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.
I released my latest book this week and it is freely available on kindle for a limited time here. It is short, readable, and yet complex and a little absurd. I hope you enjoy.
In this follow up to Should The Pope offer St. Maria’s of Alhambra to Islam, I want to consider what the Catholic church has to gain by offering St. Maria’s as an offering to interfaith worship.
The short answer is that The Church has peace to gain, with a start toward reconciliation among faiths, which need to come together rather than grow further apart. The long answer is that it is only through an unsolicited offer by The Catholic Church, in advance of pressure from outside events, that The Church can authentically make a gesture that other faiths can trust as an offering to peace. The act needs to take place prior to strife, for it to be clear that The Church’s hand was not forced in the matter – which it is not, but could seem so, should such an offering occur after an event of great distress. This means that it is the right moment for such an offering.
Open dialog between faiths is much needed, so that theoretical reconciliations can be reached, which promise to support a broader day to day acceptance of other faiths living together in the same community. There is no better way to reach a state in which reconciliation can be achieved than through a community of shared worship. Seeing and hearing and feeling those in prayer and worship inevitably makes the practice and people of other faith less alien, more akin to yourself and your own needs and fulfillment. And the setting at Alhambra is the most perfect given the history of intolerance in Spain and the history of Alhambra, not to mention its beauty.
The Office of the President is the face of the nation and ours is a nation with a big footprint. That footprint extends well into other nations as we willfully take on the task of policing the world from at least the worst of its ills. That life abroad is occasionally neglected and occasionally abused by our Presidents, but it really can be neither if we want America at its best.
While the Office of the President is consistently fighting domestic political battles which make them more narrow-minded than we can afford our administrations to be, America is busy being America abroad, trying to defend what is right, while fighting the concurrent battle over the visage of America as domineering where it doesn’t belong.
It is the latter where our president can be decidedly understanding or standoffish and in the past they have been both, but in the interconnected world which America built, we cannot afford the latter when it is not overwhelmingly due. Our current president has done well with diplomacy, despite occasional botched communications, and we can’t afford anything less from our future presidents.
The presidents of the near future – born and raised before the rise of the internet – threaten to misunderstand a younger generation who are to make up America and much of the first-world, in short order. And it is a persistent and perpetrated misunderstanding, which is America’s greatest foe.
The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”
– Thomas Jefferson
What I mean to say is that I am done with spontaneous story telling in public places. In good story writing one must take risks. In taking risks, half the time you look at what you’ve done and say “I can’t say that.” and the other half of the time you say “I can’t say that, but if I change just this, it’s brilliant!”
This risk-taking is not made for an impromptu stage, it is made for paper and small gatherings in private among friends. This is not to say you cannot be risqué, but such must first be vetted with thought and sleep. But after watching the first season of Game of Thrones, I suppose I don’t truly feel bad about including cliché references to a Haram and Midgets in my latest foot-in-mouth tale.
The fundamental issue has always been the balance of liberty with protection, or better, safety. The protection need not always be in the form of military protection, it can at times be in the form of social welfare protection, which allows one the safety of income when they do not have work or the funds to deal with difficult disease, but how the balance is struck is always the issue. For the Republican, the balance is thus: enforce conservative values so that social welfare costs are minimal and strengthen our military to prevent outside disruptions. For the Democrats the balance is thus: strengthen our social welfare so that folks can live their civil liberties to the fullest and make friends with our world, so that they like us enough not to attack.
If you take either of these positions on their own, you will notice that they are frankly implausible. On the one hand, you can’t force people to live risk free lives and this is by-n-large what you would need for no welfare. On the other side, you cannot simply be friends with your neighbors, for you cannot simply allow yourself to be trampled on – as occasionally and unfortunately happens in this world. Of course, no one would ever take only positions on the right or the left, since they would get killed in a political forum by someone more towards the middle. Who is this person in the middle? They go by “Democrat” or “Republican” or “Independent”, but they are sometimes at heart the Libertarian.
The Libertarian does not play only on the let or only on the right. The Libertarian sees that the compromises of liberty can be addressed head on and not through the polar political dynamic. They do this by realizing that effectively the political space is not appropriately filled. What is missing is one who attaches foremost importance to liberty, but realizes that protection of all sorts are necessary and compromises need to be made in the sphere or taxation as well as civil liberty, and that they can be made and addressed directly, and at the same time.
What goes by “Libertarian” these days is something of a head scratcher. It is true that a rollback to the days of the constitution is appealing, but the issue is that you cannot have your cake and eat it too. If you want security, you must tax. This is true whether you are Republican or Democrat. Whether those taxes go to a social variety or whether they go to a military variety, you still need money to fund the projects. The Republican façade has always been that taxes should be minimized. But these tax breaks amount to kickbacks to the rich for favors of various sorts which amount to a means to a perceived social safety ends. The democrats deal with social matters more direct way, without as much deception, but they fail to appreciate the social costs involved in not enforcing conservative lifestyles.
***This is the final part to Just Liberty, written in early 2010. I was inclined to remove the phrase “without as much deception” in writing it here, but I have felt compelled to leave it. The deception is in the minimization of taxes as the best support for liberty.***
Part II of Just Liberty essay, written in early 2010.