As I said earlier, I've been kicking around a few ideas, which I've lumped under an ideology I'm calling Cosmicism. It basically boils down to 3 paradoxical axioms, with everything else built over top of them.
These three positions form the basis of the ideology that I've been constructing. In practice, it focuses primarily on the precariat as the necessary core of class action. The precariat is a large and, I believe, growing subsection of the population, and would rejoice at measures capable of providing security and sustainability while also allowing a wide latitude for personal decision making. As social instability worsens, the ranks of the precariat will swell as new conditions create new vectors for instability in people's lives, eventually creating a small, well-insulated elite separated by a vast gulf from the insecurity suffered by most of the human population.
- Given the sheer scale of the universe, the depth of history and the magnitude of the existential threats facing human civilization, an individual human life has very little inherent value. However, this lack of inherent worth allows each person a great deal of latitude to act in ways that generate percieved value.
- The modern world is inextricable from the history that preceded it (something I think everyone here could agree with), however, the combination of advancing technology, political nihilism and late stage capitalism have rendered older systems of historiography obsolete.
- In order to effectively manage modern crisis, action is needed at a collosal scale, as mass action is the only way that individuals can make an indelible impact on an uncertain future. However, mass action is susceptible to demagoguery, which must be resisted at all costs.
A Cosmicist world order would essentially boil down to a form of widespread (ideally continental or close to it) federalism, where individual cultural/regional/religious units are able to coexist with each other and act together to balance against a central government. Economically a mixed economy would be favored, with certain state interventions in order to protect workers rights and manage environmental concerns, with a focus on renewable energy sources and, with technological development, resources mined remotely in space. Socially, this ideology would promote great freedom of personal action, so long as that action does not harm others or undermine social stability. Take all the drugs you like and say whatever you please, but harm another person or actively subvert the state and you get thrown in the hole.
On a global scale, this hypothetical "regionalist international" would function as a confederation of a small number of equal members, acting jointly to steward the environment and develop habitable space beyond Earth. This would be the first step in a singularitarian plan to spread the human race as far as possible, reducing the chances that a single cataclysmic event (or the results of our own stupidity) would destroy the entirety of the species. It's a little rough right now but I hope to expand it, and discussion would be welcome.
Here's one I've been thinking a bit on, the POD is that Alexander Haig becomes Reagan's VP. After the Reagan assassination, Haig's aggressive foreign policy over his two presidential terms contributes to a wildly different international and domestic environment, leading to an election in 2020 contested between five political parties, each claiming to inherent bits and pieces of the preceding three. It's a matter of academic debate whether the current state of affairs represents the logical extreme of the polarization of the Sixth Party System or is so different that it can only be considered a Seventh. Politics in the twenty-first century is divided into two groups, the Establishment (which has national appeal and viability) and the Opposition (which has neither).
The Establishment (from right to left)
America First Party: Considered the most socially conservative faction of the modern American political landscape, the America First Party favors strict controls on immigration, vigorous defense of religious liberty and other cultural wedge issues, and supports government intervention directed at achieving those ends. The party is also incredibly hawkish on foreign policy, particularly against the Soviet Union, although there has been a noticeable softening on the Republic of China, coupled with swirling rumors of that nation's undue influence on the president. The standard bearer for the party is President Buchanan, who won election to his first term as the second president elected by the Reform Party. Far more right wing than President Perot, Buchanan looked on as the political system fragmented, consolidating the most conservative elements of Reform and the Republicans in an effort to secure reelection. Ties to the Myrmidon Militia hate group have gone uninvestigated by the Department of Justice. The symbol of the America First Party is a lion representing pride and power.
Freedom Party: Largely a collection of libertarians, free market proselytizers, and small government isolationists, the Freedom Party is primarily descended from ideological strains within the Republican party, although the secession of the AFP has allowed in a bit more cultural liberalism. Largely favoring the withering away of government, Freedom is widely accused by its critics of supporting authoritarian corporate control over a publicly accountable government and is widely seen as beholden to corporate interest, particularly in the tech industry. The only non-interventionist party in the modern spectrum, the Freedom Party opposes the expansive American military footprint, with longstanding US support for the Duvalier regime in West Quisqueya (and their controversial chemical weapons program) and the decades spent fighting in Kurdistan being attacked repeatedly in Freedom political ads. The symbol of the Freedom Party is a rattlesnake calling back to the Gadsden flag.
New Federalist Party: Largely bipartisan in origin and attempting to corner the market on a hypothetical "moral majority" opposed to the climate of ideological insanity, the New Federalist Party is ironically the most radical of the modern parties in some respects, favoring a broad variety of structural reforms meant to bring a better consensus to government. Although opposed to calls from more leftward parties to eliminate the electoral college, for example, the Neofeds support reforms to make the selection of electors more reflective of the popular vote, along with making changes to the size and structure of the Supreme Court and altering the length of terms in the House. The biggest thing going against the New Federalists is that most of their proposed changes require a hefty constitutional lift, and their opponents on either end of the spectrum despise them.The Neofeds use a tree as their symbol to represent their "living document" view on the Constitution.
Progressive Party: Made up of the identitarian left of the former Democratic Party, the Progressives are largely focused on dismantling structural inequalities in American society, but have noticeable problems with factionalism. Socially liberal (though not necessarily socialist), the Progressive Party favors a government that strongly enforces civil rights laws and supports the less fortunate but otherwise leaves citizens to their business, and the party is especially concerned with the spiralling War on Drugs, originally formalized by Haig as the continuation of the "Reagan Revolution". The legacy of these programs, particularly a growing epidemic of drug overdoses and the extreme militarization of local police, has fed into the wariness of the Progressive electorate toward a martial rather than a supportive government. Digging into the history books, the Progressive Party uses a bull moose as their electoral symbol.
American Socialist Party: On the far left of the modern American party system, the American Socialist Party formed after an exodus of Democrats worried about a focus on "identity issues" cobbled a viable party together with the Greens and the Democratic Socialists. Focusing largely on class issues, Socialist proposals range from making sweeping changes to existing institutions all the way to calls on the far fringes for a new constitutional convention. Admittedly bound by ideological rigidity, the Socialist Party has repeatedly refused to disavow the Weathermen, a group of anti-fascist activists that works to disrupt the activities of the other political parties and has been accused of militancy by Freedom and the AFP. Wanting to distance themselves rhetorically from the Soviet Union, the Socialists have abandoned red as a signature color and have settled on the bison as an all-American symbol.
The Opposition (basically all over the place)
Regional Responsibility: Though not strictly a political party in the traditional sense, Regional Responsibility still plays an important role in the political ecosystem of the United States. Originally inspired by American involvement in the Kurdish Revolution, the Regionalists are a broad based coalition of groups representing states, ecoregions, tribal groups and ideological minorities fighting for the devolution of governing power to the state and local level, and runs the gamut from reactionary to revolutionary elements. This ideological schizophrenia makes organizing successfully on a national level nearly impossible, but is considered a feature of the movement rather than a bug as the maxim that "all politics is local" is considered the rallying cry of the movement. Ironically, Regional Responsibility affiliates with similar groups throughout the world, particularly in the Paneuropean Union. Although different factions use different symbols, the Establishment parties used a turkey to denigrate the movement, and it seems to have caught on out of spite.
Radio Free America: Another bit player on the stage, steeped in meme magic and elaborate trolling, Radio Free America is a disorganized and anarchic protest movement ironically appropriating the facade of a political party. Focused largely on disruption for the sake of disruption and crusading for an end to the copyright and patent systems the Pirates are largely considered a nuisance by the Establishment, although they maintain a fairly steady stream of small dollar contributions. Radio Free America uses a tree frog as a symbol of the movement, with the spots forming a skull and crossbones.
Because I actually want to do something with all of this stuff here's a few more political parties for more countries in the TL. These all exist at the narrative present relative to my US politics post:
Paneuropean Union- Established in 1993 to safeguard the security of Western Europe from renewed Soviet aggression as the United States began to look elsewhere, the Paneuropean Union is a centrist federation with a common currency, single economic market, and standing army. The PEU does not have federal level political parties, but rather two large coalitions made up of national parties working more or less in harmony.
- The Mountain: Originating in France, the Mountain is a coalition of the left-leaning parties of the PEU, generally favoring strong social welfare, protection for unions, and enforced laïceté on a continental level achieved through a strong federal government. Accused of being appeasers and apologists to the USSR, the Mountain is distrusted by the Levellers, and despised by the Underground.
- The Levellers: The second major pole of Paneuropean politics and originating in the UK, the Levellers focus much more on preserving the rights of the national governments of the PEU against centralized encroachment and favor religious pluralism in public and private life. Taking a hard line against encroachment by the USSR, the Levellers are firm supporters of the military, viewing a strong defense as the supreme guarantor of national liberties in Western Europe.
- The Underground- A populist movement in West Germany, the Underground does not compete at the federal level on the continent, and is considered to the extreme right on the European political spectrum. Viewing the entire Paneuropean project as a shadowy path to Communist style tyranny, the Underground opposes what it views as "government overreach by a bloated corps of continentalist apparatchiks". There have been repeated calls for a referendum to take Germany out of the federation, but recent polling indicates this latest attempt will fail like all the others.
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics- After enacting a series of market reforms, the USSR has attempted to reverse its long term decline through military adventurism both internally (against Chechens and other minority ethnic groups) and externally (seeking to isolate and bully Konigsberg through an artificial island boondoggle in the Baltic Sea, most notably). The USSR and US are currently in the midst of an ugly trade war, putting strain on both economies.
- United Communist Party: Formed in the wake of the August Coup and the Gorbachev assassination, the United Communist Party was a rebranding attempt meant to mask discontent with the Soviet system. Currently lead by Premier Zhirinovsky, the party platform has a tendency to change based on political expediency, but a connection to Marxist-Leninism is always maintained, no matter how tenuously.
Republic of China- In the wake of popular protests against the Communist Party, the People's Republic of China would dissolve despite all attempts to save it, with one reform plan being reworked, leading to the formation of the Republic of China. Seeking to draw on the tradition of the original ROC, China paradoxically is also attempting to draw on both the Communist and Nationalist sides of the Chinese Civil War.
- Chinese Democratic Party: The only political party of note in China, the Democratic Party is firmly controlled by a clique of insiders widely considered a corrupt oligarchy. The CDP seeks to maintain an expansive foreign presence for Chinese markets, making trade deals with several African nations while also attempting to isolate Japan. Unusually the DPC is also extremely pro-Israel, exploiting a split between that country and the United States in order to maintain a strategic influence in the Middle East.
This one, meanwhile, would be some sort of future history epilogue of the same timeline.
As resource scarcity, climate change, and international terrorism ratcheted up global tensions, the nations of the world began to look with rapacious eyes toward the last unclaimed real estate on Earth, Antarctica. As climate change melted the southern ice, resources became more accessible even if the conditions of extracting that bounty remained extremely harsh. In theory it could solve several problems at once, as a convict labor system could be used to reduce demand for resources elsewhere while allowing a relief valve for a variety of population pressures while maintaining access for crews of researchers documenting the rapidly shifting conditions on the continent. This shortsighted approach would come to an abrupt and violent end with the outbreak of the Antarctic Revolution and the birth of the Altrurian Revolutionary Combine (derided by its enemies as the "Southern Reich") under the firm hand of the Cosmicist Southern Vanguard. Born in the wake of serious global convulsions, Cosmicism was a political theory pioneered by American genre writer Daniel Sutter starting in 2020 with the publication of his nonfiction opus The Cosmicist Manifesto. Declaring that "the greatest enemy of the human endeavor is the end, and the surest path to the end is precarity", Cosmicism was an attempt to create a diverse and self-described paradoxical ideology devoted to "preserving the past, pioneering the future, and enshrining freedom and security through mass populist action and global political unity". Facing serious backlash from entrenched power structures the world over, which he derided as "the dying gasps of the Leviathan's Kyriarchy", Cosmicism has only been fully realized in the ARC.
Cosmicist Southern Vanguard: The only legally recognized political party in the ARC, the Vanguard is divided into two broad factions that struggle for power in the eight Territories that make up the nation. While both factions favor centralized government and champion individual freedom of action, the Technocracy faction favors industrial development in order to counter the hostile Fallen World and seeks to rapidly develop a space program in order to establish outposts beyond the Earth to ensure continuity of government and second strike capability in the event of what is viewed as an inevitable attack. To this end Technocracy values immigration by highly skilled prospective citizens who can contribute to this development. In contrast, the Social Ecology faction wishes to preserve as much natural space as possible on the continent, limiting development and attempting to engineer new organisms from preserved native stock to fill niches in the rapidly transforming ecozone and ensure robust (if largely artificial) biodiversity. Extremely distrustful of "unpredictable dilution of the Cosmicist project by unstable foreign elements", Social Ecology opposes all immigration from nations that do not adopt a Cosmicist system and favors a longer term and less destructive space program geared largely toward peacefully achieving autarky by extracting resources throughout the solar system. The Southern Vanguard uses an octopus, a common Cosmicist metaphor, as a symbol.
Super fun stuff! I had one for a future history thing I'm working on called Cosmicism. Basically, society is divided between the Precariat (whose unifying characteristic is instability in consistent quality of life) and Kyriarchy (which is not a specific class or group but rather the web of connections that destabilizes the Precariat, and whoever profits off of it based on local context). Because climate shifts and resource scarcity (among other factors) expand the Precariat class by destabilizing existing societies it is the desire of Cosmicism to spread to encompass the entire human race, where the second stage goal becomes two-fold. First, because it considers itself a stabilizing force the entirety of human cultural history must be studied and preserved to serve as part of a universal human toolkit/monument to the human endeavor. Second, Cosmicism strives to expand human society beyond the Earth, both to extract resources (preserving the Earth's environment) and to prevent the total extinction of the human race in the event of a catastrophe.
While fundamentally a big government ideology (and categorically convinced of individual insignificance on a historical scale), Cosmicism is actually a fairly libertarian ideology, on the basis that anything that doesn't threaten the cultural history/technical progress of the human race, or public order, or long term species survivability more generally is allowed. Human insignificance ironically makes most personal stuff far beneath concern for the state, and makes the cult of personality "Great Man" style of politics verboten.
Styling itself the "Fourth Position" Cosmicism expands on the Marxist conception of history by swapping Liberalism for Capitalism and including Fascism as a reaction against Marxism. The current age is retroactively described as Nihilist, blending cynical distortions of the preceding stages in a terrible world destroying post-modern death spiral. Despite the fact that Cosmicism is a conscious reaction against it Nihilism is not considered an ideology in the Cosmicist conception of history.
Cosmicist historiography is divided into two different core concepts. The Four Positions are arranged in a chain called the Leviathan, made up of a series of stages where each next link reacts against all the preceding links. The length of each stage is different and leaves stronger or weaker traces in each subsequent stage.
Cosmicism divides the future history into three stages of social complexity. The Leviathan is wholly contained in the Volksgeist stage of seperate states competing for dominance across history. A desire for eternity (a stable long-term flowering of human potential) ushers in the creation of Cosmicism and the Zeitgeist, a revolutionary wave. The ultimate success of the Zeitgeist would result in the Weltgeist, a united global humanity reaching out eagerly into the solar system.
- The first (and chronologically longest) is Feudalism, using an intentionally imprecise definition to cover every hierarchical society between the formation of settled states and the Enlightenment. Feudalism is characterized by mercantilism.
- A desire for liberty would give rise to Liberalism during the Enlightenment, which is characterized by general government non-intervention in ordinary human affairs (in theory at least). Liberalism and Socialism rely on different approaches to capitalism.
- A desire for equality gave rise to Socialism, which sought to use different degrees of government intervention to improve human affairs.
- A desire for fraternity would lead to Fascism, as conceptions of state and nation would be used to focus government intervention toward (or against) specific groups to strengthen social cohesion.
- Nihilism would congeal from the remains of the first three positions, relying on distorted history and a retrocultural impulse to try to shape social and governmental affairs. Because it is not grounded in reality Nihilism represents terminal decline, producing a fear of the future.
The Fourth Position views the left-right political spectrum as reductionist, and relies on a complex political spectrum with four different axes. Progressive/Conservative governs social attitudes, Authoritarian/Libertarian deals with levels of personal freedom, Gradual/Radical deals with the pace of Cosmicist reform, and finally Populist/Elite relates where the mechanism for implementing this reform comes from. Rather than reduce figures and nations to points on a line this has the effect of creating a descriptive shape instead.
Theoretically at the conclusion of the Weltgeist stage a desire for expansion beyond the Solar System and a drive to achieve infinity would produce a Fifth Position capable of absorbing and surpassing Cosmicism in the creation of a constantly transforming human diaspora, not unlike the Scattering in Dune.
As for Cosmicist economics I spent my vacation reading For Us, The Living, a very early work by Robert A. Heinlein that revolved around Social Credit, and it helped inform what is admittedly still a pretty nebulous idea I'm still tinkering with.Not an update, more a teaser but I ended up going down a weird rabbit hole today and it'll definitely show up here in its final form. Originally the economic policies of Cosmicism were fairly conservative as far as revolutionary social movements go, a bog standard mixed economy with a UBI to fill the gap created by accelerating automation. Today I realized that given the goals of the movement (individual economic security + self discovery/expression in the near term and averting ecological devastation/technological stagnation/societal collapse in the long term), that wouldn't be nearly far enough. So, as a way to craft something that would make sense for the Commonwealth I spent the afternoon coming up with an idea for an alternative to the current financial system. I started with the basics of freiwirtschaft and went from there, I'm a little proud of myself