Are You a Prude or a Libertine (Say No to Dialectics)

If you notice in a lot of movies and video games (and plenty of books too) whenever there are factions within the setting, it usually boils down to being fascists or hippies.

Or prudes or libertines.

One side/faction are orderly control freaks while the others are live-and-let-live hippie-types.

Not only is this boring world-building that gets old fast—especially because it is a prevalent trope, just look carefully at the media you consume—its also deceptive.

Life is far more nuanced than a choice between two stark alternatives. Some media can capture more nuance in their factions. It really comes down to writing.

I’ve always thought Fallout: New Vegas had very interesting factions.

The NCR and Caesar’s Legion are great examples of factions which contrast each other well and are grounded in some sort of reality. The NCR might be the benevolent republic, but they are still mired down in bureaucracy and to the people of the Mojave, they’re outsiders looking to control the region.

Caesar’s Legion is an authoritarian, militaristic slave-based society that seeks to conquer everything in its path. The two factions make for great enemies and the world is further fleshed out by solid supporting minor factions, all with their own goals, interests, and relationships to the other factions.

While the game still present the player with a choice of fascists versus hippies, it adds enough depth and nuance to make it interesting.

I’m not sure why exactly this trope is so prevalent in media. It could be due to lazy writing or lack of imagination. Or to the perceived differences to the right and left in American and Western politics. These tropes reinforce what we are told about the two parties in America.

If life really that simple?

I’d say no to that. While in some stories a stark contrast between good and evil (e.g. Lord of the Rings, Star Wars) can work, because it benefits the moral of the story, in other settings the difference between factions—the choices presented to the player—should also reflect the setting, and should often therefore be more nuanced or mature.

Challenge players. Don’t give them a simple dialectical choice.

Real life isn’t dialectical. Its messy and nuanced. It requires wisdom to navigate life’s choices.

In general, while dialectical choices can be ok in video games or movies for the sake of the plot, in real life you should be wary of anyone trying to sell you on a simplistic dialectical choice.

Don’t fall for choosing right or left, fascist or socialist, or whatever the choice is.

Anyone offering you a dialectical choice is trying to control you. Don’t fall for it.

Read Scripture instead. Gain wisdom and you’ll figure out what path to walk in your life, without being spoon-fed idiotic dialectics that are constantly being dished out by the world.

Say no to dialectics. Say yes to Scripture and its God. He’ll guide you on the narrow way to walk.

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