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 Government Systems of Alpha Centauri

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Selathorn

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PostSubject: Government Systems of Alpha Centauri   Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:39 pm

Introduction

Government on Alpha Centauri should be an easy thing to analyze, and should not be terribly complicated. There are Democracies, there are Police States, and yes, there is that ever nebulous Fundamentalist classification for the Lord's Believers. It seems simple enough, and these systems seem self-explanatory, but as is always the case, things on Chiron tend to be... complicated, at best. A foreign observer, for example, might be baffled by the fact that even in the Democracies of Chiron the faction heads never seem to change, which to cynical observers would suggest rigging but is in fact another matter completely. And, of course, there is the ever-enduring question... just what in hell is a Fundamentalist government? Fundamentalism is not what one would normally consider to be a form of government, but on Chiron, it means much more than following holy books to the word. This factbook will examine and analyze the three competing systems of government on Alpha Centauri.

Democratic System

Democracy should be a fairly self-explanatory term. Rule by the people, consent of the governed, popular sovereignty, all those important memes that have been propagated for aeons and yet surprisingly rarely applied. This is much the same on Chiron. Ostensibly, one would think that the factions under the Democratic System would regularly switch their leaders and their affiliations, but this is not the case. Occasionally, mass shifts in policy are made, seemingly at the behest of the people, and yet the leaders still remain. Why is this? Are these elections rigged on their behalf, or do they simply have the popularity and inertia to remain in power? The answer is somewhat more complicated, but it eventually boils down to the boogieman of Centauri society, memetic engineering. Through memetic engineering, support for existing leaders is heavily reinforced and given the fact that they are for all intents and purposes immortal due to constant advances in longevity technology, they can keep power practically forever. On the local level, for example base administrators, elections are fairly competitive and fair, but when it comes to any positions actually capable of changing policy they are entirely one sided. Those with dissenting opinions are often barred from the election due to citations of "memetic subversion" as agents of enemy factions, this is sometimes true but more often than not the people barred are simply those who have proven somewhat resistant to memetic influences. Still, Democracy on Chiron, while it has many faults, is still rather preferable over the following two factions, as a sizable number of rights come along with it so long as one is not found to be "subverted", a nebulous term applied to those who have been heavily influenced by another faction's memetics.

Police State System

The Police State system is about as old as humanity on Chiron itself. Only shortly after Planetfall, Chairman Shen-ji Yang of the Human Hive instituted the first Centauri Police State (or indeed any advanced government beyond simple frontier politics). Yang's Police State has become the subject of a great volume of Peacekeeper propaganda, which demonizes the strong controls Yang has on the population and the usage of the large Hive military to suppress the people, but like all systems on Chiron it has evolved over time to a far more refined one. In the modern day, the Police State System hardly requires a military police, but rather the self-policing memetically conditioned by the leaders of the Police States into their subjects. In the Spartan Federation, this is in the form of the intense military-style discipline enforced on all citizens of the Federation, while in the Human Hive it is in the form of the mandated loyalty that was and remains the bedrock of the Hive ideology, which carries with it numerous material and social rewards. Of course, those who genuinely attempt to resist in these Police States find themselves in dire threat to their lives. The military tribunals of the Spartan Federation quickly and often unjustly punish those accused of subversion and treason the Federation, while in the Human Hive there is no longer even a need for government action as the Self-Aware Colony Secret Project acts as an elaborate and frightening tool to remove dissenters quickly and with little chance for them to resist. Indeed, while the Police States are frightening, their methods are still somewhat crude compared to the last system of government on Alpha Centauri - the Fundamentalist System.

Fundamentalist System

The Fundamentalist System is rather feared and reviled on Chiron, both by Democracies and Police States, the first of which believes that the Fundamentalist System is harmful to the rights of individuals while the second of which believes the missionary nature of the system quite dangerous for being able to subvert their citizenry. First, what exactly is a Fundamentalist System, anyways? Now, the only faction that practices it, the Lord's Believers, definitely has religious fundamentalist beliefs, which gave the system that it uses its name, but those in the know understand that the Fundamentalist System is not really about fundamentalism as much as it is about heavy usage of memetics and a missionary ideology. Firstly, a heavy usage of memetics indicates that in a Fundamentalist System, memetic engineering - through prayers, rituals, sermons, and most of all religious text - is constantly used to influence the mindsets of the population, bringing them together as one. A missionary ideology indicates that the need to spread the memes of the faction to other factions, and in doing so subvert their people. It is dangerous work, both to the subverters and the subvertees. However, these benefits come at the cost of drastically limiting free thought and thus have a significant negative impact on research, leaving the Lord's Believers at least decades behind the more advanced Centauri factions.
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