Originally Posted by SilentScope001
Is it just the Imperial Cult in Morrowind, or are all Imperial Cults this kooky? For one thing, since when does robbing houses show a respect to The Emperor or Imperial Culture?
And the Morag Tong is an assassin's guild...so it seems weird that they would love bounty hunters who would kill for a couple of gold. (Come to think of it...why is the Morag Tong legal in Morrowind?)
Morrowind does seem somewhat unique in that respect, since the thieves guild is considered a fairy tale in Cyrodiil (and presumably in other provinces as well). For them to operate as openly and high-profile as in Morrowind (or at least Vvardenfell) appears to be highly unusual. Usually they keep their presence so secret that many officials and officers doubt they even exist.
There may be some reasons behind this. Vvardenfell appears to be described as sparsely populated frontier land that has only recently been settled to any extent aside from a few Tribunal strongholds like Vivec city (though there are contradictory accounts to that if you read the various books in the game). Things may be done a bit more pragmatically and less traditionally here than in Cyrodiil.
Further, Morrowind is Dark Elf lands, and unlike the other provinces they were not conquered; they entered into the Empire by treaty (though by necessity and not by desire). This treaty allowed them to keep many of their own political and cultural institutions intact, like the Tribunal Temple religion and the Great Houses. The Morag Tong, worshipers of the "Good Daedric Prince" (according to Tribunal Temple teachings
) Mephala, is part of these traditions. While they are assassins, they are a traditional, strictly regulated means through which the Great Houses can settle disputes without things having to deteriorate into civil war.
As such the balance of power between traditional Dark Elf institutions and the new Imperial institutions like the Cult of the Nine and Imperial Legion is fairly delicate, and the Cult may have to tread carefully and avoid stepping on too many toes if they want to have a chance to establish themselves more permanently on Vvardenfell and gain acceptance from the locals. Dogmatically condemning venerable Dark Elf institutions like Morag Tong (and by extension the Great Houses' use of them) might not be the best way to go about that, even if there surely is a cultural clash of moral values.
(This is probably the same reason why slave trading is tolerated in Morrowind while it's outlawed in the rest of the Empire.)
Similarly, the Thieves Guild, when operating so openly that there is no doubt about their existence, is likely considered the lesser of two evils. They can act as a known counterbalance to the more unknown and evil Camonna Tong crime syndicate, who are involved in more anti-Imperial activities. The Legion, Ordinators and other groups responsible for law enforcement on Vvardenfell will of course still arrest members of both groups if they catch them doing something illegal. But since the Imperial system embraces the rule of law they cannot go around and arrest people just because they call themselves a "thieves guild", since that act alone is not illegal. They need to actually break the law and get caught for that.