Greedy Goblin

Monday, June 17, 2013

Why there are oppressive governments everywhere?

Have you ever asked the above question? I'd be surprised if you didn't. In every generation young people rally for freedom. Be it Woodstock or Occupy Wall Street, it's all about the same: freedom. To let no one tell me how do I live. Of course (most of) them are not idiots and aware of the fact that your freedom will always be limited by the freedom of other people. Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose. Most of them accept this and demands only governmental oppression to end. I mean they accept that they can't just walk to other person's property but they don't accept that some clerk telling them they can't drink, can't smoke weed, can't drive fast, can't sing on the street, can't do this, can't do that, despite no one would get hurt.

The libertarian, objectivist and somewhat the Tea Party and right-wing organizations are demanding the same on a more coherent level. But there is no result. There isn't a country where "clerks" don't tell you when to walk, when to stop, what to wear, who to marry, what to smoke, when to drink and other countless things. The contrary: even countries that were more free are tightening governmental control. They peek into your mail, they strip-search you on the airport, they might even drop a drone on you and kill you with your family if they guess you are up to trouble. And the people in general agree with this.

There were political movements for more freedom but they all failed. Controlled systems simply outcompeted free ones, contrary to objectivist beliefs freedom did not liberated the power of men to create a better world for their self-interest.

I was objectivist longer than average people, way beyond my youth. Most people trade freedom for welfare or nationalism, I'm free of both. I don't think that "unlucky" people deserve help nor I think my countrymen are more my "brothers" than any random human. I've been preaching for self-interest, caring for ourselves, not taking responsibility for anyone else but taking responsibility for ourselves. I simply realized that my self interest demands to allow a "clerk" to decide when can I walk, when can I drink, what speed can I drive, what can I wear and so on.

The reason for this change is playing EVE Online. In this game the freedom one can dream of is available. The GMs don't tell you what to do, there isn't "governmental" punishment for any in-game action. The trailers are true that here only your abilities limit how far you reach: you can be filthy rich, you can be powerful, you can be revered hero.

Socialists believe selfishness is evil. They believe that the "bad" people are those who engage in zero-sum games. I take your money in a scheme, I have money, you don't. They believe that capitalism is a set of zero-sum games and only the good government could protect us from the "greedy capitalist" who doesn't care if he hurt us while he takes what he wants. Capitalist believe that selfish actions are productive to the World, as it's always easier to make a bigger pie and cooperate than take from others, especially as the weak is by definition poor, so you can't really take anything from them.

EVE proves the capitalist dream. The group aren't the pirates or a world conquering army, they are industrialists and traders who create value and serve other people. Our billions come from transportation, price stabilization and the service of providing instant buys and sells. If you look at the ISK-billionaires you can see how wrong the socialists are. I truly believe that any socialist can be converted by making them play EVE.

But I saw something I didn't expect. Something that the objectivist and even the socialist books don't write about. Something that gives a new meaning to the word "evil". It's not the people who ignore suffering. It's the people who want it. Many-many EVE players set out not to gain money or power or fame but to "harvest tears". Other people suffering isn't just something they can live with. It's something they can't live without. Their games aren't zero-sum but negative. They destroy things for no self-interest or even interest in destruction itself. They don't care about the ship they destroy, they do it to make another person sad. Their prize is not ISK or sovereignty but chatlogs proving that someone is angry or sad.

These people cannot be set free. There must always be a clerk who tells them where to go, what to do, what to smoke, what to tell because in the minute they do what they want, they go and hurt people for no reason. Most players gladly trade their freedom, their ability to own stars for the control of CONCORD, because it's easier to live by the rules than constantly fighting griefers who has no other reason to attack than their assumption that I will cry or rage if they succeed.

Of course they are not spawns of the devil, they are simply people on the third level of their development. They realized that the "help the weak" is simply a scheme exploiting them and they want to regain control. Dominating someone gives them the feeling of this control. They aren't evil to be exterminated, they are able to do great things, but to do so they must be kept in check. As long as vast majority of the people are not rational, there must always be a government oppressing these people from doing what they really want: harvest tears.


Andru said...

The Tea Part wants freedom? Maybe in their statement, because sure as hell they don't act like it. (As long as you are a rich, white, middle-aged, heterosexual, christian white man, that is.)

Anonymous said...

You could actually get to Marxism via the EVE argument too. eg.

Just as people in EVE are only loyal to their corps (or else the corps would kick them out) and hate all others, so iRL many people are only loyal to the people they see as 'their group'. They want to PvP all the other groups.

When their group happens to be industrialists then they use their power to subvert government, write new laws (this is called 'regulatory capture') and make sure they keep winning PvP. If allowed, they will go on to develop monopolies and put up barriers to prevent anyone ever joining them or being able to attack them.

So you could argue that the main role of government is to make sure no one group gets to be in control all of the time. Which is hard when so many of them are in the pockets of industry and bankers.

Unknown said...

One cannot competently talk on the subject of freedom without mentioning this book.


I'd like to remind local Marxists that Marx himself went on record saying "All I know is that I am not a Marxist".

Marx has never been about the role of the government, but rather about the mechanics of development of society as a whole.

Eve society seems to have so far developing exactly in line with the mechanics Marx outlined in Capital, currently being in transition between feudalistic and capitalistic phases. The fact that Eve player society is currently working to implement a capitalistic phase against feudalistic prejudices does not "prove capitalism is right" and "socialists are wrong", though.

According to Marx, you cannot reach socialism phase without passing through capitalist phase. In other words, Eve is about as ready for socialism as pre-Renaissance Europe was. Which is not even close to ready, even on conceptual level.

A better position to argue against RL socialists is by examining whether real life society has successfully done away with feudalistic baggage and is ready to move towards collective control over production. Most of RL socialists like to pretend that we are ready and have this delusion that if "everyone works together" than they might get to see true socialism within the span of their lives. Which is simply not the case in most of the modern world yet.

Anonymous said...

Psychologist Felicia Pratto and her colleagues have found evidence to support the idea that a high Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) is strongly correlated with conservative political views, and opposition to social engineering to promote equality, though Pratto's findings have been highly controversial.[123] Pratto and her colleagues found that high SDO scores were highly correlated with measures of prejudice. They were refuted in this claim by David J. Schneider, who wrote that "correlations between prejudice and political conservative are reduced virtually to zero when controls for SDO are instituted".[124] Kenneth Minogue criticized Pratto's work, saying "It is characteristic of the conservative temperament to value established identities, to praise habit and to respect prejudice, not because it is irrational, but because such things anchor the darting impulses of human beings in solidities of custom which we do not often begin to value until we are already losing them. Radicalism often generates youth movements, while conservatism is a condition found among the mature, who have discovered what it is in life they most value."

Source =

But more importantly, the philosophical analysis =
John Rawls was an American philosopher, a professor of political philosophy at Harvard University and author of A Theory of Justice (1971), Political Liberalism, Justice as Fairness: A Restatement, and The Law of Peoples. He is widely considered one of the most important English-language political philosophers of the 20th century. His theory of justice uses a device called the original position to ask us which principles of justice we would choose to regulate the basic institutions of our society if we were behind a 'veil of ignorance.' Imagine we do not know who we are - our race, sex, wealth status, class, or any distinguishing feature - so that we would not be biased in our own favour. Rawls argues from this 'original position' that we would choose exactly the same political liberties for everyone, like freedom of speech, the right to vote and so on. Also, we would choose a system where there is only inequality because that produces incentives enough for the economic well-being of all society, especially the poorest. This is Rawls's famous 'difference principle'. Justice is fairness, in the sense that the fairness of the original position of choice guarantees the fairness of the principles chosen in that position.

Source =

You would like the writings of Sir Keith Joseph and the theories coming from the Centre for Policy Studies.

Eaten by a Grue said...

I think you are a little harsh in branding the negative sum PvPers as "evil". You yourself mentioned how the goal of a PvP game is to subject other players to your control. When you can exude control, you are "winning", in some sense. So that is part of it, probably, along with good old fashioned desire to simply destroy others in a game of combat. Sacrificing in game resources is perfectly acceptable for this purpose. Granted, the seeking of tears seems a little mean spirited. But "evil"?

Anonymous said...

Might want to think about the tons of people who quit because of being harassed constantly by ganking pirate types.

Every system is the greatest, if you benefit from it. Start asking the most downtrodden eve players, and see if they think it would be good in real life

Anonymous said...

Milton Friedman proposed the idea that the natural state of the human condition is one of tyranny under an oppressive government. And any society that exists outside of that condition is an anomoly.

Anonymous said...

To bring some contemporary pop-art pathos into this:

"Some men aren´t looking for anything logical, like money. They can´t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn." - Alfred Pennyworth

Are there people like that? Statistically, there must be. While (maybe) insignificant from a statistical point of view, they still amount to the most dangerous minority, for lack of moral coherence. People that evade moral standards are, by definition, utterly unpredictable.

In EvE, where one cannot see the madness in the eye of his counterpart, virtually anyone could be such a person, including your wingman. By blindly following our instinct of self-preservation, we tend to fear them. Thus, fear has become the central, most vital capital (to place a marxist reference) in EvE.

The popular belief that griefers capitalize on tears is, imho, not quite correct. They feed off fear.

It is to battle this fear every generations´ youth picks up a metaphorical, or actual, cobblestone.



P.S.: Enjoying your post for a few weeks now. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

im in no way an expert economist nor
have i ever played eve for longer than 14 days, but where in eve you produce goods just on your own more or less, real life businessmen let them be produced by workers and exploit their manpower. their economical fist isnt stopped at the noses of the workers.
so your sight on self-responsibility in real life is a little bit flawed imho.