It would be really nice if people knew what they were talking about before they started arguing. Okay, to be perfectly fair, there’s a lot of info out there and it’s hard to keep up on all of it. What really annoys me is when the same misconceptions keep cropping up again and again and again.

For example, take a look at this post from Classic Battletech. If you don’t know a thing about the Clans specifically or Battletech in general, I suppose I can excuse this kind of thing, but to better educate the general public, here’s what’s wrong with what was stated:

– They exalt the Clan above the individual, with the Warrior caste being supreme

Actually true. Yup. Though to a greater or lesser degree depending on the Clan. It’s not the worst way to run things, and nationalism (which is what is being defined here) is an element in all nation-states — thus the name.

– They stress loyalty to a single leader

Absolutely false. No Clan has a single leader, nor is loyalty to any leader considered particularly important. Each Clan is, in fact, led by a Council of Bloodnamed Warriors (Bloodnamed Warriors recieve their status by winning a tournament in which they engage in lethal combat to determine who is the best warrior, a rather meritocratic way to qualify for the Warrior Caste’s highest council, if not for the governing body of an entire society.) One among these is elected the Senior Khan. He acts as head of state and one representative to the Grand Council (somewhat analogous to the UN, but with more power and less indecision.) Even so, he has little real power. The Khan’s decisions must be ratified by a majority of the Clan Council, he holds no power of veto, and he serves at the pleasure of the Clan Council. He can be dismissed at any time by a simple majority, and any member of the Council can challenge him to a trial by combat with the aim of forcing concessions from him or even divesting him of his position. Such challenges are not even frowned upon. As if to make the situation worse, each Clan Council also elects one of their number to serve as Junior (sa)Khan. He acts as the commander in chief of the Clan’s military and also holds a position on the Grand Council. Within his own Clan, his political power is no greater than that of any other Bloodnamed Warrior, and he also serves at the pleasure of the Clan Council.

– They use violence and censorship to forcibly suppress political opposition

Untrue. While violence is always an option in Clan Society, in most Clans political opposition is, while not especially encouraged, allowed. Each Clan is split into at least two major political camps, and whichever camp is in power, Warden or Crusader, the other is allowed to exist, to plot, to scheme, and even to make television.

– They engage in syndicalist corporatism (especially the Diamond Sharks, where Mechant caste has massive amounts of political power compared to other clans)

Yes they do, but it doesn’t mean what the author thinks it does.Fascists practiced simple corporatism, which is characterized by state-run labor unions. Socialism, and by extension the socialist system employed by the Clans, upholds the ideal of syndicalism, where the state is run by the labor unions (and therefore, in theory, the workers.)

The difference is that in the fascist system, one gains power through service to the state (and, by extension, the single party and/or demagogue who runs it.) While in a socialist system, one gains power through the efficiency of their work and/or the regard of their peers.

Perhaps a too-subtle and even sometimes irrelevant disctinction. It took me nearly an hour to wrap my mind around it. Moving on.

– They implement totalitarian systems

The Clans aren’t even authoritarian, let alone totalitarian. Rebellion is encouraged, and avenues for it are provided. Authority is dispersed and compartmentalized, with an elaborate system of checks and balances in place to prevent abuse.

At least in theory. In practice, the position of the warrior caste (being the only ones with guns and training, aside of their role in mediating disputes between castes) can often lead to the lesser castes being subordinated in a more-or-less totalitarian fashion. The Smoke Jaguars were a fine example of this.

Frankly, it would be hard for the Clans to get *less* fascist without becoming degenerate hippies.

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