Friday, October 24, 2014

The Real Great Satan

 Although meddling by the United States, the existence of Israel, and clerics fanning the fires of ancient tribal rivalries are factors in nonstop violence in the Middle East and elsewhere in the Muslim world, they are not the fundamental cause of the chaos. The cause is simply an over-supply of young men in over-populated countries.

Many admirable practices are included in the principles followed by most of the 1.6 billion Muslims, including sharing wealth with the poor, striving to reduce economic inequality, and refraining from violence. A minority of fanatics and those who exploit their zeal continue to give the religion a bad name in other cultures. Islam, generally, is not "the mother lode of bad ideas" as neuroscientist Sam Harris recently labeled it on national television.

But Islam includes one very bad idea. With a few exceptions, all forms of contraception and birth control are forbidden. That is the real "Great Satan."

It's a short step for dissatisfied young men from peaceful protest to violence.

Far too many people compete for scarce resources in lands where Muslims predominate. The great source of wealth in several of them, oil, is not labor intensive in its extraction or processing. In what once were rich farming lands, constant warfare has so disrupted the landscape that jobs in agriculture have declined. Some areas that once exported food now are forced to import it.

Arid lands do not support vast populations anywhere in the world, but in Muslim desert and semi-desert areas excess human reproduction continues despite the lack of suitable environments to sustain more people.

The result of all this in the Middle East, plus a shortage of advanced educational facilities in a world where technical jobs are becoming more important, is an entire region with the highest unemployment rates in the world. A dramatic component of that is in the youngest segment of the population up to the age of 25, where unemployment is estimated to be 40 percent.

What happens when idle young men see no hope for their futures through peaceful endeavors? They become eager to sign up to fight for any leaders who provide a pay check and promise fame and glory.

Until rank and file Muslims in great numbers ignore medieval bans on birth control, as many Roman Catholics now do in Christian cultures, we can expect warfare and devastation in Islamic lands. Peace may be a very long time coming.


Anonymous said...

Yes, the surplus of young men is a problem, especially young men without jobs and no prospects. Modern medicine has a great extent..the diseases that once kept this population in check.
Sadly, I think, as a demographer, that the status of women is a root cause. Until women have the right to control their own bodies, this problem of an over-supply of young men will continue. The status of women is a cultural issue, however, and the culture of the Middle East and much of tSoutheastern Asia is Not friendly toward change.
This isn't just a Musim problem either.

Say what you will about the West, but it has mostly gotten it's act together when it comes to the status of women...despite the hype we hear near election time.

Anonymous said...

I also meant to say...excellent piece. POET we learn in grad school. Population-Organization-Environment-Technology. With the murder of AID workers spreading wicked information about birth control and promoting vaccinations of children, I don't see an end to the chaos anytime. Sadly, this overpopulation will eventually be so bad the whole ecosystem will collapse.

This is the major reason in my mind why we in the West must stop berating ourselves about our progress. Our way of life, while not perfect, as a whole is superior. Get over it.

Dick Klade said...

Agree with everything you said, Dianne. I neglected to mention women's rights. That was a major omission, because as you point out it is an important factor.

PiedType said...

I've long contended that education is the solution to all the world's problems. That would include knowledge of biology, sex education, birth control, etc. Educated people know how to better themselves and their communities and societies. The areas you mention are largely undereducated and their societal and religious norms generally deny education to women. The key is education!

Dick Klade said...

Pied: I believe several well-done studies show that in nations where women are allowed to get quality educations, birth rates fall. It appears education and population control are linked.

Tom Sightings said...

Interesting point of view and I'm sure to a large extent you're right ... altho' those other three reasons don't help matters very much.

Anonymous said...

We have a major problem here in the UK with illegal immigration from outside the European Union. From what I see in Calais and elsewhere in Europe. Most of those trying to cross our borders are young men from 'Muslim' countries. Many are trying to escape war and military service.

Dick Klade said...

John, it seems human problems don't change very much. My father, who translated for many German immigrants to the U.S. said a lot of them came to avoid military service in their homelands, although they gave quite different reasons to get into the country.