Political Stances in Dark Horizon

Governments have a political structure but that doesn’t mean they have a particular leaning or policy. The political stance of a system’s government, or its stance towards a particular subject, can also be a useful tool in detailing the star system.

Again, this table is for creativity and quick-thinking at the table. Don’t feel like you’re stuck with your result, although it’s balanced with anydice.com so keep the weirder results in the less-likely positions…

2d6 Political Stance 2d6 Political Stance
2 Exceptionalist 8 Liberal
3 Constructivist 9 Socialist
4 Regionalist 10 Pro-Galactic
5 Hegemonic 11 Realist
6 Conservative 12 Isolationist
7 Functionalist
  • Conservative: The heart of conservative politics is keeping to “traditional” ways of doing things. While this can mean opposing change and resisting new innovations, it also means an organic view of society where the practices and norms that develop over time are proven methods of dealing with issues. After the chaos of the Network Collapse, many systems’ populations were anxious to get back to “better days” and some have kept that mindset through the centuries. Other systems tried a new direction and ran into unseen problems or saw their stability crumble, both pushing for a conservative backlash.
  • Constructivist: A society with a constructivist outlook is focused on what they want to be. The central idea to constructivism is that social reality can be whatever people decide, not something determined by material forces. Though somewhat abstract, this is a popular approach for many in light of the Network Collapse. Following a disconnection from the wider galaxy and worried about the possibility of another Collapse in the future, it’s better to think that you can forge your own destiny instead of being forced back into a dark age. Of course, whether this is wishful thinking or a grand cultural shift depends on who you ask.
  • Exceptionalist: A hard outlook to qualify, exceptionalism is the idea that your group is unique and extraordinary in a way that others are not. Nationalism, racial superiority, and other concepts all fed into this but as a political stance it can lead to extreme views and policies. While the Wormhole Collapse and subsequent reconnection were humbling events for most of the galaxy, some systems considered themselves superior because they survived (and even thrived) where others had crumbled. A star system that sees itself as exceptional might ignore the lessons of their neighbors and refuse to accept responsibility for social ills. They might even reach the point where they intervene more and more directly in neighboring star systems “for their own good.”
  • Functionalist: This outwardly-focused approach considers policies and laws as means of encouraging common interest. Governments with this political stance find ways to integrate their population centers, making them dependent on each other and therefore more stable in the long run (or so the theory goes). While not the loudest voice in every system, this is probably the most prevalent political stance throughout the galaxy since it represents the spirit of connection that still occupies interstellar efforts. Of course, some see functionalist integration as the sort of enmeshing connection that led to the Wormhole Collapse in the first place.
  • Hegemonic: Following the Wormhole Collapse, star systems found themselves in difficult situations with failing infrastructure. This was usually not an evenly-spread failure so one part of the star system ended up in better shape than others. To “help” the damaged parts and unite the system politicians felt the need to restructure other parts to better match the surviving society. Erasing local identity and creating a new, monolithic one is a destructive process but where it is effective it has stuck through the centuries to dominate modern politics as well.
  • Isolationist: The opposite of the pro-galactic and functionalist mindset, governments and societies with isolationist stances are determined to remain apart from the wider galaxy to avoid the problems and dangers of neighboring systems. While its almost unheard of for a star system to refuse a new Gate connection, some star systems prefer to keep those facilities separate and to not allow traffic or people from the outside galaxy into their communities. It’s true that isolationism can keep a plague or criminal cartel from spreading into your system but bigger issues like economic collapses are very difficult to completely buffer.
  • Liberal: Looking to the past and to tradition for guidance is a useful approach but governments with a liberal stance prefer to think about the changes and shifts that can benefit their societies. The past had chaos and death, they say, we’re in a new galaxy now and we should change to fix it. Social programs, the protection of rights for minority groups, and policies of tolerance and inclusion are the goals of liberal politicians, though they easily fall under criticism when those goals lead to upheaval and failure.
  • Pro-Galactic: Star systems with pro-galactic stances are often seen as actively giving up their sovereignty. They want to be part of an interstellar union like the old Vincularium and they are willing to accept treaties and arrangements that give up even more of their decision-making power to a larger body. All star systems joined with regional powers have given up some of their legislative ability through contractual sovereignty, but some also form small unions with other systems to create a united cluster.
  • Realist: A counterpoint to functionalism, a realist stance dictates that anyone who is gaining power does so at the expense of others. Rather than try to integrate and unite a system, powerful governments with this political stance try to undermine and compromise others to make sure that they come out on top. To a certain degree, ambition and selfishness mean that there are realists in every government but star systems categorized by realism are especially forward in their treatment of underclasses and scapegoat populations.
  • Regionalist: Star systems tend to be allied with larger regional powers and they agree to abide by those powers’ laws through contractual sovereignty. Those who zealously support these alliances, however, go farther than just cooperation and they try to punish connections to systems that aren’t part of their same regional power. This happens more often with smaller alliances and sometimes even happens with informal cultural groups, but the preference for stronger ties to their larger alliance and cutting ties with rival ones shapes much of the policy-making in these systems.
  • Socialist: A socialist standpoint means providing for everyone in the star system to at least a minimum standard. This is often seen as a liberal stance but it doesn’t have to be: many cultural and religious traditions provide for the community so some socialist governments are inspired by those. Policies in societies with this stance are focused on sharing resources and improving lives, which can lead to significant bureaucracy and social planning as they try to achieve those goals. The utopian outlook of socialism can easily turn into a regimented state as programs fail and politicians double down.
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