A Guide, Resource, and Repository of Could-have-been Ideologies for your Alternate History

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by PachPachis, Feb 20, 2017.

  1. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

    Dec 26, 2016
    Like every human being on Earth, Ayn Rand is a complex figure. She was neither a cheerleader for corporate power, nor a defender of the status quo. Both liberals and conservatives have used her as a tool or a punching bag, although I think her works of fiction do border self-parody and make her an easy target.

    At the core of Ayn Rand's philosophy was the belief in rational self-interest: helping others should done for a specific goal, not out of purity of the heart or some imagined altruism. And based on her own background, and what history has shown, there is an element of truth in her beliefs.

    Soviet Russia was society built on the idea of "elevating the masses"-but it devolved into a nightmare of famine and oppression that Rand and many others couldn't wait to escape. It is no coincidence that the rise of Soviet Russia led to the rise of dystopian fiction, because the USSR provides a chilling example of what can go wrong when you try and reinvent society.

    I think Rand wouldn't oppose a collectivist society per se: her issue is whether or not the collectivists work together toward a rational goal, and not some imagined utopian ideal.

    IMHO, I think the likes of Emma Goldman and Ayn Rand would like each other more then most people would expect.

    I do feel you capture the essence of objectivism.
  2. Skallagrim Not the one from YouTube. Different other fellow.

    Feb 5, 2014
    This is great. I really don't have much in the way of criticism, since indeed, you cut right to the core of the ideology. The problems, the virtues, the risks and the potential are all fairly balanced and portrayed.

    I particularly agree that there is quite a lot of potential for Objectivism to end up -- both for better and for worse -- a lot more collectivist than most people tend to imagine.
  3. CountPeter Apparently the anti-christ. Kicked

    Oct 20, 2014
    Nothing about the content i want to adress, I think you've done a decent job :)

    What I would say, is firstly i don't recommend reading her work of fiction. They are not good, and whatever the ideology represents, it can be incredibly disturbing at times (I felt a bit nauseous reading the bit in Atlas Shrugged where she almost fetishises people dying in a train crash).

    I would also question, as good as it is, it's appropriateness here as Ayn Rand is fairly influential in America. The current president is a fan, and has regularly hired people who are outspoken advocates of her philosophy (to varying degrees). That isn't to day that the Trump administration is Objectivist, but that it is a significant inspiration for the Trump administration.
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  4. jerseyguy Well-Known Member

    Feb 25, 2017
    This summary captures the modernist ethos of Objectivism very well. Rand saw capitalism as a revolutionary, modernizing force that would tear down the old order of clergy, aristocracy, monarchy and replace it with a "hierarchy of merit" composed of artists, scientists, and successful industrialists. Her fictional writing is influenced by a kind of forward-looking individualist liberalism, things like skyscrapers that she wrote about were somewhat modern to futuristic when she was writing.

    The term "creative destruction" summarizes her ethos pretty well, but the term was only popularized in the 40s and Rand had developed her major ideas in earlier years.
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  5. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

    Dec 26, 2016
    I think she had a modernist fetish. Her heroes were brave industrialists resisting state-sanctioned hierarchy to create something new.
  6. Crying Your ideology is shit, SHIIIIIIIIT

    Jan 9, 2017
    A Boring Dystopia
    If I'm remembering correctly, one of Atlas Shrugged's protagonists was a pirate who would steal international aid shipments being given to third world countries and sell it/give it to rich people. She may be often portrayed as worse than she actually was, I'll give you that, but she was most definitely not a nice person who's ideas get exaggerated into monstrousness.

    Anyway, while I don't really agree with your portrayal of Objectivism, there's nothing actually wrong with the entry - it focuses more on 'defending' the idea than actually describing it, though, so that might be something to change?
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  7. Skallagrim Not the one from YouTube. Different other fellow.

    Feb 5, 2014
    Consider that the aid consisted of stuff paid for by money coercively taken from others. To Rand, stealing that stuff back isn't theft, but revindication of stolen property. The guy also didn't sell it, but "gave it back" to the supposed victims of the theft. (He's explicitly likened to Robin Hood, and it's pointed out that Robin Hood didn't "steal from the rich and give to the poor", but took money back from the tax collector and gave it back to the victims of taxation.) Also, let's not forget that the aid in question was by definition going to USSR-like entities. The whole dystopian backdrop of the story is that most if not all of the world is under communist "People's States", which are strongly hinted to be much like Stalin's USSR. In the context of the actual book's setting (the aid is going to Stalinesque regimes and is paid for by money taken by an explicitly draconian and exploitative American government), I'd say the pirate's actions cme across as rather justified.

    Of course, one may then ask: how realistic is that view of the world? That's up for debate. But this makes a pretty poor demonstration of how "monstrous" Rand's ideas are, even without exaggeration. As revolutionary acts against oppressive regimes go, stealing (back) their cash-flow isn't the most horrible notion I've ever seen.
  8. Threadmarks: National Anarchism - CountPeter

    CountPeter Apparently the anti-christ. Kicked

    Oct 20, 2014
    National Anarchism

    Full disclosure before I get into this: I have a weird history with these guys. My once best friend was something of an early adopter and went very much off the rails. The last conversation I had with him involved him telling me out of nowhere that Muslim rape gangs were coming for my sister, beforr cutting me off from his life. The few people I know who kept in touch have told me that he went on a chickpea only diet and had his... crown jewels... bitten by a minor requiring a hospital trip (and hopefully his imprisonment). So suffice to say, I have only experienced crazy in regards to this ideology.

    What is National Anarchism?

    National Anarchism is a movement founded by ex-fascist Troy Southgate in an attempt to blend what he believed to be the best elements of Fascism and Anarchism. It has sometimes been described as the ideology for people who like Mad Max, and that isn’t too far off (it tends to be more ecologically minded) in that it isn’t really opposed to hierarchy, is still pretty happy with violence and prefers to organise itself in a tribal fashion. Refreshingly for its ideological heritage, Troy has rather consistently put forward a desire for the ideology not to be imposed on others, preferring racial separatism to outright hostility.

    Although often contested as being “not anarchist”, National Anarchism does have roots in the tradition, taking the Conservative historian Ernst Junger’s evolution of Stirner’s egoism to have the Anarch as the basis of it’s ideology. The Anarch is envisioned not inherently as someone opposed to hierarchy, but one for whom their existence is seen as separate from that Hierarchy.

    This notion has made National Anarchism something of a right wing reflection of “Lifestyle” or philosophical Anarchism, leading to some typically unusual alliances for a far right ideology. National Anarchists take a Duginesque approach, allying with often contradictory groups such as the Alt-Right, Islamists and other anti-modernist/globalist groups united against international jewery etc.

    And let’s not beat about the bush. It is exceedingly anti-Semitic, Troy Southgate expressing as such through endorsement of the Learned Protocols and being an active writer within the outright Nazi Pagan community.

    Economically, National Anarchists are in an unusual place somewhere between Panarchists, Anarchists without Adjectives and Strasserite socialism. In short, this is because National Anarchist ideology is centred on the society they would like to live in, theoretically being fine with other systems existing next door. National Anarchists do promote living ecologically drawing from the far right of the Deep Ecology movement in this regard.

    As Collectivist Good Guys
    Like with any naziesque group, it’s a bit of a stretch to have said ideology be “good”, so instead I will focus on the best that I think they could be.
    As CGGs, they embrace a lot of left anarchist principles, truly allowing people to leave their community at will. Said societies are homogeneous, but on a purely voluntary basis. Otherwise, they are similar in principle to a lot of ecological movements.

    As Individualist Good Guys
    Similar to the above, but in some ways better and worse. They embrace more openness in the establishment of businesses/markets open to outsiders, but their own citizens are bound to their lifestyle through contract. Kind of like a less racist jeffersonianism

    As Collectivist bad guys
    The worst of Strasser’s vision of society but more decentralised. National Anarchists become fiercely territorial and imperialist over lands/peoples that they don’t feel have a right to the land, sometimes resulting in outright slavery.

    As individualist bad guys
    Warlordism in it’s purest form, embracing a leader by social Darwinian merit as the ultimate Anarch. Mad Max is invoked by the societies outside it’s borders, Although they are more likely to be cycling for prey than using fuel.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  9. Gigel the Iron Chicken Member

    Feb 28, 2018
    Transylvania, Romania
    Those are very kind words. Thank you very much! :D
    ...Whait, what?! I mean, I knew that some of the bits of her novels are pretty controversial (Roark from "The Fountainhead" is an arsonist, for instance), but I didn't think it went that far... I have added a sentence about this. Thank you!
    Added. Thank you!
    I felt that I had to clear up some of the accusations before I could cover it fairly in the good/bad/neutral guys scenarios. I have, however, added another paragraph detailing a bit more about the philosophical and political reality of the ideology. Thank you very much, sir! :)
  10. Crying Your ideology is shit, SHIIIIIIIIT

    Jan 9, 2017
    A Boring Dystopia
    I wasn't claiming that to be an example of her being 'monstrous', I was using it as an example of her not being a nice person who's misunderstood and slandered by her detractors - she was just as willing to justify violence & theft for her vision of what society should be like as communists are.

    Also; its justified to steal aid going to people because they live under a totalitarian regime? I mean, I get the implicit argument of the novel (and you, presumably) is that the aid was being used to fund said totalitarian regime rather than actually being used to help people, but still. You can understand why its so easy to label Ayn Rand as actually advocating for 'stealing money from the poor' right?

    Sometimes, when people keep labelling someone a bad person, it might be because that someone actually is a bad person.

    "The real problem with the State is that it stops us from committing genocide!"

    Ah yes, the ideology for Neo Nazis who hate the gubermant. Good job!
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  11. Skallagrim Not the one from YouTube. Different other fellow.

    Feb 5, 2014

    Rand the person was definitely not at all pleasant. I refer only to the ideas in my comment, which are not what many make them out to be. Thing is, one may say she was "willing to justify violence & theft for her vision of what society should be", but that depends on what your premises are about those concepts. To her (and to me, albeit differently defined) there's a distinct difference between defensive violence and aggressive violence. Communists, fairly often at least, are willing to use offensive violence. One thing that can be said for Objectivism is that it always forbids that (whether that would be obeyed if it got into power is another question, of course). And with theft, the whole point is that to Rand, taking from others without their consent is theft. So taxation is theft, and anything you take from the state isn't stolen at all. It's reclaimed. That view mat be disputed, but it's internally consistent, and does give a clear ethical frame of reference that tells you what is permitted under which circumstances.

    I can understand why it's easy to do so. I do not agree that it is correct to do so. After all, whatever you think politically, Rand is logically correct. "Refusing to give to" =/= "taking from", and "taking back what if forcibly taken from you" =/= "stealing". Any Objectivist will maintain that, and then the debate goes to ethical premises. You can't win that. At most, you'll end up agreeing to disagree.

    If you really want to beat Objectivists on solid grounds, the superior argument is hypocricy in their practical application of their ideas. Rand argues that taxation is theft, but also that a minimal government is legitimate and must exist. What makes it legitimate? Who decides how big this minimal government is allowed to be? On what grounds? I've yet to meet an Objectivist who can answer those questions consistently, so that reveals some hypocrisy. And specifically regarding the pirate: how can he decide how much he may take and who to give it to? Does he keep his tax papers, grab back exactly what the state took from him, and distribute the rest to others? If not, he's indeed a thief, no better than the state he claims to despise. If he distributes whatever isn't rightfully his, who does he give it to? He can't divide it among all taxpayers, so how does he decide who to prioritise? Again, some favouritism and hypocrisy lurking behind the proclaimed ideals. Here, too, no coherent reply is ever given.

    Since Objectivists pride themselves on being rational and consistent, these arguments are very effective when you challenge their position. Because Objectivism can be rather cultish, maby Ojectivists refuse to deviate from what Rand said, so they won't revise their position. This leaves them unable to explain away things like the aforementioned issues. Once that has become clear, they'll try to get back to pure theory, reasoning that this is all just some quibbling about practical details. And then you quote Rand about a) contradictions revealing logical errors and b) any ideology not fit for practical application being worthless.

    And then you've pretty much won the debate.
  12. CountPeter Apparently the anti-christ. Kicked

    Oct 20, 2014
    Strictly speaking, she was outright imperialist in her notions of stealing from others, as demonstrated in her views of Arabs and Native Americans.

    Yeah they are an... interesting lot.

    I remember when the latest Mad Max film came out and a bunch of them took to the internet with "Immortan Joe did nothing wrong!". How "ironic" this was is up for debate...
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  13. Forbiddenparadise64 The Great

    Jul 26, 2012
    Here’s a question; has anyone tried these ones so far;

    Christian Communism


  14. CountPeter Apparently the anti-christ. Kicked

    Oct 20, 2014
    In general, check the threadmarks, but nope, those haven't been covered
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  15. Threadmarks: Let's do a haha at alien nuke communism (Posadism) - Zeguma

    Zeugma Radical Hippie Leftist

    Nov 26, 2013
    United States of America

    Posadism doesn't really have a logo, but this gets a lot of the ideology's reputation across.

    What is Posadism?

    Posadism is the name for certain ideas associated with the Argentinian Trotskyist known as J. Posadas. His ideas were actually pretty standard for Trotskyists except for two: the ability to make nuclear war work for communism and the certainty that any aliens visiting Earth were communists. The first one is probably the one that really got him attention, as you might imagine. Essentially, Posadas claimed that nuclear war is inevitable, not exactly an unusual position for someone living in the Cold War, but the complete collapse of society it'll cause would be the perfect opportunity for communists to make communism happen. The matter of aliens is contentious; I've been hard-pressed to find a primary source detailing the man's views on UFOs, but it seems that either Posadas had views attributed to him that he didn't actually proclaim or he genuinely thought that capitalism and space travel were so incompatible that if aliens bothered to visit Earth they'd have to be communists. The argument against the UFO stuff is the claim that all Posadas ever said about aliens is that there was no reason to assume they didn't exist, in keeping with scientific consensus. I have no idea what is true. The problem is that Posadas just never became important enough on the international stage to have his work widely published in English like, say, Guevara did. Anyway, Posadas's Fourth International actually had quite a bit of popularity in Latin America, even after the nuclear war stuff, at least until Castro and Guevara stole all the thunder, so it's not completely implausible that in some other timeline Posadas could get famous enough that English-speaking countries could know for sure what he was about.

    Nowadays, Posadism is mostly a meme among Internet leftists because even with just the part about nuclear war the man's an obvious target for mockery, especially since he never got the kind of prominence that would lead to earnest followers. Add in the stuff about aliens, along with some other fringe ideas that got attached to the man's reputation like dolphin communication and water birthing, and you have a joke leftists will tell each other forever. It's entirely possible that these were things Posadas actually voiced support for in his lifetime, but I have no way of knowing and it sounds like the kind of exaggeration that happens to memes. For the sake of describing what a Posadist society might look like, I'll be including those bits just in case they're indeed from the man himself, and if not we can pretend they're post-Posadas developments of his thought.

    Collectivist Good Guys
    The Posadists somehow pulled a revolution off. Maybe they were ready for the nuclear war and swooped in to organize the post-apocalypse world on their lines. At any rate, now things are pretty good for the average worker in the ways we'd expect of an idealized Marxist-Leninist society. Peace and prosperity abound, science progresses ever forwards, and so on. There's a lot of research into how exactly animals think and communicate, along with a lot of interest in looking for extraterrestrial life. For the interstellar revolution!

    I'll be honest, I'm not sure how exactly an ideology like this would have an individualist orientation. If anyone thinks of something, please let me know.

    Collectivist Bad Guys
    An insistence on throwing resources into esoteric junk science has devastated the population, and any dissent is ruthlessly suppressed by the officials of the cult of Posadas. No one knows anything that the writings of Posadas did not teach them. This society probably wouldn't be very different from the usual image of Stalin's USSR, just with a somewhat different set of symbols and stock phrases.
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  16. Bassoe Well-Known Member

    Jun 5, 2013
    Has anyone came up with ideas for an ideology based around the premise of planning to do this yet? Sort of a human version of motie museums.
  17. Crying Your ideology is shit, SHIIIIIIIIT

    Jan 9, 2017
    A Boring Dystopia
    "Before the class begins, you must get on your knees and pledge allegiance to the Soviet Union and accept that it is actual existing socialism and a workers state!"

    At this moment a brave, Trotskyist UFO realist who had just finished reading 'Flying Saucers, the Process of Matter and Energy, Science, the Revolutionary and Working-Class Struggle and the Socialist Future of Mankind' fully stood up and exclaimed a question; "Betrayer of the revolution! What will bring socialism?"

    The arrogant Stalinist smirked quite reptilianly and smugly replied; "The might of the Soviet Union, you Trotskyite wrecker."

    "Wrong! It will be through the ashes of nuclear war. If the USSR is really a workers' state, then why haven't aliens come to the soviets?"

    The professor was visibly shaken. and dropped his chalk and copy of Daily Worker. He stormed out the room crying those second camp lizard people tears. The same tears reformists cry for 'peaceful protest' when they foolishly try to argue that nuclear war is not revolution. There is no doubt that at this point our professor, Fidel Castro, wished he had let the Posadists seize Guantanamo Bay ad not simply become a Soviet shill.

    The students applauded an all became Alien Realists that day and accepted ET as the highest Marxist work of theory yet to exist. A wild dog named "Fourth International" ran into the room and began selling newspapers. Ancient Aliens was watched several times, and Leon Trotsky himself showed up and performed a water birth.

    The professor lost his tenure and was fired the next day. He was later given a gulag sentence to mine Martian ore.

    And the students name? Juan Posadas.

    But for real, good work.
  18. WotanArgead God of Impalers

    Jun 19, 2016
    Ural People's Republic. Ekaterinburg.
    I can quite understand where such an assumption came from - for this, it is enough to mix the views of the Communists on the progress and all kinds of rumors about the "Flying saucers".

    If you buy in Soviet speculative fiction, you will find that the idea of an alien invasion is almost absent, just like the thought of wars between the galactic empires. That is, you can find examples - but these are either books written before 1922 (and .. basically this is the plot of the "brave Red Army men are making a revolution on another planet"), or frankly children's books. The exception is Sergey Snegov’s Men Like Gods (not HG Wells), but this production is clearly parody, but since the Soviet reader was not very familiar with the Space Opera, he noticed only controversy with some popular Soviet science fiction writers. The point here isn't even in censorship, since there was no ban on the publication of books on such subjects, the matter is in the very logic of the Marxist perception of history. According to this logic, communism is an inevitable condition for the progress of mankind, for capitalism has reached its limits. Moreover, capitalism rests on competition and the struggle for resources, while communism is based on the common use and rational management of resources, which eliminates any need for military aggression. This logic was developed by the famous writer Ivan Efremov, who declared that society, without going to the next stage of development, would self-destruct (through a nuclear war or a global ecological catastrophe).
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  19. Threadmarks: American Futurism (Partial entry) - Kevin R.

    Kevin R. Naked Florida Man

    Aug 18, 2008
    Fort Liquordale, Florida
    Oddly enough, I know of a far-right ideology that, like Posadism, celebrates nuclear war as a kind of hard reset for society that would allow them to flourish. It's called American futurism, and it was born from the infamous IronMarch forum (the birthplace of the Atomwaffen Division terrorist group) before they got shut down. On RationalWiki's page covering IronMarch, I wrote virtually the entire section detailing American futurism and what it believed.

    To sum up, while American futurism is unquestionably rooted in fascism and neo-Nazism, it breaks from such in one very important area. You see, a big part of fascism is its obsession with tradition and getting back to the foundational values of the nation, before they were corrupted by the forces of liberalism, socialism, and modernity... but in an American context, you run into a problem. The foundational values of the US were those of the Founding Fathers, who were all heavily informed by 18th century Enlightenment liberalism. The society that Americans live in today flows directly from what they built. And so, the goals of destroying liberalism and returning to the old ways are fundamentally at odds, because liberalism is the "old ways" in the US, having prevented a true "blood and soil" nationalism from taking root and instead assembling the American people from a hodgepodge of different ethnic and cultural groups all bound together by civic nationalism and common values rather than common blood.

    Some conservatives who wish to overturn American liberalism engage in historical revisionism to support their goal, claiming (on spurious grounds) that the Founding Fathers were actually fundamentalist Christians as we would understand the term today, and that their intent was to build a nation rooted in biblical Christianity. The American futurists reject this line of thought entirely. For them, the very existence of the United States, its culture, its government, its constitution, and its entire way of life is an abomination that goes against all natural law, a national artificially constructed by intellectuals and imposed on a rootless people without their own ethnic traditions to draw from for resistance -- in short, the prototype for what many conspiracy theorists (often an overlapping group with this crowd) believes that the "New World Order" has in store for the entire world. Furthermore, since these roots, unlike those of the USSR (which was built atop the foundation of Russia), run to the very core of the nation, that means that everything must be torn down and destroyed in order to save the white race. Trying to prove that it's actually Christian would, for some of them, only prove their point, since many of them see Christianity itself as a Middle Eastern religion that suppressed the true pagan spirituality of the European people, one whose precepts merely set the stage for the rise of liberalism. In short, while fascism is a counter-revolutionary ideology, American futurism is a purely revolutionary one, believing itself to be building something new atop the ashes of the old rather than restoring something old and pushing back the new.

    Needless to say, a lot of them believe that nuclear war is the perfect way to accomplish this. It's where the Atomwaffen Division got their name from, even. Their idea of what to replace America with often comes back to fetishization of the frontier, believing it to be a place where ideals of "blood and soil" could have taken root if only they had been allowed to, and that, since there is no frontier left in the US, the apocalypse would make for a great way to open up new frontiers and bring their dreams to life. Much like the original Italian futurists, they celebrate violence and war for their own sake rather than just as a means to an end, seeing them as invigorating, masculine enterprises and themselves as future warlords in the post-apocalyptic wasteland who will build new nations rooted in white supremacy.
  20. rvbomally Russian Hacker

    Dec 13, 2008
    Fascinating stuff! I’m tempted to give this and Posadism a swing over at EEUSG.