Traveller Fifth Edition Kickstarter

It looks like Far Future Enterprises is looking to revise their work, and are aiming for a high-quality revision.

I hope they pull it off! If they go generic, if they build up the background, if they go gearhead… if FFE puts time and love into their product, it will give a strong boost to Traveller!

Note that they have blasted past their goal, 10x times what the expected. And 17 days to go!

No problem with me, but I hope that the extra money is put into the books or returned. I don’t mind if FEE save it for future productions, but they should clear it with their donors first.

You have earned a lot of goodwill, Mr.Miller: make us proud to be Travellers!

Posted in Jumpspace Transmission, The Fandom

The Winds of War

A great miniseries from 1983. Based on the book by Herman Wouk (who died today, aged 103), it has two major viewpoints:

  • A middle-aged Naval officer and aide of Franklin Delano Roosevelt; and
  • An American family, trapped in Europe at the start of the war.

The book has quite a bit of integrity: for example, you can read the minds of fictional characters, but does not presume to tell us what real-life people thought, only what they said and did. I like that kind of integrity!

Besides the useful story fodder, a Traveller Referee may pick up a few strategic thoughts on the main players in the war. Not a bad bonus!

I have three other reasons for recommending the series/book:

Epic viewership: “The Winds of War” — “Into the Maelstrom” (Series Finale) had about 35 million viewers. It is now impossible to have such a shared cultural experience, outside of the Super Bowls.

Of course, 1983 was solidly within the era of the three-channel universe: pop culture then is utterly different than pop culture now.

Veracity: in 1983, there were multiple millions of people who were in their 60s, and had actually fought in the war. The popularity of the series suggests that the actors, behaviour, language, etc on set was true to life… if a bit idealized, and rose-tinted.

(Rose-tinted for the approving viewers: the general audience of 1983 is a lot different than the general audience of 2019, and the distasteful realities the 1983 audience wanted airbrushed out, is different than what the 2019 population wants to avoid!)

A Window into a Lost World: The Anglo-American United States was already fading by 1983, but it was still walking about and even had a spring in her step. (See: Reagan, Bush, et al). Seeing this bit of pop culture provides a strong contrast to today’s world, 36 years later.

Thirty-six years before 1983 — in the year 1947 — Adolf Hitler had been dead for two years, British India (and the entire universe of European Empire) was beginning to end, about 60% of all American homes had a telephone, segregated America was Settled Law, most visitors between Europe and America was via ocean liners, and the Communists were still fighting with the Nationalist over who will rule China.

And thirty-six years from now, in 2055?

We’ll see!

Posted in Jumpspace Transmission

“Protect the Traditions!”

From CEH’s Science Under the Microscope Looks Infected

Tradition is like a hot bath; a person gets in, becomes accustomed to the temperature and touch, relaxes, and stops thinking.

I hear that the Vilani (and corporate, and governmental) infatuation with bureaucratic, responsibility-evading rule — “Don’t think, just follow procedure, don’t make waves, and your job & pension are guaranteed!” — doesn’t help much with critical thinking either.

PCs are, naturally, invited to take advantage of this Vilani love of tradition and bureaucracy… and their hatred of change. Be careful, though: challenging a powerful and experienced dragon, even a senile one, is risky.

And with all the Mixed Vilani running around, they are not as senile as they used to be. But more thinking = less mechanical adherence to the Traditions: the Mixed Vilani gets to win more, but by becoming something other than Vilani.

(And even the hard-core Vilani have a certain pragmatism that can surprise!)


The full quote is worth a gander:

Tradition is like a hot bath; a person gets in, becomes accustomed to the temperature and touch, relaxes, and stops thinking. That’s good sometimes, but science is about thinking. Its rationale is to observe phenomena and think about causes that produce them. It’s about testing and sharing results. Scientists have been engaged in these traditions for centuries. The “scientific method” has been refined to a science itself: observe, make a hypothesis, test, publish in peer-reviewed journal. Why break tradition?

There is a science of science, called philosophy of science. Some philosophers of science realize that every aspect of the “scientific method” incurs bias. There are even disputes about what is meant by common scientific terms, such as law of nature, evidence, and explanation. But those are just quibbles about details, aren’t they? If they were, then we would not see headlines like this.

Study finds scientific reproducibility does not equate to scientific truth (Phys.org). What a shock! A key rationale for the superiority of scientific knowledge has been reproducibility. As we have reported for a few years now, though, many scientific results are not reproducible—especially in psychology and other social sciences.

[…snippo…]

The article ends, “Insisting on reproducibility as the only criterion might have undesirable consequences for scientific progress.” What? Is that a post-hoc rationalization for the failure of reproducibility? Readers may wish to scour the open-access journal article to see the reasoning behind that! We don’t want to slow down the advance of science by too difficult a criterion, do we? Or is relaxing the reproducibility criterion a recipe for multiplying fake science? The play’s the thing. Onward to discover more and more things that may not be so!

Science Under the Microscope Looks Infected by David F. Coppedge, Creation Evolution Headlines
Posted in Jumpspace Transmission

Ghosts of Empire

From the Amazon blurb Ghosts of Empire: Britain’s Legacies in the Modern World

Kwasi Kwarteng is the child of parents whose lives were shaped as subjects of the British Empire, first in their native Ghana, then as British immigrants. He brings a unique perspective and impeccable academic credentials to a narrative history of the British Empire, one that avoids sweeping judgmental condemnation and instead sees the Empire for what it was: a series of local fiefdoms administered in varying degrees of competence or brutality by a cast of characters as outsized and eccentric as anything conjured by Gilbert and Sullivan.

The truth, as Kwarteng reveals, is that there was no such thing as a model for imperial administration; instead, appointees were schooled in quirky, independent-minded individuality. As a result the Empire was the product not of a grand idea but of often chaotic individual improvisation. The idosyncracies of viceroys and soldier-diplomats who ran the colonial enterprise continues to impact the world, from Kashmir to Sudan, Baghdad to Hong Kong.

I like my Empires wild and idiosyncratic: lots of opportunities for storytelling, personality clashes and vivid colour, especially when you visit the Nobles on their personal fiefs: where the police, the courts, and the military display their coat of arms and fly their family banners.

Now, the fiefs (a particular city, space station, or subplanetary region) are always going to be the Noble’s personal property. But even the territory they are administrating in the name of the Emperor — the World, the Subsector, the Sector and Domain — where the Imperial flag is flown, and the courts and military bear the Imperial Starburst: even these places have a certain “Noble flavour”.

This is especially true during the Solomani-dominated “Principate” era of the Imperium, before the Imperial Civil War. But even there, the Vilani were building their strength, and their taste for a single unified interstellar culture was lurking in the background.

In the “Dominate” era of Mixed Vilani rule, the Imperium — as an interstellar culture — is rather more standardized, with a powerful Navy influence and a soft-core, low-key corporate Vilani cultural bedrock becoming something of a cultural lingua franca. Colourful Solomani personalities tend to take a backseat to bureaucratic policies, from the Throne, the Sector and Subsector capitals, and from major corporate headquarters and C-suites.

A wildly off-brand, non-Navy, non-Corporate, non-culturally Vilani Noble can still make am impact: even in the Classic Era, with the partial rehabilitation of the Solomani Party in Imperial Space, a certain level of unpredictability is increasingly tolerated in high Imperial circles. Take Emperor Strephon’s friendship with the firebrand Archduke Dulinor, for example.

*cough*

Still, while renegades were never truly iced out (a la the Vilani-run First Imperium), the Dominate-Era Third Imperium has a rather more uniform feel among its Noble leadership than the early Imperium did.

Individual Imperial worlds, of course, continued to do exactly as they pleased within their borders, and as always pressed to see what they could get away with past the 100-diameter border. Some of them are willing to partner with particularly ambitious Noble Houses and corporations, when it comes to pushing the envelope…

Posted in Jumpspace Transmission

Brick Walls, Old School, New School

I understand the love of the Old School: “It will last.” Also, “Things that last save me money in the long term.”

But you have to STAY and stick to doing what you are doing for Old School to be cost-effective. If you aren’t going to stay for any longer than 35 – 50 years (the lifespan of an American home).

Travellers, by definition, don’t stay in one place for long. Always restless, looking for the next big score, the next once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. They are far more likely to stay in a hotel or a nice shipping container or a cheap plywood home than build a place with roots, built to last. “Save money, save time!”

If a Traveller DOES buy a solid home, it’s usually for prestige (and so help with the deal-making and networking), because wifey demand it (…especially Vilani wives…), or because it’s on sale (house-flipping opportunity!)

Quite a lot more Solomani Travellers than Vilani Travellers, by the way. But really, that should be obvious.

A slap-dash home bought just for show. Most Travellers can be fooled by this – they know goods and trade and firearms, not home construction. But starship engineers — especially the mechanics — might get their spider senses tinkling, though, so the Referee should give them extra spot checks.

A specialist tradesman goes Travelling with his music band.

In one sense, “No matter which world you go to, brick work is brick work.”

In another sense, you have to know the local gravity, the local weather (“Freezing? Rain? Wind? Heat? Atmospheric corrosion?”), and types of stone.

Many worlds with a sufficient tech level use fusion to make glass/ceramic roads. (RARELY in one fused piece: you need to put in the ability to flex over time.)

A keen-eyed Imperial master mason can spot

  • kinds of brick work that is impossible for humans:
  • psionic teleporting, telekinesis, and pyrokinesis,
    • CRITICAL: all masons are required, BY IMPERIAL LAW, to report any such work to both local law enforcement and the Imperial Ministry of Justice!
  • brickwork that require six-tentacled masons to be laid,
  • brick patterns that demand 3D senses,
  • bricks that corrode in specific patterns
    • pleasing to the Noble eye, but requiring non-human senses to spot and arrange
  • bricks that interact with living mortar,
  • bio-bricks & robo-bricks,
  • bricks of solid diamond,
  • bricks of alien wood that slowly ossify over the years and decades,
  • massive plastic bricks, strong, light, and surprisingly inexpensive
    • “Every LEGO Space Patrol reference stuffed into the adventure = one sip”
  • bricks with strong antigrav properties
    • naturally, or requiring power, or tied to a low-grav environment.

This reminds me: there is always the joy of working with money-is-no-object Nobility/interstellar executive/planetary ruler…

  • building to impress,
  • to last for the next 10,000 years,
  • for art’s sake,
  • as both a solid military hardpoint and a graceful beauty spot (“Gotta keep both the king and the queen happy!”),
  • or for a religious or mystical vision or ancestral vision.

Finally: yes, the Vilani have brick-building traditions that goes back millennia. You can compare pre-spaceflight Vilani ruins on Vland, the most recent low-tech brick buildings (or even the latest high-tech brick buildings), and see the same “solid, predictable, easy to repair, built to last” Vilani construction philosophies at work.

And sometimes, even the exact same techniques and type of bricks!

Traveller Campaign

Do you see a man skillful in his work?
    He will stand before kings;
    he will not stand before obscure men.

Proverbs 22:9, English Standard Version

So you get this Master Builder and his skilled hands – human or otherwise – able to do excellent work. He also has a starship, and a lot of fine references from approving corporations and wealthy clients.

He is going to need transport for his equipment, requiring more space than is on his vessel: sometimes, he even has to arrange for the import of the raw material. “Nothing but Oalemite fire-bonded granite will do! NOTHING LESS!”

He gets to work with a variety of clients: typically corporate or Noble, but some very eccentric, or with a strong underworld flavour, or quite clearly nonhuman.

The kind of work he’ll be hired to do can vary greatly. Brickwork isn’t very sci-fi, but good brickwork can do the job for eons, and can be at once quite beautiful and cost effective, given the alternatives. It is also quite traditional, and the Mixed Vilani society of the Imperium has a warm place in their hearts for the Good Old Ways, so there is a fair amount of prestige for bricks.

Also, there are specialist engineering works where bricks are clearly the superior alternative in a given environment, even if TL 14+ bonded superdense is available. (It’s certainly WAY cheaper!)

Besides the clients and the work, the business owner/master mason is going to have to care for his hands: they are good with their hands and eyes, but lean strongly to the unrefined side of the culture. Getting the creative Solomani Racial Patriot to work with the zero-fault Vilani cultural supremacist ain’t going to be easy… but if he’s going to meet his contract and get that sweet bonus money, it will have to be done.

“You think I can just fire these guys? Exactly where I am gong to find an equally skilled replacement out here, so far from home? Who knows how I work, how I want things done? AND I have to arrange for transport home: a pure cost, and I don’t NEED another cost factor!”

Besides the labour, and the materials, there are the equipment & tools… and equipment and tools break, get lost, get worn out. Masonry work usually doesn’t need high-tech equipment, but good work does need good tools.

A fun bit of work, talking to the local TL 5 blacksmiths (…or the TL 15 Bwap nano-engineers…), teaching them how to make the tools you need. You do have a tool designer and a way to communicate, yes?

Posted in Jumpspace Transmission

Dima Vorobiev Day II

So, we get another post dedicated solely to the comments of Dima Vorobiev, former Soviet propaganda expert. (For the first Dima Vorobiev Day, go here.)

Quora: What are the ten commandments of being Russian?

Dima Vorobiev, Former Soviet propaganda executive

The ten top commandments of being Russian are “Don’t listen to commandments”, repeated ten times over.

We Russians are very pragmatic people. We don’t believe in commandments.

Commandments are for Germans who obsess about “Ordnung muss sein”. Or the bearded Jews who care to haul around stone tablets across mountainous terrain. Or other sticklers for rigid distinctions, laws and traffic rules.

The matter of fact is, improvisation and flexibility are paramount for survival in our neck of the woods. Being unpredictable is the only constant you may consider as a personal commandment. President Putin and other men of power who define the face of Russian civilization nowadays, all achieved their station in life by smashing all rules and regulations they came across.

The only true value that seems to carry the day for most of us, come hell or high water, is always be loyal to your family and your friends. President Putin demonstrates this every passing day, which is why we love him so dearly.

For those of you who feel dissatisfied with this answer, feel free to explore our national motto: “Don’t trust, don’t fear, don’t beg”. This one is extremely useful on a day when you hit a sticky patch. In a world without God, this is the most useful commandment you can get.

I undersataned… understand where Vorobiev is coming from. No, really, I do!

But as a Christian, I would say that the Commandments are the same in Russia as anywhere else in the planet (or the cosmos, or in all of creation.) But while the Commandments are the same, and the goal is the same — “expand, deepen and broaden the Kingdom of God, until the knowledge of God covers the world” — how the Commandments are fulfilled varies.

So, we get another post dedicated solely to the comments of Dima Vorobiev, former Soviet propaganda expert. (For the first Dima Vorobiev Day, go here.)

Quora: What are the ten commandments of being Russian?

Dima Vorobiev, Former Soviet propaganda executive

The ten top commandments of being Russian are “Don’t listen to commandments”, repeated ten times over.

We Russians are very pragmatic people. We don’t believe in commandments.

Commandments are for Germans who obsess about “Ordnung muss sein”. Or the bearded Jews who care to haul around stone tablets across mountainous terrain. Or other sticklers for rigid distinctions, laws and traffic rules.

The matter of fact is, improvisation and flexibility are paramount for survival in our neck of the woods. Being unpredictable is the only constant you may consider as a personal commandment. President Putin and other men of power who define the face of Russian civilization nowadays, all achieved their station in life by smashing all rules and regulations they came across.

The only true value that seems to carry the day for most of us, come hell or high water, is always be loyal to your family and your friends. President Putin demonstrates this every passing day, which is why we love him so dearly.

For those of you who feel dissatisfied with this answer, feel free to explore our national motto: “Don’t trust, don’t fear, don’t beg”. This one is extremely useful on a day when you hit a sticky patch. In a world without God, this is the most useful commandment you can get.

I undersataned… understand where Vorobiev is coming from. No, really, I do!

But as a Christian, I would say that the Commandments are the same in Russia as anywhere else in the planet (or the cosmos, or in all of creation.) But while the Commandments are the same, and the goal is the same — “expand, deepen and broaden the Kingdom of God, until the knowledge of God covers the world” — how the Commandments are fulfilled varies.

I feel that what Vorobiev objects to most is not so much an unchanging moral code: its this endless, ever-expanding pile of rules that Germans and Jews (and many western conservatives and liberals) subscribe to.

Jesus had some words about this thirst for control others via man-made laws. Even as a theonomist (“Yay, Moses! Hail, King Jesus!”) I recommend listening to the Holy Spirit far more closely than to a human commentator or church authority, as even men I highly respect can make mistakes or let prejudice get in the way of the truth.

The Priesthood of All Believers, THE core engine of the Reformation (and mysteriously absent from church sermons today) is what it’s about. God is talking to YOU, directly: and YOU know YOUR situation far better than some power-lusting, God-despising legal/church authority does.

By the way… I really like “Don’t trust, don’t fear, don’t beg”. It isn’t perfect as a persona code, but it’s a good start. “Suitable for Traveller use.”


Quora: Why has Russia (Soviet Union) been so strong in chess historically?

Russian chess masters, brilliant programmers, world-famous mathematicians and physicists have been shaped by our unique culture. The harsh climate, the vagaries of our politics and our turbulent history have long been corraling brainy Russians to the safety of isolation where they honed their skills to an impossible perfection.

You need to appreciate two important strategies for different personality types in Russian civilization:

Dominant extroverts

If your ego is larger than the sun, and your self-realization requires involving other people, you work for the government. The national idea of Russia is POWER. You let this idea work for you. All our national heroes worked for the Derzháva (“mighty State”), or were appointed to be heroes by our rulers.

This is why foreigners like Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Winston Churchill find such admiration among Russians. Despite the enmity that they often demonstrated to our country, they are high-profiled, outspoken persons of power who steamrolled the opposition and imposed their will on the nation.

Smart introverts

The flip side of the Russian national idea is ESCAPE. If you don’t find much fun in the dogfights for power, you better blend with the scenery or get lost in the pavement cracks. This way, you stay safe in the company of your tightly knit circle of closest friends and family — no matter how murderous is the next project for global greatness of our rulers, how vile is the next invader, or how violent is the next demon of national self-destruction to descend on us.

If you look back on the brightest stars of Russian culture, you see a striking feature shared by many of them. They thrived in things that required a sustained solitary effort in magnificent self-isolation.

Chess, math, hacks, poetry

This is a recurrent theme in Russian and Soviet literature. Society brings death and ruin onto good people, while bad people thrive in the limelight of public attention. Good people, the characters who serve as our role models, are typically rewarded by the gift of carefree solitude.

Ah, the Derzháva. The Mighty State.

I wonder how you translate that into German? Or French?

I can imagine some decent translations into English:

  • “Leviathan”
  • “God Walking on Earth”
  • “The Beast”

even

  • “The Imperium”

The Russian Orthodox Church are standard retreat-from-reality amillennial escapists… Without even the Rapture of the retreat-from-reality American Christians, the Russian believers see the future as just endless suffering and pain for the righteous, while the wicked endlessly laughs and rule.

I am a postmillennialist Calvinist: therefore, I disagree.

Not the Power Religion… not the Escape Religion… but the Religion of Righteousness, of Justice, of Compassion. Not in some far land or distant future, but in the here and now. Not perfectly to start, but growing more stronger, more influential, more successful, more inescapable over time.

I suspect that what Vorobiev objects to most is not so much an unchanging moral code per se (although, like many moderns, he may not care for such things): its this endless, ever-expanding pile of rules that Germans and Jews (and many westerners, conservatives and liberals alike) subscribe to.

Jesus had some words about this lust for control others via man-made laws. Even as a theonomist (“Yay, Moses! Hail, King Jesus!”) I recommend listening to the Holy Spirit far more closely than to some Voice of Authority, secular or ecclesiastic.

The Priesthood of All Believers, THE core engine of the Reformation (and mysteriously absent from church sermons today) is what it’s about. God is talking to YOU, directly: and YOU know YOUR situation far better than some power-lusting, God-despising authority does.

Regardless of the robes and gowns Power wraps itself with: government, church, tribe, academic, corporate…

By the way: I still really like “Don’t trust, don’t fear, don’t beg”. It isn’t perfect as a persona code, but it’s a good start. “Suitable for Traveller use.”


Quora: In what ways is Russian culture different from American culture?

American culture is predicated on private initiative, liberty, and individual rights.

Russian culture has our mighty State at its core. Our highest treasure is natsionálnaya bezopásnost (“national security”), which means the protection of those in the Kremlin against any challenger from inside or outside the country. National security supersedes democracy, the law, the considerations of economic growth, human rights and other foreign imports. Everything in today’s Russian culture, whether loyalist or anti-Putinist, revolves around this central concept.

A piece of loyalist fan art below shows President Putin defending natsionálnaya bezopásnost from the Dark Lord, i.e. President Obama. The little arachnid in the center has the head of Ukrainian president Poroshenko. The soaring black Dementor to the right seems to be the global Anglo-Saxon-Zionist elite that put their trust in Obama, but failed epically.

People wish to be slaves, so they shall be slaves. “The Mighty Man and His Armies will Save Us!”

This isn’t just in reference to the Russians or Chinese, either: lots of American Christians — who should know far better than this! — look for a Man on a White Horse for protection, instead on relying on God will give them the victory they need and the prosperity they desire… so long as they repent of evil, and do what is right.

(Looks on the supposed Mighty Men — be it Obama or Trump — and the mysteriously unsuccessful Armies of the USA.)

Justice, liberty & righteousness is to be the basis of Christian civilization. Private initiative, liberty, and respect for the individual — coupled with self-government — gives a far happier life (and a far more comfortable and secure life) than crying out for a Political Saviour.


Quora: Why did the Soviet Union fail to create a Soviet National identity that was stronger than the nationalism of its republics?

The Soviet Union failed to create a Soviet identity that was stronger than ethnic nationalisms inside it. Why? This is a question that still is highly relevant for the ongoing nation-building in 21st-century Russia.

Success stories

Ethnic nationalism is not always a stumbling block for an overarching territorial identity. We have some big examples of success:

* India

* The US

* United Kingdom (until the Scots change their mind)

* Spain (until the Catalans say their last word on it)

The Imperium — basically, a union of the Vilani and the Solomani cultures — lasted for over a thousand years. Not bad for a multicultural government!

Big promise

Our greatest hope in the USSR was that the Red Crusade of revolutionary justice on a global scale would create the sense of common destiny for Jews, Russians, Arabs, Chinese and everyone else alike. “Proletarians of all countries, unite!”, said Karl Marx. How could he be wrong?

The Arabs under the green banner of Muhammed were a clear inspiration. If they could create a colossal umma that spanned from Berbers in the west to Indonesians in the east, why couldn’t we do the same under the red banner of Lenin and Stalin?

I always suspected that Communists got their inspiration from Muslims. Power-worshipers all look the same after a while…

Christians are not to worship the God of Power, nor the Dharmic God of Escape. Justice, ethics, righteousness is to govern and direct their hand.

Epic fails

Yet, there were examples of epic fails. The closest to home: Huns and Mongols. In case of the Mongols, even the Turks who supplanted them, despite the common culture and language, failed the imperial test.

I see one common denominator between them and Stalin’s empire: the disappearance of external threat. Once the USSR achieved a major breakthrough and established control over the vast territory from North Korea in the east to Erfurt in the west, complacency set in. After Stalin died, it all went downhill. The Trotskyist prophecy about a bourgeois degeneration of the State and Party bureacracy came true—first in Communist China, then the USSR, and later everywhere.

There must be always an threat, some sort of boogieman, to justify a massive military (external killing/oppression) and state police (internal killing/oppression).

Christians know that the real threat is their own sin, their own corruption, in their own lives.

Not the Muslim. Not the Secularist. Not the Sodomite.

It’s Christian evil that is the greatest hindrance to the expansion of the Kingdom of God. Compared to that monstrosity, all the Muslim church bombing on Easter, all the Statist hostility to any power above itself, all the suicidal Sodomite antics and half-wit tyranny, is as so much powerless dust.

Should Christians get serious about killing the fork-tongued beast in their hearts, their organizations, and their pulpits, the victory of Christ over all His enemies will rapidly accelerate, right before our eyes.

But if Christians continue to excuse their evil… well, the Kingdom of God will still expand relentlessly, but unrepentant Christians will be crushed under the steamroller just like any other pagan.


Quora: Is war the most profitable industry in the world?

In terms of sustainability and little correlation with economic cycles and society models, the three most universal and profitable industries in the world must be (in changing order):

* Human trafficking (slavery, prostitution)

* Drugs

* Gunrunning

You may add to this list the protection racket and armed robbery in all its forms, from hijacking and hostage-taking to military expeditions. Though, in the eyes of many the zero-sum principle at the bottom of it disqualifies this business as an industry.

On the photo below, President Yeltsin and the Patriarch of Moscow. In the mid-1990s Yeltsin clutched at straws to retain power and tried to find allies right and left. As the state budget was in bad shape, he simply gave the Orthodox Church a dispensation from customs duties for importing booze and tobacco. The Patriarchy struck gold on these legal drugs. According to some accounts, the Church imported duty-free 18 billion cigarettes and 21 million liters alcohol.

I stand with the end of banning addictive drugs… but even when it’s legal again, Christians ought not get into the business of legally harming others. Even if customers are willing to pay for their own destruction.

Human trafficking is, of course, man-stealing, which gets the death penalty in Biblical Law.

Nothing Biblically wrong with gunrunning, though. It may be illegal, but I will let the Christian on the spot decide if it’s right in God’s eyes. “Count the cost… and it pays to avoid challenging the State, if you can morally do so.”

(I’m going to ignore the State’s view, as they will say anything that gets more power in its hot little hands, true or false, moral or immoral.

“It’s disgusting and evil to sneak guns to the Jews of the Third Reich! The government of the Reich says so: and we all know that we MUST Obey the Authorities!”)

As for the bought-off churchmen in the picture? I will merely note that the Orthodox Church bargained for cold, hard cash… unlike Protestant America, which sells off her favours to the powerful for free.

Let’s not talk about the Catholic hierarchy right now, okay?


Quora: Why do the Russians value the state more than individual lives?

It’s an easy choice.

Our state is the only thing that protects us from each other. In the past, every time the state collapsed, the country dissolved into an awful mess. A lot of people suffered and died.

This happened after the ousting of the Czar in 1917. Several years of lawlessness and war ensued. The end of Soviet rule in 1991 wasn’t as destructive or bloody, but made possible the emergence of all-powerful state-oligarchical clans. On President Yeltsin’s watch, they swiftly took power and now rule the country like their private corporation.


In the photo below, younger generations of Russians celebrate Iosif Stalin and Soviet rule during a 1st of May rally. Stalin is respected among many Russians for his determination and perceived ability to hold everything in the huge country under strict control. Much like Putin, he was our best protector against the rest of us.

And so we discover the truth: the fundamental enemy of the Russians are… other, envious Russians.

The lesson for Americans?

If you will not govern yourself, you will be governed….

If you will not control yourself, you will be controlled….

slave.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1, English Standard Version

Note that the Imperium banned chattel (not debt, or criminal) slavery since its founding… but planets are sovereign. “We do what we can, but it is up to the planetary population to decide if they wish to be free in a dangerous galaxy, or crawl on their belly before a Master in the name of Safety.”


Quora: As a former/current citizen of a communist country, what do you think of Communists on Quora?

There are Communists and Communists, and I make a distinction between the two.

Red Crusade

Communists share with God-worshipers a teleological view on the world. Everything happens according to some transcendental grand plan—and we people are mere agents of whatever is destined to happen. Only, instead of God, it’s Nature that dictates the course of our actions.

But unlike religions, Communism professes a supercharged activist philosophy. As a good Marxist, you can’t sit idly on your behind in the smug realization of your superiority. You need to go out and do something, here and now.

Also, Marxism is a non-positivist ideology. Despite its declared “scientific” foundation, it dislikes the idea of practical testing of its tenets. If you as a Marxist find out that the laws of thermodynamics perpetuate class oppression and social injustice—you must fight them relentlessly, starting from now!

Christians could be activists.. but that involves risk, and might lead to a loss of standing before the Authorities and the Power Elite. “Can’t have that!”

Communists in their prime openly – and correctly — laughed in the face of such escapist religions. They understood the importance of dedication and leadership (see the book here) and the importance of a small, disciplined cadre in getting stuff done.

Contrast this to American Christians, ever wailing and bawling about how hard they have it (HA!), and how the Rapture is going to happen Real Soon Now, allowing them to escape the need to show dedication and commitment needed to win.

Recruiting pool

This attracts to Communism two types of adherents.

* One are romantic souls of radical bend who look for a cause. The likes of Marxist-Leninists who post on Quora sugared “hard facts” about Communism that they recycle from the propaganda I was dishing out in my past service for the Soviet Union. Driven by love or by hate, starry-eyed and bushy-tailed, they sincerely want to believe in the figments of their Marxist daydreams.

They are the men who will be put against the wall – or in the Fields of the People – as soon as the other kind of Communist shows up.

* Others are hard-nosed, steely-eyed practitioners of power games. This is an assorted bunch of born gangsters, psychopaths, empire-builders, closeted libertarians and other predatory individuals who see in the rest of humanity a mere canvass for their self-realization.

Libertarians as predatory individuals? Rothbard would be roaring with laughter, especially when comparing these predators with the Loving and Kindly Statist, Who Only Want the Best for the People.

Division of labor

The fact is, the “romantics” dominate the leftist bunch before taking power, while the “practitioners” take over the entire shop right afterward.

After a power grab, the extraordinary skills of the “practitioners” that long had to take a backseat, now become crucial for the survival and success of new rulers. This is why no one had heard of Stalin’s exceptional wisdom and strategic genius before he became the General Secretary in 1922. This is why Stalin surrounded himself with people with no remarkable record from before the revolution (apart from Molotov). Stalin’s Great Purges were implemented for clearing the scene of the “romantic” roster of revolutionaries.

The romantics will be up against the wall, right after the Old Elite, the wealth generators, and the Christians are efficiently dealt with.

Communists in the 21st century

All told, I consider the Communists I occasionally come across as naive agents of revolutionary change who work for their own demise. The history of Communist revolutions around the world has demonstrated that their success always creates a mighty meat grinder that will ultimately consume them.

The true talents of applied Marxism, the likes of Stalin, Trotsky, Mao, Pol Pot, the Kim family, are mostly invisible and inaudible in the chorus of young romantics, iconoclast professors, and angry bloggers. But I know they are somewhere there, waiting for their moment of glory.

The Right Sort can be a patient lot.


On the colorized photo from 1917 below, a group of leftist revolutionaries celebrates the overthrow of Czar in spring 1917. The little ornamented plaque they’re holding says: “We’re sick and tired of lawlessness, and have broken the chains”.

Below, a painting of Ivan Vladimirov showing the state of things a year later. The Bolshevik revolution is a few months old already. The Communist “practitioners” have taken over, and one of them has put the “romantics” to work for the benefit of the proletarian rule. The “practitioner’s” uniform in Soviet Russia were leather jackets and shiny officer jackboots.

Labouring in the Fields of the People, rather than up against the wall?

What a lucky woman!


Quora: Why are most Russian men so tough?

Russian men are generally very tough. It’s because our women are very tough, and they want us to be tougher than women.

There are two frequent exceptions to this.

One: The State

Russian men are generally meek when confronting the mighty Russian State. Russian males are conditioned to allow the government to have its way with them. Our history knows few exceptions to that.

Two: Survival

Too much sustained pressure releases in many Russian men a death wish, rather than a survival instinct. This is how we lost the country to the Communists, and later a whole generation of men who died in WW2.

Connection?

Some skeptics tie these two cases to each other. They claim that the death wish is a trait nurtured in our men by the rulers under the guise of patriotism. This way the government tries to break our instinctive loyalty to our closest friend and family who depend on our survival. The State fosters our inability to challenge it and our preparedness to die for whatever it wants.


Some visuals for illustration. Characteristically, at some crucial moments the State tends to appear in our propaganda as a stern mother figure commanding Russian men to war or some other deadly mission. Our rulers know only too well that in Russia the most effective message of manly toughness is delivered by a woman.

In the photo below, young Russian girls in military-like uniforms get inspiration from a WW2-era poster “The Motherland is calling!” where the government presents itself as a middle-aged woman who hands to Russian males an oath of enlistment for military service.

The same female person celebrating Soviet exploits in the outer space in the 1960s. The text stresses the civil dimension of this sometimes deadly mission, “For the cause of peace”:

A visual recycling of the iconic statue from the war memorial in Volgograd for the purposes of anti-American propaganda on a loyalist car sticker in 2014. The text says: “The Motherland is calling!”.

I’ll let the macho-macho patriarchal types prove their manhood… and die for The Leader in some battlefield somewhere. I’m sure that The Leader will honour their sacrifice with gratitude, of course.

I plan to live.


Quora: Why did Stalin kill the kulaks?

I think that with Stalin, the real answer is “why not?” But this is about Dima’s answer, not mine, so…

Theoretically, kulakí (literally, “fists”) were wealthy peasants who could afford hired farmhands. The term came from Imperial Russia and was extensively employed by the Communists after the revolution of 1917.

There was little love lost between the new Communist rulers and kulakí.

Enmity

1. Kulakí were the first target of every food requisitioning party the Soviets were sending around the countryside to secure food to the cities they controlled.

2. Due to their high social standing and economic power in peasant communities, the kulakí led—often successfully—the resistance to the Soviet rule and food requisitioning. Considering the number of weapons sloshing around the country after WW1, and the war experience many peasants possessed, Lenin found that it was downright suicidal to keep on antagonizing the private peasantry. This is why the New Economic Policy (NEP) was introduced after a few years of strict implementation of the Communist Manifesto.

SUCCESSFUL resistance to the Will of the Leader?

“Can’t have that!”

3. During the NEP, the Communists repeatedly tried to screw private peasants by yanking up the mandatory amount of food they were required to deliver to state (prodnalóg, “food tax”), lowering the purchase prices, and inflating the prices on items and equipment delivered to the peasants by the state. Again, kulakí were particularly targeted as holders of most of the excess food.

Excess food.

An important concept, in Communist societies.

“Can’t have that!”


4. Kulakí demonstrated the level of productivity and management that made the Communist propaganda about the advantages of collective farming look bad.

He made the Leader look bad.

“Can’t have that!”

In the longer term, kulakí could provide a powerful nationwide base for political opposition to the Soviet rule.

“Can’t have that!”

Civil war, take 2

An important part of the Civil War was widespread clashes between peasants and the Reds. Peasants formed entire armies. The extreme weakness of Communist rule after the defeat of its march on Europe forced Lenin to strike a truce with the private peasantry. This is why Soviet history books said that the Civil War lasted from 1918 to 1921/22.

However, Stalin’s plan of speedy industrialization required massive investments, and the only way to procure them was to make peasants serfs of the State, sell their produce for hard currency, and start a massive forced transfer of labor from the countryside to the cities. This resulted in a new take of the hostilities between the Communists and private peasants. The most known episode is the famine in 1932–33 across Southern Russia, Ukraine, Western Siberia, and Kazakhstan that the Ukrainians called Golodomor.

Dekulakization

Stalin’s collectivization push during the renewed Civil War involved so-called dekulakization. In practical terms, the government definition of kulakí was quite liberal:

* Anyone who had horses and livestock which they refused to give away to collective farms

* Anyone who had machines and farming equipment they refused to cede to collective farms

* Known enemies of collectivization among peasants

* Anyone who gave support to the individuals above, or podkuláchniki (“sidekicks of the fists”).

Dekulakization meant confiscation of all their possessions, including their homes, and exiling their families to faraway provinces where they could not exert their “detrimental influence” on the collective peasants at home. Typically, they were forced to settle in uncolonized territories and make their living by cultivating new farmlands with literally bare hands.

“Killing”

Dekulakization in itself didn’t require killing the kulaks unless they offered resistance. Collectivization was framed as a good act from a determined but benevolent ruler, and slaughtering people before their neighbors would make the Soviet rule look bad. Besides, Stalin needed workforce for colonization of provinces on the cheap, and for new industrial workplaces.

However, the resettlement was implemented in a way that led to many death from cold, starvation and diseases, especially among the non-productive members of peasant families, the elderly and small children. In addition, the ruthless confiscation of all food from peasant communities that were slow to comply with the collectivization led to widespread famine.

The Soviet Census of 1937 apparently revealed such a drop in peasant population that Stalin deemed the project managers “enemies of the people”. Several people were executed, the raw data erased, the documentation made secret, and “the snake’s nest in the statistical bodies” destroyed.

Telling the truth, in a Communist State?

“Can’t have that!”

“Gotta kill those Enemies of the People!”

Bodycount

Estimates of excessive mortality as a result of collectivization/dekulakizátion point at about 5-10 million. The secrecy around the Soviet human losses in WW2 during the Soviet time may indicate attempts to write down parts of the dekulakizátion fatalities to the Nazi atrocities in the occupied territories.

Solzhenitsyn and his “Gulag Archipelago” received a lot of flak from our propaganda specifically for suggesting this explanation. Combined with the absence of serious government-led efforts to count our dead in WW2 during Soviet rule, this suggests that the Soviet rulers at least suspected a strong veracity to this.

It’s a matter of your ideological affiliation whether to consider these 5–10 million dead peasants “killed” or just unhappy victims of unintended collateral damage in the Stalinist undertaking.

You will discover that collectivists are quite good at arranging that only The Wrong Sort of People end up as strictly accidental collateral damage.


Below, dekulakization in progress. In keeping with the spirit of class struggle, a peasant family is being evicted from their home. Magnanimous collectivization activists you see in the background allowed them to take some of their possessions on the wheelbarrow.

The best hope of this family is now to get off the radar of the Soviet authorities and find employment in the city or at some new industrial plant. There, they have a chance to obscure the fact that they were dekulakized. Being subjected to organized resettlement was for many of them a ticket to death from starvation and exhaustion. However, in the areas that fell prey to Golodomor, those left behind probably suffered an even worse fate.

“The dead have names?”

So? Only the name of the Dear Leader will be remembered, millennia from now. All the other names will be forgotten.”

“God remembers all… and will extract justice for all.”

“You and your DISGUSTING Christian superstitions!”


Quora: What was really the problem with communism?

Communism picked the wrong enemy: Capitalism. The nature of Capitalism is too formidable and undefeateable for any strand of radical Socialism.

The reason is in Capitalism’s eternal fluidity and fungibility. It’s a shapeshifter that can hide in plain sight, takes any form it wants, and is immune against all spells.

Name the Beast

Marxism is all about the “abolition of private property”. Private property is the culprit because it always ultimately leads to Capitalism. Which is why the first thing to do, according to the Communist Manifesto, for proletarians is to take the means of production, the capital, from the bourgeois classes.

I repeat because it’s the hard core of Marxism. Private property, even when it doesn’t involve exploitation of others’ labor—like some Joe Doe using his private car to make a few bucks as an Uber driver—is an embryo of Capitalism. There’s no future for it in Communism. Means of productions, i.e. anything that is a source of wealth, are only allowed for cooperatives and state enterprises.

All shall belong to The People

Directed by the Party…

Guided by the Clear Vision of the Leader!

The proof

“Communist” China and “Communist” Vietnam brilliantly proved this Marxist dogma. After the decades under the red flag of proletarian power, both countries are now a millionaire’s and billionaire’s paradise. These are the safe zones for steady accumulation of capital, closed to rabble-rousing trade unions and pesky leftists, with a mighty protection of property rights for the wealthy and well-connected.

The Soviet Union showcased this relapse back from Real Socialism to Capitalism The USSR was picked apart by card-carrying members of the Communist Party who wanted to own private property. They had the power, the skills, and the motivation to make it happen. And in 1991, it happened officially.

Private property, even the tiniest one, starts the rot wherever it appears. Watch out, comrades!

COMRADES!

Note that the rot, the seed of evil, is owning your own stuff, not murdering people (which isn’t ever a problem in Marxist societies, so long as they are the Wrong Sort of People.)

No wonder that the first sin committed was theft of God’s property. The murder of the innocent (Abel) — and the Rightful Owner (Jesus Christ) — will come later.

Future is Capitalist

This realization is very bad news for Communists. The post-industrial economy is creating a new kind of Capital on a daily basis: the intellectual one. The ability to generate ideas, the knowledge and experience needed to turn them into business, the networks are all unevenly distributed among people. They are going to churn out fountainheads of individual wealth, unfair advantage, and economic inequality at every turn.

The economy of knowledge is Capitalist. You can confiscate land, bank accounts and plant equipment—but you can’t confiscate the source of personal wealth inside people’s heads. And you won’t believe what kind of capital people are going to make of their bodies when the age of bionics arrives—when seemingly regular people will see all, remember everything and compute entire spreadsheets in their heads within seconds.

Whatever you try, you can only realistically do a re-distribution of wealth. This is what despised Social-Democrats and liberals have been doing for more than a century now.

But the abolition of private property? Forget it. Not gonna happen.

But…

But…

But if we have can just get enough machine guns… enough spies and surveillance networks… enough gulags and terror… enough disappearances and purges… enough propaganda channels and media control…!

Below, two Soviet successors of Stalin, Khrushchev and Bulganin in Great Britain in 1956. Here, they laid the foundation for “Londongrad”, the Western heaven for Soviet, and later Russian, foreign wealth. The bulky flak jackets beneath their coats that puffed them up make a perfect image of Communist luminaries who made power their new exclusive private property and the source of individual wealth.

Quite a lot of blood was shed, lies spouted, goods and liberty stolen, to build up all that fat.

Having some shreds of morality and ethics still on me, I prefer to work and serve people to build wealth, rather than kill and steal.


Traveller Lessons

  • Serving under Capitalist Nobility is far better for commoners than serving under a Red Star Aristocracy.
  • Any Power Elite has a tendency to kill. However, Atheistic Power Elites revel in the blood.
  • There are romantics, and there are realists. Imperial Nobles are to be realists.
  • The State does not care if you live or die.
    Well, actually, it DOES have a distinct preference…
  • Don’t look to Might Men — Nobles or otherwise — for salvation. At the end of the day, it’s far wiser to assume that they are in it for themselves.
  • The Fear of Boogeymen — Capitalist, Islamic, Jewish, whatever — are useful tools of power.
  • The State does not Save. It might be interested in protecting it’s property — a.k.a. the tax serfs — from being destroyed by other states, though. Maybe.
  • Macho men without their wits about them are just another kind of victim, another tool of their Betters.
  • Don’t be a slave: keep the Commandments… including the command against envy. Control yourself, and fear the Lord rather than other men.

“But the Powerful Men still have the machine guns! They can still kill you!”

“And do you seriously think that if I crawl before them, they will have mercy on the likes of me? HA!

Far more likely, they’ll just commit some massive atrocity right before my eyes first, strictly to demonstrate how Above the Law of God they are… and for the Encouragement of the Others, as well as their own sense of pleasure.”

“So, Power justifies all things?”

“NOW you have your Communist hat on right!”

“I thought it was materialist.”

“Peas in a pod.”

Posted in Jumpspace Transmission

Imperial Nobility at the Dinner Table

From Wikipedia, Table Knife

The distinguishing feature of a table knife is a blunt or rounded end. The origin of this, and thus of the table knife itself, is attributed by tradition to Cardinal Richelieu around 1637, reputedly to cure dinner guests of the habit of picking their teeth with their knife-points.[1]

Later, in 1669, King Louis XIV of France banned pointed knives in the street and at his table, insisting on blunt tips, in the hope that it would reduce violence.[2][3]

Ah, life in High Noble Society!

Note that this won’t work out in the Canon Imperium, where you can carry pistols to the Imperial Throneroom.

But of course, the Castle Doctrine is in full effect: “The Emperor may let you do that in HIS throneroom… but I won’t let it happen in MINE!”

Different Nobles, Different Houses, Different Rules.

Posted in Jumpspace Transmission