General Dronn, you brought the largest attack force ever to Earth. Why did you do that?
GENERAL DRONN: Mine is a warrior culture. I need victory in battle.
WAR HAWK: You know, I’d almost believe you, except you’re standing right here. And if I understand warrior cultures at all, then you should have disemboweled yourself after losing to such an inferior foe.
You know I can almost believe that this whole cycle of blunders is driven by honor, glory, and prestige. That you guys are trying to live up to the standards set by your ancestors.
But that is one of the dumbest frigging motives of them all. Why? Aren’t warrior cultures honorable and worthy of our praise?
Maybe as an abstract. As a set of ideals. But warrior cultures seldom work as a model for an advanced civilization.
Warrior cultures have trouble adapting. When the time comes to put away the swords or rifles and find some other less destructive ways of proving their self-worth, warrior cultures struggle.
And in all honesty, the warrior societies of the past have been overhyped for romantic reasons. Sometimes a group tries to revive this “tradition” for political purposes. They look to the past to justify their aggressions in the present. But they all overlook one important fact: these warrior societies they hold in such high regard were ultimately failures. That’s why they passed into history.
Warrior societies look cool from the outside, but inside they are deeply dysfunctional, and usually very primitive. Warrior societies tend to look down on things like trade, commerce, and free thought. Some people actually think this is a good thing, but it results in a society that never grows or advances; one that soon becomes obsolete. You don’t have to lose on the battlefield to have your entire way of life swept away. Most of the time, it isn’t even war that destroys a society. Some go out in a blaze of blaster fire, but the real culprit is time.
Warrior societies also place government decisions in the hands of the warrior class. I admit, I’m flattered, but you’d have to be bugnuts to want a guy like me in charge of your state. And I’m one of the smarter ones. I have been an area administrator before. I didn’t like it, and you couldn’t pay me enough to do it again. Power isn’t so much fun when you actually have to govern. It’s not exciting. It’s about getting the holes in the road fixed. It’s solving a factory strike. It’s attracting businesses to a place that looks like an open sewer on a good day. These mundane tasks aren’t the stuff of legendary battles, but it’s solving these little problems that leads to lasting, long term success. If you win every battle, but your home city still looks like a disaster area, you aren’t going stand the test of time.
It’s for this reason that ancient warrior societies have checkered histories.
The ancient Atras were a warrior society where only the healthy males were allowed to survive. All manual labor was done by slaves. It was glorious, but it lasted only a few centuries. The ritual slaughter of their own children ensured that their numbers were never great. Their enemies quickly figured out that, if they encouraged some slave revolts, there wouldn’t be enough Atra warriors to take the field.
The Eldarans were once ruled by armored warrior nobility, but that society was falling apart even before industrialization. Supposedly, these warrior aristocrats were loyal to their king. But this led to open civil war. On one continent, these “loyal” nobles rose up and imposed a new quasi-representative government of their king. On the other side of the planet, these warriors kept their country frozen in time for centuries, until the industrialized world literally steamed into their lives.
But once industrialization kicked in, the noble warrior was doomed. It wasn’t just that new weapons and large national armies had replaced him. The values by which he or she lived by no longer made sense. In an industrialized world, wars were expensive. They had to make sense. When one nation would “rediscover” its ancient traditions, it led to pointless wars of expansion. Wars that had no real goal other than the glory of war itself. That made their strategies flawed from the get go, and the demise of these regimes a near certainty. They pissed off their neighbors, found themselves fighting on all fronts, and were eventually crushed.
Despite my nickname, I have no use for warrior societies. Any society that undertakes war for its own sake, without a true strategic goal will face crushing defeat sooner or later. If it’s at the hands of the primitive Earthlings, that makes it even sweeter.
In fact, the only place this mentality still exists to some extent is on the fringes. Criminal gangs and societies operate under these rules. So do the warlords of undeveloped nations. Here, the warriors rule the society. They have their own codes, but few would call them honorable. In other words, they’re the scum of the galaxy. Also known as “You guys.”
Like I said, I could almost buy this as your motivation. But I’m not. I know you. None of you have honor. You don’t care what anyone else in the galaxy thinks of you. I’ve seen you turn tail and save your own worthless skins. If you had any warrior’s honor, you abandoned it a long time before you came to Earth. You wouldn’t spend a Slugaran Blimto to get increase your prestige, let alone mount a whole invasion.