What ideology are the Tau in WH40k?

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It's a thing that nagged at me some time, people usually refer to Tau as "space commies" which at first appears to be correct with the "greater good" collectivism.

But the thing is that their culture isn't really appropriate for communism as on closer examination not only it is ultra nationalistic (as the greater good is completely linked with the Tau empire) but very... race dependant. At least for regular Tau, their job is dependant on their "sub race" status and they are ruled over by the ethereals caste whos word is infallible and can command regular Tau to commit suicide. Which pretty much makes them, a "master race".

Basically, aren't Tau nazis? Or at least more of a nazis than commies considering they have actual racial hierarchy? I know it's kinda silly to try to insert a fictional race into an ideological slot but in the Tau case it kinda screams that term.

Well, communism and nationalism went together quite well in Russia, I have heard. So they might be stalinists. What they most remind me of, based solely on your description, is Plato's republic. A class of superior rulers, collective ownership of most things, strong collectivism, indoctrination. It's presumably not a city state, but otherwise it seems to fit decently well. How agressive and militaristic are they?

The Tau are a magocracy with the Ethereals at the head.

A non-Tau can raise to the top rank of any of the elemental castes but they will always be second class citizens to the Ethereals.

So I guess it's an oligarchy? Akin to the ancient Roman Republic but senate membership is based on being a member of the Ethereal caste rather than being voted in.

Edit: Begs that question, what if a non-Tau began showing signs of the powers of the Ethereals, would they be permitted to the Ethereral caste?

inu-kun:
It's a thing that nagged at me some time, people usually refer to Tau as "space commies" which at first appears to be correct with the "greater good" collectivism.

But the thing is that their culture isn't really appropriate for communism as on closer examination not only it is ultra nationalistic (as the greater good is completely linked with the Tau empire) but very... race dependant. At least for regular Tau, their job is dependant on their "sub race" status and they are ruled over by the ethereals caste whos word is infallible and can command regular Tau to commit suicide. Which pretty much makes them, a "master race".

Basically, aren't Tau nazis? Or at least more of a nazis than commies considering they have actual racial hierarchy? I know it's kinda silly to try to insert a fictional race into an ideological slot but in the Tau case it kinda screams that term.

Basically yeah. The Ethereals also have a space slug embedded in them that releases a pheromone that forces Tau to obey them. The Tau don't know, but the Ethereals are masters and normal Tau are slaves.
Also any non-Tau that joins Tau society must be sterilized. They don't allow humans or kroot or vespid to breed after they've joined the Tau empire.

They're basically just space Nazis going around forcing people to either be sterilized or shot.
This scene basically sums up what the Tau are like behind closed doors, just sub in Humans or any other race.

Space colonial Europe.

Silentpony:

inu-kun:
It's a thing that nagged at me some time, people usually refer to Tau as "space commies" which at first appears to be correct with the "greater good" collectivism.

But the thing is that their culture isn't really appropriate for communism as on closer examination not only it is ultra nationalistic (as the greater good is completely linked with the Tau empire) but very... race dependant. At least for regular Tau, their job is dependant on their "sub race" status and they are ruled over by the ethereals caste whos word is infallible and can command regular Tau to commit suicide. Which pretty much makes them, a "master race".

Basically, aren't Tau nazis? Or at least more of a nazis than commies considering they have actual racial hierarchy? I know it's kinda silly to try to insert a fictional race into an ideological slot but in the Tau case it kinda screams that term.

Basically yeah. The Ethereals also have a space slug embedded in them that releases a pheromone that forces Tau to obey them. The Tau don't know, but the Ethereals are masters and normal Tau are slaves.
Also any non-Tau that joins Tau society must be sterilized. They don't allow humans or kroot or vespid to breed after they've joined the Tau empire.

They're basically just space Nazis going around forcing people to either be sterilized or shot.
This scene basically sums up what the Tau are like behind closed doors, just sub in Humans or any other race.

They don't actually sterilize anyone. The only mentioned of sterilization is a (Notably not canon) excerpt from the game Dawn of War: Dark Crusade.

There are entire generations of Kroot who have served the tau in various literature that contradicts the game as well. If one wanted to argue in favor of it it may have been sterilization for a specific group, rather than for humanity, or any race, as a whole.

Warhound:

They don't actually sterilize anyone. The only mentioned of sterilization is a (Notably not canon) excerpt from the game Dawn of War: Dark Crusade.

There are entire generations of Kroot who have served the tau in various literature that contradicts the game as well. If one wanted to argue in favor of it it may have been sterilization for a specific group, rather than for humanity, or any race, as a whole.

Actually no. In both the Deathwatch d100 game, and several DeathWatch short stories, and the Damocles gulf series of books reference Tau sterilizing entire populations, and in the stories when humans join the Gue'Vesa they undergo 'procedures' which prevents them from being able to breed.

Silentpony:

Warhound:

They don't actually sterilize anyone. The only mentioned of sterilization is a (Notably not canon) excerpt from the game Dawn of War: Dark Crusade.

There are entire generations of Kroot who have served the tau in various literature that contradicts the game as well. If one wanted to argue in favor of it it may have been sterilization for a specific group, rather than for humanity, or any race, as a whole.

Actually no. In both the Deathwatch d100 game, and several DeathWatch short stories, and the Damocles gulf series of books reference Tau sterilizing entire populations, and in the stories when humans join the Gue'Vesa they undergo 'procedures' which prevents them from being able to breed.

Sadly I my Deathwatch RPG book is at home, but I have a feeling that is one of the "Imperial Intelligence" reports before the enemy entries, which is basically propaganda. Do you have a link to those books? Whenever I try to look them up I just get redirected to the Imperial Guardsman's uplifting prime. xD

Warhound:

Silentpony:

Warhound:

They don't actually sterilize anyone. The only mentioned of sterilization is a (Notably not canon) excerpt from the game Dawn of War: Dark Crusade.

There are entire generations of Kroot who have served the tau in various literature that contradicts the game as well. If one wanted to argue in favor of it it may have been sterilization for a specific group, rather than for humanity, or any race, as a whole.

Actually no. In both the Deathwatch d100 game, and several DeathWatch short stories, and the Damocles gulf series of books reference Tau sterilizing entire populations, and in the stories when humans join the Gue'Vesa they undergo 'procedures' which prevents them from being able to breed.

Sadly I my Deathwatch RPG book is at home, but I have a feeling that is one of the "Imperial Intelligence" reports before the enemy entries, which is basically propaganda. Do you have a link to those books? Whenever I try to look them up I just get redirected to the Imperial Guardsman's uplifting prime. xD

I don't sadly, I have hard copies. I think it was in the Mark of Xenos book. I remember reading that the Tau use their auxiliary forces to commit what the Tau consider warcrimes, so they can then come in and try to seem all the more reasonable in comparison. And that the Tau use of sterilization, slavery and genocide are just as common as they are in the Imperium, they just have better propaganda or use other aliens to do the deed.

Yeah, the idea that "the greater good" made Tau communist really annoyed me back in the day.

I don't think they fit a nice real world descriptor very well.

Thaluikhain:

I don't think they fit a nice real world descriptor very well.

This is pretty much it, the Tau don't really follow something we have a name for. They have a coherent ideology but it's not like any of the ones we have in modern politics.

Best I could say is that it's basically Communist China as it exists now mixed with classical Indian caste system and a very, very heavy dose of 'White Left' (as the Chinese call it) modern progressivism taken to the logical conclusion mixing those systems would have.

Despite not really having a communistic system as written by Marx, I think the reason people label them Space Commies stem from the fact that they're pretty much a militaristic version of the modern far left in the West if turned into a caricature within the setting, which isn't exactly abnormal given the fact the Imperium is the same with with regards to a catholic theocratic national socialist line of thinking.

Though it also helps not to think too much about what these things are supposed to be given that their sheer size makes them incoherent, what with the Imperium having worlds that are filled with humans living as nomadic tribesmen to ones which are massive industrial complexes under tyrannical rule where life is so cheap that death just means some unemployed SOB just got a job for the next 20 minutes before he bites it too, and others have industry, quality of life and liberty that would have one forgiven for thinking they'd accidentally stumbled into a human-only Star Trek.

If you wanted to justify the communist comparison, you would have to point to the original Bolsheviks and their worldwide revolution aim. Combined with the latterday USSR elitism, and WW2 nationalist fervour.

But as has been noted, it's not ideal to compare to the real world. Although, pretty much every race in WH40K could be argued to be Nazi's if you really wanted to. It's a mythical world of extremes, after all.

...modern far left? *boggle*

Naw, space colonial Europe. They show up to a new place with a philosophy that's "better" than the locals, impose it by violence if necessary, roll loyal native in the armed forces in the armed forces as auxiliaries, and gradually push out the indigenous population. The Kroot are basically their version of the Gurkhas or the Cossacks.

Add in Victorian era classism and some vague eugenics based caste ideas and there you go.

You guys are really overthinking this. They literally have a caste of merchants and traders backed up by the government, East India Company style.

People always label "state distribution of resources" as communist but communism has many other integral parts that are needed for the label and Tau most certainly do not have these, especially with the racial hierarchy and caste system.

I would propose labeling them as a

1) Caste based
2) Palace economy
3) Theocratic
4) Colonial empire

inu-kun:
Basically, aren't Tau nazis? Or at least more of a nazis than commies considering they have actual racial hierarchy? I know it's kinda silly to try to insert a fictional race into an ideological slot but in the Tau case it kinda screams that term.

This is actually a really interesting question.

The intent was clearly to evoke communism, with the collectivism and utilitarian "Greater Good" ideology and such. But the Tau also strictly segregate their own race into four castes and maintain an aristocratic over-class that is distinctly out of step with communist principle. There is a clear social hierarchy in place, with Ethereals at the top, caste-bound Tau in the middle, and client races at the bottom. The fact that Ethereals use pheromones that amount to mind control makes the whole thing seem even less communist. In a pure communist society, there would be no caste system, work would be assigned based on merit, and there would be no ruling class that is more equal than the others.

I don't think they qualify as Nazis either because they're missing the very important factor of openly advocating for the wholesale extermination of undesirable races, which is the primary characteristic associated with the Nazis, and which the Imperium fits into much more cleanly. More generally, they lack the worship of the military or the cult of personality revolving around a single figurehead that are common to pseudo-Nazi regimes in fiction. The Tau split themselves into castes, but the Fire Caste is not particularly dominant over the others, and the Ethereals are worshiped as group rather than as an individual.

It would fit better as an Orwellian pseudo-communist regime, with lip service paid to equality, tolerance and collectivism but the actual system amounting to a small ruling caste indoctrinating the rest of the race into their service, then aggressively expanding and annexing new races to serve as auxiliaries. Pretending that it's an equal union of all races, but in practice giving Tau almost all the important roles and positions of power. Kind of like a deconstruction of the Federation in Star Trek, where it's nominally an interstellar union of many races but in practice, 90% of the military and nearly all the ranking officers are human.

Actually, yes. That would be my best guess. They're like a grimdark version of the Federation. The official line is that they have a post-scarcity economy, everyone is equal, all races are welcome to serve, and their goal is only to explore in pursuit of scientific truth. But in actuality, one race is socially dominant over the others, their exploration is a front for colonialism, and their leadership isn't democratic at all.

tl;dr - they're Animal Farm, but with railguns and mecha.

Pseudonym:
How agressive and militaristic are they?

As the canon has developed, they've acquired a colonial, manifest destiny mindset, where they believe their place in the galaxy is to constantly expand and induct more races and planets into the Greater Good on the basis that...it's for the Greater Good. (The Greater Good!)

That leads them to have multiple "spheres of expansion," where they take advantage of the Imperium's distraction or of some other calamitous military conflict to annex more Imperial worlds. The main thing limiting their ambitions in the canon is that they do not have proper warp drives - they don't actually believe in the Warp - so their ships simply cannot travel long distances effectively.

Warhound:
They don't actually sterilize anyone. The only mentioned of sterilization is a (Notably not canon) excerpt from the game Dawn of War: Dark Crusade.

There are entire generations of Kroot who have served the tau in various literature that contradicts the game as well. If one wanted to argue in favor of it it may have been sterilization for a specific group, rather than for humanity, or any race, as a whole.

The question is actually a bit of a hot button topic amongst Tau fans, and it's never been confirmed if the Tau actually do practice forced sterilization or if it's just Imperial propaganda.

They certainly don't do it for Kroot, because Kroot depend on their rapid reproductive cycle to adapt biological advantages from consumed foes, if I remember correctly. It would make sense if they did it for humans, because the Imperium outnumber the Tau massively, and it would make it difficult for the Tau to maintain their "equal-but-more-equal" status if they annexed so many Imperial worlds that their population was 99% gue'la. So maybe when they annex a hive world, they start discreetly depressing the birth rate to control the population, but don't bother if it's just an agri-world or something else less heavily populated.

Also, the Tau position in the canon is spread over several centuries of actual narrative time, so it's entirely possible that there was a historical period when the Tau leadership were unusually brutal in their handling of captured populations, and later Ethereals reversed the policy.

This is something I like about the current spate of Black Library novels set during and after the Heresy; they show how the Imperium and its institutions develop over time and through regime changes. There was this one that wasn't actually set during the Heresy - The Emperor's Gift, I think - but it was essentially about a mini civil war between the Space Wolves and the Grey Knights, instigated essentially by bureaucratic stubbornness from the Inquisition (they wanted to exterminate all the survivors of a daemonic invasion to eliminate the risk of any corruption spreading, which the Space Wolves disagreed with because the survivors had fought alongside them and earned honourable treatment, resulting in the Grey Knights being sent to war with the Space Wolves, who reacted by sending as many refugees in as many different directions as possible, which resulted in the Inquisition declaring Exterminatus on the several dozen worlds that the refugees went to, which resulted in a faction within the Inquisition deciding that the inquisitor in charge was taking shit way too far and orchestrating his assassination to end the whole dumb conflict, *whew.*)

So it was showing how the Imperium can be oddly benevolent if the right people are in charge and bafflingly brutal if the wrong people are in charge, and how much of the Imperium's history was spent with those people jockeying to decide which of them got to be in charge. Which is a hell of a lot more three-dimensional than their default setting of Catholic Space Nazis.

I'm not familiar with WH40K at all, but going from the descriptions in this thread I would have to say that they resemble a fusion of Islam and the modern left (which are already seen as allies).

Islam as a basic function of their society, with a theological worship of a group of beings (Ethereals = Allah, Adam, Jesus, Mohammed), a caste system (Imams, sharia police/judges, workers/faithful, kafirs/infidel), intolerant to other faiths and ideologies and prone to internal schisms, and conquest through several means.

Modern left as an outward front and propaganda base. For the greater good! Intolerant to other ideologies and prone to internal schisms, communistic, hypocrisy/propaganda about tolerance & equality.

It's 40K.

So I'm going to assume it's stupid to read into it.

Vendor-Lazarus:

Modern left as an outward front and propaganda base. For the greater good! Intolerant to other ideologies and prone to internal schisms, communistic, hypocrisy/propaganda about tolerance & equality.

Citation needed.

After all, when I was studying history, 'leftist' writing, such as Marxist historiography and 'New Left' historiographical movement of the 60s and 70s was structuralist approaches to sociological examination of events and their exploration, with a focus on class agency, class interaction and the control and distribution of resources.

Given that we have right wingers traditionally trying to tell women what they can do with their bodies for, you know, till now ... and punishing and ridiculing people for simply being LGBTQ ... strikes me as a bit of ridiculous hyperbole. Or is this the part where you complain a lot, pretend like you have a point without evidence, then I'm supposed to pretend like you have a point?

If it's any consolation I have a personal problem with structuralist historiography within academic history writing being usually the first disciplines they teach students in university and thus probably the default critical analysis you will read in course-driven subject perusal. I think historiography should be taught first before subject materials, or at least a heavy mix of both in 1st year courses. Nothing particularly wrong with structuralist historiography, in fact it's incredibly useful because Marx and Engels were pretty fucking smart, just that it isn't the be all and end all of academic history writing.

I will say Marx and Engels made history cool again...

Actually on-topic; I'd say the Tau are baby's first Confucianism. Caste-based society, prescriptive social roles, and an argumentation of peace through rigid social hierarchies.

Vendor-Lazarus:
I'm not familiar with WH40K at all, but going from the descriptions in this thread I would have to say that they resemble a fusion of Islam and the modern left (which are already seen as allies).

Islam as a basic function of their society, with a theological worship of a group of beings (Ethereals = Allah, Adam, Jesus, Mohammed), a caste system (Imams, sharia police/judges, workers/faithful, kafirs/infidel), intolerant to other faiths and ideologies and prone to internal schisms, and conquest through several means.

Modern left as an outward front and propaganda base. For the greater good! Intolerant to other ideologies and prone to internal schisms, communistic, hypocrisy/propaganda about tolerance & equality.

Come on, man.

Way back when the Tau were introduced, the intention was very clearly for them to be the "good guys" of the setting and aimed at players who couldn't get into the conventional 40k tone and aesthetic. A lot of the more questionable and authoritarian elements of their lore were clearly grounded in anime and thus in a (heavily orientalized) interpretation of east Asian culture and any unpleasantness they might have implied was kept firmly in the background.

Even at this point though, the Tau weren't communist so much as they were collectivist, much like a lot of future societies in Japanese science fiction come across as collectivist (because Japan itself is to some extent a collectivist society, "the nail which sticks out gets hammered" and all that). The greater good was always far more Confucian than Marxist.

But a lot of established players found this tonally jarring, and over the next couple of editions Games Workshop gradually shifted to acknowledging that the Tau had more of a "dark side" to them than had previously been explored. The role of the ethereals was fleshed out and expanded from the initial status as a general monarchy/priest class and the more insidious "alien origins" and "mind control" angles started to creep in. Even the Tau attitude to technology, which was the big difference between the Tau and the other 40k factions, took on a more sinister tone with "battlesuit neurosis" becoming a thing and the implication that some Tau technology was either untested or actively known to be dangerous to the user (rail rifles killing the user due to untested MUI, for example, or the Vespid helmets actually being a form of mind control device).

The high point was probably the Tau ending in Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, which implied the mass sterilisation of the human population of the planet to make way for Tau settlement. This really set the tone for the Tau, that they aren't actually the good guys at all but simply have more humane methods of achieving the same goals.

I haven't been keeping up with 40k over the past decade or so, but it does seem to me that as a new generation has moved in (one largely unfamiliar with the whole controversy around the Tau's introduction) the Tau have gone back to being a bit more squeaky clean again. Then again, my personal feeling is that a lot of 40k factions have had their lore simplified to let them be the good guys in their own story, at the expense of linking in with classic horror or science fiction tropes. Ultimately, what I'm getting at is that the Tau lore is just a way to sell Tau figures. It always was, but now it seems even more explicit. In this sense it's kind of pointless to read into.

But, if you want a simple answer.. the Tau are religious dominionists with a touch of monarchism thrown in. They believe in their inherent, undisputed right as a species to dominate the galaxy. They believe in fanatical, unconditional loyalty to a king/priest caste who get to make all the important decisions, and their big problem with everyone else isn't that they disagree, but that they think they can have opinions instead of leaving it all up to the rightful God-kings to decide.

The race angle I'm not touching because in 40k (as opposed to real life) race actually exists. The fire caste really are bigger and stronger than the others, the air caste can't live comfortably in normal gravity, etc. This isn't really comparable with the Nazi racial hierarchy, which was ultimately based on dumb shit like the belief that Russians couldn't create real art of culture.

Vendor-Lazarus:
I'm not familiar with WH40K at all, but going from the descriptions in this thread I would have to say that they resemble a fusion of Islam and the modern left (which are already seen as allies).

Islam as a basic function of their society, with a theological worship of a group of beings (Ethereals = Allah, Adam, Jesus, Mohammed), a caste system (Imams, sharia police/judges, workers/faithful, kafirs/infidel), intolerant to other faiths and ideologies and prone to internal schisms, and conquest through several means.

Modern left as an outward front and propaganda base. For the greater good! Intolerant to other ideologies and prone to internal schisms, communistic, hypocrisy/propaganda about tolerance & equality.

Uh-huh. I remember the modern left advocating imperialism and what is basically the white man's burden. Along the same time they advocated forced sterilization and hiring cannibal mercenaries. And if you're going to slap something with accusations of religious extremism, I think you're ignoring the Imperium in the room. And use a society that doesn't have a woman as one of their top commanders. And hasn't been flat out described to be secular. The Ethereals are not viewed as gods. That's not even an interpretation, that's Tau lore 101. Kind of how it's basic lore that the Tau permit Emperor worship on annexed Imperial worlds. So your "intolerant to other faiths" argument has nothing to stand on. Also, prone to internal schisms? They've had a grand total of one internal schism with Commander Farsight, and even then, Farsight has little interest in bringing harm to the main Tau worlds. Pretty tame by internal schism standards. As far as internal schisms go, the Tau are near the bottom in terms of how frequent they experience them. The Imperium, Chaos, Orks, and Dark Eldar are all much more prone to fighting each other than the Tau. Even Necrons have more violent in fighting than them.

Let's be frank, it's more like colonial Europe if colonial Europe wasn't the biggest boy on the playground and had an anime aesthetic. than anything else. Following a sanctioned elite? Check. Government backed merchants? Check. Spreading their "superior" world view through peace where possible and violence where needed? Check. Viewing all from the homeland as superior to the annexed people? Check. Hiring foreign mercenaries to do the dirty work? Check. Bringing some improvements to life but with an overall loss of freedom? Check.

Never been a Tau player myself, so I've never really gone any deeper than 'space commies lol' (though one of my Blood Angels devastators may have been when he beat a battlesuit to death with his lascannon in CC) so this is all very interesting to me. And it actually makes sense to me now.

erttheking:
Chaos, Orks, and Dark Eldar are all much more prone to fighting each other than the Tau.

Though it must be said that any sort of advancement in those societies kind of requires braining the current incumbent, though Orks tend to be a bit more literal about it than than Chaos (except maybe followers of Khorne) and Drukhari.

Major Tom:
Never been a Tau player myself, so I've never really gone any deeper than 'space commies lol' (though one of my Blood Angels devastators may have been when he beat a battlesuit to death with his lascannon in CC) so this is all very interesting to me. And it actually makes sense to me now.

erttheking:
Chaos, Orks, and Dark Eldar are all much more prone to fighting each other than the Tau.

Though it must be said that any sort of advancement in those societies kind of requires braining the current incumbent, though Orks tend to be a bit more literal about it than than Chaos (except maybe followers of Khorne) and Drukhari.

Clearly the Tau aren't communist. They're Confucianist or Hinduist.

I haven't played 40K since first edition Necromunda was still a popular thing, but even a barest read over the Tau proves they aren't communists or socialists.

What with caste societies, rigid social roles, and ingrained mythology and religious structures to force social rigidity and incapacitate any form of trangressive class mobility that even the Imperium at least has a hint of .... what with talented soldiers actually having the capacity to be elevated in rank and stature, and taking on a diversity of operations .... if they're incredibly lucky.

"The Greater Good" is clearly a buzzphrase representing the traditional ideas of civil society in places like China. Where multigenerational patience and esoteric ideas of wisdom through familial held positions over increasing generational periods before elevation of the household as a whole.

The reason Cao Mengde was considered 'ambitious' in the Sanguozhi isn't because he had all these big plans and was a risktaker, it was because he himself was from a imperial eunuch family, who had ascended to a prominent position as a minister. From there cultivating his power, holding the Emperor to ransom, and installing generals not on filial service but appointing ministers and generals on the basis of their capacity for meritocratic service.

This earned him the ire of many a person, as he was perceived to be a tyrant siumply for assuming power despite, in all fairness, earning it through his intellect and audacity.

'The Greater Good' in Tau is predicated on Chinese ideas of government and military, and the strong focus on filial systems and caste-based societies ....

Going so far as the borrow the name of their race from the very similar sounding Tao.

The idea of 'harmonious living' and the strength of government through structured religiosity, filial piety, and serving a role often designated simply by birth.

Communism is none of those things. They are, if anything, diametrically opposed.

Stopped playing Warhammer of any description (bar the odd computer game like Dark Omen) about 20 years ago.

I've no idea who the hell the Tau are supposed to be, but from descriptions here, whilst ideological totalitarian they evidently have a caste system and aristocracy, and accept other races as part of their empire, which makes them a poor fit for Commies or fascists.

Oh, for the love of... I don't care if there IS a reason for bringing it up. This is a gaming topic.

I'm sure I read in one of the Ciaphas Cain books where Cain was talking with a human woman who's family had been in the Tau Empire for generations, she made a comment about the Tau Empire being really big and Cain thought it was funny considering how small it is compared to the Imperium and he felt sorry for her for being brought up with all the Tau lies and propaganda (without a hint of irony). I may be remembering wrong, but I also believe the woman considered herself Tau and was a member of the Water Cast.

So the Tau don't sterilise the races that join them, otherwise there couldn't be people who were brought up in the Tau Empire and the Kroot would have died out as I think they were the first race to join the Tau generations ago.

There's no consistency to it. They just really want to win the "Opressive Regime of the Year" award:

Bobular:
snip

A lot of third party material (including the Black Library books) can contradict itself and be generally a bit suspect.

I mean, for one, alien subjects in the Tau empire (it's worth noting that Kroot are not subjects but allies) have always had their own role prefixes in official material, and so can't be members of the Tau castes. As mentioned, the Tau castes are physical subspecies, and being a member of a given caste means being a member of that subspecies. In my old Tau codex, it states that even members of the different Tau subspecies are not really allowed to interact very much with each other without an Ethereal present.

For example, a human soldier in the Tau army would be a Gue'vesa'la (human auxiliary of the 'la rank) rather than a Shas'la (fire caste of the 'la rank).

The old material from back when human auxilliaries were first introduced as a chapter approved thing suggested that the vast majority of humans in the Tau empire live in their own self-contained communities (mostly as farmers). They're given enough resources and support to manufacture basic tools and whatever they need, but their role is defined by being humans, just as the other client species are largely restricted to just doing whatever they're good at.

And the ending in Dark Crusade didn't have the humans sterilized into extinction, it just stated that for some mysterious reason human birthrates declined massively and that within a few generations the majority of the planet's population was Tau. The sterilization was left as an ambiguous possibility.

My understanding is that they do use sterilization as a weapon or rather use the right to breed as incentive to subject populations to accept the Greater Good. They remove some kind of blocker or something.

Anyway, "space commies", while not a fantastic description, is probably as good a description you can get using as few words. They are far too inclusive for nazis. So long as you embrace their ideology, regardless of ethnicity, they'll take anyone. (space catholics?)

Bobular:
I'm sure I read in one of the Ciaphas Cain books where Cain was talking with a human woman who's family had been in the Tau Empire for generations, she made a comment about the Tau Empire being really big and Cain thought it was funny considering how small it is compared to the Imperium and he felt sorry for her for being brought up with all the Tau lies and propaganda (without a hint of irony). I may be remembering wrong, but I also believe the woman considered herself Tau and was a member of the Water Cast.

So the Tau don't sterilise the races that join them, otherwise there couldn't be people who were brought up in the Tau Empire and the Kroot would have died out as I think they were the first race to join the Tau generations ago.

i think the book you're referring to is "the greater good" and while i think she did consider herself tau im pretty sure she only worked with the water caste rather then being part of it.

a caste based Aristocracy sounds about right for the tau.
the greater good isn't really relevant anymore when trying to figure out what the tau are. sure in the past the greater good (in our world i mean) was important but after everything done to the tau its nothing more then a buzzword anymore. they were this young optimistic race that believed everyone could get along if they actually tried only resorting to arms when necessary. now they are just the Imperium light

lionsprey:
the greater good isn't really relevant anymore when trying to figure out what the tau are.

I'd argue it wasn't ever. More or less everyone is working towards "the greater good", but ask an Eldar, a human or a genestealer what that is, and you get different answer. Obviously, only the human one is correct.

Shouldn't this be in the Off-Topic Discussion (you know, where Science Fiction and made-up universes in pop culture are discussed)?

bastardofmelbourne:
SNIP

Part of it, like say Marvel or DC comics, is that so many people have written in so many books over decades that the central idea of Tau are muddy and they swing wildly back and forth on the 'good' spectrum.
In that one Ultramarines vs. Tau book, Uriel Ventris basically tells a Tau ethereal he'd virus bomb the entire planet before he let the Tau have it. Disgusted, the Tau pulled their troops back, not wanting millions of people to die and lose a planet just out of spite.
Yet in the Deathwatch novels the Tau preform genetic experiments on humans, orks, 'nids to create hybrids or how to exterminate entire populations with plague so as to leave worlds virtually untouched.

Dawn of War claims the Tau are immune from Chaos, yet the Farsight enclave is heavily implied to be under the sway of a daemon blade. Hell in the audiodrama Ahriman: The First Prince, Belekor implies he was the one who led the Mechanicus to Tau in the first place, and the entire race is part of his plan to overthrow the Chaos gods.

And the whole idea of Ethereal space slugs is up for debate too.

Do not question the xenos's actions. Know that all you should feel fornthe xenos is hate, because that is all they feel for you.

Also I've reported this thread to my local arabites.

Silentpony:

bastardofmelbourne:
SNIP

Part of it, like say Marvel or DC comics, is that so many people have written in so many books over decades that the central idea of Tau are muddy and they swing wildly back and forth on the 'good' spectrum.
In that one Ultramarines vs. Tau book, Uriel Ventris basically tells a Tau ethereal he'd virus bomb the entire planet before he let the Tau have it. Disgusted, the Tau pulled their troops back, not wanting millions of people to die and lose a planet just out of spite.
Yet in the Deathwatch novels the Tau preform genetic experiments on humans, orks, 'nids to create hybrids or how to exterminate entire populations with plague so as to leave worlds virtually untouched.

Dawn of War claims the Tau are immune from Chaos, yet the Farsight enclave is heavily implied to be under the sway of a daemon blade. Hell in the audiodrama Ahriman: The First Prince, Belekor implies he was the one who led the Mechanicus to Tau in the first place, and the entire race is part of his plan to overthrow the Chaos gods.

And the whole idea of Ethereal space slugs is up for debate too.

was it really claimed they were immune? because its a common misconception that the tau are. they actually just have a very weak signature as opposed to blanks who have no signature and whose presence counteract the presence of the warp. ( i am assuming most people here are familiar with 40k terminology but just in case)
to a daemon a eldar are a big juicy steak a human is a fast food burger and a tau are a piece of dry bread.

CaitSeith:
Shouldn't this be in the Off-Topic Discussion (you know, where Science Fiction and made-up universes in pop culture are discussed)?

Not necessarily. Could be fine there, but it's obviously appropriate to Religion and Politics as well. And the answers would be substantially different in Off-topic.

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