Author Topic: Just how autocratic is the Vasudan Govt?  (Read 371 times)

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Offline rubixcube

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Just how autocratic is the Vasudan Govt?
We know from FS2's tech room that Vasuda is ruled by an emperor Khonsu II, whereas in FS1 it was ruled by an parliament. It always seemed rather odd to me that the Vasudan civilization would regress so drastically in governmental systems while seemingly becoming more prosperous because of it.

BP might have fleshed out the government of the Vasudan Imperium a little more, but is there ever any indication of checks and balances on the emperor's power? Perhaps a senate or something?
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Re: Just how autocratic is the Vasudan Govt?
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It always seemed rather odd to me that the Vasudan civilization would regress so drastically in governmental systems while seemingly becoming more prosperous because of it.

It's not unknown. The gradual disintegration from the Roman republic to the Roman empire under Marius and then the first and second triumvurates was positive for Roman prosperity (in no small part because her borders extended so far that raids unto Rome became nearly impossible and that trade within Rome's border greatly benefitted from the infrastructure build to enable that conquest - so it's probably not very applicable here).

The Vasudan Imperium is not prosperous becuase of it's government system persé, it's prosperous relative to the Terrans. Both peoples lost their homeworld, but Vasuda's reaction was to enact an autocratic empire (which, considering that it's government had been bombarded, was probably admiralty effectively taking control and then formalizing that control) whilst the GTA splintered into several subfactions. So the Vasudans could rebuild whilst acting as a single force and use all the resources at their disposal, whilst the various  splinter factions of the GTA vied with each other. If the Vasudan imperium was instead a Vasudan Republic with strong focus on presidential power (like, say, the 5th french republic) it would most likely still be more prosperous then terrans in the FS2 universe because of the dissolution of the GTA.

 

Offline 0rph3u5

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Re: Just how autocratic is the Vasudan Govt?
It always seemed rather odd to me that the Vasudan civilization would regress so drastically in governmental systems while seemingly becoming more prosperous because of it.

In Of Shivans and Men will offer up a more detailed explaination but for now sufice it to say that I am thinking about it less as a regress but as a crisis symtom.

The destruction of Vasuda Prime never was quite as impactful in the story as I would have liked, as such it is kinda weird how the Vasudan progressed in between games. The destruction of Vasudan Prime was not just the loss of another planet, it meant the annihiliation of wide segments of Vasudan cultue. Basically while their technology still works and there still enought Vasudans so the species doesn't die out in a generation or two, what forms the foundation for the Vasudan identity was lost with their home world.

In OSaM it procceeds from there, that because most of the colonial Vasudans were already born and raised into the Imperial culture, they embraced the ideal of a paragon-monarchy (i.e. the Emperor is not just a ruler but the most perfect expression of Vasudan-ness) which was at its core but had lost its impacts before (the Emperor and the designated heir were culturally important people but the government worked without them).
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Offline Snarks

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Re: Just how autocratic is the Vasudan Govt?
I would say the Vasudans are fairly autocratic. But I will say that the Terrans might be just as autocratic.

I'm going to reference Firesteel's excellent analysis of Freespace 1, which on this same forum section.

So I'm going to say that Freespace 1 had me roleplaying as a soldier serving an autocratic state. Why? Well, you are never given any reasons why you are at war with the Vasudans. There's some brief mentions of diplomatic incidents and so on, but none of it justifies starting a war, at least for contemporary western democracies. Can you imagine today's France declaring war on Germany because the German ambassador was impolite and didn't know proper etiquette? That sort of casus belli would be something you expect from feuding monarch states in the medieval age.

In Freespace 1, I fought for the GTA because I was a fighter pilot. I didn't question why I was killing Vasudans in bulk. I didn't think it was strange that we were going to invade their homeworld, possibly drop a few nukes on it, all so that we can subjugate their species. And I served GTA proudly too. So I think the Terrans are militaristic and probably fairly autocratic as well, as these two traits often go hand in hand.

Taking some more liberties from Blue Planet, we see that the Terrans are highly militaristic compared to the Earthers, and they do not shy away from hiding information from its own public. We know the GTA was overthrown and replaced with a very progressive society. We know Earth was a sort of economic paradise, compared to the Lost Generations of the Terran worlds. We know from political science research that in real life, poor economic prospects often lead to turmoil and the empowering of strong figureheads and a powerful state.

The Terrans are autocratic. The Vasudans are autocratic. The Neo-Terran Front was probably just as autocratic as the Terrans but sprinkled with racism and hate.

When the threat of extinction lurks around the corner, it is easy to agree to giving up your liberties and building a strong military.

 

Offline Firesteel

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Re: Just how autocratic is the Vasudan Govt?
Well thank you for citing me  :D

Going by what's in FS1 I do believe that the Vasudan government is a fair bit more autocratic than the GTA due to the emphasis placed on the Vasudan's elaborate language, its focus on tradition, and the comments about Byzantine politics in FS2's description of the success of the Vasudan reconstruction. It wouldn't surprise me if the PVN was ordered into a war with the GTA over some highly ranking Vasudan legislators' overblown reaction to the Terrans' clumsiness.

As for the GTA by the time we see it martial law has likely been declared and whatever form of government it once had has abdicated at least a portion of its responsibility to the military, and likely the majority of its power once the Shivans arrive. Considering events like the Vietnam and Iraq wars you don't need that autocratic a government to get into a mess of a conflict if the military is under the orders of what ultimately amounts to a single person (and we can argue at length as to how autocratic the US government was back in the 60s) but it wouldn't surprise me if the GTA was at least originally ruled by something like the UN in how it functions before a 14 year conflict with the Vasudans followed by the Shivan incursion destroyed it.
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Re: Just how autocratic is the Vasudan Govt?
So I'm going to say that Freespace 1 had me roleplaying as a soldier serving an autocratic state. Why? Well, you are never given any reasons why you are at war with the Vasudans. There's some brief mentions of diplomatic incidents and so on, but none of it justifies starting a war, at least for contemporary western democracies. Can you imagine today's France declaring war on Germany because the German ambassador was impolite and didn't know proper etiquette? That sort of casus belli would be something you expect from feuding monarch states in the medieval age.

Sci-fi is sprinkled with all sorts of bizarre cases like this. Apparently all alien diplomats are trained to declare war at the slightest provocation, rather than being trained to, y'know, make peaceful contact with other cultures while being aware of the potential for misunderstanding.

 

Offline Firesteel

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Re: Just how autocratic is the Vasudan Govt?
It wouldn't surprise me if "the Conversation" incident was more the straw that broke the camel's back than the only thing that sparked the T-V War. With the tech room making specific references to the stereotypes the Terrans and Vasudans use for each other it wouldn't surprise me if relations were always shaky and the Conversation was the last in a long string of diplomatic incidents on both sides.
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Offline rubixcube

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Re: Just how autocratic is the Vasudan Govt?
It always seemed rather odd to me that the Vasudan civilization would regress so drastically in governmental systems while seemingly becoming more prosperous because of it.

In Of Shivans and Men will offer up a more detailed explaination but for now sufice it to say that I am thinking about it less as a regress but as a crisis symtom.

The destruction of Vasuda Prime never was quite as impactful in the story as I would have liked, as such it is kinda weird how the Vasudan progressed in between games. The destruction of Vasudan Prime was not just the loss of another planet, it meant the annihiliation of wide segments of Vasudan cultue. Basically while their technology still works and there still enought Vasudans so the species doesn't die out in a generation or two, what forms the foundation for the Vasudan identity was lost with their home world.

In OSaM it procceeds from there, that because most of the colonial Vasudans were already born and raised into the Imperial culture, they embraced the ideal of a paragon-monarchy (i.e. the Emperor is not just a ruler but the most perfect expression of Vasudan-ness) which was at its core but had lost its impacts before (the Emperor and the designated heir were culturally important people but the government worked without them).

Interesting,

I think the reason for the losing the vasudan homeworld not having much impact was because it was of (comparably) low importance when compared to Earth. I always figured the PVE had its economic assets somewhat more spread out than the GTA's
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Offline Firesteel

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Re: Just how autocratic is the Vasudan Govt?
There are a couple mentions of the Vasudans needing to have effective space travel to keep their civilization flourishing due to limited resources on Vasuda Prime so I would guess that strategically Vasuda Prime is less important than Earth. On top of that we're seeing everything filtered through the GTA's warped perspective on the Vasudans from the 14 years of fighting.
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- A short campaign inspired by a certain command briefing animation