GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Do you wear brown without the blue?

POSTED BY: ZZETTA13
UPDATED: Sunday, April 23, 2006 12:23
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Sunday, April 23, 2006 6:14 AM

ZZETTA13


Ok fellow browncoats,

Kick your feet up because I want you guys to dig really down deep on this question.

Is your browncoat brown with a light shade on blue in it or is it so brown a dark gravy spot wouldn't show up on it?

What I mean is are you a tad Alliance,or all out Independence?

Malcolm Reynolds and crew in this day and age would be considered bad guys. Pirates, bank robbers, lawless individuals out for themselves only. Yet to us they are heros. Whys that? From the tv series the only thing the Alliance and Unified planets have done as a whole is wiw the BDW. Whats wrong with that? I mean Inara was for unification. Simon and River came from what looks like an Alliance family and Book seemed to know so much about how the Alliance "Upper Brass" works he could have been a part of it. Wash didn't seem to be on either side.

Beside a few guys wearing blue gloves ( which would scare me I guess) what is so bad about being with the purplebellies? Tell me? Why in your opinion is Mal so anti-establishment?
I mean they have done a lot of good,right?

My last thought here is that I'm a firm believer that most things never happen to ppl by accident.

Z


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Sunday, April 23, 2006 7:22 AM

LAUGHINGMUSE


Mal's been personally hurt (in a big way) by the Alliance's indifferent, unthinking imposition of order-for-the-public-good. He's watched people die, just because those people didn't want to give up the right to decide the courses of their own lives. Those people weren't trying to take away from anyone else, or insist that they be supported completely or given special privilege. They just wanted equitable treatment from their government - which is supposed to be for their benefit, not the other way around. Yet the government kept asking for more and more without recognizing that it weren't doing its proper job. Finally, in a fit of benevolent, tired, "Oh, we know what's best for them, they just don't want to grow up," the government moved in and imposed their vision of order on everyone - consistency in that, at least, but not necessarily a positive bit of consistency. Mal is tired, he is disillusioned, he is fed up, he doesn't believe that anything he does makes any difference any longer. He's tired of fighting - on multiple levels - and he doesn't feel like he can do anything to right a terrible wrong. He's not 'anti-establishment' as much as he is 'anti-THIS-establishment'. In Mal's view, this incarnation of the government has forgotten itself, and begun to abuse the people it was created to protect and nurture.

Any establishment, any collective group, can do a lot of good. Multiple people working together to solve a problem is almost always going to do a better job than one person trying to solve that problem themselves.

It follows, then, that any establishment can do damage on a wider, more efficient scale than one person trying to do damage themselves. When something gathers momentum, it's not always easy to stop it - especially if the "it" is something like a government, without a clear definition or head.

What is the job of something like a government? How does one define the moment when a government goes rogue? Even saying that that moment can be clearly identified, how does someone stop the momentum without causing more damage - or without causing the same "evils" that the government caused (which would have lead to its being labelled 'rogue' in the first place)?

When the Sphinx forgets that it's just made up of millions of grains of sand - and that's where the Sphinx derives its power - there's a problem.

When the millions of grains of sand forget that they can cause one hellofa sandstorm - and the resulting chaos and concommitant losses in that sandstorm - there's a problem.

---------------------------------
Mankind makes tools; we use them to augment our hands, arms and legs.
The computer augments the brain and this makes it very unpopular with totalitarians. - Charles J.C. Lyall

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Sunday, April 23, 2006 7:56 AM

RAVENHAIR


Quote:

Originally posted by zzetta13:
Why in your opinion is Mal so anti-establishment?
I mean they have done a lot of good,right?





Just passing through, but I saw this line and it reminded me of the scene in the 'Life of Brian' where the People of the Judean Front (or which ever faction it was) is discussing revolution and saying, "What have the Romans ever done for us?" and they end up with a long list of advancements in civilization, to only end with, "Well, yes, besides all that [education, roads, language] what have they done for us?"

No matter how "civilized" a society is perceived there will always be those that will be anti-establishment because you can't please all the people all the time.

In our US history books, the American Revolutionaries were heroes fighting for independence from the colonial empire. I'm curious, how did the British Empire see the revolutionaries living in the frontier of the colonies? Never had a chance to look through a British history text to find out.

*****
Mal:We're still flying.
Simon: That's not much.
Mal: It's enough.

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Sunday, April 23, 2006 8:00 AM

ZISKER


There's a plaque somewhere in England that calls Paul Jones a pirate. And Benedict Arnold is a patriot.

"Half of writing history . . ."

One day.
One plan.
One army of Browncoats.

On June 23rd, we aim to misbehave.
http://www.SerenityJune23rd.com
(Help spread the Signal! Email me at seiryuu_@hotmail.com)

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Sunday, April 23, 2006 8:05 AM

RACH


Oh, I like the Sphinx analogy very much. Haven't come across it before (original? Go, LaughingMuse, go!) but it is a beauty.

Don't forget 'The Second Coming'

...somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

'Blank and pitiless' is right. Establishment is not something I go against for the sake of it. The potential for good in a system is always enormous, but a system necessarily abides by utilitarian goals: the good of the individual subsumed to the good of the whole.

Therefore, a looser system must be better. One with holes, that allows for independence of action.

And therefore the joy of FF! What amuses is that the system here is inefficient and neglectful. The Alliance is uncaring and really just a bit crap(cf 'The Train Job', when they just ignore the loss of medicine and move on).

They let the needy fall through the gaps without allowing them the space to care for themselves. Not necessarily totalitarian, just...crap.

So the best of them shrug, say 'gorram it' and do their own thing. That's what I love. And that their loyalty to one another elevates it beyond self-interest.

x

P.S. Definitely a dissertation day...

One day.
One mission.
One army of Browncoats.

On June 23rd, we aim to misbehave.

www.serenityjune23rd.com

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Sunday, April 23, 2006 8:11 AM

LAUGHINGMUSE


Quote:

Originally posted by Rach:
Oh, I like the Sphinx analogy very much. Haven't come across it before (original? Go, LaughingMuse, go!) but it is a beauty.

Don't forget 'The Second Coming'

...somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,



*snert* You ask where I got it and then quote Yeats? :D I think I'm one of the few people on the planet with that particular interpretation of the poem, though. It occurred to me the first time I read it. So...original, and yet, not. Thanks for the cheering, though!

I'm all for a centralized set of rules; but that centralized set of rules has to allow for variations, and at the same time give people the responsibility of taking care of themselves as much as possible.

Too much inflexibility is a bearcat to enforce. It also can lead to social stagnation, and suddenly you get a society that can barely tie its own metaphorical shoelaces, let alone meet any genuinely new problem.

---------------------------------
Mankind makes tools; we use them to augment our hands, arms and legs.
The computer augments the brain and this makes it very unpopular with totalitarians. - Charles J.C. Lyall

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Sunday, April 23, 2006 10:54 AM

ZZETTA13


Very good and interesting posts guys.

Now, how do ppl in power stay in power? By keeping secrets. Secrets they are willing to kill and destroy for( enter: operative with sword)

If you stumbled upon the ability to read thoughts would you share that ability with everyone? Give up your power?

The people at the top, stay at the top by knowing what you don't know. When they see a way to become more powerful,well in this case it won't be MIB knocking at your door.It will be MIB with blue gloves on.
Z

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Sunday, April 23, 2006 11:03 AM

LAUGHINGMUSE


People get into power by using either respect-through-fear (obedience), or respect-through-admiration. They then stay in power because people are creatures of habit. However, the mechanisms that got them into power are the same ones that can get them out.

It's easier to make someone afraid of something (especially a nebulous something like "terrorists" or "economic shortfalls" or "immigration"), and then promise to keep them safe from this nebulous thing, than it is to gain people's admiration and respect. Building respect and trust takes much longer, and works better on an individual scale - so requires more effort.

If I stumbled on the ability to read thoughts I'd find a way to un-stumble upon that ability VE-E-ERY quickly. I haven't the right to read other peoples' thoughts, nor have I the responsibility to keep each and every one of them safe - or to act to protect everyone else from every single harmful thought I came across. (It's no wonder River is as twitchy as she is. It *is* a wonder that she isn't worse.)

---------------------------------
Mankind makes tools; we use them to augment our hands, arms and legs.
The computer augments the brain and this makes it very unpopular with totalitarians. - Charles J.C. Lyall

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Sunday, April 23, 2006 11:24 AM

DOLLWEN


Yes, I definitely wear brown without the blue. What's wrong about the Alliance is that they're "meddlesome", as River says at the beginning of the BDM. They tell people what to think, how to behave, etc. They have a very manichean, black-and-white view of the world; they think they can create an all-white world and refuse to see the shades of grey that all human beings are made of. And right now, I think we're heading right towards that kind of world, where governments will control every little thing people do. For instance, I think it's right that smokers do not have the right to smoke in public places, because non-smokers have the right not to inhale dangerous substances if they don't want to. BUT I think it's wrong that smokers shouldn't be allowed to smoke in their own houses, because it's nobody's business how an adult person chooses to take care (or not) of their own health. And the Alliance would forbid you to smoke in your own house because smoking is "sooooo wrong" (I don't smoke, by the way, but I don't judge people who do), to eat at McDonald's because it would make you gain weight,
to listen to loud music because it would be dangerous for your ears, etc etc. Everyday we make bad decisions for our own health, and it doesn't matter that these are bad decisions; what matters is that we have the power to make those decisions. The Alliance would take that power to make choices away from you. Their motto is: "We know better than you what's good for you. Let us make all the decisions for you, and all you'll have to do is blindly obey." See? Meddlesome. I do think there has to be rules to prevent people from hurting each other. I think it's right NOT to have the right to kill, torture or harm in any way the other citizens of this world. But no one should tell us what choices to make when it comes to personal decisions. It's normal to warn people that smoking will kill them. It is NOT to forbid them to smoke in their own, private homes. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
This is a recurrent theme in Whedon's shows. At the end of season 4 of Angel, this Goddess called Yasmin (played by Gina Torres) took over the Earth and transformed everyone into slaves. Sure, what they were forced to do was to love and care for each other, therefore creating peace on Earth, but the point is: they were FORCED to do so. They had no will anymore. As Angel explains to Yasmin when he defeats her: you can't take away their ability to choose from human beings, because it's precisely what makes them human. In every step we take, we have to make moral choices, and the choices we make determine the course of our lives and the kind of person we become. Yasmin's slaves didn't do anything but blindly follow her and obey her orders. They were peaceful beings, but their inability to choose made them nothing more than robots. They weren't individuals anymore, each with their own way of living their life, they all did exactly the same thing and were all exactly the same. They weren't human anymore. The only way there would be no conflict whatsoever between people anymore would be if they were all thinking exactly the same things. But then, how boring would life be? There would be no interest in living anymore if the world was all monochromatic, would it? I personally prefer a world with plenty of different colors in it, even if it means accepting black as well as white.
Sorry for the long reply, but I think that's an interesting question: would you prefer to live in a world with no violence in it but with no power to choose either, or would you prefer to have the choice, even if it would mean making bad decisions sometimes? I know which world I'd rather live in. So do Mal and his crew.

"If wishes were horses, we'd all be eatin' steak"

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Sunday, April 23, 2006 12:23 PM

MARAZ


Quote:


In our US history books, the American Revolutionaries were heroes fighting for independence from the colonial empire. I'm curious, how did the British Empire see the revolutionaries living in the frontier of the colonies? Never had a chance to look through a British history text to find out.



The American War of Independence isn't usually taught in the UK (perhaps not a surprise), and so there aren't really any textbooks giving a British point of view. But you make a good point - there are obviously two sides to that story.

As for the original question. There are obviously benefits of government - I think Firefly shows that, for example providing medicine, education. However there is a term we use in economics - the law of unintended consequences. Basically government might mean well, it might be benevolent, but sometimes it just makes things worse. Obviously government also limits freedoms, I think Paine says something along the lines of government's purpose is to limit our vices. That's exactly it! To make people "better". The ultimate purpose of government is a world without sin.

The question is which is more important? Security or freedom?

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