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[NS Essay] Paradise Found

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Unibot III
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Founded: Mar 11, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

[NS Essay] Paradise Found

Postby Unibot III » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:32 am

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PARADISE FOUND
By Unibot


“A truth of life is that the people decrying ideology and posing as non-ideological are both ideological and dangerous because they fail to recognise their own first premises”
— EUROSOVIETS


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Book I : The Decline in Defenderism

This section features a historical look at how the political order of NationStates, which was heavily related to Defenderism, collapsed into Westwind's "Post-Defender Age".

Book II : Addressing the Causes of the Decline

A discussion regarding the degeneration of Moral Objectivity in NationStates following the creation of Regional Influence. The purpose of this section is to address key questions that have faced Defenders since the creation of Regional Influence including justification and moralization problems.

Book III : Rejection of Defenderism's Replacement ("Independence")

Following the collapse of the Defender-oriented political order, the natural replacement, the "Independent" political order, rose to prominence. This section proposes that Independence fails to meet its own criterion of rationality, while also countering Todd McCloud's "The Necessity of Chaos" 's theory regarding the generation of Activity.

Book IV : Groundwork of Defenderism as an Ethical Theory

The final conclusion of "Paradise Found" is a reconstruction of Defenderism as a philosophy and finally, some closing remarks.
Last edited by Unibot III on Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:56 am, edited 4 times in total.
[violet] wrote:I mean this in the best possible way,
but Unibot is not a typical NS player.
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Org. Join Date: 25/05/2008 | Former Delegate of The Rejected Realms | Gameplay Alignment: -18 / -13
Unibotian Factbook // An Analysis of NationStates Generations // The Gameplay Alignment Test // NS Weather // How do I join the UDL? // The Transpacific Trade
Paradise Found // The Unibotian Life Expectancy Index // Proudly Authored 9 GA Res., 14 SC Res. // Commended by SC#78 // The Polysemes of Nativeness;

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✯ Duty is Eternal, Justice is Imminent: UDL

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Unibot III
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Posts: 5526
Founded: Mar 11, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

BOOK I: THE DECLINE IN DEFENDERISM

Postby Unibot III » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:33 am

Paradise Found
By Unibot


“A truth of life is that the people decrying ideology and posing as non-ideological are both ideological and dangerous because they fail to recognise their own first premises”
— EUROSOVIETS

BOOK I: THE DECLINE IN DEFENDERISM


Paradise Lost

One afternoon, a long-time friend of mine contemplated the state of defenderism to me in private. He lamented that at one time, defenderism had communities built as strong and developed as Rome — they were the civilians. Raiderism, on the other hand, my friend remarked, were seen as savages — outsiders to civilization that were to be treated as barbarians. We all know a vague account of the fall of Rome; the storming of that civilization by the barbarians when the rich got too wealthy, plump and comfortable to make a sufficient defense. Indeed, it appeared to my friend that the era that we were in was the subsequent age after such a coup – the once barbarians ran the old institutions and had made new ones, whereas defenders were left to face a new reality as the outsiders peering through the window. The idea of a “defender region” was a toxic concept in contemporary politics; likewise, being associated with defenderdom in politics was dangerous for a politician whereas being comfortably associated with raiderdom came with an electoral advantage for many.

“Invader regions existed in the barbaric outlands,” once wrote Mammothistan (also known as New People, Great Bight), an early invader with the Sea of Cecil and the so-called “French Pirates” and later a delegate of The Pacific . He explained that invader regions had “little ability to conduct diplomacy with "mainstream" regions, and little source of activity other than invading”1. Likewise, “propaganda and domination of the social arena by defenders,” adds Scardino, “[…] effectively eliminated any credibility to the thoughts and ideals of raiders, with the obvious exception of the confined sphere of the 'raider community'”2. Mammothistan found media in NationStates to be incredibly important at shaping the order of society. Specifically he argued that news organizations like NetWorkRadio were the “cultural medium connecting farflung nations together” which “made Civilization” 3. These news organizations often depicted invaders as “alien outsiders”, which meant that the order of civilization was fashioned in opposition to these invaders 4. By the summer of 2003, Mammothistan first saw the emergence of the “strange new word” and identity: defender 5. Anecdotally, I think it is fair to say that the power of media in NationStates is underestimated. After this era, invaders began to use media much more extensively -- especially as a tool to glorify their accomplishments and expose defender hypocrisy. Some popular ways to circulate the news were through Regional Message Boards like the Old Raiding Club and Ile de France, as well as DEN Press Releases, the Invaders News Service and Nation States Global News Empire. Similarly, New Neo Jamaika argues that the “strategic use of media to promote the organization” by the DEN Media Affairs Department became the “model for publicity” in NationStates.6

An author once proposed that Chicago is historically perceived as exceptionally corrupt because of the abundance of news media organizations in Chicago. Arguably, following this logic, the perceived corruption of The Founderless Regions Alliance in comparison to the defender organizations it followed, is a testament to the change in the order of things. “Inheritors of the 'defender' label,” Westwind, in regards to The Founderless Regions Alliance in comparison to its predecessors, “behave in [an] uncivilized and vile manner”.7 These sentiments were shared by Anumia, who believes the “general moral quality of defenders” has declined over the years 8, or HEM in an article for the E-News Network entitled the “Deceit of Defenderism”, which regarded The Founderless Regions Alliance as the “poster child for morally bankrupt institutions”, who, he believed, were suffering from a moral decline or decay.9 But were the Alliance Defense Network or the Red Liberty Alliance any less corrupt or morally questionable than The Founderless Regions Alliance in all actuality? Or, is it simply easier to project an image of virtuousness when the major sources of news media are sympathetic to one’s cause? Perhaps The Founderless Regions Alliance had a harder time than its predecessors at cultivating a positive image specifically because it fought the grain of the wood and tried to present itself as the “good guy” in a time, place and civilization where they were the outsiders to the centre of power.

Furthermore, I think it is important to recognize how language reflects (or causes) transforming views and values in NationStates. Mammothistan notes the rise of a new term, “defender” which came with it identification as the “good guy” for some players. But I would also note that “raider” emerged as a term less than a year later; “raider” would overcome “invader” as the dominant term to refer to those who arbitrarily invade by 2006, although its popularity rose from 2004 through 2005. In a private interview, Ballotonia (also known as Free4All) notes that there was once a time when “the word 'raider' wasn't being used at all. Everyone called it 'invader'. Then the invaders themselves started to refer to themselves as 'raider'.” Ballotonia also recognizes that there are at least three major reasons why “raider” would be seen as a more palatable term over “invader”. First, “raider” as a term, just linguistically, is domesticated and doesn’t have a raw negative connotation that “invader” conveys. Second, “raider” implicitly communicates a “'fast-pace, exciting, adventurous and glorious” quality, whereas “invader” is more neutral to that effect. Finally and most importantly, “raider” was a largely successful attempt to nuance invaders into two blocs.

General Powell, founder of DEN, notes “raiders distinguish between raiders and invaders because invaders grief and spam. Raiders do not” 10. Nuancing invaders into two blocs served to politically legitimize some invaders (so-called ‘raiders’) as different or more “civilized” than the barbarians of old that were on the fridge of power and influence at the time. Interestingly, General Powell insisted upon the usage of ‘raider’ over ‘invader’ so much, that one of the compromises of the 2004 Global Accord on Raiderplay and Defensive Operations was that the Ten thousand Islands Treaty Organization (TITO) was permitted to call raiders, “invaders” if and only if “raider regions and organizations [could] refer to TITO as "Hall Monitors".11 The point is: the evolution of our language reflects the evolution of NationStates and the political order. A term that once referred to a subsection of politically-legitimized invaders has come to mean all invaders, while a term, “fenda”, coined by General Powell to refer to defenders that invade other regions (implying a certain level of corruption) is applied to all defenders by most invaders and is increasingly growing in popularity just in common usage to refer to defenders in general.12 Likewise, the term to describe radically vicious invaders (which was once “invader”) has been replaced with ‘griefer’ in popular usage, which has been further confused with ‘raider’ in general. This reflects a contemporary NationStates where invaders and griefing are more politically legitimate, while the public is skeptical of the integrity of defenders. Note that during this essay unless specifically referring to Powell’s usage of the terms; I will be using “raider” and “invader” interchangeably to mean a player who invades arbitrary regions.

General Powell’s own history is fascinating. Powell, once a defender and a Senator for a defender region named Solarius, was crushed when Solarius’s central army headquarters fell to an invader organization named Diablos/Hades13 — in response, Powell believed that Solarius needed to take a more offensive stand and organized an invasion of Mount Arden without prior approval from the Solarian Senate which violated the Solarian Constitution.14 Powell was regarded as a troublemaker and was subsequently rebuked from the Senate — he then left Solarius and created “The DEN”, a raider organization.15 I would liken this tale to Milton’s Paradise Lost; the antagonist (or anti-hero) was a fallen angel (i.e., defender) removed from paradise (e.g., Solarius, the defender order) for threatening the order, so he found it would be better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven. Raising a legion of his own on the political outskirts, DEN would be the first point on a long trajectory that would span from invaders’ days as “political outsiders” to “political insiders”. Although respected historians such as The Bruce would note a number of other early invaders had already successful entered into the realm of politics by this time (e.g., The Farkers, so-called “French Pirates”, The Driftwood Gang and One Big Island)16, I would view these as independent instances of invaders entering the political sphere, who did not majorly contribute to the overall political legitimization of invaders. Recalling DEN’s influential use of media and language, I would propose that they were one of the first invaders to begin the clever political inroads to civilization and would subtly contribute to change in (or the very destruction of) the “natural” order of NationStates — who better to start that off, than the refined intellect of a fallen defender?

Westwind’s “Post-Defender Age”

Flashback to three years previous; I was receiving my introduction to Political Science at Waterloo University. This red-faced and aloof professor would appear every class to give a memorable, but disorganized lecture on some facet of politics, wearing the same almond corduroy jacket, pink shirt and mustard stained tie as he always did. “Politics,” he explained to the class, “is about being in or out”. There are those in the circle of power and those out of it and politics is how people maintain this order, but also how they change it. To some degree, I would add to this description – personally, I believe politics is simply some sort of magnetism that arises in societies and communities. When magnets of different charges are placed beside each other, it is science’s observation that the magnets will attract, but when individuals with personal differences try to coexist, the result is less certain; the gravitational pulls to and thro are what I would deem “politics”. Sometimes, politics can result with individuals being brought closer together, but more often than not, I must concede to my professor that politics takes the form of “wedge politics”, ins and outs, us or thems.

But were defenders and those sympathetic to the values of defenderism, “in” or “out”? I tried to comfort my disillusioned friend – I told him that to suggest such a drastic revolution would be an exaggeration. I was still, of course, uncomfortable with the fact that most evidence suggested my friend was more right than wrong. We did, in fact, live in a different time. Commentators in NationStates often try to downplay the significance of ethics, ideology and changing mores and values in politics; these commentators like to suggest that politics and such concepts are, or ought to be, separate, but the reality is that for many years, the political order was maintained with a sense of right and wrong that was favorable to the “in” crowd. When the ethical winds changed, these individuals’ political fortunes changed. When the popular morality of the day shifted, this also shifted the popular class away from the centre of power because they relied on the support of morality to defend their power and the exclusion of their opposition from power. With a sense of right behind them, defenders and those loyal to the defender ethos had established and maintained power over an institutional order and also had the power to exclude those from outside their ethos – the possession of moral superiority was so integral to the possession of political power in NationStates.

The Bruce noted in History of NationStates that the Alliance Defense Network, the major defender superregional organization of the day, gained strong political footing over The Rejected Realms when Kandarin became delegate of the region in 2004 17 – a position he would hold for eight years, while the Rejected Realms Army, a regional defender army would be created and gain prominence during his reign.18 At the same time in 2004, The West Pacific was solidly defender-leaning and a member of the Alliance Defense Network, while the Prime Minister of The West Pacific, Dilber boasted the success and strength of The West Pacific’s defender army, The West Pacific Liberation Force in an interview with a major news organization, while also predicting that the future of The West Pacific as a “defender” region would be brighter and more salient than ever.19

Similarly, The North Pacific had joined the Alliance Defense Network and boasted its own defender army, The North Pacific Army, which was originally founded by The Twoslit Experiment. Heft, in The North Pacific Wire, noted that overwhelmingly members of The North Pacific were sympathetic to the defender ethos and that The North Pacific “ha[d] always prided itself on compassion and kindness, and these traits carry over into its military branch” 20, which in turn meant that The North Pacific Army was classically defender. The South Pacific would come to identify itself as a casual region of “Bleeding Heart Partying Isolationists (with lampshades)” to quote Sir Paul21, while The East Pacific and Lazarus were likewise, strictly neutral on the issue of invasions in general.22 Only The Pacific could be said as being opposing the defender ethos, but Francos Spain of the original NPO would note that Pacifica’s opposition to the Alliance Defense Network was a “battle of hypocrisy” not ideology, since Francos argued the Network had “delude[ed] themselves into thinking they're part of some noble cause, but continually […] doing more harm than good” 23, while his successor, Unlimited called the Alliance Defense Network in an interview, “a self-righteous interventionist organisation” but did not identify himself as opposed to the ideals of defenderism or raiderism, other than to suggest that “bringing outside forces to put a delegate in place” is wrong, although Unlimited promoted the creation of the Pacific Army in the very same interview, which intended to support delegates of allies of The Pacific with its outside forces.24 Whatever be the case, at this snap-shot in time, at least three major feeder and sinker regions could be identified as being deeply embedded into the defender ethos.

In just a quick glance to the censuses of March 2004 25, it is obvious that the predominance of defender-regions was not only evident in the feeder and sinker communities, but also evident in the broker communities of the time 26, like 10000 Islands, Alcatraz, The Anticapitalist Alliance, England, Allied States of Euroislanders, Equilism and Texas who all occupied the short-list of the fifteen largest User-Created Regions, while Nasicournia and The Proletariat Coalition would emerge as important major players as well.

But this is a defender order that would not last and is nowhere near as salient as it was during this snap-shot in time. At the time of writing, The Rejected Realms is the only Game-Created region to remain in a superregional defender organization, The Founderless Regions Alliance – however, its membership does not denote that the region is “defender”, only that it is obligated not to invade other regions . The Rejected Realms often tries to disassociate itself from defenderism, while still maintaining the old defender army, The Rejected Realms Army out of tradition. The region is strictly neutral and identifies itself as neutral, while also holding that The Rejected Realms Army is a separate entity to the region – this could be called a constitutional dance or political juggle, but the reality is that “defender” is a label or identity that regions like The Rejected Realms will go at great lengths nowadays to avoid.

In a private interview specifically for this essay, Whamabama, current delegate of The Rejected Realms expresses his belief that The Rejected Realms and the Rejected Realms Army are indeed separate entities and there is a strong political divide between them because they occupy separate political spheres: the government can only rarely interact with the Army and the Army can only rarely interact with the government. Also, he acknowledges that although there has been attempts by members of The Rejected Realms to bring the Rejected Realms Army within the operational control of the government, generally speaking most citizens are comfortable with the passive association between their region and the separate army, since “[the RRA] been there for so long”, it has become “kinda accepted by most [of] the government”, and likewise, Whamabama notes “the RRA simply share a forum”.

Similarly, in a rare and private interview with Commander Frattastan of the Rejected Realms Army, the reticent leader expressed his belief that although the Army remains respected in the region out of tradition, “there is not the same connection there is between a classical military that is under the direct control of the government”. For example, Frattastan argues that the government “doesn't feel the need to promote” the Rejected Realms Army, whereas other regions often go to greater lengths to promote their regional army and identify with their regional army.

The irony is that although defenderism has seemingly become political anathema, The Rejected Realms and its distant army could mutually benefit from The Rejected Realms returning to its roots and attaching itself closer to its regional army (while the government gained a greater role in governing the regional army). The Rejected Realms Army would benefit from greater appeal in The Rejected Realms due to a renewed sense of patriotism regarding the Army, while The Rejected Realms would benefit from the activity of a more successful military initiative and the new members it could draw, especially when citizenship in The Rejected Realms could mean more power over the direction of The Rejected Realms Army.

Whamabama did not outright object to the idea that the Rejected Realms Army and The Rejected Realms would mutually benefit from greater association – he believed that “members of the government might be more compelled to join” the Rejected Realms Army if members felt they had more control over it and likewise, Whamabama agreed with me that it is quite possible that the Rejected Realms Army could be bolstered with patriotic support from the region. “If something is looked at highly within the region,” explained Whamabama, “new players will more likely want to be a part of it”. But Whamabama notes that such a mutual trade-off is limited; effort still has to be put into recruiting for the Rejected Realms Army to succeed and attention would still have to be paid on marketing the Rejected Realms Army to potential newcomers.

In an ideal world where The Rejected Realms' community is staunchly defender- sympathetic, Frattastan hypothetically proposed that such a greater association “would make sense and would be mutually beneficial”. But, Frattastan argues, the reality is that by maintaining the Rejected Realms Army as separate from The Rejected Realms’s government, the organization is protected from becoming more centrist or neutral like the North Pacific Army or Medjai Guard but also gives The Rejected Realms Army a consistency of policy – other regional armies can change policy at the whim of a delegate changeover. In the event of a greater association between the Rejected Realms Army and the current Realms, Frattastan proposes that the Rejected Realms Army’s status as a “defender” organization would be in great jeopardy and it would have to moderate to politically survive. “I think people will accept the existence of the RRA (even as the *only* army of the region) and its Defender status,” explained Frattastan, “but only under the status quo”. In the event of great political association, Frattastan believed citizens of the region would see the “need” to shape the Army to fit a neutral identity.

The North Pacific, likewise, is in a much different state than it was in 2004. The North Pacific Army has been re-established and perhaps is sympathetic to the defender view, although not in identity (it does not identify as a defender army). On paper, the legal basis of The North Pacific Army, “The North Pacific Army Doctrine” was a compromise bill to end a bloody political stalemate between those in the Regional Assembly who wanted the North to invade for fun and those who wanted a return to a proudly defender North – the latter was a movement spearheaded by Councillor Unibot (myself), Councillor Ator People and Councillor Romanoffia on the Council of Five after two controversial and failed attempts to raid two arbitrary regions by The North Pacific Army sparked a discussion on military policy. The North Pacific Army Doctrine set out limitations of the army that were sympathetic to the defender cause, such as requiring the North Pacific Army to “minimize collateral damage”, “respect the culture of the region and the wishes of the natives” and refrain from griefing, while also leaving on paper an opportunity for a Delegate to authorize missions to arbitrarily invade regions 27.

In essence, the compromise bill, which was first proposed by Scandigrad and then moderated by Mcmasterdonia and Abbey Anumia, stalled on the initial question of whether The North Pacific should invade regions arbitrarily (which had prompted this debate) and simply focused on limiting the extensiveness of any such invasions. This meant that the delegate of the day, Eluvatar, was given an unclear mandate from the legislature in regards to what military policies he should authorize – he eventually pledged that he would not authorize any arbitrary invasions of founderless regions by The North Pacific Army while he was delegate, which was upheld as a pledge by his successor, McMasterdonia. In a moment of great foresight, Eluvatar’s predecessor, Evil Wolf noted that one of his fears as delegate had been that the North Pacific Army was too delegate-centric which would cause its “policies [to be] re-written following each new election”; he believed that this issue of policy inconsistency was not addressed under his term as delegate28 – it appears that The North Pacific Army Doctrine was just another continuation of this trend.

Flemingovia notes that in the 2003-04 era of The North Pacific “there was no debate and no question – [the identity of The North Pacific] was […] a defender feeder with a defender army” and “with a clear identity and purpose came a vibrancy”.29 In a private interview, Ananke agreed with Flemingovia’s comments and argued that there just was not “the same atmosphere of consensus “ after the 2003-04 era, especially since the defender identity had given the region a clear purpose. Ananke notes how The Twoslit Experiment organized the original North Pacific Army and remains grateful that he got her involved with the region and the defense of other regions. But this clear identity and purpose has been shattered and what it has been replaced with is ambiguousness.

In 2012, during the discussions on the direction of the region’s military policy, regional commentators began describing The North Pacific in terms of being “neutral-policy-centric”, a “balanced, neutral force, somewhere between raider and defender”, “neutral and ambiguous” and others presupposed that The North Pacific as neutral or centrist was the natural and rightful status quo.30 A comprehensive opinion poll among citizens conducted at the time by Eluvatar in The North Pacific found that a significant minority were supportive of invasions against arbitrary regions (45.1%), which is the staple of traditional raiding, whereas a slight majority were supportive of defences of arbitrary regions (58.1%).31 In essence, there was not enough political capital to support arbitrary strikes against regions, but the staples of defending hardly had an encouraging or emboldening amount of political capital either – this stalemate or ambiguity posed a difficulty for McMasterdonia, Minister of Defense at the time, who noted to the Regional Assembly that the agenda of classic neutral armies (i.e., defense of allies and the region, striking enemies and warzones) was “not […] enough to maintain an active army” .32

Facing this dilemma of a divided public, lack of activity for neutral armies, and a delegate who was demanding that no more aggressor missions be authorized against arbitrary targets, McMasterdonia chose a classic neutral agenda (i.e., defense of allies and the region, striking enemies and warzones) for The North Pacific Army but pragmatically beefed up this agenda with some traditionally “defender” missions (e.g., restoration and liberation missions of arbitrary regions). For the latter half of 2012 and onwards, this became the standard agenda and practices of the Army – the region’s approval of his crafty agenda-setting of the Ministry of Defense finally came for McMasterdonia when he was elected delegate of The North Pacific on November 16 2012 with an impressive majority of the popular vote.33 In that same election, it should be noted that McMasterdonia made a campaign promise to continue and maintain the status quo of The North Pacific Army.34

Thus, in The North Pacific and The Rejected Realms, an entrenched belief in defenderism, had been replaced with political tight-ropes to be carefully mastered; politicians were managing delicate status quos that tried to excuse the defenderism of their regional militaries to regions that were uncomfortable with their former identity as a defender region. Defenderism was politically “out” of fashion, or at least, not popular enough to have any significant electoral advantage over its ideological opposition. Subsequently, the successful politicians in these difficult situations avoided language that associated them with defenderism and had the craftiness to avoid the debate if needed. The Right to Self-Determination or the Freedom to Dominate, are so fundamental to players that in polarized electorates on this issue (which have become a norm), the politically auspicious tactics are (1) to avoid the debate altogether, (2) avoid taking a side as much as possible, (3) associating one’s self with both sides, or (4) presenting one’s self as “above” the mere diametrics of classic ethics. The use of these tactics has often left regions such as The Rejected Realms and The North Pacific in an identity crisis, in comparison to their earlier selves – neutrality offers none of defenderism’s sense of purpose and all of its ambiguity as a political identity.

Outside of these two regions, a similar pattern occurred. The West Pacific currently identifies as above the classic spectrum of ethics in NationStates; its military policy is less specific on what it is exactly that The West Pacific Military will do, but suggests that besides the defense of its own region, its primary goal is “to enjoy Gameplay with our friends around the NS World” and to have fun.35 The doctrine criticizes defenderism as restricting players from having fun. But ultimately, raiderism sought player gratification and unrestricted fun – perhaps a tacit premise of The West Pacific Military is that fun should be found in other ways than frustrating other players, which could be a throwback to its defender heritage. But likewise, a quick glance at the current list of regions by population demonstrates that defenderism has also slipped from political fortune in User-Created Regions. Almost all of the older and successful broker-defender regions have receded in population, faded away or renounced their defender identity with the sole exception of 10000 Islands. In pale comparison to 2004, only three regions among the top fifteen largest User-Created Regions are comfortable with being identified as “defender”: 10000 Islands, Mordor and Kyzikos, although the latter is simply a storage of puppet-nations for major defender organizations. On the other hand, major regions are comfortable, more than ever now, with invading founderless regions arbitrarily – examples include The Black Riders, Europeia, The New Inquisition, Ainur and British Isles.

Looking around at the scraps of what had once been a very significant moral empire, Westwind and Equilism made a political calculation: older defender regions were becoming irrelevant; Equilism had to change its identity if it wished to remain relevant in a changing world. On October 19 2008, Commander in Chief of Equilism, Westwind announced that the policy of the region’s renowned Army, The E-Army, was to now be referred to as an “Independent “Army instead of a “Defender” Army.36 “Defending as it was once known,” famously remarked Westwind “is long gone and no longer relevant”.37 In this powerful statement entitled “The Post-Defender Age”, Westwind declared that the moral value of defending, had been lost. “Opposing an invading/raiding force is simply a counter-invasion,” explained Westwind, “That's all they are. Counter-invaders, not defenders”. With the moral value of defending lost, Westwind argues that those who continued to identify themselves as “defenders” often “sat on their ego-driven high-horses” and expected a claim to honorableness that they did not deserve.38

The history and comparisons I have made, demonstrate that Westwind’s “Post-Defender Age” was not far off the mark. Defenderism had become an indefensible philosophical position and its relevance both politically, culturally and institutionally was diminishing along with its political capital, which in turn meant that the regional institutions that had invested their identity and purpose in being “defender” and helping other regions defend themselves would consequently suffer or plunge their identity into an abyss of uncertainty, or both. Nonetheless, I believe that Westwind was wrong to propose that Defenderism would not resurge in relevance, conviction and moral value, but I will explain these objections to Westwind’s “Post-Defender Age” after first exploring why the decline of defenderism occurred. I will expand upon and reject the two crucial reasons for the decline of defenderism which logically follow in sequence from one another: first, the collapse of moral objectivity and second, the natural replacement of moral objectivity with moral relativism.




FOOTNOTES & CITATIONS

1. http://forum.thenorthpacific.org/single/?p=147894&t=632011
2. http://s4.zetaboards.com/UDL/topic/9758712/1/#new
3. http://forum.thenorthpacific.org/single/?p=147894&t=632011
4. http://forum.thenorthpacific.org/single/?p=147894&t=632011
5. http://forum.thenorthpacific.org/single/?p=147894&t=632011
6. http://z13.invisionfree.com/invadersacademy/ar/t17.htm
7. http://s4.zetaboards.com/UDL/topic/9802079/1/#new
8. http://z6.invisionfree.com/Europeia/index.php?showtopic=33658&view=findpost&p=22060586
9. http://z6.invisionfree.com/Europeia/index.php?showtopic=23842
10. http://s4.zetaboards.com/UDL/single/?p=8209708&t=9805856
11. http://s4.zetaboards.com/UDL/single/?p=8209709&t=9805856
12. http://s4.zetaboards.com/UDL/topic/9736601/1/#new
13. http://s4.zetaboards.com/UDL/topic/9805863/1/#new
14. http://s4.zetaboards.com/UDL/topic/9805863/1/#new
15. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=12539967#p12539967
16. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=12551626#p12551626
17. http://s4.zetaboards.com/UDL/topic/9710635/1/#new
18. http://www.nswiki.net/index.php?title=The_Rejected_Realms
19. http://nsnews.blogspot.ca/2004/11/afternoon-with-prime-minister-of-west.html#links
20. http://tnpblogger.blogspot.ca/2005/07/north-pacific-army-its-back.html
21. http://z4.invisionfree.com/thepacific/index.php?showtopic=2590
22. http://alliedstatesofeuroislanders.blogspot.ca/2005/10/neutrality.html
23. http://s4.zetaboards.com/UDL/single/?p=8202084&t=9710817
24. http://s4.zetaboards.com/UDL/single/?p=8203556&t=9734804
25. http://www.texasregion.net/census/2004/20040320.xml

26. In The Transpacific Trade: NationStates as a Symbiosis between User-Created and Game-Created Regions, I identified the “Brokers”, as I call them, as a small selection of major User-Created regions that are particularly large, whose “theme” are ambiguous and political (as opposed to regions themed after specific concepts which limits their overall appeal), whose goal is the maximization of the size and power of the region and finally, whose virtues are recruitment, orientation and commitment which are resonant in all levels and facets of the region. At the time of writing, Europeia and 10000 Islands are two examples of really classic and strong broker regions.

27. http://forum.thenorthpacific.org/pages/laws/
28. http://forum.thenorthpacific.org/single/?p=8058015&t=6939414
29. http://forum.thenorthpacific.org/single/?p=8060150&t=6943018
30. http://forum.thenorthpacific.org/topic/6935613/1/
31. http://forum.thenorthpacific.org/topic/6939414/1/
32. http://forum.thenorthpacific.org/single/?p=8057043&t=6935613
33. http://forum.thenorthpacific.org/single/?p=8074701&t=6982368
34. http://forum.thenorthpacific.org/single/?p=8073797&t=6981663
35. http://twp.nosync.org/forums/index.php?/topic/12-the-west-pacific-military/
36. http://s4.zetaboards.com/UDL/topic/9802079/
Last edited by Unibot III on Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
[violet] wrote:I mean this in the best possible way,
but Unibot is not a typical NS player.
Milograd wrote:You're a caring, resolute lunatic
with the best of intentions.
Org. Join Date: 25/05/2008 | Former Delegate of The Rejected Realms | Gameplay Alignment: -18 / -13
Unibotian Factbook // An Analysis of NationStates Generations // The Gameplay Alignment Test // NS Weather // How do I join the UDL? // The Transpacific Trade
Paradise Found // The Unibotian Life Expectancy Index // Proudly Authored 9 GA Res., 14 SC Res. // Commended by SC#78 // The Polysemes of Nativeness;

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✯ Duty is Eternal, Justice is Imminent: UDL

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Unibot III
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Founded: Mar 11, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

BOOK II: ADDRESSING THE CAUSES OF THE DECLINE

Postby Unibot III » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:33 am

BOOK II: ADDRESSING THE CAUSES OF THE DECLINE


The Problem of Evil in NationStates

“Until the advent of Influence, defenders almost universally saw themselves as the protectors of NationStates in a very black-and-white world,” explains Naivetry in Military Gameplay and Game Mechanics, “[…] raiders were often ostracized from the larger political world where peace was the primary desire”.1 But this age did not last and thus, NationStates would sink into Westwind’s “Post-Defender Age”. Westwind and Naivetry both identified the primary culprit for the emergence of the Post-Defender Age: Regional Influence.

The history of “Regional Influence” is rather interesting. In 2006, the site administration held a secret and closed off conference between selected players to discuss rules enforcement.2 Until that point, various acts of invaders that are now legal were against the site’s rules. This caused a massive workload for moderators, but additionally, [violet] notes “players were regularly punished for breaking rules they didn't know existed”.3 Therefore, it seems sensible that the site administration would look for new methods for approaching ‘griefing’, but discussion on the final proposal was not permitted. “Influence was put forth by Max [Barry] and that was the end of all discussion taking place,” explains Ballotonia (Free4All), who was one of those selected attendees.4 Ballotonia warned the site administration that the proposed addition to the game would in effect legitimize griefing. “Influence meant giving in to the griefers, by legalizing what they were doing,” explained Ballotonia in a private interview, “but I doubt [violet] perceived it as such, not realizing that by adjusting the game and rules the Site Admin sets the tone for what the game is and how it's played”.

Defenders had emerged to counter what they perceived to be wrong, but now the game rules openly permitted what they had believed to be wrong. It came as a lethal blow to defender rhetoric, but also to the defender ethos, heart and soul. Defenders would come to ask themselves: If the site administration was okay with it, then why should we have a problem with it? “[Influence] declared the moral argument meaningless,” wrote Naivetry, “the defenders still around [were] simply in denial of the very clear game rules, that anything you can do to a region, goes”. 5 This dilemma could be formulated as The Problem of Evil in NationStates, since as [violet] explained, “[Defender’s] ideal situation seems to be analogous to a world with gods, you want to be able to wage the fight against evil yourself, but with the moral backing of the gods”.6 The Problem of Evil in NationStates is a simple and ideologically pernicious question: if evil exists in a game and the all-benevolent Site Admin can stop this evil, is it really an “evil” at all?

But the inevitable conclusion of The Problem of Evil in NationStates did not leave many people to doubt the benevolence of the Site Admin, it simply made people doubt their belief in their earlier convictions that what invaders had been doing was morally impermissible. Now they had nothing left to believe in at all. Some defenders would turn to self-deception to ignore The Problem of Evil in NationStates. One commentator even proposed that the site administration ought to “pretend” that the code behind Regional Influence was broken and could not be fixed, but [violet] resisted: “[that] implies that you're happy to base your values on a lie, so long as someone in authority says it”.7 [violet] was right, the answer to the dilemma did not lie in dishonesty for it was all too contradictory for those fighting a moral crusade to be fundamentally engaged in lying to themselves and others. However, a very real solution to the dilemma came in 2009, one of the greyest eras of the history of defending, with an imperialist group named the Macedonian Empire and the subsequent political aftermath.

Like an echo from a lost age where invasions meant something, NS Media began to pay attention to, even condemn, an invasion. There was public outrage, moral reprehension and sympathy for the victims.

“Belgium,” wrote New Kervoskia for The NationStates Times, “has fallen victim to the barbarism of the Macedonian Empire and the vicious opportunism sanctioned by the Influence System” .8 On 29 May 2009, Macedon and Mencer invaded Belgium using an invader delegate who had been placed in the region for enough time to attain the influence necessary to immediately password the region.9 This tactic, which allowed the systematic destruction of Belgium, was the Macedonian Empire’s modus operandi — it was a near flawless tactic that with patience could be used to destroy nearly any founderless region. “One by one the Macedons are ejecting the natives and are reveling in their persecution of them,” explained New Kervoskia, “[Macedon is] aided by Influence which has destroyed the long-held rules of warfare. And we can do nothing but watch and wonder which region will be next”.10 Some could say that Belgium was one of the birth-places of defenderism with one of the earliest defender organizations, ArméeBelge-BelgischLege (ABBL) and early defenders such as Ostendt, Riemstagrad and West-Flanders emerging from the renowned region. Thus, it is only fitting that Belgium was also the place of defenderism’s rebirth.

Another major loss for The Problem of Evil in NationStates would come shortly after — [violet], responding to heated debate over Regional Influence would provide, perhaps, the greatest response ever written towards the dilemma. “I do take your point that defenders would benefit from a source of moral authority” replied [violet], “but I take issue with the idea that the only moral authority that counts is the one that comes from me”.11 What [violet] was implying was that Regional Influence was the gift of free will and moral agency — the freedom to do good or evil, but likewise, the freedom to argue, support and hold different moral views. Instead of looking for moral authority from gods, defenders were advised to find moral authority in human reason or passion. [violet] compared this to how NationStates allows WA Delegates to conduct their affairs in ways that [violet] argued most would consider abuses of power 12 — the moral-political dispute was the lifeblood of the game. We all understand what we can do in NationStates, but what we ought to do has been the ultimate question permeating nearly every debate and discussion in NationStates since the first invasion, the first law drafted or the first ejection or ban.

Shortly after, to reemphasize the “moral dimension” to NationStates Gameplay 13, Max Barry would create a new set of resolution categories for The World Assembly to commend or condemn nominees, which would later spin off into the creation of an entire new branch of The World Assembly called The Security Council — “A chamber dedicated to the dissemination of inter-regional peace and goodwill, via force if necessary”. A resolution category specifically designed to help passworded regions like Belgium and others would follow soon after. These turn of events were, perhaps, unpredictable and I doubt I would be writing this paper write now if they had not occurred. The naked evil of Macedon and the subsequent interventions by the site administration was what was necessary to stir the interregional conscience and remind them that it could in fact be stirred over NationStates. This… changed things; suddenly defenderism was not on a downward trajectory as Westwind or others had predicted; instead defenderism was gaining strength and welcoming new members (like myself) to the cause.

Therefore, it can be said that the degeneration of “moral objectivity” or the belief in “moral objectivity” in regards to NationStates following the creation of Regional Influence was the primary reason for the political marginalization of defenderism. But, as previously noted, by 2009, a successful counter-argument and counter-conscience had emerged to oppose the degeneration of moral objectivity in NationStates. But the dissemination of this counter-argument has been one of a slow incremental penetration into the popular political consensus. The natural replacement to moral objectivity is of course, moral relativism. Specifically in regards to NationStates, I propose that as the moral order exponentially degenerated after the creation of Regional Influence, it has been temporarily replaced with a special composition of moral relativism and cynicism that I will identify as “Same Coin Syndrome”. Since contemporary NationStates literature, politics and thought is saturated with Same Coin Syndrome, the concerns of relativists must be addressed before objectivity can once again be sought in political dialogue.

Same Coin Syndrome

Same Coin Syndrome is a very simple concept that I’ve coined to describe a combination of cynicism and a moral relativism that came to replace moral objectivity as the dominant moral paradigm in NationStates. Same Coin Syndrome is named after a common phrase in regards to Raiding and Defending: “Two Sides of the Same Coin”. For example, Flibbleites, Game Moderator, expressed his belief that the two sides were opposite sides of the same coin and also admitted that he hated both equally 14 –this popular sentiment sees Defenders as nothing more than half responsible for facilitating the disruptive invasion-game. Takaram, a defender from 10000 Islands, argued that defenders were the “two halves of the same gameplay coin” and that raiders were dependent on defenders – which begs to question why defenders continue to defend if there is interdependence.15 Another use the phrase by Aetrina from The Land of Kings and Emperors was in a relativistic way to propose that neither side had any claim to moral superiority or objectivity.16 The sentiments expressed above are commonly held and repeated often . Any contemporary defender must, if he is not to be misled by pure dogma, genuinely respond to the arguments of Same Coin Syndrome.

The arguments that said defender would have to respond to, I will break down into two vital questions: (1) Are defenders perpetuating the invasion-game by participating as combatants? (2) Is the difference between defenders and raiders nothing more than a difference of style of play? The first question is, in my opinion, the singularly most difficult question to address as a defender and I must admit that my own response has not been formulated easily. I would liken this aspect to Same Coin Syndrome to 2008’s The Dark Knight. In the film, Batman, a crusader of justice, faces The Joker, a murderous clown who was described accurately by one character as someone who was not “looking for anything logical, like money”, nor could he be “bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with”. “Some men” explained the character, “just want to watch the world burn”. That spirit of anarchy and rejection of logic or interest is ultimately at the core of the contemporary invader’s psyche which I will discuss in Book III. Similar to The Dark Knight, in the face of petty misconduct, defenders rose and organized, they became “defenders” and this caused escalation, till spammers and knaves were replaced with a group of organized individuals who became the natural counterpart to defenders, “raiders”; defenders united diplomatically, so raiders united diplomatically and so goes the story of escalation. In The Dark Knight, a similar escalation is the context for the rise of The Joker, which shifts the responsibility of his existence partly onto the shoulders of the caped protagonist. Are defenders similarly responsible for the rise of raiders and the escalation of the invasion game to the point where it became institutionalized in NationStates? Perhaps. I honestly have no genuine response that is personally sufficient to me other than to remind myself that defenders did not make invaders do what they did; perhaps they did provide motivation, but it was never just cause.

History is simply history though, the question most salient to me as a defender is whether I should stop being a defender right now at this very moment because I could be contributing to a cycle or escalation, a perpetuation of the very injustice that I swore to prevent? My answer is no. Why? Because regardless of history, raiding is institutionalized now in NationStates. If every generation of defender were to stop defending and pledge that no one player will ever again defend and an entire generation of invaders were to get bored and leave, it would be inevitable that a new generation of invaders, not motivated by defeating defenders (for there would be none, possibly) but by personal satisfaction, would develop in NationStates. It does not logically follow because two entities feature coevolution at this time that they must also be eradicated with coexistiction. Raiding is included in the game’s FAQ, it’s included in nearly every guide to NationStates Gameplay, it’s mentioned in the game’s regional “tags” and numerous articles and essays — raiding will not go extinct any more than Latin will. That does not mean that I as a defender need to accept raiding as permissible behavior, only that I need to accept that a departure from NationStates will do nothing to prevent the continuation of the invasion game. Moreover, some invaders such as Evil Wolf, Cinistra and others argue that invaders are not dependent on defenders and would exist whether defenders do or not. 17

Secondly, since Same Coin Syndrome is a symptom of the degeneration of moral objectivity, as of consequence, it became difficult for defenders to justify their actions on the basis of morality. In replace of morality, defenders resort to justifying their cause on the basis of fun alone. Defending can be fun, it can be very fun, but it can also be tiring and render one feeling powerless when one cannot save the people that they promise they will help. Justifying defending solely on the basis of it being fun is a recipe for imminent retirement. But moreover, fun as the sole justification for defending has another major issue which is identity: what separates a defender from a raider if they are both just pursuing self-interest and pleasure? This is how Same Coin Syndrome, as a cynical paradigm of relativism, sees the two sides as one in the same. Since they shared motivations after the fall of moral objectivity, the distinction between the two sides became purely academic for some commentators. Subsequently, Bi-gameplay emerged as a phenomenon during August 2012. 18 Those who subscribe to the Bi-gameplay ideology would argue that the ideological barriers between Raiderism and Defenderism were threatening the fun of players, who should have the opportunity to freely play as both raiders and defenders.

Controversy would erupt in NationStates when The United Defenders League, a defender organization, announced that it would grant membership to Bi-Gameplayers since Bi-Gameplayers would invade whether or not the organization provided them membership but could, nonetheless, be of service to the defender cause. 19 This decision promoted Grub, founder of 10000 Islands, to announce that he believed The United Defenders League to no longer be a “legitimate defender group” and also argued that the policy demonstrated that The United Defenders League and Unibot (myself) “d[id] not truly think there [was] anything wrong with the online bullying that invaders bring to this game”. 20 Strong words indeed. Nonetheless, this controversial policy was reversed three months later in a unanimous vote between all Lieutenants present, citing the implicit and unintended encouragement of moderate tag-raiding as the main reason for the policy’s reversal. 21 Whatever be the case, there was a significant period of time where Bi-Gameplay seemed to be growing as an ideology and I provided a direct counter-argument at the time to Bi-Gameplay: since the strong identities of being a “defender” or “raider” are half the fun, to water down those identities seems to be limiting the amount of utility generated from the invasion game on the basis of the maximization of utility. Nevertheless, the reason why ideologies like Bi-Gameplay can be popular is also the same reason why the moderatization of Raiderism worked well for General Powell in legitimizing Raiderism: Defenders’ own ethical theory is often utilitarian or “ends-focused”. In Book IV, I will provide an alternative ethical theory to ground Defenderism that avoids this quandary. But before I discuss an alternative ethical theory and reconstruct Defenderism, I must first challenge the ideology that has come to sweep NationStates and fill the void left by the ideological devastation of Defenderism.




FOOTNOTES & CITATIONS

1. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=375
2. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=11973368#p11973368
3. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=11996234#p11996234
4. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=11973368#p11973368
5. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=5620#p5620
6. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=28283#p28283
7. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=28283#p28283
8. http://www.equilism.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=8784
9. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=320867#p320867
10. http://www.equilism.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=8784
11. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=28283#p28283
12. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=22186#p22186
13. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=33892#p33892
14. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=11398196#p11398196
15. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=4833979#p4833979
16. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=6144649#p6144649
17. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=54170&p=2395852#p2395852 http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=10835&p=1057574#p1057574 http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=183624&p=10417721
http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=96802
18. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=10372360#p10372360
19. http://s4.zetaboards.com/UDL/topic/9763857/1/#new
20. http://10000islands.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=24012
21. http://s4.zetaboards.com/UDL/topic/9763857/1/#new
Last edited by Unibot III on Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:55 am, edited 3 times in total.
[violet] wrote:I mean this in the best possible way,
but Unibot is not a typical NS player.
Milograd wrote:You're a caring, resolute lunatic
with the best of intentions.
Org. Join Date: 25/05/2008 | Former Delegate of The Rejected Realms | Gameplay Alignment: -18 / -13
Unibotian Factbook // An Analysis of NationStates Generations // The Gameplay Alignment Test // NS Weather // How do I join the UDL? // The Transpacific Trade
Paradise Found // The Unibotian Life Expectancy Index // Proudly Authored 9 GA Res., 14 SC Res. // Commended by SC#78 // The Polysemes of Nativeness;

▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
✯ Duty is Eternal, Justice is Imminent: UDL

User avatar
Unibot III
Negotiator
 
Posts: 5526
Founded: Mar 11, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

BOOK III: REJECTION OF DEFENDERISM'S REPLACEMENT

Postby Unibot III » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:40 am

BOOK III: REJECTION OF DEFENDERISM'S REPLACEMENT (“INDEPENDENCE”)


Definition of Terms

Before beginning this topic, it would be wise to define several terms, since I may be using them in different ways than others would.

The easiest to define are Raider regions, which can be nuanced into at least two general categories:

  • Raider Region: A region where invading arbitrary regions, regardless of the cost to regional residents is ingrained in the regional culture, while the provision of military assistance to arbitrary regions is rejected.
    • Moderate Raider: A region where invading arbitrary regions with minimal damage or cost to natives is ingrained in the regional culture, while its stance on the provision of military assistance to arbitrary regions is unfavorable although flexible for special cases.

    Although both have invading arbitrary regions ingrained into their regional culture, the latter is distinguished from the former by being less extreme. I think it is important to note that although the raider identity has been continually nuanced into blocs, like “Invader” and “Raider” during Powell’s era (which have become antiquated), or more contemporary terms like “Moderate Raider”, “Griefer”, “Bi-gameplayer” or “Imperialist”, in comparison, over the years, defenderism has become treated more as a single, unified bloc. This reflects defenders becoming less of the “in” group, with an out-group homogeneity effect imposing a stereotype across all defenders, while “invader” evolved into a more nuanced schema of conceptions. For example, Neboe of Equilism proposed in late 2004 that there were at least three blocs of defenderism: (1) those who opposed all invasions regardless of official declarations of war, (2) those who believe that invaders ought to “be invaded at any time regardless of declared war” and finally, (3) those who oppose invasions against arbitrary invasions, but accept invasions “during a state of openly declared war”.1 Neboe proposed that conflict in the Alliance Defense Network was caused because these different ideologies clashed.2 This conflict later continued between The Founderless Regions Alliance and 10000 Islands, who disputed policies in 2008-9 regarding whether mutually declared war could justify invasions.3 Ultimately however, codified war is so infrequent that this distinction between defenders is seldom relevant, so a formal definition of Defender Region can be simply written as:

    • Defender Region: A region whose commitment to military assistance to arbitrary regions is ingrained in the regional culture, while the invasion of arbitrary regions is rejected.
        As a result of Same Coin Syndrome, there emerged a new but rare type of region where the cultural entrenchment of either Defenderism or Raiderism had been eroded.
        • Bi-Gameplay Region: A region who has no culturally entrenched consensus on the invasion of arbitrary region especially invasions which provide minimal damage or cost to natives, but finds the process of invading and defending as both fun and thus engages in both practices on arbitrary regions.

        The extreme incoherencies of said regional policy, as well as the problems I have already discussed with Bi-Gameplayism, often detracts from the image of Bi-Gameplayism as a convincing ideology. However, in the same paradigm of ambiguous identities as Bi-Gameplayism that emerged during Westwind’s Post-Defender Age, came an application of Realism (from Real-Life International Relations Theory) to NationStates. Commentators began to argue in this era that the “regional interest” had to be pursued, although what these interests were often left unclear, the general opinion of these commentators was that a region’s interest could not be pursued by strictly adhering to Defenderism or Raiderism. Where these commentators differ is on the subject of arbitrary regions – one commentator may argue that it serves no regional interest to invade or defend an arbitrary region, while another may argue that the catalogue of military operations beyond the invasion or defense of arbitrary regions is so thin that such missions in arbitrary regions are necessary to sustain a regional military’s activity. This contention divides realism into streams of thought:

        • Neutral: A region that calculatingly pursues the region's interests, which requires (1) military behavior not sufficiently satisfied by the traditional military practices of (moderate or hard) raiderism or defenderism, (2) the rejection of any military action in arbitrary regions.
          • Independent: A region that calculatingly pursues the region's interests, which requires military behavior not sufficiently satisfied by the traditional military practices of (moderate or hard) raiderism or defenderism, but does involve military action of some kind in arbitrary regions.

          For commentators in the far future, it may be dated to refer to Osiris and The North Pacific as examples of Independent regions; nonetheless, at the moment, these regions are uncomfortable with being associated with a traditional military philosophy but are involved in military action in arbitrary regions regardless. Whereas The East Pacific, The Pacific and The West Pacific have restricted their newly reinstated militaries from operations in arbitrary regions often due to the widespread belief that their regions transcend any traditional spectrum. Arguably, after witnessing the greater success of the independent armies over the neutral armies, The South Pacific has quietly moved away from Neutrality to Independence. Most people currently use “Neutral” and “Independent” interchangeably; I have found it useful however to distinguish between the two for the purposes of elaboration – the term, “Independent” was given to the ideology that was more “free” for policymaking, whereas if it were to emerge that the Neutrals had miscalculated and it was in the interest of the region to conduct military operations in arbitrary regions then the Neutral is ideologically constrained from doing said military operations.

          Neutrality v. Independence

          Ultimately, most contention has emerged against Neutrality instead of Independence – since as a theory it is much weaker. Neutrals come to the conclusion that it cannot logically follow that a military operation in an arbitrary region is for the region’s benefit – this stems from a fairly reasonable premise: an arbitrary region is neither an ally nor an enemy, so the military operation is either unconditionally-provided military assistance or indiscriminate aggression, both of which reduce a region’s diplomatic ability to leverage and bargain. The traditional Defender Region, for example, has few means to diplomatically leverage in regards to military affairs – its military assistance is traditionally expected, as opposed to being conditional. Although, some Defender Regions like 10000 Islands have leveraged regions by making their military assistance conditional on said target-region not engaging in raider activities, or in general, associating with Raider or Moderate Raider regions.

          Moreover, the traditional Raider Region often does not have the trust to diplomatically bargain or leverage – following an ideology that targets regions on the basis of fun instead of political strategy will always contribute to the erosion of a region’s diplomatic reputation. Take for example, The DEN when it came to light that The DEN had assisted an invasion of the Capitalist Paradise when it was historically documented that The DEN had signed a peace compact with Capitalist Paradise in 2006.4 “The DEN has an intentionally very vague policy towards formal alliances and treaties,” explained Former DEN Field Marshal, Free Noldor States. “To sum it up, the DEN is going to raid what it wants to raid, historical factors notwithstanding”.5 These statements and others do not bode well for the confidence of those wishing to commit to diplomacy with invaders.

          But there is a fatal flaw to Neutrality: the limited opportunities to deploy.

          The bulk of what a Neutral army can commit to is: military operations in allied regions and the defense of its own home regions, as well as military operations against enemies or in Warzones. Generally speaking, one’s allies and one’s self are not invaded enough to fuel activity in an army. Likewise enemies rarely reside in founderless regions. This means that a Neutral army’s primary mission is to conquer warzones. But where is the great interest served in the occasional invasion of five largely inactive, small regions with limited competition? With the creation of a Neutral army, its founders usually believe they are pursuing the region’s interests, but the reality is they often are either pursuing (1) their own idealistic desire for a more “complex” and realist NationStates or, (2) political compromise in the face of a stalemated legislature wherein Neutrality stands as a suboptimal (but possible) option compared to other options.

          NationStates is not real life — opportunities for military operations are most present for Raiders and Defenders whose own ideologies cover a very large breadth of all military conflict in NationStates. Independents recognize this fact and adapt, whereas Neutrals on the other hand limit their militaries to the point of predictable inactivity. Ultimately, there is no regional interest served by having one’s military be inactive in NationStates. Therefore in theory, Neutrality sounds strong and it has an appeal to legislators, but in practice, Neutrality is nothing more than a sure-fire method to establish a dead-on-arrival regional military. It is not good enough, however, to simply reject Neutrality – I shall also reject Independence. Although Independence is, logically speaking, a much stronger and coherent doctrine than Neutrality, my method for rejecting Independence will follow the same formula as I have used against Neutrality: arguing that the ideology fundamentally fails to serve the region’s interests optimally even though it is based on the premise that Independence would serve it best.

          The Limitations of “Independence”

          Many of the existing objections to ‘Independence’ often have to do with the failure of its proponents to articulate their theories clearly. One commentator argued that ‘Independence’ was merely freedom from all ideologies in NationStates 6– since he believed that ideologies would “cloud one’s mind, rather than free it ”.7 This however presumes that one’s own argument is not ideological; as Ballotonia notes, ‘Independence’ is nothing more than a word with a positive connotation used in exchange for Realism — which is most definitely an ideology.8 Moreover, I am skeptical of how “free” this Independence is – it is quick to paint Defenderism especially as dogmatic, yet proponents of Independence do not often follow through all of the rational premises to conclude why a region’s policies should differ from a “Raider” or “Defender” Region. Instead, common rhetoric to justify this variety of Realism will emphasize its rationalism and play on the rhetorical idea of this rationality “freeing” one from dogma — but without actually an exercise of reason, “Independence” fails to be anything more than dogma that it claims to reject. Nevertheless, a more satisfying rebuttal to Independence theory would be to flesh out a clear idea of what Independence entails, then disprove its own conclusion that wholly rational regions would differ from the ideal Defender Region – although that does not reject the idea that regions should fundamentally consider their own interests (which seems fair to myself), such a conclusion would radically differ from traditional Independence thought which presupposes that Defenderism (and Raiderism) are simply dogmatic practices that limit a region from maximizing its self-interest.

          Independence is the pursuit of the ideally rational region that seeks to maximize its self-interest. Independents have often been unclear what exactly a region’s interests are, but I will posit the idea that the core regional interests are: Activity, Security and Reputation. Activity is the main cause of death for regions and thus be treated as the primary threat to be avoided for a region’s survival. Security and Reputation are both important for a region — although in a foundered region, Security becomes less of a concern over Reputation, whereas founderless regions are often much more concerned about Security because they are more vulnerable to outside threats. Independents will conclude that these regional interests cannot be optimized in the framework of Defenderism and Raiderism and it is thus necessary for a region to commit to military operations in arbitrary regions, but not identify as strictly “Defender” or “Raider”. A sufficient rebuttal of Independence would counter this conclusion by arguing that either strict “Defender” or “Raider” identities for a region are more beneficial than the “Independent” identity for the optimization of regional interests. For the purposes of clarity, I will divide my arguments against Independence’s conclusion into the following subheadings:

          Security

          Some Independents, especially those in vulnerable regions, are very afraid that announcing their region as “Defender” could make their region much more of a target. Thus, the Independent, acting out of fear, rationally proposes the “Independent” identity for their region. The problem with this fear is that it is unjustified and stems from an incorrect observation of the motivations of invaders. Raiders are not calculative beings that pursue the invasion of founderless defender regions over founderless independent regions or even founderless raider regions; they are pleasure-seeking beings who attack regions with little rationale behind the target except “fun” and, sometimes the pursuit of glory. For example, when The Proletariat Coalition was invaded on Sep 17, 2011 by Unknown, many invaders were quick to ascribe an ad-hoc justification to the invasion as being “justice” for The Proletariat Coalition’s vague association with perpetrators of forum destruction against invader forums 9, but this justification was nothing more than ad-hoc. “Sure, a lot of the people showing up after-the-fact are piling on for their own personal reasons,” said General Crushing our Enemies of The Black Hawks, “but it seems to me that the invading force was doing what they always do: raid for the sake of raiding” 10. It later was admitted by the invasion’s organizer that the invader puppet used to lead the invasion was placed in The Proletariat Coalition long before she had known the historical significance of the target.11

          This use of ad-hoc justifications are not uncommon and another famous example would be the invasion of Capitalist Paradise, which some invaders were praising because Capitalist Paradise had diplomatic relations with Eastern Islands of Dharma, a defender region; after some pressured debate, General Tramiar admitted that the justification was not really a justification at all and “we would've invaded it had [Capitalist Paradise] never even heard of Dharma. It was a nice target”.12 Ultimately, most regions targeted by invaders are “Independent” or “Neutral” – what makes a region a target is not its military alignment, but its vulnerability in almost all cases. This was made patently clear when Whitereach, a small founderless Raider Region had been invaded by The Black Riders. “Whitereach even if it was a raider region it is now a founderless region, a failed state if you will, with no "legacy" to protect it” proposes Marshal Gest of The Black Riders . “Thus it's open season on them”.13 Note however, I have not demonstrated that Defender Regions are safer, only that their military alignment does not make them less safe than Independent Regions.

          Inevitable Embedment

          Unfortunately for Independent Regions, they are not the main actors in military conflict in NationStates. This generally means that they need to network and associate with Raider Regions and Defender Regions to assist in larger-scale military operations in arbitrary regions. Networking and association leads to an inevitable embedment into one military alignment. This is not necessary a quick process, but it is essentially inevitable for any successful Independent Region. Acceptance into military operations is based on trust and confidence — a Raider Region is not going to invite an Independent Region on a mission if said Independent Region has too many “dots” on the diplomatic chart tying it to a Defender Region or Organization and not enough specific cause to be trusted in this instance. A Defender Region will make similar judgements vice versa. This rational partisanship and confidence-building could have predicted, for example, Europeia’s gradual embedment into the Raider Sphere, or The North Pacific’s gradual connection with the Defender Sphere.

          It should be clear, this is not an outright objection to Independence, so much as an argument that Independence is unstable; in terms of chemistry, Independence is not a state of equilibrium, but a political state that is given to change over time due to extraneous variables influencing and embedding the Independent Region into a steady configuration of one archetypal military alignment. It may take one year, it may take five years, but the trajectory is always present when a region continually gets involved with military operations abroad in arbitrary regions.

          Appeal

          One of the areas where Independent Armies struggle is their appeal. Independent and Neutral armies are designed by senior legislators and bureaucrats to appeal to their own demographic. These armies bore out of heated political compromises, so it is no wonder that they are made to appeal to them as bureaucrats and legislators. The problem with this demographic focus is that to make a strong army, the army needs to appeal to more people than simply senior bureaucrats, not only because sheer numbers are vital to a successful army, but because the major reason for having an army is to draw in players into contributing more to your region who might not have been drawn in otherwise. One of the most consistently successful regions in the history of NationStates, 10000 Islands, love them or hate them, has one of the boldest taglines for their Defender army: “We stand against the bullies and thugs of this game. If you want to help us fight against the evil in NationStates, join us on our mission!” This gritty line goes for the jugular and makes a moral stand that immediately tells newcomers exactly their Army’s clear purpose and moral vision. Other examples include The United Defenders League’s “Our purpose? To protect, free and restore regions all across NationStates from senseless invasions” or slightly more bureaucratic, The Founderless Regions Alliance’s “An alliance of regions dedicated to the protection and stabilization of founderless regions across the NS world”. Immediately from reading these taglines, one knows the moral content of the mission and feels compelled to join the “good fight”.

          Alternatively, invader regions also cleverly appeal to newcomers. The Black Hawks use the tag-line, “The Most Feared Military Organisation in NationStates”, while Lone Wolves United describes itself to newcomers with, “we are elite, the best, loyal to no one but ourselves!” Likewise, Unknown acknowledges that its “warriors move like phantoms in the night, conquering the unconquerable”. These appeals are thus often rhetorical; they play on similar themes of professionalism (“We are Elite”), fear, darkness and knavishness. While Defender Organizations and Regions appeal to a newcomer on the basis of joining a cause to help others, Raider Regions appeal to newcomers on the basis of joining a cause to advance one’s own self. Nonetheless, the appeals are direct and clear. Any newcomer can understand the direction he would advance by joining The Black Hawks or Lone Wolves United.

          In comparison, Independent Regions face difficulties with describing themselves in an appealing fashion. They almost always appeal to newcomers in tag-lines that seem to be written in a way to appeal to senior bureaucrats and legislators instead of the average newcomer. Take for example, Osiris’s “We work to do the Pharaoh's bidding abroad, whether in assist our allies, conquering foreign lands in his name, or defending and working to assist NationStates when it is found to be in Osiris' interests. The Guard stands as a symbol of Osiris abroad and only the best may serve,” or Europeia’s “The Europeian Republican Navy is the military force of the Republic of Europeia. It serves the primary purpose of advancing Europeia's foreign interests abroad, and participates in a wide variety of different operations. [...] The ERN is neutral in that it exists for the promotion of Europeia's foreign agenda, and is trained in a wide variety of operations to pursue these foreign interests”. The South Pacific’s promotional document shares similarities with Osiris and Europeia’s promotion: “The South Pacific has chosen to establish a regional military, the South Pacific Army, to not only defend our own region but provide assistance to our friends and allies elsewhere, and project our region's influence and interests across NationStates”. The North Pacific’s promotional document is even vaguer: “The Government calls upon all nations to dedicate themselves to the security and prosperity of our region. This is best achieved by a large, active and responsible military”.

          There’s very little clarity of the direction or moral perspective for these armies provided for newcomers; all of these appeals are convoluted and balanced – which comforts legislators who want an Independent or Neutral Army. But ultimately, Defender and Raider Regions can more easily project themselves and their clear values onto newcomers much more efficiently, which explains why they are so proficient at drawing in new players, whereas Independent Armies often have to recycle existing political players in their own region for active soldiers. Certainly, Equilism’s The Obsidian Order was a valiant attempt at providing some “cool factor” to the idea of an Independent Army, but The Obsidian Order failed to address the problem of moral and identity ambiguity which is central to Independence. Newcomers want to know what joining an organization says about them. They want to know they are the “good guy” or the “bad guy”. Senior legislators scoff at the lack of complexity of this, whereas I scoff at these legislators’ focus on designing their regions to appeal to themselves as opposed to the average newcomer who just wants to be provided with coherence, clarity and direction.

          Identity and Activity

          As explained, Independence is not a stable identity but always in a state of flux and transitioning. This has a direct effect on the military activity of an Independent Region.

          Note, since Independent Regions are always networking and becoming embedded into one traditional military alignment, there is always confusion over whether a region is truly Independent. For example, polling in Europeia shows that Europeians are confused over their regions’ external identity. On August 2 2011, Europeians overwhelming believed that Europeia was Moderate Raider (60.71%) 14, but by December 5 2012, only a minority wanted Europeia to be adversarial or actively fighting defenders (36.4%) 15, then polling on January 10 2013 found “support for the Navy becoming a raiding exclusive force is not strong” and there was not a clear consensus over the direction of the Europeian Navy 16, while a poll conducted for this essay on January 23 2013 suggested that Europeians were sharply divided over whether Europeia was Independent (51.43%) or Moderate Raider (37.14%) – only a small minority believed Europeia to be fully a Raider Region (11.43%).17 Suffice to say, Europeia has gone through a period of quiet moderatization over the past few months perhaps as blowback from a very Raider-dominant agenda for the Europeian Navy. "Europeia has a precarious claim to being an independent region, due to its treatied obligation to traditionally raider regions, and long history of raiding so-called arbitrary regions," explains PhDre in a private interview."I'd be hard pressed to imagine an independent region that is not going to be pulled by the natural trustbuilding process". Although PhDre warns that the process is not always natural, but artificial: members of the Raider and Defender Sphere attempting to 'acquire' Independent Regions.

          What is important to draw from this case study is that in an Independent Region, the regional identity is always in flux and often edges closer towards a dominant military alignment before being pulled away like a Smithian “invisible hand” back towards the ideological centre. Independent Regions are essentially ungendered identities which come to accept and reject chromosomes till finally a gender develops; they are not by any means stable equilibriums whereas Raider and Defender identities for a region are highly persistent over time unless dramatic exigencies (a “punctuated equilibrium”) are introduced to the political system such as Regional Influence (which triggered the Decline of Defenderism, as explained). This has implications for the activity of the Army and the region overall, because Identity and Activity are interrelated.

          For many years, players have believed that the only way to generate activity was through “chaos” or events that cause instability and confusion (i.e., invasions, coups). Similarly, the Mighty Pump argued that controversy was the main source of Regional Activity in an early 2006 essay.18 These views were shared by The Wolfist Manifesto from March 2007 which justified raiding on the basis that the “forcible overthrow of all existing game conditions” was necessary for NationStates to survive.19 Exciting “chaotic” events to generate activity were also popular at the Interregional Conference on Neutrality Territory during January 2008 among some delegations.20 NS Historian and Wysterian Representative was a skeptic of this philosophy however during the Conference. “To make the NS World more active, the key isn't to go out there and smash things,” explains The Bruce. “The key is to be more active in your own regions and lead by example. That's what makes the game grow, not staging colossal stunts”.21 While Todd McCloud in his masterwork from 2012, The Necessity of Chaos: Order and Disorder in NationStates, offered empirical evidence to propose that activity in The East Pacific and The South Pacific had each benefited from their respective coup d'état in 2008 and 2011.

          However, during 2010, The North Pacific had two coups, one in July by Shoeless Joe and the other in October by JAL. Using Todd McCloud’s Theory of Chaos, one would predict The North Pacific would be swamped with activity, but in fact the exact opposite occurred. Legislative matters stalled through the summer until October, but from then on votes received particularly low turnouts only a few months later. By the summer of 2011, The North Pacific was getting comfortable with single digits for participation in regional votes. However, this slump did not last forever: accelerated growth occurred between May and November 2012 in participation rates. Ultimately, the cause of the growth was the re-initiation of The North Pacific Army and the beginning of Eluvatar’s first term as Delegate who put in place massive investment into The North Pacific. Not only did he revitalize Cabinet Elections, but Eluvatar also drew in key individuals from outside of The North Pacific who participated in The North Pacific. What emerged was an escalation as momentum seemed to be drifting The North Pacific towards Defenderism. At the height of this drift was an early cabinet sitting with Eluvatar as Delegate and Ator People, Unibot and Romanoffia all serving on the Cabinet of Five and defender-sympathetic. This momentum caused a heated conflict that resulted in a compromise bill, The North Pacific Army Doctrine, which as explained before, stalled on the original question of the invasion of arbitrary regions, but entrench some defender sympathetic values into The North Pacific law. Thus, the traditional coups of Shoeless Joe and JAL did very little to stir activity in The North Pacific, while constructive investment in The North Pacific and momentum towards attaining a concrete Defender Identity for The North Pacific, accelerated participation rates in The North Pacific. Participation in The North Pacific peaked in The North Pacific during the recall of Eluvatar, but by this time, The North Pacific was incredibly hostile to Defenderism. Shortly thereafter, The North Pacific narrowly abstained from condemning The United Defenders League, a notable defender organization and common associate of The North Pacific Army.

          Image
          Figure 1
          Participation Rates in The North Pacific Regional Assembly Votes (including abstentions and invalid votes). The orange (left) line shows the time when Eluvatar became Delegate, while the red (right) line shows the date of the passage of The North Pacific Army Doctrine.


          But what about The South Pacific? Todd McCloud’s case study shows that participation rates in The South Pacific declined following the coup on The South Pacific. By the first anniversary of The South Pacific’s coup, activity had nearly subsided to pre-coup activity. This is because coups do not provide sustainable activity; identity and subsequently purpose is the recipe for sustainable activity. Following the coup by Sedgistan in 2011, a wave of defenders (e.g., Milograd, Belschaft, Unibot) joined The South Pacific — many of them were genuinely concerned about the security of The South Pacific and had served in the liberation movement. Caucuses became more defender-dominated during the Fall of 2011 due to momentum of the possibility of The South Pacific becoming the first openly Defender feeder in years – these sentiments were receiving harsh criticism from some members of The South Pacific however and the escalation came to a hostile end by April 2012. Bearing this in mind, I would propose that in a region lacking a concrete external identity such as Defenderism or Raiderism, the pursuit of identity is circular – as momentum builds with the possibility of a region drifting to Defenderism or Raiderism, participation accelerates until the identity is rejected in hostility. Following a rejection of identity, the activity gradually declines and a period of disillusionment emerges. Another example of this pattern would be The Rejected Realms, which has been plagued from activity after a period of strong momentum regarding the possibility of a Raider Army in The Rejected Realms was swiftly ended with the July-August 2011 Elections favoring Sedgistan over Guy, which maintained The Rejected Realms’ military status quo. This traditional cycle of activity of rising momentum to hostility and then finally disillusionment and chronic inactivity has been depicted below in Fig. 2 as the “Cycle of Activity” (on right).

          Image
          Figure 2


          Certainly though there must be something better than a cyclical model of activity? If we recall from Book II, Flemingovia notes that with a clear Defender Identity in The North Pacific during 2003-04 came a clear purpose and subsequently a “vibrancy”, which I would extend to include “activity”. Sustainable activity is the product of an Identity and Purpose being secured (as depicted on the left in Fig. 2). Activity is cyclical in Neutral and Independent Regions because the periods of acceleratory growth are momentum and vibrancy surrounding the possibility of attaining a concrete identity and periods of disillusionment, dejection and inactivity follow hostility that occurs from opposition to the emerging new identity.

          I was asked when proposing this theory to explain how this theory can be applied to Europeia – a region with significantly consistent activity since 2007 with an Independent identity. The answer is simple. There is a distinction between Internal Identity and External Identity. As explained previously, the Europeian external identity is always threatened and transitioning, but I would posit the theory that the Europeian internal identity is rather secure. Everyone with some knowledge on Europeia knows the Europeian internal identity: a political region where diplomacy, politics, competition and recruitment are central to Europeian culture. This is a culture, identity and purpose that has remain rather consistent to Europeia’s conception and thus the sustained internal activity is likewise predictable. In comparison, the activity of the Europeian Navy is inconsistent and drifts through periods of strong activity and periods of extensive inactivity. When Europeia is more comfortable with the “Moderate Raider” identity, the Europeian Navy has been stronger whereas during periods where the identity has shifted and been questioned, like Falconias’s term as Grand Admiral, the Europeian Navy’s activity and presence has significantly dropped. This could be explained as a combination of lack of momentum, public support and/or resources.

          The optimal system is to have a region which has a strong internal and external identity that is coherent; those descriptions are (or were) best demonstrated in regions such as 10000 Islands, The North Pacific during 2003-04, Texas, The Proletariat Coalition and Nasicournia. This is to say that members of the ideal region know what their region is in relation to the rest of NationStates and they solidly know their purpose in the region and abroad – with these understandings being symmetrical. A democratic region that passionately supports their members’ rights ought to project this light onto the rest of NationStates, defending the Right to Self-Determination abroad. That is why the Defender identity is so preferable, because it provides a coherent internal and external identity to “draw” in newcomers and provide them with a purpose in the world that we call NationStates. It is important to note that I question the ability of Raider Regions to provide the same coherency between their internal and external identities – generally speaking, Raider Regions (like The Black Hawks) like to hint at a warm and friendly community in their own region which conflicts with their behavior abroad and the presence they project externally.

          Now, some may disagree with my characterization of Defender Regions having the strongest and coherent identities, but I would at least request those individuals to (when they manage their own regions) ask themselves: “What is the identity of our region? Who are we? What is our purpose?” Too often this is an important question that a region fails to address.

          Final Remarks on Independence

          As a saving grace to Independence, I would like to posit the theory that the term could be used (or is used) as a way to optimize a region’s diplomatic relations, since some circles may be turned off by the idea of a Raider Region proposing relations and admittedly, some circles are turned off by the idea of a Defender Region proposing relations, whilst, a Neutral or Independent Region can generally avoid this diplomatic quandary altogether. Nevertheless, I have come to approach Defenderism differently than I had in previous years. This (unique) approach has allowed me to foster friendly relations with regions to a Defender organization in a passionate and genuine way that I could not do before. The key to stronger foreign relations is to relate. At the end of Book IV, I will explain how Defenderism can be approached in such a way that it relates to many regions, whereas other regions that believe only in the maximization of their own self-interest will, likewise, only be able to relate to regions that have that same selfish and bland nature.

          Through Book III, I have presented the argument that real life and NationStates differ and because of this, in NationStates, realism and idealism converge in way that is inexplicable to the traditional realist. It is in your self-interest and in your region’s self-interest to not only be, but to believe. However, it would be unacceptable for me to propose that one ought to believe, without providing a suitable candidate of ethical theories to invest one’s belief. This ethical theory is Defenderism. But Defenderism has often been criticized as dogma and thus I will endeavor to, in Book IV, reconstruct Defenderism clearly and demonstrate its core justification and premises.




          FOOTNOTES & CITATIONS

          1. http://z8.invisionfree.com/The_North_Pacific/index.php?showtopic=2719
          2. http://z8.invisionfree.com/The_North_Pacific/index.php?showtopic=2719
          3. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=12559899#p12559899
          4. http://s4.zetaboards.com/UDL/topic/9811832/
          5. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=9564447#p9564447
          6. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=5526156&sid=f55e1bd588ed92add82f016db92dd28f#p5526156
          7. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=5530663&sid=f55e1bd588ed92add82f016db92dd28f#p5530663
          8. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=5530663&sid=f55e1bd588ed92add82f016db92dd28f#p5530663
          9. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=138894#p7069775
          10. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=7103133#p7103133
          11. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=7132102#p7132102
          12. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=9548763#p9548763
          13. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=11104319&sid=b14c81d99f0465d5be86e0230ab97d7a#p11104319
          14. http://z6.invisionfree.com/Europeia/index.php?act=ST&f=11&t=25314&mode=show&st=
          15. http://z6.invisionfree.com/Europeia/index.php?showtopic=33672
          16. http://z6.invisionfree.com/Europeia/index.php?showtopic=34152
          17. http://z6.invisionfree.com/Europeia/index.php?showtopic=34317
          18. http://s4.zetaboards.com/UDL/topic/9807402/1/#new
          19. http://s4.zetaboards.com/UDL/topic/9711343/1/#new
          20. http://z15.invisionfree.com/Democratic_England/index.php?showtopic=240
          21. http://z1.invisionfree.com/Wysterian_Forum/index.phps=2ceb542d1472dfb442ac9498dd66bbb4&showtopic=5419&view=findpost&p=5087289
          Last edited by Unibot III on Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:54 am, edited 7 times in total.
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          BOOK IV: GROUNDWORK OF DEFENDERISM AS AN ETHICAL THEORY

          Postby Unibot III » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:41 am

          BOOK IV: GROUNDWORK OF DEFENDERISM AS AN ETHICAL THEORY


          Proof of the Existence of Ethics in NationStates

          In a book of ethics, we must first prove that there ought to exist a sense of right and a sense of wrong in NationStates before advancing forward in regards to what these senses may entail. If the entire enterprise is bankrupt of reason, then I have no other justification than pure amusement to muse further on what is right or wrong in NationStates. Note however, when I speak of “NationStates”, I speak of the political community within the “game” of NationStates —viz., the interaction between nations and regions that is separate from pure literary (i.e., roleplay).

          In the following chapters I will dispute the notion that morality is a weak priority and one’s desires should reign supreme, but first I will dispute the notion, specifically, that right or wrong as concepts do not apply to NationStates on the basis that it is a game. However, in disputing this notion, I would like to distinguish a difference between Gaming Manners, which would suggest how a respectable player should conduct himself or herself in a game (e.g., “Do not Cheat”, “Do not Hack”) and Ethics, an understanding of what behavior is permissible and impermissible that is more developed and pronounced as a focus in NationStates than it would be in other games. The former undoubtedly exists in NationStates but it arguably is a fairly “lean” understanding of right and wrong; indeed, rather ruthless players can be identified as “respectable” players on the basis of gaming manners.

          Whereas, the latter is a perennial topic of contention. I once replied to someone objecting to the existence of Ethics in NationStates with, what I jokingly called, “Unibot’s First Law of NationStates”: when one uses the fact that one is playing a game to respond to one’s assertion, that player has failed to sufficiently respond. However, this “Law” is obviously insufficient to convince those that assert that “this is just game”, therefore it would appear that a better counter-argument would use the fact that this is a game as an explicit premise of the counter-argument. Why then, do ethics exist in NationStates? Because this is a nation-simulation game. What good, we can ask ourselves, would a nation-simulation be if it did not simulate the dispute of ethics of conduct between nations or the dispute of ethics of invasions or warfare? A nation-simulation would appear to be lacking if the question of whether it is right or wrong to invade in a situation or the extent of what was permissible in an invasion was never questioned. Certainly it is possibly for people to come to different conclusions over what is permissible or impermissible, but to deny even the vaguest prospect of moral impermissibilities is to deny a nation-simulation its ability to simulate nationhood well.

          Consequentialism v. Deontology

          When studying ethical theory in NationStates, one should have an understanding of the two major, classical modes for judging morality. The “end” is the outcome that the conduct seeks – this is the focus of a class of normative ethical theories called Consequentialism. For example, gift-giving often aims to make the receiver happier – the end of gift-giving is thus the happiness or utility of the receiver. A popular branch of Consequentialism, Utilitarianism proposes that maximizing happiness and minimizing pain dictates the best course of moral action. However, in a different example, such as a lifeboat scenario, where the cannibalism of two men on a lifeboat could save their lives in exchange for the life of their colleague, the end is the continued survival and utility of the two men. But most people could not use the end, in this case, to justify killing a man so that two others would not starve. A common and relevant phrase here is: “the ends do not justify the means”. Killing is wrong, we all know that. But why? Consequentialists (and Utilitarians) would argue that in this situation there is more benefit served from the killing of the one man in the lifeboat. However, a real life philosopher, Immanuel Kant, would argue that the reason why many of us see these incidents of excused killings and cannibalism as wrong is because ethical theories should be focused on the act’s ethicalness in and of itself, not just the act’s consequences. Kant’s creation, Deontology, is the judging of conduct’s ethicalness on the basis of the conduct’s intrinsic nature as opposed to judging the conduct’s ethicalness on the basis of its consequences. If for example, the public lynching of a petty thief would have pleased a throng of angry villagers enough that they would not burn down the village, then the consequentialist would suggest that the public lynching should occur whereas a deontologist would oppose the public lynching on the basis of the act being bad in and of itself regardless of if the mob turns their outrage against the rest of the village and commits acts of arson.

          At the end of Book II, I proposed that most defender philosophy has until this point been consequentialist – this has posed difficulties for defenders when trying to justify their resistance to raiding for at least two major reasons:

          (1)Consequentialism allows for the mitigation of bad consequences as a “gradient” of utility. This means that invaders such as Powell could appear ‘less’ bad by moderating their behavior to an extent that they seemed separate from other invaders, so much so that he and others could gain political capital as a distinct category from invaders, “raiders”. This has significance for contemporary defenders as raiders have moved to tactics such as “tag-raiding” and the Cat-Burglar’s model of so-called “ethical raiding” (invasions and occupations that are designed in such a way as to avoid irreversible damage and mitigate disruption and harm for natives).The consequences of these raids are so few (there are certainly natives that have been disgruntled with these kinds of raids but comparably few) that this poses a political challenge for defenders to remain relevant and “good” (possessing a moral significance). For example, if one stole from someone, the fact that they stole nothing of real value or intended to return the stolen property eventually could be used as a way to ‘excuse’ one’s behavior in a consequentialist’s moral calculus. Whereas deontologists would hold that theft is wrong in and of itself.

          By relying on consequentialism, defenders have left themselves vulnerable to a game of optics – “a race to moderation”. In Fig. 3, I have mathematically modelled the race to moderation. “B” represents the ‘moderating’ invader’s cost to natives which decreases as he or she gradually does actions with less and less bad consequences, while “A” represents the defender’s expressed outrage which has to logically decrease to seem reasonable given the consequences of the invasions that he or she is opposing. “D” represents both the political capital and moral significance of the defender (which are related) which recedes as the raider moderates. At the point when “A” and “B” meet is when the defender’s outrage is completely proportional given the social cost of the invasion to the natives. But “B” continues to moderate, forcing “A” to moderate but the defender is unable to sacrifice as much outrage as the raider is able to sacrifice social costs to natives (since eventually outrage is diminished to mere passiveness), so having lost the race to moderation, the defender loses political capital for seemingly false or non-proportional outrage – this political capital loss for the defender is a political capital gain for the raider and is represented spatially as “C”. Nonetheless, this could all be avoided if defenders focused on the –act– of invading as being wrong in and of itself instead of the degree of social costs, since, as explained, utility leaves defenders vulnerable to a race to moderation (a war of optics) that they cannot win.

          Image
          Figure 3


          (2)Raiding brings joy to some people. Their happiness has to enter into a utilitarian’s moral calculus which dramatically confuses the ethics of military conduct in NationStates. A utilitarian should review the morality of specific invasions with something similar to a cost-benefit analysis: the costs of invasions are the labour of raiders and defenders as well as the externalities (i.e., damage, disruption, dislocation), while the benefits of invasions are the pleasure of raiders and defenders, in addition to a (disputed) contribution of activity for a native community. Interestingly, Warzone Codger (as Communist Eraser) argues that this utilitarian calculus is the main justification for the existence of defenders, since without their participation the social cost of the externalities would outweigh the benefits of most invasions.1 There are some major technical limitations however to utilitarianism – how does one calculate and predict happiness? Raiders also will claim that invasions help native communities in the long-run due to invasions causing activity – empirical studies are needed to actually prove or refute this, but I would propose that invasions do not provide sustainable activity nor do they provide ‘happiness’ to most natives of an invasion. Nonetheless, the primary consequence of this model being adopted for defenders is that it makes defenders appear less altruistic and more interested in their own personal satisfaction – which was a typically cited criticism of defenders during the Post-Defender Era.

          On a fundamental level, some including myself, may reject utilitarianism on the basis that it is not concerned with the fact that the happiness of the raiders is gained through Schadenfreude, the misfortune of others. Moreover, utilitarianism fails to provide a suitable concept of equality. In deontology, every individual has equal moral worth and value, while in utilitarianism, the individual means very little to the aggregate good of the whole. To illustrate the differences in these theories, let me pose an example. One year ago, I had a conversation with a respected defender who argued that defenders ought to ignore so-called “pile” raids (raids involving lots of invaders) and not bother attempting a liberation because the existence of a “pile” raid meant that invaders were contained to one affected region as opposed to many. This is a utilitarian argument: the happiness of all of the other regions is served with the suffering of one region. I rejected this argument on deontologist grounds when I proposed that regions are equal and equally deserve protection — especially those most affected by invasions. For these reasons, The United Defenders League and The Founderless Regions Alliance will protect regions, both big and small, whereas there are other defender organizations that restrict their operations to assisting regions of a certain “merit”. The latter is a utilitarian calculation, whereas The United Defenders League and The Founderless Regions Alliance have a deontological purview.

          Immanuel Kant, when he set out to create deontology found that evil in society tends to occur most often when either people make exceptions for themselves, or when they exploit others. He went on to codify this as two simple tests – if an act passes these two tests, it would be morally permissible. The Universality Test simply asks whether a neutral (objective), rational being would accept your behavior as the standard for all others in any given society. This is similar to the “Golden Rule” (“Do to no one what you yourself dislike”), but it makes the subject of the judgement, an objective, rational being as opposed to you. Thus, the Universality Test is not necessary concerned with what behavior ‘you’ would accept, so much as the Test is concerned with what an objective, rational being would think of said behavior. Following from this Test, Kant proposes a second test: behavior is not permissible if it uses people as a means to an end, since one’s behavior is only permissible if it respects others as an end in and of themselves. For the purposes of this essay however, I will focus on a more contemporary version of deontology proposed by John Rawls. We live in an era of moral thought where we think in terms of “rights”, which is why I think it would be more intuitive to construct defenderism as rights-based. Nonetheless, much of our contemporary moral understanding follows from the Kantian tradition, so I wanted to expand on it before continuing. To understand –what– are our rights in NationStates, we need to consider our social contract or at the very least, come to some understanding of what objective, rational beings would agree to as a fair and just society. To do this, Rawls poses a thought experiment which I will also use to illustrate my argument.

          Behind the Veil of Ignorance

          “ Why is SkyDip such a purist raiderist?” — Eluvatar
          “Because his region was never raided.” — Frattastan


          Imagine if everyone in NationStates was behind a “Veil of Ignorance” – they were stripped of their individual prejudges and beliefs, so that they all were simply mutually disinterested rational beings, who had no recollection of who they are in NationStates or what is their home region. These beings would know that there is about a 38-40% chance that when the veil is pulled off that they will be a member of a founderless region and a 60-62% chance that they will be a member of a foundered region.2 However, we can assume that about 80% of those residing in founderless regions are relatively safe (due to the sheer number of resources needed to invade Game-Created Regions), while the other 20% of those residents in founderless regions would be at constant risk of invasion if most of the population of NationStates engaged in raiding.3 The key information here for the players behind the Veil of Ignorance is that they have an 8-10% chance of residing in a region that is highly at risk for invasions. This is coincidentally about the same chance as an individual has at being impoverished in my real life country of citizenship – which is relevant since the “Veil of Ignorance” thought of experiment was originally used to justify the redistribution of wealth.

          Ultimately, being invaded is not a pleasant experience. One’s community loses control over the administration of the region, the occupation can last days, weeks, possibly even months, one’s colleagues and one’s self can be removed from the region and the Regional Message Board is overrun with spam and gloating from invaders. But what if these mutually disinterested rational beings are asked behind the Veil of Ignorance what would be a fair and just conception of society? They would respond back with what they would calculate to be their self-interest. The rational human mind is risk-averse – it thus seeks to better the worst outcome that could arise when the Veil of Ignorance is removed (this is called minimax strategy). The chances of being in a founderless region may not be high, but they are a possibility. Moreover, raiders strike regions arbitrarily (that is their defining feature) thus in some senses the invasion game is a lottery with negative externalities for those involved in the lottery. Bearing this in mind, the rational being that is looking out for its interests is going to propose that a fair and just conception of society is one in which the Freedom as Non-Domination is held tantamount interregionally. Freedom as Non-Domination, first proposed by Philip Pettit, suggests that we are free when our affairs are not interfered with by arbitrary authorities. 4 An authority and its actions are arbitrary when they are not subject to controls that force them to consider the interests of the subjects of their authority. 5 If said freedom is to be held tantamount, we can derive The Right to Freedom as Non-Domination that all possess and reciprocally, we can derive duties for all players to observe and respect this Right to Freedom as Non-Domination.

          When the Veil of Ignorance is removed, or at the very least, the thought experiments ends, we know where we stand in the game and whether our home region is at risk, but if we were to disregard our duties to respect others’ Right to Freedom as Non-Domination, we in turn are disregarding the social contract of NationStates and are in some senses, hypothetical hypocrites. This is the basis of interregional ethics in NationStates — the violation of native rights is what determines behavior to be unethical. There is, however, one premise that was perhaps left unmentioned and that is the assumption that mutually disinterested rational beings would presume that beyond the Veil of Ignorance they could have a home-region and care about the security of said region. Sure, a commentator can reply back by saying, “I do not have a home-region and I would not care about its security anyways”, but a rational being is not going to gamble behind a Veil of Ignorance that they are this commentator – they are going to think risk-aversely and assume that they could possess the worst outcome: caring about a region that is highly threatened with invasions.

          As a final proviso to my theoretical approach to native rights, I would propose that behind the Veil of Ignorance, mutually disinterested rational beings are not going to be concerned with legitimized war efforts between regions where one region has broken some law against another region and the consequences of war were clearly promulgated. Why? Because unlike the actions of typical invaders, these actions are not necessarily arbitrary — they may be legitimate and legally proscribed responses to actions by a subject that said subject could have simply chosen not to have done. Admittedly though, there is a need in the body of NationStates philosophy for a more extensive look at jus ad bellum, jus in bello and proportionality. I believe however that I have given a satisfying account and reconstruction in general of the moral underpinnings of Defenderism which is what I set out to do. In Book I, I set out to describe a period of time when Defenderism had lost political capital, favour and fortune. Likewise, in Book II, I explained the epistemic causes for this decline and refuted the main tenets of this era. In Book III, I challenged the Independent sphere of thought which had risen to replace Defenderism. Finally, in Book IV, I have reconstructed Defenderism for the purposes of clarity and reinvention. Therefore, I have until now limited myself to discussing the past and the present – for my final remarks, I would like to discuss the future.

          Paradise Found

          The first downfall of Defenderism was to invest one’s belief in a supernatural authority that was not preoccupied with upholding the Defender Ethos. Meanwhile, the second downfall of Defenderism was to fail to differentiate between Defenders and Invaders on an ethical level. These downfalls have something in common: they occurred because Defenders forgot what mattered – they were not educated in, or overlooked the principles behind their own cause. The greatest threat to an ideology is when its starting principles are forgotten and it becomes a series of conclusions with fuzzy and undefined premises. At one time, The Red Liberty Alliance united various left-leaning regions across NationStates because it was clear to those regions that the principles of Liberalism, Democratic Socialism and Idealism were not so different at all to the principles of Defenderism – if anything, Defenderism is merely an extension of Idealism in NationStates. When Defenderism lost its principles and its premises, it became a word with eleven characters and four syllables that was associated with the mindless reiteration of invasions, the corruption of bureaucracy and not much else. Defenderism became political anathema because it set itself up to be anathema — when you stand for nothing, you sit for everything.

          So believe in something for once. If you call yourself a defender, put some clear and coherent principles behind your ideology. This clarification gives you as a defender, strength and resolve, but it also gives your peers both reason to agree or disagree with you. I see a future where the ideological Left and Right and those of ideologies which believe in freedom will come together to recognize themselves as Defender because its starting premises are something that they as ideologues can share. When you believe in a thought that is clear and present, it allows others to compare and contrast those with their own thoughts and beliefs.

          The journey back to the political centre of NationStates will be a long path for Defenders and those who sympathise with these beliefs – they have been marginalized and their old political connections have been broken or eroded, but their spirit never has faded and never will. Defenders proudly fight every day on the battlefield, yet they hide their beliefs and they remain silent on the political battlefield. Neutrality over seven years has become an institutionalized goliath that is leisurely and plump with political privilege that their ideology neither deserves nor complements; those who engage this goliath will face arguments from moderation, self-interest and exceptionalism – my only hope is that I have provided these political warriors with the sufficient intellectual toolkit of answers and replies for the realization of this bright and prosperous future.

          When you dare not fall further, you must rise.

          - Unibot.




          FOOTNOTES & CITATIONS

          1. http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?p=12748460#p12748460
          2. A rough estimate on Feb 04 2013, suggests that 45,531 nations reside in founderless regions, while 73,310 nations reside in foundered regions.
          3. Further estimates propose 36,307 nations reside in Game-Created Regions, while 9,224 nations reside in User-Created founderless regions.
          4. http://nzphilosophy.blogspot.ca/2006/01/pettits-freedom-as-non-domination.html
          5. http://nzphilosophy.blogspot.ca/2006/01/pettits-freedom-as-non-domination.html
          Last edited by Unibot III on Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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          Postby Unibot III » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:04 am

          Phew, that was a lot of work. :P Enjoy!
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          but Unibot is not a typical NS player.
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          Weed
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          Postby Weed » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:08 am

          It is far too late for me to start on this, as I already said, but I just want to say that it looks like once again Uni, you've gone far and beyond what you should.

          Seriously, beyond.

          At any rate, congratulations! I'm glad your work is finally finished, I know you've been excited about it for a while.

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          Communist Eraser
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          Postby Communist Eraser » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:11 am

          Magnum Opus.

          Seriously, you deserve a magnum after this.
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          Postby Unibot III » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:12 am

          Weed wrote:At any rate, congratulations! I'm glad your work is finally finished, I know you've been excited about it for a while.


          *sniggers and hugs* Thanks Topi! It's been about two months in the making, so I'm excited to have it finished. Heh.

          Communist Eraser wrote:Magnum Opus.

          Seriously, you deserve a magnum after this.


          Thank you. :oops: I would so take it! You have no idea how thirsty/hungry I am. EEK!
          Last edited by Unibot III on Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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          but Unibot is not a typical NS player.
          Milograd wrote:You're a caring, resolute lunatic
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          Klaus Devestatorie
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          Postby Klaus Devestatorie » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:15 am

          Should mention that the entire paragraph on Unknown's invasion of TPC is crap. Elindra didn't know the significance of TPC herself (I believe the pup was inserted on probably her second or third day as a raider, and was the very first raid pup she made), but Earth and Savaer sure did. As far as I know, the significance was explained as soon as they were aware of the pup in that region. On the evening when we set out to take over TPC, there wasn't a single person in the raid that didn't 100% understand the significance of the RLA, the attacks on the forums of other raiders, and the connection that TPC had to the matter. The withdrawal occurred ONLY when TPC agreed to apologize for the role, however vague, that they served in the justification of those attacks- and if it was up to LWU, TBH, or DEN, they would have burned the region to the ground anyway. In fact, all three got seriously pissed at us for letting TPC go too early.

          Mind you, other than that, it's pretty good. :P
          Last edited by Klaus Devestatorie on Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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          Postby Unibot III » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:18 am

          Klaus Devestatorie wrote:Elindra didn't know the significance of TPC herself (I believe the pup was inserted on probably her second or third day as a raider, and was the very first raid pup she made)


          So then you admit that either way TPC would have been a target for a raid -- which was my point.

          Thanks for the compliments, means a lot coming from you, Klaus.
          Last edited by Unibot III on Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:19 am, edited 2 times in total.
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          Klaus Devestatorie
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          Postby Klaus Devestatorie » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:36 am

          Unibot III wrote:
          Klaus Devestatorie wrote:Elindra didn't know the significance of TPC herself (I believe the pup was inserted on probably her second or third day as a raider, and was the very first raid pup she made)


          So then you admit that either way TPC would have been a target for a raid -- which was my point.


          TPC wasn't an ordinary target. TPC received extreme attention from the point to blend in as a native- no less than 11 months as a nation not only being undercover, but actively attempting to be part of the community during that time. The only time that this was nearly blown was when Unknown and Europeia made an earlier attempt on the region- an operation apparently screwed by Falconias. I'm still not sure how Elindra bluffed her way out of being kicked that time. I suppose you could argue that TPC -needed- that kind of attention, but did it really need 11 months? Holy hell no.

          Unibot III wrote:Thanks for the compliments, means a lot coming from you, Klaus.


          pfft, I'm a nobody. xD
          CRUOR is a supernatural force, a holy spirit-like entity of awesome power and knowledge.
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          CRUOR judges worthiness by loyalty to Blood (herself), loyalty to Brotherhood (fellow disciples), and loyalty to the core values of CRUOR.
          The core values of CRUOR are Courage, Resolve, Unity, Order, and Ruthlessness.
          CRUOR remembers everyone who has ever wronged her, and does not accept divided allegiances.
          Devoted followers of CRUOR are rewarded with IMMORTALITY, a life beyond death.

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          Cormac Stark
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          Postby Cormac Stark » Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:20 am

          I think it was overall a great essay, and was definitely an interesting and enjoyable read. I'll probably read it a few more times just to be sure I'm grasping everything correctly.

          My initial reaction is that there is a serious flaw here, however: Some people don't want to be on one side or the other of an ideologically bipolar NationStates world. I think many of the arguments you make are solid in the context of that ideological dualism, but they become problematic for those of us who don't want to defend or invade every arbitrary region or accept the ideologies behind those actions. Some of us would like to invade regions based on our interests, whether that's because the region is an enemy or connected to an enemy, and defend regions based on our interests, whether that's because the region is an ally or because it's being invaded by an enemy. In the NationStates you seem to be proposing there is no room for such people; they must choose one or the other extreme.

          From a political perspective, I find those two polar opposites to be bland. It's a monotonous cycle of doing the same thing over and over again based on a rigid and ultimately simplistic ideology. Mind you, that's not just a criticism I have of defenderism but of raiderism as well. There's no variety or nuance. That may well be exciting for those who are primarily interested in military gameplay for the sake of military gameplay, but for those of us who have a more political emphasis this dualism is politically stale.

          Regardless, whether I agree with the entire essay or not you put a lot of thought into it and it's an interesting and thought-provoking read. Thanks for contributing to the ideas behind this game in such a thorough way.

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          Unibot III
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          Postby Unibot III » Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:30 am

          Cormac Stark wrote:I think it was overall a great essay, and was definitely an interesting and enjoyable read. I'll probably read it a few more times just to be sure I'm grasping everything correctly.

          My initial reaction is that there is a serious flaw here, however: Some people don't want to be on one side or the other of an ideologically bipolar NationStates world. I think many of the arguments you make are solid in the context of that ideological dualism, but they become problematic for those of us who don't want to defend or invade every arbitrary region or accept the ideologies behind those actions. Some of us would like to invade regions based on our interests, whether that's because the region is an enemy or connected to an enemy, and defend regions based on our interests, whether that's because the region is an ally or because it's being invaded by an enemy. In the NationStates you seem to be proposing there is no room for such people; they must choose one or the other extreme.

          From a political perspective, I find those two polar opposites to be bland. It's a monotonous cycle of doing the same thing over and over again based on a rigid and ultimately simplistic ideology. Mind you, that's not just a criticism I have of defenderism but of raiderism as well. There's no variety or nuance. That may well be exciting for those who are primarily interested in military gameplay for the sake of military gameplay, but for those of us who have a more political emphasis this dualism is politically stale.

          Regardless, whether I agree with the entire essay or not you put a lot of thought into it and it's an interesting and thought-provoking read. Thanks for contributing to the ideas behind this game in such a thorough way.


          I agree people like you exist, I disagree that you are the norm. I think a lot of senior legislators have claimed that their region must abandon the old R/D axis to secure a region's interests, but when you scratch beyond the surface of their logic, it is nothing more than a personal preference of the legislators -- oftentimes born from political convenience or sheer boredom.

          But if you're going to claim that abandoning the old R/D axis is in the regions' interests you need to actually back up how the R/D axis limits the optimal attainment of a regions' interests. The reason why I am suggesting people need to choose one or the other extreme is because I am arguing that the middle ground doesn't achieve a region's full interests or potential -- largely because people like you aren't the norm and the appeal for a realist Army isn't substantial. See Book III for further information.

          Nonetheless, thank you for your praise! And thank you for reading! :)
          Last edited by Unibot III on Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:09 am, edited 3 times in total.
          [violet] wrote:I mean this in the best possible way,
          but Unibot is not a typical NS player.
          Milograd wrote:You're a caring, resolute lunatic
          with the best of intentions.
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          King HEM
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          Postby King HEM » Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:20 am

          This wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be -- and yes, you can put that on the book jacket :P

          Your proposal about cyclical activity matches my findings completely, though I applied it more to the foundation of regions than you did.
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          SkyDip
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          Postby SkyDip » Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:34 am

          You could not spell "concise" if its dictionary page was open in front of you. :p

          Other than that, an interesting read, to be sure.
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          Gordano and Lysandus wrote:SkyDip's actions have, ultimately, destroyed the World Assembly.

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          Sedgistan wrote:SkyDip is trying to help, and is giving sound advice. I'd suggestion listening to him, as he has experience of writing (and advising others with) legal proposals.

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          Frattastan II
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          Postby Frattastan II » Mon Feb 04, 2013 8:09 am

          A great read. :)
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          Postby Tramiar » Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:03 pm

          Klaus Devestatorie wrote:and if it was up to LWU, TBH, or DEN, they would have burned the region to the ground anyway. In fact, all three got seriously pissed at us for letting TPC go too early.

          Can't say I remember ever getting "seriously pissed" at Unknown for anything. But whatever.



          That said, I'll have to read this book later. So much homework. Glad you finally finished it, Uni. :)
          Mallorea and Riva wrote:I too would ban myself if I saw me moving into my region.

          Tramiar: *causes great injustices to natives and fenda-kind*
          Spartzy: *prevents great injustices*
          Tramiar: too late, they were already caused.
          Spartzy: *stops great injustices*
          Tramiar: *causes greater injustices, cannot be fixed until next update*
          Spartzy: *quits the game*

          User avatar
          Jinckus
          Spokesperson
           
          Posts: 108
          Founded: Jul 08, 2012
          Ex-Nation

          Postby Jinckus » Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:16 pm

          Will a big time raider be releasing a similar essay to this?
          And so They Fell from Light

          User avatar
          Unibot III
          Negotiator
           
          Posts: 5526
          Founded: Mar 11, 2011
          Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

          Postby Unibot III » Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:20 pm

          King HEM wrote:This wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be -- and yes, you can put that on the book jacket :P

          Your proposal about cyclical activity matches my findings completely, though I applied it more to the foundation of regions than you did.


          Means a lot coming from you, HEM. Thanks! :)

          Frattastan II wrote:A great read. :)


          *hugs* Thanks Fratt! Thanks for the interview by the way, I think it helped to flesh out the RR-RRA dynamic a lot.

          Tramiar wrote:Glad you finally finished it, Uni. :)


          I am too! Ha! Thanks.
          [violet] wrote:I mean this in the best possible way,
          but Unibot is not a typical NS player.
          Milograd wrote:You're a caring, resolute lunatic
          with the best of intentions.
          Org. Join Date: 25/05/2008 | Former Delegate of The Rejected Realms | Gameplay Alignment: -18 / -13
          Unibotian Factbook // An Analysis of NationStates Generations // The Gameplay Alignment Test // NS Weather // How do I join the UDL? // The Transpacific Trade
          Paradise Found // The Unibotian Life Expectancy Index // Proudly Authored 9 GA Res., 14 SC Res. // Commended by SC#78 // The Polysemes of Nativeness;

          ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
          ✯ Duty is Eternal, Justice is Imminent: UDL

          User avatar
          Weed
          Diplomat
           
          Posts: 808
          Founded: Oct 23, 2011
          Anarchy

          Postby Weed » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:05 pm

          Still haven't finished reading it, but to make a tiny correction, I was probably just as active if not more active in TSP before the coup as I was after. I didn't join post-coup. I joined (months or weeks before, not sure) after an argument with SB about me understanding the feeders when I supported sedge's suggestion to reduce influence in the feeders. I was even running through nations in TSP by hand looking for nations SB hadn't endorsed to give her a list, to try to get her endorsements up, and that was pre-coup.

          Just felt the need to defend my TSP-nature, and the idea that it was not the coup that brought me there. SB gets full credit for convincing me to try TSP. :)

          User avatar
          Unibot III
          Negotiator
           
          Posts: 5526
          Founded: Mar 11, 2011
          Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

          Postby Unibot III » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:15 pm

          Weed wrote:Still haven't finished reading it, but to make a tiny correction, I was probably just as active if not more active in TSP before the coup as I was after. I didn't join post-coup. I joined (months or weeks before, not sure) after an argument with SB about me understanding the feeders when I supported sedge's suggestion to reduce influence in the feeders. I was even running through nations in TSP by hand looking for nations SB hadn't endorsed to give her a list, to try to get her endorsements up, and that was pre-coup.

          Just felt the need to defend my TSP-nature, and the idea that it was not the coup that brought me there. SB gets full credit for convincing me to try TSP. :)


          Oh alrighty, I didn't know that! Um, but I know Bel, myself and Milograd were pulled in with the Coup.

          EDIT: edited your name out of the essay.
          Last edited by Unibot III on Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
          [violet] wrote:I mean this in the best possible way,
          but Unibot is not a typical NS player.
          Milograd wrote:You're a caring, resolute lunatic
          with the best of intentions.
          Org. Join Date: 25/05/2008 | Former Delegate of The Rejected Realms | Gameplay Alignment: -18 / -13
          Unibotian Factbook // An Analysis of NationStates Generations // The Gameplay Alignment Test // NS Weather // How do I join the UDL? // The Transpacific Trade
          Paradise Found // The Unibotian Life Expectancy Index // Proudly Authored 9 GA Res., 14 SC Res. // Commended by SC#78 // The Polysemes of Nativeness;

          ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
          ✯ Duty is Eternal, Justice is Imminent: UDL

          User avatar
          Strykla
          Negotiator
           
          Posts: 6538
          Founded: Oct 30, 2009
          Ex-Nation

          Postby Strykla » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:36 pm

          Whew. That's.... Powerful. I don't think I've ever seen an NS Essay before.
          Lord Justice Clerk of the Classical Royalist Party, NSG Senate. Hail, Companion!

          User avatar
          Unibot III
          Negotiator
           
          Posts: 5526
          Founded: Mar 11, 2011
          Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

          Postby Unibot III » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:43 pm

          Strykla wrote:I don't think I've ever seen an NS Essay before.


          http://s4.zetaboards.com/UDL/forum/3850954/ < enjoy! Hehehe. I maintain the UDL's collections of them.
          [violet] wrote:I mean this in the best possible way,
          but Unibot is not a typical NS player.
          Milograd wrote:You're a caring, resolute lunatic
          with the best of intentions.
          Org. Join Date: 25/05/2008 | Former Delegate of The Rejected Realms | Gameplay Alignment: -18 / -13
          Unibotian Factbook // An Analysis of NationStates Generations // The Gameplay Alignment Test // NS Weather // How do I join the UDL? // The Transpacific Trade
          Paradise Found // The Unibotian Life Expectancy Index // Proudly Authored 9 GA Res., 14 SC Res. // Commended by SC#78 // The Polysemes of Nativeness;

          ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
          ✯ Duty is Eternal, Justice is Imminent: UDL

          User avatar
          Jinckus
          Spokesperson
           
          Posts: 108
          Founded: Jul 08, 2012
          Ex-Nation

          Postby Jinckus » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:46 pm

          Oh! This will be useful for research. Thanks for the link Unibot.
          And so They Fell from Light

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