You know, it's funny. When the rebels and skeptics offer their opinions about the Code, the same two complaints pop up time and again. First, they argue that the Code does not exist: "It's not a real thing," they say. "It's not in the EULA. It's nonsense. Nobody needs to follow your fake Code."
The second complaint: "You're not following your own CODE!"
Nobody ever accused the rebels of being consistent.
Despite their supposed disbelief in the Code, miners often whine about Agents not following it. It became a common refrain so early on that it earned a spot on the Miner Bingo board. To this day, I frequently get EVEmails from miners and other carebears who complain that an Agent violated the Code by ganking them. (I'm still waiting for one of these complaints to actually hold up under scrutiny.)
It goes further. The anti-Code crowd accuses Agents not only of disobeying the Code, but of disobeying phantom provisions that aren't even in the Code! "The Code doesn't exist, but you need to stop breaking these rules that aren't in it."
Nobody ever accused the rebels of being logical.
The common thread is that carebears think our Agents should be held to a higher standard--by a set of rules that they say should be ignored. The bot-aspirant miner sneers, "I print out your Code and use it for toilet paper." Which is quickly followed by, "Hey! Weren't you supposed to check to see if I was AFK first?!"
How can we resolve this apparent discrepancy?
Well, for one thing, carebears are hypocrites. For whatever reason, grinding isk through PvE in highsec tends to bring out the worst in people. Even by their own standards, the miners are thoroughly loathsome. They lie constantly--and then complain about scammers. They call their opponents griefers and bullies--and then write EVEmails with racist death threats. They accuse others of cheating and breaking the EULA--and then download macro-mining programs. They wring their hands over the fate of new players--and then abuse and exploit them in terrible corporations with confiscatory taxes and ore buyback programs.
Carebears are a selfish and greedy lot. No matter what the situation, they want to have it both ways. They crave 100% safety in highsec, of course; they see a moral dimension to it. "You're a sociopath if you shoot my internet spaceship in a spaceship combat game. And you're the scum of the earth if you manage to get my pod, too."
On the other hand, the carebear craves revenge. He would not hesitate to shoot at a spaceship that belonged to someone who ganked him--if the opportunity presented itself. Granted, they would find some way to muck it up, since carebears are exceptionally bad at PvP (despite spending years in this, a PvP game). Regardless, the moral dimension mysteriously vanishes once the carebear finds himself on the other side of the guns.
There's another reason for the carebear's inconsistency, though: On some level, they know the code is real. They can feel it. The evidence is all around them. They see the powerful Code enforcers imposing their will upon highsec, and they see the Code violators (including themselves) being punished.
The same goes for real-life criminals. They break the law, but they believe in it, too. A serial killer or a child abuser still expects the other drivers on the road to obey traffic laws. So it's only natural that even the Code-violating carebears should want to enjoy the protections of the Code--whatever those may be.
Having exposed the moral, intellectual, and philosophical bankruptcy of the carebear, a question nevertheless presents itself: What are an Agent's duties under the Code?
To be continued...