November 28, 2005

SATIRE: Secret Weapon of the Anglosphere, D&D Edition

To its detractors, the Anglosphere concept is the white geek version of political Dungeons and Dragons. Something retro, surreal, and darned dangerous if it weren't so totally loopy. In a spirit of contribution to that perspective, let me humbly submit The Secret Weapon of the Anglosphere, applicable wherever twelve-sided dice are sold.

First, some design constraints:

1. The weapon cannot depend on any specific racial or genetic heritage ... because the Anglosphere now contains a greater genetic and racial variety of men and women than anywhere else on earth.

2. The weapon cannot depend on the inherent goodness of Anglosphereans ... because a major school of historical thought believes that Anglosphere success is dependent on the inherent evil of its occupants.

3. The weapon cannot depend on the inherent evil of Anglosphereans ... because a different school of history thinks that Anglosphere success is based on the morality and generosity of its occupants.

4. The weapon cannot depend on geography or local conditions … because the Anglosphere began on the edge of a large island but now spans the globe.

5. The weapon cannot depend on vast populations … because for much of its history, the Anglosphere didn’t have the large populations of its enemies and competitors.

6. The weapon cannot depend on a rigid social hierarchy – either class or caste system … because social mobility has always had some role in the Anglosphere.

7. The weapon cannot depend on a centralized economic-political-religious government … because conflict between these social elements have been a part of Anglosphere history since post-Roman times.

8. The weapon cannot depend on a hard-achieved literacy linked to the apprenticed interpretation of unchanging texts … because the Anglosphere common law didn’t accommodate such scholarship.

9. The weapon cannot depend on good times and/or bad times ... because yet another school of historians feels the Anglosphere was successful only because it was lucky and/or had good timing and/or got there “fustest with the mostest”, while a European branch of history suggests that only the "rat ranch" quality of Anglo-Saxon culture explains its current prosperity.

10. The weapon cannot depend on long years of expertise. Mastery of the weapon must be easily learned through mimicry and executed in ordinary day-to-day life ... because the Anglosphere encourages immigration, and language skills and elite lifestyle can't be guaranteed for every new immigrant. Practice should bring incremental improvement though.

11. The weapon cannot make sense. It must be counter-intuitive ... so that it cannot be given away by people who live in (but hate) the Anglosphere, and it cannot be stolen by other cultural spheres that are jealous of the Anglosphere.

12. The weapon cannot be effective in the hands of smart people working by themselves ... because the Anglosphere is way behind in the creation of dirigiste society and is wary of elites.

So. User- and location- independence, ease-of-use, luck-indifferent, totally secure, decentralized, and communal/non-elite. A rather narrow foundation for a secret weapon but a clear start nonetheless.

Now for some weapon attributes:

A. The weapon must let you bootstrap ... 'cause when the genie offers three wishes, first ask for more wishes. Exponential increases can be handy.

B. The weapon must offer synergy between guns and butter ... the more prosperity you have, the more prosperity you can forcibly keep. Lots of hit points.

C. The weapon must reward vigilance for objective truth ... tell a lie about the nonhuman world, diminish the value of the weapon.

D. The weapon must reward diverse and individual opinion ... because the Anglosphere has the most cantankerous, fervent, independent, opinionated group of cranks on the planet. Might as well put the bastards to work.

E. The weapon must reward open though imperfect communication, and reflect an instinctive human sense of what's fair ... because it must be easy to learn (see #10), not too fragile (see #9) and communally operated (see #12).

F. The weapon must work well when everyone's confused ... because that pretty much describes the 21st century ... or any century, if you're paying close attention. Operation in Singularities will be considered a bonus.

G. The weapon must work well over time, as opposed perfectly at any predictable time ... because it should never be susceptible to effective but temporary co-option by one person or a small group (see #12) plus it has to stay counter-intuitive (see #11)

H. The weapon should reward habitual practice … (see #10)

I. The weapon should throw Anglosphere enemies into frothing incoherent madness ... not a necessary feature, actually, but a potentially satisfying bug.

Having laid out my constraints and spec list for a Secret Weapon of the Anglosphere, many of you will have already guessed: The Weapon exists. The Weapon has been used relentlessly for centuries. We own the Weapon. And incidentally, “All your base are belong to us.”

In an upcoming post, “The Big Book of the Secret Weapon of the Anglosphere Revealed. Necessary and Sufficient Cause for Total World Domination Identified.”, all will be made clear, and those who didn't help pay for pizza during the last round will be confronted and cast into Outer Darkness.

Posted by jmccormick at November 28, 2005 05:00 PM

The economics of capitalism.

Posted by: Marcus Vitruvius at November 28, 2005 07:27 PM

Excellent. May I suggest another key attribute? The weapon must be effective against fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.

Posted by: Carl Hollywood at November 28, 2005 10:09 PM

Neil Stephenson?

Posted by: Stevey at November 28, 2005 11:03 PM

Property rights? I'm not sure they satisfy #11 though, as they make sense to me.

Posted by: Brock at November 29, 2005 01:50 AM

"The weapon cannot depend on a hard-achieved literacy linked to the apprenticed interpretation of unchanging texts … because the Anglosphere common law didn’t accommodate such scholarship."

So much for the Fundamntalists' bogus asertion that they are defending traditional values. Well, they may be defending someone's traditional values, just not Anglo-American values.

Posted by: Jim at November 29, 2005 10:15 AM

its english

Posted by: qin shi huangdi at December 2, 2005 04:06 PM
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