Where the discussion of the Primarchs is concerned, I think the main issue at hand is that we all naturally approach our critiques of such people with our own value systems.
I look at the Primarchs, and I think of other people in positions of power, authority, status, wealth, celebrity, etc. Famous athletes and other sorts often strike me as being tremendously arrogant. I think about it a little further, though, and I consider how universal this seems to be... and then I consider whether what I construe as arrogance is, in fact (not always, but often enough), the self-belief and drive that is necessary to succeed at such a prominent stage. A self-belief that is reinforced by one's, no offense intended, superior attributes--whether that's physicality, looks, business acumen, charisma, etc.
And there is no stage more prominent, or more defining, than that of a Primarch. Primarchs come off as arrogant, but really it's that sense of self-belief coupled with the knowledge that they are
designed to be the smartest, strongest, most charismatic beings in the Galaxy.
When there are only eighteen such beings out there, and they happen to be brothers, there will competition. When their life is defined by violence on a galactic scale, those interactions will eventually bear poison fruit.
Originally Posted by Angel of Blood
... but i guarantee a large portion of the population would have no hope of becoming astartes because they aren't good enough, a 'side effect' of a nice lifestyle.
They don't have
a "nice" lifestyle, though. Military training and service is compulsory for everyone. They're not even allowed to live with their families until they are thirty years of age (a nod to Sparta's own laws).
... if you take away the hardships of the [Baal] and let them live in a nice protected biome, you now still have a very low population, of which its likely only the minority will be good enough to pass the trials of becoming an astartes.
If they did that, the human population would boom within a generation by virtue of not being murdered left or right, or succumbing to radiation poisoning, malnutrition, etc.
If they did that while maintaining a strict, life-long military regimen over the people of Baal, they would have an expanding population with the traits needed to make it through Astartes selection.
Ultimately, we may have to agree to disagree on this. I simply cannot come to terms with the idea that inflicting the worst kind of life-long physical damage on a person somehow serves as the equalizer to only having a pool of 20,000 or so viable candidates every year for Astartes selection (120,000 or so, divided by two for males, further divided to arrive at the appropriate age group).
Baal teaches hardship and survival to these kids for a maximum of 12 or so years. Macragge (and Ultramar by extension) teaches ethics, exemplary mental discipline and physical fitness, and a gamut of fighting skills. I simply don't see how the former outweighs the latter in any meaningful way. I'm not saying the Baal way doesn't serve a purpose; I'm simply saying it's not necessary.
The more I think about it, the "necessary" aspect of Baal has comparatively little to do with physical challenges, hardship, etc., when compared to the religious aspect. The tribes that allied with Sanguinius when he first arrived there deified him. The Blood Angels themselves are one of the Chapters that deify the Emperor. In that sense, the religious imperative of maintaining links with the tribes that worshipped Sanguinius, himself the son of a god, would be tremendous. Leaving the planet in the conditions the son of the god found it in, and maintaining the conditions his worshippers defined themselves under would also be very important.
In a way, it's kind of like in the Dune novels. The Fremen defined themselves by the hardships/way of life of their desert planet. Even when the technology was made available to them to change their planet, the warriors among them resented such a transformation. On the other hand, the Fremen were neither starving nor irradiated!
I can imagine the Blood Angels having to face similar considerations, though.