So something I've been wondering for the past couple of days: what sort of scenario could see one or more of the Chinese Six Schools (Confucianism, Legalism, Taoism, Mohism, Yin-Yang, and Logicians) mature/evolve into competitive political ideologies (in the modern sense) in the wider East Asian region and eventually beyond? Maybe a different Warlord Period at the latest, or perhaps an earlier fall of the Qing? Of course the ultimate accomplishment of such an ideology would essentially be a reverse PRC scenario, namely a western nation reorganizing along the lines of an eastern ideology. I'd say some strain of Neo-Legalism would be the most likely to achieve such a result.
I could see enlightened absolutists totally modelling themselves by Confucian ideals. Maybe a Mingwank.
 
I have ideas for a Seleucid wank which eventually results in Epicureanism, Charvaka and Mohism synthesising into a materialist, atheistic and utilitarian movement.
 
How about Technocratic Primitivism where a society shuns all modernities except a small ruling class closely guiding the secrets of such technological wonders like fire, stone working and the wheel.
 
Ultranationalist Communism
9BB17C73-B052-4ED1-84C1-774323B53FD5.jpeg

Ultranationalist Communism
An ideology which expouses far left economic beliefs whilst also implementing extremely xenophobic policies often including ethnic cleansing,the illegalisation of any emgration or immigration, extreme militaristic expansionism,slavery for those who aren’t apart of the master race who are deemed “Hereditary Counter-Revolutionaries” to work in conditions that would make the Romans terrified,the forced breeding of women to produce as many people as possible to provide more men for the military,and a belief that the world must be purified through thermonuclear war. This ideology came to power in Russia after a defeat in WW2 to germany pushed them into the edges of european Russia evetually leading to the end of the human race as their war with Germany in the ‘60s caused a MAD that destroyed all of Afroeurasia.
 
Last edited:
I have ideas for a Seleucid wank which eventually results in Epicureanism, Charvaka and Mohism synthesising into a materialist, atheistic and utilitarian movement.
I love the idea! I think Yangism would be more appropriate than Mohism though. It's more atheistic than Mohism which was somewhat closer to Neoplatonism.
 
Evolutionary Authoritarianism
Evolutionary Authoritarianism

Founded by Belgian Biologist Maxime Bogaerts in 1927, Evolutionary Authoritarianism teaches that those things which can be considered acceptable for the people and those which are best described as degenerate should be best determined by whether or not they succeed in the continuation of the human species. Things such as homosexuality, polygamy, body modification and those other things which "negatively impact the human form and go against the propagation of genetically diverse offspring" should be purged from our culture. The ideology also encourages complete abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, and various mind altering substances with the understanding they lead one down the path of biological ruin. The ideology would remain a fringe one, with many decrying it as "poor man's fascism", and today it has been relegated to a minor local party based out of Antwerp with less than one-thousand members.
 
Evolutionary Authoritarianism

Founded by Belgian Biologist Maxime Bogaerts in 1927, Evolutionary Authoritarianism teaches that those things which can be considered acceptable for the people and those which are best described as degenerate should be best determined by whether or not they succeed in the continuation of the human species. Things such as homosexuality, polygamy, body modification and those other things which "negatively impact the human form and go against the propagation of genetically diverse offspring" should be purged from our culture. The ideology also encourages complete abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, and various mind altering substances with the understanding they lead one down the path of biological ruin. The ideology would remain a fringe one, with many decrying it as "poor man's fascism", and today it has been relegated to a minor local party based out of Antwerp with less than one-thousand members.
This is literally just OTL eugenics
 
Edit: Okay, upon rereading this material I've noticed I made a grave error: while I've said that Legalism is supposed to develop from its original Qin-era state, I haven't actually shown that process happening, and instead jumbled together what existed IRL and stuff that happened post-PoD. I apologize to everyone for giving you the wrong impression, and I intend to fix it as quickly as possible.

Part 1 of my TL's ideologies: the PoD and the reasoning for why everything changes.

Okay, all of this is from an alt-history I'm developing, so a bit of background first. The idea is that if you swap out Confucianism for Legalism, Western philosophy turns in weird directions during the Enlightenment.
To forestall any comments about "but State Confucianism is Legalism", a word of explanation.
Confucianism was originally developed as a moral philosophy, and it never really grappled with the realities of government until the mid Han dynasty adopted it. At that point, the Confucians basically threw up their hands and let the government continue to run in the fashion developed by the Qin Legalists. Only during the Sui dynasty did Confucian morality intervene to cut down Legalist brutality in the law, with the Kaihuang Code.
Just like in Christianity and Buddhism, morality had to bend quite a lot when it came to rulership, even if ordinary people still hoped the ruler would operate in a moral manner. This is why Macchiavelli was so reviled; he showed government as it was, not as it should be, and he basically said that the ruler should operate on what is and not what should be.
By contrast, Legalism was originally a philosophy about organizing the government and not morality. However, it had traces of a moral philosophy which could have, if given enough time, been developed into a moral philosophy. We know that Shang Yang and Han Fei had some things to say about the Confucians and pointed out flaws in their reasoning, and we can tell at least some of what they thought about how society should be organized based on that. We know Confucianism evolved over time, so it's reasonable to assume Legalism would too. Here's my take on one possible scenario...

Warning: following material is long.


The PoD is set during the Qin dynasty. Han Fei isn't forced to commit suicide, Li Si and the eunuch conspiracy are uncovered, and the next emperor continues Legalist rule. Confucianism and other -isms of that era are all suppressed and Legalism does what Confucianism did, except in reverse: it creates a moral philosophy out of its existing legal philosophy.

1.
It keeps the 5 relationships, except the ruler-subject one takes precedence. There is no Golden Rule. Obedience to superiors is expected, but it's not matched by a obligation for the superior to reciprocate.
a. Humans are naturally evil, so simply keeping to ritual like Confucius advocated doesn't work according to Legalism. However, there is still an excessive focus on ritual propriety in Legalism because the idea is that by making people accustomed to doing certain things, they can be ruled over much more easily than by constantly repressing them. Ritual is to be used to make people get into the habit of being orderly and productive citizens, and not to cultivate their moral goodness as the Confucians would have it.
This can be seen in Han Fei's idea of the Two Handles, which states that men can be ruled by selectively applying reward and punishment, and that the specter of punishment should be kept in the background to keep people away from undesirable behaviors.​
If the state has to intervene with harsh punishments, it's been doing a bad job.​
Most people stop at that, and they don't stop to take into account the fact that at the time that the Qin empire fell, it was being mismanaged by a government conspiracy which was manipulating a weak emperor to rubberstamp their looting of the treasury and destruction of the land.​
Most people IRL take it for granted that the resulting rebellions were because of Legalism's supposed unworkability and not because of ordinary government corruption of the sort that can and did befall every dynasty. Indeed, this is an impression cultivated IRL by the Confucians themselves.
b. The key function of the state's harsh laws is to make sure that people don't start introducing habits contrary to what the state wants.​
2. Philosophical debates are not tolerated, nor are foreign religions. The Confucian idea of a junzi "courtly gentleman" who is knowledgeable on the classics and spends his time in intellectual pursuits is despised because Legalism recognizes this class as dangerous to the ruler.
This ideal of the junzi is replaced with the Legalist ideal of a country of "farmers to farm and soldiers to fight".
a. The only interpretation of Legalism that's tolerated is the state's version, and changes can only be made to that by the emperor or his ministers.​
b. The bureaucratic exams are still there, except they're based on Legalist doctrine and not Confucian. Needless to say, an entirely different list of historical sages and books on statesmanship and morality are compiled.​
3. Due to Legalism's stress on keeping a strong military, the army becomes a second pathway to advancement for a civilian (alongside the bureaucracy), and China becomes actively expansionist in order to give its military something to do (as per Legalist doctrine OTL). This contrasts with the IOTL view, which was summed up in the phrase "You don't use good iron for nails, and you don't use good men for soldiers."
a. This way, the Chinese manage to keep what the Tang lost at Talas IOTL. However, China does not establish overseas colonies because them being overseas makes rebellion that much easier and it allows ideological divergence to go on unchecked. However, there is still a Chinese diaspora because the government simply can't keep everybody in.​
b. The major ideological development post-Qin ITTL is that after meeting Europeans around the 1600s, the Chinese decide that since China is the Middle Kingdom, China should eventually vassalize the entire world and make everyone acknowledge the superiority of the Han people. No lebensraum idea, though, because China is the best country in the world and the Emperor really doesn't want the Han people to exist somewhere where he can't see them.​
c. The merchant class is still despised in Chinese society, so nothing changes there.​
4. The penal system keeps a lot of the brutality that the Kaihuang Code IOTL removed from Chinese law.

Here are the biggest noticeable differences between OTL China and TTL China.
1. Due, to be blunt, to a more active policy of genocide against nomadic barbarians, Genghis Khan is butterflied away.
China still has northern conquest dynasties several times, but it never gets fully conquered by them.
2. Chinese literary culture is less well-developed, and stories like Journey to the West have a different moral slant to them.
3. The Hui Muslim population doesn't exist because the Muslims who converted them IOTL weren't allowed in.

Buddhists still exist, but they're only tolerated in designated vassal states like Tibet, Dali, Korea, Japan, etc.
Daoism is considered morally degenerate for rejecting the strictures of duty imposed by the State, even if it has influenced Legalism quite a bit.
Christianity and Islam are forbidden because they deny the Emperor's divine status and place the highest good outside the state.
4. China is very xenophobic and over-the-top racial supremacist.
This doesn't prevent the state from hypocritically using foreign technological advancements and passing them off as their own inventions.
5. After seeing the tribute their vassals bring them, the Chinese send out fleets to Africa and Australia to find those exotic animals and resources (giraffes, ivory, precious woods, kangaroos, spices, etc).
Small outposts are established, but not major colonies. Nevertheless, all of the ocean east of Sri Lanka is a Chinese pond.​
7. China is a very totalitarian society.
Public intellectualism is discouraged, foreign religions are not tolerated in Chinese territory, and loyalty to the State and Emperor is required to be a moral person.​
There is remarkably little ideological diversity, and traditional Chinese religions have largely been coopted by and woven into the Legalist moral framework, so you can't escape its grip even in your prayers.​
Most people are either farmers or craftsmen, and it is considered virtuous to toil in the fields or in the army for the good of the State; artisans and people who create luxuries are considered necessary evils, if only so that the State can create an artificial distinction between itself and the people it rules over.​
Private citizens have no rights that can't be abrogated by the state, and the state incurs no moral penalty for doing so.​
Private citizens have to obey extensive sumptuary and dietary laws which distinguish them from their social superiors and the State; even nobles have an upper limit on how opulently they can live.​
Social advancement is controlled by the state so it can only be done through the army and bureaucracy, and merchants are shunned because unlike every other class they create nothing and become wealthy without serving the state.​
Science is only promoted in the fields of astronomy, agriculture, warfare and architecture: everything else doesn't exist, and the scientific method is discouraged because it is antithetical to the idea of obedience and ritual-induced habits.​

8. Legalism has turned into a religion of sorts, where the Emperor is a semi-divine being sent by Heaven to rule China, China is superior to all other lands and the Chinese people superior to all other peoples, and the good of the State/Realm is the highest moral good above all others.
9. Politically, Legalism is still all about operating the Two Handles as Han Fei put it IRL: create rewards and punishments, spell out the rules for everyone to know, and by following these rules people will become accustomed to doing the expected behavior without thinking about it and therefore without any need for state intervention.

China IOTL exhibited a lot of the features of a modern state during its medieval era, so this is pretty much a medieval Chinese version of 1984.

So when Enlightenment philosophers first read translations of Chinese philosophical texts and accounts of life in China, they're naturally more than a little horrified. It's pretty much the complete antithesis of their philosophy: no separation of state and religion, no freedom of speech/thought/press/assembly/assocation/anything, and an autocratic government with no input from the people which follows a philosophy even Hobbes would consider comically cynical!

IOTL, the Enlighteners gave vague approval for Confucianism's principles but were generally uninterested in it, but this ideology is going to meet with their violent disapproval. However, it's also going to attract the attention of the Enlighteners' natural enemies, the unEnlightened monarchs of Europe.

Up next, Part 2: How Europe sees China and what it takes from its philosophies
 
Last edited:
Part 1 of my TL's ideologies: the PoD and the reasoning for why everything changes.
While I find the exploration of alternate ideologies and the effects they have to be interesting, and I very much like that you're actually exploring the evolution of this ideology, it's effects on the country its adopted in, and how other ideologies react to it, this is bad. "China is inherently authoritarian because of the legacy of Legalism" is a hot take that orientalists and racist drop in real life, and "what if that was actually true" isn't exactly an enticing prospect for an alternate history timeline. Your explanation of Confucianism and Legalism is also weak enough that I really doubt whether you understand what you're writing about well enough to give it the sensitive treatment it would need to not devolve into "Evil East VS Good West".
 
Your explanation of Confucianism and Legalism is also weak enough that I really doubt whether you understand what you're writing about well enough to give it the sensitive treatment it would need to not devolve into "Evil East VS Good West".
Possibly, and I did rush to get the initial draft completed just so I could focus on the progeny. I know I repeated myself on certain things, so I'll have to go back and revise this into a finished format once this is done. It will definitely get polishing up, maybe even a Mk.2, and a final brochure form like everyone else's ideology seems to get here.

But it's definitely not going to devolve into "Evil East vs. Good West". It's more a case of "different road taken", where the absolute monarchs look at this and figure what aspects they want to choose from it, and they choose different things (and twist them in different ways) depending on their religious makeup. Russia turns out differently from France, which turns out differently from the Catholic Latin monarchies.
"China is inherently authoritarian because of the legacy of Legalism" is a hot take that orientalists and racist drop in real life, and "what if that was actually true" isn't exactly an enticing prospect for an alternate history timeline.
China is authoritarian because it went from bureaucratic empire to civil war to crazy-Marxist dictatorship to rhetorically-Marxist dictatorship, with absolutely none of the slow acclimatization to democratic subversion of the monarchy like in Britain. In fact, I'd argue that Legalism has very little to do with modern China anymore because all of its influence has been filtered through about 1500 years of Confucian ideological dominance; the fact that people call Mao "Neo-Legalist" only shows that people take surface similarities between his batshit-crazy policies and those of the Qin, and forget the actual foundation for his actions which was Marxism adapted to local conditions. Also, China wasn't anywhere near that level of unpleasant (up until the communists, who surpassed them, then dialed back).

While I find the exploration of alternate ideologies and the effects they have to be interesting, and I very much like that you're actually exploring the evolution of this ideology, it's effects on the country its adopted in, and how other ideologies react to it, this is bad.
If you wish, by all means, show me. A reading list would be helpful.
 
Can ideologies from timelines involving outright supernatural elements be posted here? I'm trying to work on an ASB timeline, and I've got a weird idea for a political ideology in it.

If this is supposed to just be from "mundane" scenarios, it's fine.
 
National Secularism

A response to the National Question that arose in various multinational states that sought to completely divorce matters of national and cultural identity from the state, just as secularism sought to divorce religious matters, and leave it a purely private matter in contrast to the various assimilationist, federalist and autonomous solutions proposed by others. Whilst typically associated with the European Social Democracies, who would come to embrace Esperanto as a neutral administrative language and chose names based on geographical regions, such as the Pannonian Social Democracy and the Social Democratic Republic of the Balkans, it also gained some favour with the Hanoverian Domains, which sought to establish a neo-feudal governing ideology that stressed allegiance to the Crown as a neutral arbiter above sectional interests of Nation, Church and Class. Although ostensibly neutral in terms of cultural and national matters various minority groups have frequently complained that this official neutrality often obfuscates de facto chauvanism for the larger and more dominant cultural groups.
 
This is past 1900, but I have an idea of sorts for a posadism counterpart: Post-Judgement Anarchism or PJA. It's an anarchist movement which believes that a stateless utopia will only be achieved after an apocalyptic event, mainly an alternate nuclear war(but a possible alternate mass plague is possible) "resets" civilization. It has a religious instead of ufology bent, where it promotes a view that the new Heaven and Earth happens when humanity has "sorted itself out" by reaching this enlightened anarchist state after the corrupt statist elements destroy each other
 
Top