Greyzones and Slaughter… and a Dying Way of Life

“So, why are the most aggressive Muslims now engaged in a sustained war in Europe?”

“Because they want to eliminate the grey zone – where Muslims and European infidels mix.”

“Why is that?”

“Because the most traditional believers feel that there is a cultural war between Islam and Europe – and that Europe is winning. As quoted from Fertility, Faith and Islam:

With the exception of Iran, by far the sharpest fertility declines have been in the Maghrib countries most closely tied to Western Europe by migration, that is, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. I stress that the North African countries are not yet at European levels, but they are moving remarkably fast in that direction. (Tunisia just reached replacement levels). Conversely, the countries least tied to Europe, such as Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan, continue to have Third World profiles.

Just what is happening in the Maghrib countries? Everything depends on the changing attitudes and expectation of the women in these once highly traditional societies. Across the region, women have become increasingly involved in higher education, and have moreover moved into full-time employment. That sea-change simply makes it unthinkable for women to manage a rampaging tribe of seven or eight children. Often, too, images of women’s proper role in life have been upended by extended contacts with Europe. Migrants to France or Italy return home with changed attitudes, while families who stay at home find it hard to avoid the media portrayals of Western lives they see via cable and satellite dish. Maybe Europe and the Middle East are merging into one common Eurabia – but it’s far from clear which side is doing a better job of imposing its opinions on the other. Presently, it looks as if the Maghreb is becoming European.”

“And who will win?”

“I don’t know. I am fairly certain that ISIS and company can successfully encourage a highly authoritarian Europe, and increase hatred against the local Muslims. But the millions of Muslims in Europe will remain: I see no gas chambers in the future.”

“Will this be good enough for ISIS? Will Arabs turn their back on Europe?”

“I suspect not. Especially as literacy grows in the Arab nations.  A lot of people will die… there will be a great loss of freedom… oppression for European Muslims – and many others – will increase. But in the end, there will be no great expulsion, and after the region has established totalitarian levels of control over Muslims, the violence will decrease.”

“What does this mean for the Empty Quarter?”

“Like all science fiction, it is tied to the present, not the future. If – as I suspect – all these attacks are in the end the frantic thrashing of a dying way of life, the Wahhabi-style Islam of a far-future Empty Quarter is as impossible as today’s high-tech United States being dominated by the Catholicism of the High Middle Ages.”

“Maybe someone should design a more realistic Empty Quarter.”

“Maybe someone should.”


About Alvin Plummer

I'm working to build a better world, a world that blesses Christ and is blessed by Him. I hope that you're doing the same!
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5 Responses to Greyzones and Slaughter… and a Dying Way of Life

  1. Andrew says:

    My feelings are that the Empty Quarter doesn’t need to be redesigned, and this is why.

    Worlds are much more separate, and easily separated, from each other. Even if one system starts as a daughter colony of another, the factors of time, distance and governmental control will split them apart. Think Earth before transcontinental and transoceanic telegraph cables.

    So, insular civilizations, like pre-contact Japan, or Imperial China, or wahhabist Islamists, can have their worlds and control contact with the outside world. Physical, economic and social contact can be regulated via control of starports, or by more, ahem, physical methods for those things that slip past the walls.

    Think of US history. The Mormons went to Utah to get away from the rest of the nation. What would it have been like if, instead of Utah, they had gone to a Tasmania-like island or a viable island chain.


  2. Andrew says:

    Great distances make great neighbors, and families.

    Glad to help center you. I think we’re all reeling around, a little shell-shocked with all the goings-on in the outside world.


  3. Andrew says:

    And remember, an easy answer by a higher-tech-planet to overly fervorous religious fervor on a planet is “ye olde kinetic strike” whether from orbit or from further out. Doesn’t have to be high tech machined and guided weaponry either. Nickel-Iron rocks work well, too. “Hey, Gustav. The muzzies on Polyglot 4 are sabre rattling again. Time to warm up the meteor storm. What? Nukes? Heck no, those ImpBastards and their damned rules, plus we have all those sandworms on that desert planet to take care of.”

    That supposedly insulated-from-the-natives starport is also a not-so insulated listening post/info gathering location for other star-nation/planet/polities.

    And then there’s always the whole “Beau-Geste” storyline of a more civilized government planet having outposts on planet backwater that are surrounded by not-so-friendly locals. How do you protect your outposts from plasma armed raiders?

    (Note – using muzzies for muslims like using wogs for Indians and so forth. Easier to kill someone/destroy their culture/take over for “their own good” when they are lesser people than your people are.)


    • Alvin Plummer says:

      Life gets interesting in the Empty Quarter, when the Imperium decides to actually spend the resources to get something DONE.

      It should be understood that the Imperium – unlike the West (see Van Creveld’s “Pussycats: Why the Rest Keeps Beating the West”) never lost the will to fight and win: the Rebellion War was nasty and long, but it was petering out more due to the lack of warships than the lack of men or fighting spirit, by the time Virus kicked in…

      On the other hand, you get the “not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier” issue. The Imperial Empty Quarter just isn’t worth all that much. Sure: Marhaban, homeworld of the Bwap, is a nice jewel in the Imperial Crown. And it’s a comfort to have the buffer space for the Julian Protectorate to cross, buying time for a serious Imperial response to invasion. But by and large, it just isn’t worth it for the Imperium to get too deep into the nasty: all 134 Imperial systems, added together, has a lower net worth than a continent on Vland (or other high-tech/high-pop world).

      On the other hand, mercenaries and corporate troops are definitely an option, for traders and businesses with assets to protect, and hostile locals to keep an eye on. For them, it can indeed be worth it… but they are on a budget, with a finite amount of men and money to call on, and need creative solutions every so often.

      (Also, the locals are quite well adapted to fighting at a tech disadvantage: you should your eyes and brains, as well as your tech leverage, or you’re Going to Have a Bad Time.)


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