The Extra Girl: For the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Dr. Waterhouse, Apr 19, 2018.

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  1. AmericaninBeijing Not Particularly Well-Known Member

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    I've been trying to parse out exactly what Saxony owns at the moment...

    As near as I can tell the Electorate has gained recognition of most of what would have been the lands of the Electorate of Saxony and Duchy of Saxony IOTL after Westphalia as hereditary possessions, some sort of quasi-sovereignty over the Bishopric of Erfurt and Archbishopric of Magdeburg in a vague fashion which may or may not continue past the Elector's death, and a very temporary regency over the flyspeck that is Kulmbach.

    Obviously this is a huge improvement on the OTL outcome of the Schmalkaldic War for the Protestant side... but it doesn't seem to be such a victory for Saxony as to set it firmly upon the path of becoming the nucleus of a German state. One can only assume that the financial and economic innovations we've already seen will be amplified in the years Saxony has to stand on its own without English gold pouring into its coffers, and the modern financial and administrative regime which arises allows it to harness a strength out of proportion to its size as Germany's religious conflicts smolder over the coming century.

    On a side note, the patchwork quilt of pre-modern Germany is enough to confuse anyone. I can only theorize that the obsession with order and sane organization that seems to characterize the government of modern Germany is some sort of a reaction to looking at old maps of the HRE or reading of the unending legal wrangling over the ownership of trivial bits of land or even more trivial rights on bits of land held by others.
     
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  2. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

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    Now, just mayyyybe one implication of your comment is that we are overdue for a map. And I confess maps have thus far been a great failure both of this timeline and its predecessor. I wanted to use some lovely vintage maps and other files I've found but they're all too big to upload. I may just make something quick with Microsoft Paint so at least we all know where things are and can be done with it.

    But to give a more specific answer, the general outline you're talking about is correct, but keep in mind Lusatia was ceded from the Bohemian crown lands to Saxony in the Thirty Years War. So if you look at a map of Saxony from 1648 or just about any time after and try to read that back onto our situation, that whole eastern third of the country is still actually owned by the Habsburgs.

    As to how Saxony gets the prize, it's a bit of Column A and a bit of Column B and maybe some from Columns C and D, too. Essentially in place of the Albertine electorate and every Saxon duchy you will ever hear of (Saxe-Coburg, etc.) in German history except I think for Saxe-Lauenberg (which is up near the Baltic) you have one state, with strategic depth, healthy commerce and a distinct political identity. Then you have the Magdeburgs, Erfurts and Goslars added to that. So it is more substantial at present than any of our timeline's Protestant competitors to the Habsburgs, certainly moreso than our timeline's Brandenburg as it stood in the mid-sixteenth century. It is not substantial enough to face down Ferdinand or his heirs though, of course. Although it is going to be getting a bit larger. And the institutional, commercial and political developments we are going to be seeing over the next fifty years will also have a substantial effect. We're going to be hearing more from Professor Haller about these matters shortly.

    But there's another, very hard to gauge, factor as well. (This is Column C.) Replacing the Schmalkaldic War with the Spanish War creates a different sense of what's politically possible. Consider the behavior of the Lutheran states at the start of our Thirty Years War. Essentially, the Palatinate makes its play, and the initial response of the Protestant states is to dissociate themselves as much as possible. Part of this, if you will, is simply the effect of Charles V standing at the end of the Schmalkaldic War, with Johann Friedrich and Philip his prisoners, and declaring to the rest of the German princes, "now what have we learned?" In this timeline, we are instead living in a political imagination where standing up to the Habsburgs is a way to make a reputation. Of course the changed political situation in England means no one's going to be in an immediate rush to repeat the shocker at Kreuzberg. But people will remember the result of standing up to Charles as being something other than abject humiliation. And that's important.

    And that brings us to Column D. As the erratic course of our timeline's Saxony relative to the one we're charting here reminds us, the gulf between the Lutherans and the other Protestant sects in real German history is pretty huge. Enough that the Habsburgs can leverage them at crucial points to preserve their power. I honestly think that's the biggest difference in my understanding of these relationships now versus when I first started studying them just about a decade ago. One thinks of the Thirty Years War as Protestant versus Catholic, but it's actually much more complicated because of the role of the Lutherans as the Second Confession, their desire to preserve that status, and the honest bigotry that animated much of their relationship to the Calvinists. So instead with Friedrich we've created a possibility for a fundamentally different relationship among the Protestant princes, states and peoples. Instead in the world of this timeline it's going to be much harder to make an argument that Catholics and Lutherans are natural allies against what they see as these dangerous radicals. Now that does not mean things as they stand in 1554 are at any kind of end-point or resolution when it comes to the relationships of the Protestant sects to each other. Far, far from it. But that at least maps out the changed dynamic.

    The upshot of all this is that yes, a big part of the change between OTL and this timeline is going to be a stronger Saxony. But another part of it is going to be that it means something completely different when in 1617 or so a bunch of ruthless territorial princes of the Holy Roman Empire pull up in their convertible and shout at you, "Get in, loser! We're going to bring down the Habsburgs."
     
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  3. Unknown Member

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    Just curious, what are the answers to the quiz questions?

    My guesses for the English quiz are 1. C, 2. B, 3. D, 4. D, and 5. A

    My guess for the one-question quiz is D.
     
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  4. AmericaninBeijing Not Particularly Well-Known Member

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    Regarding Lusatia, I did know that, but also am aware that the territory in question is little more than land on a map and that commercial towns like Erfurt and Magdeburg (more a city in the latter case) are the real prizes (tax revenues, yay! And also the various rents/interest payments the Saxon state seems to be collecting...)

    It will be intriguing to see Saxony evolve the comparatively efficient and effective organs of a modern state due to necessity and the sponsorship of the elector's household as opposed to OTL England, which more or less stumbled across them purely by accident after stealing the basics from the Dutch, and which did not refine them or turn them to supporting the aims of the state in a systematic fashion until the Napoleonic Wars. I expect that it will be a very different route to an end that, while it looks similar from the outside, actually represents a very different set of institutions.

    It also looks from various hints you've dropped as if the English end up with institutions more like TTL Saxony's than OTL Britain's, and that Saxony's model of government (and the way in which that government interacts with private interests) is somewhat regarded as the standard for a European or European-settled state a la the UK/Anglosphere one IOTL. I say the latter not to denigrate the contributions of Continental Europe to that model but simply in recognition that most of the key financial, commercial, and regulatory innovations that birthed what we know as the modern world economy were employed most widely in Britain or its colonial offshoots first.

    That said, I had not fully considered the implications of the first Protestant contest with the Imperial authority being considered a win for later ones down the line. "The morale is to the physical as ten is to one," as it were. An HRE which ends in the early 17th century will have wide-ranging implications for the rest of Europe (most especially France and Poland) down the line, especially if, as seems likely, there is no paramount German power ready to more or less step into its shoes as was Prussia after 1815 IOTL.

    This should be a fun roller coaster ride.
     
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  5. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

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    1. B. Arundel Castle. This is a story from the old timeline I plan to reiterate in the new one, but I shan't give more spoilers than that.

    2. C. Edward VIII. He also has a very famous female companion from the New World!

    3. D. St. James Palace becomes the main building of St. James University. Once Inigo Jones' Whitehall is completed it both contains most of the business of state, making other older residences like St. James unnecessary, and consumes by itself more than the budget of all the older residences combined, necessitating the expeditious disposal of some of these drafty money-holes. That said, in present-day alternate London St. James University is the prestigious urban, and socially egalitarian, alternative to Oxford and Cambridge.

    4. C. Also Edward VIII. He cannot stay out of trouble, that one.

    5. D. While sparingly used (think of it as a nuclear option), monarchs in the alternate present do occasionally deny their assent to bills passed by Parliament. For a king of queen to deny assent, more is necessary than mere inaction, or just saying no. A memorandum is returned to Parliament informing them of the decision and the reasons for it. The reasons for denial must be for the public good. More particularly, they must not be because the bill prejudices the king or queen, their person, their powers, their properties, or those of any member of the royal family. These memoranda can be challenged in the courts, and the consequence of a successful challenge is the occurrence of something called state assent, which really means the automatic application of royal assent without the monarch's actual volition. Once the king or queen returns the memorandum, a First Minister can, in addition to beginning the legal challenges, hold new elections. The passage of the exact identical bill by the subsequent parliament also constitutes a circumstance of state assent. In exigent circumstances, when literally because of an eminent threat to the country a ninety day election campaign is an impractical or dangerous delay, parliament has reserved the power to remove the king or queen denying assent in favor of that monarch's heir under a regent appointed by parliament. This last has never been done, a testament to the role of prudence and consensus in English deep-constitutional politics.

    The one question survey:

    B. Charles V.

    Why? Even though every single other Holy Roman Emperor has a German regnal name? If you ask the parties in the Education ministries of the nineteenth century who made the decision, they would say it is the best way to reflect the multi-national character of Charles' inheritance, dominions, and project. If you ask certain other parties, they would be quick to say the great Habsburg emperor has been the object of a concerted effort to de-germanicize him, to render him foreign, and at the same time elevate the elector as the putative German party in what was cast not as a struggle among Germans but an outside invasion under the legal figleaf of the 1519 imperial election. This is also apparent in the very name The Spanish War.

    There was some support for referring to the Emperor in history classes as Carlos, or even to refer to him along the lines of Friedrich's own propaganda, as Carlos, King of Spain. But in the end "the compromise" was struck to refer to him as Charles, referring to his Burgundian heritage and youth spent at a French-speaking court. Many of these bureaucrats would profess to be shocked by the notion that calling a Holy Roman Emperor by a French name could be in some way delegitimizing.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2018
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  6. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

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    Well, I don't want to make it sound that linear. In fact, a lot of it is going to go down like musical comedy. And some of it already has, remembering what the Haller piece said about the evolution of Saxon banking: "Wait, the money we're lending out is actually being transferred by these fraudsters, and spent for the purpose of actually killing us all? But we're making how much off the interest? Meh, I can live with it."
     
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  7. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

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  8. AmericaninBeijing Not Particularly Well-Known Member

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    Noted.

    I was thinking more in terms of the differences in the driving force behind evolving the private commercial innovations needed to generate wealth and the government apparatus to bring it to the hands of the state.

    IOTL’s Britain this was very much a case of the government noticing the existence of pre-existing private innovations and turning them to the purposes of the state in the years 1795-1815.

    ITTL’s Saxony I expect the state will be among the primary innovators and will always have the goal of extracting enough wealth from the economy to go head-to-head with a much larger foe.

    It will be amusing when semi-modern statistical and census methods finally allow Saxony’s bureaucrats to realize how much wealthier Saxons are on a per capita basis than the citizens of states which aren’t as well organized. Of course this will cause them to immediately start figuring out ways to squeeze more tax revenue from the citizenry...
     
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  9. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

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    Right! You're already seeing that in the reign of Friedrich with the creation of public registries for property to verify individual's ownership rights when it is used as collateral. We don't think of registries of deeds as some great technology that unleashes economic growth, but we certainly should. As we go, we're also going to see fun early developments in fields like insurance. That in turn is going to fuel the confidence of investors and consumers.
     
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  10. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

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    Moroni, Angelica Agliardi De Nicolinis.jpg
    Giovanni Batista Moroni, Angelica Agliardi De Nicolinis, as Disputed Portrait of a Saxon Princess from the early Alexandrine Period.

    Sigismunda Killinger, Lecture Record, December 1, 1998 Charpentier-Synthtranslate Edition.

    ...And with the closure of the Augsburg Diet of 1554 ends what we call the Fredericine Era. What? I see some confused and troubled expressions. No doubt some of you are wondering what we are going to do, given that this is a course on Frederick IV and we have a week of classes left. The rest of Friedrich IV's tenure is far from uneventful, but what we would call the organizing problem of Friedrich's life and reign, that of whether a Reformed state could exist in a Holy Roman Empire ruled by a Catholic Emperor, has been resolved. And of course, the only competition Friedrich and Charles V will be engaging in from this point is a race to the grave: by 1554 both men were in failing health, suffering from among other things what the clinicians of a later age would call "nervous exhaustion." For which each can in no small part thank the other.

    Saxony would henceforth not be focused on an external struggle for survival. It would be a long while before the prospect of conflict with the Habsburgs held the obsessive grip on the Saxon mind that it did before the 1554 diet. And when it did, it would not be because the Austrians had reneged on the bargain struck at Augsburg and made the Wettins of Saxony their target. Instead, it would be because Saxony's ambitions had grown, remarkably. And it would not be with fear with which Saxony would look south. It would be with a predator's rancor.

    But this would not be for a long while. In the mean time it is worth our considering briefly the strategic factors underwriting the peace first conceived at Schandau and subsequently ratified at Augsburg. After all, the sixteenth century is a graveyard of failed treaties, many of whom advertised themselves as permanent resolutions to their respective conflicts. By these standards, fifty years, give or take, is not half bad.

    You will note at crucial points during the unfolding of the process at Augsburg both Charles V and Friedrich were ready to bolt, strike out and try their hand at ending the struggle with force on the battlefield. What restrained the primary Habsburg and Wettin antagonists was their respective allies, all of whom were in agreement now as to precisely one thing, that the costs of continued warfare outweighed any incremental gains that could be wrung out of the other side thereby in even the best victory scenario available.

    To put it simply, enough of the princes of the empire in 1554 were willing to act at long last to restrain the respective war-minded outliers on either side that they effectively overruled them. The smaller states steered the larger, with both the Habsburgs and Wettins convinced that the consequence of bucking the consensus would be that the community of the whole empire would close ranks against them. Fifty years later, of course, this would not happen. Each side would go to war gladly, convinced of a righteous cause and a quick victory, not realizing it would not end for a generation and destroy outright many of the states involved.

    This evolution of the imperial princes from a community defined by a shared yearning for peace to a community defined by a let-the-devil-take-the-hindmost commitment to their own ambition will be a focus of our attention in the second half of the year. Much of this evolution will also involve an increasingly pervasive belief that imperial institutions were outdated, exhausted or no longer appropriate to contemporary problems. The Habsburgs will react to this crisis by once again advancing the notion that the empire must centralize and become a proper monarchy on the order of France or Spain, whereas the Wettins will counsel for the distribution of power through a federal constitutional structure, returning us to many of the same tensions the empire experienced the decade before the Spanish War.

    But in order to understand them, we must examine the conflicts that will preoccupy Saxony in the last half of the sixteenth century. These will not be against the papacy, the Habsburgs, the imperials, or even the English queen who had so lately executed a member of the elector's family. Instead, the conflicts that Saxony will face the next fifty years will be within Saxony, against other Saxons. Whether over the Fredericine religious settlement, the emergence of modern finance and the resulting disruption of medieval economic life, or the new struggle for supremacy within the House of Wettin. In the end, all these conflicts will resolve themselves into the matter of Saxony's decision as to what kind of country it would become, and beneath even that question, the controversial, unsettled nature of the state Friedrich IV forged and bequeathed.

    Once again, as I said before, at the place we find ourselves, Friedrich IV is not yet dead. He is not even done with all his works. But we should take note of these themes now, for they will become only more important once he leaves the scene, and the boy Alexander, the object of so much struggle and uncertainty, assumes the electoral dignity.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
  11. AmericaninBeijing Not Particularly Well-Known Member

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    Vaguely ominous, as any discussion of Germany in this period ought to be.
     
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  12. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

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    Louisiana Final.png

    Seven Surprising Facts about Louisiana

    1. Measured both as a portion of the total economy and per capita, Louisiana has the highest military spending of any country in the New World.
    Louisiana believes it lives under a perpetual threat to its form of government and way of life. Much of this apparent threat comes from the RCR, or its neighbor to the north, Illinois. This fear is not self-induced: the destruction of that state is the official policy of both the RCR and Illinois, and they have entered into an alliance to pursue that purpose, albeit by less destructive means than an overt invasion. Louisiana is also subject to punitive trade measures by over half the countries in the world. The only neighbor with which it maintains completely unimpeded commerce, travel and financial relations is Neupreussia. Neupreussia is simply too pivotal to too many countries' economies to be treated roughly, and so it enjoys a stream of business by people and commercial entities needing to work around the various state-disciplinary regimes. New Netherland has a similar relationship, but is limited in its connections to Louisiana by domestic political considerations.

    2. Despite controversy, Louisiana is an extremely popular tourist destination. Monde du sucre and Monde du sucre adulte are by far the most popular resorts (35 and 30 million annual visitors, respectively). Somewhat more tasteful is Louisiana's historic capital Philippeville, which is a thriving center for the arts, music and of course Louisiana's world-famous native cuisine. At Philippeville's center is the amazing Palais-Royal, built during the 19th century in a quixotic effort to outshine Versailles itself. Over 2,000 people died working on it, whether from heat, dehydration, illness arising from poor sanitation, or workplace injury. The mass grave is marked by a plaque and an 18-inch high obelisk adjacent to the enclosed hunting park.

    3. Louisiana has an unusual and highly volatile media culture. This is best illustrated by reference to the referendum Louisiana held a few years ago as to whether princes of the blood and the lesser nobility should be subject to ordinary criminal prosecution. Early in the referendum campaign, the proposition had the support of a narrow majority of active citizens, before in the final weeks state-run journals broke a story alleging the involvement of an Afro-Satanist conspiracy in the pro-referendum movement. The referendum was defeated by a margin of 220,000 votes, and several members of the committee leading the referendum campaign were forced to emigrate shortly afterward.

    4. While overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, Louisiana is the only nation in the world with a Catholic Church that is committed to neither the Vatican or the Court of the Regina Coeli. At first, Louisiana's steadfast loyalty to the Vatican was hardly surprising, considering the necessary alignment of the Mexico City Church to the RCR and the RCR's attitude toward Louisiana. Louisiana was even willing, somewhat grudgingly, to accept female priests and other twentieth century reforms. The breaking point came when the parlement-generale ordered every priest conducting mass to read a vehement condemnation of universal suffrage as "fresh nails in the body of Christ." Rome balked, an overwhelming majority of the priests refused, and an international crisis loomed as the Louisianan government considered criminal penalties for the refusal to comply. In the end the state backed down from the harsh measures originally considered, but punished the church with what it called a "new gallicism", severing Rome's authority within its borders. Whether this has had the effect of creating a new church is still hotly debated.

    5. Many labor rights in Louisiana are waivable and merchantable. In Louisiana, entrants to the labor force 15 and older can sell to the state their rights to either sue or file complaints against their employers with the state alleging violations of laws against them. The laws employees can thus consent to not be protected by include those setting a minimum wage, limiting work hours, ensuring workplace safety, or guarding against long term health hazards. While selling the waiver to the state is ostensibly voluntary, and businesses are forbidden from making it a condition of employment, whether that is the actual case is also subject to intense debate. Upwards of 90 percent of all employees sell the waiver. In the customer service sector, the number is over 93 percent, and in heavy industry, 95 percent. Presently the state will purchase the lifetime waiver of a secondary school graduate for 2,600 ecus (800 pounds or 660 Reichsthalers). The best demonstration of this amount's purchasing power is that it's conventionally used to buy a basic weekend at Monde du sucre the summer one turns 18.

    6. Sometimes, the system works. In a way. Some years back the Dauphin Henri (who goes by the time-honored nickname in the Louisianan press of le Petit Fu--er, the title of le Gross Fu--er being reserved for His Most Christian Majesty) adopted as a pet issue the condition of Philippeville's levees and canals. Mid-level officials were berated on imagebox, additional funding was demanded, and kickback schemes of long standing were exposed and their perpetrators prosecuted at the young prince's vehement insistence. Even the most enthusiastic Bourbonists could barely suppress their eye-rolls at his sudden commitment and expertise. Then came the Storm of St. Giles' Day, when in the face of the worst cyclone the city had seen in a century the Dauphin insisted Philippeville did not need to be evacuated after all, because of the work he had done. Moreover, he decided at the last minute--to prevent panic by the general citizenry--to demonstrate how safe the city was by bedding down in le fond, the lowest neighborhood of the city, the night before the storm hit, with his two small children.

    The city awoke the next day almost certain that the royal succession had undergone significant change the night before, but found to its surprise that Henri's extensive new earthworks and elaborate machinery imported from the Netherlands and Friedrichsland had actually done its work as promised. Addressing the media, he confidently declared "a state which cannot preserve the lives of its people against the elements does not deserve to continue", and got for his trouble glowing headlines, some of them for once actually outside Louisiana. Of course, it later became known that 350 Louisianans outside the anti-flood measures, which were concentrated around Philippeville, had perished. A recent informatic search found that the Louisianan media lists total casualties from the storm at between 6 and 9.

    7. Louisiana-hate makes strange bedfellows. A phrase that has entered in the idiom of many western cultures is "like when Fortitude went to Mascoutaine." It's essentially a shorthand for not preventing differences of opinion from getting in the way of a desired goal. This refers to when Clarice St. Claire invited Judge Fortitude Gutierrez to make the first state visit by a leader of the RCR to the Republic of Illinois, to seal the alliance resolved upon Louisiana's end. For context, it helps to understand the Illinois Republic has always been of a deeply reformist bent. At the time it had just become the first country in the world to recognize sex-concordant marriage, whereas Gutierrez led a republic where a criminal penalty of five years' imprisonment for sodomy was still commonly enforced. A half-million demonstrators from groups championing the causes of women and sexual minorities gathered to jeer the procession as Gutierrez and his entourage made their way fitfully to Coeur-de-la-Nation. With the gravitas of his 75 years, still bearing the facial scars he won (in Skinner culture, these things are "won") at Torun, he exited his palanquin and was greeted by St. Claire.

    The orchestra was supposed to greet him with the anthem of the Republic of Christ the Redeemer, "Chain, Stone and Thunder." Instead it played the villain's march from the popular speculative fiction epic Dreadnought, as a protest. Gutierrez did not flinch or betray annoyance. Three days later St. Claire and Gutierrez signed a treaty that resolved every issue, all the way down to the respective occupation zones in the event of an actual war that results in Louisiana's complete defeat.

    Bonus: there is one thing we have for which we can thank the Louisianan press. It's in the broadsheets of Philippeville one first finds the collective references to the English colonies, later the English-speaking countries of North America, by the reference to a group (la portee) of puppies. In English, this of course translates as the litter. And that is how they are known today.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  13. B_Munro Member

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    So the RCR is sort of a unified Latin [1] America? (Possibly including only part of Brazil, since no Brazilian cities are mentioned in the civil defense post)

    [1] Well, Latin other than French.
     
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  14. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

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    I'm playing coy about the precise borders of the RCR for a good reason: I don't know them yet. :) People who were around for the old timeline might remember Brazil got a tad weird in the seventeenth century, and I'm not sure how the Ploughing Under plays out when it reaches those states, because the first time we never got that far, because the research I had done on Latin American history then was criminally insufficient anyways, and because we are in this second timeline still so early on, and there are going to be many many many butterflies between now and the post-1800 world.

    I will say though that all European colonies in South America are in play during that and later conflicts. And if any survive, it's not because of inertia, or because nobody tried to take them.

    It is safe to assume however, that the RCR consists of at least most of what we would consider Hispanophone Latin America, and that when the late pope traveled on vacation from Mexico City to Patagonia it was at no point international travel. I will also say two elements of the northern boundary of the RCR are the Colorado River, where it empties into the Gulf of California, and the Rio Grande, with asymmetrical military resources bristling along those rivers' southern shores.
     
  15. B_Munro Member

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    And Ireland! And Alsace-Lorraine! :biggrin:
     
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  16. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

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    Well, once you're a western hemisphere hegemon with few, simple, and easily defended land boundaries, one's armies do tend to wind up in the oddest places. You'll note where Fortitude got his scar.

    And as to Ireland, you know, I was always dissatisfied in the old timeline that for everything that happened in Ireland--French invasion forces, the Brandons' indefensible abuses--we basically ended up with a republic more or less cognate with OTL's Ireland. And now it seems with every "map Monday" I see people basically competing over who can deliver the wildest alter-Eire ("and here you see Ulster is Maoist..."). It makes me feel...insufficient. So not to worry. I've thought out something not obvious, and not random, but interesting.
     
  17. AmericaninBeijing Not Particularly Well-Known Member

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    The sheer oddness of the RCR by current OTL standards is really amusing; it’s probably matched only by LTTW’s Diversitarian states and even then only questionably.

    It’s almost like Iran’s theo-democracy, crossed with the UK’s Parliament, crossed with Japan’s incredible societal cohesiveness, and it mostly works, somehow.

    Do they still imprison people for sodomy?
     
  18. UnaiB Well-Known Member

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    Obviously Thanos.
     
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  19. Dr. Waterhouse A Mighty Fortress Is My TL

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    I'm still thinking through how I want to do the RCR this time. I'm thinking the origin will be substantially different, and that will make the end result seem more believable. There's also some details in the economic history that never gets quite enough exposure that helps it all make a lot more sense. But we'll get to that too. I may try to use one of these chapters that are windows onto the alt-present to explain how the RCR actually holds together and works, why its people have a reasonably decent standard of living, that sort of thing.

    But does it work? I guess, in the way that the USSR of 1960 or thereabouts worked. There are many troubling things about the RCR, some of which have little to do with the social issues our discussions of the Ausrissers/RCR usually touch on. At some point, for example, the state decided to launch a crackdown on cultural practices that can be characterized as polytheism, as ancestor-worship, or as sorcery. One expression of that policy is they try to ban the Mexican Day of the Dead. The result is analogous to the American Civil War in terms of loss of life and internal destruction. In short, it runs afoul of many of the classic problems when a revolutionary state tries to legislate its citizens into what it thinks are better lives: human nature cannot be legislated, different cultures cannot be disciplined into acquiescing in their destruction, and so on.

    In some ways, the USSR analogy can be very helpful. Is the RCR good? Depends on what it's the alternative to. I would prefer it to a life of chattel slavery, but I would prefer a liberal democracy with Starbucks to it, easily. You would probably find quite a few homes in the poorest neighborhoods of Philippeville where they have RCR flags and trophies, even though just possessing them breaks the law. And you probably have people living in the RCR who hate it (though the RCR is not in the business of using force or legal intimidation to stop emigrants).

    But let's work through that ideology. Is it fascist? Nope, it's absolutely anti-nationalistic, anti-racist, anti-racial, even. Instead it is founded in the radical equality of all humans, and envisions a rapturous dissolution of borders and particularities in a shared religious community. Deep land reform is the organizing principle of the founding of the state and its expansion. But in the end result property is neither collectivized nor communal, instead you have a model of social life privileging small landowners. Haciendas go in at one end, de Tocqueville's beloved farmers come out the other, the big houses get turned to schools and hospitals, and the bodies of the original owners watch it all from where they were originally strung up, never to be buried.

    It is militarist. Literally a Skinner would tell you that of course she is from a militaristic society, that any society that does what hers does would be either militaristic or cease to exist. It's of course also illiberal and dogmatic. It's democratic, but within a vastly different structure and set of rules. It can be a culture that's hostile, remorselessly cruel, and gleefully intolerant of what violates its rules. And it is very confident its rules are the right ones.

    Now that brings an interesting perspective to those people protesting Fortitude in Mascoutaine, doesn't it? The default position of the English states, and of many in "Ill-in-wa", is that the RCR is madness, and its madness is the most powerful force in the hemisphere. No matter how wicked Louisiana is, they can't see their way to fueling the madness, or making it bigger, or taking out anything that can contribute resources to checking this madness. These people would be tolerant of the Bourbon monarchs of Louisiana in the same way Cold War America made a pet of Ferdinand Marcos or the Shah. So, in the event Illinois and the RCR were to finally spring the trap on Louisiana? It's not just Neupreussia, or say, Virginia, that would come to the rescue, and not just because there is a cultural affinity between some of these countries and Louisiana. Though in some cases, there are. Terror of the RCR is an organizing principle of both statecraft and popular politics.

    This is a superpower about which the English have terrifying, and well-deserved, nursery rhymes.
     
    FleetMac likes this.
  20. AmericaninBeijing Not Particularly Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2016
    I can absolutely envision how it might have a decent standard of living; after all, the moderate prosperity of Chile or Argentina is not a ringing endorsement of their governance but a damning indictment of that of the rest of Latin America. Even vaguely competent economic governance that allows for a degree of market activity and early land reform would provide the foundation for small-holder prosperity that would evolve into an upper-middle income nation.

    The thing which intrigued me most is that you slipped in what seem to be hints towards cracks appearing in the illiberal facade in major cities; why, they allow nonbelievers access to the civil defense network! Take that forward a hundred more years and you’ll have culture wars that the United States of today can only see in nightmares, fueled by an “electoral system” far more regressive in favor of the conservative side than our own Senate and Electoral College.

    Also, I have to ask, but is the massive, gaping assumption underlying that Louisiana briefing that the state still practices chattel slavery right up to the present day?

    It seems as if a weak system of labor rights and a monarch would not be sufficient to get everyone lined up in hating them, and we know that Neuprussia at least has a “complicated” racial history and some cultural affinity for them.
     
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