xTornOxysx wrote:My thinking behind this is that people aren't always so rational as Joshua seems to describe everyone in his universe. Making, in my own personal opinion, 40k more politically believable.
I disagree. Most real life conflicts are driven, at least initially, by conflicts over material resources. Even when they are superficially about "THOSE people are EVIL," "THEIR religion is BAD," conflicts, they are usually driven in actuality by poor economics, hunger, control of land or resources, and political marginalization. The fracture point when it tips to violence tends to be ethnic/cultural divides because humans are often terrible, and conflicts become about ideals and bigotry rather than material goals, but they are continually driven by material problems at their heart. Even today I think people tend to be ignorant of their enemies' actual goals. Terrorists don't just want to kill people or destroy The West, North Korea isn't just a playground of madmen desperate to stay in power, Russia isn't just a country of jerks stretching Putin's massive balls ever Westward. That doesn't mean anyone should accede to their means and goals as legitimate or acceptable, nor does it mean that there is some golden treaty that would satisfy everyone, it just means that there is some actual goal with an estimable value to the parties involved. Reducing these conflicts to battles of Ideas makes them impossible to rationally discuss and misinforms our response when we try to fix them.
For counter-example, Anime is pretty terrible at this. How often does a show's Big Bad give a dissertation on some high-concept ideal of evolution or power or worth and can only truly plumb their philosophical depths by fighting, and then is shocked when the hero defeats them because the real answer was caring about people or some dreck. There's no negotiating with them because they're motivation is totally detached from the real world the same way "Blood for the Blood God" or "Waaaagh" are.
I think Joshua's vision doesn't preclude the idea that individual characters or groups could be driven by fanaticism or raw hate due to generations at war, he just expects that they be capable of getting sick of it/discovering the cost of war isn't worth it/being sued for peace or otherwise negotiating a settlement. Nor does he want scenarios where "war is great and necessary" is the message. Nor is he advocating some utopian ideal like early Star Trek TNG, where the Enterprise crew was literally not allowed to have interpersonal conflict because Gene Roddenberry wanted humans to have evolved past that crap.
Instead Joshua's vision is a realistic one. Columbia reaches a deal with FARC, for example. It's possible because there is a real world solution to their problems. A LOT of people hate the deal. The deal came after decades of miserable fighting. It could possibly fall apart. It is very easy to imagine a grim and violent tale set in this backdrop without erasing the fact that, in the end, negotiations were possible
40k only makes sense because there are "monster" races such as Tyranids that can't be reasoned with and only seek to consume everything. Humanity writ large has its back to the wall because Orks live to fight, basically get spring fever for shooting, and literally spread like mushrooms; Chaos is just stupidly evil for the sake of evil, as are Dark Eldar and probably at least one race I'm forgetting; Necrons are just techno-zombies that kill everyone because they woke up. The only race that really "make sense" politically are the Tau, and they're really out of place in the rest of the scheme.
All of this provides an excuse for how backwards and awful the Imperial faction is, and it isn't realistic or sensible without it. Humanity is on the brink of destruction and making war is ennobling and good. Inquisitors have absolute authority because they find actual daemons that can eat the world because someone living there thought really impure thoughts enough. Half the races are morally A-OK to shoot as many as you can because, individually, they aren't really people anyway. Even if we recoil in horror at what the Imperium does, we allow it under the auspices of necessity and certainty that their situation requires it. That was fine for GW, they're just porting generally problematic fantasy tropes to a world of spaceships and laser beams, but Joshua has a more nuanced social vision that expects better under its banner.
Finally, yes, there have been real world takes where you have monstrous enemies that need to be killed with fighting. There's a reason why Nazis are so often the villains of movies and video games, and it goes beyond the historical drama of WW2. They're convenient because they are the real world orks and zombies, they're the real world guys that are so provably evil that we can all feel good and shoot them conscience-clear. Putting someone in a great-looking black uniform is the real-world version of a stormtrooper mask or a heap of ugly latex. And while they were real and military force was the only option in the end, I think it's wrong to look back at them and say "look how Good that war was," "look at how Just those killings were." It still sucked for everybody. Their deaths were still tragedies. Telling stories that forget that cause us to forget that the next war will suck too, the next deaths will still be tragedies. All Joshua is asking you to do, now that you get to pick the story you tell, you get to make the world they live in, now that you are choosing the paths that lead to a 'realistic' political outcome, is to choose not to pick the ones that lead to The War is Good and Necessary when you use the MFZ banner.