Theory: The World Government is responsible for the "Great Age of Pirates". I actually created a whole video about it :happy:. If you want to watch it, the link is here: ut the gist of it is that the "Great Age of Pirates" is a violent counter culture, and a direct reaction and response to the oppression of the World Government. For more details, please watch my video . Really. Watch it.
Hmm, I don't buy it.
1. For starters the Great Age of Pirates has been pretty clearly stated both by narrator and characters on both sides of the law as stemming from Roger's execution.
You don't seem convinced about an incident like that being the trigger? But why not?
Roger was already super famous, and he used his death to establish a huge legend. A treasure, or something anyway, the ultimate treasure.
Its simple but genius. Establishing a legend like that would spur countless people to flock to Raftel (or try). Whatever exactly Roger's motives were for that, its clear he wanted that result. Whether its greed or the adventure of following the trail of such a huge person like Roger, these are basic and really effective motivations for humans. Its playing on simple core desires in a big way.
Yes there were pirates before Roger, but the implication of the Great Age of Pirates is that this number multiplied a ton. And also gave all these pirates a common driving obsession rather than them just being aimless thieves/vagabonds.
2. The World Government…isn't totalitarian. This is the biggest issue I had with the video is the WG description. Is the WG authoritarian? Yep. Are they bad? Yep? And in the wrong time and place will you experience intense oppression and wronging by the government? Yep. But "totalitarian"? No.
You describe the WG like its some constant oppressive presence, but that's simply completely untrue. For the most part they aren't all that obviously even around, generally its some Marines floating around. Some of whom are nasty, plenty of whom are not. The average life in One Piece isn't suffering under the boot of government much at all.
The worst examples of the WG are very specific.
-Being anywhere near the world nobles (which is really only a thing to worry about near Mariejois)
-Looking into or being involved in the Lost History research.
-If your local Marine leader happens to be an asshole like Morgan or Nezumi.
You describe the WG like it's run by Stalin or something, like it's close to North Korea! But really ...no. That's just not the WG we're shown in the series at all.
So the idea that the Great Age of Pirates was caused by the WG being so oppressive just doesn't make much sense. Average people just aren't shown being ground down by the state except in specific circumstances.
There's some other issues. Like saying the WG destroyed countries that wouldn't join it? Um...when was that stated? We've been told that the WG can be petty dicks to non-member nations (like it being apparently ok to sell human slaves ONLY if they're from non-member nations). But destroy them? Or force them to join? Never stated.
You also talk about the Goa type society like its the norm....but no that's not true. Some places have nasty local rulers (which...really isn't the WG's creation, though they certainly coddle such people), like Goa, Drum, Dressrosa etc. But then there's all the other nations/islands where people are doing just fine and have cool and good leaders like Alabasta and Water7. And then all those other places that don't seem to have political leaders beyond mayors in the first place.
There's a really diverse bunch of societies in the WG territory, they definitely aren't enforcing noble privilege where it doesn't exist. But yes I suppose they coexist nicely with ones that do.
Also not sure how much Luffy really "lived through" the oppression as you describe. Goa didn't seem to care or bother with Windmill Village, like that nasty class system seemed more focused around the capital. Luffy observed all that, but his actual town he lived in seems pretty set apart from it all.
3. Not really an argument from me here, since this is speculative as crap in part. But do you really think the WG will be destroyed? Rather than just the current regime and the world noble system? You say that all the countries will go back to being independent...but like I have to think some of these island societies probably didn't even exist 800 years back (well heck we know that's the case for a few), and that most of the little smaller communities aren't really countries in the first place. Like tiny villages sitting on tiny islands I have to think function partly off the system of a world spanning government? To completely destroy the WG as a whole seems like it would be kind of bad for lots of places. Maybe it will evolve more into a WG-lite thing, like the EU or something.
Having said that I kind of like the way you describe Roger's impact as giving aimless vagabonds a dream.
The way you approach the themes, what are your thoughts on Blackbeard?
If you have all these counter-cultural people going out to overturn the government and expand the theme of freedom.....what about the evil ones? What role do you picture them and specifically most of all Blackbeard, playing in this plot?