by Max Barry

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by The Dancing in the Depths of Maniacal. . 204 reads.

Aretism and Glass Gallows

This follows from THE NEW ARETISM essay written by Tsaishchev von Hofkauzern-sar Tiamat, The Darkness Ascendant

Aretism. Propagated through Tiamat, held dear by Glass Gallows and once prosecuted by Sanavrin Den. This has been written to express the philosophical inheritance of our region, and to promote discussion among our constituents.

Differing models of our philosophy have been delineated clearly in the essay written by The Darkness Ascendant of Hofkauzern, founder of Tiamat and former Gatesville council member in that region's original manifestation as well as Leonardo, scion of New Britannia. At Glass Gallows, we have found the various methodologies beneath the umbrella of Aretism are not as mutually exclusive as would seem. That is to say, one does not have to adopt a single branch of Aretism at the expense of all others. At GG, we have distilled our ethos into a less constrained form. We have taken the actions used to define branches of applied Aretism and from each utilised their features as potential tools. We have taken the broad view that Aretism as a whole is beyond a single particular approach and that it need not be held within an established course. It is a mirror of the dynamism inherent in our philosophy, and fitting that a creed which opposes stagnation retain as much flexibility as possible. By its very nature, Aretism is readily wielded by virtually anyone, excepting those lost in the morass of moralistic frameworks and invested in established power structures, and can be used to justify many actions. This has been pointed out by more than a few people, often those seeking to understand and codify it so it slots neatly into their political NS world view. However this is the great strength of Aretism. It does not NEED to be codified, does not suffer excessive labeling with grace and disdains the need for self righteous explanations paraded before others to justify its actions. Should the need be felt by those who do not share our beliefs to name us, and to think that by naming they have defined, then that merely proves their weakness.

Aretism is the value of activity and creation, subterfuge and betrayal, destruction and renewal, glorious achievement and wretched failure. It underpins everything we do through the simple rule; you must act. There is no judgement beyond this, and more than any other philosophy in play throughout NS, we offer a genuinely utilitarian belief free of the pseudo morals that desperately cling to so many regions. Others may deride this as simplistic and arbitrary, and it may well be, but they readily miss the point. Every faction and nation strives to fulfill a vision, many rooted in the advocacy of a specific government model or ethical position. We do not feel that the game demands this depth, though it is certainly fun it is not necessary. ACTIVITY is the lifeblood of NationStates. It is from where all our complexities and legalese ministrations spring. The more active a region is, generally speaking, the more detailed it's governing structure and laws. The danger arises when intricacies stifle creativity and regional potential is held at bay by those seeking to maintain a base of power unreflected by their activity. The rabbit hole is dark and deep.

This leads us to a vital aspect of Aretism- Meritocracy. It is the yardstick we use to judge ourselves and our peers. This is the limit to our demands of regional character, for all forms of govt are considered valid, as long as they do not hold the creativity and participation of constituents in abeyance. Government positions held not by merit but though another paradigm are too often tools of solidifying an establishment and genuine participatory repression. As long as these positions are open and truly contestable, or appointments are made according to regional contributions and not allegiance to a power base, then Aretism is generally appeased in a day to day sense. There must be avenues for creativity to explore and for all residents to add to the colour and texture of a region's culture, where passion is not stifled in the name of the necrotic 'status quo'. Pointless codification is abhorrent to our view of Aretism and it is through such limitations the very philosophy we espouse can become a rigid and unwieldy tool that in practice subverts the very qualities it espouses.

Another key feature of Aretism that flows from meritocracy is Unity. We must be united in this most basic of desires- to enrich and further both ourselves and our region. Unity typically begins to suffer once the more complex structures are built upon it such as government and the corresponding legislation that often follows. This is to be expected, for the more concisely you define a thing, the more people you exclude by that enunciation. Dissent however can be progress, and healthy contestation need not become bitterly cherished rivalry. We are all here in our region for a reason. There is something in the philosophy and espoused goals that speaks to our members to draw them here under one banner. Something simple and appealing about the drive to create without boundaries, to enrich without guidelines beyond the common courtesy and respect that we afford each other. In many regions this is a theme, but only here is it the limit of our demands. Within the aegis of our fraternity, many beliefs and varieties of conviction are held, and all are respected.
Our devolution from the defined forms is mainly a response to the multitude of motivations we have represented in our region. Some are primarily anti-WA/SC and give Aretism less focus. Others such as myself see the struggle against the WA and SC as being ultimately unwinnable, though well worth fighting nonetheless, and are more concerned with the vitality of NationStates as a whole. Then there is everything in between and beyond. The one thing we can all agree on however, is that we want our region to flourish. There is also broad appeal to such a message, and by removing the potential boundaries of specific factionalism we have a potent banner for both members and potential residents to rally behind with as little room for exclusion as possible.

This brings us to the nature of Aretist military action. As can be extrapolated from previous statements, we are not bound by the common factional delineations and eschew no tool in fulfilling our avowed purpose. We will at some time or another resemble all sides, depending on the situation at hand and the tactic in play. The active shall be protected and the inactive reformed or purged. We shall raid, defend, refound and obliterate as we see fit to fulfill our charter. But who are we to place ourselves in this position? Who are we to judge? Why should we be the ones to define what constitutes activity or stagnation? The answer is simple, and the same for everyone despite how they cast their opinion as wearing the trappings of mandate or self justified 'Right'.
Because we will it.
This is where we place ourselves- above the detailed and convoluted tapestry of justifications and shoebox definitions. We are the unrepentant self appointed arbiters of activity, willing to suffer any hatred to further the health of our global community. We are looking at prompting action and no tool shall be left unconsidered. Often creativity can be spurred by external contact. Something as simple as establishing a forum embassy and utilising it, or posting on the RMB can bring life to a region that suddenly finds itself of interest and responds in kind. Promoting activity is limited only by imagination and the situation at hand, and will not be restrained by the traditional application of the values 'bad' or 'good'. There are things that can be accomplished through the seizure of a region's delegacy for example, without the usual destruction and defacing. RMB traffic, a new flag, small scale recruitment etc. Often once you start things moving, if there is interest then activity builds upon itself. If through our example activity is renewed, even should we bear the vengeful brunt of retaliatory spirit for our actions from other self appointed guardians of gameplay aspect, that is a price worth paying. If a region must suffer the extreme measure of a genuine invasion in an attempt to wake it's members from slumber in defence their home, then suffer it shall. If they still refuse to rouse from apathy, we shall empty it by force and the region will be expunged. Aretism is delightfully simple in its demands, but not limitless in it's patience.

At Glass Gallows we have tied to the flag of Arete the cause of National Sovereignty. This is specifically applied in response to the nature of the World Assembly and Security Council and it is on this aspect that we base our opposition to these bodies as they currently manifest. Here we have a game where we can create a new system of international co-operation, and we pathetically mirror real world failures. How many delegates can be said to genuinely represent their constituents? How many leaders even read the substance of resolutions being voted on before casting their lot behind something they simply vote to repeal later on, sometimes with the very next resolution? Some delegates and members vote based solely on the name of a resolution. Debate is handled and influenced by a handful of savvy veterans and is unapologetically biased to favour democratic systems of governance. Resolutions are passed that bring member states into line with the democratic values being promulgated because it is held that Democracy is the 'best' form of government. However, mandate and bases of power devolve from the people, and no form of government functions without it; thus all forms of government are valid because they exist at the sufferance of enough of a percentage of the population to continue. When that changes then so too will the system.

Dictatorship and the more authoritarian structures exist because subject peoples allow them to, when people decide a form of government is unacceptable then it is changed. Clearly in NationStates this facility is not possible. The leader is uncontested via game mechanics and his/her word is law. It seems a sad thing that because a group of people feel their particular dictatorship adheres superficially to democratic mores that they are somehow more qualified to decide for everyone else, or are inherently better. Make no mistake, the leader always retains the power to do whatever they desire here, regardless of the particular aspect of their current national disposition. To pretend otherwise and then inflict that imagining on the membership of these bodies at large is not co-operation, it is deluded coercion. The demand that to function internationally you must move towards a particular model of governance would be beyond the pale for a truly participatory system. The NS universe would become a poor and ragged creature indeed if it were legislated into impoverished uniformity. An example of our conviction is support we offered to Nazi Europe solely on the grounds of opposing the weaponised Liberation the Security Council used to strip a native erected password. The nature of the community in question was irrelevant to us; it was an active and thriving community but because it differed from the democratic monochrome vision of the SC, it became a target. Certainly they raided less than traditional raider groups and less than the Red Fleet yet no one proposed invading them.

Again, this is a monumental failure in creativity and imagination. The pathetic sheltering beneath a player's real world perspective and the inability of so many to think outside of their social surroundings in a virtual world is truly a missed opportunity. It is also ironic in the extreme given the wide emphasis on role play in both the game at large and in the WA and SC specifically. It is as if we have recreated real life and then contrived to create role play to escape it yet again. This is particularly disturbing given the large amounts of players from the United States, a country whose current governing structure bears as much resemblance to a genuine Democracy as does a mirrors reflection to an actual person. To have the schisms of thought, that in some cases exist only in America then replicated in NS is appalling. To have democracy upheld as the pattern for all WA/SC members to be herded towards is not simply narrow minded and pathetic, it is criminal and should be treated as such.

This brings us to the two main aspects of our region. There will be no merging of Aretism and NatSov thinking without a collision of priorities. Some hold the right of the state as inviolable in all circumstance, while others feel that those who have not fulfilled their implied social contract with the region they belong to have forfeited that right. This is played out at an inter- regional level as well when targets are chosen for military operations. At Glass Gallows we have largely sidestepped that issue by abstaining from extensive formal military action, though individual members have certainly supported a wide variety of campaigns along with limited coherent deployment. As with most concepts, it is only when the theoretical is made practical that we can see the ramifications of an idea in play, and for this we are ideally suited.

So with luck you will understand a little more of our purpose and motivations. Hopefully this prompts you to consider aspects of our philosophy that had been previously unexplored. It must be remembered that there is no right answer here and these is just my thoughts on the subject at this time, no more valid for having been written down. Remember the great strengths that have taken us this far.
Compromise with consideration. Creativity with support. Unity with respect. True communication is only possible among equals, and in our region all are equal. We have created something unique and should be proud of what we have achieved in this great experiment. We are more a community, we are a cause. We are Glass Gallows.