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Hey all you fuzzy topped free traders!

PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 7:33 am
by Tom Mazanec
Since it is fun to have political debates (cathartic and all) but ultimately hurting of people's feelings, I suggest that we have a debate about Racconan politics. I will, against my own natural inclinations btw, take the part of an Expansionist. Ahem...
Look, FTers, we have HISTORY on our side. Millennia of history. For countless ages we interacted with the humans. We call that the Burning Times. For generations we were hunted down by Druids, the Universal Church, human wizards and just about any homo sap with two arms and legs. The only time we have lived in peace and prosperity was when we lived in Antillia. The only safe way we can grow is by growing Antillia. The humans, through centuries of attempts to penetrate it, have learned the hard way to respect the Mistwall. They will back off if it moves over their territory. If they do not...well, we have a museum in Sanctuary devoted to humans who have defied the Mistwall. YOU propse that we go out of Antillia, into a low lux world where we do not have luxfonts and have to rely on the background to spend a day building up enough lux to levitate a teacup, and try to deal with humans who, for some quaint reason, call us "witch-rats". Or do you think that they will say "Awww, you poor fuzzy-wuzzy...please forgive us for how we mistreated your ancestors. Please accept this gold bar in return for your magic self-cleaning frying pan"?

PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:27 am
by BrockthePaine
Sounds like fun!

Someday the Mistwall might not protect us any more, either through our own fault, or through outside interference; would it be more useful in such a case to have the humans as trading partners, or as PO'd neighbors? People are motivated by two things: fear, and self-interest. You ExpandoRacs propose that we motivate the humans by fear; the strategy of the fakir movement. Become what they fear us to be. The history lesson applies here as well: humans do not always bow before fear. Sometimes they FIGHT it. What should we do if the situations were reversed? No, it would behoove us to demonstrate to them how their own self-interest, for trade and the like, outweighs their fear.

Of course, at the same time, we must look to our own defense. We should begin by a cautious survey of the surrounding lands, to determine which of our neighbors would make good trading partners. Then, once we have determined two or three good partners, we will approach them with an offer of a trade treaty, carried on by means of a luftship-supplied trading post.

We cannot be ruled any longer by fear of humans.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:40 am
by Brannick
Stands and clears throat

I thank my esteemed colleague for his impassioned history lesson. However, I would be remiss if I did not point out several, rather important facts that seem to have slipped his mind.

First, let me remind this august body of the years of successful trade we have had with our dwarven neighbors. While I cannot speak as to why this trade so suddenly stopped, (after all, we never left the Mist Wall to find out) but for many years it was a model of respect and fair trade. Both sides made a profit and neither of us felt the need to go to war. Surely now that we have a position of strength with which to defend ourselves could we not afford a similar situation with the local humans?

Second, most importantly, let me point out our collective salvation was a gift from a human priest, without whom we would have no knowledge of Yeshu. Is this not on it's face evidence of the change of humans?

As to the practical objections my colleague mentions, I must point out Luxfonts can be build. We are not the wandering victims we were, but a strong, self reliant people. Let us be good neighbors to the humans about us and take an interest in our neighborhood. How else can we make it better?

Sits back down to listen to the debate

PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 3:53 pm
by Tom Mazanec
First, dwarves are not humans, anymore than a yellowjacket is a housefly. Pick up each, and you will have a different experience. The dwarves teated us with respect, the humans have almost never treated us with anything but hatred. As for the human priest, one drop does not end a drought. He (and I will concede Ennias Longscript) were good humans, but for each good human is 1,000 bad ones. And do you think that we will just be able to build luxfonts in peace and let them run without the humans overrunning them? You are basically proposing an Expansionist policy of lots of little Antillias, each with their own Mistwall, rather than growing the one we have now. An interesting version, one we might discuss (keep not all your eggs in one basket might make a good point), but there is no way those colonies will be peacefully trading with their neighbors.
A human being motivated by fear and self-interest is like a Racconnan waltzing with a gnome...the Racconnan (fear) will pull the self interest (gnome) every time. When has human self-interest in us ever been more than "let's cut them apart and take their magic organs out for our own use...and to make the magic stronger, let's do it while they are still alive!" The fakirs had a good idea, except they went about it the wrong way...they did it individually, without the power of a luxfont. As a society, we can do better. Tell the humans to evaquate a square mile of forest, then use a Crown of Fire on it as a demonstration. Or turn the sky green until the plants just begin to wilt. Point out that we can do lots more...that will make them run. THIS is what we should do if the Mistwall ever fails to protect us. It would be more useful to have humans as friends if the Mistwall ever fails to protect us. It would also be more useful to have a full scale luxfont we could wear as a ring on our finger. Neither seems to be possible. And as for surveying the outside lands, our greatest questor went out on a mission a century ago into the human world and was never seen again. A stripling lad has just attempted to follow in his footsteps, and we just got a cryptic note indicating that he is not dead yet. If you want to go out alone with just the local lux into the human world and ask "wanna be friends?" be my guest. I shall miss you. The only way to show a human that their self interest outweighs their fear is to make both of their drives keep them away from us.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 6:13 pm
by RHJunior
Allow me to be the one to remind my esteemed colleague that not all of us in the Seven Villages are Sunday-go-to-meeting faithful. (muted laughter) And though his appeal to the remembrance of the Gentle Cleric as an emissary of his race is honorable, allow me to quote one of the Cleric's own aphorisms: "Trust in God, trust your neighbor, but lock the gate anyway, Granny." (More laughter.)

No, I fear I cannot agree with him. In remarking upon the beginnings of the Sojourner faith among us, he brings to mind other unpleasant remembrances that mute his argument. Firstly, that the Gentle Cleric himself was a refugee--- fleeing from the Universalists who would have executed him as a heretic. (Murmuring in the audience.) True that this was long before the raising of the Wall of Mists, but I have learned that little in life improves with neglect. Our most distant Scouts report that the steeples and obelisks of the Universalists still rise over many a skyline in the kingdoms nearest us. (more murmuring.)

But I digress. What is being missed here <I>is that the humans are not the limit of our concerns.</i> They are but one race. Have we forgotten the Orcs? the Kobolds? The Fae? <I>The Wild Hunt?</i>

Yes, the humans are fearful and aggressive; not entirely without reason. We forget that humans are not the only ones who have trouble living peaceably with others... nor are they the worst or even the most dangerous of the lot.

Living in comfort as we have, we have forgotten....For all our scholarship, and our technology, and our numbers, <I>we are still prey animals.</i> We have forgotten how small we truly are, and how numerous the creatures which would hunt us.

The wolf will not stray far, once it knows where the sheep are penned. Revealing ourselves to the world--- opening our gates and our borders to outsiders--- will make Antillia a hunting ground for the predators of the world. Predators we are no longer equipped to deal with, if we ever were.

Obscurity has been our shield; forgetfulness our mantle. We would be foolish to abandon them, in the hopes that goodwill would sustain us where strength of arms could not.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2006 8:23 pm
by Brannick
As interesting as this point of academia may be, let me remind my esteemed colleagues that we are all talking out of our collective pointy hats. Neither Master Mazanec, nor Master Junior, nor myself for that matter can speak with authority on matters of fact.

We can conjecture and argue points of history and how things were but none of us seated comfortably here in this room can say with any weight of fact what is happening out side the Mist Wall right this moment. We do not know, we are completely ignorant and that, my dear colleagues is a travisty!

How dare we hold up lofty goals to our kits about seeking knoweledge and educating themselves when we hide in our own yard like school boys taunted by a bully? Yes, 100 years ago we sent out our greatest Questor. Yet is it any wonder Quentyn did not return? He was an old man, looking to retire, his greatest deeds behind him. Or perhaps not? I cannot say, for none of us know, what befell him.

And now we've sent out a boy, hardly weened from his mother over a matter of base treachery while we hide here where it is safe? I am ashamed, gentlemen! Truely ashamed!

What I ask of this body is not that we throw down our defenses and hope for the best. Only a fool would do so. But we have all been fools to close our eyes to what transpires outside our boarders! Have we not Luxships? Have we no brave young men who can act as our eyes and ears beyond our boarders? I know of at least one. Let us look and find out, before we judge a people we've not laid eyes on in countless years.

Nor will I talk, without action. If I might have leave of this Council, I would, myself, form an expedition and go forth. We must KNOW, Ladies and Gentlemen.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2006 12:42 am
by Frigidmagi
Ladies and Gentledahim of the assembly thank you for your time.

I have considered for some time now our situation, as I am sure everyone else here has. One thing stands out to me as clear. That things as they now stand cannot continue. To believe anything else is to court the very destruction of our culture and way of life. The warning signs are all about us in this very city. Venture if you dare into the Slums, spend time there living on nothing but your wits as did that 'hardly weened boy' and see where you end up. We approach the end of our means my esteemed friends and action one or the other must be soon. Else more of our children will end up either in the street gangs or as their prey.

I am sure I have stated nothing you are not already aware of.

But have you considered this? Expansion is nothing more then a temporary solution at best! You seek from behind the shield of the Mistwall to expand our lands at the expense of humans and other races of whose situation we are ignorant. The morality of such a... Human like act aside, how long will the land gained from expansion last us? How long until the new lands are filled up and we find ourselves in the same place we are now?

A generation? Three? Four? And what will we do then? Expand again and again and again? How often can we perform such acts until the races around us take notice? How much land can we conquer until the outside world feels threatened? Make no mistake friends, for all their faults, their greed, their fear, their superstitious huddling in the night, they are not unreasoning beasts, but are capable of rational thought from time to time.

If they were willing to burn us alive when they only thought we were a threat, what will they be willing to do when it is proven beyond all measure that we are threat? What efforts will they bend to strip away the mistwall if they believe it a threat to their children and wives?

If we are prey animals, a view I do not share with the honored Master Junior, why should we attempt a course which will spell doom for our descendants? In a violent confrontation with a humanity angered at us for stealing lands it had laid claim to.

There must be another way then to set us down that path. Indeed I believe by sheeriest accident that the youth that was sent out as shown us a way. Let us not drop the mistwall nor clear the swamp. Let us trade and scout by air, away from Antillia with beings that do not have the mistwall upon their horizons, who could not find our homes to burn them even if they decide to. If empty places can be found in the world about then let us fill and hide them or not as we decide. We have advantages over the other races of the world given to us by our creator. Let us make use of all of them to secure our future instead of blindly trusting in the infallibility of the mistwall.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2006 8:47 am
by Tom Mazanec
We know how the humans were (and the other races, as Junior points out), for all their history until now. They do not change. The only change we have seen is the stopping of the Dwarven trade, and that is only a tiny change in their behavior. Indeed, it does not bode well for conditions outside the Mistwall, if the Dwarves have increased their already considerable paranoia.
Again, this is an interesting take on the Expansionist/Free Trader debate. Scouts in luxships could perhaps find vacant lands to colonize and hide. And hide them we must. They are likely to not be there, however. Humans (and other races) have also had centuries to grow and fill any vacant lands there may have been. We cannot count on finding such. If we do, then a second Mistwall is in order, but it is far more likely that our only hope of growth is to grow Antillia. Our neighbors, with good reason, fear the Mistwall and will flee its growth. If they do not, we have the means, given us by our Creator, to persuade them to do so.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2006 10:12 am
by Brannick
Master Mazanec, I would have never thought you a coward, yet out of fear you would have us become that which we have always despised and fled! You talk of conquest and force, of forcibly displacing any in the way of our needs.

Is this what isolation has done to us? Has it turned us into that which we became isolated to escape from? I say no.

No, I will not support any measure that takes from someone without recompense. I will not become a thief in the night out of fear. We settled here preciesely because there was no one with claim on this land. That was just and honorable. Surely the world is not so small that there is not more land that can be claimed elsewhere?

But colonies are a temporary solution at best!

We cannot ignore the world anylonger. Ignoring it may have cost us the good will of the Dwarves. We could have aided them with what ever difficulty befell them. But we did not! We turn a blind eye to everyone but our own.

I would hate to think that the fruit of that decision was to make the Rac Cona Daimh a name to strike terror into the hearts of the innocent. To make us synonomus with the Orc or Kobold.

If so my friends, then we have indeed fallen a long way.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2006 8:11 pm
by Shyal_malkes
I feel inclined to put forward a few points I find relevant to the matters at hand.

the first being that as far as I know of living things, and even of the societies and patterns that people follow this seems to hold true, that all living things change. they must change, if they do not then something else will either force it to change or will kill it. any plague or war in history will tell us this. quarentine is not a regular practice, but during times of plague is a necessary change for survival. powerfull arms and extensive training in death and combat are not a necessity in peaceful times but during war are most certainly convenient.

my point here is that it is impossible to believe that the outside world has not changed. if indeed it has not changed, or has merely changed in small fractions, it is reasonable that a critical point will come where the world or, at least parts of it, is forced to change. it is also impossible to know how it has changed if we do not look.

I personally would like to know what is out there. probably not by asking those that live out there for their opinions, that would be revelaing ourselves, and anonymity has been useful to us thus far. we should, I believe, throw anything useful away. I believe hidden scouts and the like may tell us a lot though.

the first question I would ask is if anybody is actually going to lose any land should we expand the mistwall, and more importantly, is there anything to gain from it? if there is nothing but more dirt and bedrock out there then pushing the mistwall is a risk with minimal rewards.

I for one would also like to know what really did happen to our dwarven companions. if that question could be answered we could restart our trade with them and then use them as a mutual ally to trade with others. trade with the world indirectly through them and only revealing ourselves to those whom have already proven friendly, not necessarily an entirely possible idea but an idea none the less.

this of course is far more speculation then conclusion. but if we have the power to intimidate the humans, do we not also have the power to avoid them as well? can we not use that power to watch them and gather answers? knowledge is a very powerful thing to have, and whomever has the most of it usually has the most power with it.

in the end, I think a little more knowledge is a prerequisite of whatever is decided.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2006 10:33 pm
by Tom Mazanec
AFAIK the Dwarves did not request our help with any problem. They just ceased to appear at the appointed place and time.
As for your other arguments, I will dispense with the flowery prose and cut to the quick. We both agree our society must grow beyond its present confines. My way will work. Yours will not.
quite interesting. Knowledge would be valuable. If you have any practical suggestions as to how scouts who are 30 inches tall with fur and ringed tails can explore the human world undetected, I would be quite interested in hearing them. Remember, an invisibility spell is quite difficult and leaves the subject blind himself. Impalpability spells are even harder and leave the subject trapped in Aitith's center.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2006 11:03 pm
by BrockthePaine
Ultimately, the expansionist party argues that we have the moral authority to take that which does not belong to us for our greater good. Do the expansionists honestly believe that this is morally just? Do the expansionists honestly believe it will stop there? If the expansionists are willing to initiate a moral outrage against outsiders, perhaps they would also be willing to curtail our freedoms in exchange for a stronger social safety net!

Thievery may be more profitable to us in the short run. What the Expansionists demand is, in fact, a war of conquest waged for our personal gain. It might, in fact, end up being bloodless, but the result is still the same.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 4:52 am
by Shyal_malkes
lux is not the only means of concealment available, and more to the point, the kind of conealment necessary is directly related to the kind of information being investigated.

I believe that any scouts at first could make due with grass and wood coloration imitating cloaks. remember, you don't need to walk up to someone to know that they are there so full out cloaking and total camoflauge will likely not be a necessity at first.

I have known games I have played with people where it was concieveable that if nobody moved, we could have stayed where we were for hours just waiting for someone else to break cover. the humans I believe do not suspect being observed so it should be relatively easy to watch them undetected with minimal to moderate concealment.

use of lux may not be necessary at all, especially with the low levels of lux outside such may not be desirable at all and the scouts may wish to conserve their reserves for 'just in case' scenarios.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 6:43 am
by Tom Mazanec
Interesting. I confess I am not bold enough to be such a scout, but perhaps others are. I just hope they get back in one piece with information either side can use.
The humans take what is not theirs regularly. They misuse what they take..."forests precede cities and deserts follow them." We would use and heal the land that has already changed hands twenty times and been subjected to typical human "care".
(OOC...boy, it is interesting to take a side I do not believe in. Must be what it is like to be a lawyer. Maybe it is in the maternal grandmother's family had some lawyers!).

PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 1:33 pm
by Xellas
Ladies and gentlemen, while I am a fairly new member to this honored council, I have strong feelings on this subject.

While in the short term, both the Expansionist and Free Trader sides have workable solutions to all the problems, I believe that the only side that has a long-term workable solution is the Free Traders. The core of this belief was already brought up before... how far can we extend the mist wall before Humans, Orcs, and Kobolds notice it? No more than a few dozen miles at most, which will not grant us much time with how fast our population is growing.

Nobody in this esteemed council will debate that we are at the limit of what our meager land can support. Already, groups of lawless children roam the cities, scrounging what they can in life or death struggles every day. This proves that the action of doing NOTHING will cost our children the most. Something must be done, but we must be wise in our actions.

If we push the Mistwall out, then we could almost certainly gain ground. That could buy us time, but there is no doubt that it is a temporary fix. We cannot push the wall out forever, because at some point it will infringe on major cities of the other races, or important trade routes. At that point, like any other threatened society, they will send armed groups into the Mistwall in an effort to find out what is making it expand. With our pitiful knowledge of the outside world, for all we know that could happen after we push the wall out one mile. Even then, we could most likely take care of the scout groups. But at some point they will decide that a full scale ARMY will be needed. They will call upon allies and attack us full scale. As my esteemed colleagues have said, our defense is based on being invisible, not on being strong. A small group we can deal with, a full army we cannot.

The expansionist plan, in essence, buys us a few generations before ensuring our demise. It is suicide in the surest sense, seeing as it would inevitably draw an army straight to our hiding place. Not only that, but we could not even claim to be innocently hiding. That army, once it found us, would slaughter us because we had STOLEN what was not ours to have. Yes, the humans do this all the time... but they have the might to make it work. As much as it may distress this council, we are not the strongest group on the planet. Our luxcraft is strong, but the humans have numbers, and know how to throw off our minor lux castings, as history has shown us. If we arrogantly push out the Mistwall and trust in their ignorance and fear as our shield, they will destroy us.

My suggestion is to scout out empty land that can be turned into trading posts, then under cover build there and send out traders from those posts. If those are destroyed, it will be a loss, but not one that destroys our race, and then we will have knowledge that can be used to come up with another option that can ensure our long term survival.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 6:34 pm
by Earl McClaw
Learned folk, please forgive me if I'm being presumptious in addressing this august gathering, but in listening to both sides I've come to realize something. Both solutions address only half the problem - what to do for the immediate future.

Whether providing more land for living and growing or larger markets for the economy, neither expanding the Mistwall nor creating outposts will do more than temporarily alleviate the declining conditions we now face. I will not say that growth in either arena is a bad think, for both have advantages as well as risks already innumerated by people far better qualified than I.

No, what I believe is being missed is the fact that neither land nor markets are unlimited. Any plan that requires continued expansion is doomed to failure. No matter how long it takes, such a resource will eventually be in full use. What is needed are new systems, ones that rely not on expansion but on cycles of expansion and contraction such that the "orbit" - for lack of a better word - some point of stability.

I wish I could present such a system to you, good folk, but alas I do not have one, nor do I know of anyone who can present one at this time. And yet I believe such systems are possible and would be far more healthy for us than any other kind.

Yes, we must expand somehow to give our young new opportunities. But ultimately we must learn to control this aspect, too. Just as our land and economy must achieve stability with a cycle, so too must our population.

I have no illusion that this idea will be met with any degree of support. And yet these things must be said, if only so that when proof of these things are eventually found they will be remembered.

Thank you for hearing me out.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 12:03 am
by StrangeWulf13
Pardon my interruption, gentlemen. I know it's typically not the place of Guardsmen to debate in the public forum. Yet I wish to make one point very clear to all those involved.

I was there when we pulled that "barely weened boy" out of the sewer. He was cut and scratched and bit in more places than I'd ever seen before. The rat wights nearly ate him alive, and yet he managed to survive! It's nothing short of a miracle, and a demonstration of incredible courage.

As a Guardsman, I find it contemptible that anyone would think of that young man as a mere boy. It was no scared kit we pulled up and nursed back to health.

No. As Yeshua as my witness, Quentyn, Questor of Freeman Downs, is a man. And he will die as a man, not as a child.

I think it would do this assembly well to remember that point before they refer to "that boy" any more during this debate. Thank you.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 8:06 am
by RHJunior
((addressing the group as another individual))

Gentlemen, before we go any further astray, allow us a moment to address some few points brought up thus far.

To the expansionists: only two of the flaws of the Expansionist doctrine have been addressed--- that it only provides a temporary solution which must be inevitably repeated, and that it constitutes an act of theft, if not of outright war. That these two facts alone do not deter you from advocating this approach is... most disappointing. But there are other flaws which are yet to be addressed.

To the Free Traders: your arguments have the advantage of inevitability. You are correct in that we cannot assume that the current stasis between ourselves and the outside will persist. If we refused somehow to grow or change, it is no guarantee that the outside world would do the same.
But your proposals, as presented, are vague on many points, and you offer few if any fallback positions in the case of calamity. You have a plan for the best case scenario; you lack such for even one of the many poor ones.

Also-- so that they are not brought back up later to no fruitful end--- I would address a few of the side issues touched upon.

Sir Wulf, indeed, the young Questor who has gone abroad has proven himself to be no pup. His courage and honor is to be commended; his perilous undertaking at such a young age, and his separation from the arms of his loved ones by painful duty and base political conspiracy is to be regretted and condemned. And if we are not careful, we will follow one sin quickly with another and condemn many more sons and daughters to a similar perilous fate.

Several of you have striven to blame the blight of crime in the Tumbledowns on our nation's current difficulties. I would express my dismay that your lessons in economics and civics and history and sociology are forgotten so easily. It has been demonstrated again and again that it is not crime that is caused by poverty, but quite the reverse--- it is criminality that reduces a community to squalor. There are dozens of townships throughout Antillia where the average annual income and personal wealth-- measured in money, land and possessions-- is far less than that enjoyed by the average Tumbledown dweller. But they do not see the lawlessness that is endemic to the slums. And in times past our people as a whole have gone through periods of strife and peril and need far worse than any tumbledowner of this generation has ever known, yet our people did not descend en masse into lawlessness.
No, it is not a financial failing, but a moral and spiritual one, that leads to such decay.... and is a matter for another discussion entirely.

Master McClaw.... you suggest that our problem could be answered if our society somehow controlled and regulated its growth. Your sentiments are noble, and your suggestions well-intended.

That is what makes them so dangerous.

You forget Wildsage's most famous quote: <I>Nothing happens for just one reason, you cannot do just one thing.</i> And I would add a second: <B>What you desire matters less than what you cannot avoid.</B>

Your proposal has been aired before, by a variety of thinkers of-- ahem-- varying quality. It has gone under many names--- sustainable growth, natural balance, even the highly educated sounding name of "zero population growth." Those who propose it do so while operating under flawed initial premises; in ignorance of the fatal oversight in the proposal; and unable or unwilling to see the inherent immorality inevitable in its execution.
The flawed premises---first: that growth in numbers only increases growth in consumption, and not growth in <I>production</i> as the number of new hands and, more importantly, new minds increases, and second: that the relationships between production, consumption, and growth is in any way linear and predictable.

The fatal oversight---failing to observe that a "stable" population is neither possible nor remotely safe in an UNstable and violently turbulent Universe;

The inherent immorality--- that its execution requires that someone, by necessity, must use the force of government to control others' very bodies and to deny <I>someone</i> the natural right to choose for themselves whether or not bear or sire their own offspring.... in fact such level of control would require that the executors of this authority would be responsible for much more than mere numbers of people; they would be responsible for maintaining the balance of that which, in a FREE society, naturally balances itself; our society and our economy and our culture--- dictating how many farmers, how many scholars, how many soldiers, how many inventors, who farms what and when, who builds up and who tears down....

We would not be people, but <I>ants.</i>

Worst of all, That some individual or entity must be first granted this awful and unprecedented level of overweening power in the first place... a degree of power <I>I would not entrust to the angels themselves, </i>much less to flawed, fallen and sinful beings such as ourselves. That power--- the power to dictate what men and women did with their land, their wealth, even their very bodies--- would be grasped for by the wicked, and would sooner or later fall into wicked hands.

These are not the results you want, my dear Master McClaw.... but they are the results your vision would inescapably get. They are the terrible consequences of bad decisions made in unneccessary haste.

((sigh)) which brings us back to the subject at hand. Forgive an old man his digressions, but they do have a point. We see a problem before us, gentlemen and ladies... but let us not succumb to hasty decisions made in urgency <I>when we are still far from any true crisis.</i> Yes, we can see the seeming inevitable course of events unfolding; but please recall to yourselves that we are far from the eleventh hour. Our numbers are not yet pressed to the walls; our farms still produce bountifully, far beyond our needs. Our land is, by and large, still far from crowded--- do not mistake the bustling metropolis outside your bedroom windows for the entirety of Antillia!--- and even our "metal crisis", though discomfiting, is far yet from inducing disaster. In fact it has, for the not-so-short term, resulted in a minor economic boom in certain formerly struggling segments of the population--- scarcity still creates both demand and better profit margins, and necessity is still the mother of enterprise.

Let us consider today ALL the options open before us, and more importantly search out carefully ALL the potential consequences of each decision, BEFORE we make a choice we cannot easily revoke.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 1:03 pm
by Xellas
As usual, my esteemed colleague has voiced a strong stand, and has backed it up with adequate information, even though some of it is conjecture and opinion. However, when dealing with the future you must inevitably use conjecture anyways, so it is a moot point, but i digress.

As both he and I have pointed out, the expansionist plan is fraught with holes that simply cannot be plugged. They propose that expanding our land a small amount will fix the problems we face, but it is nowhere near that simple of a task, and in doing so we will draw the very same people we built the Mistwall to escape straight to us by making ourselves both a larger target and a threat that has to be dealt with for their safety.

However, he has brought up a very valid point against the Free Trader side as well. By this point, I think it is fairly obvious which side I support. However, I do not support the idea of simply relying on goodwill of others to be our shield. Obviously, even if the governments themselves tolerated us, the people outside would not be the same, and we would come under constant attack by those who hate us for who we are. Therefore, the majority of our population must be shielded from this attack, at least until we have proven to the world at large that we are no threat, but instead a great boon to everyone who would see us as friend.

To this end, I put forth that we re-establish trading posts much like we had in the past. A luftship can (for the most part) safely negotiate the dangers outside the Mistwall, and if they travel to and from the Wall under night, we can hide the location of our homes from the outside world, while still reaping the benefits of trade with others. Certainly, the people in the trading posts would be at risk, but this is a better option than simply opening our gates at the very start.

As my esteemed colleague has pointed out, we are nowhere near the absolute limit of our resources. We still have land, and even with the metal shortages the majority of our population lives happily and safely. However, all problems are easier to solve if you begin working on the solution before you come up against the deadline (something any schoolboy with homework knows). If we make small trading posts now and trade for what we need this moment, we will be killing two birds with one stone so to speak, alleviating the problems of metal shortages and building favorable ties with the outside races at the same time.

By moving now, instead of when we have our backs against the wall, we give ourselves the time to deal with problems as they come in ways that do not involve rash action. If we build ties with the outside world through these 'disconnected' trading posts, then we can begin to change the views of the outsiders one small step at a time. That way, when the time comes that we MUST expand, we can negotiate on good terms with those outside our walls and be able to move without fear of being exterminated.

I don't believe that this process will come without a cost. We will most certainly lose some of those trading posts, both to raiders and to extermination by those who hate us. But by moving NOW, instead of later, we have time to work through diplomacy and economic means, instead of being forced to foolishly attempt to win via military means.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 1:13 pm
by Tom Mazanec
You are arguing for a quicker suicide...going out into the open would bring the humans down on us all the sooner. However, if we can scout in secret (a big if) a strategy I personally would favor (I do not know about the other expansionists) would be to set up colonies in other empty lands (if such exist) protected by their own luxfonts and mistwalls. Then, if per misfortune some calamity WERE to befall our fair land, our race could continue. They would, of course, have to be protected as cautiously and thouroughly as our own nation.
Earl McClaw
Perhaps in the distant future such will be necessary. I do not debate one way or another on that matter. But now we must grow. We are among the smallest of the races in population, all of us occupying but a tiny spot on the globe. Growth is imperative for our very survival.
I admit that "boy" was exceptional. indeed likely unique. I myself was astonished by his courage in going out alone into the human lands, much less my amazement on him surviving long enough to send a message. May any scouts we send have such incredible luck!
Well, pointed out. I would be interested in hearing your view of my party's other failings...yes, they would have to be expanded further in the future, as they are for a race which, as I pointed out, must grow into parity with the others, particularly the humans; also they are not what we would normally do, but we are driven to consider them by necessity. And that necessity is soon upon us, and we must consider it already. The lands may be still abundant, but the metal is not and growing less so. All we have is smith's folly, and that will not help us. Every year our supply dwindles through inevitable loss even as our population grows, and ingenuity can only be extended so far. This may be a good point in favor of trying to found well protected colonies...they would be more likely than our immediate neighborhood to have metal ore, rather than just the metal leavings of any we press away from our borders. I am still an expansionst, but wonder if this is the best strategy for expansion. The wholly unexpected, if temporary, survival of Quentyn son of Quinn of Freeman Downs makes me wonder if scouts could survive beyond the Mistwall long enough to get information back to us. But it must be done most cautiously. Mayhap Quentyn survived because one Racconan is a curiousity, but numerous scouts found out would surely bring the fear and wrath of the humans upon our race, if they were found out. Such scouts would benefit all parties standings, and should be chosen and trained expiditiously and with the utmost rigor in espionage.
(OOC: an interesting observation about role-playing an expansionist in the Questorverse is how Q's survival would effect the progress of the debate. As an expansionist I would have previously never considered scouting the outside world, but Q is what science calls an "existance proof" that a Racconnan can last awhile in the outside world. I would be surprised if the FTers had not suggested such a thing before, but now it is actually PLAUSIBLE. And hidden colonies make more sense than just expanding the land now owned, and can now be contemplated).