Chris Roberts

Discussion in 'General Wing Commander Chat' started by Bearcat, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. Quarto

    Quarto Unknown Enemy

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    My memory is very vague about this, especially since it was a one-line mention in one of the books, but as I recall, the Kilrathi did NOT exterminate the Hari. Instead, the Hari committed mass suicide rather than surrender.

    (IIRC, the Kilrathi may have exterminated the Shata/Utara, but even that I'm not sure of)

    In general, the discussion about whether the Kilrathi were out to exterminate us or not didn't really get concluded properly. A lot of stuff was ignored, the most obvious being the fact that Confed was able to capture a planet with human slaves in the last year of the war - AFTER the imperial decree that supposedly meant the extermination of humanity. In other words, the imperial decree was either widely ignored, or repealed.
     
  2. Edfilho

    Edfilho Cry some more!

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    Well, I invite you to play the SOL mission and win it... :)
    And please, I'm not Delance or his employee or something. I do like tolwyn a lot, I only dislike his murderous lunatic phase...

    But regardless of one's approval of the T-Bomb and the Project, both were really, really, really different situations.

    First, the Kilrathy are a real, present threat. There is a state of war with them. Self-defense is morally justifiable.

    Tolwyn planned to kill a good deal of his own species/nation to protect it from a distant threat.

    The deegree of certainty and the time frame of the threat is capital for defining the morality of a preemptive of preventive action... The bombing of Kilrah was actually neither, it was an attempt to END a war. Tolywn wold be doing something comparable to the T-Bomb if he sent a covert op to deploy a weapon that would somehow end the Bug conflict that was actually happening. Even if he did so BEFORE the conflict, it would still be different from slaughtering "unfit" humans. He wanted to start a war between parts of the human space to "strengthen" the human race. It is absolutely NOTHING like the TBomb in any aspect all.

    This comparison of your is absolutely flawed. Even if we ignore the whole "was it genocide?" deal for a moment, even if I were to concede the point, the scenarios are absolutely unlike each other.
     
  3. AD

    AD Finder of things, Doer of stuff

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    Oh really? So murdering people that are *different* than you is ok because some undetermined time in the future they just might come and pick a fight with you? How do you know this wouldn't actual spark the conflict you are supposedly trying to prevent!
     
  4. Death

    Death gh0d (Administrator)

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    Or, alternately, that it wasn't an "all at once" event, and/or the extermination being given a lower priority.

    Not having, IIRC, any further mention of it beyond Jugaka's private chat with Tolwyn in FA, though, I'm not entirely sure we could come to a satisfactory conclusion either way, though it's entirely possible that my memory and a lack of a recent re-reading of FA could be skewing things.
     
  5. Delance

    Delance Victory, you say?

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    Well, that *is* a form of moral relativism Quarto. It's evil to carpet bomb cities to terrorize civilians, but that doesn't make the Allies as *bad* as the Axis. What I was arguing all along was against moral equivalence. Confed did bad things, but was not as bad as the Empire. Blair did terrible things, but was not as evil as Tolwyn on WCIV. And so on.

    That's a really bad example because it doesn't apply to all cases. The justification on an action may completely change it's nature. To kill is murder, except in self-defense. This might be the case here, or not, but to just cite an example doesn’t prove anything.

    The angle you are missing is what the alternatives were at that point. If Confed continue to lose the war, for how much time would they be able to mount the T-Bomb operation. For how long would the hidden weapons depot with the T-Bomb remain secret? The Excalibur does so many jump points on its own, and it was already a stretch to mount it as it was. If that was Confed’s last chance of winning the war, or at least for a long time, how to justify not doing it? There was the risk of losing the war, and suffering genocidal enslavement at the hands of the Kilrathi, all too willing to do it.

    No, I’m not justifying bombing Kilrah, but I can’t find any justification to not doing it, and risking the Kilrathi destroying Earth and putting the human race under the risk of enslavement and genocide.

    What good would be to be like the Mantu, who defeated the Kilrathi but allowed them to continue with their business of warfare and enslaving? Historically speaking, it's imperative to destroy the apparatus and the culture behind such terrible agression. They did that against the Axis on WW2, and that's the framework they used on WC3. Not simply defeat the Kilrathi, but the destruction of its culture. It was that kind of war, anyway. The Kilrahi made it so. It only happens that they lost.

    Not only that, but wouldn't surrender be the same as genocide against *confed*? How to ask someone to allow an enemy to commit genocide against themselves, just to prevent them from doing the same?

    So destroying a culture based on warfare and slavery is genocide now? Wow, it just happens that genocide is a *lot* more frequent on history than everybody thought. That's a very broad definition. It seems like Luke commited genocide against the galatic Empire with the terrorist bombing a space station on the orbit of Endor that killed countless innocent contractors.

    I agree, but what matter is the context on which the weapon is used. Reverse you example. Say there was a reason to build such a weapon, but it ceased to be. Would its use still be justified? Of course not. Simply owning the biggest gun the universe doesn't mean you have to point it somewhere. I would agree, however, that such a thing could only be used on a last resource, if there was a very big risk that great harm could come to Confed, like the destruction of Earth, and there was little chance of victory with conventional means. That’s debatable how much this was the case on WC3. Even more debatable is Blair’s somewhat limited perception of the situation. He was, after all, fighting on a local scale, and didn’t spend as much time looking at the big picture like his lordship the Admiral.

    To clarify, we have 3 basic questions:

    1) Was the bombing of Kilrah justifiable?
    2) Was it genocide?
    3) Is Blair to blame for this action?

    To day, I’d say:

    1) Only if *not* bombing Kilrah was *not* justifiable, what might be the case at the point.
    2) Perhaps against the Emperor’s clan, but, on itself, not against the Kilrathi as race (it could be, if part of a larger, systematic effort).
    3) Yes, because he did it knowing what was going to happen, but with a limited perception about the circumstances behind it.

    But I don’ think 2) and 3) are as important as 1). That’s because, depending on the notion of genocide, every single society in existence now or on WC would’ve been built upon genocide, directly or indirectly, because it replaced something else. That’s a position that could be argued, but would make the whole thing a moot point. And Blair’s culpability ultimately depends upon Confed’s culpability. So, in the end, what we need to ask is how much would it be reasonable to ask Confed not to use the T-Bomb at that moment.

    Arguably, Confed could still win the war. It would take some time, and perhaps Earth would be destroyed in the process. Things could improve over time, however if they didn’t, then Confed might have lost its single chance to prevent defeat. At the result would be nothing but enslavement and genocide. So, giving the information they did have at the time, how strongly could it be expected of them not to use it?
     
  6. Edfilho

    Edfilho Cry some more!

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    Both actions are definitely wrong.
    But they're different actions with different moral characteristics.


    And a little history to us all... Israel started the Six Day War because Nasser (egypt's president) was announcing a military attack into Israel publicly. He blocked shipping through a channel (the name escapes my memory) and massed troops on the borders, and so did Syria. Israel decided to attack first and take the war into its enemies' land (they had a terrible experience with the previous war). Israel won the war, minimizing their causalties. Their attack was considered legitimate and morally justified by International Law and public opionion. Later it was found out that Nasser was bluffing, he wouldn't start a war.... But Israel had no way of knowing it.

    A few years later the Israeli military had very good intelligence predicting a joint Egyptian-Syrian attack on israel... The first minister and the joint chiefs decided not to launch a preemptive attack because they had already employed this tactic, and the US and other Israeli allies would not aprove of a second time. Israel WAS indeed attacked and suffered much more severe casualties, both civilian and military.

    This is all to demonstrate how the use of preemption is a delicate a complicated matter.

    Things are even more touchy if you consider that both the "Project" and a theoretical attack on the Nephilim are not preemption anymore, but prevention (preventive strikes are based on threats more distant in time and less probable).

    Preemption can be morally and legally acceptable, but the balance between the probable risk, the cost of actually useing it and the collateral damage is very important. In the case of the Nephilim in WC4's time frame, indeed it would be too early and risky to attack them, and the result would probably be catastrophic, not to mention a simply immoral course of action. However if the Nephilim massing on confed's borders, broadcasting threats, than no reasonble being could oppose to a preemptive strike (and not preventive, the threat is immediate and quite likely to happen).

    But no amount of calculations and threats can justify the slaughter of your own people/country for its "strengthening"... it is an even more immoral and unjustifiable. No context or circumstance can modify the "wrongness" of such decision.
     
  7. Edfilho

    Edfilho Cry some more!

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    I unfortunately believe that people stretched the meaning of "genocide" into uselessness. We might employ generic latu sensu semantics so that it means actually nothing. Or we might attain to its original and strictu sensu and actually have a tool to work with.

    By the very broad definitions strangely prefered here, the killing of the Romanov family by the bolsheviks (a true atrocity) was genocide. The victory of the Monarchists over their Shogunist foes in 18th century Japan was genocide, and so was the victory of Tokugawa over Iewasu. Hell, even the skateboarding prohibition of 1980's São Paulo was a genocide, for it tried to crush a culture!

    Thing is: the nar Kiranka clan was not a culture. It was fully integrated to the Kilrathi empire. Destroying some of its members was a legitimate act of war, just like attaking the japanese Admiral's plane in WW2. It was necessary to address the very likely and immediate risk of being destroyed... Even if the Kilrathi were not really going to exterminate humanity, Confed has full right to employ whatever means necessary to avoid defeat. Slavery was not an option.

    That does not mean that it is a trivial matter, an act to be lightly forgotten. Even though it was, by all reasonable factors, legitimate and morally justifiable, it was a terrbile thing to do.

    If you are assaulted and end up killing your assaulter while defending yourself, you would be legally right (in most countries) and morally correct... but that wouldn't stop you from suffering a severe psychological trauma. The T-Bombing of Kilrah is the same situation, only on a larger scale. That actually makes the balance favor Confed, for many more lives would be lost if they didn't bomb kilrah.... both kilrathi lives and human. In my example, we had a life for another life.

    Maybe there could be victory without the T-Bombing... But most evidence Confed had at the time pointed otherwise, and any other chance of survival for Confed would involve more deaths of both men and kat alike.

    The Project had not a single one of this circumstances and context issues to make it morally acceptable. It was a bad thing from any reasonable point of view.
     
  8. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation!

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    That's correct, the Hari were not exterminated.

    All we know in both cases is that they attacked them - there's nothing about extermination in either reference.

    Or never made, since it was simply something Jukaga warned Tolwyn would happen if the fleet did not surrender. We don't see Thrakhath actually order such a decree -- rather, he orders individual planets destroyed one at a time during the Earth Defense Campaign... which leads to protests on Jukaga's part (and the handling of this campaign ultimately leads to several coup attempts).

    The point of all this is that it's all well and good for Thrakhath to threaten such things... but it's another for him actually to be capable of carrying out such an order. A slave is *valuable*, and it would be very hard for someone with a tenuous hold on his political position to force such a vast change in the Empire -- hey, everybody, you're not leisurely aristocrats anymore, you have to kill your property and work for yourselves, and also please stop plotting to overthrow me.

    In the interests of not using my knowledge of such references to cover up things in order to make my point, it is referred to again in the Wing Commander 3 novelization (in the context of the Emperor ordering Thrakhath to test the bio-weapons and Thrakhath being against the idea).

    ... find me the newly liberated Varni, Utara, Wu, Eyoka, Jarma, Hagarin, Gorth, Sorn, Ka and Shata systems on the map. The Confederation didn't stop the Kilrathi "business of warfare and enslaving" -- they're fighting a major war between themselves right now and they continue to have a slave-based culture. We weren't ever making space safe for Democracy.

    Of course it was a culture -- it's the Kilrathi equivalent of a nation... but even more than that, a group that considers itself genetically distinct as well as politically distinct.

    It wasn't the equivalent of attacking Yamamoto's plane, an entirely surgical operation against a military target... it was the equivalent of killing every Japanese male under the pretense that only Japanese men could ever become Admirals.

    The problem with this example is that it *worked*. A pre-emptive attack that wins a war will be glorified by history (like Kilrah)... one that doesn't will be demonized -- you need look no futher than Pearl Harbor for that.

    ... and then follow your own mid-east example through time a bit -- we continue to praise the Israeli attack on the Osirak reactor (more than ever today, in fact) -- a decidedly preventative strike that *worked*. Tolwyn's project didn't.

    That's not what happened. This *wasn't* self defense. This is blowing up the apartment building the guy that beat you up lives in and hoping he's among the many people you will have killed.

    Seems to me it was operating under the exact same set of circumstances - the intel analysis says mankind is going to be wiped out (not enslaved -- killed, en masse). I don't think it's right, but the fact that you'll rage against it and not the attack on Kilrah is evidence of your WC4 bias. You can't think about that game reasonably.
     
  9. Quarto

    Quarto Unknown Enemy

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    Let me be very, very clear about this - it does *not* matter *who* is doing something. There is absolutely no difference between Allied carpet bombing and Axis carpet bombing - the people responsible for both commit exactly the same sin. And sure, in the greater scheme of things, when you add up all the sins, the Axis may end up higher on the Evil-o-Meter... but this is absolutely irrelevant when it comes to the assessment of one particular action.

    I don't see how I disagreed with that. What I'm getting at, though, is that killing is killing, regardless of whether it's murder or self-defence. I'm not arguing that Confed's genocide was good (comparable to self-defence) or evil (comparable to murder). It's true that the more I think about it, the more I tend towards the "evil" option... but that's not my point here. My point is that what Confed did was genocide, regardless of whether it was good or evil. Genocide means simply people-killing - it's the bigger version of homicide. And just like there can be justifiable homicide, so there can be justifiable genocide. I can even cite some examples of it - for example, you won't find me shedding too many tears for the total obliteration of the Aztec culture. It was based on war, slavery and sacrifice, so I'd be very disturbed if the Catholic Spaniards didn't try to put an end to it, and I'm glad they did. But if somebody tells me the Spaniards essentially committed genocide by destroying the Aztec culture, I certainly won't protest.

    (oh, and if you feel like comparing the Aztecs to the Kilrathi - take note of the fact that the Spanish did not destroy Tenochtitlan along with all of its inhabitants...)

    In short, genocide is genocide, just like homicide is homicide. It doesn't matter what moral qualifier you put on it - it's a technical term, not an ethical one!

    First up, let me again underline the fact that this is a separate subject - "was it genocide"and "was it justified" are two different topics. I believe I've already said enough about the former, so now I can try to express my somewhat confused thoughts about the latter.

    Let me put it this way - I sure wouldn't want to be put in a position where I have to choose whether to make this decision. It seems to me to be a classic example of morality vs. common sense ("common sense", as in, worldly logic that ignores what happens after you die), where one tells us to do one thing, while the other tells us to do the opposite.

    From the point of view of common sense, the bombing of Kilrah was absolutely justified, absolutely right, and it would have been a horrible, horrible thing to *not* bomb Kilrah. It's an open and shut case - Confed as a government was responsible to its people, and only its people. Not even *one* Confed death could be justified as a way of preventing a billion Kilrathi deaths - not from this point of view, since from this common sense view, Confed is *not* resposible for the Kilrathi.

    Morality, on the other hand, is measured by different standards. Let's begin by acknowledging the obvious - morality is bound together with religion. In other words, people who even question the morality of their actions believe that death is not only the end of life, but also the beginning of a much longer afterlife. That's the difference between common sense and morality - the former tells us that we're better off not killing others because we might be killed for it, while the latter tells us that we're better off not killing others because even if we get away from punishment in this life, we won't get away in the next. It's not something most people consider when discussing questions of morality - but that's mainly because people confuse common sense and morality.

    Anyway... the belief in the afterlife, by further extension, means that you have to believe that there may be something *worse* than death - morality only works if it's a system of rewards and punishments, otherwise there's nothing to tell us one action is less moral than another. This forces us to conclude that in some circumstances, it's better to *die* than to commit an action that dooms you to eternal punishment. And just so we're clear, we're not talking about suicide here - we're talking about thirty men sitting in a lifeboat with no food, in the middle of the Pacific, and refusing to murder even one of themselves, even though his blood and flesh could be the difference between life and death for the other twenty-nine.

    ...So here's the crux of the matter. In this context, how does the murder of several billion innocent (or presumed innocent) beings on Kilrah compare with a decision to fight on to the end using moral means, even if this means the "end" will most likely be death, and not just yours but also the death of billions of Confed innocents? Personally, I don't know - as I said earlier, I'm pretty glad I've never had to make such a decision. I do, however, tend towards the view that destroying Kilrah was wrong, no matter how many Confed lives it may have saved. Don't forget, morality also presumes the existence of some form of god or gods... so people who debate the morality of their actions *should* also be open to the idea that it's better to do the moral thing and wait for a miracle (...even if it takes a hundred years of slavery first) than to manufacture the miracle yourself using immoral means.

    ...And that should also make clear why most people prefer to confuse morality with common sense - even if you believe in God, it's very, very hard to believe in miracles :).

    Is that a problem? I don't see anyone complaining about how uselessly broad the definition of homicide has become in light of the fact that every single person on Earth has a relative or ancestor who had been involved in a homicide. Surely you're not suggesting that if everyone commits a particular crime, it is no longer a crime?
     
  10. Delance

    Delance Victory, you say?

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    Quatro, if you are willing to argue about the Kilrah Bombing under a solid universal and absolute moral standard, I'm all for it. Let's make it even better. Let's argue it from natural law, universal law that bonds everyone. And I agree with you on the religion part, so let's take it from there. I fully comprehend the seemingly impossibility of justifying such an action this way, but I’m willing to look upon the action from this lenses. Having no desire of hijacking the thread, I’m not willing to impose this on anyone who has not done so with themselves, like you. To answer your last question, to broaden the concept of genocide makes it less meagninful, the word was created to describe a certain kind of action with a certain objective, and if every single nation is guilty, it goes for a relativism argument. But no, individuals are not guilty for what their ancestors did. Perhaps most Confed civilians are not to blame for Kilrah. Let us begin:

    Every single one of those conditions eindisputably checks except the last one. It should be noted that “other means” refer to peaceful means, not conventional warfare. The last condition is the big one. Arguably, the evil of the T-Bomb is simply too big. But we must weight it against a war that has already cost trillions of lives.

    Now, let’s make a good case against the T-Bomb, with the following:

    Things are looking bleak for the T-Bomb. In no uncertain terms, 2314 makes it clear that such a device would be a modern scientific weapon directed to the indiscriminate destruction of vast areas with the inhabitants, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation.

    Your example about the Aztecs fails to pass this test, of course, given it could be classified as the extermination of a nation. There’s no good genocide on this sense of the word.

    But there are a few catches. First, even thought the specific means is not accepted, the war itself was very well within the boundaries of Just War. Moreover, not every single Confederation citizens is bound by these rules, so no one should except to die because their leaders decided they would take the high moral route.

    But we can’t analyze this action alone. If the case was about someone getting out of their way an advanced scientific weapon to commit genocide to commit genocide it would be an open and shut case. However that was not the case with Confed. Confed did not pursue this situation. Confed proved it wanted peace. Confed was not confident it could maintain its peace or its survival. Failing to act with the T-bomb could mean enslavement and destruction on a much larger scale. If an act of omission leads to a much bigger genocide, how can it be justified? Who made the decision to use the T-Bomb had a sworn obligation to protect Confed.

    To clarify, we can’t simply judge the action of using the T-Bomb. We must judge the action of not using the T-Bomb. One thing is to sacrifice yourself to not harm another. Another completely different thing is to sacrifice a very large number of people, maybe Confed itself, just so you don’t have to do something bad. Had Blair and Paladin decided to to use the T-Bomb because it was morally evil, would that action, that could potentially lead to the destruction of Confed at the genocidal claws of the Kilrathi Empire, moral? Could Blair and Paladin put the entire human race at the risk of enslavement and genocide so they would not perform an action they considered unjustifiable?

    More importantly, while individuals might consider themselves religiously bound to not do harm to protect themselves, it’s a whole different deal when it comes to a nation. One human can choose to die instead of killing, but no human leader can make this choice for trillions of people.

    On itself, isolated, the bombing of Kilrah is not justifiable. Given the circumstances, it could be labeled as self-defense. I’m not claiming all this suddenly make it right, but simply that it puts it on a gray zone, instead of on deep black evil.

    It would be completely wrong to do this out of hatred towards the Kilrathi and a desire to destroy them. It would be different if it was done for the defense innocents on risk of being enslaved and destroyed by the Kilrathi. Both factors were present on the minds of the people responsible for the action.

    References: all quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
     
  11. Timby

    Timby Spaceman

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    Do we have any references to the Catholic Church even existing in 2669?
     
  12. Delance

    Delance Victory, you say?

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    Of course it exists. And yes we have, in Armada. Religion is a recurring theme on Wing Commander. But not point of my post. I made quite clear this it was intended for Quatro so we could analyze the destruction of Kilrah under this light, not to hijack the thread or impose it on others. And it's not, mind you, something purely religious or Catholic in nature, but about an universal moral law. So, if genocide is wrong, it's wrong for everyone, not just for the people who believe that it is. That doesn't mean everyone has to follow the same strict religious rules of self-sacrifice that are particular to the individuals who choose to do so.

    The abstract moralities of the actions on WC3 are not the same as the personal culpability of the individuals involved.

    I would further argue the separation of Church and State in place that prevents ships from being named after Saints - so we have the TCS Mount St. Helens - indicate that the Catholic faith is alive and well, but this is just a deduction. The same can be said about two fictional religions that, in a way or another, mimic certain aspects, at least in appearance, like the Retros and the Pilgrims.
     
  13. AD

    AD Finder of things, Doer of stuff

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    Don't be an idiot. The ship is named after the Volcano, not the actual saint.
     
  14. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation!

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    ... St. Helens is the most famous volcano in the United States.

    I know you enjoy being passive-aggressive about the novel, but no one is trying to subvert religion here - the intention was *always* to have the two giant ships in Wing Commander IV be named after volcanoes.
     
  15. Delance

    Delance Victory, you say?

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    Of course I know that. It was an example of me using the novel as the correct source, because it gives the full name. How is that a bad thing now? The existence of the *principle* separating religion and government is only necessary if both things exist, wouldn't you agree? That's all I said. There's nothing subversive with that. If anything, it would be subversive if Confed named the ship after the actual saint, not the vulcan, since the whole thing works both ways.

    The Kilrathi, of course, would have no problems having a ship named after their war god. Pehaps that has something to do with the Victory Streak's explanation about Kilrathi history never having a period like the renaissance. Just a note on the sociological differences between societies. Even more interesting, however, is that they have no problems in using vast resources of their military, even to the point of pulling ships out of the front lines, to have a religious cerimony. That seems a bit harder to happen with Confed, more driven by, let's say, earthly pursuits.
     
  16. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation!

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    That's not clear from the wording of your original post at all. It sounds (apparently to AD as well as to myself) like you were trying to claim that the naming of the ship had something to do with the fact that there was a Saint Helen. Even without the novel, the 's' should have been enough to show intent.

    In actual fact, you have to go back many steps to get near Catholicism in this instance. Observe:

    * The TCS Mt. St. Helens, the warship, is named after the volcano, Mt. St. Helens.
    * Mt. St. Helens, the volcano, is named after Alleyne Fitzherbert, titled Baron St. Helens (who was a friend of George Vancouver, who explored the area).
    * The St. Helens peerage title then takes its name from the town of St. Helens in Lancaster, England.

    ... which was named after a nearby church, which was named after St. Helen. You have to go through a starship, a mountain, a politician, a title and a city before you even begin to touch religion in this instance.

    Now, I think someone arguing about Wing Commander would be faced with some difficult counter-arguments: specifically, something you already mentioned... that the two major portrayals of organized religion in Wing Commander are incredibly negative (the Church of Man and the McDanielists). In both cases, they're caricatures designed to poke fun or just outright criticize existing religion (particularly the Retros).

    That's just an argument -- it's not mine. I think it's very easy to establish that religion is very important in Wing Commander. You need look no further than Action Stations. The book makes, in my mind, a very interesting argument for religion - specifically in how it shows up as soon as the Confederation is facing an impossible threat. Action Stations' dialogue starts throwing out 'God save the Confederation's and 'may God watch over us'es like nobody's business once it reaches that crisis point. It's all over the place... you see the frigate commander reciting a Hebrew prayer, you see Senator More saying he'll prey for the men fighting at the front... lots and lots of religion in Action Stations.

    It's elsewhere, too, of course, in smaller doses -- Thrakhath has read our Terran bible, though that doesn't necessarily say anything... but all the assumed religious concepts are throughout -- damning Jazz Colson to hell means very little in Gene Roddenberry's atheistic future.

    Well, point of fact here, the ship you're referring to isn't necessarily named Sivar. That's what the Confederation code-named it. Quote Halcyon: "The other news is that the Bees identified the Kilrathi ship with the secret weapon... a super-dreadnought, which we’ve code-named the Sivar."

    That's just a bit of trivia that's worth noting since people usually forget, though -- the Kilrathi do have ships that invoke their creators name... we have a KIS Agon Ra Sivar (whatever Agon Ra means) and a KIS Sivar's Glory (translated from something, presumably). Plus, there's a wholly separate Sivar-class in the movie material...
     
  17. Delance

    Delance Victory, you say?

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    That's a nice bit of trivia, but at I think you were able to understand what I was trying to say on the second post.

    Well, somehow I understood this as a critique of religious extremism, luditism, and not a generic blanket attack on religion itself. Maybe their concept was so off the mark that the caricature was barely recognizable by me.

    For all I know, calling someone "holiness" could be poking fun at tibetan Buddhists (not what they intended of course). And, honestly, arguing against a fictional religion that disagrees with mine doesn’t bother me to the slightest.

    The objective of the retros was anti-technological in nature. Which existing religion is like that? I understand some religious convictions are perceived as being outdated, or out of fashion, from a social point of view, but technological?

    Thank God Wing Commander is not on Roddenberry's atheistic future.

    OT Comment on: Actually, that's one problem with Star Trek. If the author is a secular humanist, does the whole universe have reflect this worldview? JMS is an atheist, but there are all sorts of different beliefs amongst the characters and races of Babylon 5. He’s not afraid to stack the deck against his beliefs. The atheist technomage Galen throws way evidence on afterlife because of his disbelief. The show have its subversive moments, like when Kosh shows up like an angel. But that is very open to interpretation, what is good. OT Off.

    Thrakhat reading the Terran Bibles means, to the very least, he thinks Confed has some sort of Christian identity, so people would relate and fear what he was saying. He could be wrong, I don't know.

    And it's interesting that last thing spoken on the final briefing on the bombing of Kilrah is "send them all to hell". Goes to show the quasi-religious hatred of the Kilrathi after decades of war.

    But I was not arguing about religion on WC, I was arguing about the three possible ways to understand the bombing of Kilrah.

    1. The "Utilitarian" view - If it saves lives, it's good, period
    2. The "Common Sense" view - If it saves Confed, it might be bad but also OK
    3. The "Religious" view - I don't know, it's complicated

    The point I was trying to make, and I hope you can appreciate, is that a military leader may very well sacrifice himself from a good reason, or even have to make sacrifices to archive an objective, but he can’t expect that the side he’s defending make a self-sacrifice to prevent deaths on the aggressor’s side. And, even from a religious point of view, he can’t make this decision on their behalf, against their individual free will. For instance, maybe you are all for sacrificing yourself to save the lives on Kilrah (even if not for religious reasons), but I might not be at all (even if that would go against the ideal set by my religion).

    So, the people making the decision ultimately might have to take a more “common sense” approach to the situation, which was what they did in the game.

    This is not so much to say it was OK to blow up their planet, but I really find it hard to see how they could have acted otherwise. In theory, it’s flat out unjustifiable, but we have to add the weight of trillion of lives lost to the balance, and the consequences of defeat. The situation was horrible, both options were morally problematic, and posed terrible consequences.

    And, more than simply naming ships, they devote a lot of effort into performing a religious ceremony.
     
  18. Timby

    Timby Spaceman

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    You suggested that Catholicism existed in the 27th Century, with no proof to back you up (given your pontification on Just War). Now you say that the Confederation peoples subject themselves to a different religion?

    The Amish, for one

    Roddenberry had a lot of thoughts, given his state of mind. His management of the first two seasons of Star Trek, compared with the semi-bizarre statement that his (drug-addled) mind and Leonard Maizlish created for the first two years of Star Trek: The Next Generation are proof enough of that.

    I have read Sun-Tzu. Does that mean I subscribe to Chinese ways of belief?

    Okay, Delance. You and I argued a long time ago, back when I was a douchebag known as JediKTim. And after lurking here for a long time, your arguments haven't changed a bit.

    If I reference Nietszche, that doesn't make me an atheist. If I reference C.S. Lewis, that doesn't make me a Christian. If I say I want to send someone to hell, that doesn't make me a Catholic or even a Christian.

    Unless you want to suggest that the next atheist who utters "Jesus Christ!" when he slices himself with a kitchen knife is somehow a closet theist waiting to come out.

    What were you arguing, exactly, besides the Just War Theory, which you yourself described?

    You're not arguing that point, the last time I checked. As far as I know, you're involved in some bizarro-world argument with LOAF regarding whether or not the Temblor Bomb was even moral.

    What in the name of Sam Neill are you trying to argue here? No one is trying to argue against a "common sense" approach to either Behemoth or the T-Bomb.

    Once again, no one is arguing that either consequence was pleasurable or proper.
     
  19. Delance

    Delance Victory, you say?

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    My argument about Just War does not depend on that. There's a quote in Armada somewhere that supports this point, I simply don't remember what it is. Do you have any quote? What's your point?

    But of course, and yet they are very different from the Church of Man for other reasons. What's the Paradox of the Amish. They are against technology... and they don't use technology. They are against violence... and they don't use violence.

    I have no idea about what you are trying to say here. Care to elaborate?

    That comment is completely insane, since I didn't claim Thrakhath was a Christian. Where in the world did you have that idea? What I actually said is that he apparently thought Confed had a Christian identity and people would know what he was talking about.

    No one said any of those things, so your examples make no sense. And you could not have had the same argument in the past, unless it was about you countering imaginary things no one said.

    It was about meaning, not about people's beliefs. The phrase "send them all to hell" means more on a culture with christians references than on a secular utopia. It also means that retribution was part of the reasons behind it.

    The part you snipped. I was not arguing the Just War theory itself, I was using it to analyze the events of the Kilrathi war. You do realize there's a difference, right? This was not about "Hey, the Just War theory is right because of this and that", but rather "Under the Just War theory, the Kilrathi was would be like this and that". I made it pretty clear I was not trying to impose it on anyone.

    I have *just* argued this point, so how can I not be arguing it?

    You seem to know a lot about what everybody is arguing for someone who has no clue to what I was arguing.
     
  20. Bandit LOAF

    Bandit LOAF Long Live the Confederation!

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    Oh, there's plenty: Amish, Shakers, Mennonites...

    I don't think Privateer is so much a mean spirited critique of the Amish, though, as much as it is creating an intentionally hypocritical and overblown situation to criticize religion as a whole -- the message is that religion on the whole is stuck in the past, not specifically those religions that don't want laser cannons and jump drives.

    Well, both these series' have their problems -- Star Trek suffers from an unfortunate cult of personality formed around Roddenberry in which the fandom believes Roddenberry had some kind of consistent well formed high minded belief system for Star Trek. In reality it's just something he hyped up when TNG started... and no one liked the stories or the setting that trying to force those ideas into the fiction resulted in.

    Babylon 5, on the other hand, is just cloying.

    (I also think there's a huge difference between saying you or someone you idolize is an atheist as a hip and cool image thing and actually being one... the latter being much, much harder.)

    Here I would argue that the Kilrathi do have a distinct separation between church and state -- quite literally, in fact. This is exactly how their system is supposed to balance power... with the Cult of Sivar being run by an apolitical sect of priestesses and the Empire being run by the dominant clan.

    Of course, in practice there's corruption... but both ways. Thrakhath can use his family connection to force the Cult to grant the nar Kiranka more power -- and that, in turn, results in other priestesses organizing their planets to rebel against the Empire.

    The separation between church and state in Kilrathi society is why the Ghorah Khar rebellion worked -- Kilrathi have loyalty to a church that is theoretically independant of Thrakhath's regime.
     

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