Latest blog post: Redraw of chapter 1 is happening (2024-05-11)

Author's comment:



Add Comment

* Required information
30000
Powered by Commentics

Comments (25)

Avatar
Regular
dr pepper

The first iroquois to trade corn for muskets may have temporarily gained a local military advantage, but long term, they got as flattened as everyone else. What they should have done was learn how to make them.

Avatar
Senior
tully

As someone once said to me when I boldly stated I wanted to build a house :

"Sure, here´s a soft-ice and a teaspoon, now start planing the wood with them".

Yes, point taken.....I then bought a large old table planer.

In your case , the natives also had no chance in H**l since they could neither forge the steel or drill the barrels on a lathe. We cannot even imagine what tech/Nano-scale 3d printing, theoretical synthetic prime elements or just science understanding so esoteric and bizarre beyond our comprehension is needed to just leap 100 years in tech from where we are now.

Avatar
New
Deoxy

"In your case , the natives also had no chance in H**l since they could neither forge the steel or drill the barrels on a lathe."

That's overstating it a good bit IMO, but I saw something some time ago that I think summarized it quite well. Been to long, so I'll put it in quotes for easy reading, but it's a paraphrase.

"To make guns, we would need to mine iron, make steel, set up forges and such, which would require education and training on a large scale. We would have to train armies to face you in the field. To defeat you, we would have to become you."

And that's the sort of thing I was talking about in my earlier comments below about less advanced cultures meeting more advanced cultures. The people in the less advanced culture want the better technology, because it makes their lives better - even if the more advanced culture is friendly, the less advanced culture is radically changed or even subsumed in a fairly short period of time (on the cultural scale), no violent conquest required.

Avatar
Senior

You make a good point, but I'm not so sure its the general's point. He notes taking advantage from the newcomers, their knowledge, their technology, their support. Again, I suspect that if he were in conversations with Iska and Rea he would better understand that once the Raharr understand the human political situation, they would seek to avoid causing an impact by giving one nation the means to dominate and subjugate the other nations. Even if the Raharr found they created such a situation, they would seek to rectify it, either by forcing back the advantaged nation, or granting the defenders a means to defend from it.

In dealing with Earth, the Raharr are likely to seek the establishment of some unified body of representatives from the nations that wish to establish contact and begin working with the Raharr.

While there will undoubtedly be a culture shock and shift after the Earth learns they are not alone in the universe, the Sociologist was correct that it is survivable... but she only analysed this aspect. The Raharr don't understand the political implications of Earth's first contact and granted, if every other intelligent species has either been largely united or too primitive for different tribes to seriously interact, they've likely never encountered such a situation on a planetary scale. Earth is not unified but the nations are technologically advanced enough to project power beyond their borders and impact each other significantly.

Avatar
Senior

Not sure how but this reply went against the wrong comment

Avatar
Senior

Problem is there's MANY different examples of colonization across the globe, well beyond the European's colonialism. Russia, for instance, has been noted as the country that colonized itself by expanding across many ethnic groups that then moved around within the empire/union to seemingly colonize each other, vying for power in the different regions.

It should be noted that colonialism is defined as "control by one power over a dependent area or people". Its all about a nation subjugating another by conquering its people and exploiting it, usually forcing its own culture upon it.

The Raharr appear to be very much against this, something I suspect Bahin would know if he were working with Iska now she's had her talk with Rea and learned about their standards of minimising contact to avoid impact.

Bahin almost seems to think they need to establish the relationship first so they get access to the Raharr and their technology to establish a sort of dominance or superiority over all the other nations.

Really, this isn't necessarily a bad argument against contact. Zane has argued they're too far behind technologically and has worried about a culture shock in learning about aliens and the wider universe could cause societal panic. Its why he needs Gharr's advice because Gharr is able to see how much more divided humanity is by nations, languages and cultures than possibly any other species the Alliance has encountered.

Humanity is likely ready for contact but it would need to be carefully managed in relation to the global politics across different nations and cultures to ensure they don't setup one with their technology and either turn that nation into a target or give it the power to conquer.

Avatar
New
hotpockets

But thats the general's point. It doesn't actually matter what the Raharr want or do. The proof of their existence is enough to reshape human civilization in ways no one can imagine.

Even if the Raharr say "yeahhh... our bad, we'll pack our bags and leave", you can't put the genie back in the bottle. ALL militaries will be redirected to space combat/travel/colonization because 'WHAT ABOUT THE SECOND VISITOR?'

Avatar
Senior

You make a good point, but I'm not so sure its the general's point. He notes taking advantage from the newcomers, their knowledge, their technology, their support. Again, I suspect that if he were in conversations with Iska and Rea he would better understand that once the Raharr understand the human political situation, they would seek to avoid causing an impact by giving one nation the means to dominate and subjugate the other nations. Even if the Raharr found they created such a situation, they would seek to rectify it, either by forcing back the advantaged nation, or granting the defenders a means to defend from it.

In dealing with Earth, the Raharr are likely to seek the establishment of some unified body of representatives from the nations that wish to establish contact and begin working with the Raharr.

While there will undoubtedly be a culture shock and shift after the Earth learns they are not alone in the universe, the Sociologist was correct that it is survivable... but she only analysed this aspect. The Raharr don't understand the political implications of Earth's first contact and granted, if every other intelligent species has either been largely united or too primitive for different tribes to seriously interact, they've likely never encountered such a situation on a planetary scale. Earth is not unified but the nations are technologically advanced enough to project power beyond their borders and impact each other significantly.

Avatar
New
hotpockets

The General point is that the 21st century "Earth nation-vs-Earth nation"-game has ended.

The NEW game is the SPACE game. And whoever switches to the SPACE game the BEST will have an advantage. Getting knowledge/tech/'support' is just part of switching to the space game.

That said, you're making a critical error in your thinking. YOU know what the Raharr are thinking because WE THE AUDIENCE can see what team Gharr and what team Zane are thinking/have said. The General knows NONE of that. You're basically playing poker with a dozen cards in your hand while the General has two cards, is trying to find the other three cards and doesn't realize he was given a sixth.

Avatar
New
Copernicus

It's like i'm watching late 90's early 2000 sitcom, with one of those wannabe McArthur warhawk generals.

At first it was kinda fun, now that it has aged it's cringe, those two are going to cause massive scandal with their skewed revision of history, i suspect, only we don't know how bad it will get.

Avatar
Regular
Wilson

I don't think General Bahin is saying the aliens are like the European colonizers. That's why he slammed his fist and stopped the Major's train of thought. His point is that the lower tech people are going to be in competition with each other for strong positions in the reshaped future, regardless of what the higher tech people's goals are. He's saying that relations with the UN don't mean nearly as much as relations with the Expeditionary Fleet. Where I think he goes wrong is thinking that he and the Protagistani government can actually contain and control the situation. Sure, they're the only ones talking to the Expeditionary Fleet now, but that's not going to last, and it should be obvious that the fleet's commander is not someone to try to manipulate.

Avatar
Senior
JoB

That's how I read him, too, though that still doesn't make me all fond of his "Protagonistan first!" stance. He's very likely completely wrong, still, though. The Alliance, as we know them, is concerned about the impact on newly-contacted cultures, has an idea of what nationalism is¹, and will very likely refuse to create any inequalities that could set off an open conflict competing for the extraterrestrial's favor.

¹ I think it's one of the random trivias displayed on the comic's page that says that Alliance homeworlds are usually still organized in independent nations, it's just space-colonized ones that typically are governmental monoliths.

Avatar
New

Oh god, someone's got some grand ideas to use the Aliens to their advantage... X(

Avatar
Senior
tully

Yeah...."For the benefit of mankind" , you know the usual crap smart people tell themselves to sleep at night.

I thought however it would be the Professor who snapped, seems the stress of the responsibility and the perceived advantages got to Bahin first.

Well, I see 3 people stuck inside Nea´s cell in the future. No...Bahin is not amongst them.

I hope someone will give them a deck of cards or a Ludo game to pass time.....

Nea : "Why again do I have to roll this small cube with dots ?"

Avatar
Senior
Wouter215

I think Bahin needs to read up on New World history a bit.

Most of the natives "who knew that a reshaping of their world was coming" were killed along with the rest of their populations. The newcomers in this case were content colonising the lands and suppressing/displacing/killing the natives whom they didnt even view as humans.

The natives who sought knowledge from the newcomers were suppressed or given just the Bible™.

The natives who sought technology were usually given it by competing factions of newcomers who were waging wars on their (the natives') land.

Those who sough support were only given it in the form of plague blankets or were tricked into being cannon fodder for the newcomer faction battles.

As for the natives of the new world, there were no "winners".

And to think that the Santa María has entered our solarsystem, and we sank the first rowboat we saw. Are these "newcomers" here to help us? or help themsels to our land in spite of us?

Sorry if this got a bit sad.

Avatar
Senior
Darth_Biomech

Regardless of how correct Bahin is, please note how you use examples _exclusively_ from the colonization of the Americas. Colonization by people who explicitly thought "This is ours now because we planted a flag here, it's our God-given right"

Avatar
New
Guest

With respect, because I really like this comic and the issues that it raises:

It's not just the Americas. The General here definitely has a skewed view of colonization, especially by cultures more technologically "advanced" than the colony. I'd challenge anyone to show an example on Earth where the "less advanced" folks ended up better off in the end. And, it presumes a view that "better off" means giving up ancestral ways and wisdom that have worked just fine for a very long time, in return for ways that the colonizer automatically presumes are superior, just because those ways are theirs - without asking the colonized whether they even want that. The "march of progress" is not automatically superior and advantageous - look at the current threat to all life as we know it for a good example.

Avatar
Senior
Wouter215

This has somehow also got me thinking about the Cargo Cult thing in the pacific islands during the WWII American island hopping phase against the Japanese.

I feel like Bahin is thinking that he's playing it smart, but is actually just jamming fingers into his temple because he saw the aliens do it to make stuff happen.

Avatar
Regular
ANTIcarrot

Japan springs to mind as an example a less technically advanced society encountering a more technically advanced society (at gunpoint no less) and coming through the process with most of their culture and values intact. I'd also argue that the lives of most Japanese was improved by thie process.

Some things we should bare in mind before extrapolating too closely from the ISO model of european colonisation:

*Earth represents 0.0001% of Sol's total mineral resource wealth. We are not the highlight of the system if they're here for 'oil'.

*They cannot accidentally give us smallpox

*Neither the europeans or the various cultures they encountered had any real understanding of how or why the world worked the way it does, nor did either group have any grasp of what was technically possible. That comprehension allows for a certain level of intellectual equality. Even if one side is missing a few pieces of the puzzle, and the other has a better ability to turn those ideas into reality.

Avatar
Senior
JoB

Japan springs to mind as an example

Maybe. On the other hand, look at the currently-best-we-have "solution" to prevent this kind of outright sinking the "more primitive" culture: Keeping them isolated. Doesn't speak of our trust of ourselves to do any better nowadays, does it?

*They cannot accidentally give us smallpox

Considering what they're doing with their nanites, specifically to prevent interstellar contagion, they probably could create a smallpox to give us. (Not that I'm under the impression that this here Alliance would do that, though.)

*Neither the europeans or the various cultures they encountered had any real understanding of how or why the world worked the way it does

Your inherent assumption that we do now is a quite optimistic one, especially on an individual level (anti-vaxxers, climate change deniers, ...)

Avatar
New
Deoxy

"On the other hand, look at the currently-best-we-have "solution" to prevent this kind of outright sinking the "more primitive" culture: Keeping them isolated."

Which is horribly bigoted. "Hey, we have better medicine, better *EVERYTHING* than you do, but we're not going to let you have any, to make ourselves feel good about preserving your culture, while letting your children die to easily preventable problems. Go us!"

[edited out by moderator]
Admin:

Climate change denial won't fly under this comic.

Avatar
Regular
ANTIcarrot

On the other hand, look at the currently-best-we-have "solution" to prevent this kind of outright sinking the "more primitive" culture: Keeping them isolated. Doesn't speak of our trust of ourselves to do any better nowadays, does it?

I agree such policies are counter productive. Especially when natural disasters or other groups of humans can destroy the communities, rendering such policies mute.

Your inherent assumption that we do now is a quite optimistic one, especially on an individual level (anti-vaxxers, climate change deniers, ...)

I never said stupid people no longer exist. And no, it is not optomistic to think that we have a fairly comprehensive grasp on how much of the universe works; or what is possible in an engineering sense. Even if such knowledge if not widespread, it still exists, and can be quickly and easily found if needed. Compare and contrast with many IRL 'first contacts' where neither side knew what steam engines were, or how old the world was, or that flying machines could be built, or what an Out Of Context Problem is.

Our world, like the Japanese, does have a concept of Out of Context Problem. We know what an alien invasion is. And outside of hollywood, we know what it would likely mean in Context. And that makes contact between us and some hypothetical alien invasion (in either hard scifi or soft scifi) different from the situations in the Age of Sail.

Avatar
New
hotpockets

I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but Japan did NOT come out of the process with most of their culture and values intact. A lot of Japanese culture was forcibly overwritten during the Tokugawa era (aka. when Japan opened up) as a means of maintaining government control.

Their lives did get better afterwards, but only after a countless skirmishes, a regional war and 2 world wars.

Avatar
New
Deoxy

"I'd challenge anyone to show an example on Earth where the "less advanced" folks ended up better off in the end."

Define "better".

In the near-term, yes, it's hard going, even if the "more advanced" culture is friendly. Big change always is. Exposure to new diseases always is, too (If Ye Olde flu could somehow be new again right this second, the death toll from that new disease would be worse than the worst estimates of the Wuhan Flu).

Many "technologically lesser" cultures die out... but the actual people of such groups are generally absorbed into the "technologically superior" one (with some outliers, usually cases of relatively extreme physical differences that let some kind of segregation continue in the long term, "black" vs "white" being only the most recent example of history). The ones who survive are far better off by nearly any metric (medicine, food, shelter, etc, etc). In even the second-to-worst case (worst is genocide), subjugated people groups STILL usually manage to turn out better than their previous state (even if the subjugation persists for a long time). For a provocative-but-still-factually-impossible-to-refute example, compare blacks in the United States (even if the WORST telling of the modern situation) to blacks still in Africa - life expectancy, standard of living, any of those metrics. Not close. (Note: this is in no way intended as any kind of justification of anything at all, historical or current. I'm not making any moral claims of any kind about any of that.)

In fact, I think there's an argument that the cultures that continue to exist, rejecting the technological advancements, are actually the worse off. They still generally have large population losses but gain less of the benefits. Not sure if that argument would hold up to rigorous analysis (haven't put it through the paces, myself), but that there is even an argument at all is telling.

In this comic, there will be large changes to the "less advanced" culture (the humans), and many of those large changes will be very unpleasant in the short term ("short" on the cultural scale can still be a generation or two).

But technology as advanced as what is shown would be AMAZING for reducing death by disease on Earth, among other obvious improvements. Getting through the transition will be unpleasant, of course, no matter how friendly or well-meaning the aliens might be (and quite a bit worse if they are not friendly or well-meaning, of course).

Avatar
New
Deoxy

"I think Bahin needs to read up on New World history a bit."

And I think you need to read up on world history more generally.

The general uses "Europeans" landing somewhere (and he's rather specifically not limiting to the "New World") because it's the last portion of history before the modern age, before (functionally) the whole world was explored and visited. It's the most recent set of examples, the ones the world remembers best.

"More technologically advanced culture meets less technologically advanced culture" has MANY MANY examples in history, and largely, the last one (done by the Europeans) isn't an outlier.

The more technologically advanced culture took over, if they wanted to and it wasn't just crazy far away by the technological standards of the time. Even in cases where they didn't outright take over (via conquest or less violent means), the technological exposure still vastly changed the "lesser" culture nearly every time.

The general is making THAT point (the technological exposure), nothing about whether it's good or bad. The exposure itself causes massive change in the vast majority of cases, no moral finger pointing required.






Share this comic



TRIVIA
Raharrs are warm-blooded creatures and are accustomed to temperature range a bit warmer than Earth's.