quadibloc on March 30, 2009, 07:46:45 am
Will I oppose them doing them?  OK, like as not, yes.  However, its because I really don't like those activities, don't like them happening to me and don't like the kind of world they make, but its not because I have a 'right' to do so

The trouble is, though, one does need some sort of Moral Theory that gives one the right of self-defense.

Not for the purpose of engaging in self-defense. At one point in Burrough's series, Tarzan explained his philosophy, in which the lion had a 'right' to eat him if it could manage it, and he had the 'right' to stop the lion if he could manage to do so.

The main thing that a 'right' buys you is the sympathy of the uninvolved third party. Someone who isn't directly threatened by an act of aggression, and doesn't stand to directly benefit thereby either, might be expected to say about it, 'this isn't fair". If he has the opportunity, he might even intervene, on the grounds of "first them, maybe me next" if nothing else.

Of course, there is still a long gap between "behavior that tends to be disapproved of by sensible people who mind their own business" and "a violation of Eternal Cosmic Moral Law", but one could simply avoid making grand claims, and content oneself with the assumption that aggression is wrong without seeking too impressive an authority for that.

Rocketman on March 30, 2009, 10:26:35 am
Well, heh, you see, there's a small issue with most such possibilities.  The UWRS wants to loot Ceres and the belt.  It's clear that they have a timetable for the looting, missing it will mean they'll be bankrupt and the reign of the UW is pretty much at its end.  In order for the looting to succeed, they can't kill most of Ceres.  They have to have someone there to tax.  And it would cost more to ship a population up from planetside to be looted than it would to even pay the "demands" that were the counter-proposal to the treaty of mutual ignorance.  Plus they wouldn't be "rich" enough to be looted for decades, if ever thanks to UW regulation getting in the way of them ever getting rich.  Not that the UW necessarily acknowledges that last fact.  But even they can't be stupid enough to believe they'll get milk by beating the cow half to death.

Besides, while extinction events are an empty threat, the fact is the Cerereans aren't defenseless.  And a people who are accustomed to defending themselves are about to be poked.  Hard.  Here's one possibility.  That unmanned drone packed quite a punch hitting the FSM.  I wonder how big a punch a similar unit would pack hitting the Conqueror?  Not to mention mining lasers and such.

Though I suspect we're about to see a fictional analog of that one experiment, with the authority figure who tells the subject of the experiment to electrocute somebody in another room.
Two points, the first one concerning looting Ceres.  A person who is panicking will do stupid, irrational things.  A government is no different.  If it realizes that if it doesn't survive if it doesn't come up with a new source of revenue then it indeed might come to slaughtering the population of Ceres in order to keep itself (the UW) alive just a little longer, even if in the long run it is counterproductive.  Think of a drowning man grabbing the leg of a man who is just barely keeping his own head above water.  You get the point.  Two, I have little doubt that the majority of Cerereans will resist the invasion and your two suggestions of a ramming vessel(s) and industrial lasers will likely be employed.  But if the UW does win then, if history is any indicator, then all of the gold and silver will be taken from them.  Martial law will be imposed and the surviving inhabitants will likely be worked nearly to death mining raw materials to satisfy the UW insatiable demands.  One last thing.  I have no idea at all what it costs to send colonists up to replace the dead Cerereans and neither do you.  The UW may decide that long term it's a better investment than a reduced output from there.  Remember Australia was originally populated by British convicts who were transported half a world away.

Jackson on March 30, 2009, 02:14:27 pm
Well, Ceres' tactical problems have intrigued me. I am currently attempting to design a tabletop wargame on the Ceres-Terra war.  ;D

Rocketman on March 30, 2009, 02:57:50 pm
Jackson:  If your planning on marketing it then I think that Sandy might want to have a little talk with you.  And he's a lawyer you know.   ::)

Jackson on March 30, 2009, 03:20:19 pm
Nah, I'm just kicking around some ideas for my own amusement. I just write up some basic rules, grab some starship models and play. I wouldn't know the first thing about marketing a game. My rules are probably far too lame to market anyway, but what the hell, I find it entertaining.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2009, 06:46:43 pm by Jackson »

deadasdisco on March 30, 2009, 05:45:23 pm
First, a couple of replies (gosh the internet is fun  :D)

-quadibloc: Ahhh, I was talking about what I ACTUALLY believe, because dude, if you think that I can't whip up a sympathy vote/fake a moral stance/do what's got to be done when the chips are down, you have profoundly underestimated the human urge to survive versus matters of principle.

-Sandy:
Quote
I have no idea what that is supposed to mean
Uhm, it means I got carried away with the 'Little Bobby Rose' Rockabilly singer parallel, sorry... you can blame Mike Baron, 'cause I had just shotgunned the whole of 'The Hook' in one sitting...

Now, on to the actual point I was going to make which is, while I'm sure the actual text of Adm. Harris' orders only mentions Ceres, I think we all know that this war isn't really about Ceres (or, it isn't JUST about Ceres).  Its about the rest of the human universe.  If whatever happens to Ceres is terrible enough, or so goes U-dub thinking, then the other colonies, Mars, Luna, etc. will fall into line.  This is about precedent.  Even if Harris turns Ceres into a smoldering, radioactive cinder in the void, if the U-dub can gain control over the other colonies by fear of that, then they figure they've made a profit and they've got another source of tax revenue to buy them time to formulate their next quick-fix band-aid.  I mean, hey, if they CAN take the wealth of Ceres, then so much the better, but its not the point.  Like as not, even in a best case scenario for the big guys, occupation will just mean that one of the tax-exempt monopolies of Earth will just be given the 'contract' to exploit Ceres, and the U-dub (as an entity) won't see a dime of it anyway (although the individual elites will do pretty good).


Rocketman on March 31, 2009, 08:59:49 am
Deadasdisco:  That's a good point and I had missed that.  Frequently "men" of Harris's stripe resort to that kind of lesson to keep the rest of their subjects in line.

Leviathan on April 02, 2009, 02:36:43 am
"Tonight on World Ceres Tanglenet Broadcast Network, that warship that's been in our skies?  Seems to have disappeared exactly twenty-three hours and fifty-nine minutes into its ultimatim.  In unrelated news, there's a very, very pretty cloud of expanding vapor visible if you happen to live on that side of the planetoid."

ConditionOne on April 02, 2009, 06:47:22 am
Being following Escape form Terra with great interest. The admiral being a descendant of "Bomber Harris" is a good touch. One quibble was the weapons officer initial reluctance to fire at a civilian target--The scene added more insight on Admiral Harris villainy, but I would think that any brainwashed UWRS military member on a capital flagship would have pressed the button with no hesitation--Even with great gusto! After all, to get such a choice assignment to serve on the Admiral flagship meant that officer had to be more interested in advancing his career being a boot licker that questioning the morals of blasting civilians--Who no doubt where all labeled as rebels or terrorists during the flight out. 
« Last Edit: April 02, 2009, 06:49:01 am by ConditionOne »

quadibloc on April 02, 2009, 06:49:20 am
I suspect Leviathan is almost exactly right. Given his choice of victim, I've been expecting, since about three days ago, that the invasion fleet is "so dead".

But it may not be as simple as this, since there's more where they came from, since bits of rock take time to go places, and the range of laser beams (not to mention plasma torches) is limited. Not even counting the fact that there's more where that bunch came from, which I would suppose to be the real problem.

Reginald probably doesn't have twenty-four hours, but hopefully he won't need them.

quadibloc on April 02, 2009, 07:00:33 am
After all, to get such a choice assignment to serve on the Admiral flagship meant that officer had to be more interested in advancing his career being a boot licker that questioning the morals of blasting civilians--Who no doubt where all labeled as rebels or terrorists during the flight out.

Given what we've seen of Guy Caillard, a decent person who was gradually co-opted into doing the dirty work of a corrupt system, although your statement would seem to make sense, I think the way it happens in the story can be justified for two reasons.

1) The UW is trying to present itself to its people as a continuation of the old days of democracy, not as a brutal dictatorship, and so the armed forces keep many of their traditions.

2) An armed forces built up of careerists makes sense when the armed forces play a major role in the society. I suspect the UW's armed forces are seen as a cost center, not a profit center - unlike, say, the secret police - because there is no one left to conquer and pillage on Earth, they don't really get much use out fo their military.

So I see even the Admiral as being someone whose life was dull and boring most of the time, and now he is anxious to take the rare opportunity to cover himself in glory, doing the sort of thing he intended to do when he signed up. A study in character contrasts between him and Guy is possible, in the unlikely event he lives long enough.

SandySandfort on April 02, 2009, 10:29:05 am
FNow, on to the actual point I was going to make which is, while I'm sure the actual text of Adm. Harris' orders only mentions Ceres, I think we all know that this war isn't really about Ceres (or, it isn't JUST about Ceres).  Its about the rest of the human universe.  If whatever happens to Ceres is terrible enough, or so goes U-dub thinking, then the other colonies, Mars, Luna, etc. will fall into line.  This is about precedent.  Even if Harris turns Ceres into a smoldering, radioactive cinder in the void, if the U-dub can gain control over the other colonies by fear of that, then they figure they've made a profit and they've got another source of tax revenue to buy them time to formulate their next quick-fix band-aid.  I mean, hey, if they CAN take the wealth of Ceres, then so much the better, but its not the point.  Like as not, even in a best case scenario for the big guys, occupation will just mean that one of the tax-exempt monopolies of Earth will just be given the 'contract' to exploit Ceres, and the U-dub (as an entity) won't see a dime of it anyway (although the individual elites will do pretty good).

Makes sense to me. (Late reply because I am in the process of moving from Ubuntu to Mac. The transition is labor intensive.)

SandySandfort on April 02, 2009, 01:07:41 pm
One quibble was the weapons officer initial reluctance to fire at a civilian target--The scene added more insight on Admiral Harris villainy, but I would think that any brainwashed UWRS military member on a capital flagship would have pressed the button with no hesitation--Even with great gusto! After all, to get such a choice assignment to serve on the Admiral flagship meant that officer had to be more interested in advancing his career being a boot licker that questioning the morals of blasting civilians--Who no doubt where all labeled as rebels or terrorists during the flight out. 

Good point, but all UW military personnel are aware of the UW equivalent of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which does not condone the intentional targeting of non-combatants. For those of you old enough to remember, the May Lai massacre (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mai_lai) was ended by an army officer who came on the scene and order that murderer, William Calley, to stop. When Calley challenged his order, the officer ordered his helicopter pilot to aim his machine guns at Calley, at which point the little coward obeyed. Of course the hero of May Lai was vilified in the States and received death threats. Point is, some people at least recognize that things like the UCMJ exist.

ConditionOne on April 02, 2009, 01:32:42 pm
Ah, I see what you mean. I mistook the UW as being an unrepentant and unabashed tyranny, when it fact, it hides under a false cloak of benevolence--for the good of the people, of course.

So, can we hope there is some latent rebels on earth, that will support Ceres?

quadibloc on April 02, 2009, 08:33:42 pm
Reading the Wikipedia article on the My Lai massacre, it surprised me that it took 30 years for the U.S. government to recognize the heroism of those who stopped the massacre, and it amazes me that those involved who had been released from military service were immune from prosecution for offenses of this magnitude. Here, you will have no argument from me, since these were obviously evil acts.

But I can also say with a straight face that the My Lai massacre was insignificant in comparison to even the atrocities committed by the Viet Cong (never mind Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge) and the brutality of the Communist regime that extended its reach to South Vietnam. If the U.S. had won in Vietnam, the people of South Vietnam would be prosperous and free, like the people of South Korea today.

But just because bigger massacres are being committed somewhere else is no excuse for failing to bring any murderers to justice.

 

anything