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is the land a socialist utopia?
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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 1:06 pm    Post subject: is the land a socialist utopia? Reply with quote

Anyone who hos studied politics and economics, especially B4 the fall of the U.S.S.R. and the general recognition that communism was fatally flawed, could not help but notice the Utopian marxist economic social and political similarities in the land

no money exchange no capitalism common ownership a shriviling away of the state, pacifistic without racial or sexual prejudice and discrimination. the leaders emerge or qualify no democracy, a dictatorship of the elite for the good of all?
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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the "elite" as you say are made up of any in the land who wish to dedicate their lives to the service of their fellows, there is no caste system, there is complete social mobility

also, the lords dont have much control over the affairs of the land outside of revelstone, that management goes over to town councils, etc. its more like a loose collective of independent states(governed traditionally by elders of the town), with the lords as a hands off centralized government

kinda like the EU, but withought all the real world problems- seems to work pretty well
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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree, each town is governed independently, and the lords do not "rule" at all. Although there are some common threads, each town does have a sysytem of barter and trade with the others. I wonder how SRD views the governmental system of the land? Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rincewind wrote:
the "elite" as you say are made up of any in the land who wish to dedicate their lives to the service of their fellows, there is no caste system, there is complete social mobility


That was the theory of Communism as well.

Quote:
also, the lords dont have much control over the affairs of the land outside of revelstone, that management goes over to town councils, etc. its more like a loose collective of independent states(governed traditionally by elders of the town), with the lords as a hands off centralized government


Which is exactly what the Soviet Union was supposed to be.

Quote:
kinda like the EU, but withought all the real world problems- seems to work pretty well


Anything will 'seem to work pretty well' without all those 'real world problems'.

I always considered that the biggest weakness of the First Chronicles: the idea that the Lords would go on serving with utter dedication and selflessness, generation after generation, never exploiting anyone, never becoming corrupt, never becoming tyrants. Such a thing has never occurred in human history; and if you posit sufficient change in human nature to make it possible, I have to wonder whether the nature you're talking about is actually human anymore.
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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

always considered that the biggest weakness of the First Chronicles: the idea that the Lords would go on serving with utter dedication and selflessness, generation after generation, never exploiting anyone, never becoming corrupt, never becoming tyrants.

Perhaps this can be attitubted to the nature of their lore. Only individuals capable of that sort of selflessness could master the Earthpower, since the Earthpower requires a high degree of selfless dedication. For sure when the Earthpower went corrupt under the Sunbane, corrupt "lords" start appearing, the Clave people who were not themselves possessed by the Ravers, but (like Akasri and Sivit but not Memla) were willing to serve Corruption.
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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Given that this is a work of fantasy, and the characters populate an alternate reality: why should there be any expectance that they would act or react in the same way as people from 'our' world?

If SRD wants to incorporate utopian elements into the nature of the people of the Land: well, he's the one making the rules. Nothing says those rules have to be sustainable in the real world.
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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although in the Second Chrons, a firm Dictatorship arose--each village had there own leadership, but they still had to answer (however unwanted) to the Clave.
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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just thought I would throw this quote from SRD out, since it seems slightly related to this thread Wink

Stephen R. Donaldson Gradual Interview wrote:
I personally don't consider "real estate" to be "real": oh, I know that the physical ground exists, but the whole notion that a person could "own" a piece of the planet seems so absurd to me that I simply can't give it any credence.


I simply thought that his POV on ownership has a relation to communist and socialist ideology.
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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2005 6:09 pm    Post subject: There were Tyrants..... Reply with quote

In LFB Covenant learns about the legend of Berek Halfhand, and the King of the land did become a brutal tyrant and was opposed by the Queen, of whom Berek was her champion. So at one point, there was a monarchy in the land.
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edge wrote:
Given that this is a work of fantasy, and the characters populate an alternate reality: why should there be any expectance that they would act or react in the same way as people from 'our' world?


Because he calls those characters human beings, and does his best to convince us that they are human. But you can go a whole lifetime without ever meeting a human being that much resembles the Lords, or even the Stonedownors, Woodhelvennin, and Ramen. Very few humans are that saintly, and there has never been a society composed exclusively of such people.

Quote:
If SRD wants to incorporate utopian elements into the nature of the people of the Land: well, he's the one making the rules. Nothing says those rules have to be sustainable in the real world.


No, but nothing says I have to believe something so obviously impossible. When he says this, that and the other thing about the Earthpower, he is talking about a thing that he invented, and he has the freedom to make up his own rules. But when he is talking about the behaviour of human beings, he is talking about something that exists in the real world, and he has an obligation to be as faithful to the facts as he can.

There is a Chinese proverb: 'It is easier to draw a goblin than a horse.' Nobody can tell you that your picture of a goblin is wrong. But I can tell you if your picture of a horse, or of human nature, is seriously mistaken.

And it's odd, isn't it, that the people of the Land are the only ones immune to the normal selfishness, greed, shortsightedness, and cruelty of human beings? The Bhrathair are recognizably human; the King of Doriendor Corishev had the full range of human faults and frailties; the Haruchai, though not exactly normal humans, at least have some motivations that can be described as morally ambiguous. But the New Lords, and the people of the Land in that time, are a bunch of plaster saints and Kewpie dolls. It just doesn't ring true.
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But they're not all saints.

Look at Lord Hyrim, and his self-conciousnes about his weight, and the way people are cruel to him about it. There is prejudice alive and well right there in the Land and at Revelstone.

If I weren't at work, I'm sure I could find other examples if I had a bit more time. Wink
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, some of the Lords have minor flaws. Why do none of them have major flaws? Injustice, selfishness, power-lust, pride, cockiness, unwillingness to change: these traits are commonly found among every elite in human history. No psychological testing or training could possibly weed them out, because every human being has latent weaknesses. These are the occupational diseases of power; why don't the powerful people in the Land show any sign of them? Why, for instance, are there no gaddhis or Kempers in the history of Revelstone?
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vector wrote:
I simply thought that his POV on ownership has a relation to communist and socialist ideology.
Or purely naturalistic ideology...

Last edited by danlo on Thu May 26, 2005 4:31 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Purely naturalistic? Many species of wild animals are fiercely territorial. They think that 'real estate' is real. For humans to claim ownership of land is every bit as natural.
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not see the flaw as in Hyrim. I see the flaw in the society that says its OK to pick on a man just because he's fat.

I see plenty of flaws in the Lords. What about Verement and the hurt pride that he cannot set aside that causes his marriage to wreck? What about Callindrill falling apart over the Vortex of Fear and never recovering emotionally? What about the power-hungry Elena?
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VF wrote:
For humans to claim ownership of land is every bit as natural
..why? Confused
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 5:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

danlo wrote:
Vector wrote:
I simply thought that his POV on ownership has a relation to communist and socialist ideology.


Or purely naturalistic ideology...


Actually, I want to make it clear that I am not arguing that SRD is espousing communist or socialist ideals, just that I felt that this statement of his had a relation to this topic, for argumentive sake.
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I see plenty of flaws in the Lords. What about Verement and the hurt pride that he cannot set aside that causes his marriage to wreck? What about Callindrill falling apart over the Vortex of Fear and never recovering emotionally? What about the power-hungry Elena?


or the despairing Kevin? that was a major flaw in him.
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Variol Farseer wrote:
Purely naturalistic? Many species of wild animals are fiercely territorial. They think that 'real estate' is real. For humans to claim ownership of land is every bit as natural.


Personally, I'm with Danlo on this one. Animals may be "fiercely territorial", but they don't "own" any bit of land. Territories are fluid, and depend on season and local conditions, the availability of food and water, etc.

They don't "lay claim" to a particular bit of land, live on it for the rest of their lives, and raise their young to live on it after they die. They use the territory. They don't "own" it.

If owning land was "natural", you'd find such ownership to have existed since the beginnings of mankinds appearance, when this is clearly not the case. Nomadic tribes may have ranged over a territory, but they didn't believe that only they could use it, and they certainly didn't continuosly utilise that bit of land forever.

In fact, it's well documented that "primitive" tribes had no concept of land ownership. And it was to their everlasting shock and dismay that they discovered the concept once "civilised" people "bought" the land from them.

It's well documented in my own country that settlers used this "naiveity" to their own advantage, "purchasing" huge tracts of land from native inhabitants for laughable prices, then enforcing their ownership at gunpoint.

One of my favourite anecdotes deals with the reaction of certain indigenous tribes to early christian missionaries in Africa. When the missionaries tried to determine their concept of god, they asked the locals, "But who made this?" (Gesturing to the surrounding lands.) The response was charming in its simplistic honesty: They said, "We don't know. It was here when we arrived."

The idea that a man could possess the earth was equally foreign to them. And I direct you to Chief Seattle's address to Washington, in which he said:

Quote:
If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?


Ownership of land is a "civilised" concept. And anybody who thinks that automatically makes it right and natural should consider some of the other "civilised" concepts that do, or have, existed. Like slavery, genocide, Jihad and the like.

Ownership was achieved, everywhere, by the strong taking what they wanted, and then using that strength to insist that they had a more legitimate claim.

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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Variol Farseer wrote:
Rincewind wrote:
the "elite" as you say are made up of any in the land who wish to dedicate their lives to the service of their fellows, there is no caste system, there is complete social mobility


That was the theory of Communism as well.



theory, yes, but it was never put in practice- the lords used it
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