Jun 27, 2019 2:03 AM
Amentans in Gilead
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"It will certainly be more than that, but many of them would be happy to disperse to other countries given those countries' welcome and appropriate safeguards to make sure they don't lose contact with home whatever the vicissitudes of diplomacy."

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"I'm sure arrangements can be made," Fred says. "The tentative plan is to give you Montana, because there is a lot of Montana and none of it is being used for anything." 

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"That sounds lovely assuming the current residents of Montana won't object. If I imagine a fertility crisis in Amenta, I imagine being very low on a lot of labor that requires proximity - not just farms and factories, but orange work, retail, policing -"

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"We won't require the residents in Montana to move, but we will pay them if they do, and we will require them to follow Amentan laws if they stay. --The problem is that humans and Amentans are absolutely incompatible in matters of pollution. To be blunt, it is not possible to get any sizeable human population where we can be absolutely, positively certain that no one has touched feces without taking a five-hour shower afterward."

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"- the full decontamination isn't strictly called for if you can be sure you've adequately washed the affected area but I take your meaning. All right. Since you don't have castes perhaps we can export farming and factory products and you can slosh some of your current purple labor pool into other industries."

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"I want to assure you that the Gilead government is taking the issue of pollution very very seriously. Our theologians consider it to be very likely that God's law requires Amentans to avoid touching polluted objects. And our fundamental goal as a society is that people do not break God's laws, and most certainly do not do so by accident."

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Avalor nods. "I appreciate that. Have you been in touch with any other Earth countries about this?"

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"Our diplomats are prepared to contact them with your guidance. We are skeptical, however, that any non-Gilead country will take pollution as seriously as Gilead does."

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"I'd expect our seriousness about it to carry some force even if the - cognate with 'theology' did not."

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"The countries in North America are perhaps most suitable for immigration, due to the ease of access of the door. There are three besides Gilead-- Cascadia, Canada, and Mexico."

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"We've heard only bits and pieces, but Canada in particular sounds like it has a lot of empty space."

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"Canada is mostly empty space! Unfortunately, it is quite cold all year round, which is why people don't live there. It tends towards liberal politics, which Amentans might find amenable-- legalized homosexuality, gender equality, that sort of thing."

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"Those things would certainly be popular, yes. Will there be issues with those in Montana? Will we need to arrange for only straight people to move there and to swap with Canada-dwelling Amentans if their children spring sideways?"

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"To the best of your knowledge, are there any examples of Amentan societies which stigmatize homosexuality or have gender roles?"

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"Not to the extent Gilead does. There are certainly cultures which consider co-parenting much more important than romance and that has knock-on effects."

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"Theologically, it would be bizarre if something were a sin for Amentans and no Amentan society had realized it was wrong. I don't think you need to worry that we will enforce gender roles. It may be our theologians will conclude homosexuality is a sin for Amentans, but we will not make it illegal until there is a theological consensus on the subject. Unfortunately, I can't say as much about the attitudes of the remaining human residents of Montana."

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"Assuming they have to follow the colonial laws, that should be tractable. If you do come to a consensus position on that I'd like to have a graceful rearrangement or exit strategy planned ahead of time."

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"Our hope, of course, is that Amentans will convert and thus change their behavior."

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"I don't anticipate much uptake, particularly among Amentans facing the prospect of a lonely future if they abide by Gileadite rules."

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"We'll agree to disagree! I'm afraid that some sort of exit strategy for Amentans is going to be a hard sell to the people of Gilead, though, particularly since we're already exempting you from the laws on, off the top of my head, gender, homosexuality, atheism, and premarital and extramarital sex."

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"I think we could make do with an Amentan-style swap program between a Canadian and a Montanan colony, which we'd prefer anyway for the economic benefits of freedom of movement and so they can travel anywhere without worrying about human standards of cleanliness."

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"I believe a swap system will be acceptable, particularly if the Amentan population growth rate is reasonable."

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"We'll use the space to grow, but we're certainly not going to lift population controls entirely."

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"We don't expect you to! --Mexico and Cascadia, unfortunately, are both unsuitable for a colony. Catholicism, which is the Mexican religion, holds that it is morally wrong to use contraception, and I would not expect their theological arguments to change depending on the species. While Cascadia is fairly rural it doesn't have very much land that's empty, and I suspect if Gilead came out in favor of respecting the Amentan pollution instinct Cascadia would deliberately pollute things just to be contrary."

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"That's appalling," says Avalor. "We may have to be more careful about imports than I was expecting."

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