Oh... I'd already found John Wick... thank you! While over-powered (as any lone action star carrying an entire movie often is) for PCs, I tweaked this build just a little and kept it as what the "best-of the best-of the best" would possibly look like in my Secret Worlds campaign. (note: I finally saw JW2, and while an abysmal action movie, it was a stunning art film from a cinematography and choreography, POV. If the next movie follows this trajectory, JW3 might lack not just a plot and substance, but even dialogue and character... the whole thing becoming a 2 hour, kaleidoscopic dance routine with guns.)
And thank you, IndianaJoe... I did find those 5th Edition skill lists for special forces, etc. It was a good start, but I guess I'll have to build my own. I always liked the old books, that had things like full write-ups for "low level ninja, medium level ninja, god-like ninja" as reference. I'd really hoped to find something like that... "realistic SAS vet, cinematic SAS vet, super-heroic SAS vet" or whatever.
Another refreshing change with Diana is that so many of those other strong women are also emotionally damaged in some way. James Cameron's female protagonists, like Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor, are notable examples -- filled with and driven by grief, anger, fear. In contrast Diana is positive, idealistic, hopeful. She wants the best for everyone and is relentlessly determined to make that happen. If innocent people need help, you help them, no question or doubt. In the movie you see that attitude and determination inspire the people around her, which is what makes it so inspiring for the audience. And when her beliefs are challenged and shaken, she comes through to an understanding that has matured and deepened, but is no less positive.
Now, socialism. Warning: long and a bit dry, but let us see what the Dictionary of Political Thought has to say in defining socialism, without trying to argue whether it’s good or bad.
As a purely economic doctrine, I’ve been told that socialism simply means that the state exerts some control over the means of production and distribution. One should probably add: For conscious pursuit of social or political goals. After all, in Medieval Europe the feudal aristocracy controlled the principle means of production — land — but this was not for some conscious program of social engineering, so I don’t think it would be fair to call manorialism “socialist.”
Scruton notes that, as with so many political terms, “socialism” is a wide term. He sees two principle, though related meanings:
First, “In Marxian theory and official communist language… the means of production are taken into social ownership, and the state persists as an administrative machine, upholding a new order of legality, and a new system of rights, in such a way as to permit the emergence of true common ownership, and the eventual abolition of the state.” I.e., the state owns everything in the name of the workers and peasants, with the promise that it will eventually become superfluous and the workers and peasants will own and control everything themselves — but in common, not individually.
(Scruton wrote his dictionary in 1982. Leaving aside the morality of socialism as practiced by the USSR and others, we may say this “hard-core socialism” has not fared well in experimental trials.)
In a second meaning, socialism is a philosophical and political doctrine that includes “a broad and comprehensive outlook on the human condition.” It’s also conceived as permanent, rather than a transitional stage to some future utopia. This broader interpretation of socialism is based on three postulates:
1) Equality: Equal opportunity as well as equal rights under law, with an eye toward equalizing outcomes for individuals. “The main consideration is that human beings have equal rights, since they are equal in every way relevant to those rights.”
2) The state as administrator: “The state is seen, not as the legal and ceremonial representation of civil society, but rather as a complex administrative device, designed to guarantee individual rights, and to distribute benefits among the citizens in accordance with those rights.” It must “provide and maintain the institutions which ensure that human goods — food, medicine, education, recreation — are made available to everybody on terms hat are as equal as possible.” But the state is not an end in itself; and it should not be used to propagate “religious doctrine, or nationalist ideology.” It is a powerful tool, but just a tool.
3) Elimination of systems of control. Class systems, hereditary privileges, and other means by which people control and compel each other violate the principle of equal rights, and so are unjust.
Private property receives special mention: “Private property is permissible, but only insofar as it does not amount to a system of control.” While “Type 2 Socialists” reject the hard-core Marxian condemnation of all private property as a means of privilege and control, and may believe that private property is a legitimate expectation of citizens in a well-ordered society, socialists do think that vast concentrations of wealth and property can harm the interests of society and the citizens. “Hence, the state must always be ready to nationalize major assets, and should curtail or forbid the transactions that lead to large-scale private accumulation — such as gifts and inheritance.”
As Scruton notes, socialism has a long and natural affiliation with labor movements, “for the obvious reason that, while it promises very little and threatens much to the class of property owners, it promises much and threatens little, or seems to threaten little, to the workers.”
He also notes that under Western parliamentary government, socialism has shown it can be implemented pragmatically, democratically and with compromise, without attempting to impose any of the three underlying principles in pure form. Some even say “this ‘parliamentary road to socialism’ is in fact a creature so different from the socialism of the communist state as to be only misleadingly called by the same name.”
Criticisms of “Type 2 socialism” reject one or more of its postulates, or see contradictions between them. For instance, some people insist that 1) is wrong and all people are not and should not be equal under law.
Some thinkers argue that the state must be treated as an end in itself in order to obtain the loyalty of the people: As a pure service-provider “it comes to seem arbitary and dispensable, and therefore holds increasing power with increasing instability.”
Other critics see a conflict between 2) and 3), arguing that the all-pervading power of the state merely creates another self-interested élite. It is also argued that the ideal of “social justice” that runs through 1) and 3) is “incompatible with the assertion of natural rights and freedoms.”
I don’t see anything monstrous in this “type 2 socialism.” Arguable, either in theory or practice, but nothing outside the normal bounds of rational discourse. In fact, I accept postulate 1) without reservation; and I agree with postulate 2) with reservations (I see the state as a rational machine for achieving practical goals, but accept to achieve those goals it may need to pretend to some greater majesty. One may also question the implicit assumption that the state is the *only* institution to fulfill this distributive and administrative function). 3) seems to be where the practical difficulties seem greatest, though I appreciate the goal. It’s a bad joke to talk of “rights” and “freedom” to people who are externally constrained by poverty, racism, etc. from being able to exercise them.
So that's Scruton. I don't claim any special authority for his dictionary, but it's the one I found for cheap at Goodwill so it's the one I use.