I hope I've narrowed down the general idea of my question enough-- Basically, I've started with the idea of a desert society with access to a hidden energy source ruled by a body of immortals. At least, I'm playing with the idea of them having access to longevity, with the city's founders ruling the city still.

This is a post-apocolyptic world, where the rest of humanity is (supposedly) wiped out. I want my rulers to divine ways to keep the city's occupants from leaving the city without using mind control.

The problem is, I'm having a lot of difficulty thinking of reasons a governing body might endeavor to this level of deception to the public.

Honestly, I'm just looking to toss get some outside perspectives on these concepts-- I've been considering this for so long, I'm having difficulty thinking outside the box and need to discuss it with others.


closed as too broad by Renan, Cyn, JBH, Gryphon, Ender Look Jan 26 at 22:08

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm a little confused, do you want suggestions on why their leaders want to isolate them or how they could successfully go about isolating them (your title & body text appear to be at odds there)? : "I'm having difficulty thinking outside the box and need to discuss it with others" You may have difficulty getting what you want from this site as general discussion & brainstorming is often contrary to it's question & answer format. $\endgroup$ – Pelinore Jan 26 at 3:39
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    $\begingroup$ Are you familiar with the basic elements of the history of China and Japan? You seem to believe that strict isolationism has never happened. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jan 26 at 3:49
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    $\begingroup$ Hey, what you could do, is go to the place of creation: Ask for ideas, provoke conceptualisations, chat all you like, exchange concepts: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/17213/the-factory-floor $\endgroup$ – Measure of despare. Jan 26 at 3:51
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP : "Are you familiar with the basic elements of the history of China and Japan? " : China is a particularly good mention there (I think), exaggerated & parodied by Pratchet for his Counterweight Continent where by cultural convention everyone outside it is considered to be a ghost or not real. $\endgroup$ – Pelinore Jan 26 at 3:58

As to the most likely reasons why a government would desire to keep citizens in, the simple answer is work, and taxes. The government needs all its citizens to remain inside, contributing to the city. Think farming, building, and perhaps medical care, the industries most needed by a post-apocalyptic city. The government is aware of the fact that the citizens could leave, and potentially create another city, one that would disturb their monopoly on power. Thus, freedom to leave the governed area must be either entirely suppressed, or very limited.

The best way to motivate the people is fear. Guard the entrances, insisting that the outside world is very dangerous, (which it may be), and the only way to survive is to remain within the walls. Of course, this warning alone won't dissuade a bold soul from leaving, or attempting to once in awhile. The best solution: make any potential "explorers" the public enemy. Start an education system which tells all the children not to go outside, or they'll likely be killed by ravenous beasts. Tell all the concerned parents that anyone who leaves will alert the "monsters" around the city to its presence, and they would follow anyone who left the walls back, and attack all the small children. (The most vulnerable among the inhabitants). This propaganda would make every parent willing to chase down any potential "explorers" with pitchforks and scythes, thus bringing the majority of the city onto the explorer prevention force. Anyone who suggests exploring or leaving the city would be ostracized from their social circle, and considered to be a threat by almost all the citizens.


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