Thursday, April 06, 2006


This One's For You, Oberon

I got one hell of a mindfuck from reading the Bruce Sterling short story "We See Things Differently" that was linked to via a Manifest Destiny post. As retribution, I hope that Oberon sees this post and checks out Dan Simmons' April 2006 message*, which I thought was very much along the same vein; i.e. sci-fi futurist predictions of a Caliphate. Weird stuff for sure, and definitely food for thought, considering that sci-fi writers have a reputation for being better predictors of the future than just about any politician. It's a dim worldview, certainly, but better to figure out a strategy now for adapting to such a situation than to worry too much about Tom Delay's threat to bring ethics charges against Cynthia McKinney before the former Speaker checks out of his congressional office.

*After April, the post will probably be found at in Simmons' message archive.

Obviously, I liked "We See Things Differently" better, but the Dan Simmons article does raise an interesting that I have pondered and maybe I am running into "Category Error". There is a decision to be made and I want to think that there is hope within Islam. On the other hand, I have heard from well before 9-11 that young muslim men are in the postion that young Americans would be in, during both timelines explored. That is to say, educated but without the hope of bettering themselves. In rural America, people like that drink themselves silly. In the middle-east, there is no booze...I suspect they're going to get pissed off.
So, what I am saying and what I have never wanted to say is that if nothing any American does will change attitudes in the Muslim world...what choice do we have?
Make no mistake, I am not beginnign to condone invading Iraq or any other half-baked neo-con idea. I am saying that if terrorism attacks continue, we have little to lose calling for a Holy War. To be succingt, if it's a Holy War they want...
I have to think that this line of thinking is a popular meme in Europe. That Muslims are not integrating into European culture and in fact are violently opposing European culture in Europe...not something that will happen in American any time soon. It is really ticking off Europeans though...they're all like "Hey, we thought when we opened our borders, we go all melting pot like the USA". So, I think that is the origin of the Dan Simmon's story more fear than denial. On the other hand, Bruce Sterling's story looks at how the USA may self destruct and limits the Caliphate to persia, which seems more likely. Muslims will will in the west via demographic changes, not via any type of invasion.
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