An Examination of Extra-Universal Systems of Government

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Ephraim Ben Raphael, May 19, 2011.

  1. The Professor Pontifex Collegii Vexillographiariorum

    Feb 22, 2006
    Collegium Vexillarum
    While I agree please refrain from quoting the entirety of large posts - it's annoying to scroll through!
  2. Miranda Brawner Trans Woman

    Oct 24, 2013
    Savannah, Georgia, USA
    That sounds amazing! It would be especially interesting if the list of religions allowed to participate was always expanding.
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  3. Bolt451 Quinoa Heartilly

    May 16, 2011
    Both Chelt, and Ham.
    Caught up on this. This remains one of my favourite threads on this forum. Such a wonderful range of ideas.

    I think the sovereign Pope might be my favourite.
    Ephraim Ben Raphael likes this.
  4. rvbomally Russian Hacker

    Dec 13, 2008
    I’ll post this here for feedback and ideas, but I added a chapter for authoritarian government styles. What I meant by that chapter is one dedicated to what could only be described as naked, honest authoritarianism: ideologies which are expressly authoritarian in nature. Think Hobbesian philosophy, but the various states I had in mind aren’t necessarily Hobbesian.

    The Confederated States is an alt-CSA which has adopted the ideas of George Fitzhugh. This is a man who argued that slavery is a moral system because it prevents the class warfare that is present in capitalist societies, believed that slavery provided economic and social safety nets, and even proposed extending slavery to whites as a favor to them. I thought it would be interesting to see how an ideology so cartoonishly reprehensible that it seems to be drafted for a political tract would shake out.

    The Tang Dynasty is a version of the historical Tang which managed to survive numerous periods of civil unrest, but is now governed by an evolved form of Chinese Legalism. I didn’t have much more on it.

    The State of Germany is interesting. It is governed under the structure of Oligarchal Collectivism as per 1984, but it’s gone soft. The Party learned that, by allowing their citizens to become rich, they themselves become richer and the people become far less interested in revolution. On paper it’s got the whole system of Inner Party, Outer Party, and Proles, but there is actual de facto social mobility. The surveillance and repression apparatus is still used, but more subtly. If you’ve seen my proposal for “Ignorance is Strength,” you’ll see what I’m getting at.

    Other possible entries are an ideology which is expressly Hobbesian, and another which believes that authoritarian forms of government are inevitable because all political systems eventually adopt policies directed purely towards the self-preservation of the present hierarchy. And possibly the bastard lovechild of egoism, Nietzsche, and the Sith: everyone has a duty to seize as much power as possible, because that is the only way to achieve true freedom, and anyone who doesn’t do this is a sheep that deserves what’s coming to them.

    I may also change the title of the chapter to “Oligarchic and Autocratic Forms of Government.” That way, I can add a Platonic philosopher-king system.
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
  5. Yama951 Well-Known Member

    Jul 21, 2016
    I am curious if there's a listing of nations and timelines on the thread in the website other than Rvbomally's DA account. At least arranged by the predominant ideological platform. Would be interesting to compare and contrast the various green nations or the various technocracies and all that.
    suul'ken likes this.
  6. rvbomally Russian Hacker

    Dec 13, 2008
    Right here.
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  7. Miranda Brawner Trans Woman

    Oct 24, 2013
    Savannah, Georgia, USA

    A variation on this idea would be a society where everyone has a moral imperative to accumulate property. And what is the socially approved way to acquire new property? By defeating the current owner in a duel, of course. All other methods of accumulating property, such as buying, bartering, burgling, or using violence outside of duels, are prohibited.
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  8. Yama951 Well-Known Member

    Jul 21, 2016
    One idea of mine, based on my Crusader Kings 2 playthroughs, is a clear hierarchy of titles with clearly defined and organized internal borders with succession laws preventing the titles from falling into one family. I imagine it being a sort of revived or altered aristocracy under the notion of being glorified land managers, probably post industrial society so it would have the survey and cartography advanced enough to make accurate land divisions or something.
    Evan likes this.
  9. traveller76 Member

    Jul 29, 2006
    Fort Worth, TX
    Maybe the slavery is changed to a form of 'indentured servitude' that people can fall into like war, natural disaster, economic problems. People could buy themselves out but have some limited rights and standards of treatment. The Confederation sees this as preserving resources, taking care of family and a form of Christian charity and Biblical justification. There may be a system like debtors prisons.
  10. Yama951 Well-Known Member

    Jul 21, 2016
    Looking at the chapter listings, I wonder if there's gonna be a whole chapter planned dedicated to technocracies and AI ruled governments.
  11. Mindtraveller Eager Explorer of Alternate Realities

    Mar 4, 2015
    The gap between timelines
    This sounds like the English Empire from A Popish Wind.
  12. Used-to-be Song Chinese 新建伯兼南京兵部尚書兼都察院左都御史

    May 10, 2014
    Then this T'ang Dynasty will be an expansionistic empire whose economy is solely focused on both agriculture and war, with the "war is the extension of politics by other means" philosophy for her diplomacy. As the Book of Lord Shang taught us:

    Her people would be banned to engage in any activity that includes or consists of discussions, rituals and/or ceremonies and music, so they would not breed by themselves thoughts and beliefs of their own that would be diverse from the unitary commands the state issues, for if such is allowed to happen, the empire would be vulnerable to chaos within and enemies without. As the Book also taught us:

    It would be a pretty bland place to live in, everyone will become the docile herds under the herdsman that is the state, and we can't even listen to music. It would be something which resembles the doctrines of the Taliban with the efficiency of the Chinese government and the ambitions of, well, any territorial empire that had ever existed --- it would be both politically and economically sound diplomacy for any Legalist ruler to turn their countries into space-filling empires since they need new conquests to reward their ever-expanding armies and new lands for their ever-expanding agricultural economy. And we're talking about the original Legalism only.

    Note: these are only my personal translations, please consult to professionals if necessary.
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  13. suul'ken Well-Known Member

    Oct 29, 2014
    Gokbay and terranova210486 like this.
  14. rvbomally Russian Hacker

    Dec 13, 2008
    While that is cool, it doesn’t really belong here. The entries are original works and not stuff from other fiction, even if there’s a reference here and there.
    Gokbay, jeckl, DrWalpurgis and 2 others like this.
  15. rvbomally Russian Hacker

    Dec 13, 2008
    The issue with such a society is that it quickly runs into pragmatic problems. As a basic example, a society which doesn’t allow for things like basic commerce is quickly going to find itself much poorer than its neighbors, and as badass as these warriors may be individually, they’ll fall against a materially superior opponent. Even cultures such as the feudal Japanese, which despised merchants, still kept them around. Any philosophy of government by assassination would be very limited.

    Possibly. Fitzhugh more or less thought that outright slavery was the best way to go, though. Indentured servitude will likely exist, but there are always more “idealistic” forces trying to replace it with slavery.

    More or less. I imagine a world which experienced something akin to the French Revolution, only on overdrive, and one where the revolutionaries were stamped out entirely and have a reputation akin to the Nazis today.

    “The revolutionary is the larval form of the tyrant. The fervor which drives men to seize power from others in the name of the people is the same that drives them to keep it at all costs.”
  16. Skallagrim Not the one from YouTube. Different other fellow.

    Feb 5, 2014
    Always a great idea, since it makes for such an interesting outcome. Plato's ideal [1], when completely implemented, is basically the "prototype blueprint" for the entire political tradition of totalitarianism(/collectivism) in the West. By which I do not mean that he was a nazi-avant-la-lettre, or a Stalinist-avant-la-lettre, but rather that the tradition that eventually produced those to a considerable degree originates in Plato's work. (With the further caveat that he didn't really invent most of the pertinent ideas, but did end up being the one who first codified them into a unified 'ideal'.)

    [1] Naturally, there is some debate on what Plato actually wanted. Was the radical presentation of his political ideal the goal, and did he suggest more moderate plans elsewhere to make (steps towards) his ideal more palatable in the real world? Or did he actually want those more moderate reforms, and did he merely posit his more radical vision in order to draw people's attention to his work? I lean towards the former, because absolutely nothing in Plato's work suggests that he was a compromising type. And besides, his whole thesis was that the pure idea is good and noble, and his primacy over imperfect instantiations of that idea. Which suggests that his radical, 'pure' vision was what he truly wanted, and his more moderate, 'practical' proposals were merely lesser instantiations of his true vision (i.e. small ways to bring the world closer to his true ideal). In any event, going with the most "pure"/radical version of Plato's proposals would be the most interesting narratively no matter what.


    All of which brings me to another idea for authoritarianism, namely a purely Hamiltonian USA. I think of it now because Hamilton is also occasionally presented as "supporting purposely radical notions in order to get a 'compromise' that actually reflects his true wishes". And in that case, too, I don't buy it. As I have reasoned elsewhere:

    At to why Hamilton's ideas would work very well in a chapter on authoritarian systems:

    Finally, more suited for the "libertarian" chapter, one could add the exact opposite of a Hamiltonian/High Federalist wank, which would of course be a Jeffersonian/Anti-Federalist wank. Which is basically the old "re-worked Articles of Confederation instead of a new federal Constitution". The USA as a decentralist, confederal union of states, wherein Jeffersonian ideas enjoy cultural supremacy.

    Of course, this might be deemed too similar to @Ephraim Ben Raphael's "Federated States of America" (already a decade old!), which is also a sort of libertarian-leaning, small-government sort of states' rights wank. But I think that, although I love that entry, it is very much a product of its day. Particularly the ending, which implies that a mortgage crisis much like the 2008 one from OTL is looming, has always struck me as narratively clever, but not convincing. (A right-libertarian system with a gold standard etc. would have problems, but not that problem-- on the contrary, in such a world, a big social issue might be how difficult it would be for less affluent people to get any credit.)

    I think that writing an entry about an alt-USA that has been very decentralist, *libertarian and Jeffersonian from the very outset would be worth the effort. It would, at the very least, be a cool contrast to the Hamiltonian one.

    Anyway, I assume you want to do the one on Platonism yourself, @rvbomally, and maybe the two other suggestions pique your interest as well-- but if you think they'd be okay as entries but would prefer to avoid the hassle of writing them, I'd be happy to do it and send them in for review.
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  17. rvbomally Russian Hacker

    Dec 13, 2008
    Interesting, I never thought of this weird “art of the deal” angle with either Plato or Hamilton.

    As for new entries, EBR approves them, but I’m more than happy to help out. I also do maps and flags for these entries.
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  18. rvbomally Russian Hacker

    Dec 13, 2008
    The City Upon Which The Sun Never Sets
    This is a world map to accompany my City of London entry for EEUSG. Many thanks to @Mumby who helped me with the backstory a long time ago.
    • The PoD is Oliver Cromwell retaining the Major-General system, which leads to a civil war between the Major-Generals after his death. This is what leads to the screwed up situation in Britain.
    • Flapping butterflies after that war lead to a whole slew of other changes. Britain never becomes a major colonial force, and France, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands fill that vacuum. There was a major war against Austria in the early 18th century, which leads to the fall of that empire. This also leads to the centralization of the Holy Roman Empire under Prussia.
    • The French also go through a revolution, although in the mid-19th century, and succeed in conquering quite a bit of territory and sparking off revolutions throughout Europe. This leads to the Counter-French War, ending with the solidifying of the Holy Roman Empire as a German state under Prussian domination.
    • The Portuguese monarchs are driven out of Portugal during the Counter-French War, and don't return because the Holy Roman Empire set up a rival house in their place. They create a Portuguese empire in exile, eventually becoming the dual kingdom of Brazil-Angola.
    • After the decline of the Spanish, the Dutch become the premier colonial power, dominating the East and becoming rather rich. A much more robust Ottoman Empire also gets into the business a little in Africa, as do the states of the British Isles.
    • Louisiana remained Spanish and eventually became part of New Spain, the entire thing becoming independent as basically a mega-Mexico.
    • The 19th century has less colonial competition, with most of the colonial powers "staying in their lane." There is a revival of West African power in the form of Mali.
    • China goes into decline, but falls into the sphere of a more eastern-oriented Russia.
    • The Northern European countries eventually form the Northern League, a bit of an ersatz-EEC. Possibly the richest part of the world outside of the Dutch Empire.
    • The world is generally more conservative, what with monarchies being the dominant form of government, and trade is more limited within cultural spheres. Countries are generally poorer than IOTL, although on the plus side, there has never been a conflict on par with the OTL world wars. Totalitarianism is also generally absent, with most states having varying degrees of popular representation and guarantees of rights. The Dutch are more or less a modern democratic republic, albeit with a colonial empire. The Holy Roman Empire would be comparable to the OTL German Empire. Even the Russian Tsar has his powers limited by a parliament of nobles.
    • Of course, some countries are rather corrupt: New Spain has the political stability of Imperial Mexico, with even more social inequality, for example. The Holy Kingdom of China is a weird state, more or less if Mao were running the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. New Sweden was a Congo Free State-style affair, only with Swedes and powered by oil from what is OTL Equatorial Guinea. Imagine an attempt to be as militaristic as North Korea, combined with the misplaced grandiosity of Bokassa's Central African Empire.
  19. Earthallias Who TF keeps liking but not replying?

    Jun 30, 2017
    A mid millennium PoD, a rarity
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  20. Richard Osborne Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2017
    I kinda wanna see more non-western ideologies. Like Mo'ism, legalism, daoist theocracy, Buddhist collectivism, Islamic democracy, and rule by Hebrew judges,