Why Robert Edwin House is the best hope for the wasteland and humanity

Discussion in 'Fallout: New Vegas Discussion' started by Throatpunch, Apr 14, 2016.

  1. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    After years I've finally decided to carry the flag for House/Vegas.

    I think pound for pound House is the best trade-off in terms of the Vegas factions. NCR's victory would be tying it's own noose by emboldening it's terrible political direction and rewarding it's reckless expansion. An independent victory is actually better for NCR than NCR actually winning. Legion is just a non-starter.

    Independent is arguably morally the best but practically it's a lame duck. People may headcanon whatever Mary Sue fantasy they like but the actual text of NV presents it as more chaotic and violent than the status quo prior to the game, and as in text the Courier isn't a leader but rather just the agent of change that made it so the Mojave can be "truly free". Sawyer's comment on the Indie ending makes it clear that Indie Vegas is at disadvantage in any kind of trade because they lack a higher organizing body and instead are a conflicting collection of societies.

    House by comparison offers stability, security and economic prosperity in exchange for political freedom, however he still allows social freedom. NCR is kicked into a better course and deals with a focused, strong leading body with House. House knows business and is beholden to nobody but himself. Not conflicting interests of a democracy or the absence of organization as in anarchy.

    House, as with everyone in NV, isn't perfect of course. He's a steel forge for prosperity and progress, but they're not universal. It's progress and prosperity for those who are valuable or can afford to buy-in. Others are left in the dust to be, at best, ignored and and at worst, actively stepped on. House's uncompromising nature means there is no negotiation.

    I don't really buy into House's space sales pitch and as such don't consider it in weighing him as a faction, he's strong enough if you take a more cynical assumption of his aspirations.

    I think however something important to consider is the Courier themselves. A Good Karma Courier can act as a strong balance to House himself. Whilst humanitarianism and the "little people" may be of no interest or concern to House, it can be to the Courier. The Courier can, throughout the game whilst backing House, champion the Mojave and those House would otherwise ignore. It's similar to how Ulysses being convinced of a Vegas Courier comments that their actions show conviction for the tribes of Vegas and not just House himself.

    Similarly, when it comes to Old World Blues and it's final message of bringing "New World Hope" with the right bright mind, the Courier/House dynamic is very much the same. The power, lights and technology of the Old World supported by the bright young mind of the New.
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  2. Norzan

    Norzan Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Apr 7, 2017
    I see House's silver tongue has worked on someone. :P

    But that's the fun part of the New Vegas's factions, how you can change your stance with any of them at any point because there was a clear effort to give them depth.
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  3. Señor Wally

    Señor Wally Mildly Dipped

    Feb 27, 2021
    House is like, my favorite character in the game, but I don't often side with him. I think the whole immortal dictator thing spooks me a bit. But he DOES offer the most promise to equal the scary stuff.
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  4. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    He's basically Wasteland Singapore but without the social regulations, and honestly I don't think that's a bad choice by any means.
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  5. KingArthur

    KingArthur All we have now is a life so ordinary

    Jun 25, 2018
    I agree with most if not all of this; my only real issue with House is his inflexibility, which you somewhat touched on when you talked about the fact that he probably wouldn’t negotiate.

    But I also think that goes deeper, particularly when it comes to his plans; think about the plot of NV and the second battle of the dam as an example. Yes, House adapts to if you fuck certain tasks up, but at the end of the day, House’s overarching plan is one of carefully laid set pieces, brought together by his predictions and more than a little luck (and probably his own considerable intel through roaming securitrons like Victor).

    The reason this is an issue in my eyes is because of the same reason that House becomes hostile if you destroy the Fort bunker; when something unpredictable or unquantifiable happens, House will bend or even break just like anyone else. If the Courier helps him, I’m sure they’ll be able to counterbalance him; to an extent. At the end of the day, the Courier is just House’s top employee, and there’s only so much autonomy they’ll be allowed, especially if something arguably inhumane is asked of them, that House’s concrete plans for the future rely on (hence why I feel that a Good Courier still can’t keep the Followers from being ejected from Freeside).

    Furthermore, history has this weird tendency to shat out great figures with no warning; the world never expects people of vision and ambition of the likes of Julius Caesar, Vercingetorix, Napoleon Buonaparte, or Oliver Cromwell. It just happens. I mention this last point because, again, the Courier is an employee. A great one, but another employee. What happens when history pulls a history, and a perfect storm creates another of these great people, as ambitious and cunning as Courier 6 themselves? There’s a very good chance that the sheer unpredictability of the future will unravel the Courier’s place in House’s operation, and House’s own self assured absolutism may even contribute to the Courier no longer having use as his top tool.

    The only thing Indie Vegas has over House, ironically, is how violent and unhinged it is. Anarchic Vegas, funnily enough, is set to adapt on a community-by-community basis, rather than being like House’s rigid Capitalist utopia that very well could be undermined by another man of particular vision.
  6. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 7, 2015
    Even if Vegas under House is a somewhat shitty place to live, it's perhaps worth keeping in mind that in the grand scheme of things the importance of Vegas and the Mojave itself: in neither a House scenario or an Indie scenario (save the most FanFiction.net Dead Money Post-Scarcity wanks) is Vegas realistically going to be the state that, itself, spreads civilization to the world. Vegas isn't going to go on a conquering spree anytime soon. Rather, it serves as a catalyst to invigorate trade with the east post-Caesar, and through the benevolent effects of trade raise up those societies that arise in Caesar's wake.

    Because House is pretty dead set on both maximizing the commercial potential of Vegas and kickstarting its industrial capacity (even if space colonization seems a bit silly) this makes him the best candidate to do this. An indie Vegas's instability would slow down trade with the east and the development of industry even if it is a better place to live.
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  7. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    I would argue that pound for pound House's Vegas is a better place to live than anarchy Vegas. Philosophically total freedom might have value but in practical material terms House provides a better option
  8. Iprovidelittlepianos

    Iprovidelittlepianos Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    May 12, 2020
    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
    -Samuel Cooke

    You people make me sick.
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  9. KingArthur

    KingArthur All we have now is a life so ordinary

    Jun 25, 2018
    I always thought that was Benjamin Franklin. I have a fridge magnet that attributes it to him and everything!
  10. Jogre

    Jogre So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Oct 25, 2015
    The Status Quo has various independent towns being blackmailed and coerced by Imperialist powers.

    While Independent may be canonically far more chaotic and violent, nonetheless it's free of the crude power plays of the NCR and Mr House. The advantage of the Independent route is largely what it says on the tin, Independence.

    Perhaps this is me being idealistic, but I think it would be better for the people of the Mojave to figure out what's in their interests first and foremost, rather than have a foreign order imposed on them.

    Sure Mr House might be more stable and capable of forming trading relations, but ultimately he's shown that his sole interest in the Mojave is economic benefit to The Strip. Take Freeside for instance, according to the New Vegas game guide, Freeside was established by Mr House as a ghetto for Vegas locals who weren't part of the Three Tribes, because he realised he'd have to recreate Freemont Street at some point, so instead he created Freeside realising that the locals would build up a functional economy anyway.

    There's something just incredibly unsavoury about that to me, that probably one of the most dangerous places to live in the Mojave is a ghetto deliberately created by Mr House because it works well for his plans for Vegas. Not to mention that in 2/3 endings, Mr House sends in Securitrons to massacre a bunch of people in order to restore "order" to Freeside, meaning he's responding to this situation of desperation he's created with overwhelming force because the poverty is no longer useful for him.

    This IMO gives a fairly good overview of why Mr House is not a good option: his main focus is enriching his imperialistic City State. He's ultimately unconcerned with the impact his actions on people and communities, and will happily differentiate between allowing mass amounts of poverty, or acts of authoritarianism if it benefits the Strip.

    My take is strongly, that people should be able to choose an order that works in their own interests, rather than having a distant entity come in and start imposing an order that explicitly works to direct economic power towards a Core city at the expense of the Periphery. Social orders based on imperialism aren't stable and it can be catastrophic for the communities explicitly built around resource extraction when the order collapses.
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  11. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    Your argument is effectively why I agree that morally independent is the best ending but I just can't really be convinced practically it's going to work out. That's why I said pound for pound House is the better choice, done out of a sense of pragmatism rather than me being a House fan that believes in his bright future. I believe, as the text reflects, House represents a stable and secure future for the Vegas region. The Mojave at large under House is effectively independent anyway, it just has a stable power center with the Strip itself rather than anarchy.

    Similarly I would also argue as I kind of alluded to in my post that the Courier can, as House's protege, be the "human face" of the regime. House cares nothing for the Mojave or Freeside, but the Courier can. You can argue that's basically the same case in Independent but I'd counter that by saying the backdrop of anarchy causes those problems to be a lot, lot more difficult to deal with as in the Indie Followers ending. Efforts by the Courier such as establishing the Atomic Wrangler-FotA working relationship are going to go a lot further in the backdrop of a stable House Vegas than in an unstable Indie Vegas where there's now a thousand and one more, larger issues that make those efforts less valuable in the grand scheme.

    To reiterate as well, Ulysses is convinced of a Vegas Courier because you support the tribes of Vegas and the city itself, not just backing House. Saying you can breathe life into Vegas is the closest thing we can get in the text to the Courier's post Hoover Dam future, and you can't say the same in an Indie Vegas situation IIRC.

    The Mojave has had independence before, prior to House's awakening. What was the result? Might makes right and constant conflict. Groups that dominated the Mojave were the likes of the Brotherhood, The Great Khans, the Vipers and the Jackals and the pre-reformed tribes of Vegas that dealt in cannibalism and raiding.

    This "human face" approach is also reflected in the text in the way the Courier handles things versus how House would handle things. Pragmatically it's perfectly acceptable to House to violently eliminate The Omertas, The White Gloves and the Boomers when their respective problems emerge. Yet, the Courier can deal with them entirely differently, diplomatically and humanely.
  12. SpyBox

    SpyBox First time out of the vault

    Oct 2, 2021
    I personally think that the NCR is the best faction for the Mojave and New Vegas. Don't forget, the NCR has actual paper legal tender, clean water, farms, and an actual structure. Even though the NCR has its shortcomings, it is a real government with laws, regulations, and due process. The NCR has an actual prison that they send people to like c'mon guys. I think that a good karma courier can serve to balance out the NCR and make positive change (like you guys were talking about with House). They could probably get psychos like Lieutenant Boyd and Colonel Moore investigated, make strides against corruption, and generally make the NCR a better place. At the end of the day, the NCR has real money, clean water, reliable sources of food, fully functional power plants, a standing army, due process, an actual social contract, taxes, regulation, and law enforcement. They are the best, and most morally good hope for the world and the Mojave Wasteland in general. Mr. House is a robot who doesn't understand humans and says that he won't control how people act, which won't work out in the long run, and Ceaser's Legion is an insane tribe that forgoes modern technology, crucifies people for every crime, and is very misogynistic. The independent Vegas ending Isn't good either, because it makes the city collapse into barely-managed anarchy. The big reason why I like the NCR in the game is because it feels like you are working in a system and not some put-together structure. Hearing this at the end of the ending makes me so happy:

    "I'm impressed to say the least, and that's no easy thing. You've secured NCR's future - the administration sends its thanks, for what it's worth."

    This quote describes how I feel mainly:

    "And we're glad to have you - and whether you're a soldier of the Republic or not, you're it in my eyes. Sometimes the Republic gets lost along the way while it's trying to follow its instincts but when soldiers like you come along it helps get them back on track, and does it by example. And what you've done here today, that's going to keep us going for a while."
  13. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    As I described is the crucial problem with NCR victory is that it deepens the rot that is going to kill it eventually. You embolden the likes of Oliver, Kimball and Moore in basically every way. You hand them victory, resources and political capital on a silver platter. They aren't going anywhere. If you want to see a vision of NCR in the years to come following their annexation of the Mojave, look to their state in Van Buren. Complete loss of control of their frontier, scattered to the wind, conflict and collapse in the West and moneyed interest like the Caravan Companies making things even worse.
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  14. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    I will say though that despite that I think House is the best ending for the Mojave, I think Wild Card is the canon ending j28nfOd.jpg
  15. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 7, 2015
    I don't think you can really characterize House as an imperialist, unless you'd consider any strongman dictator an imperialist. The Mojave is small, it's not really an international system (though this could be debated) and thus core-periphery dynamics don't really apply. Even granting that the Mojave does constitute an international system, I'm not sure that it qualifies as imperialism without an extractive relationship, which I can't recall from any of the end slides. None of this is to say life under House is good, of course.
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  16. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    Well House does want to get to space so ... space imperialist?
  17. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    Also House is arguably a native.
  18. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 7, 2015
    Yup, that's why I drew the comparison to strongmen.

    If we take House as a native (which I think he qualifies as for our purposes, though as you say it's debatable) than we can't call him an imperialist for his actions in the Mojave anymore than we can say Mao was within China or Stalin was within Russia.
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  19. Jogre

    Jogre So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Oct 25, 2015
    I know it's not the intended inteprretation of Global Systems Theory, however I would argue that the same logic of expropriation to benefit a core goes far beyond international systems and can be seen on a much smaller scale: for instance a country with a a Metropolitan region, and an economy explicitly built around benefiting the Metropolitan region still has a clear Core and Periphery.

    Mr House quite explicitly views the territory under his rule as being there, first and foremost to benefit the New Vegas Strip. This is why Freeside exists as a ghetto, it's a means to an end to create an entrance to the main project. House is more than happy to tolerate mass amounts of poverty and desperation if the end result is people getting directed to the Strip.

    When the economic situation of the Mojave exists solely to direct material power towards New Vegas, that is in my mind not an order built with a balanced view taking in to account the conflicting interests of all the towns and tribes around the Mojave, but is rather one specific region of power treating all the conflicting interests as things to be exploited.

    I agree with Joshua Graham's take in regards to House being an Imperialist: that being that he forced the native tribes of Vegas to exist within his world order, similar to what Caesar did.

    Mr House does not respect the autonomy of the various cultures and settlements around The Mojave, he views them as free reign to conquer and intergrate in to his specific economic order. Conquest and annexation of sovereign territory for the benefit of a metropolis, in my mind fits the bill of Imperialism.
    Hot take: the Soviet Union was Imperialist:

    They had an economic order which explicitly benefited Russia through collectivisation of agriculture explicitly meant to benefit the urban industrial areas, forcibly settled nomadic peoples, did Nuclear Tests in non-Russian territories (Such as Khazakstan) similar to what the British and French did in island territories.

    I would say the same fundemental logics that governed the British Empire also governed the Soviet Union.

    Yes I know they weren't expansionistic (Though they were more than happy, like the US, to overthrow sovereign governments that threatened their interests), but holding on to the territories of the Russian Empire and continuing to govern them as peripheries, albeit with more regional autonomy and representation, doesn't clear them of any wrongdoing.
  20. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 7, 2015
    I'm not sure that we can, unless we grant that EVERY city is an imperialist entity. Empires are described in terms of "metropoles" because it's reflective of urban-rural dynamics, not vice versa, and the two are not interchangeable. Imperialism as such
    can only meaningfully occur between states or nations.

    And while an argument can be made that the Soviet Union was imperialist towards other countries, and indeed even within the Union towards the non-Russian Republics, I did say "Russia" with some intentionality. But you do raise a good point as to Siberian tribes, and while I would not characterize this relationship as an imperialist one the argument could be made, so perhaps I should have been even more specific and said "European Russia."