Ideological movement leading to severe overpopulation on the planet Sinyavskaya

Image from Steve Bowers

The Proclag Oamnoran was a dictatorial government in the nation of Oamnoran, an independent country stretching across the eastern side of the central megaplateau of the planet Sinyavskaya colonised by the Taurus Nexus. Sinyavskaya was a terraformed world of mainly humans, but with a large tweak minority, colonized by several groups but with little conflict (just enough to prevent the nations from agreeing to a unified government). After the fall of the Nexus Sinyavskaya became an independent world in the backwaters beyond the Hyades.

During the 3800's the Proclag despots held to an ideological system called Receptism, a complete spiritual-political-social system (not unlike Communism, Fascism, or Legalism of Old Earth) based on Uterospirituality. In brief, they believed that there was a reservoir of souls waiting to be born as Humans, and that it is our ethical duty to bring as many of them into the world as possible. As humans are receptacles for souls, Receptism was created as a popular movement which rallied people against any population laws and even social trends delaying childbearing (which occur on many colonies after the initial spurt of population growth). The Receptist leaders used (some would say manipulated) the movement to bring themselves to power in Oamnoran, and they immediately changed all the laws and tax code to favor continuous breeding, as well as social manipulation to persecute non-breeders as selfish or sinister. Other nations on the planet were either taken over by Proclag governments or armed themselves against what they thought was an attempt by Oamnoran to dominate the colony by force of numbers.

Although there were border wars and some persecution, the main tragedy of Oamnoran was, of course, the massive overpopulation which soon outstripped the fragile terraformed world. It is widely believed that the AIs did not intervene because they wanted to show the results of the ideology in action, and some militant anti-AI Receptists maintain to this day that the AIs helped sabotage the food-distribution and relief efforts (which were in any case futile). The Population of Oamnoran reached 40 billion at its peak but by that time there had been a general breakdown in the society, as every layer of technology and infrastructure collapsed, followed by the food supply; within a decade the Proclag was gone, the rest of the planet ravaged by resource wars, and the outer solar system colonies closing their doors to desperate shiploads of refugees, many of which still orbit the star as metal mass graves.

There have always been population debates, and each side can bring up examples to support their views — many empires of course are ever-expanding, and technology has in many ways eliminated the traditional concept of a resource-based carrying capacity. But Oamnoran is still regarded as an example of Humanity's inability to escape natural laws as long as we exist in any physical form.

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Text by Aaron Hamilton

Initially published on 11 August 2000.