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Mar 05 2018


Magic the Gathering and Sociology: White

I love to learn. It’s something central to my identity. They say you can’t learn via osmosis, but sometimes it really seems like I can- aside from the fact that osmosis is limited to transfer of water, of course! This part of me can have its downsides, of course. Sometimes, I sit in class and observe rather than participate. In a class like sociology, this causes problems. We’re examining unique lenses with which to view society, and I don’t offer my own unique lens. After a brief discussion with my sociology professor (I say brief but it was closer to an hour and a half), she suggested using MTG philosophy as a unique lens to view social problems and potentially provide solutions. I didn’t think it was a great idea, but it definitely provides a unique perspective into the field of sociology.

I want to preface by saying these conclusions are based on my own understanding of the color pie, and it’s entirely possible I misunderstand a certain color’s philosophy, especially if it’s one not in line with my own.  Additionally, my goal with these articles is not to attack a group of people, belittle anyone, or push an agenda.  It’s simply a tool for and an exercise in keeping an open mind and studying potential solutions to social problems.  With that out of the way, let’s look at the color of society itself, White.

One for All

Of all the five colors in Magic, White is the color that can be relied on to construct society. The other four colors don’t see it as a necessity like White does. It follows, therefore, that White is the color to be most preoccupied with social problems and their solutions. Since White’s primary concern is the equality of everybody in the system, we can apply that philosophy to current social problems in America and see what the result is. We can start by identifying consensus problems in American society today. Then we’ll break them down one by one. In the wake of recent events, gun control is on the forefront of everyone’s mind. Here in Utah, illegal immigration is a large concern. Overcrowded prisons is another pressing issue. Related to overcrowded prisons is drug use and drug related violence. Finally, to round things out, we’ll look at rape culture.

Lawful Good, Lawful Evil

What does White think of guns? White certainly wouldn’t be opposed to the concept of weaponry- as long as it’s used to maintain the peace. If a White society was faced with the issue of gun violence, they would immediately enact legislature to solve the problem. White has no qualms with taking everyone’s guns away. Additionally, white won’t mess around with half-measures such as banning specific types of guns, increasing background checks, or raising minimum legal age. White doesn’t care about your personal rights because society is more important. We can reasonably conclude that White would strip society of all firearms with force if necessary.

White’s approach to immigration would be more finessed. Yes, a White society can be racist. Allow me to introduce to you a concept known as deviance. Deviance is behavior that is separate from the norms established by a society. White taken to the extreme would exclude a group from its society if that group were deemed too deviant, or if the group could damage society. If that group were not deviant, White would accept them into its society more easily. With a White perspective, I believe illegal immigration in America would be heavily punished, but those who entered the country through the proper channels would have the opportunity they were looking for.

The War on Drugs

Of all the colors, White would certainly be among the most opposed to drug use (both Blue and Green could be against certain types of drugs). America’s current legislature regarding drug use strikes me as very White. We consider drug use to be deviant behavior and we punish it with the criminal justice system. Statistically speaking our prisons are relatively overfilled with drug abusers and dealers, which are considered nonviolent crimes. Lots of factors can account for this inequality, so let’s not get into the statistics breakdown here. Maybe another day. A White society will have a high incarceration rate- but the harshness of the sentences would be more fair to suit the crime.

It stands to reason, then, that White still has the same issue with overcrowded prisons. Realistically White would use hieromancy to force prisoners to perform public service. A good example is Gideon Jura’s Origins story. He was a disturber of the peace and he got (rightfully) locked up for it. However, the warden realized his potential and set him to work learning law magic. America adopting White philosophy to solve inflated incarceration rates would turn to external systems to help reintroduce prisoners to society. White acknowledges their potential and wants to use that person’s potential to further society. Incarceration is simply a temporary punishment for temporary misbehavior.

Patriarchal Society

White believes everyone in society to be equal regardless of individual difference. This includes sex. While sexism is in no way present in its original form, plenty of Americans acknowledge lingering sexism is still a problem. White would naturally have society-wide anti-discrimination laws, but it would go one further. A noticeable issue with rape is the lack of reporting the occurrences to authorities. In a White society, the crime would either be reported immediately or would be witnessed immediately by Big Government. I believe White would take a crime like rape very seriously and as such its punishments would be equally serious.

I hope you enjoyed this brief look at sociology through a familiar (and maybe even fun) lens. Sociology is a unique field- its very nature causes it to skew towards a very specific sociological lens. By forcibly applying Magic’s vastly different philosophies, I believe we can all open our minds to possible solutions that we never considered before. I’ll be back next week, where I discuss blue and their focus on using society as a tool to perfect the individual.

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Mike Jardine

Call him what you will, Mike, Michael, Mickey Mouse, or even Emcee Mikey, he's always going to try his hardest in any format to grind you out with pure, unadulterated midrange value. Mike has experience in literature and creative writing, but never considered it a useful skill until he realized he could write about the best game in existence. He has since added it to the list of things he might do for a living someday, along with being an actor, a programmer, or president of the United States. He hopes that his love for Magic will be a part of his career no matter what he decides to do.

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