|The Rational Argumentator
P R E S E N T S
The Game - July-October 2003
Weakened by decades of violent uprisings and protest movements,
terrorism from abroad, and a government that crept further into the
realm of civil liberties until none remained, America is on the verge
of chaos as it prepares for its last free elections. Employing a
combination of paternalistic propaganda, behind-the-scenes political
compromising, and outright armed intimidation using its gangs of
“activists,” the Malthusian-Environmentalist Party sweeps the polls and
immediately suspends all freedoms, abolishes private property, and
announces a colossal strategy of “Wilderness Reclamation” that destroys
the capital of hundreds of thousands of businesses and millions of
individuals. Within a year, the United States’ industrial output is
hovering near zero as standard of living plummets by the hour, while
government-induced inflation renders the dollar not worth the scrap
paper it was printed on. A piece of bread for the next day’s meal
becomes the most valuable commodity, as people rush to pawn their
jewelry, heirlooms, and even clothing to feed their families for yet
another excruciating day.
The Land of the Free is now engulfed in chronic Terror, and the crumbling cities have become but a backdrop for brutal skirmishes between the Green Police and “outlaws,” who are sometimes indeed thieves and murderers, and at other times merely enraged citizens for whom no recourse is available to continue to survive without employing force against government aggressors. The rural areas have become havens for brigands and warlords, while the forests, deserts, and swamps creep back upon civilization and spread pestilence and disease in their wake. America is no longer a place fit for human existence.
Evicted from your home by government agents who have decided to transform your neighborhood into a “Wilderness Refuge,” you make your way through the blighted remnants of once the wealthiest country in the world, with nothing but a rucksack and the clothes on your back. On your way to wherever your feet may take you, you forage to sustain yourself in a quasi-healthy state. As you continue to head northwest, away from all signs of human existence, you find yourself in places that you had seen on no American map. Nothing but trees millennia old and an astounding abundance of every sort of flora and fauna surrounds you. You walk on, expecting, dimly, vaguely, to locate a sanctuary. In the meantime, you have come to possess four weeks’ worth of food that you have picked up along the way.
Upon a fortuitous night, you approach an elevated clearing upon which you encounter a glimmering geometric rock formation so precise that it could not possibly have been the work of random elements. Only the moonlight serves to illuminate your inspection of the building as you contemplate applying to its inhabitants for aid.
But you have not the time to venture another step forward as you spot the outline of a human figure striding confidently in your direction. As this man halts his rhythmic approach two meters in front of you, you discern him a narrow light magenta suit, vest, and trousers of nineteenth-century fashion. They are immaculately clean and well-adjusted upon him. How he could have groomed himself to such an extent in the primeval wilderness, you are unable to guess. You cannot distinguish many more of his features, excepting his evident ease of movement, from which you infer a general physical health.
“Welcome to Randcastle, stranger,” he speaks in a precise, firm voice
of undiluted clarity. “My name is Philosophicus Objectivus, and I am
the proprietor of these parts. I have constructed this residence,” he
sweeps out with his hand at the vast castle behind him, “using nothing
but my labor and intellect. It sits upon a bountiful mine within which
all the metals I had ever needed are in abundant supply. I have also
created within its walls a workshop, animal pen, minting facility, and
self-sustaining farm.” Your eyes glitter with promise. You think that
you have just been saved. Objectivus responds with a slight, almost
mocking curve of lips, as if he were saying, “You thought it would be
- “I have built my life by the efforts of my mind, and I shall expect no less of you if we are to coexist as neighbors. Therefore, though I shall respect your presence in the fair country of Randia, I will not dispense aid to you gratuitously. As the pioneering settler of this untamed wilderness, I have taken it upon myself to arrange its legal structure in entirety.” As you begin to shudder, thinking to yourself that you have come upon yet another petty warlord/dictator, Objectivus reassures you. “Fear not, my system is generous beyond measure compared to what you had encountered anywhere else. You see, I am endeavoring to conduct an experiment that has never been fully, consistently undertaken. I have crafted the groundwork for a society of pure, undiluted, uncompromising laissez-faire capitalism.”
Objectivus unrolls a scroll of paper before you and motions for you to read.
The Constitution of the Republic of Randia
Article 1. The initiation of physical force is absolutely prohibited by any citizen against any other. Physical force shall be classified as outright infliction of bodily harm, of fraud and deception, or of the threat thereof. Any citizen found guilty of such charges shall be immediately expelled from the land.
Article 2. Every citizen is entitled to rights of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, and property, as well as what derivative rights this may entail. But these rights are entirely negative obligations and do not guarantee anyone the services or property of another without that other’s consent. Any economic exchange is permissible under whatever terms the partaking parties agree to.
Article 3. The Court of Randcastle shall be established for the purpose of settling disputes between citizens of Randia and allotting punishments for criminal offenses. Philosophicus Objectivus is hereby the Supreme Justice of said court. Every citizen is innocent until proven guilty and is entitled to a comprehensive presentation in his defense in the event of his trial, using whatever legal means of doing so that he may choose.
Article 4. The currency of Randia shall be measured in Objective Units, which are founded upon a gold standard and minted of gold. The government shall by no means establish a fixed value for these units, whose worth shall be determined by volitional economic exchanges alone.
Article 5. Officials of government are hereby permitted to undertake other financially profitable occupations. However, government may not employ the power vested in it to intervene in the commercial realm for any reason except the termination of actual force and/or fraud. No preventive regulatory measures aimed at those who had not committed force or fraud are permissible.
You nod your head in agreement as you finish reading. This law code is so immensely straightforward and concise, compared to the volumes of deceptive subtleties that had entangled the United States in a web of bureaucracy.
- “This is not to state, however, that I shall not be willing to assist those who are worthy, for purely selfish reasons. Possessing intelligent and industrious neighbors shall be conductive to my standard of living as well,” Objectivus continues. “Yet I must be assured that you are indeed such a person. I happen to have certain excess tools in my possession that you will find of immense assistance in your quest to survive and prosper. I will give them to you free of charge, but you must demonstrate yourself intellectually capable of wielding them. You must respond to my questions in a manner that satisfies me.”
- “I will present you with a hatchet, in prime condition, which is able to bring down enough trees for you to build yourself a log cabin in a week, if you demonstrate your understanding of property rights. As you may see around you, the land is uncultivated and no one possesses a deed to it. Yet what is necessary for one to turn it into his property? What actions can one legitimately take for that end, and what prevents one from just arbitrarily declaring that the entirety of the world’s wilderness belongs to him and him alone? The works of John Locke should have the answers you need, if you are keen enough to find them.”
- “I shall also render available to you a bow and quiver, quite suited to hunting game, if I become aware that you are philosophically fit to exist in the Absolute Reality. I ask you, what is an axiom and how do you identify one? What are the three primary axioms, according to Ayn Rand?”
You place a heavy hand on your forehead as you begin to ponder. The only barrier between you and starvation is your own rational mind.
Rules of the Game:
* In order to play, you must have a character to play with. You may invent your character’s name (first and last), age, and profession prior to coming to Randia, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your answers to Objectivus’s questions, if you can answer them. You may also send a graphic of your character (in .gif or .jpg format) to be used in certain times of your participation in the game.
* Each day that any character is active, a week of game time elapses. So does a week’s worth of rations for every character. Once your rations are elapsed, you, alas, starve to death, unless Objectivus chooses to have mercy upon you (and he will not if you do not prove yourself worthy). The calendar is slightly different in Randia, and a year consists of thirteen months with four weeks each. Time is measured not in the Christian Era, but in Years of Laissez-Faire (or YLF).
* Randia possesses every sort of natural resource known to man, in its untouched condition. You may employ these substances however you wish, if you possess the requisite means and knowledge to do so. In order to conduct an action, send an e-mail to email@example.com. You will receive a response of the results of your action, the time consumed, and the increase of your character’s skill levels (if any). You will also receive an update of your general condition.
* There are two ways to trade. You may consent to the transaction with another character via e-mail and send the results of your bargain to firstname.lastname@example.org, at which time, given sufficient assurance of that the transaction was physically possible and consensual, your character profiles will be updated. Or you may take your product or offering to the Randcastle Market, which Objectivus has generously allowed you to use. You may send a public e-mail of your offer and asking price, after which other players may haggle with you for the product. If you specify that you would wish for Objectivus to purchase your commodity, he will be willing to do so, but he does not haggle. You either take his price, or leave it. All results of commercial transactions or resource exploitation shall be made a matter of public record for the purpose of tracking the development of a society devoid of government controls.
* You may also post public messages during the game related to any subject, including questions of clarification. (Keep in mind, however, that you must play the part of your character.) The forces of Nature act in a slightly different manner in Randia in regard to certain messages. Though there is no official government censorship of obscene words or images, it so happens that the peculiar air composition of the surrounding climate does not permit a character’s vocal chords to pronounce such words, and the dynamics of solar light ray reflection will inevitably incinerate any profane imagery that happens to come about. Otherwise, you are welcome to contribute your words and graphics to the game. If you should devise any mechanism which renders gameplay more convenient and/or more realistic, Objectivus shall also be willing to reward you with Objective Units.
* Unlike other games, which possess built-in limitations and a constricted set of options, in Laissez-Faire, you are restricted only by the amount of knowledge and creativity that you are willing to exert. So long as your endeavors follow the Law of Identity (and the Constitution of Randia), you are free to prosper as you wish. How far can you progress form the primeval wilderness?
* Objectivus has created a superb system of surveillance to track all natural phenomena in Randia. As such, he shall be able to alert players of either favorable or dire alterations in the environment around them. He may also offer opportunities for employment from time to time.
|Proceed to learn of what has occurred in Randia thus far. Click here.|
|This virtual hatchet could be yours.|
|So could this bow.|