Re: Apocalypse Pretty Soon

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Sat Sep 15 2001 - 03:03:15 MDT

On Fri, Sep 14, 2001 at 11:32:38PM -0700, J. R. Molloy wrote:
> > to get any
> > troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would they let
> > us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first. Will
> > other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where I'm going. We're
> > flirting with a world war between Islam and the West.
> Wonderful! After the war, gasoline will be 17 cents a gallon in the West, and
> we can rebuild the WTC with the bones of dead religious fanatics.
Are you completely mad, or just overdoing the drugs?

Sorry. You just hit a hot-button of mine. You are *supposed* to be an
extropian -- someone who is dynamically optimistic about the future.

What the hell kind of optimism is it that goes on about "rebuilding the
WTC with the bones of dead religious fanatics"?

What _I_ want to do is to convert those religious fanatics to extropian

> > It might
> > seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam
> > and the West, he's got a billion soldiers.
> Ridiculous! Muslims are ready to hand him over now, if the US asks for his
> wretched ass.
It's ridiculous, but it's what he believes. Do you really think that
just because Hitler's beliefs were ridiculous, he didn't believe in them?

> > He's probably
> > wrong, in the end the west would win, whatever that would mean
> "probably" wrong? Tamim Ansary: the new world's champion of understatement.
> Yes, the west (spell that N - A - T - O) will definitely win, and it will mean
> that we've proven that religious fanatics should all go to the imaginary
> paradise that they so fervently believe in -- we're here to help.
Er, you may have forgotten that Germany has a muslim population of seven
million. The UK has a muslim population of three million. France is
somewhere in-between. The US muslim population is a smaller per-capita
proportion, but similarly measured in the millions.

If the goal is to kick the Taliban in the nuts, take their territory away,
and rebuild Afghanistan, most muslims in the west won't cheer, but they'll
nod thoughtfully and go along with it. (The Taliban are to the islamic
world about where Adolf Hitler would stand in relation to the US
Republican party.)

But if it turns into a crusade -- literally, a holy war for the cross,
against islam, which is what Jerry Fallwell wants -- then what the west
will have will not be a mere "terrorist problem"; it'll be all-out civil
war at home.

> We won't move into a better future until we debunk religiosity, the most
> regressive force now operating in society.
Agreed -- but we won't succeed in doing that if our own response to the
atrocity is dictated by the likes of Jerry Fallwell, or our "debunking"
takes the form of further atrocities. The problem with religious memes
is that subverting them is a difficult job, best done by setting a good
example and exposing the victim to it and encouraging them to think for
themselves. Bombing them flat isn't going to help. In fact, it's going to
reinforce their belief system and spread the hard-line beliefs to people
who are currently moderates.

-- Charlie

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