Is Borderlands actually Anti-libertarian propaganda?

Not entirely sure where to post this so let me know if this is the wrong place for this kind of post.

American libertarianism is fiercely antigovernment and pro-capitalist. Borderlands is a game about corporations that own and control entire planets with no government, whatsoever. All people are entirely subject to the wills of these corporations, like Hyperion, Atlas, and Maliwan. These corporations wage wars against each other, which they simply describe as “mergers and acquisitions.” This may not be what libertarians think would result form their ideology but in truth, it is the final result. No “nonaggression principle” could ever hold any weight in such a world where those with the wealth and power are capable of contracting entire armies to defend and fight for their interests. By doing away with all public functioning governing bodies, libertarians are unknowingly, yet, voluntarily subjecting themselves to the dominance of private enterprise. Libertarianism is actually an ideology for those desiring to return to some form of neofeudal world where all of society is reorganized back into the old form of the monarchy except instead of the sovereign ruling by the divine right of god, they instead rule by the fact that they embodied the “entrepreneurial spirit” and “worked hard” for what they have. However, as we can probably deduce from Borderlands, the customer is always right…until they no longer have any other choice.


Propaganda, no.
Satire, yes.


I would say it is more pro-libertarian. Firstly, guns… lots of them… and you can have any one your heart desires. Also, the corporations are competing without laws and regulations holding them back. Albeit violently, which is not the libertarian way. Atlas comes to mind here. Nearly wiped out after the first game, but after some changes in management they were able to bounce back and compete. Didn’t even need a government bailout (Libertarianism is against corporate bailouts and the too big to fail mentality). Currencies compete too. Some vendors will only take Eridium and not cash and vice versa. The biggest reason I think that the game isn’t anti-libertarian, is in every Borderlands game, the government isn’t mentioned once. There is no government entity in the series to tell you what you can and can’t do, so you have all the liberty in the world. Not to mention the fact that there was a gay marriage in the DLC. Libertarians have been pro-gay marriage since the 70’s or so.

I’m pretty sure all the mass murdering, horrendous living conditions on the border planets, and companies committing genocide aren’t supposed to be “positive things.” Like VH said, it’s satirical.

Rhys is sort of the exception to the rule. And even then, he still started out as an a-hole who idolized a maniac. It took several near death experiences, falling in love with a Pandoran, and having his loyalties to his friends constantly tested to turn him into a relatively conscientious CEO/business owner.

The Pre-Sequel mentions how the Corporate Wars resulted in the fall of the central government and complete corporate takeover. Which begs the question of who prints all that paper money? But that’s just me nitpicking.


To paraphrase Gag Halfrunt: Well, Borderlands is just this game, you know?

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I bet you hate Mel Brooks.

Libertarianism has no monopoly on same sex marriage. Socialism is pro-lgbtq+ rights, yet, understands that top-down hierarchical structures, like those present in capitalism, are inherently unjust and prone to corruption. Also the only vendors who accept eridium are those on the black market. My point of this post was to say that Borderlands is what results when you take libertarianism to its natural conclusion.

Young Frankenstein is an all-time classic.

Borderlands isn’t Libertarian. Borderlands is Anarchy. Big bloody difference. Anarchy is the no-rules existence you see in BL. Libertarians “tend to believe that some government is necessary to protect life, liberty, property, civil rights, national defense, and provide mediation service through courts.”

Where libertarians differ between themselves is in how much government is necessary to set the framework.

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Yes, because Pandora is the best place to live. Not a terrible hellscape in the slightest.

Yes. Yes it is. It’s why Pandora so unashamedly espouses a society with no gun control, a strictly user-pays vending machine-based health care system, and a shoot-first immigration policy. Because it’s anti-libertarian propaganda, pure and simple.

But in all seriousness, to call it propaganda is just silly. Sure, there are plenty of the writers’ values that make their way into the story, and a lot of it is managed quite stupidly. I’m a liberal and it looks stupid even to me. I found it a breath of fresh air that women characters were so prominent in the game, but you can empower female characters without having to to make virtually all male characters spineless and ineffectual, as the writers did in the base game. It’s possible to celebrate queer diversity while still acknowledging that actually, for some people, somewhere, heterosexuality is actually a thing. And I’m sure there’s a more nuanced and thoughtful way to include transgender people than just getting an improbably hypermasculine mountain of steroids and testosterone and calling her Juno.

But whatever. Borderlands is made by a lot of different people, all with different opinions, worldviews, and biases, and since nothing exists in a vacuum, it’s inevitable that these will all end up colouring the product these people work on. And if some of the viewpoints that colour the product are not ones that you personally align with, that doesn’t make it propaganda. It’s a different phenomenon from propaganda, and it has a technical name: The Real World.

It might be hard to see this as an American, since you guys seem to think that absolutely everything is a war nowadays, and every action and statement is first and foremost a call to action or a proclamation of allegiance to one side of the other. But this dichotomy is ultimately illusory. We can try and surround ourselves in a bubble of like minded people, but the inherent complexity, contradictions and ambiguity of the real world will always find us in the end.

My advice is to remember that every ideology in the world is minority. If you hold any kind ideology dear to your heart, you automatically place yourself in a small group, apart from a much larger group of humanity. This means that, statistically, you’re almost certainly wrong, about something if not about everything. And, statistically, you’re unlikely to ever stop brushing up against ideologies different to yours.

But that’s ok. Just remember that you’re a big boy, with a good brain in your head, not a delicate flower. You’re perfectly capable of coming into contact with differing ideas and opinions without necessarily being trampled by them.


Honestly I always saw borderlands as being a satirical take on capitalism taken to its absolute extreme. The shittiness of Pandora (and the galaxies in general) is mainly due to the almost unlimited power possessed by corporations.


That is the natural outcome of unregulated capitalism.

Also includes all the fun of things that have been pointed out since the 1980’s and even earlier in cyber punk and at times in general SF.

Unregulated corporations will take every advantage they believe they can get away with (lifetime contracts for instance). And if you don’t have a government of the people and by the people that is far stronger than them, that regulates them, and forces them to function under the rule of law, that is what you will get.

I imagine we live in the same nation, the United States.

Just look at the reports recently released by congress, and by both parties, for various reasons seeing the current gang of four – Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook – as in need of serious correction. And that is just in order to allow competition to be feasible. It’s why both parties here in the US are seeing the best thing to do is to break up all four.

Libertarianism is nothing but a hollow philosophy. In general it holds as much water as “going Galt” does.


I would call it a satirical dystopia fantasy.

I don’t think it propagates something.



Technically, Borderlands is a futuristic sci-fi tale, and a satirical comedy about corporations and capitalism.

Calling it distopia would mean it is based on our actual history, and nowhere I see “Earth” or any of our current countries or governments mentionned. Making a parallel with current american issues is your own twist on Borderlands story.

The economy in the Borderlands universe is deeply broken. Assuming they have the technology to “digistruct” anything, the base concept of material possession as we know it is not relevant.

The term dystopia does, afaik, in no way refer to actual history. Where do you get that?
It just discribes a world (or universe in that case) that has parts of it severely broken, either society, economy or polity.

In future history books the early 21st century will be depicted as the time when having a gay wedding and a gender neutral character in a game was considered propaganda.

A sad time it was.


Itsa paradise u kidding me? Lol