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The SCP (Secure, Contain, Protect) foundation is an organization devoted to the containment of scps: dangerous supernatural anomalies or individuals that pose a threat to humanity's existence. It functions as a privately owned entity, receiving funding and support from wealthy donors and governments around the world. However, it operates without governmental oversight or restriction, allowing it much freedom without accountability.

In recent years, another group has risen to prominence, referred to as the GOC (Global Occult Coalition). While similar to the SCP foundation in it's decree to protect humanity, it has fundamentally different methods and goals. The entity is devoted to the destruction and termination of all supernatural anomalies and individuals, regardless of threat level or neccesity. This stems from an "just in case" mentality, reasoning that these anomalies can never be fully understood and as such will always pose a hazard. Unlike the foundation, it is subject to governmental oversight by the United Nations, making it far more organized but restricted in it's operations and proceedures.

These two groups have often clashed with each other due to their opposing outlooks and goals, which has occasionally led to one stepping on the others turf. This has resulted in violent confrontations at times, which potentially makes a situation worse. Given the situation, it would make the most sense for governments such as the U.S. to pick one over the other.

What would make governments continue to support groups with competing goals when the stakes are so high?

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    $\begingroup$ CIA favors one, NSA another, DoD yet another and the Security Service just a fourth. So you are missing two underground organizations already. $\endgroup$ – Adrian Colomitchi Mar 22 at 12:41
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    $\begingroup$ Why does the US have the EPA on one hand, and on the other all sorts of support for fossil fuel industries? $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Mar 22 at 18:10
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    $\begingroup$ It feels a little strange to me that a question is being asked on WB about a well-established fiction that has answered this very question a number of times. I don’t really know if it’s better suited to another SE site (maybe Scifi?), but I’m fairly sure it doesn’t belong here. $\endgroup$ – Vermilingua Mar 23 at 0:14
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    $\begingroup$ @jamesqf The SCP Foundation is an offshoot of the /x/ creepypasta scene. There is no established canon. $\endgroup$ – Vermilingua Mar 23 at 4:47
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    $\begingroup$ In the real world, Vladislov Surkov has done exactly that: short version long version $\endgroup$ – Aaron F Mar 23 at 9:06

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A Government Is Not A Single Unified Entity, Particularly Elected Governments

Government priorities change over time, often swinging back and forth between different ends of a particular country's political range. Not every policy put in place under one administration is repealed under the next, even if that policy would not have been passed by the new administration.

Additionally, at any given time there may be faction opposed to a policy, a faction supporting the policy, and factions indifferent to it. If around 30% of legislators want policy A but are opposed to policy B, 30% would be persuaded to vote for either or both A and B in exchange for votes on unrelated policies, and 30% actively oppose policy A but support policy B, both policies can be passed with greater than 50% support, even if A and B are not consistent.

Even in countries where policy is largely determined by a single executive, the executive will usually have advisors with differing opinions, and the full implications of the policies each advisor is pushing may not be made clear to the executive by the advisorpushing it (and indeed, may not be made entirely clear to the advisor, who is also informed by a set of people under him, etc).

In practice, a single government is not, and cannot be, entirely consistent

And that's ignoring the unconscious inconsistency of individuals, like the atheist who insists there is no supernatural, but knocks on wood when someone talks about having an accident.

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    $\begingroup$ I think you misunderstand both atheism and the idea of "no supernatural", An atheist doesn't believe in god(s), but - given evidence - would have no problem accepting the existence of various "supernatural" creatures/forces. Those things, if they exist, are just natural that we don't understand, just as we might not understand say quantum mechanics. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Mar 23 at 3:30
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    $\begingroup$ @jamesqf It was meant as an illustration only, not a general commentary on the ideal definition of atheism (or on your atheism?). My understanding is that the grammatical construction "The puppy who refuses to eat alone..." implies I'm talking about only the subset specifically described, perhaps only an individual as actually encountered, not the general population of puppies. I'm sorry if it sounds like a general commentary on atheism, rather than a illustration of individual inconsistency. $\endgroup$ – Jedediah Mar 23 at 10:51
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    $\begingroup$ @jamesqf an atheist is somebody who doesn't believe in god(s). That's it. They don't really need to be motivated by rational reasons for that - some atheists are due to lack of interest, rather than active rejection of the ideas and/or application of the scientific method. Some may instead happily believe in fairies or even a talking mongoose called Gef (pronounced like "Jeff") without needing scientific proof for that. Point is that atheism isn't science. Literally, it's only the absence of a deity. Many seem to think "atheists" are all "scientists" and vice versa, for some reason. $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Mar 23 at 12:07
  • $\begingroup$ If you just change the word "atheist" to "skeptic" nobody will complain. $\endgroup$ – Tin Wizard Mar 24 at 19:15
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Old "divide et impera".

As long as the two factions fight each other they will:

  • depend on external suppliers of goods and services, in which the government can play a role and get an earning
  • waste their resources in the mutual fight and not dedicate them to some other scope
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    $\begingroup$ Especially important when the groups in question have access to supernatural / otherworldly powers and tech. $\endgroup$ – Willk Mar 22 at 16:37
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They have the same exact goal that they are offering to potential funders: protection of humanity from supernatural entities.

While their approach to achieving this and the philosophical outlook behind their decisions are entirely different this is not particularly important to the governments.

  1. First, they care about the result. Not the philosophy.
  2. Second, as a general rule politicians should avoid dictating or choosing the practical approach chosen for the simple reason that it is surprisingly difficult for them to do so. It is much better to fund based on the goals and the estimated odds of success and leave the details to people with expertise on those practical details. So being favoured approach would mean extra funding and not favoured would mean reduced funding. Making a yes or no policy decision should be avoided.
  3. Third, they have no idea which approach is better and the only practical way to find out is to try both with reasonable funding. If they knew one approach to work better they wouldn't fund the other but they do not so they do.
  4. Fourth, they do not know whether one or both of these projects will fail spectacularly. Both approaches taken have significant unavoidable political risks attached. Politicians do not want to be responsible if those risks actualize. If they committed to single approach, they would be responsible for that decision and thus politically responsible for issues with the chosen approach. As long as they fund both, they are simply experimenting and not committed to and responsible for either.

And lastly ... from the long discussion in the comments because I probably should have mentioned this...

The thing is which of the reasons is most important depends on the person. It depends on which way you are looking at it at the moment. The others are then complementary to that. Different people in the same government will see it differently. Different people evaluating the same decision will see it differently. Same person looking at it in different context will see it differently. I specifically do not want to make this decision in my answer because I do not know the context in which the OP explains the reason.

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    $\begingroup$ a general rule politicians should avoid dictating or choosing the practical approach chosen for the simple reason that they are utter garbage at doing so and this has been demonstrated repeatedly in the past. sounds more as an ideological rant. Many countries trust their govt, and some govts are doing it exceptionally well. Now, of course, if you want it to make from this a plot detail, OK, but it wouldn't hurt to say in explicitly. $\endgroup$ – Adrian Colomitchi Mar 22 at 11:59
  • $\begingroup$ @AdrianColomitchi I probably need to clarify this (please suggest an edit), the issue is not related to the competence of the government in question, it is related to the type of decision that is being made. Political concerns and implementation concerns are two separate things and should be decided separately by people qualified for the correct type of decision. $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi Mar 22 at 12:10
  • $\begingroup$ @AdrianColomitchi The specific issue here is that since the politicians are also the bosses their concerns will dominate any decision making process they take part in. Since implementation level decisions are actually separate concerns from those the politicians focus on and are qualified to make this means policy concerns will dominate practical concerns even when there is no actual reason other than the superior position of the politician. Separating the practical decisions allows them to be made based on actual practical considerations within the already established policy. $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi Mar 22 at 12:22
  • $\begingroup$ @AdrianColomitchi Practical examples of this (positive to avoid rants) are how most governments have separated control of things such as central banks or investment funds from direct political control because the temptation to use the control to solve short term political issues was problem or sensitive matters such as elections or school systems have complex processes to protect them from the ruling party meddling to gain political edge. And yes, both Norway and Finland do these things that is one reason their people tend to trust them. $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi Mar 22 at 12:38
  • $\begingroup$ I probably need to clarify this (please suggest an edit) - perhaps the they are utter garbage at doing so and this has been demonstrated repeatedly in the past., which seems disputable and flamebite-y. The two examples I provided show two govts that managed to not be utter garbage in the way they solved two particular problems - which means it is not impossible. $\endgroup$ – Adrian Colomitchi Mar 22 at 12:49
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Why would a government support organizations with completely opposing goals?

Because while the goals are philosophically in direct opposition, in practice their services are both necessary, even if neither side is willing to admit it, the government sees this.

  • The GOC destroys objects they get their hands on that can be destroyed, and they're better about learning how to destroy them than the SPC is, but they've probably had their fair share of failed destructions gone wrong of items that could potentially be successfully contained.
  • The SPC contains dangerous objects that no one has any idea of how to destroy, they've tried, and they're much better at containing the objects than the GOC is, but they've had their fair share of failed containments gone wrong of items that could potentially be successfully destroyed.

With both of these methodologies, they would both conduct research that the other side couldn't, or wouldn't, in furtherance of their goal. This is research that might even prove beneficial towards protection of the planet outside the scope of their own goals and the subject of the supernatural anomalies.

As to how this is read from the government side of things? Perhaps the governing body is split with half of them acknowledging one side or the other, all of them half right and securing funding. Or maybe the governing body just uniformly realizes they're both needed. Either way works, or maybe some other similar way. That part is pretty flexible in how you want to interpret it.

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They Are Special Interests

The two groups here more or less fit the definition of a special interest group. They have their own philosophy, and they push the government to align with their interests as much as possible. To a certain extent, the governments' interests will align with the interest groups', but it will rarely overlap entirely.

Any government always finds itself pulled in multiple directions at once. Witness the real struggle between the content industries (copyright maximalists) and the large coalition that opposes Big Content's constant land grabbing.

Having Ties With Both Helps Keep the Peace

The government is going to want to have influence with both of these groups. The carrot is usually a better go-to tool than the stick, and that means co-operating with them to a certain degree is the order of the day.

It simply is not true that it would make the most sense for the government to pick one group or the other. One of the main purposes of government is to keep society functioning and civil. These two groups have a culture clash. Left unchecked, it will probably be strong enough to likely turn into outright war.

On the one hand, the GOC will want to destroy SCP. They will view it as an unacceptable risk. They will view SCP's even limited tolerance towards the supernatural as an existential threat. SCP, in turn, will regard GOC as an existential threat (because SCP management aren't idiots).

It is the job of government to make sure that these two groups' feuding does not turn into an honest-to-goodness shooting war. Therefore, it is in their best interests to develop a hybrid policy.

When something like The Hiss shows up, the government will call GOC, because come on. When dealing with less obviously sinister goings-on, they'll call SCP, because it keeps their options open.

More importantly, funding and backing both groups gives the government pull. They can call GOC top brass and tell them to back off or they'll cut funding and co-operation. They can use their ties to GOC to pressure SCP to agree to give up custody of Dangerous Things the government decides are too big a risk.

A good compromise leaves everyone pissed off and feeling like they got the raw end of the deal.

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The government will support organisations with completely opposing goals because the electorate supports organisations with completely opposing goals.

What a government cares most about is staying in power. To do this is needs to appeal to radically different demographics.

How?

It will face one set of voters and say "No-one cares more about protecting the fatherland than I, the proof is that my government has consistently supported the GOC. People like you should therefore vote for me" Then it will turn to another demographic and without blinking say "No-one cares more about the rights of all beings and the sanctity of life than I, the proof is that my government has consistently supported the SCP. People like you should therefore vote for me".

In reality the government doesn't particularly care about the fatherland OR the sanctity of life, it just wants to court a full rainbow of voters, because if it doesn't, a rival political party with broader (more inconsistent) appeal might boot them out at the next election...

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The easiest way to defeat your enemy is to be the one leading it.

Suppose the government wishes to, in fact, not contain, nor eradicate these dangerous anomalies. However, for some reason or another, the time to release them has not yet come. Suppose the people find out the government is hiding something and want to put a stop to it.

In order to ensure that this will never happen unless the government has full control of the situation, the government fabricates a story through a medium which is believable, for example, an "experiment" pushing the boundaries of science at a local university has gone "wrong" and weaker versions of these anomalies have been produced. Weak enough that collaborative effort from regular people will suffice to handle them.

The government sets up a resistance organization, or maybe two, or as many as the narrative will fit, with the sole purpose of containing these anomalies whenever they're spotted. People wishing to fight, or study, said anomalies will join these organizations, not realizing any content in the sense of "new anomalies" is in fact orchestrated by the government to keep them busy, while the government can pretend that it's working for the best interest of the people.

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The government is not monolithic. Powerful donors back both groups. Both the GOC and SCP work to get their own politicians in places of power. The politicians may or may not care one way or the other, but need someone to back them, and need an enemy to run against.

The more cynical outlook. The powerful donors are all in collusion. By supporting both groups the government can keep either side from winning and becoming too powerful. The conflict keeps the populace weak and helps the powerful stay in control.

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A few possible explanations:

  • Ambiguity: The government does not recognise the key philosophical differences between GOC and SCP. This may be especially the case if the SCP is fine with killing the supernatural in self-defence, which may occur regularly if the SCP are constantly in contact with the supernatural. This could lead to the government labeling the two groups as effectively the same with slightly different modus operandi.

  • No concern: The government only cares about the end goal of containing the supernatural and doesn't care about the means. In such as case, all the government may care about is keeping the peace, which is may or may not be able to back up with force.

  • Politics: some people in government, say the President, may clearly favour one or the other. However, he will have to deal with other groups who may not see eye to eye: the courts, congress, corporations, lobbyists, public opinion, factions within his own party etc, the UN, etc. The motivations for each of these groups could be completely different.

  • Farce: if the situation continues to change rapidly, it will be hard for the government to definitively pick a side. For example, the govt may be on the verge of backing SCP, until supernatural forces go on a human-killing spree. What now?

  • Uneven support for both: the government prefers one (say, the GOC) but allows the SCP to operate as long as it doesn't interfere with the activities of the GOC.

  • Lack of information: The government has very little information about the occult to make a definitive choice, opting to let things play out further.

  • Hidden motive: The government (or parties therein) have a hidden motive for allowing the SCP and GOC to play off against each other, or (alternatively) allowing both to co-exist. One less sinister example might be: a particular politician was responsible for a bill which founded the SCP, but the GOC has been much more effective in practice. While the politician supports the GOC, he cannot denounce the SCP as it would be an admission of his own bill's failure.

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Mostly for temporary goals, it's what Hitler did with the Soviet Union during WWII, he partnered up with Stalin, helping to defeat the pols, they collaborated for temporary benefit, but each knew that they would soon turn against each other.

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Nature conservation and environmental protection, for example, can often have opposed goals. It seems common that different government agencies have different goals, and sometimes clash (although that normally means paperwork and not violence). And are in fact designed in a way that they will, and have to, clash.

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