Scott Jennings

A Brief Note On Immigration

Boris Johnson, Britain’s Prime Minister/lad with the best haircut, recently said the following:

“When the Roman Empire fell, it was largely as a result of uncontrolled immigration. The empire could no longer control its borders, people came in… and Europe went into a dark ages that lasted a very long time. The point is that it can happen again”
Hrm. He seems a smart guy. This totally isn’t just a dog whistle for racist right-wingers worked up about swarthy foreign types. I wonder if the history holds up.

So, in the late 4th century, the Visigoths were running away from the Huns. (Don’t feel like this reflects badly on them. EVERYONE ran away from the Huns. Or died.) They petitioned the Roman Emperor, Valens, to give them land to settle and protection, in return for which they would help defend Rome.

Valens at first thought this was a good idea (being the later Roman Empire, so-called “barbarians” were better fighters and more technologically advanced than Rome at this point) so agreed, and the Visigoths prepared to settle in northern Dacia (what is now Romania, in Eastern Europe). But then famine broke out (a frequent occurance) and Valens decided Rome needed Dacia’s farmland for themselves, not newcomers. The Visigoths were told to go… somewhere else.

Angry at what they justifiably saw as a betrayal, the Visigoths got mad and said “nah, we’re staying, bro.” So, once again, the Roman legions made ready for war. Seven of the Empire’s finest legions, under the personal command of Valens himself, marched on the Visigoths’ encampment at Adrianople.

It… didn’t go well for the Romans. Outmaneuvered and outfought (the Visigoth’s small but decisive light cavalry a precursor to the armored knights that would rule the battlefield for the next thousand years or so), the Romans lost 75% of their forces, in the most crushing and decisive defeat Rome had suffered since Varus lost a similar number of legions in a futile march on Germany hundreds of years prior. Among the losses – Emperor Valens himself, who fell in battle leading his legions (his body was never recovered).

The Visigoths were later stopped by desperate Roman defenders on the Danube, but Rome never recovered from Adrianople, in 378. And from that point on, the Western Roman Empire was sacked and looted by invasion and invasion, until the final boy-Emperor Romulus Augustus was a mere footnote to be disposed of by the Ostrogoth king of Italy, a hundred years later.

So… the Roman Empire fell because of immigration, all right. They fell because they tried to stop it.

The Internet Is For Spam

Thanks for reminding me to upgrade WordPress, random script kiddie! Apologies to everyone else for having this long-moribund artifact of a more civilized age suddenly arising from its slumber to activate your tracking mechanisms. As an apology, here’s a song about the Internet. See you again in 3 years!

Look Upon Thy Works, You

When I was a young punk I dyed my hair, sneered at everyone, and thought “Kill your parents” was an arch joke.

Now my generation dyes their hair (to hide the grey), sneers at the camera, and exhorts you to let your parents die for their stock options.

We have become evil.

The Adventures Of Mikhail Tukhachevsky And Albert Speer In The Twentieth Century

So checking in on Hearts of Iron 4 mods, and TNO got a big update.

TNO = The New Order, and it’s probably the second most ambitious mod for HOI4 (Kaiserreich is a close first just on sheer content). The lead developer wrote it as a visceral reaction to “wehraboo” Nazi fanboys in strategy gaming; the mod is set in 1962 after an Axis victory, and shows in rigorous detail how the inherent contradictions of fascism lead to its collapse, even after conquering half the known world. It’s really an incredible achievement just for that alone.

You are NOT going to win as Germany; your choices are the manic SS leader Heydrich (who promptly begins a nuclear war destroying the world), the bureaucratic Bormann who watches helplessly as Germany’s economy melts into slag, the amateurish Goering who figures there’s no problem that can’t be solved by MORE INVASIONS, until the money runs out, and finally, and most comprehensively, the reformer Speer who attempts to enact a Chinese-style economically rationalized “Nazism with a human face” only to fail completely as slave revolts break out and militarist holdouts fight back. No, you don’t get to do “Nazism with a human face”. Bad authoritarian, no cookie.

So, the latest update has to do with the Russian survivor states; instead of piloting Nazi Germany into the ground you can play in the wreckage of the shattered Soviet Union (one of the historical departure points being Bukharin instead of Stalin leading the USSR in the 1930s and badly losing the war – another plot point that seems intentionally designed to infuriate a certain type of Internet poster) as a Russian warlord in a Mad Max landscape. Luftwaffe terror bombers droning overhead, you raid your neighbors for food and wait for opportunities to expand. The writers went absolutely manic with the choices on display – ranging from the almost cloyingly good Valery Sablin (a naval officer who lead a mutiny against Soviet repression in our timeline) and his libertarian socialism, to a cargo cult of Nazi fanboys who think they can be real Aryans if they just try hard enough, to a literally insane monarchist, Sergey Taboritsky, who is convinced Czar Nicholas’ hemophiliac child Alexei survived the Russian Civil War and is waiting to return as a savior on the wings of angels. To pave said path to heaven, Taboritsky kills everyone in the way. With poison gas.

Gamers being who they are, Taboritsky’s doomed path became enormously popular (despite, or more probably because it is without a doubt the most tragic and evil outcome for the Russian survivor states) so the latest update adds…. 15 MORE successor states that Taboritsky’s empire shatters into after his death. Which range from desperate refugees to literal Satanists. There’s a lot here to unpack, you could say.

Anyway, it took me a while to find this update on Steam, because the old version is, uh, still there, unupdated. Apparently there was a LOT of drama involving Russophobia and transphobia and Reddit, and the mod underwent a change of ownership. I spent about 2 hours on the mod’s Reddit trying to figure out what happened and I still got nothin’.

So to save you hours of drama spelunking, here’s the link to the latest version. There’s a LOT of content here – I haven’t even touched upon the various ways the US is doomed in this mod, and you should fire off a nuclear war at least once (it breaks the entire game. Quite literally.)

The New Order – Last Days of Europe on Steam Workshop