Alyrium: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father. Motherfuckers.

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Alyrium: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father. Motherfuckers.

Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2018-01-14 01:34am

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-01-13 11:27pm
Raw Shark wrote:
2018-01-13 11:05pm
Alyrium Denryle wrote:
2018-01-13 06:12pm
Because he's a hypocritical anti-telepath bigot. He helped Ivonova cover up her attempted murder of a telepath on Io, shamelessly used telepath patients as weapons against the EA, fucked Lyta over so hard she joined a cult... I can go on and on and on
Yeah, I kinda have to say "Fuck him." Great performance, from Koenig, but if I met his character IRL I'd unload everything right there. "Be seein' you" indeed.
That's Bastard, I mean Bester. That's the one I wanted to see get everything that's coming to him.
OK. This is where I have to disagree, because all of you have fallen into the same trap and need to check your privilege (I love saying that in this context). Lots of the info here comes from the Psi Corps Trilogy by J.G Keyes. They are, I should add, absolutely canon.

Bester was right.

Lets start with the general situation for telepaths. First of all, when telepaths were first discovered in 2115, there was a genocide. As in, mundanes freaked the fuck out so hard that tens of thousands of telepaths found themselves thrown into mass graves. Shortly afterward, Senator Crawford used this to create his own little fiefdom within the freshly formed Earth Alliance. He got himself placed as head of the committee that would end up passing the laws regarding telepaths. He came up with a thing called the Crawford-Tokash act. It's premise is that telepaths are listening devices and not people. Here are its regulations:

Privacy Protection: Telepaths can't scan anyone without permission or a court order. OK for deep scans. Except that perceiving the surface thoughts of those around them is just... like us seeing. So they have to pointedly ignore and suppress one of their own senses. It's literally like restricting the eyesight of the sighted because the ruling blind elites object to the people with functional eyes seeing what they do. It is to the point that telepaths are not even supposed to use their abilities to defend themselves from attack by Mundanes (but of course, there ARE exceptions to prevent terrorist bombings targeting mundanes).

Telepathic Evidence: Telepathic evidence is not admissible in court. Again, this makes sense. Except the law considers telepaths listening devices rather than people and there are concerns about manipulation of the jury/judges/lawyers. So this means that telepaths can't testify at all, even to identify someone who hurts them. This means that anyone who, say, rapes a telepath is bound to get off scott free because the victim cannot identify their rapist in court.

Universal registration and identification, and free discrimination: Anyone between a P1 and P12, irrespective of whether or not they are on sleepers (more on those in a minute). is registered with the state and that registration is public is like the sex offender registry. They must also wear visible identification of their telepath status (A greek letter Psi) if they are active telepaths. Even those on sleepers can be discriminated against in housing and employment. And with this comes restrictions on allowable professions.

As part of the Crawford-Tokash act, the MRA was set up. The Metasensory Regulatory Authority. It is the precursor to the Psi Corps. Under its regulatory aegis, the breeding programs were set up in accordance with EA law, as were the prison camps for rogue telepaths who refused to join MRA. The laws here were written by mundanes, as were the enforcement mechanisms. Keep this in mind. No telepath ever had a say in any of this, but if they don't comply...well... there had already been a genocide. In fact, at this time it was still ongoing, just slowed down a little. At this point, they are held at gun point to enforce these laws against their own kind.

Now, after First Contact with the Centauri, and the discovery that the aliens had their own telepaths, there was a second spike in genocidal killing and an assassination attempt on the EA president that was foiled by the self-sacrifice of a P5 named William Karges. It is at this point that the Psi Corps was created. Along with it, came even more restrictions on telepaths:

Political Neutrality: Telepaths must be politically neutral in every way. They cannot engage in journalism of any sort (even private blogging), political activism of any kind, run for or hold office, or even for that matter vote.

Professional Telepathy: Everyone above a P2 who is not on sleepers has to be IN the Psi Corps, not just registered with the state, and must be employed in their capacity as telepaths, and not in other professions that are not immediately required by the Corps. Telepaths also cannot own their own property BTW.

The Psi Corps charter provided that the director of the Psi Corps be a mundane who is appointed for life, who literally has the power of life and death over every telepath. As in, no due process, can order summary execution.

THIS is what headed off the completion of the genocide against telepaths. The fucking Nuremberg Laws. The EA government might as well start singing the Horstwessellied. Failure to comply and be seen complying with these laws could trigger a resumption of Pogroms. Psi Corps having to capture or kill rogues? Of course they do, because if they don't it would be perceived by mundanes as failure. That would be Very Bad. Which brings us to the Psi Corps itself.

Everything the Psi Corps does that is objectionable is ordered by mundanes and executed under duress of genocide. Sleepers? Who mandated those, knowing their side-effects? Mundanes. Breeding programs? Mandated by mundane laws and enforced by telepaths against their own at the point of a gun. The Sleeper Agent program that killed Talia? Same thing. In fact, the conspiracy Ironheart talks about was, in fact, the machinations of the Clark-Loyalist director of the Psi Corps.

The Psi Corps does not go along with all of this without complaint. There are three main factions:

Telepath loyalists like Bester who are preparing for the War of Liberation (some of whom, like Bester, also want to take over, but most of them just want sovereignty). They DID do some of their own interesting medical experiments in furtherance of these goals, but on volunteers rather than without consent. Telepathy makes compartmentalizing your conspiracy... non-impossible.

Quislings, who are loyal to Earth Gov, most of whom are not so much loyal as they are under duress by the time they realize what they are being made to do. Think of if like this. You're not raised in the Corps, your sociopolitical identity is still what it was before your abilities manifested and you've been asked to work with Director's office to clean our corruption in the Corps, or to Help Earth(tm). By the time you realize what's really going on, it's too late. Quislings also include any sociopaths they can find.

Everyone Else: People just trying to survive and make a life for themselves.

Now, to Bester.

His first experience with a mundane ever was knowing said mundane hated and feared him. He was six, and that mundane was the man who was to be appointed as Psi Corps director. The second time was a hate crime (he was beaten by a mundane while hiking in the alps with some friends). His next encounter with a mundane was going on a ride-along with his mentor and seeing one of his classmates (who ran away) trafficked into sexual slavery and raped to death.

The (mundane) director of the Psi Corps assassinated/forced the suicide of his mentor, and tried to kill him repeatedly because the prior director liked him. Said director (and his successor) was the one responsible for all the Horrible Things you see from the Psi Corps through the series. What happened to Talia? Oh yeah. His thing. Bester assassinated him (like you do), and the replacement was a Clark loyalist who expanded on those programs and sold telepaths to the shadows.

Is Bester a bit of an asshole? Absolutely. But what has he actually done that's bad? Try to arrest Ironheart, who was most definitely a danger to himself and others? Scanning Talia? Something he was legally allowed to do and that his mission absolutely required of him? Oh, sure there was that thing with Garibaldi but... Lets talk about that for a minute.

In order to prevent the genocide or enslavement of his people, he needed a high-profile individual he could get inserted into Edgars Industries. Garibaldi fits. Garibaldi is also a fucking douchebag, so if given the choice between a known quantity who he hates, and some rando... he's gonna go with the known quantity he hates. He was gonna have to telepathically condition someone. Might as well be the openly bigoted asshole he knows.

Throwing that one dude out the airlock in Season 5? Remember what I said about the distinct Lack of Justice telepaths get? All that piece of shit would have do is say "I was under telepathic control" and he would have walked, because no telepath could ever get on the stand and testify that this was not the case. So you shove him out the airlock.

Come at me Bros. I know this material better than you do.
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Re: How Does This Board Make You Feel Like a Very Fucked-Up Person (If So)

Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2018-01-14 01:40am

The series tricked you, and I am pretty sure it did so deliberately, into thinking that the people wearing proverbial Stars of David on their chests were the fascists. No. They're the people stuck in the Warsaw Ghetto planning their uprising.

The worst part is of course how it ends. The Psi Corps loses, and gets disbanded (after it's children are murdered BTW). The new rules regulating telepaths are even worse, because everything else is still in place but the Psi Corps itself, which gave telepaths as home and a culture. Training is now inferior. They've been subject to a diaspora, and don't have much of a community of their own left. They still can't vote. And the regulations on the use of their god-given senses are even more draconian, and subject to regular scanning by people who have intense pressure put on them by mundane authorities to tamp down on any telepath who doesn't know their place as subservient non-persons.
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Re: How Does This Board Make You Feel Like a Very Fucked-Up Person (If So)

Post by Raw Shark » 2018-01-14 07:15am

Alyrium Denryle wrote:
2018-01-14 01:34am
Come at me Bros. I know this material better than you do.
I'm actually going to just surrender here. You make a good case, and I have not viewed the material in a while. The only area where I will waver is Mr. Screaming Daffy Duck, who I identify with for personal reasons. And beyond the end he even scores a three-pointer virtually. My empathy for the redhead girl is just because I'll always want to fuck the redhead girl.

"Show me the way to go home. I've got to get to my bed. I had a little drink just an hour ago, and it went right to my head."

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Re: How Does This Board Make You Feel Like a Very Fucked-Up Person (If So)

Post by Raw Shark » 2018-01-14 07:31am

I will also agree with Enigma regarding Londo and G'Kar. Best fatal sci-fi bromance that I can think of.

My Testing threads tend to meander a little, but it is Testing...

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Re: How Does This Board Make You Feel Like a Very Fucked-Up Person (If So)

Post by Steve » 2018-01-14 10:22am

Raw Shark wrote:
2018-01-14 07:15am
Alyrium Denryle wrote:
2018-01-14 01:34am
Come at me Bros. I know this material better than you do.
I'm actually going to just surrender here. You make a good case, and I have not viewed the material in a while. The only area where I will waver is Mr. Screaming Daffy Duck, who I identify with for personal reasons. And beyond the end he even scores a three-pointer virtually. My empathy for the redhead girl is just because I'll always want to fuck the redhead girl.

"Show me the way to go home. I've got to get to my bed. I had a little drink just an hour ago, and it went right to my head."
I regret not reading the Psi Corps trilogy, it's the only one of the Del Ray B5 trilogies I don't have (All three are canon too). Although the line "the series lied" makes me wonder if JMS actively approved of what Keyes wrote, if he gave him the guidelines, or if Keyes thought it up and JMS let it go even though it completely recasts the Psi Corps from what the series portrayed, that is, the semi-sympathetic portrayal of an abused minority who have turned to totalitarian aims and therefore must be stopped before they subject everyone to a telepathic police-state.

As for the OP? ....sorry, I got nothin'.
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Re: How Does This Board Make You Feel Like a Very Fucked-Up Person (If So)

Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2018-01-14 06:02pm

Crazedwraith wrote:
2018-01-13 06:40pm
Please do
Alright.

Would you prefer more expansion on what I mentioned, or other such incidents? I could be here a while.

First, there was Ivonova's first attempted murder. Then there's the second in Dust to Dust, where she orders the defense grid to open fire on Bester's ship. Sheridan stops her, but for fuck's sake she just tried to murder a man and treats Ivonova like she's the victim somehow, and promises to throw Bester under the brig without due process if he gets up to anything fishy. He then (illegally) hampers Bester with Sleepers (which are torture, BTW, when you consider what they do to someone) in order to do his fucking job.

It is worth noting here that he has no problem with illegal scans per se. He has Lyta perform one on a Centauri in Passing Through Gethsemane, and tries to coerce Talia into scanning Morden against her will, and later tricks her into doing so accidentally (which traumatizes her to the point of needing hospitalization).

And that brings us to the Shadow War. Would Sheridan have helped Bester recover those telepaths unless he was tricked? No. Probably not. Once it's confirmed that telepaths are useful as weapons though Oh Boy does he use them. He recruits telepaths to get on ships and telepathically jam shadow warships. OK. But apparently they're all cagey enough about what they're actually doing that that out of work mundanes try to sign up, which tells me they didn't exactly do the Informed Consent thing. A lot of the humans were probably Psi Corps, because Bester wasn't kidding about helping, BTW. But the Rogues...well...

How should I put this? The Underground Railroad for rogues and blips is a minefield of slave-trafficking. So the ones we see got through that minefield and when someone they thought had helped them puts up an open job offer, they find themselves on a Minbari ship full of terrified people and likely to be obliterated any second... Nice. When the Shadow War is over, no lasting provisions for them were made. Were they even paid on a fee for service basis? We don't know! What we do know is that Sheridan never paid Lyta at all. He could have given her an actual job post EA civil war, and covered her living expenses out of the station's general fund like he did for mundane staff post shadow war, but he didn't. Didn't fucking bother to do that much for someone who had repeatedly saved his life and helped him sacrifice her own people to free earth.

Yes. Sacrifice. Because what the fuck do you THINK happened to those shadow-tech-riddled telepaths on those EA ships? We saw what happened. They got killed.

Which brings us to Season 5. Holy Fuck. The sideways-fucking of Lyta continues. She's been made to rejoin the Corps (I actually understand Lyta. I can imagine what the Shadow-collaborating Clarkist regime was not kind to her after she scanned Kosh. She doesn't seem to have any particular grievances against the Corps, and until then was raised in and loyal to it, so I can only imagine she's got some PTSD going on, along with shadow-averse Vorlon programming). Gets asked to do a Deathbed scan, apparently without compensation, but she's so used to being a toady for mundanes she goes along with it. Even though these people have refused to make even small accommodations for her needs for years beyond making sure she wont be homeless (just starving).

Come to find out, of course, that Sheridan didn't give enough fucks about the telepaths who won his shadow war for him to make sure the ISA had a provision regarding the disposition of rogue telepaths. Say... any telepath can join the Rangers or ISA intel agency. Nothing like that.

Despite that, he lets Byron form a colony for rogue telepaths--not because its the right thing to do, but because he wants to "keep them in his back pocket" for use against the Psi Corps. Their own people. No actual protections for them of course. He doesn't think that far ahead. So he starts using them as a (unpaid) intelligence gathering agency more or less because he feels like they owe him that much. Despite, you know, one of them sacrificing himself to save Sheridan's life.

Of course, the second they have an actual demand, there goes that. How dare they want a colony where they can govern themselves! How dare they! Sheridan doesn't even have a leg to stand on with the illegal scans, because he owes his fleet to those same telepaths performing illegal scans.

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-01-13 11:22pm
Alyrium Denryle wrote:
2018-01-13 06:12pm
Crazedwraith wrote:
2018-01-13 06:08pm


Oh. Why's that?
Because he's a hypocritical anti-telepath bigot. He helped Ivonova cover up her attempted murder of a telepath on Io, shamelessly used telepath patients as weapons against the EA, fucked Lyta over so hard she joined a cult... I can go on and on and on
Similar to the reasons Mom hates him too.

(and, wasn't it assault? Since Ivanova knew Io's gravity was too low for a fall out of a sixth-story window to have killed the teep?)

Ivanova's my favorite character, followed closely by Delenn and Vir.
Nope, because AFAK, they were on the transfer station rather than the moon itself. It's a rotating station and has earth-like gravity.
Raw Shark wrote:
2018-01-14 07:15am
Alyrium Denryle wrote:
2018-01-14 01:34am
Come at me Bros. I know this material better than you do.
I'm actually going to just surrender here. You make a good case, and I have not viewed the material in a while. The only area where I will waver is Mr. Screaming Daffy Duck, who I identify with for personal reasons. And beyond the end he even scores a three-pointer virtually. My empathy for the redhead girl is just because I'll always want to fuck the redhead girl.

"Show me the way to go home. I've got to get to my bed. I had a little drink just an hour ago, and it went right to my head."
Garibaldi spend the first and first half of the second season stalking Talia physically and sexually harassing her with his mind (by very loudly and pointedly undressing her with his in close quarters), because there was sweet-fuckall she could do about it. He is also of the opinion that telepaths should not be allowed to reproduce after the shadow war concludes.

Zero fucking sympathy for him. Though I definitely understand why you might like him.
Steve wrote:I regret not reading the Psi Corps trilogy, it's the only one of the Del Ray B5 trilogies I don't have (All three are canon too). Although the line "the series lied" makes me wonder if JMS actively approved of what Keyes wrote, if he gave him the guidelines, or if Keyes thought it up and JMS let it go even though it completely recasts the Psi Corps from what the series portrayed, that is, the semi-sympathetic portrayal of an abused minority who have turned to totalitarian aims and therefore must be stopped before they subject everyone to a telepathic police-state.
JMS played a Rashamon game, only hinting at the other perspectives, but it's there, and pretty brilliantly executed.

Think of it like this: if the Psi Corps were that bad, you wouldn't find telepaths who are flabbergasted when Bad Things(tm) get brought up. There are things you just can't keep secret, especially among a people who can speak without being overheard ever. So that Sleeper Agent program that killed Talia? Free Mars managed to get the code-phrase. How the hell did they manage THAT? Well, it must not have been that secret, and someone had to give it to them because at that point Lyta was just a P5 and wouldn't be able to pry it out of the minds of those who would have it.

Bester manages to find out about rogue telepaths being sold to the Shadows, because he has an intelligence network that's infiltrated the Clarkist regime and director's office. The same thing with the Edgars Industries plot. You can't keep something like that a secret, because telepaths have to be fed into the meat-grinder of "clinical trials", and they're not going into that voluntarily. Something that big also pretty much has to be with the blessing of EarthGov.

So how authoritarian are they really? Some of it's projection of course. The show is told from the perspective of mundanes and frames things in a certain way, namely what the mundanes expect to see, which gets projected onto the audience. But even without the novels, if you squint and tilt your perspective, the terrible totalitarian things have to be being actively fought within the Corps.

Then you get the wall plaques. Those are so ham-fistedly over the top. "Obey" "Trust" etc that it has to be a sardonic joke. Actual fascists would put up propaganda art posters and such. But those things are completely at odds with what we actually see in that season 5 episode. Bester's demeanor around telepaths and mundanes is completely different, and I realized that the way he behaves around mundanes is a mask. He's projecting an image of a totalitarian because that's what the mundanes expect to see. He likely does have those tendencies, and the internal social norms of the Corps are decidedly collectivist, but he dials it up to 12 for the mundanes.

That's without considering information from the books.
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Re: How Does This Board Make You Feel Like a Very Fucked-Up Person (If So)

Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2018-01-14 06:12pm

So... do we want to split and promote this to the sci-fi forum? I can totally do that.
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Re: Alyrium: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father. Motherfuckers.

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-01-14 07:11pm

I do need to point out that mundanes do feel a need for privacy. Yes, their surface thoughts are broadcasting, so to speak, but they really can't turn it off. The best that they can do to prevent it is to do complex math and sing songs. Telepaths learn to build walls.

And, I'm trying to remember, did at any point Talia tell Garibaldi to quit it?
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Re: Alyrium: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father. Motherfuckers.

Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2018-01-14 07:56pm

FaxModem1 wrote:
2018-01-14 07:11pm
I do need to point out that mundanes do feel a need for privacy. Yes, their surface thoughts are broadcasting, so to speak, but they really can't turn it off. The best that they can do to prevent it is to do complex math and sing songs. Telepaths learn to build walls.

And, I'm trying to remember, did at any point Talia tell Garibaldi to quit it?
Yes, they learn to build walls. They have to or the constant din can overwhelm them, especially in crowded spaces. But they have to go above and beyond in order to keep out the very loud thoughts of a mundane sitting across a table. It's exhausting, and harms their ability to do other tasks. You try to do anything while doing your multiplication tables over and over again in your head. It'd be one thing if they were wrapped in confidentiality clauses. But they're not.

The elbowed him in the ribs hard enough to knock the air out of his lungs. He just liked it.

And ultimately, she shouldn't have to tell him to stop. He already knows that stalking a woman is fucked up.
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Re: Alyrium: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father. Motherfuckers.

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-01-14 11:02pm

Second question, and more importantly, considering how objects can have telepathic traces, isn't it possible, if not likely, that the posters at Psi Corps HQ broadcast psychic messages enforcing the messages that are written on them?

I wouldn't be surprised if professors and Headmaster's, or their telepathic equivalent of a maintenance man routinely goes around imprinting a message on the posters to make sure it's background radiation for their members.
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Re: Alyrium: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father. Motherfuckers.

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-01-14 11:58pm

Alyrium Denryle wrote:
2018-01-14 01:34am
[

Now, to Bester.

His first experience with a mundane ever was knowing said mundane hated and feared him. He was six, and that mundane was the man who was to be appointed as Psi Corps director. The second time was a hate crime (he was beaten by a mundane while hiking in the alps with some friends). His next encounter with a mundane was going on a ride-along with his mentor and seeing one of his classmates (who ran away) trafficked into sexual slavery and raped to death.

The (mundane) director of the Psi Corps assassinated/forced the suicide of his mentor, and tried to kill him repeatedly because the prior director liked him. Said director (and his successor) was the one responsible for all the Horrible Things you see from the Psi Corps through the series. What happened to Talia? Oh yeah. His thing. Bester assassinated him (like you do), and the replacement was a Clark loyalist who expanded on those programs and sold telepaths to the shadows.

Is Bester a bit of an asshole? Absolutely. But what has he actually done that's bad? Try to arrest Ironheart, who was most definitely a danger to himself and others? Scanning Talia? Something he was legally allowed to do and that his mission absolutely required of him? Oh, sure there was that thing with Garibaldi but... Lets talk about that for a minute.
There's also his attitude towards blips. Unless you have proof otherwise, Bester has a 'Haha, serves them right' attitude towards them being used as raw material for Shadow vessels until he finds out that one of them is his girlfriend. Then he's actually pissed, because they took his lover. Not so much about them being processed for parts by his beloved Corps. He also happily sacrifices his fighter squadron that he trained in order to get what he wants. He's clearly rather ruthless and will dispose of people if they're in his way.
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Re: Alyrium: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father. Motherfuckers.

Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2018-01-15 12:22am

FaxModem1 wrote:
2018-01-14 11:58pm
Alyrium Denryle wrote:
2018-01-14 01:34am
[

Now, to Bester.

His first experience with a mundane ever was knowing said mundane hated and feared him. He was six, and that mundane was the man who was to be appointed as Psi Corps director. The second time was a hate crime (he was beaten by a mundane while hiking in the alps with some friends). His next encounter with a mundane was going on a ride-along with his mentor and seeing one of his classmates (who ran away) trafficked into sexual slavery and raped to death.

The (mundane) director of the Psi Corps assassinated/forced the suicide of his mentor, and tried to kill him repeatedly because the prior director liked him. Said director (and his successor) was the one responsible for all the Horrible Things you see from the Psi Corps through the series. What happened to Talia? Oh yeah. His thing. Bester assassinated him (like you do), and the replacement was a Clark loyalist who expanded on those programs and sold telepaths to the shadows.

Is Bester a bit of an asshole? Absolutely. But what has he actually done that's bad? Try to arrest Ironheart, who was most definitely a danger to himself and others? Scanning Talia? Something he was legally allowed to do and that his mission absolutely required of him? Oh, sure there was that thing with Garibaldi but... Lets talk about that for a minute.
There's also his attitude towards blips. Unless you have proof otherwise, Bester has a 'Haha, serves them right' attitude towards them being used as raw material for Shadow vessels until he finds out that one of them is his girlfriend. Then he's actually pissed, because they took his lover. Not so much about them being processed for parts by his beloved Corps. He also happily sacrifices his fighter squadron that he trained in order to get what he wants. He's clearly rather ruthless and will dispose of people if they're in his way.
What the fuck are you smoking? He put himself at personal risk to rescue these blips both in the intel gathering, and in going to B5 personally to see the matter done (keep in mind, he knows that the last time he went there, Ivonova tried to kill him). He likely burned intelligence assets to make that happen, as in, sacrificed his friends. What do you want him to do? Ham it up with hand-wringing?

Also, in a war, sometimes you DO have to sacrifice assets, even friends. He was committed to helping those who were fighting that which wanted to enslave/destroy his people. Do you ALSO conclude that a Colonel who has to maintain operational security by sacrificing some of his men is a terrible person, or are you just bathing in a massive double standard?

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Re: Alyrium: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father. Motherfuckers.

Post by Steve » 2018-01-16 01:32am

I feel I must point out that he risked what he risked to save Carolyn, the fact he did it doesn't refute the charge that his attitude toward blips and their desire for freedom is repulsive and undermines the sympathy you're trying to foster for him.

Similarly, the situation in "Dust to Dust" is complicated by the fact that Sheridan and the others actually do have something to hide: the "Conspiracy of Light", the Rangers, and their part in the evidence being raised against Clark. All the indications they've seen is that the Psi Corps are, for whatever reason, a willing instrument of Clark's growing totalitarian agenda. They have no reason to think Bester is sympathetic to opposing Clark. Doing nothing is risking that he might bend the rules to dig up dirt on them, resulting in everything they've been building coming apart. From their perspective, forcing Bester to take sleepers or be escorted by Minbari telepaths is a necessity brought on by the situation. Even if we go by the evidence you've shown and the argument that Bester would have stood with them against Clark to protect telepaths, this doesn't change the situation. They don't know this part of Bester - he certainly hasn't told them, or made any effort to demonstrate it - and they have to act accordingly. It simply becomes an issue of communication and no trust... not surprising given what Clark's been building with the Nightwatch.
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Re: Alyrium: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father. Motherfuckers.

Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2018-01-16 02:40am

I feel I must point out that he risked what he risked to save Carolyn, the fact he did it doesn't refute the charge that his attitude toward blips and their desire for freedom is repulsive and undermines the sympathy you're trying to foster for him.
No. He didn't. He didn't know she was there until he saw the name on the bracelet. He risked his life to save a bunch of blips. He goes to great lengths to bring them in alive when he can as well. Now, he's not averse to killing them when he has to (we see that repeatedly), but he'd much rather take them in alive.

But consider the stakes for him, and his society, for a moment. If there's an underground railroad for rogues and blips, it's a return to the Bad Old Days around the time of Bester's birth. Terrorism run rampant. There's a call in the EA senate to disband the Psi Corps every year. The (Mundane) director violated the Psi Corps charter the year prior by endorsing Clark in the Corps' name which increased public pressure to do just that and lead to the murders of telepaths all over the fucking place because the public perception was that "they're all in on it and violated the charter". Even though a mundane did it. They even remark on this in the show.

What do you think terrorism will do?

"The Psi Corps can't keep us safe from the Bad Telepaths" is gonna play real well with the mundane audience, even though it's the people in the Corps who are most in danger from said same terrorists. So he's not averse to killing someone to get information. He's not averse to killing an entire cell of rogue telepaths (especially when they attack him first, and he did try to bring them in peacefully).

Failing to do Everything in his power to stop that means a massacre.
Similarly, the situation in "Dust to Dust" is complicated by the fact that Sheridan and the others actually do have something to hide: the "Conspiracy of Light", the Rangers, and their part in the evidence being raised against Clark. All the indications they've seen is that the Psi Corps are, for whatever reason, a willing instrument of Clark's growing totalitarian agenda.
And? Just because someone believes in the Conspiracy of World Jewry does not obviate them of moral responsibility for mistreating Jews. And, while I grant the necessity of operational security--those are some high stakes--they don't ever so much as apologize.

"Sorry about blinding you Bester."

"Sorry about trying to kill you Bester."

They never stop and think "Wait. Given what Bester just did, maybe it's not actually the Psi Corps that's the problem here? Hey Bester, we don't want to be enemies of the Corps if you're people are being victimized by Clark. What's going on?". He might answer, he might not. But at least they would have asked. But they never once stopped to even consider that.
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Re: Alyrium: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father. Motherfuckers.

Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2018-01-16 05:20am

I should also say: I am not saying Bester is a nice person. He isn't. He's done enough necroscans that a pretty significant piece of him is missing. He is a calculating and ruthless person. What he is doing is operating in a certain historical and moral context that makes the things he actually does and some of the attitudes he holds perfectly reasonable. They're shitty things. Don't mistake me. Killing a rogue telepath for information is a shitty thing. But if it's that, or a worse shitty thing... that's what you do. You minimize harm.

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Re: Alyrium: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father. Motherfuckers.

Post by Civil War Man » 2018-01-16 08:45am

Steve wrote:
2018-01-16 01:32am
All the indications they've seen is that the Psi Corps are, for whatever reason, a willing instrument of Clark's growing totalitarian agenda.
The rank-and-file of the Corps are probably on the same level as the Earth Force Lieutenant on an Omega destroyer. The reasons for them being on Clark's side are varied, from being willing, to keeping quiet out of fear, to the idea of questioning their superiors never occurring to them. I do not consider Psi Corps to be a particularly benevolent organization, but I do find it interesting that Season 5 seeks to rehabilitate the mundane soldiers who fought for Clark, but not the telepaths.

As for the Psi Corps top brass, if what Edgars claims (and we have little reason to doubt him in this particular instance), they are going along with Clark with the goal of gaining political power. Presumably, if Sheridan's rebellion had failed and Clark let Psi Corps off the leash to become full-on Thought Police, a faction of telepath supremacists like Bester would have eventually overthrown the mundane administration and replaced it with themselves.

If you want a really villainous telepath, though, my vote's for Byron. The guy's basically David Koresch if the Branch Davidians could read minds. A lot of his interactions with Lyta use classic cult indoctrination tactics. He obviously has a psychological stranglehold on his followers, considering that the only ones who even talk are either special cases (like Lyta or the stuttering TK) or have broken free of his influence (the ones who turn violent). Though, on reflection, can we really say that the violent ones are free of Byron's influence? It's obvious that Byron was expecting to martyr himself and his followers, since even several episodes before his death he was telling Lyta that she would need to leave him behind. The violent followers also meekly follow Byron and sing along when he decides to kill them all in the explosion. In fact, it's rather interesting that, if Byron was expecting the surrender to Sheridan and Lochley to go smoothly, he'd let his violent followers show up heavily armed, particularly when you take into account his claim that he hates violence.

And, of course, Lyta immediately begins a large-scale terrorist campaign targeting the Psi Corps in his memory. So either she immediately forgets everything he tries to teach her, assuming his aversion to violence is genuine, or his real goal was to radicalize the telepathic WMD to carry out his anti-Psi Corps war if it's not.

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Re: Alyrium: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father. Motherfuckers.

Post by Steve » 2018-01-16 09:52am

Alyrium Denryle wrote:
2018-01-16 02:40am
I feel I must point out that he risked what he risked to save Carolyn, the fact he did it doesn't refute the charge that his attitude toward blips and their desire for freedom is repulsive and undermines the sympathy you're trying to foster for him.
No. He didn't. He didn't know she was there until he saw the name on the bracelet. He risked his life to save a bunch of blips. He goes to great lengths to bring them in alive when he can as well. Now, he's not averse to killing them when he has to (we see that repeatedly), but he'd much rather take them in alive.
I stand corrected.
But consider the stakes for him, and his society, for a moment. If there's an underground railroad for rogues and blips, it's a return to the Bad Old Days around the time of Bester's birth. Terrorism run rampant. There's a call in the EA senate to disband the Psi Corps every year. The (Mundane) director violated the Psi Corps charter the year prior by endorsing Clark in the Corps' name which increased public pressure to do just that and lead to the murders of telepaths all over the fucking place because the public perception was that "they're all in on it and violated the charter". Even though a mundane did it. They even remark on this in the show.

What do you think terrorism will do?

"The Psi Corps can't keep us safe from the Bad Telepaths" is gonna play real well with the mundane audience, even though it's the people in the Corps who are most in danger from said same terrorists. So he's not averse to killing someone to get information. He's not averse to killing an entire cell of rogue telepaths (especially when they attack him first, and he did try to bring them in peacefully).

Failing to do Everything in his power to stop that means a massacre.
Alright. OTOH, I won't blame the rogues for attacking someone who wants to drag them back to a "re-education camp".
And? Just because someone believes in the Conspiracy of World Jewry does not obviate them of moral responsibility for mistreating Jews. And, while I grant the necessity of operational security--those are some high stakes--they don't ever so much as apologize.

"Sorry about blinding you Bester."

"Sorry about trying to kill you Bester."

They never stop and think "Wait. Given what Bester just did, maybe it's not actually the Psi Corps that's the problem here? Hey Bester, we don't want to be enemies of the Corps if you're people are being victimized by Clark. What's going on?". He might answer, he might not. But at least they would have asked. But they never once stopped to even consider that.
The issue is that even Bester admits his motives are entirely self-serving. He confesses to him that his promise to Carolyn is the only one he "gives a damn" about. IOW, he presents himself purely as an ally of convenience pursuing a personal goal and gives them no reason to think the Corps as an institution, might be anything but loyal to Clark.

I get that the characters are guilty of mistreating telepath characters, even when they say they're only against the Psi Corps and try to help the blips. Your arguments on that front are convincing. Hell, even before them I always felt that Lyta was repeatedly screwed over by Sheridan and the others (a part of me now wonders if Sheridan decided not to support her over what happened with the destruction of Z'Ha'Dum... which he wouldn't be justified to use as an excuse, IMHO). But I think you might be demanding a bit too much of the characters, requiring them to know things and feel things that, honestly, requires information they don't have access to. All they "know", as of that point, is that Psi Corps is supporting Clark and that Bester's own personal motivations led him to come to them to rescue the blips in "Ship of Tears", and that his rage over Carolyn getting turned into a ship control unit is why he's declared war on the Shadows as well. And all they know of the Corps is what happened to Talia and the experiments that led to Ironheart, as well as the abuses that the blips testify to. They don't have the knowledge of internal Corps politics to know the Psi Corps resents being used as cat's paws by Clark and his allies to bring about their dictatorship and that all they ultimately want is freedom.

Edit: A quick P.S. I suspect the Psi Corps idea of "Freedom" may not match our own, and like any case of an oppressed minority... there's always a risk that their idea of what the endgame of the "War of Liberation" is will end up a reversal of roles, with non-telepath Humans made into second-class citizens instead.
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Re: Alyrium: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father. Motherfuckers.

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-01-16 10:00am

Alyrium Denryle wrote:
2018-01-14 01:34am
U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-01-13 11:27pm
Raw Shark wrote:
2018-01-13 11:05pm


Yeah, I kinda have to say "Fuck him." Great performance, from Koenig, but if I met his character IRL I'd unload everything right there. "Be seein' you" indeed.
That's Bastard, I mean Bester. That's the one I wanted to see get everything that's coming to him.
OK. This is where I have to disagree, because all of you have fallen into the same trap and need to check your privilege (I love saying that in this context). Lots of the info here comes from the Psi Corps Trilogy by J.G Keyes. They are, I should add, absolutely canon.

Bester was right.

Lets start with the general situation for telepaths. First of all, when telepaths were first discovered in 2115, there was a genocide. As in, mundanes freaked the fuck out so hard that tens of thousands of telepaths found themselves thrown into mass graves. Shortly afterward, Senator Crawford used this to create his own little fiefdom within the freshly formed Earth Alliance. He got himself placed as head of the committee that would end up passing the laws regarding telepaths. He came up with a thing called the Crawford-Tokash act. It's premise is that telepaths are listening devices and not people. Here are its regulations:

Privacy Protection: Telepaths can't scan anyone without permission or a court order. OK for deep scans. Except that perceiving the surface thoughts of those around them is just... like us seeing. So they have to pointedly ignore and suppress one of their own senses. It's literally like restricting the eyesight of the sighted because the ruling blind elites object to the people with functional eyes seeing what they do. It is to the point that telepaths are not even supposed to use their abilities to defend themselves from attack by Mundanes (but of course, there ARE exceptions to prevent terrorist bombings targeting mundanes).

Telepathic Evidence: Telepathic evidence is not admissible in court. Again, this makes sense. Except the law considers telepaths listening devices rather than people and there are concerns about manipulation of the jury/judges/lawyers. So this means that telepaths can't testify at all, even to identify someone who hurts them. This means that anyone who, say, rapes a telepath is bound to get off scott free because the victim cannot identify their rapist in court.

Universal registration and identification, and free discrimination: Anyone between a P1 and P12, irrespective of whether or not they are on sleepers (more on those in a minute). is registered with the state and that registration is public is like the sex offender registry. They must also wear visible identification of their telepath status (A greek letter Psi) if they are active telepaths. Even those on sleepers can be discriminated against in housing and employment. And with this comes restrictions on allowable professions.

As part of the Crawford-Tokash act, the MRA was set up. The Metasensory Regulatory Authority. It is the precursor to the Psi Corps. Under its regulatory aegis, the breeding programs were set up in accordance with EA law, as were the prison camps for rogue telepaths who refused to join MRA. The laws here were written by mundanes, as were the enforcement mechanisms. Keep this in mind. No telepath ever had a say in any of this, but if they don't comply...well... there had already been a genocide. In fact, at this time it was still ongoing, just slowed down a little. At this point, they are held at gun point to enforce these laws against their own kind.

Now, after First Contact with the Centauri, and the discovery that the aliens had their own telepaths, there was a second spike in genocidal killing and an assassination attempt on the EA president that was foiled by the self-sacrifice of a P5 named William Karges. It is at this point that the Psi Corps was created. Along with it, came even more restrictions on telepaths:

Political Neutrality: Telepaths must be politically neutral in every way. They cannot engage in journalism of any sort (even private blogging), political activism of any kind, run for or hold office, or even for that matter vote.

Professional Telepathy: Everyone above a P2 who is not on sleepers has to be IN the Psi Corps, not just registered with the state, and must be employed in their capacity as telepaths, and not in other professions that are not immediately required by the Corps. Telepaths also cannot own their own property BTW.

The Psi Corps charter provided that the director of the Psi Corps be a mundane who is appointed for life, who literally has the power of life and death over every telepath. As in, no due process, can order summary execution.

THIS is what headed off the completion of the genocide against telepaths. The fucking Nuremberg Laws. The EA government might as well start singing the Horstwessellied. Failure to comply and be seen complying with these laws could trigger a resumption of Pogroms. Psi Corps having to capture or kill rogues? Of course they do, because if they don't it would be perceived by mundanes as failure. That would be Very Bad. Which brings us to the Psi Corps itself.

Everything the Psi Corps does that is objectionable is ordered by mundanes and executed under duress of genocide. Sleepers? Who mandated those, knowing their side-effects? Mundanes. Breeding programs? Mandated by mundane laws and enforced by telepaths against their own at the point of a gun. The Sleeper Agent program that killed Talia? Same thing. In fact, the conspiracy Ironheart talks about was, in fact, the machinations of the Clark-Loyalist director of the Psi Corps.

The Psi Corps does not go along with all of this without complaint. There are three main factions:

Telepath loyalists like Bester who are preparing for the War of Liberation (some of whom, like Bester, also want to take over, but most of them just want sovereignty). They DID do some of their own interesting medical experiments in furtherance of these goals, but on volunteers rather than without consent. Telepathy makes compartmentalizing your conspiracy... non-impossible.

Quislings, who are loyal to Earth Gov, most of whom are not so much loyal as they are under duress by the time they realize what they are being made to do. Think of if like this. You're not raised in the Corps, your sociopolitical identity is still what it was before your abilities manifested and you've been asked to work with Director's office to clean our corruption in the Corps, or to Help Earth(tm). By the time you realize what's really going on, it's too late. Quislings also include any sociopaths they can find.

Everyone Else: People just trying to survive and make a life for themselves.

Now, to Bester.

His first experience with a mundane ever was knowing said mundane hated and feared him. He was six, and that mundane was the man who was to be appointed as Psi Corps director. The second time was a hate crime (he was beaten by a mundane while hiking in the alps with some friends). His next encounter with a mundane was going on a ride-along with his mentor and seeing one of his classmates (who ran away) trafficked into sexual slavery and raped to death.

The (mundane) director of the Psi Corps assassinated/forced the suicide of his mentor, and tried to kill him repeatedly because the prior director liked him. Said director (and his successor) was the one responsible for all the Horrible Things you see from the Psi Corps through the series. What happened to Talia? Oh yeah. His thing. Bester assassinated him (like you do), and the replacement was a Clark loyalist who expanded on those programs and sold telepaths to the shadows.

Is Bester a bit of an asshole? Absolutely. But what has he actually done that's bad? Try to arrest Ironheart, who was most definitely a danger to himself and others? Scanning Talia? Something he was legally allowed to do and that his mission absolutely required of him? Oh, sure there was that thing with Garibaldi but... Lets talk about that for a minute.

In order to prevent the genocide or enslavement of his people, he needed a high-profile individual he could get inserted into Edgars Industries. Garibaldi fits. Garibaldi is also a fucking douchebag, so if given the choice between a known quantity who he hates, and some rando... he's gonna go with the known quantity he hates. He was gonna have to telepathically condition someone. Might as well be the openly bigoted asshole he knows.

Throwing that one dude out the airlock in Season 5? Remember what I said about the distinct Lack of Justice telepaths get? All that piece of shit would have do is say "I was under telepathic control" and he would have walked, because no telepath could ever get on the stand and testify that this was not the case. So you shove him out the airlock.

Come at me Bros. I know this material better than you do.
Except the Corps became like the Narn, abused children who now had the power to abuse others and continue the cycle of pain and hatred. We know how that ends for the Narn.

The Corps became the enemy it intended to shelter its charges from, and needed to be disbanded. Earthdome fell to corruption, and needed to be stopped. Bester is bad, whatever his reasons, and needs to either change his ways or be swept aside by those necessary changes. Same as G'Kar had let his hatred lead him down a path of darkness that almost destroyed his people, and needed to either change or be consumed by darkness and his people along with him.

The majority of teeps and TKs are caught in the middle, used and abused by the Corps, hounded and hated by the mundanes. The "gift" from the Vorlons and Shadows that keeps on giving long after they've passed beyond the Rim
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Re: Alyrium: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father. Motherfuckers.

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-01-16 11:18am

Without contributing to the discussion in any meaningful way, but I would *like* to...

Is there any way to watch B5 on streaming video? Or am I stuck with finding the DVDs somewhere?

EDIT: I ask because I've seen all of like two pieces of B5, the Shadows movie and Legends of the Rangers. And obviously I could illegally download it, but we don't talk about that here (and I don't really have the time to go to all that bother anyway).
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Re: Alyrium: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father. Motherfuckers.

Post by tezunegari » 2018-01-17 06:58pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-01-16 11:18am
Without contributing to the discussion in any meaningful way, but I would *like* to...

Is there any way to watch B5 on streaming video? Or am I stuck with finding the DVDs somewhere?

EDIT: I ask because I've seen all of like two pieces of B5, the Shadows movie and Legends of the Rangers. And obviously I could illegally download it, but we don't talk about that here (and I don't really have the time to go to all that bother anyway).
Amazon has all 5 Seasons and the movies. ($20 per season, $8 per movie, Lost Tales and In the Beginning are $2 each)
I don't know if it is free for Amazon Prime users.
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Re: Alyrium: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father. Motherfuckers.

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-01-17 07:25pm

Alyrium Denryle wrote:
2018-01-15 12:22am
What the fuck are you smoking? He put himself at personal risk to rescue these blips both in the intel gathering, and in going to B5 personally to see the matter done (keep in mind, he knows that the last time he went there, Ivonova tried to kill him). He likely burned intelligence assets to make that happen, as in, sacrificed his friends. What do you want him to do? Ham it up with hand-wringing?

Also, in a war, sometimes you DO have to sacrifice assets, even friends. He was committed to helping those who were fighting that which wanted to enslave/destroy his people. Do you ALSO conclude that a Colonel who has to maintain operational security by sacrificing some of his men is a terrible person, or are you just bathing in a massive double standard?

Some must be sacrificed if all are to be saved. Telepaths knew that decades before G'Kar figured it out.
No, he sacrifices Omega Squadron so that he can save his lover, as said in "Ephiphanies".
Hi.
I tried. Damn, but I tried. Six men. My best pilots.They weren't my orders. I just passed them on and took advantage of it. They trusted me. Never imagined what I was sending them into.
When I gave them the orders, I looked in their eyes and It's a hard thing to send people in to die when you're the one pulling the trigger. But I'd do it again. Black Omega was my baby my creation. And I'd gladly sacrifice the whole squadron if it would bring you back to me. But it was all for nothing.
Sheridan and the others, they're probably laughing right now. Well, that's all right. I still have an ace in the hole. And it'll hurt them more than anything they've ever done to me.
Clearly a man who is working for the greater good, and not throwing lives away on the off-chance that he'll save his girlfriend.
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Re: Alyrium: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father. Motherfuckers.

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-01-19 06:47am

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-01-16 11:18am
Without contributing to the discussion in any meaningful way, but I would *like* to...

Is there any way to watch B5 on streaming video? Or am I stuck with finding the DVDs somewhere?

EDIT: I ask because I've seen all of like two pieces of B5, the Shadows movie and Legends of the Rangers. And obviously I could illegally download it, but we don't talk about that here (and I don't really have the time to go to all that bother anyway).
Go90 has it on their website here .
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Re: How Does This Board Make You Feel Like a Very Fucked-Up Person (If So)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-01-19 07:14am

Alyrium Denryle wrote:
2018-01-14 06:02pm
And that brings us to the Shadow War. Would Sheridan have helped Bester recover those telepaths unless he was tricked? No. Probably not. Once it's confirmed that telepaths are useful as weapons though Oh Boy does he use them. He recruits telepaths to get on ships and telepathically jam shadow warships. OK. But apparently they're all cagey enough about what they're actually doing that that out of work mundanes try to sign up, which tells me they didn't exactly do the Informed Consent thing. A lot of the humans were probably Psi Corps, because Bester wasn't kidding about helping, BTW. But the Rogues...well...

How should I put this? The Underground Railroad for rogues and blips is a minefield of slave-trafficking. So the ones we see got through that minefield and when someone they thought had helped them puts up an open job offer, they find themselves on a Minbari ship full of terrified people and likely to be obliterated any second... Nice. When the Shadow War is over, no lasting provisions for them were made. Were they even paid on a fee for service basis? We don't know! What we do know is that Sheridan never paid Lyta at all. He could have given her an actual job post EA civil war, and covered her living expenses out of the station's general fund like he did for mundane staff post shadow war, but he didn't. Didn't fucking bother to do that much for someone who had repeatedly saved his life and helped him sacrifice her own people to free earth.

Yes. Sacrifice. Because what the fuck do you THINK happened to those shadow-tech-riddled telepaths on those EA ships? We saw what happened. They got killed.
Or, you know, telepaths have a culture of being raised as superior to everyone, and don't consider it worth risking their lives for a bunch of aliens killing aliens. And considering that con artists were coming out of the woodworks, the pay must have been at least decent.

What proof do we have of slavers? Did Franklin happily sign them over to people he knew ran slaves? Are you saying that Franklin was that much of an evil dick, or was he that apathetic? Where's the Sheridan and Ivanova bid on telepathic slaves scene from season 3? Did Sheridan then sell them off afterwards, in order to help Babylon 5's budget deficit? Where are these necessary scenes that back up all these telepaths that Franklin helped being enslaved? If they all had these same nasty consequences, why did the telepaths running from the Corps join Franklin's organization and not Byron's or some other group's?
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Simon_Jester
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Re: Alyrium: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father. Motherfuckers.

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-01-19 08:04am

I'm not a Babylon 5 watcher; there is a lot I don't know about this setting, but I wanted to share something I read recently, in the context of this debate. A point about people who self-identify as "saving some of our oppressed group, at the expense of others of our oppressed group," by referencing the Holocaust. I'm getting this from a book review of Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem:
The Nazis ordered Jewish communities to organize into Judenrate (“Jewish councils”) which could tabulate the number of Jews in their community, help confiscate property, and choose who would go first to the camps. Cooperation was ensured by a combination of special treatment for community leaders and threats of collective punishment if they didn’t comply. The special treatment turned out to be a sham (if the leaders were lucky, they were killed last); the collective punishment was all too real.

The community leaders thought they were negotiating themselves into a position where they would be better organized and could help delay the Nazis and steer them away from the most vulnerable parts of their community, mitigating the damage. This almost never happened; in the rare cases where it did, it was almost never worth it. Thousands of people were subjected to the sorts of heart-wrenching ethical dilemmas usually found only in philosophy lectures involving trolleys:
The greatest “idealist” Eichmann ever encountered among the Jews was Dr. Rudolf Kastner, with whom he negotiated during the Jewish deportations from Hungary and with whom he came to an agreement that he, Eichmann, would permit the “illegal” departure of a few thousand Jews to Palestine (the trains were in fact guarded by German police) in exchange for “quiet and order” in the camps from which hundreds of thousands were shipped to Auschwitz….Dr. Kastner saved exactly 1,684 people with approximately 476,000 victims.
By Arendt’s telling, sometimes the councils went beyond merely doing what was necessary for survival:
In Amsterdam as in Warsaw, in Berlin as in Budapest, Jewish officials could be trusted to compile the lists of persons and of their property, to secure money from the deportees to defray the expenses of their deportation and extermination, to keep track of vacated apartments, to supply police forces to help seize Jews and get them on trains, until, as a last gesture, they handed over the assets of the Jewish community in good order for final confiscation. They distributed the Yellow Star badges, and sometimes, as in Warsaw, “the sale of the armbands became a regular business; there were ordinary armbands of cloth and fancy plastic armbands which were washable.” In the Nazi-inspired, but not Nazi-dictated, manifestoes they issued, we still can sense how they enjoyed their new power – “The Central Jewish Council has been granted the right of absolute disposal over all Jewish spiritual and material wealth and over all Jewish manpower,” as the first announcement of the Budapest Council phrased it. We know how the Jewish officials felt when they became instruments of murder – like captains “whose ships were about to sink and who succeeded in bringing them safe to port by casting overboard a great part of their precious cargo”; like saviors who “with a hundred victims save a thousand people, with a thousand ten thousand.
This turned out to be important. Arendt gives the case of Belgium, where most of the Jews were a hodgepodge of refugees and most of the elders fled early. The Belgian Jews’ lack of organization didn’t hurt them; it just made them impossible to organize for deportation and extermination, and so more of them survived than in other comparable areas. And:
Wherever Jews lived, there were recognized Jewish leaders, and this leadership, almost without exception, cooperated in one way or another, for one reason or another, with the Nazis. The whole truth was that if the Jewish people had really been unorganized and leaderless, there would have been chaos and plenty of misery but the total number of victims would hardly have been between four and a half and six million people. According to Freudiger’s calculations about half of them could have saved themselves if they had not followed the instructions of the Jewish Councils.
Sometimes, no leadership really is better than leadership that crosses enough lines in the process of trying to accomplish a goal "for the greater good."
This space dedicated to Vasily Arkhipov

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Alyrium Denryle
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Re: Alyrium: The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father. Motherfuckers.

Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2018-01-20 12:45pm

Should be able to respond at some point today. Been hellishly busy the last few days
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