(urth) In defense of WatchmEn, Severian

David Lebling dlebling at hyraxes.com
Wed Mar 23 05:44:37 PST 2005

>All classical societies were fascist.   All the classical virtues were
>fascist.  Fascism was merely necessary morality.

Umm, I don't think that word means what you think it means. It is not a
synonym for "authoritarian" or "imperialist" or "social-system-I-don't-like"
any more than "communist" is.

Just for starters, fascism requires a capitalist underpinning, which didn't
exist in any classical society. If you wish to say that the fascists claimed
to believe in the classical virtues, then there's a possibility of
discussion, but you have the causal relationship reversed here.

There hasn't been much discussion of the economic basis of the Commonwealth,
which seems at first glance to be not unlike the late Byzantine Empire on
which it is loosely based. There are clearly merchants, there are clearly
stout yeoman farmers, there is a nobility, etc.

However, there is also totally unbelieveable prohibition of land-based trade
(why do the inhabitants of Saltus delve in the ruins if there is no trade
that would allow them to sell off the things they discover, for example?).
It's clear that there is some sort of latifundia system (run by the
nobility) going on in the areas relatively near Nessus, and that the
peasantry (and the urban poor) flee to the wild lands to establish farms,
but who buys the produce of those farms and how is it transported?
Apparently river travel is permitted, but there aren't rivers everywhere.
How is Nessus fed?

Where are the factories that produce the energy weapons used in the battles
with Ascia? Are all those weapons leftover from a previous industrial
civilization? I doubt it.

Where is the Detroit or Pittsburgh (or Shanghai, for that matter) to
correspond to Nessus's New York or Washington?

(It's clear there is some level of trade with the cacogens, but apparently
not a lot as their devices are extremely rare and expensive.)

-- Dave Lebling, aka vizcacha

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