The Experience of Being European (3)

About a month ago, I started writing about how being from a small country in northern Europe influences my writing. I enjoy creating alternate histories (uchronias) for the modern world in my games and stories. I start at some event in the past, let it have a radically different outcome than in reality and build a modified time line to an appropriate “now”. Interestingly, I often “delete” the American revolution of 1776, either by letting it not happen at all or by letting the rebels fail. This has not been any conscious anti-American strategy, but a handling of the flow of events in manner that I find plausible.

The rebellion in 1776 has been one of the most world-changing events — at least that I can imagine — in the past few centuries, because it led to the creation of a new continental state of the same magnitude as the far older Russia and China. This state has been able to handle macroeconomics in a far more constructive way than other two: its big population and enormous industrial base have influenced the course of modern world history significantly.

A North America without the United States would have been fragmented into several competing states or colonies with French, British, Spanish and Russian ties. None would have the “immensity” or the “go” of the United States. So when I posit alternate Earths, they tend to become more Europe-centered, more authoritarian and less advanced in technology than the original. Russia becomes a major benefactor in global politics, because it can exploit its hugeness better.

Whether it is fully realistic is hard to say, but to me it is at least plausible. The political ideas of 1776 influenced countries all over the world. The economic “pushy spirit” in the US has lead to innovations in all fields of technology. And the material resources of this huge state enabled the Western democratic nations to survive and outlast three authoritarian adversaries during the 20th century.

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