Failure to launch

The uncanny Liberal mimicry of a kickstarter failure

The Liberal government is demonstrating mastery in messaging within modern pop culture. From memes to selfies – there are a lot of examples, but none better than their mimicry of the never-shocking ‘Kickstarter failure.’ 

It’s a weird thing to emulate perhaps, but it is one of the most consistent things they have done with their big-ticket campaign promises. The level of similarity is uncanny and it all starts like this: 

 The Promise 

Kickstarter campaigns start with huge promises that capitalize on some of the deepest fantasies of their intended audience.  

In the video game world that means re-vamped versions of classic games with modern game play, features and graphics. In a modern re-make, it would also allow for huge multi-player capabilities. What could be better than re-visiting the massive immersive world of Wing Commander, but this time with friends in virtual reality cockpits? Nothing. Nothing could be better. 

And so, people backed Star Citizen. 

For their part, the Liberals have made a couple massive promises: for those who have felt that their votes in first-past-the-post were wasted – worry not. The election of 2015 is going to be the last election under that system. Full Stop. For those who finally want justice and closure – don’t worry. The Truth and Reconciliation Commissions’ (TRC) recommendation for an inquiry is happening. There will finally be justice. Full Stop. 

And then comes: 

 The Great Success! 

After making these amazing promises, Kickstarter campaigns usually hit their goals quite fast. From thousands to millions, people are convinced to buy in. They spend their money to help achieve a dream. It’s nice to feel like a personal contribution will help that dream be achieved. 

In the case of the Liberals, they enjoyed huge electoral success. Crushing the incumbent Conservatives and the early front runners, the NDP. In some places the victory was absolute. Sorry, not sorry NDP, Green or CPC voters east of Quebec. The vote has been cast and it’s time for dreams to become reality. 

But then: 

 The Red Flags 

After the initial giddiness of the personal contribution wears off; when people are waiting for updates, the rose coloured glasses come off.  

The thing about rose coloured glasses is they make all the flags look red, so it’s easier to dismiss the actual red flags. 

Once those glasses come off some serious questions start to be raised. If the game play in Star Citizen is supposed to be so immersive and amazing wouldn’t larger companies with more resources like Blizzard or Valve had made a game like this before? How will a small game developer be able to make a game of this scope in anywhere close to their projected timeline? 

Is it just a coincidence that electoral reform was put on the Liberal platform when they got relegated to third party status? If this is the last election under first-past-the-post, why hasn’t the prime minister, or anyone in the party, said which version of reform was their preferred one? Shouldn’t a plan to change the electoral system have a defined end goal? 

With eight other studies into systemic violence and specific cases, what will the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) add? The TRC had 94 recommendations for action, why start with this one? If the purpose of the MMIWG inquiry is to find and recognize truth, why was the TRC necessary? Or vice versa? 

These red flags are often when people realize the scope of the promise has grown to the point where is no longer achievable. 

And so begins: 

The Slow Implosion 

The hallmarks here a freakishly similar to both game development and the Liberal party. They burn through their good will and money. They start to lose people in key places as those people realize there’s no way they can do their job as was promised by their bosses.  

They make a bad website (like which wouldn’t load if users had privacy extensions that blocked the sites’ access to the users Facebook page.)  

The date by which they will complete their projects gets pushed and pushed until eventually the updated date comes and goes and there is radio silence. Even with funding they don’t have the resources to do their job. 

As an aside: It is absolutely shocking that even when the MMIWG Inquiry can get computers, they are unable to connect to the internet in remote and rural areas of the country. If only there was any way to have known that this would be an issue. If only residents of rural and remote areas had raised the alarm about this starting in the early 2000s. Ah well, guess we’ll never know why the MMIWG Inquiry is having such connectivity issues. 

And then everything kind of ends in: 

 The Unsatisfying Conclusion 

There’s no real happy ending, or an ending at all. Just unending disappointment. 

The MMIWG Inquiry will probably end at some point, with findings and recommendations. If anything, there will probably be another inquiry because polices that implement #realchange on indigenous issues take a lot of political capital to only help four per cent of voters. 

Electoral reform will probably continue to be promised when politically expedient and only acted on when first past the post doesn’t ensure continuing power. 

Star Citizen may one day leave alpha testing. 

Realistically, Kickstarter campaigns will still take our money and run. Governments will take our votes and run because it works. At the time of this writing, Prime Minister Trudeau has an approval rating of over 50 per cent. The Liberal Party has an approval rating of over 40 per cent. Despite knowing the issues plaguing Star Citizen, people are still buying virtual ships with real money to play a game still in alpha. 

Maybe the issue is us. 

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Matt Stickland

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