Islam and Homosexuality

Homosexuality is a victimless crime, if it were a crime at all.  As such no self-respecting libertarian would consider making it a crime.  Additionally, homosexuals are a fact of life.  There are people who prefer the company of their own sex for sex.  So the short answer to anyone who does not like homosexuality is: deal with it.  The long answer is that we should welcome the day when we ask someone of their sexual orientation and they respond with an answer which we believe and have no reason to doubt – and have no real interest in unless we ourselves are sexually interested or know someone who might be.  Not only is this a reprieve from deception, but it would give those who wish to manipulate with what-does-not-matter-in-the-first-place less ammunition.  It is a sad fact that although the western world is largely able to see the progress in this direction, the eastern world does not.  The eastern world, at least as represented by the Arabic countries, largely allow for – if not dictate – the persecution of people based on their sexual orientation.

I have been a long time supporter of Islamic Americans.  They have quite clearly drawn the short end of the stick.  But there is a fact of intolerance in antiquated Sharia law which the Arabic countries must overcome in their quest to catch up to the western world.  And it should be said that despite the intolerance, there is this ambition.  The Islamic world has been trying to catch up and we should not hesitate to help them, but they remain woefully behind if this map from the Washington Post has any credibility.

But therein, too, is the problem.  The Washington Post does a lot to overemphasize the importance of homosexuality to the Islamic world.  They say nothing of the actual convictions for homosexual behavior and instead are inciting the flames against Islam at a very critical moment.  The shooting on Sunday of this week cannot be thought of anything but the worst of intolerance, but we cannot let the shooter himself speak for Islam – doing so stinks of the very kind of manipulation which the US is being accused of overseas.

Barcelona and the New Republic

In the Spanish civil war, the Communists and the Capitalists sided with one another against the Fascists.  The Fascists won, and led to a repressive regime that lived in relative peace without freedom until the death of Franco.  Spain, as a result, did not see the subsequent battle between the Communists and Capitalists, which was to define the latter half of the 20th century. They lived in a bubble of needs met and few aspirations attained, with true liberty – religion not least among them – thwarted.

But Franco did not stop the positioning.  He had to, after all, meet with every man’s fate and die.  And so the cold war lived in muted form, to the satisfaction of those who run cold – the communists – as opposed to those who run hot – the capitalists.  But in certain places the dream of the republic lived.  It would come to live in the hearts of former communists as well as capitalists, as the fate of a government of central command was realized in the USSR, not only Spain.

There are still those inclined to socialism, and sometimes they are in the right.  Nevertheless, the will of the people is freedom – civil and economic – and there is no place in the world where this will is stronger than in Barcelona.  Catalonia has been reluctantly paying dues and homage to Madrid for too long, and it is time for Madrid to realize that they really ought to be more like Barcelona.  I have been here for a short time, and I can tell the city is alive and open unlike any I’ve seen.  Despite occasional opposing forces at play, it is a city ready to shine to the world.  Madrid, you should play along – you have something to learn and gain.

Why Treating the Mentally Ill as Suspects is Counter Productive

The mentally ill need care, not suspicion. Yet a visit with your therapist can occasionally feel like an interrogation as they try to cover their backs from the unknown. And it’s not like their performance goes undetected. The mentally ill are simultaneously some of the smartest people in the world; though they may be treated as minds of inconsequential validity, rest assured that they are observant and capable of unwanted inference. How to treat such talent while protecting society – that is a very difficult balance.

The foremost indicator of future violence is past violence, but all too often people are buried under suspicion without any past violence at all. Should there be a need to put someone under suspicion for their condition, it must be the result of an evaluation done without suspicion, since suspicion on the part of the doctor leads to fear on the part of the patient, which leads to suspicion on the part of the system. Once there is suspicion on the part of the system, it is often too late for a patient to lead a normal life, for they will face an uphill battle for most of their lives.

It is a fact that mass shootings put more power in the hands of psychiatrists, and these psychiatrists are not blind to the scrutiny they will face if – albeit a remote possibility – a terrorist slips their grasp. But we should not ignore the fact that mass shootings make up a relatively insignificant portion of the death rate, despite their sensationalism, and a far greater number of lives are lost to scrutiny than death by bullet – though their stories remain untold.

Beyond Discrimination

When there is discrimination, there is always difficulty getting through it.  But the issue is not simply one of instilling a different mindset toward the discriminated, which is hard enough to do.  The issue also has to do with the fact that discriminators fear retribution for their actions should the discriminated get fair compensation.  This cycle of discrimination and distrust can be overcome by instilling a different mindset in the next generation, but relying on this entails no justice for the current one.  And no justice for the current generation entails slower change, if any.  This cycle can be broken, but there needs to be a perception of fair-mindedness from both sides.  In some areas progress has been made.  It is usually best made when we accept our differences as much as highlight our similarities, and each side recognizes compensation as fair.  Freedom is not Justice, but it is a healthy attitude to take the opportunities given. They can be compensation enough.