Wednesday, 16 November 2016


Arinnian defends the defensive war recently waged by Avalon:

"'...our society or culture or what you want to name it, has a life and a right of its own.
"'...if communities didn't resist encroachments, they'd soon be swallowed by the biggest and greediest. Wouldn't they? In the end, dead sameness. No challenges, no inspirations from somebody else's way. What service is it to life if we let that happen?
"'And, you know, enmities needn't be eternal.'" (Rise Of The Terran Empire, p. 661)

Three Observations
(i) We can organize the production and distribution of wealth in such a way that everyone has access to far more than they need and thus that "greed" ceases to motivate anyone. (But that is not the situation at the time of the border dispute between Terra and Ythri.)

(ii) In how many works does Poul Anderson rightly dramatize the point that sameness is bad and therefore diversity is good?

(iii) He mentions Lepanto but there are many other historical examples of former enemies becoming allies and friends. See here.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    What Christopher Holm/Arinnian failed to mention as well (altho Sandra Miesel did in her essay about THE PEOPLE OF THE WIND) was how he and his father were betting on the moral self restraint of the Empire to win the battle for Avalon. That is, they believed the Empire would not choose to use the truly ruthless measures that would have broken Avalonian resistance. From a mix of distaste for such methods and pragmatism the Empire decided not to insist on the Domain ceding the planet in the peace settlement.

    You already know of how I (and Poul Anderson, for that matter) regard with skepticism your Point " i." I think people will still compete SOMEHOW, even assuming a "post scarcity" economy (such as for political power).


    1. Sean,
      That is an ongoing disagreement. We can only continue to state our respective views and hopefully encourage others to comment as well.

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      Because I fail to see how you can expect EVERYBODY to be content with the plentiful wealth of a post scarcity economy (assuming such a thing is even possible). I think people will continue to struggle and compete for more than simple material plenty. Some will desire to obtain political power, for whatever reason. And this can take the form of, first, competition in the arts and sports. And once that palls we have to expect violence to follow. Or attempted violence, as we see in GENESIS. But the AI's intervention merely showed humans how impotent and powerless they truly were. With mankind eventually choosing to become extinct rather than continue pointlessly being pampered pets of the AI.