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Hosted Projects - FS2 Required => Blue Planet => Topic started by: Snarks on May 06, 2019, 04:36:37 am

Title: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: Snarks on May 06, 2019, 04:36:37 am
Something that really caught me when playing the original Freespace games was that it felt right to kill for the GTA. You are put into a pilot's seat, given strict military orders, and are told these are you enemies: go kill them. The Terran-Vasudan War doesn't have any meaningful reason other than a conflict over hegemony of resources. Why not simply explore more systems and expand away from each other? Why not trade? Because allowing your rivals to live means giving up absolute power. The game does a great job of having motives fall in line with that of a soldier under a fascist regime. The minimalism and emphasis on military procedures all build this feeling that it's ok to go and kill for the sake of resources.

As a thought experiment, I once argued that a soldier from a liberal democracy has greater moral responsibilities than those of an oppressive regime. If you refuse to follow orders in an oppressive regime, not only are you likely to be put up against a wall and shot but likely your family too. If you refuse to follow orders in a liberal democracy, you are likely to be reprimanded and court martialed, with likely prison time, but it's unlikely you will ever be executed for it. Thus, a soldier from a liberal democracy, because he is less likely to be subject to unreasonable punishment, ought to exercise his duty to morals, rejecting orders that would constitute crimes against humanity.

While I don't believe any of the mission failures outright has the player be put up against the wall for a firing squad, you are treated rather harshly for failures. If you retreat before the mission is completed, no matter how absurd or seeming impossible a situation is, you are likely given a mission debriefing where you are court martialed or stripped of your rank. We don't punish soldiers for fearing for their lives, surrendering, or fleeing when the situation is bleak. The states that punish their soldiers under such conditions are typically authoritarian states, like Nazi Germany's policy of no retreat or Imperial Japan's expectation that their soldiers die before surrendering. As a pilot of the GTA, you aren't allowed to break orders. You retreat when Command deem it necessary.

So I did post this in the Blue Planet forum for a reason. In Blue Planet, the GTVA is in fact seemingly very fascist in nature, especially when compared to the Ubuntu government. The UEF honor the lives of their fallen enemies, value the lives of its citizenry and soldiers, and refuse actions that it deem foul. When you fly with the Fedayeen, you are acknowledged to be in a unit that's not quite alleged to be part of the federation, even possibly disapproved by many of the elders and kept back until the situation became truly dire. The GTVA's equivalent, the SOC, are kept secret for purposes of information blackout, but they are acknowledged as being part of the GTVA are readily a part of the military service.

Did the GTVA become more militant because of the Shivans? Probably yes, but they were already a fascist society beforehand.

Young me played Freespace and loved it. I killed Vasudans because I was told to do so and with a undertone that it's fine because they weren't Terrans. Whether or not this was intentional, it likely wasn't, Freespace really did feel like a game where you roleplayed being a soldier under a fascist regime.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: Colonol Dekker on May 06, 2019, 04:59:04 am
Refusal to follow orders in theatre will often jeapordise your team, people you train with for years.   

I would think very carefully before any sort of deviation.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: Snarks on May 06, 2019, 05:16:29 am
Refusal to follow orders in theatre will often jeapordise your team, people you train with for years.   

I would think very carefully before any sort of deviation.

Definitely, but I argue that we probably, rightfully criticize soldiers in modern democracies committing war crimes under the pretense of orders. I'm not saying it should be an easy decision, but the expectations for moral duties are higher when the punishment is lower. German soldiers refusing orders and fleeing to surrender to the western allies in WW2 were most definitely jeopardizing the defense of other German units, but the only people who really shame them would be the extreme members of the Nazi party.

I suppose you could argue that you jumping out when all of your wing members are dead is still jeopardizing the broader "team" in other presumed areas of space, but the way the player is treated is not in line with what modern countries do. We treat survivors from a battle or operation gone wrong as war heroes, not court martial them and then put them on janitorial duties.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: Hjolnai on May 06, 2019, 07:43:28 am
I don't think you can reasonably say that the GTA was fascist in Freespace 1. Firstly, the treatment of deserters is fairly consistent with how the Allies treated deserters in WWI and WWII (many deserters were sentenced to death, even if few were actually executed). It's not fair to consider modern treatment of deserters, because a total war footing demands much greater sacrifice than the limited wars of our time - at least, from the perspective of modern democracies who aren't on the losing side. Much the same argument applies for war crimes - it's much easier to avoid them when the war isn't an existential threat to your nation.

If we use the Axis as the primary example of fascism, then the GTA looks even less like a fascist state - the Axis betrayed their pact with the Soviet Union, whereas the GTA formed a long-term alliance with their former enemies.

In Freespace 2, of course, the NTF was rather fascist/Nazi-like, since nationalism and anti-Vasudan sentiment was at the core of their ideology - and they didn't shy away from genocide. That doesn't hold for the GTVA, though, and Alpha One's mission briefings do seem to mention the protection of civilians as a frequent justification IIRC.

In Blue Planet there's perhaps a better argument for it, but to me it looks like the GTVA invasion is a calculated act of desperation - recognition that they can't beat the Shivans alone, and that allying with the Federation still isn't enough because the Federation focuses its economy on living standards rather than military production (and Ubuntu threatens to destabilize the human side of the GTVA, making matters even worse). Diplomacy won't change that - only war, followed by a puppet government, can. The GTVA also tries to maintain reasonable standards of conduct during the war, as evidenced by the fact that they have to have some justification (traveling with armed escort, being a military target because of industry, etc) before being willing to shoot at civilians. Considering the devastation inflicted on civilians by allied strategic bombing in WWII, this is still consistent with desperate democratic states. The GTVA also shows significant concern for public opinion back home.

I wouldn't say that democracy is particularly healthy in the GTVA in Blue Planet, but it's not dead yet. Even if it fails, the human-side successor government is likely to be a fairly ordinary military dictatorship without the genocidal rhetoric and actions of fascist states, while the Vasudans may be headed for absolute monarchy. Not exactly a great place to live, but any universe with the Shivans is a bad place to live in.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: General Battuta on May 06, 2019, 08:26:11 am
Huh, it’s an interesting point that the GT(V)A seems so fascist in FS1. And they really do! There’s a lot of dark hints that strategic bombing of Vasudan colonies has been planned or carried out. By the time of FS2 they feel a little more like NATO, but we still never hear anything from civilian governments or local authorities.

I think one vote against the GTA as truly fascist is their lack of state ideology. We don’t see a lot of pageantry, we don’t get exhortations to remember the Power of Man or to give up our lives for the state. They’re really not very good at soft power or rhetoric! Maybe that’s why the GTA fell apart so fast after FS1.

Maybe the closest we get is the FS2 intro monologue...but that’s hardly a stirring appeal to the strength of the military state.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: The E on May 06, 2019, 08:34:10 am
Something that really caught me when playing the original Freespace games was that it felt right to kill for the GTA. You are put into a pilot's seat, given strict military orders, and are told these are you enemies: go kill them. The Terran-Vasudan War doesn't have any meaningful reason other than a conflict over hegemony of resources. Why not simply explore more systems and expand away from each other? Why not trade? Because allowing your rivals to live means giving up absolute power. The game does a great job of having motives fall in line with that of a soldier under a fascist regime. The minimalism and emphasis on military procedures all build this feeling that it's ok to go and kill for the sake of resources.

We do not know nearly enough about the internal structure and politics of the GTVA to tell whether or not they're fascist. The games offer only a very limited perspective on life in the GTVA (that of a combat pilot on deployment in an active war zone); Any military will, by its very nature, seem fascist when compared to civilian life (That is not to say that soldiers are fascists, far from it; life in the military just is very much oriented towards working together for the greater good while under strict authority).

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As a thought experiment, I once argued that a soldier from a liberal democracy has greater moral responsibilities than those of an oppressive regime. If you refuse to follow orders in an oppressive regime, not only are you likely to be put up against a wall and shot but likely your family too. If you refuse to follow orders in a liberal democracy, you are likely to be reprimanded and court martialed, with likely prison time, but it's unlikely you will ever be executed for it. Thus, a soldier from a liberal democracy, because he is less likely to be subject to unreasonable punishment, ought to exercise his duty to morals, rejecting orders that would constitute crimes against humanity.

A soldier serving under an oppressive regime certainly has a better excuse to make moral compromises for the sake of survival, but I would argue that both have the same duty to refuse immoral orders (I dunno, I'm german; During basic training, I was taught that it is our duty as german soldiers, as "citizens in uniform", to look out for and actively refuse to follow orders that cannot be reconciled with the values of our society).

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While I don't believe any of the mission failures outright has the player be put up against the wall for a firing squad, you are treated rather harshly for failures. If you retreat before the mission is completed, no matter how absurd or seeming impossible a situation is, you are likely given a mission debriefing where you are court martialed or stripped of your rank. We don't punish soldiers for fearing for their lives, surrendering, or fleeing when the situation is bleak. The states that punish their soldiers under such conditions are typically authoritarian states, like Nazi Germany's policy of no retreat or Imperial Japan's expectation that their soldiers die before surrendering. As a pilot of the GTA, you aren't allowed to break orders. You retreat when Command deem it necessary.

"We" absolutely do. Desertion is a fairly serious crime, cowardice in the face of the enemy a pretty serious misstep in most militaries. This has nothing to do with how authoritarian a state is; It's a violation of the oath you swore when you decided to become a soldier, it jeopardizes the people next to you, and cannot be tolerated.

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So I did post this in the Blue Planet forum for a reason. In Blue Planet, the GTVA is in fact seemingly very fascist in nature, especially when compared to the Ubuntu government. The UEF honor the lives of their fallen enemies, value the lives of its citizenry and soldiers, and refuse actions that it deem foul. When you fly with the Fedayeen, you are acknowledged to be in a unit that's not quite alleged to be part of the federation, even possibly disapproved by many of the elders and kept back until the situation became truly dire. The GTVA's equivalent, the SOC, are kept secret for purposes of information blackout, but they are acknowledged as being part of the GTVA are readily a part of the military service.

Did the GTVA become more militant because of the Shivans? Probably yes, but they were already a fascist society beforehand.

Again, we do not know enough about civilian life in the GTVA or the GTA before it to make that statement.
IMHO, the harsher side of the GT(V)A has two points of origin: One, the GTA is an umbrella organization for a far-flung colonization effort. We do not know how much (if any) terraforming the GTA has been doing (although we do posit that in the BP universe, they didn't do a whole lot; Mars' terraforming process was effectively stalled when extrasolar colonies became a thing), but we can safely assume that life on these new colonies isn't going to be particularly easy, especially after the events of FS1 and the loss of the Sol system.
Two, the shivans, obviously. After FS2, it is clear that the threat of the Shivans is much larger than previously assumed; they are, from the perspective of the GTVA, weakly god-like. Combined with the research into Nagari phenomena in BP, the GTVA is faced with an impossible mission: Ensure human (and vasudan) survival in a universe that contains agencies like the shivans and vishnans, agencies that are practically omnisicient, highly inscrutable, and which seemingly do not particularly care about human and vasudan survival.
In BP, we have posited a few things that the GTVA might have done in reaction to this, some secret, some not (Here's a small hint: The Anemoi class is vastly overengineered for its current role). We have not, to the best of my knowledge anyway, talked about what life in the GTVA is like for the average colonist.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: Nightmare on May 06, 2019, 09:05:18 am
By the time of FS2 they feel a little more like NATO, but we still never hear anything from civilian governments or local authorities.

I don't know, but maybe that's because the player is in the military and somewhat isolated from civillian news? There was some mention about negotiations with the NTF at the beginning of FS2. Of course the soldiers won't be completely isolated from what happens at home but in the end their job is to fight the enemy as good as they can, not to sit there and hope for a peace conference.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: General Battuta on May 06, 2019, 09:08:55 am
That’s not how being in the military works, though. You hear everything from CNN first.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: Colonol Dekker on May 06, 2019, 09:16:36 am
That's definitely true about big events.  But broad strategy has a habit of leaking through grapevines.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: IronBeer on May 06, 2019, 09:54:16 am
We have not, to the best of my knowledge anyway, talked about what life in the GTVA is like for the average colonist.
IIRC no official sources really have. There's an unused image of a Terran newscaster, so we could extrapolate from there.... but plenty of societies have televised news.

Most of what we know about civilian life in the GTVA is inferred. I thiiiiink the general zeitgeist-consensus is that it's broadly similar to life in a modern democratic state, though obviously more militaristic, and the import of voting/representation is muddy at best.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: General Battuta on May 06, 2019, 10:31:03 am
I like to think that the GTVA is about as relevant to daily life as NATO is to us - you hear about it and appreciate its importance, but unless there’s a war on, it’s several layers of organization and abstraction away from anything that matters to you, like your local and planetary governments.

This is part of why the GTVA sees Ubuntu as such a threat. They don’t really provide a cultural identity to go with the military aegis. Last time someone had the idea for a pan-Terran nationalist movement look what happened!
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: Nightmare on May 06, 2019, 10:45:19 am
Just that the NATO is limited to international military politics, while the GTVA is the only political entity (aside the UEF).

Perhabs their ideals are less-selling than those of the UEF, but if they haven't been able to establish some sort of basic sense or ideology (like 'we protect you against the Shivans' or even just against NTF fans) in almost 40 years, GTVA propaganda would've done a pretty bad job.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: General Battuta on May 06, 2019, 11:26:20 am
This is covered pretty extensively in the BP discussions of post-Capella politics.

The General Assembly is the civilian side of the GTVA (well, so is the Security Council, but it’s not really a domestic political body on the level of civilian life). Representatives there presumably come from member worlds, which would have global and local governments (their populations are very small compared to Earth, smaller even than China today in most cases, but there’s still a need for lower organization). Those are the governments your average citizen would interact with, not the overarching GTVA.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: Colonol Dekker on May 06, 2019, 11:49:21 am
I wonder if the colonies cause as much trouble as Brexit does.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: Nightmare on May 06, 2019, 12:13:30 pm
@Battuta: Ah OK, didn't knew that. Does GTVA use a conscrition army or an employment one?

I wonder if the colonies cause as much trouble as Brexit does.

A few systems wanted to leave, but bloodthirsty EU GTVA wouldn't let them go. :D
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: DefCynodont119 on May 06, 2019, 03:28:53 pm
Going back to the original question for a moment, There doesn't feel like there is any massive information control in either the GTA (outside of silent threat) or the GTVA, and the techroom mentions the "Titan accords" in FS1 and "BETAC" in FS2,  both of which outline and prohibit war crimes. I don't think those are something a full-on Fascist regime would condenser writing up and passing.

I would also like to add that the GTA and PVE were at war for over 14 years, over what the Techroom calls "the conversation" (some kind of diplomatic incident) So it could be that maybe the GTA was peaceful and democratic at first and slowly became more hard-line and militaristic as the war got worse.

But yeah I think the GTVA is more of a NATO type thing.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: Snarks on May 06, 2019, 04:02:26 pm
I don't think you can reasonably say that the GTA was fascist in Freespace 1. Firstly, the treatment of deserters is fairly consistent with how the Allies treated deserters in WWI and WWII (many deserters were sentenced to death, even if few were actually executed). It's not fair to consider modern treatment of deserters, because a total war footing demands much greater sacrifice than the limited wars of our time - at least, from the perspective of modern democracies who aren't on the losing side. Much the same argument applies for war crimes - it's much easier to avoid them when the war isn't an existential threat to your nation.

If we use the Axis as the primary example of fascism, then the GTA looks even less like a fascist state - the Axis betrayed their pact with the Soviet Union, whereas the GTA formed a long-term alliance with their former enemies.

The US executed a single individual, Eddie Slovik, for desertion in the entirety of WW2. Slovik was convinced that his country would not execute anyone for desertion. Slovik deserted multiple times, was given multiple chances to rejoin the armed forces, and was only executed following a drop in morale after the Battle of the Budge. Furthermore, Slovik did not refused any controversial orders. He did not surrender when his unit was overrun (as did many US units did during The Battle of the Budge).

Don't forget that the GTI did in fact essentially betrayed the Vasudans, sparking another potential conflict that could have easily resumed total war. There was a very realistic possibility that the alliance might not have materialized.

By comparison, likely because of gameplay reasons, you do sometimes find yourself forced into essentially suicidal scenarios. Just take the second mission of Freespace: if all 3 of your wingmen die, you are still expected to finish your patrol in the asteroid belt. If a fighter wing in our world gets gimped down to a man, we don't force the remaining survivor to finish his mission. We put a lot more effort in making sure our pilot's lives are safe, that we value them as individuals.

In Freespace 2, of course, the NTF was rather fascist/Nazi-like, since nationalism and anti-Vasudan sentiment was at the core of their ideology - and they didn't shy away from genocide. That doesn't hold for the GTVA, though, and Alpha One's mission briefings do seem to mention the protection of civilians as a frequent justification IIRC.

I agree, but the NTF was part of the GTA for over 20 years. A lot of the officers in the NTF were GTA officers, likely many veterans of the Great War. Many of them probably had a big influence on the Terran half of the GTVA. You can make the argument that some of the more extreme fascist elements of the GTA splintered off, just like the GTI did. The fact that the NTF was willing to continue some of the genocidal policies of the original GTA actually makes the alliance appear even more tenuous, as this would be the second Terran attack on the Vasudans, 20 years later.

Arguably, this mirrors the military cliques of Imperial Japan (who often attempted military coups) or the often unfriendly rivalry between the Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe, the SA, and the SS. The fact that power can be derived from the military is suggestive of a fascist state. The day the CIA or Marine Corp can stage a coup in the US is the day I seriously begin to doubt the democratic, civilian authority of the United States.

In Blue Planet there's perhaps a better argument for it, but to me it looks like the GTVA invasion is a calculated act of desperation - recognition that they can't beat the Shivans alone, and that allying with the Federation still isn't enough because the Federation focuses its economy on living standards rather than military production (and Ubuntu threatens to destabilize the human side of the GTVA, making matters even worse). Diplomacy won't change that - only war, followed by a puppet government, can. The GTVA also tries to maintain reasonable standards of conduct during the war, as evidenced by the fact that they have to have some justification (traveling with armed escort, being a military target because of industry, etc) before being willing to shoot at civilians. Considering the devastation inflicted on civilians by allied strategic bombing in WWII, this is still consistent with desperate democratic states. The GTVA also shows significant concern for public opinion back home.

I wouldn't say that democracy is particularly healthy in the GTVA in Blue Planet, but it's not dead yet. Even if it fails, the human-side successor government is likely to be a fairly ordinary military dictatorship without the genocidal rhetoric and actions of fascist states, while the Vasudans may be headed for absolute monarchy. Not exactly a great place to live, but any universe with the Shivans is a bad place to live in.

There were criticism of strategic bombing on civilian population. The fire bombing of Dresden is one of the most widely criticized affair of WW2. We often associate those decisions with the more right winged elements of the government/military. Is the GTVA as extreme as Nazi Germany? I can't really say, but by our modern liberal democracy standards, I think there is a case to be made. Again though, a lot of this stuff likely wasn't intended on the part of Volition, but plenty of art reveal things that the original creator did not intend. In retrospect, I actually find it a bit disturbing to replay the original Freespace campaign after having these thoughts. Why am I shooting down Vasudans on an offensive military operation, because 14 years ago we had a diplomatic falling out? We're not just fighting to claim a particular planet. We're willing to bomb the Vasudans into submission.

Edit: Imagine if the UK conducted strategic bombing of civilian populations in Argentina during the Falklands War instead of simply enforcing its claim over the islands, or if they used that as a justification to take over the government. That would be crazy controversial.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: Colonol Dekker on May 06, 2019, 04:58:23 pm
They were our islands.  Argentina wasn't ours.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: MitoPL on May 06, 2019, 05:05:25 pm
Yeah, it's hard to judge GTA without seeing how it canonically interacts with civilians, but IMO they didn't really have "fascist" problems. Just as pointed out, a soldier makes an oath - one of its most important parts is the "sacrifice your life when the need comes" part. I can't really imagine a real military properly functioning when most of its soldiers are unlikely to take risks and would bail when facing possible death. There is the point of some orders from Command that end in death that can be easily prevented, of course, but I don't think that situation happens nearly often enough (in FS1, at least) to validate disobedience of orders.
Also note that canonically, every mission in Freespace games can be completed. Every objective (except these ones that are scripted to fail, of course) can be completed without the player dying. This means that if you leave the mission early, you've basically decided to bail out of a battle that is pretty much sure to be won by you. As bad as it is from the military perspective in early parts of the games, the consequences of you running away later on are much more than just breaking your oath. In late parts of the games, your actions decide (directly or not) over thousands, millions of lives - or even the existence of both human and vasudan races. So yeah, I wouldn't be that worried of AWOL debriefings suggesting something.

Also re: "What if all of my wingmen are dead" - I guess that there wasn't really a reason for Volition to think of this. Probably because if you screwed up that much it means that you've massively underperformed in relation to your rank and role and you should just replay the mission. The real outcome is the one where you survive and the objective is completed.
Also, I think that in some situations where you lost an important ship or lost a battle, Command actually ordered you to bail out of there, and the following debriefing basically means that you've massively underperformed or failed to follow your orders and that resulted in really big consequences.

There are some points I can make regarding the T-V conflict, too. For example, the sole fact that Harbringer warheads exist and their designed usage, as stated by the Tech Room entry, makes you think a bit ill of GTA. But on the other hand, it could only be the result of the escalation of the conflict, which forced both sides to try and make a bigger gun before the other side does. I don't think canon intelligence data states too much about Vasudan ways of fighting in this conflict.

Speaking of Vasudans. I think that they could be more guilty of "fascism" than GTA, to be honest. For example, there are some suggestions that Vasudan Imperium had much less care for their soldiers' lives than GTA did. Just look at the flying coffins that are the Amun and Osiris. You'd think that they would throw away the two subsequent bad bomber designs. There's no dedicated Vasudan heavy cruiser like the Leviathan at GTA's side. The flying coffin called Anubis, its very wide usage by the Imperium and the swarm tactics employed by them against superior GTA fighters. Not to mention some of the dedicated kamikaze fighter squadrons.
There's also the matter of Hammer of Light, I think that their rebellion can be considered relatively as large as the Neo-Terran Front in FS2. Just look at this, a force of religious extremists big enough to get a hold of at least a pair of Typhons and some other fleet assets from Vasudans in the middle of the fight against Shivans.

I personally think that Vasudans in FS1 can be compared to Japan during WW2. With Shivans delivering the nukes.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: Nightmare on May 06, 2019, 05:12:49 pm
Why am I shooting down Vasudans on an offensive military operation, because 14 years ago we had a diplomatic falling out? We're not just fighting to claim a particular planet. We're willing to bomb the Vasudans into submission.

Possibly because the goverment might find itself in heavy trouble if they fought a war for 14 years and they don't have anything to show that would justify the efforts.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: Rhymes on May 06, 2019, 05:29:23 pm
On the subject of the internal politics of the GTVA, my read on it for BP is that the civilian structure is something between the US's dual sovereignty setup and the European Union, where the individual systems manage their own affairs but are subject to the General Assembly/Security Council, especially when dealing with interstellar or species-wide issues.

Consider that the GTVA was founded in 2345, but that the regional blocs, per the FS2 techroom, continued to exist until 2358. I don't think it makes much sense that the blocks would be willing to dismantle themselves unless they had some assurances that a majority of their power and sovereignty would be preserved--those who have power don't usually like giving it up unless there are some pretty significant tangible benefits (eg trade controls so that you don't get competing states crippling each others economies with anti-competitive tariffs).

In addition, the GRANITE HUNTER files make brief mention of "Regulan Elections" at one point, which reinforces my theory that the systems at least have some degree of self-governance. It could be possible that the election is just referring to Assembly representatives, but I think it would be very difficult for the General Assembly to oversee running all of the different systems.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: themaddin on May 06, 2019, 06:51:32 pm
If it's permissible in this discussion to look beyond BP canon, you can get a pretty good benchmark of what fascism sounds like in an FS setting from Inferno / Sol: A History and their EA. GT(V)A certainly doesn't sound or act anything like that.

Also, fascists probably wouldn't bounce back from being shown they're not so superior as easily as the GTA did in FS1, when they allied with the Vasudans against the Shivan Incursion, which had then only begun "humbling" them, pretty quickly.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: QuakeIV on May 07, 2019, 12:24:29 am
It seems like the highly fascist plan would be to wipe out the vasudans and claim the galaxy for humanity (or at least our tiny corner of it).

Given how much trouble the GTA went to trying to obstruct the GTI Hades (rather than actively supporting it) I think claims of outright fascism are unfair.

They seem to be steadily moving towards military dictatorship (per giving steele political power, for instance) but they aren't particularly fascist I don't think.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: T-Man on May 07, 2019, 12:51:24 am
I've never really thought about it, though you mo make good points there Snarks. Could it be that in FS1 the GTA is in a 'total-war mode' and so may be harsher than it normally would be? It is a 14 year war between massive inter-system powers that includes subspace jumps, so other than systems the notion of front line doesn't really exist anymore; could imagine it being a stressful time. The games don't really go into the civilian side of things so the GTA being fascist is certainly possible though; and the NTF would be a resurgence of that fascistic ethos in the era of the GTVA?

Definitely agree there's an aspect of totalitarianism come BP-era, though (without wanting to spoil anything) it felt it more born of desperation and a feeling of necessity than a desire for a government of that kind (much as I have some personal beef with the BP GTA, I'll grant them that at least :lol:). They believe enemies of power levels beyond comprehension are ready to strike them anytime, anywhere; if they let themselves slip out of eternal paranoia, the entire human (and even Vasudan) people's could be wiped out. "We want democracy and freedom... after the Shivans are no longer a threat...".
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: Phantom Hoover on May 07, 2019, 09:56:47 am
I don’t get an exceptionally authoritarian vibe off the BP GTVA. Our perspective of them shows a lot of their dirty intelligence and covert ops work but our own contemporary western democracies have done far worse in the same contexts, and I don’t think they can be called fascist without diluting the term into meaninglessness. As Battuta said they really don’t seem very ideological at all.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: FrikgFeek on May 09, 2019, 04:30:18 pm
The GTI uprising in Silent threats has some fascist vibes but the fact that you go from total war to scientific cooperation to actively protecting Vasudan civilian convoys(in Exodus) without so much as a single racist remark from anyone involved makes it pretty difficult to claim  the GTA as a whole was fascist. I mean, both governments sign a cease-fire treaty alarmingly fast after the Shivans show up.
It's possible that the T-V war wasn't some 14 year total war of attrition where both sides were ready to cut each other's throats but closer to a feudal war where you have small flashes of action every few years but are still in  a "state of war" for much longer. The war never ended because it wasn't THAT costly and because both sides thought they could profit from it.
The Harbinger exists because it works well as a threat. And it's not a planetcracker, it's a citybuster at best. A bit of strategic orbital bombardment is very different from outright genocide. We also know that some form of ground-to-space defences exist so that would give it a military use as well.

That and the almost total lack of any pro-human rhetoric or propaganda. During the T-V war all of your briefings and in-mission orders are very detached and professional, not what you'd expect from a fascist military. People don't really start getting emotional until the Shivans and the Lucifer show up.

As for the failure debriefings not all of them even blame you. Sometimes you fail, it's understandable, but you still can't proceed because that failure basically means losing the war. As for AWOL debriefings, yeah, that's generally what happens when you desert. All modern militaries treat desertion pretty damn harshly, fear is no excuse. This is doubly true when you're defending a capital ship with 10000 people on board. Even if the situation looks bleak you have a sworn duty to protect those people. Whether or not you can survive and/or accomplish your mission is not a moral problem, it's a tactical one. And therefore it's on your CO to make that choice, not you.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: Rhymes on May 09, 2019, 10:38:38 pm
Minor quibble: assuming the numbers are accurate, the Harbinger is a 5-gigaton dirty bomb. That's more than a city buster. Probably still not a planet cracker (unless you stuck it under a fault or something, maybe), but would definitely mean bad things for anybody sharing a continent with its target, and probably mean bad things for anybody on the planet.

Granted, [V]'s conception of scale is...suspect, at best, but if you're rescaling the numbers than at that point it's whatever you want it to be.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: FrikgFeek on May 10, 2019, 12:39:12 pm
Yeahhh, the Avenger fires at 4500 rounds per minute and the Fury is apparently at least a tactical nuke at 3kt. And the Tsunami... don't even get me ****ing started. It's supposedly "slow, low maneuverability - antimatter warhead (500 tonne mass-to-energy conversion)".
With efficient mass to energy conversion 500 tonnes of mass would produce insane amounts of energy.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: QuakeIV on May 10, 2019, 08:46:52 pm
I don't really see any problem with future weapons being so powerful that planets start to look more like loosely collected piles of dust rather than something permanent, but I also tend to agree when people say Volition clearly didn't fully think through the implications of said weapons.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: Rheavatarin on May 14, 2019, 10:52:17 am
We don’t see a lot of pageantry, we don’t get exhortations to remember the Power of Man or to give up our lives for the state.
...
Maybe the closest we get is the FS2 intro monologue...but that’s hardly a stirring appeal to the strength of the military state.

What about the video introduction to the Colossus? Isn't that exactly the kind of thing you are talking about?
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: General Battuta on May 14, 2019, 10:53:54 am
It’s a classified briefing, not a broadcast on GTTV.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: Nightmare on May 14, 2019, 11:38:13 am
I don't really see any problem with future weapons being so powerful that planets start to look more like loosely collected piles of dust rather than something permanent, but I also tend to agree when people say Volition clearly didn't fully think through the implications of said weapons.

I think the first problem with these stats is that unless GTVA invented a completely unknown type of chemistry every ship only nearby to an exploding Harbinger would just disappear.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: Colonol Dekker on May 14, 2019, 02:44:28 pm
I thought Orions were meant to inspire safety in the civil population.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: QuakeIV on May 14, 2019, 05:23:09 pm
We don’t see a lot of pageantry, we don’t get exhortations to remember the Power of Man or to give up our lives for the state.
...
Maybe the closest we get is the FS2 intro monologue...but that’s hardly a stirring appeal to the strength of the military state.

What about the video introduction to the Colossus? Isn't that exactly the kind of thing you are talking about?

It wouldn't be particularly fascist even if it were public, unless they forced every single citizen to watch it.

I don't really see any problem with future weapons being so powerful that planets start to look more like loosely collected piles of dust rather than something permanent, but I also tend to agree when people say Volition clearly didn't fully think through the implications of said weapons.

I think the first problem with these stats is that unless GTVA invented a completely unknown type of chemistry every ship only nearby to an exploding Harbinger would just disappear.

Like energy shields and/or fancy collapsed core molybdenum armor?

e: Also you can argue that the majority of the energy is directed in one particular direction, for instance Casaba Howitzers (which iirc have been tested to a limited extent and succeeded in directing the majority of the blast energy into a 1-2 degree cone).
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: Nightmare on May 14, 2019, 06:01:32 pm
My take on shield was that it was that they're some sort of "directed energy reactive armour" (like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Curtain_(countermeasure) , just plasma based), so that the incoming projectiles/plasma shots/missiles/bombs are destroyed/dispersed before they come in contact with the ship. That would explain why fighters can survive impacts of multi-gigaton weapons (they simply don't explode properly), and why beams can pierce through with their overwhelming kinetic energy. That's not BP related though.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: General Battuta on May 14, 2019, 06:29:46 pm
e: Also you can argue that the majority of the energy is directed in one particular direction, for instance Casaba Howitzers (which iirc have been tested to a limited extent and succeeded in directing the majority of the blast energy into a 1-2 degree cone).

Yeah that's mostly been my take on it. And some chunk of the yield is useless neutrinos or whatever.
Title: Re: Is the GTA/GTVA Fascist?
Post by: Aesaar on May 15, 2019, 03:12:22 pm
My take on it is that numbers like that are obviously wrong and can be discounted just like obviously wrong information can be discounted in a historical primary source.

No, the Harbinger isn't a 5GT warhead, no the Avenger doesn't fire at 4500 rpm, and no, there weren't 2 million soldiers in Xerxes' army at Thermopylae (no matter what Herodotus says)