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Out of a cultured society, an Evil Empire™ has arisen. Naturally, the Evil Dictator™ wants his people to be obedient to him. In this process, he wants to erase his Evil Empire™'s culture. This would, in theory, eliminate any loyalty to anything other than him, and remove any difference between the Empire's core territory and any place it might conquer. How would the Empire go about doing this? Too quickly, and they might have a rebellion on their hands. If it's done too slowly, then the Evil Dictator™ and his ideology, fascist-reskin-ism™, might die off before the nation's culture.

  • Brutalist architecture looks cool and dystopian, but would it actually have an effect? Would this help integrate conquered territories into the Evil Empire™ due to a lack of architectural differences between areas? Would this just anger the Empire's people, seeing their culture visibly disappearing before them?
  • How much of a threat would religion be? Should the Evil Empire™ use it as a tool for obedience, or should it erase religion as a threat to loyalty to the Dictator? If the latter, how?
  • How should the Empire deal with disloyal people? Should it attempt to re-educate them, send them to a labor camp, or just shoot them? Disappearing too many people might cause unrest, and would also deprive the Empire of workers.
  • Ruling by fear is effective in the short term, but IRL it's failed in the long term. Is there a way to make it work without making the Empire weak and inefficient?
  • Totalitarian states like this one tend to collapse at least partially due to economic issues. How can the Empire avoid them?
  • Generally, how would this Empire be structured? The Dictator wants to have supreme authority, but it's a large country that needs provincial governments to function. The secret police need to be powerful to do their job, but they need to be regulated and kept under the Dictator's grasp.

The year is after 1960. Technology allows for mass-surveillance but not for relatively-inexpensive space exploration. Also, please keep genocide to a minimum. I don't want my world to be overly edgy, and the Empire is nationalist but not racist. You don't need to answer all the questions I asked or anything, but those are the points I want information about.

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    $\begingroup$ I like the trademarks lol $\endgroup$ – fartgeek Oct 21 '20 at 22:07
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    $\begingroup$ Too many questions, and many of them are open-ended. Could you focus on something in particular? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Oct 21 '20 at 22:16
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    $\begingroup$ "Brutalist architecture looks cool and dystopian": how can something look cool and dystopian at the same time? Do you mean "cold"? (Because brutalist architecture is many things, but not "cool".) To many people, the minimalist elegance of brutalist buildings which shed all pretence of ornament in favor of closer adaptation to function, is actually a source of aesthetic pleasure. (And I have no idea what you mean by "erasing" the culture; the body of the question describes the exact opposite, the creation of an imperial culture.) Anyway, how to erase a culture depends on the culture. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Oct 21 '20 at 22:23
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP By cool, I meant it's pleasing in a weird way. It looks symmetrical and orderly. I don't mean it was made to look cool, in-universe. I mean that it looks cool to me personally. Also, by erasing the culture, I mean doing away with cultural elements that give a citizen a sense of identity that can conflict with their obedience of the dictator. $\endgroup$ – Galactipod Oct 21 '20 at 22:24
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    $\begingroup$ A dystopian aesthetic can be cool; look for example at the uniforms of the hated SS. All I said was that brutalist architecture (which has nothing to do with any dystopia) is many things, but not "cool". If it's cool, it's not brutalist; brutalist architecture specifically seeks total adaptation to function, with no room for fancy aesthetics; in a way, it is the polar opposite of the most cool Art Nouveau. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Oct 21 '20 at 22:26
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Rather than go for culture erasure you could always have your empire go more for absorption.

Nero was a prominent outlier in Roman leadership which has warped our views of the Roman Empire. For most of its existence the Roman Empire didn't really care what gods you worshiped, what quaint provincial practices you held to, etc. Just pay your taxes. Here's a few new laws, pay your taxes, and we're all good. Your king/chief/whatever's still there and in charge. In fact, we're also giving them a Roman position and plying them with all these fine roman things. It could be called bribery, but lets not be uncouth.

They would also do some PR to meld the new cultures into their own. Oh, you worship Sulis, a goddess of wisdom with vaguely martial tendencies? Ditto, we just call her Minerva. Never mind the whole thing about yours being a solar goddess and us having a different sun god. I see you have a fine temple over there to Sulis Minerva, why don't you give us the tour. Some form of Religious Syncretism can go a long way towards absorbing a culture with much less push back than going 'You worship our gods now'.

Language is a large tool as well. Everyone goes to the new empire schools, where you speak the empire language and get indoctrinated. They're not making the local language illegal per se, but the authority figures are going to tout the empire language as the language of the educated and civilized. You definitely need to read it for legal documents.

As you said, if your empire just stomps in and says 'Forget everything you did before, you will conform' there will be a rebellion. But they could just casually walk in saying 'Hey, you know we're actually not that different. I mean, obviously you do you, but we have some mighty nice stuff we'd like to share with you. Those who join first get early subscriber perks.'

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I'll answer this point by point, so bear with me.

  1. Brutalist Architecture. I'm not a UX or Architecture expert, but it seems to me that Brutalism won't have too much of an effect. The U.S. actually tried Brutalism at one point, and the only discernable effect was making people hate the ugly government buildings.

  2. Religion. To quote Rousseau, "True Christians are made to be slaves, and they know it and do not much mind: this short life counts for too little in their eyes." Of course, you have to deal with the little quibble about "just rule", but it can easily be solved by setting yourself up as the High Priest How does "Pontifex Maximus" sound? of whatever religion you choose to sponsor. Using the power that comes with this position, you can simply DamnTM anybody who disagrees with you. Of course, there will be some people who point out that your power isn't anywhere in their holy book, but that's why heresy is punishable by death! Oh wait, didn't somebody already try this tactic?

  3. Disloyal People. See "Inquisition".

  4. Rule by Fear. Unfortunately, I don't see any good ways to make it work well.

  5. Tendency towards Collapse. Let your citizens have a (more or less) free market. For reference, take a look at China. They'll happily go compete with each other for profits while you relax in your summer dacha.

  6. Structure. I suggest doing the same thing as the Roman empire; have individual territories be ruled by their own king. That way, all you need to worry about is using your Legions of TerrorTM to bring back into line any of them who get aspirations (or just don't pay the tribute on time). Another good thing about this arrangement is that in the eyes of the general populace it's the despotic kings who are the bad guys; you, the Great EmperorTM are the just ruler who "saves" them from their tyranny.

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    $\begingroup$ The reason I thought brutalism would be effective is that it'd get rid of any local architecture. One culture's buildings wouldn't differ from any other's once you're through with them, which might help counter independence movements. $\endgroup$ – Galactipod Oct 21 '20 at 22:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Galactipod As I said, I'm not an architecture expert; I'll reserve judgement. $\endgroup$ – The Daleks Oct 21 '20 at 22:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Galactipod The problem is that it could be extremely expensive to replace every building. Also, some part of architecture involves the local climate. Some types of buildings are difficult to heat or cool in some places. Roof styles are often very identifiable, but also useful. $\endgroup$ – NomadMaker Oct 22 '20 at 4:47
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It is possible. The process has a name and has been applied several times throughout history. Sorry for using that word here: It is called genocide. With a proper spicing of surveillance.

Putin recently announced that the state religion would be orthodox Christian, others would have no place. That's clearly targeted at the Muslims living in part of Russia.

China is currently erasing the Uigurs. Ah yes, I think China is a great example for lots of what you want to do with your evil empire. Just read stuff about China. I guess your evil empire might as well have a red flag.

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  • $\begingroup$ It appears to me that the OP is asking about replacing a culture, not annihilating its members. That being said, I can't read minds. $\endgroup$ – The Daleks Oct 22 '20 at 11:15
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed. The Empire doesn't care about ethnicities. It's just trying to replace the culture of its territories -- all religions are equally a threat. $\endgroup$ – Galactipod Oct 22 '20 at 11:46
  • $\begingroup$ The word for erasing a culture is "Genocide". You can do it by killing all members or by "retraining" them like the spanish inquisition did. Though, the brutal variant stays in the head for longer, I admit that. $\endgroup$ – Anderas Oct 22 '20 at 18:36

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