Eternal Fans of the Powerful Yan Xishan,
I know what you are thinking. It probably goes something along these lines: “Damn Yan Xishan, how can you keep me waiting for so long between your brilliant posts? My life is fucking stupid without your wisdom to brighten my day!”
Yes, I know it has been a long time. But what can I say, I have been distracted as of late. First, Wang Jingwei is attempting to bribe me, hoping I will join up with his puppet-ass state. No way that will ever happen–Yan Xishan put Shanxi together proper like, and Yan Xishan only trusts Yan Xishan–but it is fun to get his hopes up. Shit, he has not been this optimistic since Hu Hanmin got sent to Russia back in 1925. I will probably string him along for a few more weeks, as I am quite enjoying the sake he has been sending me. I have also been a bit busy with one of my newest JPA recruits. I will not go into detail, but let’s just say she sure knows how to polish my Mauser. Hmm, that is kind of filthy. Let’s just say she sure knows how to establish hegemony over my territory. That does not quite work…. Let’s just say she sure knows how to dredge my wasteland, reclaim it as a productive agricultural field, rent it out at high rates, and avoid taxes on it to boot.
Now that we are all caught up, here is my latest JPA history lecture in my “Top Dynasties” series. We are at number seven, and (drum roll please) the number seven spot goes to the Zhou dynasty. Now, I am sure Confucius is spinning in his grave (unless the Commies have somehow managed to dig up his grave and use his bones as drumsticks in their hippie drum circles) as I write this, because that damn Kongzi was all about praising the Zhou dynasty to anyone who would listen. I have already explained how Confucius was a punk here and here, but suffice it to say he was, like all educators, a total assfrog. So you will have to forgive me for disagreeing with Confucius and telling you that the Zhou dynasty was not the imperial equivalent to sliced mantou.
Why was this the case? First of all, the Zhou founders were moralistic bastards. They overthrew the Shang because they were power hungry, but used sissy moralist rhetoric to justify their actions. Thus they called out the Shang for loving to party, and those of us who love booze and whores have been fighting for repsect ever since. Check out this painting of the Shang rulers:
Now, I do not know about you, but if you ask me these guys look like they know how to party. And while they seem a bit tame when compared to myself and my inner circle, I bet they could at least go a few rounds before passing out being dragged out of my Taiyuan citadel.
Having unjustly overthrown the good-time-party-boys of the Shang, the Zhou had to explain why they did so, and what they came up with was the “Mandate of Heaven.” Basically, this theory holds that Heaven is always judging you, and if the ruler has too much fun Heaven finds some one to replace him. In retrospect, all I can say is what a bunch of fucking idiots. Sure, Kings Wen and Wu, you sure explained why you did what you did. But guess what? Now every hungry peasant with a half-assed army is going to be trying to overthrow you and every other ruler, claiming to have the Mandate of Heaven backing them up. Way to think that one through buddy. Bad enough to think Heaven is up there judging me for doing body shots of fenjiu with various ladies with low moral standards, but to think that this sort of behavior would make me lose power? Total bullshit, but thanks to the Zhou there is probably some starving peasant, standing in his own filth, ranting about how they are the new Son of Heaven.
Now, why is the Zhou even on this list? Well, one reason people love the Zhou is because it lasted so damn long–1122 BCE-256BCE–but let’s not kid ourselves. They Zhou ruling house was only in power for a small part of their dynasty. This brings us to the real reason this period rocked–lots of small states fighting for control of the world (in other words China). Sound familiar? Yes my dear readers, there is much in common between the latter part of the Zhou (known as the Warring States period) and the current warlord era (soon to be known as the Rise of Yan Xishan Era). In both times we see great men enjoying the hunt, the battle, and the spoils of war. All this death and destruction made for some great philosophy, which you can learn about here. But beyond that the Zhou saw the rise of the autocratic state, focused solely on destroying other autocratic states. Without their advances in taxing and recruiting peasants, where would I be?
I tell you where I would not be–kicking back in my war room, getting an anmo from a young JPA recruit, and getting my beer served by a robot. Thanks for that King Wen. I am sure that is what you had in mind when you cut off the head of the last Shang king.