Medieval America Mark III

Actually, I think a state that unified the Non-Denom definitely could unite the entire US. It wouldn't be cultural unity, every area would still be very distinctive. But a united Non-Denom world will advance faster than the New Israelites and can begin encroaching on their lands through aggression and assimilation starting in the early modern era, and then a state which governs both sides of the Mississippi will be very difficult to resist for the states further west. It's still possible for the western peoples to have recurrent periods of resistance that finally see them freed from the Non-Denom but it's worth noting that the Qing included many lands of non-Han people which evaded the Ming, lands which remain part of the Chinese state today.
Such a model of China is what I'm thinking of, I agree fully.

1) I do think east of the Rockies will definitely be equivalent as "America Proper" to "China Proper" in terms of ethnocultural and ethnolinguistic stuff, and west of them your Xinjiangs, Tibets, Inner Mongolias, etc.

2) Dunno what equivalent the Pacific Northwest would be as I rambled in my other post in the other thread. It didn't have the dominating cultural quirk of the Mormon religion for Deseret despite that region being settled by Anglo-Americans, or the existing colonial Hispanic-reinforced-by-Mexican immigration/Chicano-formed-culture the OTL Southwest has, though - what with it being settled by regular American citizens, immediately integrated into the Union politically, and the easiest routes (relatively speaking, of course) to take through the Rockies in terms of physical travel versus the highest of the Rockies to deal with for Deseret and the Southwest. Those would be points to it being potentially integrated 'easier' or even potentially permanently so by/into this neo-USA. Maybe it's equivalent to Manchuria becoming utterly Han Chinese as a region fully "Americanized" through settler colonization and sheer cultural assimilation of the local natives alike? OTOH it does have a completely different religion, and established cities and states, versus the Great Plains and New Israelites' small nomadic numbers that could easily be swamped over with Non-Denom Neo-USA settlers.

EDIT: Extensive rambling added about the Pacific Northwest in this scenario.
 
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Whilst I do think that in a new early modern era that one of the interior super powers would probably be able to unify much of the country, I think that it would more closely resemble Russia than China.

Chinas and American geography is similar, but on thing hampering any pre renaissance unification is the language, or more specifically the writing system. China’s logographic system allows for a pre-modern imperial system. The shared writing system is what makes the Chinese dialects, dialects of the same language and not totally separate languages. Speaking from personal experience, Wu Chinese, Cantonese and Standard Mandarin are barely intelligible and if not for the same writing system, probably would be considered different languages.

I think that a better comparison would probably be Russia. Like Russia Illinois-Ohio would be able to expand along the steppes of North America and eventually into the Canadian Shield. It would also seek a warm-water port, either by going over the Appalachians (unlikely) or trying to expand south along the steppe.

All the little mountain empires like Utah and New Mexico would be like the Central Asian mountain nations for Russia.

I do however think that California would remain independent and that Cascadia only very loosely tied to the heartland. If the heartland were to suffer a civil war, all the mountain states would promptly breakaway. A good equivalent for Cascadia, although one that doesn't exist in our world is if Primorsky Krai in Russia had it's own East-Asian state. Or Georgia by the Black Sea might also work as an equivalent, Cascadia and Georgia share the same type of climate: Temperate Rainforest.

If we are still using the Russia analogy you'd get Gennesee County and Allegheny County as Baltic nations. If Ontario is a part of the heartland then Quebec would become a Finland equivalent.


I am also not sure whether a united Heartland Nation would be able to unify the whole of the US. At that point, about 4-500 years after Medieval America, the disparate cultures and religions would be too hard to govern as a cohesive set. Look at how the Soviet Union fell apart. Also, the coastal nations would have advantages so they could put up a strong fight.

The Heartland has varying shells to it which determines what nations we'd have

1. Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Northern Missouri
2. Allegheny County, Ontario, Great Plains north of Kansas/Missouri River Basin, Western Canadian Shield, Tennessee
3. Upstate New York, Southern Great Plains, Arkansas
4. Choose one or two: Texas, RioGrande; Mississippi River; Cascadia, Utah and Snake River Basin; NYC and New England; Quebec

 
So as the medieval period comes to an end America ends up less like Western Europe and more like the Mughal Empire with elements of both Russia and China?
 
As an addendum, in a vacuum, an industrial Heartland State, with early 1900s technology could conquer the entire continent and probably northern South America too.

Though with various coastal alliances, internal strifes etc. it would be difficult.

So as the medieval period comes to an end America ends up less like Western Europe and more like the Mughal Empire with elements of both Russia and China?
Yea. Climatically and geographically, North America most closely resembles Eastern Europe/ China that Western Europe and the Mediterranean. There are no perfect analogues ofc but those regions come closest.
It also depends on how the medieval period ends in the Americas. There are I think a few ways this could go about

1. Gradual Technological advancement: Technology gets better and better. Eventually gunpowder is rediscovered and spreads across the continent. Technological differences are gradual. Transoceanic links improve over time. You might see the slow consolidation of the continent and expansion from the heartland outwards. This is the Russia path.
2. Transoceanic shock: Europeans or Chinese show up with guns to a largely medieval America that lacks them. This creates a large coastal/inland divide. The heartland might get conquered ala India or bits and pieces carved out of it.
3. American Depopulation/Pandemic: Well, the continent is emptied out and European/Asian Settlers repopulate the land in their own image. This is just a repeat of OTL
4. Mutual Depopulation/Pandemic: Harder to predict, this might just cause a reversion of 2-300 years in both the Americas and Eurasia.
 
4. Mutual Depopulation/Pandemic: Harder to predict, this might just cause a reversion of 2-300 years in both the Americas and Eurasia.
The most likely scenario. All continents now have strong traditions of animal domestication and unsanitary urban conditions, there's plenty of poxes to go around. The transoceanic exchange is going to be a proper show-and-tell of diseases
 
That all makes sense if a China-style subcontinental-sized state pops up somewhere east of the Rockies. I suppose it’s my own biases that made me realize the coastal states being unified from the inland would possibly resist, since I tend to see the Appalachians as not being that big a hurdle to cross or unify with in pre-industrial times with the *Erie Canal, range petering out in the south, enough mountain passes/water gaps in the middle etc. That... and I was thinking a coastal state would do the unifying than an inland state a la the OTL USA. Oops.

Point taken on the Pacific Northwest as well - I tended to lump them into these subcontinental pre-industrial states both for reasons I mentioned elsewhere, but also because such a big westward-expanding USA without Pacific access that close to it would feel like an OTL USA without Florida. Just weird. :p
 
That all makes sense if a China-style subcontinental-sized state pops up somewhere east of the Rockies. I suppose it’s my own biases that made me realize the coastal states being unified from the inland would possibly resist, since I tend to see the Appalachians as not being that big a hurdle to cross or unify with in pre-industrial times with the *Erie Canal, range petering out in the south, enough mountain passes/water gaps in the middle etc. That... and I was thinking a coastal state would do the unifying than an inland state a la the OTL USA. Oops.

Point taken on the Pacific Northwest as well - I tended to lump them into these subcontinental pre-industrial states both for reasons I mentioned elsewhere, but also because such a big westward-expanding USA without Pacific access that close to it would feel like an OTL USA without Florida. Just weird. :p
The bias of how America conquered the continent is perfectly understandable. Its hard to think about how difficult American expansion might be if there were organized states of roughly the same technological level were on the other side.

Also, expansion into the Pacific might be less of a goal than expansion to the Gulf or Atlantic. Especially if the midwest is as densely populated as the North China Plain.
 
If we assume that every time sustained contact across the ocean is established, that a mass pandemic would arise on either side of the ocean, then what we might see is that if the technology remains, sustained transoceanic contact might not be possible until germ theory is established or immunity to the diseases on both sides of the ocean is established

If each contact set both sides back a couple hundred years, it would be a bit darkly funny if every time people got brave enough/advanced enough to sail across the ocean again they'd set themselves back 200 years, rinse and repeat for a thousand years.
 
It could be interesting to write about how a Black Death-level pandemic would shake up the social landscape of medieval North America. The Black Death was a disaster but it did have a silver lining for the peasants.
 
It could be interesting to write about how a Black Death-level pandemic would shake up the social landscape of medieval North America. The Black Death was a disaster but it did have a silver lining for the peasants.
It did allow them to demand more for their labor, shake up the traditional religious order and lead to several innovations for improved efficiency.

This is making me think about a scenario that mixes elements of all the previously listed. With contact between the Americas and both Europe & Asia being reestablished roughly around the same time period. Leading to a new wave of plagues to ravage both the old and new world, only the Old World was better able to weather the storm. Thanks to having a better understanding of germ theory, medicine and the sciences in general, reintroducing gunpowder weaponry to the Americas.

A good chunk of the Eastern seaboard gets conquered by a European power, while California & Cascadia gets outright colonized by East Asia and we see the rise of a massive interior state.

On an unrelated note anyone know any good Wasteland and Mad Max post apocalyptic timeline on this site?
 
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This is making me think about a scenario that mixes elements of all the previously listed. With contact between the Americas and both Europe & Asia being reestablished roughly around the same time period. Leading to a new wave of plagues to ravage both the old and new world, only the Old World was better able to weather the storm. Thanks to having a better understanding of germ theory, medicine and the sciences in general, reintroducing gunpowder weaponry to the Americas.

A good chunk of the Eastern seaboard gets conquered by a European power, while California & Cascadia gets outright colonized by East Asia and we see the rise of a massive interior state.
I don't actually know if the old world would be better able to weather the storm. Whilst the Old world is much easier to travel by land, the New World is much much easier to travel by sea and thus much more interconnected. The Pacific rim is accessible from Chile to Alaska, though the Atacama presents a challenge, at the very least Peru is accessible. The Atlantic Coast is interrupted by the Amazon, though depending on how advanced Amazonian agriculture is, it could be manageable.
 
I think we're overestimating the degree of divergence between the populations - both societies have only been seperate for a thousand years, and they're largely using the same domesticates and starting from the same basic diseases. There will be new plagues, to be sure, but nothing on the scale of the Columbian exchange.
 
@Flashman you're probably right. Once people do make sustained contact you might see a wave or two of plague spread across the globe, but it might not set society back all that much.

Plausibility check: via the Labrador-Greenland-Iceland route, there is very low volume trade, think a boat a year, thus Europe never loses contact with the Americas.
 

The Galactic Gate in Fresno. (image source)​

A small room, dug into the rock beneath the First Church of Sacramento. 2643 AD.

I wished for strength, but still flinched as wet, cold hands stroked and prodded around my wrists, chest, and back. The two meter-men at last found the channels through which the vital current ebbed and flowed, and their hands came to rest. The fourth person in the room cleared his throat. While I balanced on a rickety stool, this man had the luxury of propping his arms up on a magnificent table. Beneath his elbows lay a thin slab of dark Sierra stone, inlaid with circles and dots of brass— a star map of the Auditor’s constellation.

“I have read the fables and heard the sermons, Elder.”

“Oh? And how much do you remember?” I laughed nervously, taking the barb as naturally as I dared. I was not truly hurt, not after my fourth time in the seat— but I was no doormat. That was what I wanted the auditor to remember of me, not…

“What is your opinion on corporal punishment?” the auditor asked.

...not that. “Necessary, when a child is not yet at the age to understand the words of his elders”. The meter-men waited, then blinked twice.

“Curtly phrased, and naturally expressed. Good. Have you ever ruined a nation?”

“...No? Not as far as I recall.”

“What is the earliest time you felt cold?”

“You know all princes must make camp in the Snowcaps one night before their first audit. It’s very cold up th—”

“Do you love your family?”

At least let me finish. Even the meter-men seemed peeved at this auditor’s haste. Were such qualities really allowed in the eight-cleared soul?

“Who, exactly? So few remain. My younger brother, my two cousins. I love them as much as I can.”

“Why leave out your uncle?”

“No reason at all. But if you must know, I love him too.” The meter-men waited… and then both tilted their heads forward as if bowing to each other. A change in the current had been noted.

“Are you hiding something?”

“The great families hide many things. It is our prerogative under the old War-powers.” The meter-men bowed further, and their fingertips splayed out further along my chest and back.

“Have you kept a possession close, even knowing it could harm you?”

“What harm will the man of prudence and propriety meet with?” The meter-men were nearly touching heads, and their bent bodies formed an arch over my seated frame. They were close. Too close. Was this not unnatural for them too, even if they were slaves who could not complain?

“I ask again, so think carefully. Do you love your family?”

Six eyes could see right through me, to my beating heart, as if it had been cut out and held up to the weak sunlight reflected into the room through grates and mirrors.

“...Not entirely.”

“Then how do you feel?”

“I doubt my uncle, the President. I feel fear when I think of him.”

The meter-men backed off slightly. The auditor remained silent.

I continued on, saying things I had never said aloud before. “He doesn’t show it, not to everyone. But since the First Lady’s death he has entertained the counsel of madmen. He has gone mad himself. Every day he listens to their ramblings about the stars and at night he forsakes his rest to stare unknowingly at the sky. My cousins are tutored by these same madmen. I have not seen them for many months. I am scared to see them again.”

The auditor smiled. “Have you ever ruined a nation?”

“I don’t know. Maybe I have in the far past. But I don’t want to do it again, or for the first time— whichever it may be.” After a full minute of silence, the meter-men straightened and blinked twice.

The auditor nodded. “You entered this room a wavering reed. But the stain of wavering which lay upon your eternal soul through all of its lives has at long last been washed out. Your back has straightened, and there is iron in your gaze. The air of health and vigor is in you, and I take heed.”

I made to bring my hands together in the gesture of farewell, but the auditor was not yet finished. He commanded the slaves to leave the room, and waited until the sound of their footsteps on the rock-hewn steps no longer echoed through the narrow hallways.

“If you truly mean what you have said to me, I would like to let you in on a matter I have been discussing with the Lifers of the army.”

Inscription of the Galactic Gate, commissioned by Jayden Siliconheart

In the name of Hubbard, patron of man, who raised his fist against the kings of ignorance and taught the people of stars and souls. I speak of President Jayden Siliconheart, Thetan of Thetans.

In the President’s youth, the state did cringe beneath the whip of the Astrologer Cabal, a race of deceivers and entertainers who recovered certain old books of powerful lies about the stars. With these lies they seduced the great families, enslaved the heroes, and silenced the tellers of truth. Yet they calculated not the President’s spiritual power, and as he cleared his soul five times over he did assume the air of holy charisma. He did inspire the tellers of truth to sing in the thoroughfares, the heroes to take up their hammers, the great families to wake from their dreams. And so the Suppressives were shattered, and Sacramento made whole.

The President bade the four great mayors of California renew the oaths of fealty made to his office in the All Men’s War to clear San Francisco of the Buddhist interloper. All four refused, for in the reign of the Astrologers Sacramento had lost all face in the eyes of men. Yet the refusal of mayor of Fresno was brash beyond the bounds of propriety, and so the President challenged him first.

The mayor of Fresno was a fool, but a mighty one. His mills produced a new spear and bow for every one broken in practice or battle. The men of his host were as the horse and boar. In three days his host did march from Fresno to the field of Modesto, and there they assembled many engines of destruction. Yet he calculated not the President’s spiritual power, and in the face of this great trial the President did become his own Auditor. He did submit himself to himself, and cleared his own soul to the tenth level to become as the Giants.

Then did the President read out the words I AM THE LORD OF MATTER, and the mills of Sacramento produced engines, spears, and bows beyond count.

Then did the President read out the words I AM THE GUIDE OF ENERGY, and his sworn men did fall as tigers and hippos upon the unready host of Fresno and drive them from the field of Modesto.

Then did the President read out the words I AM THE COMMANDER OF SPACE, and in half a day he marched from Modesto to the walls of Fresno.

Then did the President read out the words I AM THE OWNER OF TIME, and in one night the ramparts of stone and wood did crumble to dust, and grow over with moss and creeping vines.

The mayor of Fresno crawled out from his keep on all fours, and cried out— Truly you are the Soul Realized. My domain is forfeit, and with it I offer my head. The President promised him a long and healthful life, and bade him seek wisdom in the Eastern Snowcaps to understand his fate.

Jayden Siliconheart was the holder of the bright Atom-bolt in his left hand and the sweet Cola-nectar in his right hand. Yet he trod the soil, that the land of California would know galactic order. He will be born among us again, age after age, to take the reins of the state and people forevermore.

A narrow alley in Fresno. 29XX AD.

“Ed, you’ve got nowhere to run,” Kat breathed heavily. “Now answer me. How many eggs did you sell before the markets closed?”

“...Thirty,” her brother replied.

“And where are the rest? Not that it matters, they’ll all have gone rotten by now.”

“Gave them to the urchins. Hope they ate them quickly.”

Kat leaned against the wall as her legs slackened. “Ed, we can’t live like this. We won’t have enough to pay our dues.”

“I know.” Ed, always timid by nature, was on the verge of tears.

Kat’s face softened. “I’m not angry at you, Ed. I’m not. I’m angry at… the taxmen. Yes, that’s right. They think that just because they planted some ivy on our walls, they can do what they want in our town? I’ll prune their precious hedges myself!”

Hey. Don’t say that.”

This surprised Kat. “What? Wait, so the story on the Gate about the vines on the old inner walls… you think it’s true?”

The moonlight fell on Ed as he wrestled with the words that so often escaped him. “...I don’t know. Churchman says it is but I don’t know. But if it is, then a great man put those vines on that wall. Cutting those down would ruin us in this life and the next. And we’re ruined enough as is.”

***

The idea of the Astrologers as clowns and entertainers given absolute power is inspired by L. Ron Hubbard’s statements on psychologists and psychiatrists in his Battlefield Earth series.

There are some aspects of Scientology that lend themselves well to post-apocalyptic settings. The atom bomb and radioactivity in general are very prominent in Hubbard’s scifi and cultic writings— he even tried to flog anti-radiation pills and doomsday survival camps in the 50s and 60s. Naturally, Scientology markets itself as the polar opposite of (and antidote to) all the evils represented by the atom bomb, which all the religions of the world were unable to contain or prevent. Scientology could take the apocalyptic Event itself as proof that the formerly dominant religions couldn’t save humanity from itself.

However, Scientology is very influenced by science fiction. The core ritual of Dianetics is auditing, by which an interviewer walks a person through repressed memories of great subconscious importance, especially memories of pain and distress. By uncovering these memories and dispelling them, a person becomes “clear”-- a state associated with increased mental and physical health. The contribution of Scientology, which is built around Dianetics, is to make these memories endless (by postulating an eternal soul which retains memories across reincarnations) and the benefits of dispelling them endless (increasingly godlike powers are promised, including power over matter, energy, space, and time-- this formula is so common it is often shortened to MEST), and so makes the fees required for such "services" endless (the "fables and sermons"-- the prep classes and tests that precede auditing-- can cost tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars). Scientology prides itself on measuring “clarity” with the E-meter, which allegedly uses electricity to detect emotional stress (in truth, it measures changes in voltage across the skin that are caused by a whole range of other factors). The needle on this meter is said to go still when a person no longer feels stress after being asked a specific question, implying a particular stressful memory has been dispelled. Since there is no electricity in the medieval-tech post-apocalyptic world, it’s possible that “current” comes to resemble Chinese traditional medicine’s understanding of qi, and is measured through monitoring patterns in breathing and pulse.

One thing I wanted to explore is how Scientology might justify leadership that is not leadership of the church. From 1948, when L. Ron Hubbard released the first writings on Dianetics in a popular magazine, the leader of the movement has always been unique and unequaled. So how can a king, or several kings, attain authority or undying fame? The references to “nth-level souls/clearing” are a repurposing of the Operating Thetan concept. This is one of the teachings that Scientology tries very hard to keep secret (people expend enormous sums of money to discover the mysteries of each level, no point revealing them for free) and so out of 15 confirmed levels we actually don’t know anything about any level above OT 8, and what we know about OT 8 comes from some memos which a court legally required to be brought out during a case. In Medieval California, Level 1-6 are considered regular people, and Levels 7-8 are divided further into various ranks of preachers and auditors, who keep the mysteries and establish orthodoxy. Levels 9 and above are treated as outside the scope of standard religious practice, accessible only through revelatory experience or Herculean labors. People who are considered to have attained these levels are deified and remain part of a pantheon of bodhisattva-like figures headed by Hubbard. I haven’t yet sketched out the theology of the Free Zone but I imagine this is where most of their quibbles with California would be.
 
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Would the ranch where Hubbard lived out his last days hiding from the Feds in Creston near Paso Robles be a holy site?
I think there's a limit to the amount of obscure knowledge, especially knowledge that was specifically meant to be hidden, that we can expect to survive. As a religion clawing its way up from obscurity (as opposed to stuff like Non-Denom or New Israelism that are evolutions of a formerly very strong faith) I think Scientology would also benefit more from claiming very visible and obviously-great things (or the ruins of such) like the Golden Gate as its holy sites instead. A very valid strategy could be claiming this or that Buddhist/Christian site was actually a Scientologist site before, and must be reclaimed for the True Faith.

And I think Gold Base would be in LA Free Zone territory...is it still a Scientology fortress? Do they call dungeons Holes?
This has potential. Even if the exact location of Gold Base is forgotten it's possible that Socal is considered the rough homeland of the faith; overlaid with memories of Hollywood glamour it has everything needed to build an identity independent of California's.
 
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They could just claim all Hollywood stars were Scientologists and make saint figures of them and nobody would know the difference. James Dean, Gable, Natalie Wood, Spielberg, Gibson, all get retroactively made into Hubbard acolytes for extra prestige.
 
Which kind of begs the question, there are enough Christians and Jews in California to survive in some numbers under a Scientologist regime. What happens to them? Wog ghettoes?
 
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