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Pawn - Q7 ... Checkmate?

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Re: Pawn - Q7 ... Checkmate?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Tue Nov 23, 2021 8:21 pm

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cthia wrote:No, that is not how I recall it. You and tlb stated acceptance only of the cease-fire, though tlb seems to be on the fence with that. So too are you straddling the fence as I recall, as witnessed in this post. You are not accepting the demands in their entirety. There are three distinct demands. A cease-fire being only one of the three demands. The MA doesn't really need a cease-fire at the moment, because they have that by design. They are hidden.

Their third demand is peace. I don't think the action of trying to instigate a war by provocation is found in the meaning of peace. Besides, that is the sleazy tactic the MA used by pitting the RMN against the SL. Are you no better than they?


What's the second demand?

Peace and cease-fire are different things; High Ridge knows it well. But a peace agreement with the MAlign is not possible if they won't reveal themselves, their location, and open for exchange of ambassadors, at a minimum. Peace agreements means both sides stop hostilities and both sides have a reasonable way of verifying the other side did so. If they don't offer that, they don't offer peace.

And peace can be broken by a declaration of war (usually delivered by the ambassador before hostilities begin).

What you're claiming they would demand is not that. The demand is "perpetual non-aggression." And this is where we're saying the Government would balk and say that it's maybe too much.

Always remember, "The Honor of the Queen."

And... one thing Honor will never do is to allow the RMN to become The MA.

So, all or nothing. It is "your testicles" in a vise. Not ours.


P.S. I don't see it as a lose-lose situation for Manticore. A recovered lost Queen is priceless. And nobody had to surrender to do so. No demolished infrastructure.


No, it's not priceless. There are several replacements for her. There's a difference between "high price" and "priceless."

It's not a surrender, but it's the closest thing to it. It's perpetual, unilateral cease-fire. The only reason it's not a surrender is because the enemy hasn't occupied your system and replaced your government.

And I don't see how you can call it not a lose-lose. You can lose the Queen or you can stop hostilities with the MAlign and be subject to their whims. Both options are "lose." Or do you think the MAlign would make demands that imply the GA loses nothing? Why in the Galaxy would they go through the trouble of kidnapping the Queen, revealing themselves, and then gaining nothing in return?

That's what we've been saying: if the terms are that agreeable, there won't be a second of debating before accepting them. Which is why those terms would never be offered.

So I'm going to go with tlb: this situation is too unrealistic.
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Re: Pawn - Q7 ... Checkmate?
Post by Relax   » Wed Nov 24, 2021 12:16 am

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cthia wrote:At any rate, after wiping my mouth and gargling, what would you suggest is the convenient thing to do here? For Manticore it would seem to be to agree to the demands and get the Queen back.

Well as my previous post says, politicians do the convenient thing rather than the Moral/Honorable thing.

So, what are the convenient lies? What are the convenient political pressures effecting decisions? What do the politicians think they can hide/sweep under the rug while saying a different thing to the public? What comes CLOSE to being the moral/honorable thing but still convenient?

That is exactly what happens. It is a very rare thing when a politician can do the honorable/right thing without being voted out of office as often even the most moral person has to make deals with honorless, abhorrent scum where they hold power and you must compromise to achieve victory. Or at least must be perceived to be accommodating to the abhorrent scum which will hurt you politically. An Honorverse analog would be Pritchart's attack on manticore and operation Thunderbolt.
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Re: Pawn - Q7 ... Checkmate?
Post by cthia   » Wed Nov 24, 2021 9:28 am

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:
cthia wrote:No, that is not how I recall it. You and tlb stated acceptance only of the cease-fire, though tlb seems to be on the fence with that. So too are you straddling the fence as I recall, as witnessed in this post. You are not accepting the demands in their entirety. There are three distinct demands. A cease-fire being only one of the three demands. The MA doesn't really need a cease-fire at the moment, because they have that by design. They are hidden.

Their third demand is peace. I don't think the action of trying to instigate a war by provocation is found in the meaning of peace. Besides, that is the sleazy tactic the MA used by pitting the RMN against the SL. Are you no better than they?


What's the second demand?


From p. 3 of the thread ...

Ransom demands:

1. The RMN can no longer participate in any operations against us. Nor can any of their allies. (Sidelined like Michelle Henke.)

2. (As a prelude to coming out into the open)... Accept the Mesan Alignment and Detweiler's original vision.

3. Peace.

#1 contains the cease-fire.

ThinksMarkedly wrote:Peace and cease-fire are different things; High Ridge knows it well. But a peace agreement with the MAlign is not possible if they won't reveal themselves, their location, and open for exchange of ambassadors, at a minimum.

Why? Diplomatic sessions between governments have taken place on neutral soil since the beginning of time. It happened at least once in the HV. In can happen in this case as well.

We can't have peace unless you know where we are? Why? For what purpose would you need to know where we are unless you are planning to attack?

You have belabored with malicious intent that the cease-fire is only binding for the GA, and that any navies outside the GA would be free to engage us. Yet your prerequisite for accepting our demands is that we reveal our location and make ourselves vulnerable to attack. That is ridiculous. And, again, your demands mean nothing. We have your Queen. You don't have ours.

As I stated before, the MA knows the value of the Queen.

ThinksMarkedly wrote:Peace agreements means both sides stop hostilities and both sides have a reasonable way of verifying the other side did so. If they don't offer that, they don't offer peace.

Both sides will stop hostilities. The MA may go a century without cranking up the rotary impeller again. No different from any other human infested system in the Galaxy. Man is a fickle warmonger.

How can you verify we have ceased fire? There will be no more flaming datum in your Home System. No more cases of compulsion. Although, we might not recall our spies inside your government. But that is normal. Even your own allies still have spies inside your government.

But! Surely you don't expect for our cease-fire to extend to any remaining navy(s) that may be seeking operations against us?

ThinksMarkedly wrote:And peace can be broken by a declaration of war (usually delivered by the ambassador before hostilities begin).

And? That fact is true with the GA. Haven's spots can return with a vengeance. The Andermani's sweet tooth can start acting up at any moment. They seem to be sweet on Silesia. And that could lead to a confrontation with either member of the GA. Nothing new under the sun there either. You are pounding the drum with excuses.

ThinksMarkedly wrote:What you're claiming they would demand is not that. The demand is "perpetual non-aggression." And this is where we're saying the Government would balk and say that it's maybe too much.

Perpetual non-aggression is too much? Perpetual non-aggression is peace. Peace is too much?

ThinksMarkedly wrote:
cthia wrote:Always remember, "The Honor of the Queen."

And... one thing Honor will never do is to allow the RMN to become The MA.

So, all or nothing. It is "your testicles" in a vise. Not ours.


P.S. I don't see it as a lose-lose situation for Manticore. A recovered lost Queen is priceless. And nobody had to surrender to do so. No demolished infrastructure.


No, it's not priceless. There are several replacements for her. There's a difference between "high price" and "priceless."

Are you absolutely positively sure about that? You don't seem to know the value of your own Queen. Upstream I suggested that you indeed don't know the value of your own Queen. Queen Elizabeth III. She was kidnapped because the MA is aware of her value to you, and to the entire Galaxy at large. The treecats sure as hell wouldn't want to lose the one ruler they have ever known to formally protect them. Politics for the Treecats begin and end with the Soul of Steel.

ThinksMarkedly wrote:It's not a surrender, but it's the closest thing to it. It's perpetual, unilateral cease-fire. The only reason it's not a surrender is because the enemy hasn't occupied your system and replaced your government.

That is a bunch of cock-n-bull beating the drums. Isn't that the arrangement enjoyed between Haven and Manticore? An arrangement that is as frail as the current governments due to the frailties and the idiosyncrasies of man?

ThinksMarkedly wrote:And I don't see how you can call it not a lose-lose. You can lose the Queen or you can stop hostilities with the MAlign and be subject to their whims. Both options are "lose." Or do you think the MAlign would make demands that imply the GA loses nothing? Why in the Galaxy would they go through the trouble of kidnapping the Queen, revealing themselves, and then gaining nothing in return?

Whims? What whims? You seem to have an uncanny habit of equating peace with whimsy. You are afraid of the MA because of their past deeds. That is no different than the eternal grudge that Beth bore for the Peeps. You are prejudiced against the MA. That is part and parcel responsible for this rotten mess in the first place. Their prejudice against the Galaxy and vice versa. At the very core of your intransigence is the fear of the MA's toys. You fear that as a military power they will one day surpass you.

Isn't this déjà vu? The US - and its allies - has a problem with admitting any other foreign power into the power race. The US does not want North Korea to develop nuclear weapons to protect themselves. Because we fear how they might use them. Regardless, they don't have a right to discover fire and claim it for themselves and for their own use.

ThinksMarkedly wrote:That's what we've been saying: if the terms are that agreeable, there won't be a second of debating before accepting them. Which is why those terms would never be offered.

So I'm going to go with tlb: this situation is too unrealistic.

I surely don't understand why it is so difficult to believe that the MA could sue for peace and a cease-fire. Dinner and a movie. It is no different than what Saint-Just asked for. It is no different than what Eloise asked for. Asking for peace and a cease-fire is as common as war.

Go on, have the balls to actually say it. We don't think our Queen is as valuable as the MA seems to think. Again, you don't know the true value of your own Queen. So, throw her under the bus. You have that right. You won't be able to live with yourself afterwards, and neither will your government. And you won't be able to look into a mirror ever again. The Treecats certainly won't be able to understand your decision.

And, I hope the succeeding government lives up to your faith.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Pawn - Q7 ... Checkmate?
Post by tlb   » Wed Nov 24, 2021 11:11 am

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ThinksMarkedly wrote:Peace and cease-fire are different things; High Ridge knows it well. But a peace agreement with the MAlign is not possible if they won't reveal themselves, their location, and open for exchange of ambassadors, at a minimum.

cthia wrote:Why? Diplomatic sessions between governments have taken place on neutral soil since the beginning of time. It happened at least once in the HV. In can happen in this case as well.

We can't have peace unless you know where we are? Why? For what purpose would you need to know where we are unless you are planning to attack?

You have belabored with malicious intent that the cease-fire is only binding for the GA, and that any navies outside the GA would be free to engage us. Yet your prerequisite for accepting our demands is that we reveal our location and make ourselves vulnerable to attack. That is ridiculous. And, again, your demands mean nothing. We have your Queen. You don't have ours.

As you say the Grand Alliance cannot force the Malign to divulge the location of Darius.

I think it was about the SALT treaty with the USSR that President Reagan said "Trust, but verify". Verification is only possible if the location is known (at least that is what I suspect ThinksMarkedly is trying to say); so knowing the location is needed for other reasons than just planning an attack. It would easily be possible to have the ceasefire without that knowledge, but "peace" is more difficult.
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Re: Pawn - Q7 ... Checkmate?
Post by cthia   » Wed Nov 24, 2021 11:20 am

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tlb wrote:
ThinksMarkedly wrote:Peace and cease-fire are different things; High Ridge knows it well. But a peace agreement with the MAlign is not possible if they won't reveal themselves, their location, and open for exchange of ambassadors, at a minimum.

cthia wrote:Why? Diplomatic sessions between governments have taken place on neutral soil since the beginning of time. It happened at least once in the HV. In can happen in this case as well.

We can't have peace unless you know where we are? Why? For what purpose would you need to know where we are unless you are planning to attack?

You have belabored with malicious intent that the cease-fire is only binding for the GA, and that any navies outside the GA would be free to engage us. Yet your prerequisite for accepting our demands is that we reveal our location and make ourselves vulnerable to attack. That is ridiculous. And, again, your demands mean nothing. We have your Queen. You don't have ours.

As you say the Grand Alliance cannot force the Malign to divulge the location of Darius.

I think it was about the SALT treaty with the USSR that President Reagan said "Trust, but verify". Verification is only possible if the location is known (at least that is what I suspect ThinksMarkedly is trying to say); so knowing the location is needed for other reasons than just planning an attack. It would easily be possible to have the ceasefire without that knowledge, but "peace" is more difficult.

Verify what? That we are not stockpiling weapons of mass destruction?

So, can we assume the GA is willing to divulge the location of Bolthole?

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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Re: Pawn - Q7 ... Checkmate?
Post by tlb   » Wed Nov 24, 2021 11:35 am

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cthia wrote:Verify what? That we are not stockpiling weapons of mass destruction?

So, can we assume the GA is willing to divulge the location of Bolthole?

I doubt that the GA is anymore willing to divulge the location of Bolthole than the Malign would do so for Darius.
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Re: Pawn - Q7 ... Checkmate?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Wed Nov 24, 2021 1:38 pm

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cthia wrote:So, can we assume the GA is willing to divulge the location of Bolthole?


The Queen knows the location of Bolthole. So if the MAlign captured her, they've interrogated her and forced her to divulge that. The GA governments would need to proceed on the assumption that the location is known, whether they got the Queen back or not.
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Re: Pawn - Q7 ... Checkmate?
Post by ThinksMarkedly   » Wed Nov 24, 2021 2:02 pm

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cthia wrote:2. (As a prelude to coming out into the open)... Accept the Mesan Alignment and Detweiler's original vision.


Ah, you mean, what's already happened? Sure, feel free to make a demand about what's already happening. Do you want us to throw in the secret of making wheels too? Maybe we'll include bread knives.

What kind of stupid negotiators are those?

(Maybe you started the thread pre-spoiler, where that would have made more sense. Now it's Obsoleted By Events)

As I stated before, the MA knows the value of the Queen.


Apparently they don't, because the demand has to be proportional to the value of what they're giving up. If the Queen were priceless, the MAlign could demand anything, up to and including the MDM kitchen-sink, and the SEM would give it to them. Without a second thought.

The fact that this is not what they're asking tells us they know that there is a line the SEM will not cross.

Perpetual non-aggression is too much? Perpetual non-aggression is peace. Peace is too much?


Not if it is one-sided. "We won't attack you, but you're free to attack us first"

Are you absolutely positively sure about that? You don't seem to know the value of your own Queen. Upstream I suggested that you indeed don't know the value of your own Queen. Queen Elizabeth III. She was kidnapped because the MA is aware of her value to you, and to the entire Galaxy at large. The treecats sure as hell wouldn't want to lose the one ruler they have ever known to formally protect them. Politics for the Treecats begin and end with the Soul of Steel.


I am absolutely, positively sure the Queen is not priceless. First, because she can't be: she will die some time. It could be a grav-ski accident tomorrow, it could be falling down the stairs like Honor did. There's no one that can be priceless. Second, because she has heirs and she has a Government. No one is irreplaceable in that Government, including her. A functional government cannot rest on a single person and fall apart when they die. Look at Charlemagne's sons for one example, Alexander of Macedonia for another.

The treecats also know about "Soul of Steel's Clan." The passage that talks about how the monarch is important to them is actually talking about "Clan," not a single person. They been adopting members of the Royal family since Queen Adrienne. Elizabeth was not the first and will not be the last. She has not been the one ruler to formally protect them, at all. In fact, it was Adrienne's father, King Roger II, who first bequeathed the perpetual lands on Sphinx to the treecats. It was Queen Adrienne that ruled that the RMN had to accept treecats aboard their ships. And besides, treecat social dynamics would make it difficult for them to understand an irreplaceable person that must be protected at all costs. All members of a clan equally contribute to the clan according to their abilities and the clan has redundancy.

Whims? What whims? You seem to have an uncanny habit of equating peace with whimsy. You are afraid of the MA because of their past deeds. That is no different than the eternal grudge that Beth bore for the Peeps. You are prejudiced against the MA. That is part and parcel responsible for this rotten mess in the first place. Their prejudice against the Galaxy and vice versa. At the very core of your intransigence is the fear of the MA's toys. You fear that as a military power they will one day surpass you.


Yes! There's prejudice against the MAlign and for good reason. Then they go and reinforce that prejudice by kidnapping someone, instead of actually showing they've changed and opening real negotiations. Do you think anyone in the Galaxy would trust them without some sort of verification? They're at best on probation.

And it's very different from Haven because Beth has met Eloise and the treecats have sampled their thoughts, finding them honest. There's a lot of trade between the SEM and RoH, tying them together into a mutually-beneficial alliance. It's far more than just peace. Breaking that peace would be detrimental to both sides, starting with their merchant people.

There's no such thing with the Alignment and they're proposing no such thing.

I surely don't understand why it is so difficult to believe that the MA could sue for peace and a cease-fire. Dinner and a movie. It is no different than what Saint-Just asked for. It is no different than what Eloise asked for. Asking for peace and a cease-fire is as common as war.


Because of their past. They've shown absolutely no remorse for their actions. They've escalated after each escalation. They've fomented a war, then they conducted the Yawata Strike, then they directly attacked civilians in the Beowulf Strike, then to top it all off they sacrificed an entire system as a pawn in Galton. Why should anyone in their sane mind trust the MAlign?

I've been meaning to use Reagan's "trust but verify" that tlb invoked. But every time I was about to write it, I thought better of it. The MAlign does not deserve the "trust."

And, I hope the succeeding government lives up to your faith.


And how is that any different from the alternative?
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Re: Pawn - Q7 ... Checkmate?
Post by tlb   » Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:04 pm

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cthia wrote:Ransom demands:

1. The RMN can no longer participate in any operations against us. Nor can any of their allies. (Sidelined like Michelle Henke.)

2. (As a prelude to coming out into the open)... Accept the Mesan Alignment and Detweiler's original vision.

3. Peace.

I hope that you realize the Mesan Alignment that we have known since about The Shadow of Saganami (whom we have dubbed the Malign) does not believe in Detweiler's original vision; what they call the Detweiler Plan is something else entirely.

The Benign Mesan Alignment that we first encountered in UH is already out in the open; they are the ones that believe in Detweiler's original vision. So demand #2 is not something which would interest the people at Darius.

Less we forget here is a statement from RFC made years ago
(The source of this quote has been lost from the Forum):
runsforcelery wrote:One thing I hope will become clear in the course of the next few books is that the Mesans in the onion are what I think of as benign sociopaths. Quite a lot of what they have to say actually makes sense, and their ultimate objectives actually cast them (in their own minds at least) in the role of the Good Guys. As they see it, the entire galaxy took a tragic wrong turn when those idiots and biological neo-Luddites on Beowulf disagreed with their own enlightened ancestors on the degree to which the human genotype should be improved. They argue (and this is demonstrably true, looking at what they've achieved in their own Alpha lines) that the human race's potential could have been enormously improved over the last six or seven centuries if only they'd been permitted to pursue that goal openly. They don't really recognize, and certainly don't accept, Beowulf's logic, and I'm not sure I've managed to make Beowulf's position fully clear for the reader in the books to date, either.

Beowulf doesn't reject improving INDIVIDUALS or even modifying large groups of individuals for specific environmental concerns. For that matter, Beowulf strongly SUPPORTS genetic modification to deal with disease states and inheritable congenital defects. Beowulf's geneticists will work to optimize traits, capabilities, disease resistance, etc., but except in conditions where specific physical qualities — like Honor's high-grav modifications of muscle tissue, CO2 tolerance, enhanced metabolism, etc. — are required to suit human colonists to specific environments, or in conditions where it's necessary to correct a disease state or a physical defect, they will not go one millimeter past the inherent possibilities of the individual genetic material they're working with. What that specifically means is that they won't import genetic material from another source, which is one of the things the Mesan geneticists have been doing for quite some time. Beowulf also specifically rejects the "weaponization" of genetic engineering and bio research generally, which means that something like the "assassin nanotech" is absolutely and utterly anathematized by the Beowulf Code.

The Beowulf Code's ban on weaponized biotech goes back to Old Earth's Final War. The only real consequence of that war that you've seen in the books are the Scrags, and the Scrags are actually probably the most minor of the military applications of the biological sciences in the Final War. They also happen to have been the only HUMAN (or semi-human) bio weapon which was capable of unaided reproduction . . . thank God. The other bio weapons which were deployed during that war were far, far worse, and the very worst of all were the result of genetic engineering of the human genotype or of weapons specifically designed to ATTACK the human genotype. It took, literally, centuries to undo the damage which was done to the Solarian branch of the human race, and a few echoes of it continue to reverberate through problems which are likely to manifest, even at this late date, in Old Earth-born humans. That experience was the background for the Beowulfers' rejection of anything which could be considered weaponized biotech, and in Beowulfan eyes, deliberate modifications of the human genotype outside very specifically delineated and enforced restrictions are all too likely to wander into a gray area on the borders of military applications.

The other thing that Mesa doesn't understand about the Beowulf position is that one of the things that Beowulf is most adamantly opposed to is the reemergence of racism in the Honorverse's galaxy. As Beowulf sees it, a deliberate program of "genetic uplift" is entirely too likely to fall prey to ideological control and to be used for ideological purposes. Moreover, Beowulf believes that it is almost inevitable that (just as is actually happening on Mesa) there are going to be different genetic lines which are ranked in terms of "superiority:" Alphas, Betas, Gammas, etc. As they see it, this would be almost impossible to avoid, especially when there are genetically quantifiable differences between the lines.

Now, the fact that BEOWULF feels that way about it doesn't necessarily mean that I share their views entirely, or that I'm unwilling to consider the possibility of evolutions in our bioethics which would mute or largely do away with the bases of their concern. I'm not wildly optimistic about the perfectibility of human NATURE, no matter what we may be able to accomplish with human BODIES, but that's another issue, and I'm willing to concede that over the course of the next thousand years or so the debate over human modification and "improvement" may well be settled in favor of making the changes. In fact, I think it's highly unlikely that it will be impossible to restrain the urge to "improve" humanity in this regard by at least some groups, no matter what mainstream opinion on the issue may be.

And that, in a way, is what Mesa is all about. The bottom line is that the central purpose of the Mesan Alignment ideology is beneficial. Their driving principle is the maximization of the genetic potential of the entire human race and the rectification of that horrible error they believe Beowulf and the rest of humanity made in the wake of the Final War. The problem is twofold: (1) they are willing to do anything at all that will help them to achieve their goal in the belief that the nobility of their purpose sanctifies any means to which they might choose to resort; and (2) they've long since lost track of the fact that what matters is accomplishing their goal rather than proving that THEY were right and BEOWULF was wrong. They — or, rather, their ancestors — began this project when the revulsion against genetic engineering was still at witchhunting levels. In which the equivalent of the village mobs storming Baron Frankenstein's castle were all too likely and they felt that they HAD to resort to underground, clandestine, and (frankly) highly illegal means. When they were finally able to relocate off of Beowulf to Mesa, they began a gradual process of offering genetically MODIFIED (very carefully avoiding the term "improved") workers and colonists which tended to be snapped up by large industrial concerns. This, in turn, began the long association of Manpower with the transstellars of the Solarian League. They were also very careful never to JOIN the Solarian League, which meant that they weren't covered by the League's policies and laws which had grown out of the Final War and the Beowulf Code. And as their very capable medical researchers began rivaling the Beowulf community they'd left behind, they began attracting a client base of their own — one which generally understood that Mesa was going to be at least shaving the edges of what a Beowulf-sanctioned geneticist would do for them. But well before that stage was reached, the Mesan Alignment had already gone underground and organized itself and — even more importantly — its ideology around the need to DEFEAT rather than MODIFY Beowulf's biosciences code.

The truth is that for at least a century or two after the Final War, it WOULD have been impossible for Mesa to contend openly with Beowulf over this particular question. The horrible example of Old Earth was still right there in front of everyone and the revulsion against anything which might repeat or duplicate that disaster was far too overwhelming for the Detweilers and their followers to have gained traction against it. What this means is that by the time an open debate might really have become possible again, the Alignment was already completely committed to its clandestine, covert, long-range strategy to change the paradigm by force rather than through reason. And even if that hadn't been the case, by that time Mesa had been so thoroughly blackened (and had blackened itself) through its association with the genetic slave trade that no one would have taken professions of an altruistic interest in the improvement of the human race seriously coming from that source.

By this point, the Mesan Alignment's innermost leadership truly have become sociopaths where their great and burning purpose is concerned. Not only that, they have a tunnel vision which is literally centuries old. They've been so focused for so long, for so many GENERATIONS, that they simply can't see what became blindingly obvious to Jack McBryde, which is that if they are in fact right, a fraction of the effort they've spent on building their strategy and the means to accomplish it would have paid for a propaganda/PR campaign that would almost have to have convinced a significant percentage of the human race to agree with them. They wrote that possibility off so long ago that it's not even on their menu of options. And after all this time, the Alignment HAS to defeat Beowulf (and prove its own moral superiority in the process) in order to justify and, if you will, sanctify all of the effort and all of the wealth and all of the destruction of lives which it has poured into its struggle. It's not logical, but let's face it, logic is seldom the most powerful motivating factor where human beings are concerned.


And all of this comes back to the point I made, and which you responded to, about the "echo chamber" in which these people live. The truth is that almost EVERYONE lives in an echo chamber to a greater or a lesser extent. Right, left, moderate, socialist, fascist, Centrist, Marxist, you name it, we tend to speak with — and listen to — those with whom we AGREE more than those with whom we DISAGREE. This is where polarization comes from, and I'm not really sure that it's any worse today than it's been in the past. I think it may be more INTENSE these days, and I definitely agree with you that information overload can make that worse, but the truth is that most people find it difficult to steal enough time from the necessary preoccupations of our lives to dedicate the effort to deliberately listen to people we disagree with in the first place. In the case of any persecuted group, or any group which FEELS it's persecuted, that tendency to close off outside input is, I think, naturally intensified. That same shutting down of outside input also happens when any group has decided that it has THE ANSWER and that "if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." In the case of the leadership cadre of the Mesan Alignment, what you have is a group which sees itself as persecuted AND having The Answer and which has developed a messianic fervor for ENFORCING The Answer, and which by the very nature of its organization (and the need to keep itself small and deeply hidden) has a very SMALL "echo chamber." They not only KNOW they're right, but they also KNOW the rest of the galaxy would turn on them in a heartbeat if they came out into the open with their true agenda, AND they see themselves as being empowered by the sublime purity of their objective and the fact that unlike anyone else they DO have The Answer (which automatically confirms their intellectual, as well as their moral, superiority over their opponents). That's a very potent motivating force, and they've managed to build a support structure which lets them accomplish goals in pursuit of their over all purpose without ever having to explain to the people accomplishing those goals why they're really doing it, which prevents any of those people working for them from questioning the Alignment's basic purposes, assumptions, and beliefs. In other words, they aren't getting the feedback from their operatives that might help to chip away at that monolithic internal consensus.

Jack McBryde signed onto the Mesan Alignment because of how it was presented to him when he was much younger. I will say this (and it probably constitutes a little bit of a spoiler): aside from his brother, the rest of his family was NOT inside the inner onion. And despite his position as chief of security for such an important installation, not even Jack was ALL THE WAY inside the inner onion. What happened when he came face-to-face with what the Alignment had done to Herlander Simões and Francesca — and the devastation it had wrought in Herlander's life — was that he made the leap into recognizing that the Alignment was proposing to ENFORCE those same policies on the rest of the human race whether the rest of the human race wanted them or not. And when he recognized that, he also recognized for the first time the fundamental sociopathy in deliberately killing billions of people (a probable outcome of even the incomplete amount he knew about the Alignment's final strategy) rather than even ATTEMPTING to argue the case for genetic uplift in the court of public opinion. And, as the final element in his break with the Alignment to which he had dedicated his adult life, he realized that what he had always envisioned as a goal towards which the Alignment would continue to work (as it had ALREADY worked literally for centuries) was, in fact, about to happen. It was no longer an intellectual or a philosophical or even an ideological commitment on his part to something to be accomplished at some indeterminate time in the future; it was a REALITY which was about to come to pass and for which he would bear a direct personal responsibility.


That was the point at which his own fundamental morality — which he'd learned from his parents and to which the Alignment's altruistic goal of righting past wrongs and uplifting humanity had appealed in the first place — turned around and bit the Mesan Alignment on the ass. I won't rule out the possibility of that's happening with other members of the Alignment as time passes, either, although I've built in some factors and elements within the Alignment which will mitigate against it, especially if (and I ain't saying whether or not this will happen) someone inside the Alignment looks back and analyzes McBryde's actions with enough intellectual honesty and detachment to realize what truly prompted them so that additional precautions can be taken.

Sorry. This got much longer than I intended for it to get (which is one reason I tend to stay away from the forums; this happens whenever I get close to them <G>), but the discussion about the Alignment, where it came from, and how it's managed to sustain its internal integrity (in terms of not springing all sorts of leaks, at least) for so long has come up at conventions and on panels as well as here on the forum. This is by far the most in-depth explanation I've given so far, and even here I haven't told you everything, by any stretch of the imagination. Not only that, but like any good storyteller I reserve the right to change where I've been intending to go all along.

I will say one more thing, which is that the "telescoping effect" of bringing this part of the storyline forward rather than killing Honor off at the Battle of Manticore and letting her children deal with it has, I think, contributed to the problems some people have had suspending disbelief where the Alignment is concerned. Under my original plan for the series, the Alignment would have been revealed much more gradually, bits and pieces of its strategy would have begun intruding into the open without the "sudden revelation" which is now part of the storyline, and the basic intellectual conflict between the Beowulf Code and the Mesan view of genetic modification would have been worked into the storyline by now in a more complete fashion and in a way which probably would have generated more sympathy for the Mesan Alignment's ultimate objective (although certainly not its tactics and strategy). I've always intended for the Alignment to represent what you might think of as Evil in the service of Good and to look at the degree and the extent to which ends do or do not justify the means adopted to accomplish them. However you slice it, the innermost core of the onion is evil, and yet its members are also human beings who have families, who love one another, who have senses of humor and who genuinely believe in what it is they're trying to accomplish, which actually makes them more interesting to me than if they were simply slinking around in the shadows and twirling their mustaches.

I hope that ultimately it will also make them more interesting to the Honorverse's readers.
This is where I found the text: Detweiler Vision vs Beowulf Code: "Right" and "Wrong"
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Re: Pawn - Q7 ... Checkmate?
Post by cthia   » Wed Nov 24, 2021 7:47 pm

cthia
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Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:10 pm

tlb wrote:I hope that you realize the Mesan Alignment that we have known since about The Shadow of Saganami (whom we have dubbed the Malign) does not believe in Detweiler's original vision; what they call the Detweiler Plan is something else entirely.

The Benign Mesan Alignment that we first encountered in UH is already out in the open; they are the ones that believe in Detweiler's original vision. So demand #2 is not something which would interest the people at Darius.

Yes, I do realize that. RFC has said as much on at least several occasions. Also, TEiF touched on it a bit during the heart-to-heart O'Hanrahan had with her handler. Of course, they kicked the can downhill to Galton, but still.

At any rate, Detweiler's original vision would be the vision that they would claim. Why would they want the enemy to know all of their secrets. And, the MA has to keep up the ruse for people like O'Hanrahan, and also for the people at Galton. If Galton is ever conquered. So, claiming Detweiler's original vision would not only be easier for the Galaxy to swallow - thus in their own best interest - but it gets their foot in the door for the rest of the plan later. Under the radar. Smoke and mirrors if you will.

Son, your mother says I have to hang you. Personally I don't think this is a capital offense. But if I don't hang you, she's gonna hang me and frankly, I'm not the one in trouble. —cthia's father. Incident in ? Axiom of Common Sense
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