Monthly Archives: April 2011

Trading safety for freedom

From a forum for the EvE Online MMO. Felt it said what I feel about this bit enough to warrant a blog post.

Originally by: Solstice ProjectEdited by: Solstice Project on 28/04/2011 09:57:59
No offense intended, except against ppl who need SAFETY in trade for FREEDOM.

Always impresses me how often people quote this line that BF supposedly said. It, like all absolutes (perhaps even this one), are too simple to be true. It’s naive to expect that you can stick a truth about society in a nice, neat little package like that and have it be anything but hyperbole. It is of course what our dialog these days has become, and maybe it was always that way, but it doesn’t mean it’s true or even says anything of interest.

BUT … it still remains that such stuff ruins the freedom of choice.
EvE is all about freedom of choice !
(i’m repeating myself, thanks for recognizing)


Like in the real world.
It’s just that most pus… ppl seem to have lost
the concept of FREEDOM and instead believe they need SAFETY !

EvE makes a great game the way it is, but I’d absolutely hate to live there. It may be like the real world when it comes to places like the Congo, where there’s absolutely no government at all but the likelihood of you living a free life, in that you get to follow your own aspirations instead of becoming locked into a lifestyle you want nothing to do with, is also non-existent.

Freedom requires security. With absolute freedom, those who don’t want or are unable to fight the a-holes won’t get theirs. Without safety you’re not free to walk the street or love who you want without being hassled by bigots and ******s. You’re not free to believe and say what you want without danger of being murdered or worse. With absolute freedom, freedom becomes non-existent. Not even those on the top are free for they are locked in a constant struggle to stay where they are, surrounded by enemies.

We do have to trade in some freedoms for the safety necessary to actually be free. We have to trade in the right to kill that that just cut us off on the highway, almost killing multiple people in the process, for the relative safety of being able to drive down the street without someone deciding you should just die. We have to trade in the right to poor oil and other noxious chemicals into our rivers and lakes for the freedom of others, and ourselves, to enjoy a resource that doesn’t belong to us without unnecessary risk of disease and sickness.

The key is, as it always is in REAL life, to find a balance between two seemingly incompatible views. We can’t swing all the way to one side or the other or we get Big Brother on the one hand, total chaos and rule by might on the other. What we have in EvE is much closer to the latter, which as I said makes a great game….but it would be a horrible, sad and ultimately violent reality. Of course, reality is always trying to become that again, and it’s always lying there underneath, waiting…. but that doesn’t mean we just give up and throw law and safety to the wind. That’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Keep the games and other fictions where they are. They can be interesting thought experiments and might give us some new insights. We can’t just flip over to reality though and say that the concepts that apply in our games and books work equally well in the real world. We also can’t just buy into platitudes, no matter how brilliant the supposed author, and spew hyperbole without thinking.


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