King Rook's Essay on Citizenship

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In this essay I attempt to address the definition of what an Uantiri Citizen is. In the process I may make points that could translate to micro-nationalism as a whole, but those conclusions are purely coincidental and can be utilized how they will. Also, as in every explanation of a broad subject, generalizations will be made.

It's never been explicitly stated, but there is confusion as to what, exactly, the role of an Uantiri Citizen is. This is mainly due to the varying definitions of citizenship out there. It has been an intangible, foundational problem with the nation's citizen base through its entire existence. It is impossible to disseminate the background from which a new potential citizen originates and what micro-national experience or impression they bring with them. Simulationists and succesionists have grossly different meanings of citizens, not to mention wildly differing expectations from their citizens. The obligation, meaning, position and purpose of a micro-national citizen can vary so drastically from one country to the next, one genre of micro-nationalism to the next, one media source to the next that out of a hundred newcomers there will be a hundred different expectations. Not that this is a new phenomenon, but it causes retention problems for a variety of reasons from disappointment to insult to boredom.

In the real world a citizen is the basic unit, the nameless denizen of a country who, by the very nature of their indifferent existence, gives the government its purpose. That citizen can be patriotic, anarchistic, apathetic, industrious or somewhere in between and they still contribute to the society as a whole, whether they like it or not. They don’t have to actually do anything besides live their everyday life, work their job, spend their money and everything continues to turn. That is not, in fact, how micro-nations work. In fact that’s the very antithesis of what a micro-national citizen needs to be for the hobby to work. But, by that nature, the word citizen carries with it too strong an apathetic quality. Even the most active, voting citizens, unless they hold public office, are basically statistics and a classification with that connotation cannot do justice to the position Uantiri Citizens maintain. It is far too easy to never post on the boards and never contribute to the Kingdom and still be a citizen. It’s no more, or less, than is done for the council chambers of a macro-government. When given the title of passive participant, it is unfair to be unhappy with them for lack of participation. As a nation a number of methods for generating activity have been attempted such as creating positions, businesses, academies, titles, &tc. They are slap dash attempts at fixing the symptoms of a problem. That problem is that these people are citizens; and citizens don’t actually have to do anything extra (like post on the boards or go to city council meetings) unless they feel like it for the world to work.

Now there are those, in the real world, who take a more active role in their government, joining city councils, working in government agencies, holding public office, and become the administration and function of the government. These people are politicians. Most people, besides politicians, would shudder to be referred to as such. It just leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth, especially when playing a game that is supposed to be fun. A politician carries with it so many stigmas: a sordid dark past, keeper of secrets, speaker of lies, lobbyist’s puppet, power hungry monster, and all manner of unflattering associations of character. No one wants to be thought of as a pretend politician; at least the real ones get paid for having to carry the torch of scum of the earth. Few professions garner such resentment as politicians and lawyers, and you don’t find many simulationist law firms outside of the micro-national hobby.

In honesty though, that is what we are. Those of us who stick with the hobby either revel in the idea, don't care, or never thought of it that way. But for the rest, those that come and then disappear without a trace, where is that fine balance between being a pretend politician and absentee citizen? The answer I propose, and the inspiration for a wave of changes throughout the foundational structure of Uantir is simple really: stop calling ourselves citizens. Wait for that knee jerk, gut 'wtf' reaction to subside; it's not as odd as it initially sounds.

In so many of our simulationist games we project the un-named, uninterested, citizen as a statistic, which is what real politicians do with real populations. In rec-warring every micro nationalist is not only the equivalent of 25,000 soldiers, but the commander of them. In MITO the resources on the map take for granted the workforce and population required to mine, harvest, manufacture, package, distribute and consume it. Numerous economic plans and schemes used by a multitude of nations try to emulate stock exchanges, forex, real estate, commerce etc. all whilst assuming that the millions of average Joes needed to make it all work are out there in the ether, in the simulation, in the make believe.

The point is that every micro nationalist, be he the founder and leader of a nation or a quasi-active member of the parliament is special. Special enough to be, for no better reason than they are playing the game, the commander of an Army others spend their entire lives and careers to be in charge of. We are the landed gentry of feudal eras, the chosen few worth the equivalent of thousands of lesser peoples regardless of their actual virtue. We are celebrities, the heroes of ancient legends and our favorite videogames; every one of their actions exponentially more influential than a normal person’s. Our very decision to be a part of the simulation settings us apart not just from a few, but from a population of inferior (be it non-existent) people.

And isn’t that why most of us are micro-nationalists in the first place? To create a world where we have control over something we have almost no influence on in real life? Micro-nationalism is fun for the same reason videogames and fantasy novels are so addicting. It is nice to spend some time in a world where we mean so much more than we sometimes feel elsewhere in our lives.

How does that effect the original point of 'What is an Uantiri citizen?' An Uantiri citizen is the higher class population. The rest of the fictional population is the foundation of the simulation, the NPCs the ether. They are the ones who participate, and for that are rewarded with an elevation of status. They are not necessarily politicians since Uantir encompasses more than just government. Artistic endeavors are just as worthwhile a task as creating laws or ruling a county. In fact, it’s things like the Coliseum, the Academy, the Infirmary, the Scullery and the Library that make Uantir interesting, and not just another micro nation with yet another set of laws and yet another monarchy.

As such Uantir has officially adopted a class society and a social hierarchy. The term 'citizen' and 'subject' refer to the masses, laborers, business owners, servants; the nameless. Those who 'play the game' are Uantiri Aristocrats. Transition between subject and Aristocrat is fluid, Aristocrats who fall out of favor or cease to participate in an exceptional capacity return to the citizen cast. Subjects who take part in exceptional Uantiri affairs are elevated to the Aristocrat cast. Aristocracy is not hereditary and has nothing to wealth, but everything to do with commitment and influence.

As an Aristocrat things run slightly different than conventional societies, different than how things would work in real life. In the spirit of choice that influences most of Uantiri policy there are four minor Titles to choose from. They are purely style oriented, as are the choices of moderate and major Titles one can achieve through merit. Access to minor, moderate and major Titles are based off activity and contribution to the nation. Titles are a symbol of status more than authority, be they minor or major, with the exception of the Monarchy whose authority is absolute and firm, serve to represent influence and not rigid hierarchy. But all Aristocrats, regardless of Title, are superior to and have complete authority over their subjects. In this way no one who plays is really 'in charge' of anyone else who plays, but there are very obvious indications in place of a person's social importance.

Aristocrats interested in the military also have the option to take a position of Commander, which represents their control of 25,000 soldiers and officers. In the same way that Titled Aristocrats achieve more glorified titles as their influence and contributions increase, Commanding Aristocrats receive grander rank.