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Is Dwarf Fortress an Arch-Conservative Nightmare?

Yes
- 14 (25%)
Mostly
- 9 (16.1%)
Sorta
- 11 (19.6%)
A little
- 3 (5.4%)
No
- 19 (33.9%)

Total Members Voted: 56


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Author Topic: Is Dwarf Fortress Arch-Conservative  (Read 8522 times)

EuchreJack

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Is Dwarf Fortress Arch-Conservative
« on: November 21, 2009, 12:28:28 am »

Does anyone else think Dwarf Fortress is Arch-Conservative in governmental style?

Here's the facts about Dwarf Fortress:
NO abortions are allowed in Dwarf Fortress
NO other races are allowed to live with Dwarfs, unless moded as pets
ALL dwarfs are allowed to own deadly weapons, including lethal projectile weapons (once you implement the economy)
Goverment is ruled by a King, with absolute authority
Fortress Guard/Palace Guard answers only to other Fortress Guard/Palace Guard
NO taxes (for starting fortesses)
ALL pay equal taxes, EXCEPT the nobility and champions
NO controls on the size of the military (the only reasons not to have everyone in the military at all times are the threats of starvation and dehydration)
NO animal is safe from dwarfen-inflicted pain except "pets"
NO privacy for Dwarfs
ALL crimes are punished by the Death Penalty (funny story, the death penalty in the US is actually the same as in Dwarf Fortress: If a person survives their execution, they're free to go)
NUCLEAR POWER is freely used in those mods where Dwarfs actually know how to use nuclear power
NO pollution regulations (what miasma?)
NO benefits for workers, not even pay unless you have the economy (which actually makes life worse for the workers)
NO free speech (if Dwarfs can't name their fortress "F^ing Worthless Pile of Cr@p", how is art and peace to flourish?)
NO right to burn the flag
NO protection of the rights of immigrants (many fortresses actively kill them)
NO regulation on the elections
NO interrogation, ONLY torture

There, my totally unskewed version of Dwarf Fortress.  Now, to hide in my fortress while everyone attacks my viewpoint.

Note: While I'm accusing Dwarf Fortress society of being Arch-Conservative, I'm not saying it should be different.  Honestly, how many people want more-through elections?  Or, a simulation of polution over a ten-year period?  Or, equal opportunity for Elves?  Humans, yes.  Elves, NO!  My dwarfs state, and I quote, "We'd rather live with the Goblins than the Elves!  At least the Goblins eat meat and don't care if we make crossbows from our ancestors!"

Admission: Ok, I'll admit that Dwarf Fortess isn't completely Arch-Conservative.  Next post maybe.
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Megaman

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Re: Is Dwarf Fortress Arch-Conservative
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2009, 01:55:45 am »

*laughs at the pitiful efforts of the Liberal Elf Squad*
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Nobody1225

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Re: Is Dwarf Fortress Arch-Conservative
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2009, 02:12:30 am »

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NO abortions are allowed in Dwarf Fortress
Also, no maternity leave.  Women are expected to give birth and immediately get back to work, possibly in mid-sword swing on the battlefield.

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Goverment is ruled by a King, with absolute authority
...in theory.  In practice, we humor him up until he asks for anything that in any way whatsoever inconveniences us.  Then he suffers from mysterious accidents.

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Fortress Guard/Palace Guard answers only to other Fortress Guard/Palace Guard
Perhaps--but on the other hand, they take anyone--the bedridden, the brain-damaged, the toothless, limbless: it's either very egalitarian or a wonderful self-esteem booster to the differently-abled.

Quote
NO taxes (for starting fortesses)
Yes...because there's no money, and private property is limited to what the community is willing to issue you, the clothes on your back, and the tools you need to do your job.  Until the tax collector shows up, it's nearly utopian communism: quite liberal.

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NO privacy for Dwarfs
Dwarves don't want privacy.  Have you seen the little exhibitionists?  They'll tear off each others' clothing and never put it back on.  They're mildly ashamed of deteriorating clothes, but once they finish falling apart, they'll stroll around starkers without a single bad thought.

Quote
ALL crimes are punished by the Death Penalty
Only if you don't have a prison system to deal with them.  And the game showcases the value of making good prisons: if you fall into the school of "prison is supposed to be a punishment!" then they'll leave just as pissed off and trouble-making as when they went in...whereas if you provide a good bed, food, booze, and entertainment in the form of pretty engravings or zoo animals, they'll leave prison productive, hard-working members of society.

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(funny story, the death penalty in the US is actually the same as in Dwarf Fortress: If a person survives their execution, they're free to go)
Er...[citation needed], please.  From my law classes and the record, it would seem that:  If your electrocution or gas chamber was botched, they'd have just kept it running until you got the hint and died.  If your lethal injection is botched, you can return to your cell on death row while your attorney used that incident to appeal to the state or US Supreme Court again to try and get your sentence of death reduced to life imprisonment without parole...which is a bit less than "free to go", even if he succeeded.  Or they just go back and try it again.  Modern execution isn't "we will inject these chemicals into your body", it's "we will kill you.  These chemicals are the only way we are allowed to do so in nearly every state which still allows capital punishment."

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NO benefits for workers, not even pay unless you have the economy (which actually makes life worse for the workers)
Before economy: From each according to his abilities (and willingness to stop going On Break), to each according to his needs (food, booze...more booze.)
With economy: ALL BURN.
From a liberal standpoint, I don't see the problem here.

Quote
NO free speech (if Dwarfs can't name their fortress "F^ing Worthless Pile of Cr@p", how is art and peace to flourish?)
See, I think you've got it reversed here.  The dorfs can't name their fortress that only because the words literally do not exist (could be a Newspeak thing, maybe).  But then look what artists can do--once an engraver is allowed by their community to engrave, they can carve anything they want--even horribly offensive things, like drawings of someone being tormented with their worst fear in that person's quarters!  And if artists (crafters) are allowed to create, period, they will not be controlled: they'll use the stones or bones or logs they want, they'll make whatever they want with them, they'll decorate them however they feel like, and they'll make them as well or as poorly as they feel like.

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NO regulation on the elections
There's one--no active members of the military are allowed.  This prevents a military takeover of the civilian government.  What's more, unless they've gone completely mad, even military dorfs will not turn on fellow dorfs--the danger of martial law is reduced greatly.

Quote
NO interrogation, ONLY torture
In fortress mode, we don't interrogate because the dorfs have nothing interesting to say.  In adventure mode, we most certainly do both!
Quote from: Urist McAdventurer
"You look like a mighty warrior!"
Quote from: Urist McChild
"I'm nine!"
Quote from: Urist McAdventurer
"You look like a mighty warrior!"
Quote from: Urist McChild
"I'm nine!"
Quote from: Urist McAdventurer
"You look like a mighty warrior!"
Quote from: Urist McChild
"Are you deaf, you stupid old codger?  I'm freaking nine!"

I say give our little bearded buddies some credit.  They probably average out to a very, very, very strange-looking "Moderate".
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mainiac

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Re: Is Dwarf Fortress Arch-Conservative
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2009, 03:23:28 am »

While the dwarves have yet to discover sexuality, let alone homosexuality, they don't have any discriminatory practices against gays.  I'll call that an L+, what more is on the gay agenda then having your partnership exactly as meaningless as everyone else's?

Immigration on the other hand...

And let's not even get into race relations...

The military however is L+.  It manages to combine two seemingly incompatible liberal ideals for the military: an army of the people (backed by conscription) and an army of professionals (devoid of military industrial profiteers).  I don't throw the term L++ around too much, but achieving two mutually exclusive kinds of liberalism might just qualify.

Animals have some rights and most of the bad things done to them are just because dwarves are fanatics about recycling who do the same to sentients.  M or thereabouts maybe?

In fact the dwarves are pretty big fans of renewables all around.  They occasionally use coal but not as much as renewable biofuels and every fortress aspires to the ultimate green goals of hydro power and magma industries.  L+.

And elections surpass even Rousseau L+ dreams.  No oligarchic structure, nada.  Another possible L++.

No gun control, but is that possible in a world where dirt is a deadly weapon?  C+, but an empty C+.
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Last Edit: February 10, 1988, 03:27:23 pm by UR MOM
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Tilla

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Re: Is Dwarf Fortress Arch-Conservative
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2009, 05:06:53 am »

While the dwarves have yet to discover sexuality, let alone homosexuality, they don't have any discriminatory practices against gays.  I'll call that an L+, what more is on the gay agenda then having your partnership exactly as meaningless as everyone else's?

Immigration on the other hand...

And let's not even get into race relations...

The military however is L+.  It manages to combine two seemingly incompatible liberal ideals for the military: an army of the people (backed by conscription) and an army of professionals (devoid of military industrial profiteers).  I don't throw the term L++ around too much, but achieving two mutually exclusive kinds of liberalism might just qualify.

Animals have some rights and most of the bad things done to them are just because dwarves are fanatics about recycling who do the same to sentients.  M or thereabouts maybe?

In fact the dwarves are pretty big fans of renewables all around.  They occasionally use coal but not as much as renewable biofuels and every fortress aspires to the ultimate green goals of hydro power and magma industries.  L+.

And elections surpass even Rousseau L+ dreams.  No oligarchic structure, nada.  Another possible L++.

No gun control, but is that possible in a world where dirt is a deadly weapon?  C+, but an empty C+.

Definitely not L+ on the gay, they can't even form relationships publically. M really, being completely neutral.
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Jetman123

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Re: Is Dwarf Fortress Arch-Conservative
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2009, 06:54:48 am »

I find that this thread quite perfectly points out how Liberal and Conservative are little more than just words, and that anything can fall under them given the viewpoint - many times both at once.

:D
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E. Albright

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Re: Is Dwarf Fortress Arch-Conservative
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2009, 02:34:45 pm »

As Nobody points out, it's safer to say much of DF is cautionary rather than Conservative, as a fortress starts out as far more Liberal then it may end up, and the complications added by the mounting Conservatism generally require more and more complex workarounds to keep things flowing smoothly.

I'd disagree with maniac about immigration, though. Civil Rights/race relations are a Conservative Nightmare, but immigration is open-border unless you slap population caps into place (which admittedly most of us do, but that's hardly the dwarfs' fault).
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Servant Corps

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Re: Is Dwarf Fortress Arch-Conservative
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2009, 04:06:50 pm »

Quote
ALL crimes are punished by the Death Penalty (funny story, the death penalty in the US is actually the same as in Dwarf Fortress: If a person survives their execution, they're free to go)

It's an incorrect urban myth. If you are given the death sentence, and the execution fails, they'll just try to execute you again and again until you actually do die.

All crimes are not punished by the death penalty. You can get hammerstrikes, which are more like getting flogged, but you can also can be imprisoned. Check the Dwarf ethics also, I think there are also exile punishments too for certain crimes.

Oh, and slavery is legal. So, Labor Standards should be placed as C+.
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Jonathan S. Fox

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Re: Is Dwarf Fortress Arch-Conservative
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2009, 06:19:46 pm »

But... last I played, hammerstrikes WERE a death sentence.
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mainiac

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Re: Is Dwarf Fortress Arch-Conservative
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2009, 03:54:46 am »

I'd disagree with maniac about immigration, though. Civil Rights/race relations are a Conservative Nightmare, but immigration is open-border unless you slap population caps into place (which admittedly most of us do, but that's hardly the dwarfs' fault).

Back in the golden age of racism, it was easy to immigrate if you were of proper germanic or gallic descent but torturous if you were eastern european, celtic or, god forbid, oriental.  But their plight is nothing compared to the plight of the poor immigrant soapmaker...
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Last Edit: February 10, 1988, 03:27:23 pm by UR MOM
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E. Albright

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Re: Is Dwarf Fortress Arch-Conservative
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2009, 03:26:51 pm »

Well, yes... but we can also accept the comfortable (and not necessarily all that deluded, given the aforementioned dwarven politics) delusion that there is open immigration, it's just that for some reason neither elf nor human nor goblin scum want to immigrate.

And the poor, long-suffering soap makers suffer again not due to structural discrimination within dwarven society, but ad hoc bigotry on the part of individual authority figures. Why, I personally treat soap makers extremely humanely - in fact, some of my best friends are soap makers! Any and all soap makers who arrive in my forts are immediately entitled to re-education at the state's expense until such time as they feel they're ready to make some useful contribution to our society. Now, what more could any immigrant ask for?!?
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Grendus

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Re: Is Dwarf Fortress Arch-Conservative
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2009, 12:58:06 pm »

Does anyone else think Dwarf Fortress is Arch-Conservative in governmental style?

Here's the facts about Dwarf Fortress:
NO abortions are allowed in Dwarf Fortress
Granted. I wouldn't say dwarves are pro-life, they use babies as shields, but there is no abortion.

Quote
NO other races are allowed to live with Dwarfs, unless moded as pets
Humans, even in the most liberal nations, don't allow other species political rights either. Bad comparison.

Quote
ALL dwarfs are allowed to own deadly weapons, including lethal projectile weapons (once you implement the economy)
Huh? The only dwarves in my fortress who have weapons are dwarves who are assigned weapons, such as military, hunters, miners, and woodcutters. In my opinion, that's more liberal than conservative. Dwarves don't choose to wield weapons, they're only allowed them if the government says so.

As for thrown weapons, that frying pan liberals have can be lethal if thrown, as can that sharp knife you have in the kitchen or the hatchet/axe you keep next to your house for chopping firewood. Even the most liberal societies allow people to have items that can be improvised into weapons. In DF, however, a dwarf who's paranoid about kobold thieves can't decide to carry a loaded crossbow. So DF is arch-liberal in that regard.
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Goverment is ruled by a King, with absolute authority
Government is run by the player. It's not conservative so much as a dictatorship. And no, that's not ultra-conservative, at the extreme end conservatism tends to overlap with aristocracy, not dictatorship.
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Fortress Guard/Palace Guard answers only to other Fortress Guard/Palace Guard
On the flipside, the guard currently cannot exercise their power unless ordered to arrest or beat a criminal. So this really doesn't go either way, both conservatives and liberals agree that the police are, at worst, a necessary evil. As another person already pointed out, the guard takes all dwarves regardless of injury or sex, so in that regard it's a little more liberal.
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NO taxes (for starting fortesses)
You could look at it like that. I'd say starting fortresses are communist utopian - everything is owned by the government, and dwarves are allowed to take what they need (new clothing, food, booze, etc). So in that regard, it's neither.
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ALL pay equal taxes, EXCEPT the nobility and champions
Granted, though to be fair most conservatives don't want the elites to be tax free. Flat taxes, though, are a conservative pipe dream.
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NO controls on the size of the military (the only reasons not to have everyone in the military at all times are the threats of starvation and dehydration)
Again, granted, but dwarves are in a constant state of war. Even liberal presidents in times of war expand the military. Obama is currently sending a surge to Afghanistan, it's not exactly a perfect comparison.  However, I'll grant that it's more conservative in this regard.
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NO animal is safe from dwarfen-inflicted pain except "pets"
I don't see how this is conservative, unless you take the PETA stance where any pain inflicted on an animal is cruelty. The dwarves themselves instantly execute any animal that's being butchered. Player enacted cruelties like kitten exploding chambers and using watch animals are the player's own choice. So, neither here as it's the player's own discretion.
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NO privacy for Dwarfs
Dwarves are omniscient. Not a government issue here, dwarves just know everything that isn't invisible.
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ALL crimes are punished by the Death Penalty (funny story, the death penalty in the US is actually the same as in Dwarf Fortress: If a person survives their execution, they're free to go)
Actually, just the opposite. Most crimes are only punishable by either beating or imprisonment. Prisons themselves can go either way, they can be cruel cages designed to keep the miscreants away from society, but most player prefer to design them as corrective institutions with chains next to beds, things to admire (I like expensive chains and engraved floors), good food, and booze so dwarves sent there for tantruming calm down and become productive again.
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NUCLEAR POWER is freely used in those mods where Dwarfs actually know how to use nuclear power
There's nuclear power mods? News to me. I'll grant this one only because I can't counter it. For the record though, Toady has stated that the technology level of dwarves is based on about the 1400's, so nuclear power should be a moot issue.
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NO pollution regulations (what miasma?)
Uhh... miasma is caused by dead animals rotting. It's not pollution, it occurs naturally. And while dwarves have no pollution regulations, they also tend to be very green in the power sources they employ. They use geothermal energy to forge and smelt (breaking the laws of chemistry, I might add) and use hydrolic and pneumatic power to run their mills and pumps. So in that regard, dwarves are the ideal liberal, they don't even need to be regulated they default to pollution regulation.
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NO benefits for workers, not even pay unless you have the economy (which actually makes life worse for the workers)
Quite the contrary. Dwarves don't even have to work to be cared for. If a dwarf never works they can still eat and drink for free prior to the economy, and even have a room if one is available. When the economy is enabled, they can still eat food and drink from the well, and they're welcome to sleep in the barracks (government provided housing). So in this regard, DF is VERY liberal. It's not even a large safety net, if a dwarf doesn't work the fortress carries his dead weight.
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NO free speech (if Dwarfs can't name their fortress "F^ing Worthless Pile of Cr@p", how is art and peace to flourish?)
Dwarves are allowed to name their engravings anything they want, and they choose their own titles when they get kills. Beyond that, dwarves don't speak. So I guess dwarves have no freedom of speech in the same way they have no ability to speak.
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NO right to burn the flag
Dwarves have no flag.
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NO protection of the rights of immigrants (many fortresses actively kill them)
Neither conservative nor liberal. Even conservatives protect the rights of legal immigrants. That's fascist, and it's done by the player's choice.
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NO regulation on the elections
Any dwarf can be the mayor. I think both parties support open elections, how is this conservative?
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NO interrogation, ONLY torture
1. Again, dwarves are omniscient, no need for torture when you already know what they're up to. 2. Torture is the player's choice. Many players just execute prisoners, or even release them.

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There, my totally unskewed version of Dwarf Fortress.  Now, to hide in my fortress while everyone attacks my viewpoint.

Note: While I'm accusing Dwarf Fortress society of being Arch-Conservative, I'm not saying it should be different.  Honestly, how many people want more-through elections?  Or, a simulation of polution over a ten-year period?  Or, equal opportunity for Elves?  Humans, yes.  Elves, NO!  My dwarfs state, and I quote, "We'd rather live with the Goblins than the Elves!  At least the Goblins eat meat and don't care if we make crossbows from our ancestors!"

Admission: Ok, I'll admit that Dwarf Fortess isn't completely Arch-Conservative.  Next post maybe.

Heh. I know this is a joke post. I'm replying because it's an interesting viewpoint.
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Jonathan S. Fox

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Re: Is Dwarf Fortress Arch-Conservative
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2009, 01:48:09 pm »

Quote
NO regulation on the elections
Any dwarf can be the mayor. I think both parties support open elections, how is this conservative?

This isn't really about who can run for mayor, but how the election is carried out.

In the US at least, Liberals are more likely to support regulating the amount of money that can be donated to political candidates, enforcing equal time for media coverage, public financing for elections, restrictions on third party advertising, and other mechanisms designed to ensure that electoral success comes from having large amounts of popular support rather than large amounts of wealthy supporters who can "speak louder" than their less fortunate counterparts.

Conservatives are more likely to see many of these regulatory mechanisms as a form of political censorship, or even just merely wasteful.
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Grendus

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Re: Is Dwarf Fortress Arch-Conservative
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2009, 05:06:51 pm »

Quote
NO regulation on the elections
Any dwarf can be the mayor. I think both parties support open elections, how is this conservative?

This isn't really about who can run for mayor, but how the election is carried out.

In the US at least, Liberals are more likely to support regulating the amount of money that can be donated to political candidates, enforcing equal time for media coverage, public financing for elections, restrictions on third party advertising, and other mechanisms designed to ensure that electoral success comes from having large amounts of popular support rather than large amounts of wealthy supporters who can "speak louder" than their less fortunate counterparts.

Conservatives are more likely to see many of these regulatory mechanisms as a form of political censorship, or even just merely wasteful.

Ahh. Going to avoid the political discussion, and point out the obvious - there are heavy regulations on elections in DF because dwarves running for mayor can't use any money to support their cause. Near as I can tell, elections are done by popularity in DF. So once again, very liberal.
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HAMMERMILL

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Re: Is Dwarf Fortress Arch-Conservative
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2009, 10:04:47 pm »

Dwarves work under a communist system untill the "economy" kicks in.

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