Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

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Re: Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

Postby IronBear » Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:55 pm

ftl wrote:Another solution: stupidworld isn't exactly our world. There, u mad bro and trololol were around earlier. And, coincidentally, all other memes that appear on the internet for us get retconjured into stupidworld-before-parson-left.


The simpliest explaination is that we don't know exactly when Parson left Stupidworld. In a way it is a floating retconjuration. But I think it is easier to assume that the date that Parson left is what is getting retconned, rather than Parson's near-Earth is what is getting retconned.
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Re: Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

Postby Tonot » Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:33 pm

IronBear wrote:I have thought this possiblity out because I suspect it is something that Parson will try when he finally becomes a ruler.



Wow, you have given that a lot of thought.

It would be the very last thing someone should try to do for (actually TO ) them, to set up the kind of polity they ought to have, but going by the examples we see about us with certain countries trying to impose "democracy" on other countries' cultures, you are probably right that Parson might think to himself "OH, these guys don't know how to rule themselves, I better impose some particular system that I choose now with all my vasty experience of demographics and political science and historical structures, using my authority as a probably non-voting and certainly detached citizen in a relatively young country".
I guess you are an American, because you write all of that without the least implication, or mention, of the fact that the vast majority of people who live in Erfworld are not going to want to live in a Barbarian Banana Republic, because they have not one tiny experience with a Barbarian Republic and have never heard of any of the concepts and the closest thing that we have as a reference point to what they DO have as mental concepts or experience, are Democratic Monarchies. As an American you are maybe looking at it a different way, kind of like "What is the most expedient way to make Jack as good as his Master" to make all their votes/experience count for just the same. Even Parson imposing a Proper Democracy, i.e. one with a Sovereign, ;) would be a gross injustice, an evil act of oppression. It ain't the least bit his business.

However, with the exception of the Casters with their elitist setup in the Magic Kingdom, which isn't a democracy but a Meritocracy, there would be not one idea in any of their minds that their 'ruler" could possibly be, say, a lowly Stabber, and that they could "choose" her. What is a Stabbers charisma stats?. Even the American colonists, on gaining their Independence, serious debated making their "President" a "King" in name, because they, and everyone in the world, thought of Kings as the proper person to be rulers. These Erfworlders have infinitely more reason to think they ought to do the same.

So if Parson tries to make them all vote for "just anyone" who wants to stand for office, they won't understand and will laugh at him. They would have a hard enough time thinking for themselves about who their ruler is anyway, imo. At present, as a fact of nature for them, it is like you or I deciding to "think" about which gravity we would prefer, the kind we have . . . or something else. And it would be inexcusably wrong and arrogant for Parson to do anything of the sort. The only reason he is there at all, is because he was compelled, and the only reason he has to back his life and death choices, is because basically the mechanism continues the compulsion. None of that grants him the right to world wide regime change, even if he DID understand the real ramifications of his impulse to impose an arbitrary form of government on a collection of alien peoples.

And all that doesn't even mention that in the experience of Humanity for one, Presidential Democracies are absolutely the worst possible kind, with their four or five yearly hate-fests, their winner takes all handing out of positions, and their sectarian and divisive natures. ALL of these Erfworld people are killers by trade, you want them to have Fox News and Unions and Birthers and Left Wings and Right Wings and Banlieue and IMF and Anti-IMF etc etc?. How's that work in OUR world, hmm?, seem like a recipe for success for a people who have no idea, not the first example or experience of the GOOD Democracy might do, does it?.
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Re: Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

Postby Krennson » Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:18 pm

IronBear wrote:Actually I think it would be possible to initiate democracy in Erfworld. Here is how you could do it:

1) A ruler releases all his units as barbarians
2) The ruler allies with the units as they are released.
3) Since we have strong evidence that sides can pop rations and maintain units for other sides & barbarians, those allied barbarians would get their rations from the side they were once a part of. And even if they can not, we have proof that sides & barbarians can transfer smuckers without the need of moneymancers. The side could just transfer a stipend to these units.
4) These units now set up a democracy, and elect a leader. The ruler forfeits the capital and the leader takes the capital as its new ruler and side. The ruler effectively becomes the president of a "barbarian democracy", and when his term is over, he steps down and a new elected ruler refounds the side.
5) In order to keep the "president" in check, a group of barbarians would effectively hold the president hostage and force him to release all units he pops as a president of the side as barbarians.

There are some powerful advantages to this:
1) One clear advantage of such a "barbarian democracy" is that it is immune to decapitation attacks. Normally if a side loses its ruler, everyone in cities freezes and those outside the side disband. In a barbarian democracy, a pre-choosen vice president would just refound the side and all the barbarians would realign with it. If the capital is also taken, the outlying cities are still under barbarian control. Those barbarians can use them the captured cities as bases until they can retake their capital.
2) A barbarian democracy can utilize insurgency tactics. When a normal side looses its capital and ruler, it is game over for that side. A barbarian democracy can live off the land, waiting for a side to weaken.
3) A barbarian democracy can avoid expansion upkeep penalties. Essentially a barbarian democracy could be made up of hundreds of capital sites that each have their own senator and are answerable to a president.

There is one powerful diplomatic advantage:
1) A barbarian democracy could offer citizenship to casters from the Magic Kingdom. I imagine that a lot of casters may be interested in a steady paycheck.

There is also one overwhelming advantage that could make them clearly superior. I highly suspect that barbarians have a lower, perhaps MUCH lower, upkeep than units in sides. I point to two items as my evidence:
1) The Magic Kingdom. The Magic Kingdom has hundreds, perhaps thousands of spellcasters in it. Additionally, it seems like these casters lead a largely idealic, scholarly lifestyle. They work, but not much. And when they work it is mostly for other spellcasters. I find it inconceivable that the Magic Kingdom generates enough smuckers to keep that many spellcasters funded. However if the barbarians have lowered upkeep, it could explain a lot.
2) Jillian's Escape. Jillian operated without anyone paying her smucker upkeep for several turns when she was an escaped prisioner. All Jillian had to worry about is provisions. So there is a state of reduced smucker upkeep already in the system.

If indeed Barbarians do have lowered upkeep, then Barbarian democracy could be a very scary thing.

I have thought this possiblity out because I suspect it is something that Parson will try when he finally becomes a ruler.


Hmmm... I prefer my system, where we use a constitutional monarchy, and all the senior leadership is bound by signamancy/thinkamancy contracts to honor a certain system for laws and elections. And those contracts apply across kingdoms, when they get large enough to split of a new side.

However, your system has a lot going for it as well... if I'm interpreting your system correctly, every 'kingdom' is as small as possible, and exists only to produce large surpluses of food and occasional barbarian units? They have no functional defenses of their own, and are reliant on 'allied' barbarians to protect them?

but i see a few problems.
First, I think only warlords or casters can actually make useful decisions as a barbarian side. units without leadership will just move around harvesting and auto-attacking. So in your system, the only people with 'votes' are likely to be units with the leadership special.

Second, I don't think Chief Warlord bonuses propagate across alliances the same way they propagate across kingdoms. I THINK that if you have a level 9 Chief warlord running a kingdom, that he gives a fraction of his level, maybe 1/3 or so, as a bonus to EVERY unit in his kingdom, in EVERY hex. And then he gives additional bonuses to units in his own hex or his own stack. But i don't think Alliances can have a single chief warlord, so any allied barbarians probably lose any bonus from having a high-level chief warlord in a distant hex.

Third, unless every leadership unit is bound by contracts, I suspect they'll quickly lose any loyalty for their original side, and devolve into anarchists. At that point, the first alliance of high-level barbarians to seize the capital will probably be able to hold it against all comers, or else the whole side will devolve into chaotic bloodshed.

On the other hand.... If you DID have signmancy contracts, spawning of barbarian 'sides' might be a very interesting way of funding a guerrilla war, or maintaining a 'poison pill' that will come back to bite anyone who decapitates a monarch...
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Re: Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

Postby Lilwik » Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:46 pm

Krennson wrote:I think only warlords or casters can actually make useful decisions as a barbarian side. units without leadership will just move around harvesting and auto-attacking. So in your system, the only people with 'votes' are likely to be units with the leadership special.
I think to have a real democracy all units would need to be promoted to warlord if they aren't already commanders. Democracies are no place for people who can't think for themselves. If an Erfworld side is unsustainable with only commanders then democracy isn't for Erfworld.

Krennson wrote:I don't think Chief Warlord bonuses propagate across alliances the same way they propagate across kingdoms.
It's all just speculation about the mechanics of Erfworld with no real evidence, but I like to think that leadership bonuses rather closely correspond to how leadership works in Stupidworld. In other words, everyone being lead should benefit from the leadership skills of the leader. I like to think that when Ansom was leading the RCC column against Gobwin Knob, the entire column was getting Ansom's leadership bonus even though it was an alliance of many sides. I think that Erfworlders tend to let the unit with the highest leadership call the shots because by doing so they gain the leadership bonus of that unit. I'm thinking of the scene where Jillian and Webinar argue in Book 1, Page 50.
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Re: Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

Postby Krennson » Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:52 pm

Lilwik wrote:
Krennson wrote:I think only warlords or casters can actually make useful decisions as a barbarian side. units without leadership will just move around harvesting and auto-attacking. So in your system, the only people with 'votes' are likely to be units with the leadership special.
I think to have a real democracy all units would need to be promoted to warlord if they aren't already commanders. Democracies are no place for people who can't think for themselves. If an Erfworld side is unsustainable with only commanders then democracy isn't for Erfworld.

I doubt theres a budget for that.... remember, we have to come up with something that would potentially work within erfworld. There are a lot of hard limitations we have to work around, and cost of promotion is one of them.
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Re: Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

Postby wih » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:19 pm

IronBear wrote:
ftl wrote:Another solution: stupidworld isn't exactly our world. There, u mad bro and trololol were around earlier. And, coincidentally, all other memes that appear on the internet for us get retconjured into stupidworld-before-parson-left.


The simpliest explaination is that we don't know exactly when Parson left Stupidworld. In a way it is a floating retconjuration. But I think it is easier to assume that the date that Parson left is what is getting retconned, rather than Parson's near-Earth is what is getting retconned.


We know that the last Hamstard comic was posted July 17th 2006, so it must have been after that. At that stage they were being posted weekly, so some point between 18th-23rd is likely.
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Re: Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

Postby Arky » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:50 pm

On the format:
I haven't bothered with the videos since the first one (just didn't see the point, really, and so much slower than normal reading), but this one was a nice change of pace to watch even if it did mean waiting until I got home from work. OK with it as a one-off.

On the arms race: since we first learned of Ace Hardware's ability to make magic item versions of Stupidworld military hardware, we strongly suspected this tech would end up in Parson's hands and it has. In hindsight, we should have expected Charlie to have or acquire the same stuff.

It's going to be hilarious the first time Parson's upgraded troops fight Charlie's upgraded Archons. Both of them will think they're bringing Warhammer 40K units to a battlefield full of regular Warhammer troops... whoops!

The idea that Charlie is amassing this army with the idea of conquering not Erfworld but Stupidworld is an interesting one. I like the idea, anyway.

Also, if Parson hasn't worked out by now that there's a very high probability of Charlie being from Stupidworld or in a position to observe Stupidworld- care to run that through your bracer, Parson?- then there's something wrong with him.
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Re: Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

Postby Azukar » Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:57 am

I know this is going to sound crazy, but...

I don't prefer the video updates; haven't watched most of them as I would rather read than listen, and yet... I'm not complaining about them! :shock: Weird, right?

I'm still following Erfworld. I don't plan on stopping. I know why these epilogues and video updates are happening, and although I like the regular comic pages more, I'm content to wait until they come back. I'm also not so hopelessly over-entitled to think that the writers are subject to my opinions about how they should or shouldn't make their comic.

(And the prologue has grown on me, too. Reeeeally keen to see how this all ends!)
---

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Re: Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

Postby drachefly » Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:34 am

wih wrote:
IronBear wrote:
ftl wrote:Another solution: stupidworld isn't exactly our world. There, u mad bro and trololol were around earlier. And, coincidentally, all other memes that appear on the internet for us get retconjured into stupidworld-before-parson-left.


The simpliest explaination is that we don't know exactly when Parson left Stupidworld. In a way it is a floating retconjuration. But I think it is easier to assume that the date that Parson left is what is getting retconned, rather than Parson's near-Earth is what is getting retconned.


We know that the last Hamstard comic was posted July 17th 2006, so it must have been after that. At that stage they were being posted weekly, so some point between 18th-23rd is likely.


More Hamstards can be added retroactively as needed.
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Re: Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

Postby El_Chupacabra » Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:10 pm

Tonot wrote:
IronBear wrote:I have thought this possiblity out because I suspect it is something that Parson will try when he finally becomes a ruler.



Wow, you have given that a lot of thought.

[rant snipped]



Wow, that was... not classy. You do realize this forum is supposed to AVOID RL rants, polemic, and lectures in the vein that you posted, per Erf Policy?

Please note the comment that follows yours as a proper example as to how to use a little bit more tact in the discussion and rephrase your comment in a more constructive fashion. Leave the vitriol for another board.

And to actually add something to the topic: Charlie may have always had this capability, but prefers to avoid using it so as to stay "Off the Leaderboards".

Actually, I would think that this was also a way to make sure nobody quite knew of Charlie's capabilities -- this army probably only exists first as a guarantee that any army that attacks would be defeated as completely as the armies that attacked GK -- with no real intelligence getting back, as there are no survivors -- and as a follow up strike against any aggressor, with the same result. I actually don't attribute any sort of "conquer the world, stupid or erf" goal here, more of a "run up the score, survive as long as possible" goal.

If there's no aging death in Erf (I don't recall anyone dying of anything other than violence), could Charlie be making an immortality gambit?
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Re: Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

Postby effataigus » Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:43 pm

I'm embarrassed by how long it took for me to think of watching the epilogue video without the sound turned off.
El_Chupacabra wrote:
Tonot wrote:
IronBear wrote:I have thought this possiblity out because I suspect it is something that Parson will try when he finally becomes a ruler.

Wow, you have given that a lot of thought.
[rant snipped]

Wow, that was... not classy. You do realize this forum is supposed to AVOID RL rants, polemic, and lectures in the vein that you posted, per Erf Policy?

1. Tonot's rant wasn't that bad.
2. What rule are you quoting? I thought the only rule was Rob's "Don't be a dick."

Anyway, Tonot brings up an important flaw in the democracy discussion. Even if you presume that democracy is the best way to govern humans (which Tonot does not), there is good evidence to suggest that Erfworlders are even less mentally equipped to deal with democracy than we humans are. Consider this comic for example: http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F085.jpg
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Re: Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

Postby Lamech » Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:12 pm

Indeed Tonot's rantings didn't seem particularly dickish. Perhaps a bit off the socially acceptable American political spectrum, but hardly dickish.
I however am going to propose a completely different system for Erfworlders:
ANARCHY
No wait, don't go! I hear me out! Please?
First off not total anarchy, but the libertarian ideal system of anarchy. Like the signamancy used to enforce the "barbarian republic" system of anarchy you would use similar magic to enforce peace between the dudes. Including barring of disbandment or giving orders. You would need more magic to figure out someway everyone could support him or herself. Probably involving some sort of population control and magic. Get a number of non-dickish commanders and other thinking elites to help run everything. Ensure there is no stigma against turning barbarian. Every unit can now do what they want. As effataigus points out its going to be a lot of "I want to serve my side/commander/ruler", but there will be no more threats of violence to back it up. Everyone can do what they want. Which is the best you can really do.

Its the libertarian paradise. The things that are crimes are impossible, so you don't need a government to use force. You may need some set of tireless selfless enslaved casters to continue building up the magical infastructure that supports it, but small price to pay. (Especially considering how its not really a price since a lot of casters all ready are like that.) The exact system of sides isn't too important. Just make sure they don't have single failure points. Barbarians, natural sides, "official" sides with several heirs. Whatever.

You don't need some democracy to run Erfworld. You can get away without governments, if magical contracts are enforcing everything.
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Re: Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

Postby Dystopianman » Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:38 pm

Tonot wrote:
And all that doesn't even mention that in the experience of Humanity for one, Presidential Democracies are absolutely the worst possible kind, with their four or five yearly hate-fests, their winner takes all handing out of positions, and their sectarian and divisive natures. ALL of these Erfworld people are killers by trade, you want them to have Fox News and Unions and Birthers and Left Wings and Right Wings and Banlieue and IMF and Anti-IMF etc etc?. How's that work in OUR world, hmm?


Thats the central issue isn't it? Every unit in Erfworld's natural instinct is to fight and kill. Unled units auto attack. Is it possible to change those rules? Just as rules of rulership seem ironclad, so to do Erfworld's rules of being a unit.

So again, are the rules for this, and for democracy, and for night operations, technology, mass production, industrialization, political campaigns, etc etc etc /already/ in existence and simply haven't yet been discovered by the denizens of Erfworld, or are they created/adapated/evolved/changed to suit the reality on the ground.

I guess another way of putting it is which way does Signamancy work? Does the Sign make the man? Or is the Sign just showing what the man is?
This is strategy. First...you have a goal. Then, you list objectives in support of that goal, in order of importance. Then, you weigh the costs and accomplish the most you can, however you can. Without even fighting, if possible!
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Re: Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

Postby El_Chupacabra » Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:02 pm

effataigus wrote:I'm embarrassed by how long it took for me to think of watching the epilogue video without the sound turned off.
El_Chupacabra wrote:
Tonot wrote: Words

Wow, that was... not classy. You do realize this forum is supposed to AVOID RL rants, polemic, and lectures in the vein that you posted, per Erf Policy?

1. Tonot's rant wasn't that bad.



Tonot wrote:I guess you are an American, because you write all of that without the least implication, or mention, of the fact that the vast majority of people who live in Erfworld are not...


There's not really any other interpretation of that other than, "Stupid American, you're oblivious to reality."

The entire first paragraph is pure and unadulterated stereotyping of American political thought and pretty much saying, "Shut up, you don't know what you're talking about due to your nationality". Not cool.

effataigus wrote:2. What rule are you quoting? I thought the only rule was Rob's "Don't be a dick."


Apologies for not having the explicit rule -- stuck at work and probably should not be here :D but it's along the lines of "keep Real Life debates out of the discussion, only mention RL examples as they would be relevant to Erf." Tonot could have simply said the theories would not work in Erf and why, but he strayed into why they don't work in RL and shame on Americans for thinking they do.

effataigus wrote:Anyway, Tonot brings up an important flaw in the democracy discussion. Even if you presume that democracy is the best way to govern humans (which Tonot does not), there is good evidence to suggest that Erfworlders are even less mentally equipped to deal with democracy than we humans are. Consider this comic for example: http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F085.jpg


I would agree on this -- it's a long stretch to condition a population popped explicitly for war under Elite "Royals" and "Overlords" for the concept of democracy, republicanism, parliamentarian representation, what have you. However, it's also a long stretch to condition them for peace in the first place -- and unless we swerve in a radically different direction, the status quo ain't cutting it.

To be fair, I'm done with my counter-rant -- Tonot can change his attitude or not. But I clearly see others are capable of discussing these concepts without bringing in the "sneer" I see in his posts.
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Re: Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

Postby nargbop » Thu Dec 05, 2013 6:50 pm

Less political question: how does he know how much time passed?
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Re: Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

Postby Lamech » Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:55 pm

From when? I don't think we've gotten a full day of the epilogues in. Parson went to bed, and got woken up by Charlie. From Parson arriving in Erfworld only a hundredish turns. back on Earth time is without meaning to outside observers such as Parson.
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Re: Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

Postby Zeku » Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:59 pm

There has never been a functioning society in all of human history without a leader.

Even animal groups have alpha males or females.

You guys have been drinking too much koolaid if you think that a leader won't instantly appear, in any situation, no matter how you structure the rules.

The current 'leaders' of the world are (possibly, probably) international bankers imposing feudalism through fractional reserve banking, and waging wars on all countries that are not in debt to world banks)

There is no democracy, that is not a real type of government. There was an American republic for a while, but it probably disappeared around 100 years ago, silently replaced by whatever is running things now.
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Re: Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

Postby Lilwik » Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:42 pm

Dystopianman wrote:Every unit in Erfworld's natural instinct is to fight and kill. Unled units auto attack. Is it possible to change those rules? Just as rules of rulership seem ironclad, so to do Erfworld's rules of being a unit.
Scouts don't auto attack. I can't prove this, but I strongly suspect that the only reason unled units auto attack is because they are incapable of making their own judgements about who they should attack, so their leaders are forced to give unled units simple orders, like attack when you see an enemy, or hide, or retreat. So at least auto attacking could be stopped by turning all units into scouts, but that would surely cost shmuckers because it means giving the unit stealth skills and equipment. I expect that you could get the same effect for free simply by ordering all your units to never attack. An order like that would probably have pretty serious morale issues, since Wrigley lived his whole life wishing for nothing more than a chance to stab someone (Summer Update 34). I wonder how he would react to hearing that he was going to be forbidden from stabbing forever.
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Re: Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

Postby Lipkin » Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:51 pm

I support breaking Erf so badly that it becomes like a standard RPG setting in tone. There would still be war, but it wouldn't be the only option, and most issues would be handled with independent bands of roaming "heroes."


Tonot made a lot of valid points, and though I agree his tone wasn't the greatest, at most he came off as slightly condescending, not truly offensive.

Trying to impose democracy upon the citizens of Erf would be a cruelty. It's not just that units think a certain way, it's that they pop thinking that way. They come pre-programmed ready, willing, and expecting to be ruled. It isn't an issue of culture, it's the way Erf is made. To try and turn it into a democracy would pull the rug out from under them. The majority of units flat out would not know how to function without natural thinkomancy directing them.
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Re: Epilogue 25 - Parson and Charlie

Postby Lilwik » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:11 pm

Lipkin wrote:They come pre-programmed ready, willing, and expecting to be ruled. It isn't an issue of culture, it's the way Erf is made. To try and turn it into a democracy would pull the rug out from under them. The majority of units flat out would not know how to function without natural thinkamancy directing them.
That's probably true for people like Wrigley and the Sagittari family of Book 2, Text 55, but I doubt democracy would be a problem for commanders. Jillian would have loved to have more influence in her father's decisions. Perhaps Erfworld can only handle a elitist democracy of commanders, sort of like only allowing people to vote if they have been successfully trained in the knowledge and skills necessary to make the decisions of government. Imagine a democracy where only people who have taken college-level courses in economics, law, or international politics are allowed to vote. In Erfworld, those people are warlords and casters.
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