[LMB] Language drift on Barrayar

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Wed Aug 7 09:40:17 BST 2019



Something to add to the debate about prejudice: sadly, in some cases
there's a historical reason for certain prejudices, even though they're
carried on long after there's a need for them.

Using Barrayar as an example: Many of the prejudices within the society
came from the horrific conditions faced at the beginning.

Against the handicapped - because society didn't have the resources
to support non-productive members. Even stronger when it was a
baby with severe problems - they didn't have the time, people, skills
or food for someone with a lifetime of problems. And while the mother
was tied up caring for that child she was losing valuable breeding time.

Against anyone not heterosexual - because all healthy people were
needed to breed, they had a limited gene pool and a high level of
mutations and problems.

To limit women - because their most important role was to reproduce.
Women choosing to delay reproduction for careers, or who wanted jobs
that might lead to genetic damage, were a loss to the breeding pool.

It sounds cruel, and it often was. But it came down to some very basic
and serious problems. Because the colony survived it's easy to overlook
the fact that it very nearly didn't. For a long time it was marginal, and
they had to make some difficult adjustments.

Then long after the need was gone, their society was structured that way,
and so it continued. Which is the story of many of the problems we have
in our societies; 'It seemed like a good idea at the time' covers most social
development, and most of the problems when it all goes wrong.


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