Author Topic: Extremism in the Inquisition  (Read 10399 times)

Offline TheNephew

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Extremism in the Inquisition
« on: August 30, 2009, 03:31:04 PM »
A comment by Marco in another thread reminded me of a train of thought I was ambling down a while ago, with regards to the factionalism of the Inqusition. He corrected me in saying that there were around half a million Inquisitors, and of them there would be thousands of Monodominats that could be compared to Tyrus.

It's always been an important part of the canon that the organisation (if it can be termed thus) is rife with covert wars and politicking, with factions constantly struggling to promote their own ends with varying degrees of secrecy and success.
I've often wondered what proportion of the Inquisition occupies the extremes of the political scale.
Characters like Tyrus and Quixos seem to be quite common in the GW/BL background, if not always so much on this board.
It seems likely to me that the ideal mindset of an Inquisitor, being strong willed, independent and ruthless, with a clear idea of his purpose, would lend itself well to political or ideological extremism, be it Monodominant or deepest Xanthian.
On the other hand, many of the characters on The Conclave come up as staunch Amalathians, willing to do a lot to maintain the status quo as it is.

I'm not entirely sure where I intended this thread to lead, but does anyone have any thoughts on the general makeup of the Inquisition in this sense?
Is the job, or the required personality, so polarising that it leads to a series of extremists camps with minimal centralist philosophies?

Offline Kaled

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Re: Extremism in the Inquisition
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2009, 05:11:38 PM »
I do have a view on this - in fact I've written up a section for the Amalathian sourcebook on this very subject.  I'm very interested in seeing what others think, but I'll save the bulk of my ideas for the book.  Suffice it to say, I imagine that within every faction there are moderate and extremist members - which is what I was hinting at when someone talked about (I think it was) a puritan Recongregator.  By my definition he was a moderate Recongregator - as Recongregation by definition is radical as it's opposed to the conventional doctrine.  But within the field of Recongregator beliefs, there are some who take the philosophy further than others.
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Offline N01H3r3

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Re: Extremism in the Inquisition
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2009, 08:21:49 PM »
I'm not entirely sure where I intended this thread to lead, but does anyone have any thoughts on the general makeup of the Inquisition in this sense?
Is the job, or the required personality, so polarising that it leads to a series of extremists camps with minimal centralist philosophies?
I think it's worth considering the nature of factionalism in the Inquisition. The six factions presented within the Inquisitor rulebook are simply the six most commonplace and heavily-established broad ideologies present within the Inquisition, with dozens or hundreds of others far less well-known, either as unique notions in their own right or even simply as variations on the basic themes perpetuated by the six most significant factions.

Any given Inquisitor will adopt his own incarnation of the beliefs he encountered during his service, tempered and altered by his own experiences. It could be said that there are as many different philosophies within the Inquisition as there are Inquisitors, to be honest, and likely more given how an individual Inquisitor's beliefs change over the course of his career.

That all aside, it's also worth considering how an Inquisitor views different elements of the multifarious "Enemies of Man" they're charged with opposing. An Inquisitor with a fervent, almost overzealous, loathing of genetic deviance might be deemed to be of Monodominant leanings in that regard, yet his beliefs may lead him to instigate eugenics programmes and study forbidden or even Xenos biotechnology in order to better understand how to 'purify' Mankind - hardly fitting views for a Monodominant. An extreme example, admittedly, but a valid one (and quite an interesting one, come to think of it).

That all in mind, I think it's better to consider an Inquisitor's beliefs to be as unique as any other facet of the character, invariably drawn from a number of sources, and ultimately running the full range from dangerously puritanical to heretical radicalism, everything else and all that falls in between, and that the broad definitions of puritan and radical themselves are ill-fitting for an organisation that consists entirely of necessarily strong-minded individuals or the philosophies that develop from them - taken to certain extremes, every puritanical ideal becomes contrary to doctrine and tradition, and by being exempt from the law and the creed in order to do their duty, the Inquisition is itself a radical concept.
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Offline Sarlen

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Re: Extremism in the Inquisition
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2009, 10:53:56 AM »
...
I've often wondered what proportion of the Inquisition occupies the extremes of the political scale.
Characters like Tyrus and Quixos seem to be quite common in the GW/BL background, if not always so much on this board.
It seems likely to me that the ideal mindset of an Inquisitor, being strong willed, independent and ruthless, with a clear idea of his purpose, would lend itself well to political or ideological extremism, be it Monodominant or deepest Xanthian.
On the other hand, many of the characters on The Conclave come up as staunch Amalathians, willing to do a lot to maintain the status quo as it is.

I'm not entirely sure where I intended this thread to lead, but does anyone have any thoughts on the general makeup of the Inquisition in this sense?
Is the job, or the required personality, so polarising that it leads to a series of extremists camps with minimal centralist philosophies?

You might think about the fact, that extremes always seem to get greater interest than something or someone completly average, it is easier to grasp, since there's a more or less clean division in between the extremes and the (mostly) pregenerated idears might help to greate a backbone of a character.

At least in my Opinion, most of the Inqisitors will be somewhere moderate, beeing abel to work with most others and by that linking the different factions together.
Without them, the Inquisition would most likely just break down, everybody doing what (s)he deems best and nobody working against Corruption, because the'd most likely try to annihilate each other since beeing the greatest risk or at least one of the greatest.

It wouldn't be the first time for an organisation to divide and then fight against itself, the christian church has done quite a lot, for example (other just don't come to my mind at the moment, lack of sleep doesn't help much).

And just try to imagine, what would happen to the imperium, thousands of inquisitors trying to kill the "heretics"(about everyone of a different faction), most likely they would try to grasp as much military/assassins/astartes/etc. as possible to overwhelm others, creating a war wich would not only shatter the imperium, but also destroy every weapon that could have helped defending it against other threads(aliens, chaos).

Exept of that, a good description for moderate Inquisitors was already given:
Quote
That all in mind, I think it's better to consider an Inquisitor's beliefs to be as unique as any other facet of the character, invariably drawn from a number of sources, and ultimately running the full range from dangerously puritanical to heretical radicalism,...

For the most zealous Inquisitors, I'd say, that their viewpoints might still be unique but would differ less.
They'd most likely draw from (the same or similar) fewer sources and would keep each other in line, humans just like to form groups to keep others out, I guess they don't differ.

(now burn me as the heretic I am :P )

Offline Molotov

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Re: Extremism in the Inquisition
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2009, 12:17:56 PM »
Kaled and I have agreed that even Puritan philosophies can be twisted so far that they can become "radical". Consider the Amalathians, who want to preserve the Emperor's realm. That can be taken to such an extreme that they wouldn't condone a new crusade to add territories to the Imperium, for example - they would rather keep the Imperium in perfect stasis.

I know not everyone likes Abnett, but there is a bit in the Eisenhorn trilogy (after Eisenhorn escapes KCX-1288, when he meets up with Battlefleet Scarus and is called before Inquisitor Lord Rorken) when the various Inquisitors react to Eisenhorn destroying the Necroteuch. There's a number of Inquisitors there who are noted as being 'radical', but are tolerated. Inquisitor Molitor, for example. To my mind, there's varying degrees of radicalism. To most within the Inquisition (aside from the Monodominants) there are certain degrees of radicalism that are 'tolerated' (if not approved of).

I think it's foolish to say that everyone considered "radical" lives an outcast existence hiding in caves and afraid of the Ordo Malleus. Depending on the prevailing philosophical conditions of the day, some Radicals may even be allowed to discuss and debate their philosophies in public with their comrades-in-arms.
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Offline N01H3r3

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Re: Extremism in the Inquisition
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2009, 01:03:54 PM »
I think it's foolish to say that everyone considered "radical" lives an outcast existence hiding in caves and afraid of the Ordo Malleus. Depending on the prevailing philosophical conditions of the day, some Radicals may even be allowed to discuss and debate their philosophies in public with their comrades-in-arms.
One of the things I disliked about the Eisenhorn novels (the later ones in particular) was the inference that Radicalism = wanting or choosing to use Chaos/the enemies of Man against Chaos/the enemies of Man - IMO, it made the distinction too clear-cut, too black-and-white for my tastes. This is perpetuated in a couple of other places, such as Codex Daemonhunters, where radicals can take Daemonhosts but not Grey Knights, while everyone else is assumed to be puritan.

For me, radicalism is a synonym for unorthodoxy, and that's it; the distinction is so vaguely-defined and subjective as to be essentially useless for categorising an Inquisitor. For me, the heart of the distinction is a meaningless one to the Inquisition anyway - a puritan tends towards the dictates of the Imperial Creed and the Lex Imperialis in his methods and actions (though he is not, under any circumstances, bound by them, being an Inquisitor), while a radical eschews the Creed and the Law in the pursuit of his goals. Given that every Inquisitor has the means to ignore those things anyway, and most will do so at some point in their career, the line between the two is a matter of opinion.
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Offline TheNephew

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Re: Extremism in the Inquisition
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2009, 04:12:19 PM »
I suppose I opened this with too wide-ranging a question to get a cohesive reply to it...

What I meant by 'extremism' is indeed what most have hit on - regardless of philosophy, an eventual move towards a stance that many of one's peers consider unacceptable for some reason, and as such what constitutes extremism is a function of the current local Inquisition community's (such as there is one) views, rather than an absolute.

I was also a little ticked off that the Eisenhorn trilogy only showcased the Xanthite flavour of radicalism, without touching on the many and various other ways an Inquisitor can do wrong in the name of the Emperor.

Sorry to derail this thread, but I don't really think it warrants a thread of it's own:
Having read a bunch of the Inquisition related BL novels out there, and shuffled through The Conclave for a good few years, it still seems odd that it is accepted by most of us that an Inquisitor will have more important things to do than train for ten hours a day while still working. So why does everyone [or most, at least] still use Inquisitors?
Is it not more likely that most of the ground work is done Dark Heresy style, by acolytes and operatives?

Offline N01H3r3

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Re: Extremism in the Inquisition
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2009, 04:32:22 PM »
Is it not more likely that most of the ground work is done Dark Heresy style, by acolytes and operatives?
As I see it, an Inquisitor's network of agents and acolytes are there to assist him - to deal with things when he's not around, to uncover threats that he (and/or a set of more specialised and experienced agents) should deal with, and generally to be his eyes and ears across a considerable area of space. Given that Inquisitors are quite frequently recruited from amongst that network of Acolytes, it seems reasonable to assume that different Inquisitors will take different approaches to field work - one who once served in the Adeptus Arbites or local law enforcement may be more hands-on (the term Inquisitors Practical springs from my memory here), stepping in when Acolytes find something worth looking into, as might one with a religious background, etc, while those who were more comfortable compiling data and doing research may be more inclined to rely on groups of Acolytes to do all the field work while he masterminds everything from a remote location staffed by analysts and astropaths (Inquisitors Theoretical and Historical).

Equally, as quite ably demonstrated in the Eisenhorn trilogy, an Inquisitor's resources will increase as he spends more years working to increase them, and while a young, freshly-inducted Inquisitor may only have a dozen or so acolytes in total (which may have been inherited from his service as an Interrogator to his former master), working in his immediate retinue, a century or so later, that same Inquisitor may have vast networks of agents feeding him information and overseeing their own investigations.
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Offline Kaled

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Re: Extremism in the Inquisition
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2009, 06:10:24 PM »
Kaled and I have agreed that even Puritan philosophies can be twisted so far that they can become "radical".
Except I would avoid using the word 'radical'.  I'd say that the Inquisitor in your example is an Amalathian-extremist, not a radical-Amalathian.

I was also a little ticked off that the Eisenhorn trilogy only showcased the Xanthite flavour of radicalism, without touching on the many and various other ways an Inquisitor can do wrong in the name of the Emperor.
I'd say the bigger problem is that many people have the view that radical=heretical.  Xanthism is one of the oldest philosophies of the Inquisition, and for it have have been around for so long means it must have gained some level of acceptance - but all too often, the popular view of the philosophy is coloured by the more extreme daemon-sword-wielding members; those who most would agree have crossed the line.  Xanthites may often be viewed with suspicion, but they're generally still respected members of the Inquisition.  Likewise, it's said that Horusians are numbered amongst the most proficient and dedicated daemon hunters in the entire Inquisition.  People may not agree with their philosophy, but they're not outcast heretics by any means.

The same goes for the other radical philosophies - that's the main reason why I put together the Recongregator sourcebook, to challenge the popular view that radical=evil=heretical.  Recongregators are not, as a whole, evil heretics - they actually do a lot of good, perhaps more than the Amalathians who oppose change - even if the change is 'good'.  They're only radical because, as N01H3r3 said, they eschew the Creed and the Law in the pursuit of their goals.
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Offline Aidan

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Re: Extremism in the Inquisition
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2009, 02:06:21 AM »
I'm with Kaled here. In fact, when I first read the descriptions of the six broad philosophies mentioned in the rulebook, it never oocured to me for a moment that recongregators would be evil or heretical; indeed, it was the only philosophy I could immediately respect. What moral human would not want to change the Imperium? I've since subjected the world of the Inquisition to the same analysis I give modern day politics, which means I can reason how those with other points of view would think and respect them if they're true to their own philosophy at least (as opposed to the heretic-who-thinks-he's-pure, which I detest).

There are of course the good and the bad among Recongregators, just like other philosphies, and the moderate and the extremist, but these two scales are not the same. My main protagonist is an extremist recongregator. Some might judge him to be foolish, dangerous, perhaps, but never evil. And 'heresy' is a very flexible term, often used - in real history and in 40k - to classify any free-thinking person, whatever their loyalty or beliefs.   

The case of recongregators and amalthians is always likely to be the most controversial, since they are the only inquisitor philosophies which directly fit into modern-day philosophies: progressive vs conservative and liberal. The one wants to chage the problems in the system, the others defend the system at any cost, whether because they fear change brings to, or (more selfishly) they want to maintain a system that works to their benefit.

Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Extremism in the Inquisition
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2009, 03:36:16 AM »
The case of recongregators and amalthians is always likely to be the most controversial, since they are the only inquisitor philosophies which directly fit into modern-day philosophies...
I'd argue otherwise, because many others fit with certain interpretations of some religions.

Any terrorist action inspired by religion very much fits with a Monodominant philosophy - "They're not one of us, so they must die."
Thorianism bears resemblance to "Messiahs" in concept, a god born again into another form.
Xanthites - who has never heard the term "fight fire with fire"? There have to be a great many people who look at perceived "enemies" with the intent of giving them a dose of their own medicine. Vigilantism is very much of this kind of mindset.
Istvaanism - this is harder to place, but were the "The US government was behind 9/11" stories true (not a debate for here), then it would have very much have been an Istvaanic action.

They might not be philosophies regarded as acceptable, but they do exist.
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Offline DapperAnarchist

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Re: Extremism in the Inquisition
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2009, 09:56:18 PM »
Isstvanianism is closely related to a variety of right-wing and extremist left-wing idealologies, like Fascism (war makes the nation stronger, weeds out the week, and finds the nation's heroes), Stalinism (war unites the people against the enemy, who is always the enemy, even if you are not always at war), various extremist religious and racial movements (Left Behind style paranoia, "Race War") and Anarchism (War dismantles the established systems, whether directly through the destruction of administrative organs, or indirectly, though the social upheaval of war - women in work, racial and class mixing - the First and Second World Wars are famous for this, and Nam has a story about a rich kid who had only met black people as servants, suddenly being thrown into the Marine Corps - totally transformed him)
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Offline Aidan

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Re: Extremism in the Inquisition
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2009, 11:28:16 PM »
The case of recongregators and amalthians is always likely to be the most controversial, since they are the only inquisitor philosophies which directly fit into modern-day philosophies...
I'd argue otherwise, because many others fit with certain interpretations of some religions.

Any terrorist action inspired by religion very much fits with a Monodominant philosophy - "They're not one of us, so they must die."
Thorianism bears resemblance to "Messiahs" in concept, a god born again into another form.
Xanthites - who has never heard the term "fight fire with fire"? There have to be a great many people who look at perceived "enemies" with the intent of giving them a dose of their own medicine. Vigilantism is very much of this kind of mindset.
Istvaanism - this is harder to place, but were the "The US government was behind 9/11" stories true (not a debate for here), then it would have very much have been an Istvaanic action.

They might not be philosophies regarded as acceptable, but they do exist.

Hence I did say 'directly' the examples you've given - while adequate - refer to adaptations of the inquisitorial philosophies (or rather, the reverse). On the other hand recongregation and amalthianism are essentially progressivism and conservativism - two very broad fields - with different names. Also, I might point out that in the modern world, almost all serious politics revolve around these two ideals, with other philosophies being either more refined ideologies within one of these camps (eg. environmentalism, imperialism, liberalism, etc), or having only an importance on a local level, such as messianic beliefs. The closest we get to a 'messianic' state is Israel, and according to their own most fundamental beliefs, they shouldn't actually have gone to Israel, because the messiah hasn't appeared yet!

I should mention of course, that there is really a third broad category that also advocates change, reaction (silly name, isn't it?). This is less popular nowadays, but covers ideologies like religious fundamentalism, and fitted NAZIsm and some fascism too, given their desire to change backwards. Nevertheless, this was once the most popular theory througout Europe, when people were still looking back with fond illusions to the 'grand old days' of ancient Rome and trying to emulate them. Nowaday, most reaction is in the form of religious fundamentalism and, ironically, what in the U.S. is called conservative. While liberals - around the world - tend towards being very conservative themselves nowadays, having won some ground and not wanting it to slip away.

Basically, there's three options: change 'forward' (towards ideal conditions), change 'backward' (return to established priniciples), and don't change at all. In 40,000, changing backward isn't really in vogue, although I'd reckon there's a fair number of recongregators who would consider themselves to be 'returning the imperium to the emperor's ideal', even if that's not what they're actually doing. This makes Recongregation and Amalthianism the two most open and wide-ranging philosophies of the inquisition, whereas groups like Thorians, Istvaanians, and monodominants have (as a group, not individuals) more narrow fields.

Within both Recongreagators and Amalthians, of course, there are, as previously stated, varying degrees of their ideology. Some recongregators are primarily concerned with small scale clean-outs of corruption, which is a minor progressive (or reactionary) ideal (often claimed by everyone, but usually not pursued by conservatives!). I daresay there are Amalthians more like liberals than true conservatives, seeing minor changes as inevitable only pursuing and terminating movement that might upset their power-base. At the other end of the scale you've got planetary revolution and stuck-in-the-mud proponents of the exisiting order.

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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Extremism in the Inquisition
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2009, 02:37:03 AM »
Hence I did say 'directly' the examples you've given - while adequate - refer to adaptations of the inquisitorial philosophies (or rather, the reverse).
Debatable. Even though my points on the Radical viewpoints were a little indirect, what I said about the Puritan viewpoints was pretty damn straight.

Religious Terrorism is Monodominant, without any twisting whatsoever: "You're not part of our religion, or you do/are something frowned upon by our religion, hence you must die." Replace "our religion" with "The Imperium", and you've got MDism, no ifs or buts about it.

Same thing with Thorianism, although most people today are somewhat less active in searching for their messiah. The return of the Emperor/God would have a similarly dramatic effect on both universes, likely creating civil war.
Of course, politics and religion are usually a little more separate in the real world (somewhat fortunately...)

Indeed, there are a lot of parallels between Inquisition and real world philosophies - indeed, I've gone very much along that line when creating my own "minor philosophies".
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Offline Ynek

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Re: Extremism in the Inquisition
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2009, 06:53:57 AM »
Istvaanism - this is harder to place, but were the "The US government was behind 9/11" stories true (not a debate for here), then it would have very much have been an Istvaanic action.

Remind me, what happened on the ninth of November? Surely, you mean September the Eleventh, or 11/9. (Picky, I know, but it's a pet peeve of mine how people seem to be falling into the habit of embracing the American MMDDYY calendar date format as opposed to our own native DDMMYY.)

Anyway, to bring myself back on topic, I think that when a lot of people think of radical inquisitors, they have a certain degree of blurring between radicals and rogues.

Radical inquisitors are those who simply have an unorthodox, or contrary viewpoint to most in the inquisition. By and large, I would imagine that a radical would be tolerated by the vast majority of Inquisitors until they actually tried to do something that was detrimental to the Imperium as a whole. Radical Inquisitors are still Inquisitors, and have the full authority and perks of being one, able to call upon Ordo resources etc.
So whilst radicals might be observed as being a little bit unusual in their methods or philosophy, the odds are that aside from a few furrowed brows here and there, a radical who keeps his nose clean (no summoning daemons to destroy Imperial churches, for example) would probably be tolerated, if not embraced, by the majority of the Inquisition.

Rogue inquisitors are those who have turned their back upon the Imperial way in order to pursue their own goals, whatever those might be. (Destroying the Eye of Terror once and for all, ala Quixos, for example.) They would probably be shot on sight by most members of the Inquisition, and would find few sympathisers. They would not be able to call upon ordo resources, as doing so would draw attention to themselves which would probably result in conflict.

That's just the mental picture I always had of radicals and rogues, which probably isn't completely right, but that's why I come on here - to learn.
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