Reclaiming Deserts, Rebuilding Traveller

Below is a repost from my sci-fi blog, again based of the latest Issac Arthur video. A few concepts are tied to the Traveller science fiction game: but most can be easily applied to the real world today, or to a Christian sci-fi future.

My addendums to the post [are in italic brackets]

A Better Imperium

The Third Imperium [a corporate-feudal star empire] is grounded in corporate wealth: but I would love to create a somewhat more idealistic one, grounded in the frankly religious mission of terraforming the universe.

“We don’t govern living worlds: we just bring dead worlds to life.

And control the space between the stars: but that’s just to keep the less enlightened Imperial member worlds from turning living worlds to dead ones.”

I doubt that such an Imperium could keep its focus, once the power and the money really starts to flow in. But the core idea is good, methinks, and should outlast the various trials, revolutions, dark ages, and collapses.

And it’s a good excuse for an ageless interstellar ruling aristocracy, to

  • remember to keep the main thing the main thing, instead of being distracted by the baubles of wealth, power, pleasure, and the fickle praise of men;
  • really grow to love and nurture their gardens (be it worlds or space habitats, or something else entirely) and their people;
  • have enough time to really build up an infinite indefinite level of wealth, contacts, and know-how, to both build their gardens well, and efficiently dispose of all threats to their realm.

A real aristocracy also needs a people, to both serve and be served by. For what is the worth of a crown without subjects?

And a strong crown needs strong, loyal, and capable citizens, who can be trusted to do what’s right without close (and costly!) supervision and monitoring. A citizenry of closely supervised slaves means a stagnant and uncreative government, with lots of red tape and a fear of all change.

The fearful slave mentally seeps up to the crown itself, making it heavy, slow, fearful, rigid… and brittle. Tied to the past, and incapable of thriving in the future.


The Upper Class

It is the determination to save that marks the successful person. I am not persuaded that the successful person is made successful by a savings program. He is successful because he has determination to spend less than he earns, every month, no matter what. It is this unbreakable dedication to sacrificing a portion of the present for the sake of the future that marks the successful person. It is a mind-set. It is this self-determined, self-disciplined program — a systematic savings program — that marks the person who has the ability to become a success. This personality trait affects everything he does. He is future-oriented. He is therefore upper-class.

Your class position is established by your view of time, not the money you own today. If you are future-oriented, you are upper class. If you are present-oriented, you are lower class. Your present wealth testifies to what you are. It does not determine what you are. Don’t mistake the evidence for the cause.

A successful person is not successful because he saves. He saves because he has the personal characteristics that produce success. Saving is not the cause. It is the sign that the person has one of the crucial personal characteristics of success.

The young man who saves at least 10% of his after tax income from the day he gets his first job possesses the mark of success. This self-discipline must be taught. It does not come naturally for most people. A young man doesn’t emotionally know that if he doesn’t save for his old age, he will be in dire straits. He may become dependent on his children. To think that a 12-year-old is motivated by such a vision of the future is naïve. Ben Franklin said it best: “A child thinks that $20 and 20 years cannot be spent.” Children are not future-oriented. Present-orientation is one of the primary marks of a child. Children are also not independent. Others make their decisions for them. That is the primary mark of a child.

From Americans Live in a Fantasy World, by Gary North

If you want to shape the future, you are going to need to be strongly future-oriented. A.k.a: “Upper class”. A.k.a: “Welcome to the Imperial Aristocracy.”

Now, this isn’t how society — now, or in Traveller [the sci-fi game] — determines your class position. In today’s society, your class position is determined by your wealth, parents, profession, and socio-political position.

Class in Traveller puts less emphasis on your politics, and more on your career/wealth/Noble title. In Traveller, nobody cares about your virtue signalling. But everyone cares how much money and armed men you can raise up with 48 hours notice!

Hardly a single man in the West actually thinks along these lines. That’s because we — like children — think that someone else, someone we elect, will protect us and provide for us.

Even in the Far Future, I can see most follow the path of the responsibility-shunning child and slave, the contented subjects of a reasonably competent Noble and the post-scarcity/fusion economy. Much like in democracies, most people in aristocratic cultures think that someone else, a Noble, will protect us and provide for us.

I expect more — much more — independence from Travellers, though. I expect them to walk as men, not boys.

(In the sentence above, replace “Travellers” —  the players of the game — with “Christians”. It will then read:

“I expect more — much more — independence from Christians, though. I expect them to walk as men, not boys.”)

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