Liuism is a notoriously loosely defined but nevertheless influential Eastern political philosophy revolving around writings ascribed to the figure Liu Shuchuen.
Name and controversy
As Liu had a notoriously jestful, sometimes elusive writing style (and also due to the needs of evading censorship and general persecution), using a large number of cultural and historical references seemingly unrelated with the subjects he discussed, often presenting contradictory views on the same subject, or avoiding presenting an outright subjective judgement, coherent attempts at interpreting a single 'Liuist' philosophy that can be easily utilized as an ideology should be considered foolhardy. The term, in less rigorous colloquial use, usually only refers to certain points or predictions Liu became popularly associated with or became symbolic of, mainly pending social catastrophe in large, deracinated, atomized societies and the praise of 'feudal order'. 'Exegesis' of Liu is a disputed subject among adherents of Liuism themselves, who emphasize Liu's views on different subjects depending on their own interests and the topic of the immediate debate. Liu himself frequently ridiculed attempts to profile his ostensibly expressed views into a single philosophy beyond what was seriously necessary and that which he considered important advice to his intended audience.
Descriptions of Liuism typically start with Liu's supposed theory of history, which was popularly attributed to unnamed person 1. However, other exegetes hold that Liu merely used unnamed person 1's terminology to convey some of his own ideas. In any case, Liu shared unnamed person 1's generally cyclical view of history, with great Cultures rising and inevitably falling, while every bit of their societies and cultural outputs reflected their development closely. Liu's own historiography and from whence political theory then uses a concept mostly (but perhaps inaccurately) translated as 'virtue', which is the ability to correctly judge the situation and use any means - even violence - to impose order, preserve one's own community and traditions, and uphold that which is good. This virtue underlies the vitality of cultures, and which has been accused of being, or variously internalized as, 'Unnamed person 2ian'. The supposedly primitive but pure impulses of many cultures, in this system, are valued as sources of virtue, and are contrasted with the cynical judgement of rationalized intellectuals based on solely critique.
As recognized by Liu through unnamed person 1 and other influences, the progress of cultures to civilizations involves rationalization, centralization, and other changes to society which come at the expense of its virtues, such as traditional social organizations or aristocracies being dissolved and weakened in favor of large bureaucratic empires. In agreement with unnamed person 1, Liu considered such changes often fateful, objective, and unable to be justifiably subject to value-judgements, but the preservation of society beyond the civilizational, imperial stage became a question, a particularly serious one in societies that have destroyed or were to destroy an inordinate proportion of virtuous institutions and local political agency. In this case his idea of virtue was relatively more malleable and subjectively manipulable than analogous concept of unnamed person 1 and similar historians, his writings on this matter generally regarded to amount to advising interested persons to activate and make use of virtue themselves, to create positive communities and institutions and to take the necessary action to preserve themselves in accordance with an implied value system. This is particularly relevant in the context of unnamed country 1, the apparent social disintegration of which the vast majority of his writings tried to describe and warn against.
Liu's study and translation of Unnamed country 2's history, particularly through Unnamed person 3, gave him a useful example for a virtuous society in his view. Through Unnamed person 3, Liu found the 'feudal' institutions of Unnamed country 2 a critical social glue and a source of its self-organization that allowed it to eventually create an unparalleled system of representative governance, which came to shape much of the world. Liu contrasted the institutions of Unnamed continent in general with that of (or the absence thereof in) Unnamed country 1, where any possible source of self-organization was destroyed by centralized, bureaucratic, imperial rule. Often agreeing with Unnamed person 4 and the general idea of conservatism, Liu thought that democracy and rule of law as vaunted by dissidents and intellectuals in Unnamed country 1 had distinct, inextricable cultural causes, and he advanced the analysis of such systems (and indeed of political matters in general) as being based on each society's own communities' dynamic interaction rather than focusing on the 'appearance' of democracy, which in echoing Unnamed person 1 and 4 he sometimes disapproved of in itself.
Continuing on from Unnamed person 1 Liu found that the decay of virtue produced large numbers of 'fellaheen' people, who had lost any cultural vitality or virtue and thus capability of self-organization. The atomization of these people eventually cause the downfall of a civilization, sometimes catastrophically; if it did happen, or if circumstances deteroriated for any other reason, this crisis was the focus of Liu's prescriptive praxeology.
Most of Liu's later writings discussed his idea of history and society considerably less and began focusing on one's ideal course of action to survive the local end-of-civilization crisis. This is almost entirely because of the circumstances of Unnamed country 1, and likewise it is for this reason many of Liu's writings from this period appear unrelated, contradictory, or extremely different in tone to earlier ones. Liu's relationship with his audience is disputed but it is generally taken as a starting point he wished to admonish them into action for their own good. This praxis typically involves conscious judgement of one's social circumstances, improvements to one's own character and person, and most importantly the undertaking of the critical virtuous actions needed to ensure one and one's community's survival. In the very particular context of Unnamed country 1 Liu both proposed and predicted the dissolution of the state into new nations based on traditional local cultural boundaries. There is a thematic emphasis on organization of paramilitaries and taking up of arms, the will to fight and die in a brutal merciless struggle, and confrontation of the possibility of the futility of one's efforts in these works, all for obvious reasons.
However it is also disputed if Liu really believed that the praxis he proposed could be effectively put into effect, especially as he himself thought poorly of altering history through propagation of thought alone.
Another key idea of Liu is the importance of history, and even the writing of history itself, which he dedicated one major work and many essays and commentaries on. To Liu historiography was absolutely important to society as a whole: he believed historiographies must be first predicated on correct values, such that it can instruct later people in correct, virtuous, and necessary action, to which evidential accuracy was secondary. For Liu, well-researched and apparently well-supported arguments for what is clearly against virtue remains inferior to a less accurate but regardless well-intentioned account of the same events.
Liu's personal opinions on a variety of subjects appear frequently in his writings as obiter dicta. This greatly confuses most people's attempt to understand him and it is debated if these opinions reflect a general attitude or philosophy needed to understand his main ideas as a whole.
Liu was generally described as a conservative in the western mould, or even a reactionary for his Unnamed person 1 influences and the apparent dismissal of democracy and liberalism themselves in his earlier works, but this label merely studies what one would identify as Liu's 'political views' in turn gleaned from his writings at face value. Although it may be safe to say that Liu supports such ideals more or less, they can and do not define the totality of his main thought. More heterodox approaches include identifying Liu's proposed praxis as a sort of Unnamed country 1-specific existentialism.
Reception and criticism
Liu was criticized early on by other ostensible Eastern reformists for his 'extreme' attribution of the popularly pursued goods of western society to culture; these critics dispute the roots of western community and society in its feudal institutions, as the modern, centralized state had too an important part in promulgating the rule of law and eventually the extension of representative governance. Later on critics denounced the violent and callous implications of Liu's praxis, and speculation remains abound of Liu's ideas and himself being 'Unnamed person 2ian' especially due to his self-confessed background in the Unnamed country 1 state apparatus.
After a series of events in Unnamed country 1 Liu's ideas seemed to be vindicated in many ways and his following ballooned, and many former critics actually began to admit the foresight and insight Liu had on many matters.