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PresentPerfect


Fanfiction masochist. :B https://ko-fi.com/presentperfect

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Jul
25th
2021

"Might makes right" · 1:07pm July 25th

I've been meaning to post this for a while, now, no idea why today is the day. :B

So, once upon a time, while brainstorming for The Princess's Captain, I came across this amazing idea. Tempest would have an epiphany about the phrase "might makes right" that, rather than the raison d'etre of many a politician and schoolyard bully, would recast it with a fuller meaning more akin to "with great power comes great responsibility".

I then proceeded to not write this amazing idea down and forget the logical connection. It has haunted me ever since.

But you people what read my blogs are smart. Maybe you can figure out what it was I stumbled upon. All I know beyond what I just said was that it might have been along the lines of 'rediscovering' old bits of phrases that have been lost to time, like "but satisfaction brought it back" coming after "curiosity killed the cat". :B It's not much to go on, I know, my mind is a byzantine death trap where ideas go to perish.

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Comments ( 12 )

It's... unlikely, but I used that phrase in a blog comment last year in reference to the death of the Roman Republic?

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

5559860
Pretty sure it's been more than a year at this point. :B Also, trying to actually use "might makes right" rather than show it in a negative light.

Man, this is hard. D:

Sounds like she would be moving toward a noblesse oblige. She has two excellent contrasting examples tp play off of as well: the Storm King used his might to benefit himself at the expense of other, weaker parties, while the princesses use their might to benefit all.

Tempest's version might be a little more forceful, jusy because that's who she is. "That's what you want to improve your life? Here's how we achieve that, so do what I say."

More or less.

I haven’t a clue, but I do have a suggestion.

If it’s a partial rhyme like you believe, skimming over the words that rhyme with “Right” might jog your memory!

There's this quote that I remember as "it's the duty of the strong to protect the weak". I think I first encountered it in Heroes of the Equinox, volume eight of the French comic book series Valérian and Laureline. I failed to find the exact quote used in the comic, but there seem to exist many variations, including this one in the Bible: "we who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves" (Rom 15:1). There's also a kid-friendly version from Pippi Longstocking: "If you are very strong, you must also be very kind".

iisaw #6 · July 25th · · ·

The thing with pithy sayings is that they're almost always wrong. Might makes victory. Might makes safety. Might makes devastation. But it doesn't make right if your definition means good or justified.

In fact, as Machiavelli so wisely pointed out, might makes evil... if it wants to keep on being mighty. He advises the "prince" to be kind, gentle, and loving to his subjects and rivals... as long as they are obedient and friendly. When they get out of line, they must be not just punished, but eliminated as ruthlessly as possible. Being purely good will ensure your enemies take advantage of you.

Perhaps that might have been Tempest's epiphany? What she had was a responsibility to use her might wisely, for the long-term stability of the kingdom? To let Twilight be the kind and loving princess, while she eliminated the threats that her princess was too soft-hearted to address?

5559887
The two contrasting examples is a very good illustration of the above point. The Storm King created dissatisfaction and rebellion from within his ranks because he treated his troops and underlings very poorly. If he had treated them well and honored his promises, Tempest and the Parrot Pirates would have remained loyal, and Equestria would have fallen. Conversely, the Equestrians have been within a hair's breadth of disaster many times because they are nearly always forgiving of their enemies and ignore clear threats to their kingdom. It would have been better (though less entertaining for us) if they had left Discord a block of stone, and had mounted a concerted effort to hunt down and kill Chrysalis after her second near-victory.

5559877
Anyway, all of the above is probably off the mark, but it might spark your memory. Good luck, because this is a story I would really like to read!

5559877
Maybe you can go through the "Good Dictator" path ? Like, Crouching Tiger, Hiden Dragon (or is it the other way around ?): an evil dictator that must be killed, but in the last moment the nameless hero understand that the emperor is the only chance to unite the land and, thus, don´t kill him.

5559968
You're thinking of Hero, not Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Which are both excellent films, even if they are Chinese pro-government propaganda :derpytongue2:

I wouldn't be surprised if this saying was a derivation with "vae victis," or "woe to the conquered." The expression basically means that the conquered have no right to ask for leniency, mercy, or to protest the outcome of the loss, because the consequences of their victory are solely at the discretion of the victor.

In essence, "might makes right" is a distillation of the saying, though from the perspective of the winner. They won. They have the right to make decisions about what that victory means. And those without power, or might, do not have a say because if they want one, they must overcome those with.

Just my 2¢.

I'm reminded of another maxim, "Be the change you wish to see." (sometimes mis-attributed to Ghandi, though my weeb brain of course thought of it as used in Ghost In The Shell). When applied here, it can be understood as meaning that might reaches its full potential, not when it fights but when it's used to exemplify a change.

The Storm King had all the power in the world but used it to make enemies, including the Hippogriffs and Abyssinians, leading to his eventual defeat. In his service, Tempest used her power to oppress others; she privately desired acceptance, but her actions worked against that and led her deeper into isolation. Starlight Glimmer professed happiness through equality, but her actions ran counter to that since she kept herself in a position of power, leading to her becoming ever more jealous and paranoid. They each had power but used it to enforce their will on others, not to embody the world they wished to see.

In the real world, many a violent revolution has not transitioned into a peaceful government once the old regime is toppled. The echoes of violence stay in the population in the form of angry and wounded people who are more likely to fall back into a pattern of violence in the future, and who are easily manipulated by power-hungry people. Hollywood loves to have a big violent ending followed by a happily ever after, with all the story's problems fixed, but the real world doesn't work like that.

To take a different tack: dogs. If you're regularly angry with a dog, and particularly if you use violence to punish it, you're likely to find that your dog becomes ever more short-tempered and violent itself. When you shout, your dog learns to shout back. When you demonstrate violence as a response to displeasure, the dog doesn't learn to be obedient, they learn that violence is a valid response to displeasure. They don't learn from what you say, they learn from what you do.

Might used correctly can serve as a positive example. Might misused can undermine itself.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

5559887
Noblesse oblige seems like it be along the right path. :O This is good.

5559924
Not a rhyme at all, sadly. :B

5559952
This also sounds like it's on the right track. :D

5559979
Yeah, this is the interpretation of the saying that I'm starting from, at least.

5560040
Ultimately, I don't think I wanted it to just be "with great power comes great responsibility", but that's kind of what I keep coming back to again and again. :C Oh well, I can't really ask people to understand how my brain works, after all, I barely understand it.

Half these comments make me think of Ferdinand and Lorenz from Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Many of their support conversations focus on "a noble's duty to protect the commoners" or some such. Then there's Caspar, with his hotheaded sense of justice, always wanting to jump into action to punish evildoers.

Actually, now that I think about it, the responsibility of those with power is basically one of the overarching themes of the entire game. Nobles, crests, relics... Wow, I now have a new appreciation for the game's writing.

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