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A Critique on Francoism


Ferrous

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Of all of the political philosophies that exist in Cybernations, there is one that stands out, and rightfully so. Francoism is the most developed, most practical political philosophy, and it's more or less practiced by the most powerful alliance in Cybernations - the NPO - thereby adding to its clout as having empirical evidence to back itself up. Yet, there are several flaws in its analysis that lead to conclusions which are therefore also inherently flawed.

First, we must understand what a developed philosophy is: it makes several assumptions on how the world functions, theorizes on how those assumptions affect human behavior, and then propose ways to maximize our safety or our utility (happiness). Francoism does all of that - the assumptions start with how the cyberverse acts in the state of nature (a world without alliances), and then it theorizes on this climate affects alliance formation and organization, and concludes with policy recommendations on how to properly manage an alliance. Therefore, in order to properly critique Francoism, we need to necessarily start at the beginning, or the initial assumptions.

Vladimir and his colleagues contend that in the state of nature, there is complete chaos, where every nation fights each other for the emotional thrill (war mongering) or to the advantage of their own nation (tech raiding and the like). It's a fair assumption except that warfare is not the only option available to individual nations - they can choose a more benign path and engage in other activities such as doing tech deals on their own (or other uses of the aid slots), trade resources with other nations, and run and vote for senators in their trading sphere. Furthermore, the act of declaring war while not being in an alliance with numerous mates to back you up is a very risky business - by engaging your resources to fight on nation, an individual alliance would be leaving themselves vulnerable to attack. In a long term situation, the most rational individuals would rise to the top through careful nation management and only selective warfare, either to defend themselves or to engage in piracy of some kind. Therefore, in the long run, we see that warfare is the exception to the rule, and that even in an initial state of nature, it would not necessarily be constant.

Of course, this assertion begs the question on how alliances are in fact formed. The answer is that most players are not willing to wait in the long run for warfare to not be as much of an issue, and even if they waited that long, there would be no guarantee of safety. An alliance does several things that cannot be achieved by an individual nation - it can hold people accountable for defending each other, and it can help smooth the process of growing a nation through collective wisdom (guides), and handling the logistics required for aid programs (tech trading, startup aid, etc). Over time, we can see that the alliances that manage to accomplish these goals most efficiently, and those who help ensure their own safety by bonding with other alliances will over time rise to the top. A good philosophy combined with skilled leadership can enable rising to the top and ensuring the position more effectively. And while the leadership of those who supposedly practice Francoism is commendable, it's not entirely clear that what Francoism says matches up to a realistic alliance policy.

Given a Francoist framework, the ideal alliance structure is based around a complete meritocracy without any elements of free choice. Free choice, or democratic elements, only encourage elements of the state of nature which in itself is detrimental to the alliance since the state of nature is detrimental to the growth of a nation. However, given the previous analysis with the problems of the initial assumptions, we can say that complete meritocracies are not necessarily an ideal or even good. Since some elements of the state of nature can be good, some elements of the state of nature can be applied, such as allowing for some free choice, especially for areas that do not directly affect the security of the alliance (anything but military positions, and arguably foreign affairs positions). In fact, we see that elements of democracy are present in nearly every successful alliance, including even the NPO, as their charter states:

The Council

The Council will consist of six elected Councilors. The Emperor is the ex officio chair of the Council. This council will be charged with the day to day operations of the alliance.

So, is a meritocracy truly the best form of alliance organization? As a pure form of meritocracy, unlikely seeing as we have yet to see such an alliance maintain a position of prominence. It is more likely that different alliances should have different forms of organization to suite their needs - smaller alliances can usually utilize democratic elements more effectively since a tight-nit community seems to have the same effect of mitigating negative elements of the state of nature as a large, more dictatorial form of government. Clearly, we can also exclude purely democratic forms of government for reasons that have been discussed throughout Cyberverse discourse, but smaller alliances can use strongly democratic elements quite effectively. However, as soon as we see these alliances become too large, the democratic elements succumb to the negative effects of the state of nature and can give the alliance in question numerous troubles.

Lastly, Vladimir points out that even in the current situation,

it becomes apparent that we live in what is essentially an international state of nature -- an international anarchy
(Vladimir, The Meaning of Freedom, 2007). While Vladimir attempts to point out the differences between the international anarchy and the state of nature, his analysis falls short as to provide a reasonable explanation as to why the international anarchy should be any different. Alliances are self-interested as are individuals, and given that each alliance has its own character to make it comparable to an individual nation, the current international anarchy is essentially the same as the state of nature, only that certain interests have risen to the top and have political sway in the international sphere. However, given that there is no sovereign power that ultimately controls the Cyberverse, this political sway comes into question. Nonetheless, we see that the better alliances have risen to the top and, and for the most part, have been able to maintain their position there with relatively few wars, and hardly a state of complete chaos - not unlike the earlier analysis of a long-term state of nature. If Francoism was correct, then even in the international sphere, we'd have chaos and constant warfare. We do not have that. We may fear for the safety of our nations, but we hardly live in a state of chaos.
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An interesting critique, but you miss none essential point from my analysis of the state of nature.

In The Meaning of Freedom I speak of the war of all against all, but this is obviously an abstract conceptualisation -- nations are not literally at war with every other nation in the world. What the war of all against all refers to is instead the state of perpetual threat and terror that nations in the state of nature must live in. Is it hypothetically possible that one can live in the state of nature and never be attacked? Yes, though it is unlikely. But while in hindsight they may not have been attacked, all through that time they will have been living under the threat of it, with no backup or support and no way of preventing it, and they will have to structure their life accordingly.

This is why alliances form, to combat this terror and allow nations to break free of the state of nature and advance themselves in ways otherwise impossible.

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We both agree as to why alliances form - which is something I mention in my own analysis. However, Francoism says that the State of Nature is undesirable altogether, and sees that alliances are formed for the sole reason of security. The state of nature, being a state of chaos, lends to insecurity - which we both agree on - but, by blanketing all of state of nature as undesirable, Francoism ignores any other elements that could be at worst, annoying, and at best, helpful for an alliance. These elements mainly revolve around some freedom of choice when dealing with issues that are not directly related to war.

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Your Vox post reminded me about this -- short term memory never was my strong suit.I don't understand why you are equating "free choice" with "electoral democracy" -- a system whose undesirability I already addressed in The Meaning of Freedom, the conclusions of which have been proven correct time and again throughout history. For starters there is an absolute 'free choice' in joining an alliance, and thus every nation chooses its leadership 'democratically' (and can unchoose it at almost any time). But more importantly, I disagree that electoral democracy introduces 'free choice'. I disagree that electoral choice of leadership is more important than choice in other areas (see: freedom of potential), and that electoral choice is representative of free choice (you assume that the electorate has perfect information) -- you only have to look at the turmoil in historical elected governments compared to the bottom-up support within historical autocratic governments.It is worth noting for clarity's sake that I do make an exception in the essay and predict that an electoral system can work under certain conditions (such as the conditions you noted for small alliances) that could potentially negate the critique I put forth for it -- I'm a scientist, not a dogmatist, after all, and so I don't hold the simplistic, blanket view that you seem to ascribe to me."Under these circumstances an alliance cannot thrive in the true sense unless the elected sovereign institution finds itself in a very specific set of circumstances -- a small, ready-made, stable, knowledgeable, united electorate, capable of encouraging and allowing the elected institution to act much like that of an unelected one."The point here is that electoral democracy is undesirable due to its negative results, not necessarily due to the system itself. If these results are negated then the system can function. Of course, this is all still based on the idea of removing the individual from the state of nature, which you don't seem to directly counter other than to say that democracy might be good sometimes in a small alliance.I would also point out that the elections for Council in the Order follow very strict guidelines to remove conflict as much as possible.

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