"Power Without Knowledge...": President Haig and the Era of Bad Feelings

The Tiger and the Peacock: The Second Levant War
Under the umbrella of American protection Kurdistan had done pretty well for itself since gaining independence. Having built a new capital, the planned city of Uqbar, the Kurdish state had a representative democracy, a politically neutral civil service, and a well-trained, well-supplied military. Given its position it's fair to say that it was the latter that was most important. To put it simply, Kurdistan was surrounded by enemies that had either lost territory to the new state or who had their own restive Kurdish populations gazing longingly across the border. It didn't help that the Republic included in its constitution the ability to absorb neighboring Kurdish territory "if there was a mandate from the Kurdish peoples of said territory".

And that was where the trouble started. Although Syria had been able to preserve its territorial integrity against Iraq, it still smarted to see Syrian Kurdistan lost to the upstart new country. Something had to be done. And it involved turning to an old enemy for help. Rifaat al-Assad wanted his share of Kurdistan back, and in that goal he had a ready ally in Saddam Hussein. But they could hardly go in guns blazing. Kurdistan had become a crucial US ally in the region, and they were sure to go to war to defend it from an external attack.

But what about an internal one? American intervention in the Levant War had had the unintended side effect of introducing Regressive thought to the region, something which had quietly bloomed even as Regressives in the US snagged all the headlines, and as the center of American presence in the region the Republic of Kurdistan had a large underground Regressive movement in the form of a group called the Green Guard. The plan was simple: covert aid from the Ba'athist regimes could easily be smuggled in, and a little nudge could tip this apparently stable state into a dissolving civil war. A simply elegant solution. So much for best laid plans...

There wouldn't be a Kurdish civil war, with the Guard well aware that they were being used as pawns. The joke was on Hussein and Assad, because the Green Guard was far larger than they suspected, and they were more than happy to take the money and weapons for their own ends. And that meant bombings. Bombings in Kurdistan, yes, but also in Syria. And Iraq. And Iran. And Turkey. 2002 would see whatever peace Haig had hoped to create in the wake of the Levant War shattered as the Green Guard, under Iranian exile Seyyed Hossein Nasr, began consolidating its forces and Kurds in Turkey and Iran sought to seize the opportunity and secede.

President Powell had to act and he had to act quickly. Even leaving aside the fact that there were US troops under fire in Kurdistan, he saw stabilizing the region as vitally important, especially before Iran got its feet under it and started a war with its neighbors, and God forbid before Turkey tried to call in the Soviet Union. It didn't help that the Green Guard's success in the field inspired another wave of Regressive terrorism in the United States...

Even so his response would be incredibly controversial, even if it was initially muted by the wave of patriotic fervor at the sight of US troops in danger:
  • Powell began by sending troops to the region to shore up the Kurdish regime in mid 2002, without the explicit authorization of Congress.
  • Although he would eventually be able to secure an official declaration of war against Iraq and Syria, and even an international peacekeeping coalition, there are lingering questions about the evidence used to justify the attempted regime change in both nations.
  • Powell committed the US explicity to the prevention of "Regressive terrorism at home and abroad". Quite aside from commiting the US to an indefinite anti-insurgency campaign that would take on an ever-larger scope, this would also crystalize the Haig era security state officially, with all the previously murky domestic police powers officially sanctioned and consolidated through the formation of the new Department of Heartland Security.
 
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The Great Divide: DecoSec and RFA
In the wake of the tumultuous 20th century, the new millennium held immense promise in many circles. Futurists dreamed of a world transformed and made better by technology, and that desire would form the core of two movements that would otherwise be tagentially related at best and mutually opposed at worst. The first, and by far the most mainstream, was the DecoSec movement that would, with the shattering of the tripartisan status quo, find its most natural home in the New Federalist Party.

With a following primarily among tech industrialists, architects and artists, Deco Secundis was an aspirational sort of futurism, focused on using markets and technology to solve problems and make a better world, with a focus on an integration of technology into life and work, with a goal of creating spaces balanced between industrial productivity, aesthetically pleasing design and proximity to nature. One of the best examples of this ethic was Macondo Technologies, by this point only a respectably sized computer company just beginning it's proliferation into the software side of things through their Buendia search engine. It would be another decade before Macondo would be regarded as an unassailable giant, and the company's DecoSec aesthetic ironically lives on in the dieselpunk sensibilities of the Antarctic Revolutionary Commonwealths.

A far different reaction to the promise of technology would begin to bubble up in the wake of the Second Levant War, particularly on Libertalia, a loosely-connected network of lightly moderated message boards. Conspiracy was rampant as people turned to Libertalia to complain about censorship, share links to stolen content, work chaos magic, insult one another and revel in the anonymity of the internet. Then something happened. In the wake of the official declaration of war in Syria and Iraq a board member going by the name "Saint Toad" began posting videos telling people to wake up and denounce spooks.

The audio was always dubbed by a computer, even though the subject would always move their head and hands as if they were speaking animatedly. The most recognizable thing was the mask. It was always the same, skin a teal shade, glasses, dark hair and sideburns. It wasn't long before viewers figured it out. It was a mask of Max Stirner. In the rough and tumble world of Libertalia it was no surprise that St. Toad's rants about egoism found a ready audience. Stirner's work quickly became a frequent topic of discussion, blending with half-baked occultism and the hatred of content moderators and gatekeepers of all kinds. And somewhere along the way Radio Free America was born.

Something between a Union of Egoists and a mob playing at a political party (or was it vice versa?), the RFA had no centralized structure, congregating and dispersing effortlessly whenever two people had Stirner masks and wanted to bust spooks. It evolved its own symbols organically and communicated through memes. Teal was popular for the movement, along with frog symbolism, but there was no rhyme or reason to it and it could be discarded at any time. DDOS attacks on censors, doxxing of abusive police and corrupt officials, hacking and theft of any intellectual property imaginable, everything was on the table, and the lack of any sort of organization made cracking down on anything besides the occasional sloppy lone wolf a nightmare for the DHS and the FBI.

2004 would be the first election to feature an RFA "candidate", with write-in St. Toad garnering a few thousand votes. At the time little more than a footnote to Powell's successful bid for reelection, it would be a shape of things to come, with the St. Toad character quickly growing in popularity as a write-in protest vote, with the mix of organic voluntary participation and disdain for government censorship and intellectual property laws making RFA by some metrics the world's first pirate party. If one assumes that something with no leaders, infrastructure or official members could be considered a party at all 🤔
 
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What’s civil unrest and terrorism like in the USA? When did it all start?
Right now civil terrorism in the US is a primarily right wing phenomenon given the cross-pollination of the militia movement and Unabomber anti-industrialism that coalesced into the Regressive eco-fascist movement. Most Regressives don't focus overtly on race so there's a sizeable population of nonwhites in the movement, and we'll get into a bit of left of center terror later on so it'll be a bit of a mixed bag as the century drags on. Terrorism in the US was (like OTL) really high in the seventies*, dipped a little at the start of the eighties and then started rising again in the wake of the Reagan assassination in '84. It's something of a cyclical problem, with brief surges under each administration so far, a result of which is the persistent erosion of civil liberties despite recurring promises to the contrary and consistent outrage at the scope of the crackdowns. Ironically enough the fact that it's only under the Powell Administration that all of these police powers are brought under the same roof and written into law theoretically makes it much easier for some future Congress to roll back those same powers in a lasting way given that all the anti-privacy fish are in the same DHS barrel instead of being spread around all over the place.

*Apparently the seventies were actually the high water mark in terms of terrorism on a global scale in real life, given the sheer number of bombings and plane hijackings.
 
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A Horse of a Different Color: The Seventh Party System
Have a little flashforward!
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By most metrics, the Sixth Party system rose and fell with Haig, and with Reagan before him. This state of affairs saw the final collapse of the New Deal coalitions that had formed in the wake of Roosevelt, a Great Depression and a World War, but it had been a long time coming. The Reagan and Haig years would see the resurgence of conservatism in the United States, but in many ways the 41st president can be said to have acted rashly, even unconstitutionally. It was the backlash to these draconian actions that prompted the rise of Ross Perot, Reform and the Seventh Party system.

With the resurrection of the Democrats in the wake of another overreaching Republican president, it suggested to some that the nation would settle into a stable tripartisan system, a process made easier by the reforms to electoral rules that Perot himself had championed. With hindsight, looking back from a year of the grey lung pandemic and a raucous, even violent, election, that projection seems laughable. The simple fact was that even if a checklist of reforms could be enough to fill the cracks and smooth the edges of the American electoral system (itself no small thing), any effort was undone by lackluster implementation. Turning to the states as the simplest way to fix the system was a failure, leaving a threadbare patchwork to hold together a nation fraying at the seams.

And so the shatter- big tent parties shredded by populists and radicals of all types and by a populace reaching out for an end to the deadlock and sclerosis that had gripped the nation since 1984, commonly ridiculed as the Era of Bad Feelings. 2020 would prove the first national election under the newly fractured system, and it's any question how long such a system can survive under the weight of its own contradictions. It is an open scholarly question whether this state of affairs marks a new Party System, but I am of the opinion that it is merely the apotheosis of the decay of the two-party duopoly grown too distant from the people to properly represent them.
 
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Notes on the Shatter
It looked nice enough I had to share it! The new establishment ca. 2020, from left to right:
  • Socialist Party (forest green bison)- left environmentalism, democratic socialism, syndicalism, communism (factions)
  • New Progressive Party (sky blue moose)- social liberalism, left populism
  • New Federalist Party (purple tree)- radical centrism, reformist populism, moderation (faction)
  • Freedom Party (orange rattlesnake)- fiscal conservatism, neoliberalism, corporate personhood
  • America First Party (yellow lion)- social conservatism, right populism
And on the outside looking in:
  • Manifest Destiny!* (copper turtle)- political devolution, regional cooperation, indigenous self-determination, contradictory flavors of ethnonationalism and secessionism (factions)
  • Radio Free America (teal frog)- egoism, intellectual piracy, anti-spooks
*No relation to @Napoleon53
 
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Mountains of Madness: The Antarctic Economic Territories
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Have the official flag of the Antarctic Treaty System TTL! I used the 1978 flag proposal as the basis given the fact its the only one that predates the timeline's POD and added an albatross and the stylized Southern Cross from the Japanese Antarctic Expedition of 1912 (selected TTL to commemorate the first nonwhite expedition to the continent). The System would maintain the flag well into the twenty-first century as runaway ice shelf collapse drastically deglaciated the continent. With a flooding world in drastic need of new resources, the treaty governing the continent would be amended to remove road blocks to resource extraction, with the continent becoming in effect a vast open air penal colony administered by Macondo Technologies on behalf of the signatory nations, the Antarctic Economic Territories. It would be this imported labor pool, united with defecting corporate security and the large pool of international scientists still operating on the continent that would overthrow the Antarctic Territory System and purge the company from the continent, eventually ushering in the Antarctic Revolutionary Commonwealth. Naturally this has not endeared them to the northern centers of power, given the sudden threat of an expansionist ideology combined with the sudden severe shock of resource shortages 🤔 Given continued use of the original treaty flag under the AET occupation the albatross is considered an extremely negative symbol in the modern ARC.
 
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Writing on the Wall: Biotechnology in Antarctica
The ecology of Antarctica has always been shaped by the harshness of the southern continent, but this would prove to be a double-edged sword as the Cthulhucene reached its tipping point, with millions of years of adaptation to a frozen desert suddenly leaving the flora and fauna indigenous to the frozen wastes unable to adapt quickly enough to the apocalyptic change that gripped the continent once the glaciers began to melt.

Having established themselves as the stewards of their hard won homeland in the wake of this chaos, the ARC would set about reconstructing a stable biosphere to meet the new conditions. This had both a pragmatic dimension, serving as a way to make the newly exposed land more habitable while allowing a large scale dry run for the space program's terraforming ambitions. The process also had a moral dimension born out of the Cosmicist desire for ecological sustainability, even if nature might need a helping hand from time to time.

While traditionally cold-tolerant species of plants and animals would be imported wholesale from the far north, more exotic experiments would be conducted in using the DNA of the native Antarctic species to engineer new creatures capable of filling newly developed ecological niches. While this would have some limited success, the blend of natural and artificial species would form a mostly stable and fairly robust ecological web throughout the continent. Despite the impressive success of the program, turning a ravaged and damaged landscape into a cold-weather biome would rely far more on the ground level work of a far more humble set of engineered organisms.

The research that would eventually produce the impressive suite of fungal technologies pioneered by the ARC had its roots in the so called "gray lung" plague of the early twenty-first century. An extremely transmissible and resilient respiratory fungal infection, gray lung would bring the world to its knees when it began to spread from the British Isles at the start of 2020. In the process of developing antifungal treatments powerful enough to destroy the organism but targeted enough not to damage lungs and other tissues, whole new avenues of research were opened up to explore the capabilities and limits of fungal biology.

It was this research, liberated from Macondo Technology archives in the wake of the Antarctic Revolution, which would prove the basis for the greening of the continent. From large scale carbon sequestration to mycelium cultivated for soil engineering and the reconditioning of polluted industrial sites to the more mundane fields of food waste recycling, mushroom leathers and mycological building materials, the ARC is serving as a world pioneer of sustainable development and environmental reconditioning, providing valuable insights for the regime's plans for offworld colonization in the process.

*** As weird as it sounds for the book I plan to write I had the idea for a 2020 world in the grips of a widespread respiratory infection back in the earliest form of this timeline concept in 2015 so I saw no reason to change those plans going forward***
 
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*A note on terminology*

In the Cosmicist context, the crisis of late modernity that the ideology addresses is referred to as the Cthulhucene, given the fact that Sutter considers the term Anthropocene to be too limited by its focus on human impact on ecology. Hence Cthulhucene, which combines all the ecological effects of the Anthropocene with all the toxic social dynamics that characterized twenty-first century humanity and geopolitics.
 
Writing on the Wall: The Antarctic Revolutionary Commonwealths
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This is the biggest version it would let me upload :coldsweat: Some notes on the names- given the lack of an indigenous Antarctic population*, the inhabitants of the continent have turned to literature set in Antarctica for things like place names. In terms of Commonwealths, New Nantucket is a reference to Arthur Gordon Pym, Caprona is the Land that Time Forgot, Dakkar is a reference to Captain Nemo, Star City is taken from The Republic of the Southern Cross, Riallaro is from The Archipelago of Exiles, New Swabia owes more to the conspiracy lore than the historical claim, Leng is obviously from Lovecraft, Xanadu is a reference to Coleridge as author of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Protonga, the not included cluster of space platforms and naval bases built over the remains of Easter Island, takes its new name from Stanislaw Szukalski.

*One proven conclusively by scientists outside the Church of the Southern Cross anyway...
 
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Mountains of Madness: The Church of the Southern Cross
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The heavier industrial pollution TTL, born out of a combination of the USS overhauling its manufacturing sector in a bid to compete in the wake of the Soviet Restoration combined with an American policy of deregulation under Haig, would have a profoundly accelerating effect on global climate change going into the new century, and the first and most obvious sign of this would be severe Antarctic ozone depletion. Steps would be taken worldwide to address the issue starting in the nineties, but the larger size of the hole would leave decades of work ahead and the global Regressive movement would fixate on the depletion as an intentional plot by the Soviets to drive their rivals to extinction through environmental degradation.

It would be this conspiracy theory that would prompt an American Regressive cell to head off for the continent with the stated goal of climbing Mount Kirkpatrick, the tallest peak of the Transantarctic mountains, as a demonstration of resolve, a ploy for international attention and, it must be said, an excuse to leave the country before President Powell's domestic crackdown on Regressive activists and thought leaders. As with all best laid plans, the small group began encountering unforeseen difficulties almost immediately, from inadequate provisions to the hazards of inclement weather and deadly crevasses. The group was feared deceased, and the United States would dispatch a rescue mission in the wake of international pressure. There would be only one confirmed survivor.

Found halfway up the mountain, severely frostbitten and delirious from exposure, William Dyer would be arrested upon his return to the United States on suspicion of terrorist activities, but would spend the rest of his life in a mental hospital, telling anyone who would listen what he had found on the ice. Dyer claimed that Antarctica had once been inhabited by an ancient and refined human civilization, and that it had been destroyed in a catastrophe that rapidly froze over the cities of the long-vanished race. Dyer further claimed that he had discovered a vault built into the structure of the mountain containing a record of this, along with a command to go forth and enlighten the world. He would die several years later, though not before he was able to compile his story (and his theories about the origins of the Ice People) for publication.

Largely disregarded in the early 21st century, his book Meditations Under the Southern Cross would become quite popular in the Antarctic Economic Territories, becoming the holy text of a new religious movement called the Church of the Southern Cross. Although their was internal debate as to the origin of the Ice People* and no one but the upper strata claim to know the location of Dyer's mysterious vault, the Church was instrumental in creating a unified sense of purpose on the continent, seeing it as their holy duty to combat the three poisons through providing education, economic support and medical treatment to those in need in the Territories. Following the Revolution, the Church of the Southern Cross would continue to expand even as the Commonwealth governments took over much of the work in these areas, and by some measures the Southern Cross makes up a plurality of religious adherents on the continent.

Most of the organization is made up of lay members, though Priests-Errant are stationed at churches throughout Antarctica, moving somewhat regularly to help with the sharing of perspectives and the growth of empathy between the Commonwealths. When not traveling, a member of the priesthood dwells in one of the monasteries scattered throughout the now renamed Dyer Mountains in a life that combines a focus on religious and technical education to make the Priests-Errant valued members of any community they settle in. The largest monastery and seat of the faith is actually located in the highlands of Leng, according to legend the seat of the Ice People's greatest city, and is staffed with the highest levels of the mixed-gender priesthood, overseen by the Nameless Priest, who ceremonially sheds their old life and public identity in order to serve the Church with impartiality. The symbol of the Church is a southern cross superimposed on Zoran's Equation, a symbol representing "perfect knowledge" and taken from the French novel The Ice People, from which the progenitor civilization also gets its colloquial name.

*The theories are all over the place, from Greeks to Romans to Vikings to Aboriginals and Yaghan, with some even claiming that they were literally a prehuman race more or less like the Space Jockey in Prometheus. It's all exceptionally dubious to actual archeologists but the church does genuinely good work and it helps soothe the inferiority complex in the ARC that comes from having to build a continental civilization more or less from scratch.
 
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A Horse of a Different Color: Hopes and Change
The Democrats had wandered in the wilderness for nearly thirty years, spending one Reform and three Republican presidencies tarred as feckless big government socialists. But every political slander falls flat eventually, and with the public newly divided over the fallout of the Second Levant War, the recurring problem of government surveillance and the historically inept DHS response to Hurricane Wilma's scouring of the East Coast, the party knew that this would be their year. The rapidly deteriorating economic meltdown would add even more urgency to what many felt would be a change election.

Beginning with a historically divided field, the Democratic primary season would see the old guard routed and Illinois Senator Carol Mosely Braun would quickly seize the nomination, while Vice President Shelby would gain the Republican nomination. The Reform primaries were another matter, with serious bad blood between the Buchanan and Nader wings of the party creating enough breathing space to get Ron Paul the nomination in the wake of an intensely bitter convention.

Settling on economics over cultural issues as the surest path to victory, the Mosely Braun campaign would lay the economic crisis squarely at the feet of the Republicans and the Perot-Paul Reformers, arguing persuasively that the bubbles that had led to the collapse were a result of reckless and ideologically-minded deregulation. Not to be left out, Buchanan would also be singled out as the face of the most hawkish elements of the political class, the guiding spirit that seemed determined to have the US astride the world like a Colossus, raining destruction down without somehow surrendering moral clarity, bankrupting the country in the process.

These arguments would prove persuasive in the long run, with Nader even endorsing Mosely Braun, leading to significant defections from the left wing of the Reform Party even as many Republican voters simply dropped out of the political process altogether or split their ticket at the ballot box. And just like that, America had elected a black woman to the presidency, with the Democrats cresting on a wave election to gain a better hand in the Legislature at the same time in coalition with Left-Reform.

The fatal flaw with political momentum is that if you don't use it, you lose it, so President Mosely-Braun immediately set out to shepherd economic relief through the Congress, even as Ron Paul and many Republicans decried the bailouts. Cognizant that she had at most two years to make concrete improvements in people's lives or risk losing her governing majority, she would move on to an even more expansive program even as the ink was drying: this would be the birth of the American Health Service Act.

The AHSA was a compromise from the start, with the calls of firebrand progressives for universal government-provided health insurance quickly tempered with the knowledge that with the slimmest of majorities (in concert with the Nader Reform faction), the party could not afford moderate defections, secure in the knowledge that the Republicans and the rest of the Reform Party would take a hardline stance on the issue.

In the end, after months of haggling and back and forth negotiations with hospital associations, insurance companies, medical unions and every manner of special interest group and lobbying concern, the AHSA would be signed into law. The law would prevent the denial of coverage based on preexisting conditions and expand Medicaid eligibility while simultaneously requiring individuals to get insurance and enforcing minimum standards on the coverage of the plans being offered. By far the largest change, however, would be the public option- operating under the theory that basic healthcare was a human right, the progressives made their support conditional on the AHSA including a basic health plan provided directly through the government and administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.

It wasn't perfect by any means, with the public option plans covering only specific classes of vital procedures, and with Medicaid expansion contingent on the approval of the states on an individual basis. But it was a start, the beginning of a change in American thinking that would see health care as a right for all citizens rather than an elective choice. And, despite all the back and forth and negotiations that had diluted the universal Medicare fever dreams of the nation's progressives, the conservatives in power in the other parties predictably couldn't accept half a loaf, with opposition to the AHSA forming the core of a new wave of attacks on the Democratic Party and sending Ron Paul to the forefront of the culture wars.
 
See? I told you TTL's US wasn't about endless bad stuff and government repression! First we got admittedly uneven reforms to open up some places for minor party access (even if they're mostly appendages to factions of the big three) and now we have the bare bones of national healthcare. I know "ACA but with a public option" doesn't sound sexy or exciting but it's a step in the right direction and that's what public policy is sometimes. Other note: because of divergent wind patterns Katrina never hit New Orleans but those same fickle winds basically raked Wilma along the coast from the tip of Florida to North Carolina, with the Department of Heartland Security getting scathing reviews for their sclerotic response to the crisis. Shelby would never have won even without the bubble bursting towards the end of the administration, just solely on the basis of stinging dislike on behalf of the Atlantic Seaboard
 
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Not much feedback from readers but to any concerned by the level of parallelism I refer you to page one and to the thread tags. Not particularly realistic I'll grant but that's always the fun of mirror universes 😅
 
So, I've read through this timeline, and I think it's really good. Lot's of neat ideas, although I'm going to have to read the entire thing out again to really take in all the details. Cosmicism in particular has caught my interest. What sort of inspirations did you have when creating it? So far, 8/10 in my eyes. Keep up the good work!
 
So, I've read through this timeline, and I think it's really good. Lot's of neat ideas, although I'm going to have to read the entire thing out again to really take in all the details. Cosmicism in particular has caught my interest. What sort of inspirations did you have when creating it? So far, 8/10 in my eyes. Keep up the good work!
I'm so glad you've enjoyed it! The development of Cosmicism is kind of interesting actually, I've wanted to write something for years and I kept coming up with tons of ideas and scrapping or otherwise rehabilitating story structures and setting bibles whenever I thought of something new. The big problem with this was that, given all the different things I wanted to do and my conviction that everything would tie together, I could never find a strong enough throughline to make everything cohere properly. In the midst of recurring writer's block I decided to take a bit of a break from working on the fourth or fifth rewrite of my unified setting ideas and it was about that time that I read Bruce Sterling's Pirate Utopia the same week I watched Babylon Berlin, which ended up inspiring a dream of an Antarctic society that I wrote out when I woke up.

Long story short my originally unconnected setting for a new society after the revolutionary fervor had cooled became the ARC future history, and by defining what I wanted to get out of that future society I was able to construct Cosmicism by working backwards, connecting it to my very first story idea of a weird fiction political story. It's funny, as I've thought out the implications I've been able to make the ideology richer and more comprehensive (the Leviathan/Geist contrast and Cosmicist Economics, specifically). I've kinda wandered around the political spectrum over my life so I wanted something that spoke to that experience and transcended labels and traditional political divides. So, if you think of politics along three axes instead of the usual two- authoritarian/libertarian and progressive/conservative, with the addition of a Look to the West-style cultural diversity axis, Cosmicism is constructed in such a way that it can offer something to members of all of those groups.

As for general influences I think it's been a combination of Ellis/Hickman style futurism with my life long love of history and a deep interest in alternate social and political structures picked up from science fiction and old utopian literature. I wanted to make something that could conceivably exist in the near future given the general sorts of social/political/ecological challenges already defining the twenty-first century. Part of that was a belief I've had for awhile that traditional class distinctions aren't really that relevant in the face of the rapid state of modern change, which is why Cosmicism is focused on the precariat rather than the proletariat, given my utter certainty that the coming shocks to the system will lead to exponential growth in the former as the latter is in serious danger of withering into irrelevance.
 
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I'm surprised no one got the reference in the thread title 😂 this video also inspired my general attitude toward the inner workings of the Haig Administration. There were a lot of balls in the air at once in the eighties. He was receiving secret psychedelic microdose treatments for the PTSD but the concussive damage of being too close to Kaczynski's last bomb still left him out of sorts and left him pretty irritable in private.
 
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I'm surprised no one got the reference in the thread title 😂 this video also inspired my general attitude toward the inner workings of the Haig Administration. There were a lot of balls in the air at once in the eighties. He was receiving secret psychedelic microdose treatments for the PTSD but the concussive damage of being too close to Kaczynski's last bomb still left him out of sorts and left him pretty irritable in private.
😂 Reagan was a secret mastermind the entire time. Great timeline btw from Haig to Ross Petro America certainly has come a long way
 
😂 Reagan was a secret mastermind the entire time. Great timeline btw from Haig to Ross Petro America certainly has come a long way
Thanks, I'm glad you've been enjoying it! From the very beginning of my "alternate present election" story idea I wanted it to be in a mirror universe, broadly similar enough to make the divergences more jarring. And in some cases that's worse (the disintegration of South Africa and arguably the survival of the Soviet Union and continuation of the Cold War) but in other ways it's genuinely gotten better, with a broader political climate in the US, a greater awareness of the cost of environmental mismanagement and a black woman elected to the presidency. This last year has been extremely surreal for me because, as previously mentioned, the 2020 election I conceived of in the 2015 setting draft unfolded in the midst of:
  1. A ravaging respiratory pandemic
  2. Nationwide racial justice protests
  3. Clashes between political militias
If I had written it then and there it would have been vastly inferior in terms of setting depth but at least I could console myself with reality infringing on my patents 😂
 
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