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[DRAFT] A Hundred Flowers Bloom

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Candlewhisper Archive
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Anarchy

[DRAFT] A Hundred Flowers Bloom

Postby Candlewhisper Archive » Wed Nov 11, 2020 6:15 pm

Based on Mao's Bǎihuā Qífàng.

TITLE:

A Hundred Flowers Bloom

VALIDITY:

Authoritatian regime that restricts political free speech heavily

DESCRIPTION:

Constructive feedback of your government is hard to come by, as the people seem to be fearful to speak their opinions.

OPTION 1

"I am sure that the majority love your leadership, and we should encourage everyone to express their honest opinions," suggests your Minister for Opened Windows. "I propose we celebrate the nation by asking the many voices of our people to express opinions of the government. Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend."

OUTCOME:
many citizens use "that blithering idiot" as @@LEADER@@'s unofficial pretitle

OPTION 2

"That is indeed an excellent idea!" adds your Minister for Throwing People Out of Open Windows. "And after a year or so, once we identify the dissident voices, we can move to arrest them! So cunning! People will applaud your cleverness."

OUTCOME:
healthy criticism isn't always healthy for critics

OPTION 3

"Maybe dignified silence suits our people best," counters your Minister for Windows Failing to Open, stepping out from behind a blue paper screen. "We should make it clear that the masses are not permitted to offer opinions, and that the only things we want to hear are the names of any traitors spreading dissent. Renegades will abort their attempts at subversion, and if they retry rebellion, they will certainly fail."

OUTCOME:
silence officially implies consent
Last edited by Candlewhisper Archive on Wed Nov 11, 2020 6:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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SherpDaWerp
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby SherpDaWerp » Wed Nov 11, 2020 6:36 pm

Minister for Windows Failing to Open, stepping out from behind a blue paper screen
:rofl:

I feel like there should be more of a focus on the constructive part of the criticism. It's brought up in the description but then the rest of the issue kinda ignores that aspect. Option 1, for instance, doesn't say anything whatsoever about why constructive criticism is useful, and then the effect line acts as if the criticism can be literally whatever - "blithering idiot" is hardly constructive.

I can't imagine many nations that have got to the point of heavily restricting political dissent would choose Option 1 when the actual option just says "let's allow people to express opinions of the government" without much justification.
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Candlewhisper Archive
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Anarchy

Postby Candlewhisper Archive » Wed Nov 11, 2020 7:08 pm

I guess so, and I suppose that at the time that Mao's government proposes a hundred flowers it wasn't yet clear that they were going to be a regime that supressed free speech. I'll have a think about how to pitch that.
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Trotterdam
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Postby Trotterdam » Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:43 pm

Candlewhisper Archive wrote:I guess so, and I suppose that at the time that Mao's government proposes a hundred flowers it wasn't yet clear that they were going to be a regime that supressed free speech. I'll have a think about how to pitch that.
Even now, historians debate about whether Mao's later betrayal of the free-speakers (this issue's option 2) was something he had planned for the start, or something that he did for damage control after realizing that his original plan backfired on him.

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Australian rePublic
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Postby Australian rePublic » Fri Nov 13, 2020 3:22 pm

The fear of option 2 happening is exactly why option 1 wouldn't work
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Frieden-und Freudenland
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Postby Frieden-und Freudenland » Thu Jan 14, 2021 8:34 pm

Maybe Option 2 could be tweaked to suggest the opposite: e.g., that critics should be guaranteed immunity from prosecution for what they say, to provide an incentive for them to state their honest opinion?

Assuming, of course, that the goal is to get constructive criticism, as the description suggests.

The effect line, however, could be one that says how some sycophantic officials use this info to blacklist regime opponents, just in case it becomes useful in the future.
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Candlewhisper Archive
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Founded: Aug 28, 2015
Anarchy

Postby Candlewhisper Archive » Sat Jan 16, 2021 4:45 pm

Huh, I'd forgotten this draft.

Option 2 is what happened in real life, so I'm loathe to change it. As Trotterdam says, some (including the Chinese government) have argued that they didn't actually EXPECT any negativity so weren't deliberately trying to trap dissidents, but the cynic in me says that an autocratic state like that is likely to have had every intention of catching dissidents.
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Trotterdam
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Postby Trotterdam » Sun Jan 17, 2021 3:11 am

Candlewhisper Archive wrote:Option 2 is what happened in real life, so I'm loathe to change it. As Trotterdam says, some (including the Chinese government) have argued that they didn't actually EXPECT any negativity so weren't deliberately trying to trap dissidents, but the cynic in me says that an autocratic state like that is likely to have had every intention of catching dissidents.
For an example of it going the other way, take a look at Gorbachev. He improved the Soviet Union's freedom of speech in the belief that it would encourage constructive criticism and increase people's trust in the government... and instead, it just revealed how little trust people had in the government, leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union several years later. (Disclaimer: This is a simplification. I am not a historian and what actually happened was probably a lot more complicated.)

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Baizou
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Postby Baizou » Mon Jan 18, 2021 4:18 pm

Definitely forms a solid issue, with a reference many will catch, and effects appropriate to NationStates' humor. Though, it does feel a little like it's just a more straightforward version of Waste of Time. Oh hey, now that I'm looking it up, you also wrote that one. Great issue, by the way!
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Australian rePublic
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Postby Australian rePublic » Fri Jan 29, 2021 8:12 pm

Option 2- instead of "arrest them" maybe consider write "disappear them". If they're arrested, their loved ones can rebel, if disappeared, they're disappeared
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Candlewhisper Archive
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Anarchy

Postby Candlewhisper Archive » Sun Jan 31, 2021 3:25 pm

Australian rePublic wrote:Option 2- instead of "arrest them" maybe consider write "disappear them". If they're arrested, their loved ones can rebel, if disappeared, they're disappeared


There's not much practical difference in countries like that...

Anyway, I'd argue that if your relatives are imprisoned rather than vanished, you've got more incentive to "play nice" with the system in hope of seeing them free again. Whereas if you convince yourself there's no chance for a loved one to return, that's what you take up their fight in their memory.
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Candlewhisper Archive
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Founded: Aug 28, 2015
Anarchy

Postby Candlewhisper Archive » Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:46 pm

Baizou wrote:Definitely forms a solid issue, with a reference many will catch, and effects appropriate to NationStates' humor. Though, it does feel a little like it's just a more straightforward version of Waste of Time. Oh hey, now that I'm looking it up, you also wrote that one. Great issue, by the way!



You're not wrong about the thematic overlap, and I thought that myself as I wrote it. However, my own thinking was that there aren't many issues for authoritarian nations, and that the setup comes from a different angle, so maybe they can co-exist? I'll let my fellow editors make that call.

Any other thoughts from anyone before I submit this?
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