is a dick, but Patrick Stewart is too awesome. THERE! ARE! FOUR! LIGHTS!
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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