Monday, November 22, 2010

Democracy and its Preconditions

I have a gaming post mostly typed out, but I haven't quite got a way to tie it together quite yet.  I'm also considering an early post-publication overview of the Battleground Dark Elves, who are now out and slowly trickling their way through distribution, but I think that's not for tonight either, and I might wait until I'm confident that all parts of the world can buy them, rather than just those parts that shop at my store.  So my first dedicated gaming update will have to wait.  Instead, since it has already been over a week for various reasons and I don't want this blog to be too neglected, have some more politics.

It is quite trendy, it seems, to claim that your own political system is the best in the world.  There seems to be this idea around that there's some platonic form of leader selection*, and if we can just find it, we'll have discovered the governmental system that is ideal for all peoples, all places, and all times.  Being as this is the United States and we are already prone to flag-waving and overblown exceptionalism, it isn't particularly surprising that it is also widely taken for granted that our system, or at least a similar one, is the ideal.  

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Freedom and Redistribution

Despite my previous post, I'm having some trouble with the sleeping thing, so here's a second post, faster than expected!

Government is Not a Special Snowflake

Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Redistributive Taxes

I think many people in this country have a problematic idea of the nature of government, and of what the world would be like without it.  Too often it seems like we think "The Government" is some entity that is unnatural and apart from other good, American things like money and freedom.  A good example: recently I had someone defend tax cuts as "stimulating the economy by creating spending" as if this were some sort of obvious thing - clearly if the people have that money they'll spend it, so if you give the money to the government instead...

A Brief Introduction

I mostly want to let the entries in this blog speak for themselves, but here's a quick mission statement.  I expect to use this blog for two major topics.

First, the discussion of politics, usually tied in to American politics because I'm an American and I want to convince you our politics suck (probably easy) and that you should listen to me about fixing them (probably much harder.)  I'll label these entries with the "politics" label.  I don't have any training in politics beyond a BA from a well-respected college, including many classes in politics, history, and philosophy.  I do follow it with some enthusiasm, or perhaps more accurately morbid fascination, and keep up my own readings in the field.  I also believe that while a generally educated population is ideal for democracy, specialized education shouldn't be required to have well developed political ideas.

Second, I will discuss the design and development of games (mostly traditional card, board, and role-playing games, though design-wise the distinction between those and video games can be pretty minor.)  This has been a passion of mine for ages, and I'm lucky enough to work in the industry, both for pay as a retailer, and for occasional pay but mostly passion as a publisher.  I've worked with several small indy presses over the years, and have design and development credits on several games, both as part of a team and as sole designer.  I hope people will find my insights on this subject interesting.  I'll label these entries with the "games" label.

I've decided to call the blog Systems and Worlds because I am excellent with names until it matters and then blank, and also because, to me, setting large parts of the world to a system is an idea that unifies both politics and game design.  I hope you enjoy.

Finally, a note on identity: I'm not particularly interested in concealing my identity, and expect many of my readers will know me by name, but I've kept this post intentionally vague because getting autobiographical is generally against the point - I've included what I think is relevant to establish my interest in and experience with my subject matter.  Additional questions are certainly welcome in the comments, however.