Ideology and NS

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Founded: Aug 02, 2006
Left-wing Utopia

Ideology and NS

Postby Naivetry » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:25 pm

To begin with: yes, this is deeply personal. It comes out of reflecting on the last thing in a long line of events that made it so much easier for me to leave the game when I needed to (so thanks for that, world :P ), and which will always now keep me out of NS politics. It takes a lot of pain to change a person's attitude that way, and I want to be clear that that pain is what has driven me to speak.

Because silence would be complicity.

Because I've let what I consider evil go unanswered for too long.

Because I don't want what happened to me to happen to others.

NationStates is a game of ideologies. In some ways, I think, this is the most universal summary of its appeal. From the nations who answer issues, to the debaters over in General, to the raiders and defenders who argue about natives' rights, to the WA legislators who consider the effects of their resolutions, to roleplayers who give their ideas substance and form in their characters and governments, to the regional politicians who try on different forms of government, we all love to pit one ideology against another. It's a thrill to take an idea and follow it to its logical conclusion in the safety of the laboratory environment of an online game.

But the game is not just a laboratory. Our decisions have consequences in the reality we share with our fellow players.

Whether we believe something is true or whether we're just testing out an ideology, there comes a point when we are called to make a sacrifice for it - whether that sacrifice is one of energy, or time, or a friendship. And sacrifice has a way of strengthening our conviction. It raises the stakes. Because afterwards, if you accept that you have been wrong, then you must admit that everything you've given up for the sake of the idea has been for nothing. We call people fanatics not just because they're willing to sacrifice everything, but because they've given up so much already.

There are things that are worth the sacrifice. Truth, beauty, goodness - God, if you believe in one - freedom, the equality of all persons, food for the hungry and justice for the poor. When we disagree about what is worth our sacrifice, we are disagreeing about issues of value: whether freedom, for instance, is worth the risk that someone will abuse it to end a human life. Great philosophers, great writers, great politicians, and great artists all disagree, as NationStates players do, about the answers to these questions. But at their best, philosophy, literature, politics, art - and, yes, NationStates - all allow us to see the issues at stake.

The question is what we are prepared to sacrifice for what.

I come from a tradition that places a high value on persons, and that belief has governed (consciously or unconsciously) everything I've done in the game. It's led me to place friendships ahead of competing ideologies. It's led me to place promises made to another person - rightly or wrongly - ahead of political goals or regional security. And it's the only thing that's ever kept me civil in the face of opposition and occasionally bitter disagreement - the belief that the person I can't see on the other side of the screen is still of absolute value simply by virtue of being human.

If you don't place such a high value on people as people, then what I have to say next will not concern you.

Our choice to sacrifice one thing for another reflects our ultimate values. So be wary of any group or person who asks you to sacrifice another person for them or their cause. Be wary of anyone who sees the rightness of their ideology as a reason to belittle or demean another person. Be wary of anyone who turns on friends who have dared to disagree with them, who takes liberties with the truth because the truth would disturb the easy distinctions between Them and Us, who cares more about scoring points with the crowd than doing justice to their enemies.

Because if truth and justice and the human heart mean so little to them, your heart will be no different.

We could all point fingers and name names. I won't deny that I've been tempted to; that I started writing this with the intention to wrap it off with a dramatic, political J'accuse! But that would defeat the point. The point is this: we are all guilty of harming others in pursuit of our goals or in our conviction that we're right. But we don't have to excuse that in ourselves, our friends, our organizations, or the regions we call home.

I'm writing this now because as I considered whether and how much to get involved again, I ran across threads that still make my eyes sting and my heart ache. And I'm asking, not for me, but for everyone still caught in the trap of an ideology that has demanded more from them than it has a right to, that we see those sacrifices and those choices for what they are.

You can play the game, you can be loyal to a cause, you can believe in an ideology, without sacrificing friendships or basic human decency to it. If you find yourself slipping over that line, be sure you want to make that sacrifice. Be sure you want to become that kind of person. Be sure the game is worth it.
Last edited by Naivetry on Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Biyah » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:27 pm

we need a like button.

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Lyanna Stark
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Postby Lyanna Stark » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:38 pm

So much yes.


Incredible post and very eloquently put.
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Founded: Sep 26, 2006

Postby Nullarni » Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:51 pm

I am pretty sure I have never addressed you directly, but I must say I have respected you and your opinion for some time, Naivetry. What you have written absolutely reeks of truth. So much so, it make me curios what the back story is to this post...
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Unibot II
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Founded: Jan 10, 2011

Postby Unibot II » Tue Jul 17, 2012 4:27 pm

Putting people first still sounds like an ideology to me. :P

Ideologies don't have to be negative and heartless, nor narrow and above all else forget tolerance, civility and respect. etc. Some ideological systems can be constructed with those sentiments valued above all else. So I don't think you're really asking for us to abandon ideology, so much as fixing our ideologies to arrange our priorities better.
Last edited by Unibot II on Tue Jul 17, 2012 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Founded: Apr 18, 2011

Postby Abcdefghijklmnopqrstuk » Tue Jul 17, 2012 4:30 pm

I'll quote my statement from the Osiris forums. This is honestly one of the greatest pieces of writing I have ever seen on NationStates. Very well spoken. It is really saddening how people curse and insult each other over an internet game.
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Drop Your Pants
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Drop Your Pants » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:08 pm

I always look forward to a topic you create Nai and you haven't let me down. An enjoyable read and a few points really hit home.
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Founded: Mar 27, 2011

Postby Camwood » Tue Jul 17, 2012 6:47 pm

First off, I found this immensely entertaining, interesting, and inspiring. Especially, the most later, which is why I may or may not be wasting everyone's time with the next few paragraphs.

Nationstates is a battle. It's a battle for wanting to be on top of the game. A good four fifths of my time on this game we call 'NS', is spent on the 'NS Sports' forum. Here, people code computer programs to generate random scores for all most every possible and impossible (and by impssible, I mean quidditch) sport, and use roleplays to positively effect those results. Hence, more and better roleplays, makes better results for the roleplayer. But it's a community. We have discussion threads left and right and legislation preventing players from doing this and that, making sure everything in theoretically fair. But what is fair? I always see, there are few players who host these events, the ones who use the 'programs' to generate scores, meanwhile, grading roleplays, and in the long run, the hosts are the ones that everyone wants to be like, not the champions. Of course, the hosts are voted on, but the hosts are the ones who run the show, they are the ones who are known, and have even been commended, (i.e. Commerce Heights, Starbladyia) these ones are the elite. Also, it should be noted, that people of the significance of CH and Star, have hosted many biiig competitions such as the NS World Cup, and founded the NS Olympics itself.

Then you take the group of players who have been on the site for about a year. People like, Civil Citizenry, Cotdelapoms, Polar Islandstates. These players, are the ones who get the top of the class roleplay grades, have a little bit of hosting experience, and some moderate success in winning championships and such. These players have their own little gang. They are the most exclusive group in NS, because you A) have to have been around for awhile, B) not say stupid stuff on the discussion threads or IRC channels, and C) Be a pretty good roleplayer. See, the elites, as described in the above paragraph, is theoretically, an easy group to 'get into'. You just have to have been around for awhile. Time is a precious commodity, that really, takes no effort to gain, and no effort to lose.

So, then you have fifty feet of shit, and then, there is me, and then there are other people I am not naming because I don't want to get a 2 by 4 (i.e. banhammer) shoved up my ass. I have been on the game for a year, I Roleplay regularly, but why the fuck am I so low, you ask? Social Blunders; Misbehaviour. I am just a kid, I will hit the big 1-4 this winter. So, I really, haven't been on the nifty invention called the interweb, or is it the worldnet, can't get it straight, anyways, I am not always, the most well behaved.

So, let's get away from me. Fuck me, actually, The reason why the post is relevant is because their are social classes in NS Sport, just like how their are ideologies, everywhere else. So, the ultimate downfall of the forum, the real forum seven (check the url, trust me), is judging. Everyone, wants to judge everyone else, and in the end, we could get along a lot better if we didn't take things to poorly, and didn't write people off every time they screwed up. Thanks for reading, please comment.
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Todd McCloud
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Founded: Oct 11, 2006
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Todd McCloud » Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:12 pm

A very good read, Nai. Thank you.
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New Rogernomics
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Founded: Aug 22, 2006
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby New Rogernomics » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:29 am

I don't hold an ideology (beyond a role play one) and I keep my NS character different from who I am in real life*, in fact you wouldn't be able to tell who I am in real life from my NS character. I leave it to other people to lose track of reality and allow themselves to become the game, so to speak. However I never participate outside of gameplay role-playing of political systems and so forth; as I prefer to put my remaining creative energy elsewhere in real life. But I must admit I have developed my nation Factbook slowly over time for the hell of it, even though I get bored fairly quickly of actually putting it to use in nation role-play terms.

But a nice read regardless. :D

*I never raise my voice, I don't insult people, never swear, rarely complain and don't protest, but instead just quietly work away. In my spare time I read books, watch DVD's and play computer games (rather casually). And for those that think I am sexually active, I haven't ever had a relationship. I am an angel, well when I am not on NS anyway. :p

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Jeux II
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Postby Jeux II » Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:17 pm

I deeply enjoyed the whole read, great work Naivetry.
Always here and always bored. -_-
Wait I have an idea! Entertain me with your words!

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