Tag Archives: Islam

Just how bad a Traffic jam?

11 Jun

A lot of people, some of whom I respect and some of whom I don’t, are very concerned about what, these days, is called Human Trafficking. The concern is that young women from low economic backgrounds, or in socially vulnerable positions, are forced into prostitution and become, basically, sex-slaves. If true, this is a major issue.

The problem I have with it is that it closely resembles a recurring public hysteria, the White Slavery panic, that has on several occasions proved to be so much piddle and wind. The 19th century saw either several separate White Slavery scares in American and England, or one long one that waxed and waned. White Slavery also became a popular trope in the 1920’s. Retrospective examination of these scares has tended to the conclusion that they were largely illusory, based on several factors including but not limited to social concern about increasing license among young women, immigrant populations that didn’t adhere to the sexual mores of the status quo, and the need to sell newspapers.

So, what about the current concern about Human Trafficking? Is this more of the same, or is it a genuine problem? Or is there are genuine problem AND a certain amount of bovine excreta? It isn’t all that easy to tell. In common with the historical White Slavery panics, the Human Trafficking narrative tends to assume that all Prostitutes are victims who couldn’t possibly choose to sell sex. This seems a very upper-class white woman’s view of the world, and historical studies have repeatedly shown that, at least in the past, there wasn’t a great deal of truth to it. But it is easy to dismiss the Victorian and Neo-Victorian attitudes about sex and condemn all concern about Prostitution as growing out of them. Some women dislike sex and are miserable when engaged in it. I feel much the same way about the vast majority of sports; there were one or two that I liked in school, but most of them were wastes of time at best and miserable impositions at worst. Neither of us is necessarily wrong, maladjusted, or evil. But we aren’t a good sole basis for making public policy about either of these popular human pastimes. And at the same time, our odd reaction to said pastimes does not invalidate all concerns about their regulation or the possibility that people are being coerced into ‘playing’.

All Politically Correct invocations of Multicultural Understanding aside, Islamic societies have historically spread their customs of slavery and the subjugation of women, and the current crop do not seem to represent a change in this regard. I would be unsurprised to discover that Islamic countries around the world, and Islamic communities in the West were practicing Human Trafficking on a significant scale. But, for the most part, the people who are publicly involved in the fight against Human Trafficking do not seem to be focused on Islam. Further, their proposed solutions simply assume that no woman wants to be a prostitute; they don’t concentrate on protecting women from pressure to make choices they might choose to make differently if they could, they make the entire subject of sex for money taboo. That doesn’t stop the trade, puts the girls in a position of horrible vulnerability, and encourages government corruption.

It also, of course, keeps the (mostly) White, Middle Class women who are the backbone of any women’s movement from having to compete with sex-for-pay. Given the way that they have managed to skew divorce proceedings, child custody, and  other such issues against men, one can readily see why they would feel the need for such protection. There is scant rational reason for a single man to marry these days. Now, I am married, and I am VERY happy with my irrational reasons. But marriage, as it exists today in light of numerous court decisions and social changes, is a trap for men. And far too many feminists apparently consider sex the the bait in that trap.

I think that Human Trafficking probably does exist. To the extent that it exists outside of barbaric societies (such as Fundamentalist Islam) it would seem to require the anti-prostitute policies being touted by the anti-trafficking advocates. I don’t insist that that is a goal, but it clearly seems to be a symptom. I think, on consideration, that my response to the Call To Arms over Human Trafficking is to want to legalize Prostitution, so that the women who engage in it can seek the protection of the Law if they so desire, and the oppression of the more disgusting Islamic customs, such as stoning rape victims, forced marriages, and anything that smacks of slavery. And let the women who want to have vapors over strippers, prostitution, and pornography retire to their fainting couches.

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Religions and Societies

30 Apr

Part of the ongoing Culture Wars (and there is always an ongoing Culture War, unless a society is stagnant) is the battle between Intellectual Atheism and Christianity. Naturally both sides are playing the victim card for all they are worth, and just as naturally a lot of the arguments on both sides are so much eyewash.

I was raised as a Protestant Christian, though I have agnostic tendencies. I have never really considered Atheism; I see too much Art in the world to be convinced that there is no Artist. I cannot, therefore, be an impartial judge. But I can make some observations.

Societies founded upon Protestant Christianity are, at least to me, clearly preferable to any of the present alternatives. Catholicism has a historical tendency to produce cultures where the vast majority of people are peasants, and conditions are such that they will stay peasants. Buddhism sounds very nice in theory, but Buddhist societies are also full of peasants, and the peasants in Buddhist societies tend to be treated like farm animals. Islam, at least at the moment, is dominated by violent mobs. Hindus, for reasons that I can’t get my mind around, tolerate the Caste system (*spit*).

Protestants created the first western societies where the spread of literacy was a social priority. They formed the first anti-slavery movement that was not, at base, a slave’s revolt. Theirs are the first societies to even pay lip service to the rights of women and minorities. I don’t know why this should be so, but it is plainly in evidence.

By contrast, Atheists, in the wake of the 20th Century, have a great deal of explaining to do. The U.S.S.R. was an Atheistical society, and so was Mao’s China. Both slaughtered people with an enthusiasm that would have at least startled the most bloodthirsty Spanish Inquisitor. It seems to me that by asserting the nonexistence of Gods, Atheistical societies remove a major check on the rapaciousness of the State, which promptly acts with the kind of calm restraint associated with a column of army ants. Communist (and therefore Atheist) societies murdered between 85 million and 100 million people in the Twentieth Century, according to THE BLACK BOOK OF COMMUNISM (Harvard Press). That is at least an order of magnitude worse than anything any other Religion had managed.

There are plenty of swine who call themselves Christians, the Westboro Baptist Church being a prime example. And Christian societies have a great deal to be ashamed of. But Protestant Christianity is still head and shoulders (and a good deal of the abdomen) above anything else available. Maybe Atheism can produce a nation sized society that doesn’t end up using mass slaughter as a tool of Statecraft, but I want to see it before I believe in it. The 20th Century, with its litany of (Communist) Stalin, (Communist) Mao, and other little tin-pot Communists too numerous and depressing to mention, has worn out any benefit of the doubt to which Atheism might once have been entitled.

Two thoughts that came to me linked.

30 Mar

1) There is something wonderfully American about a diverse batch of cultural mongrels turning up at a bar called Havana’s, to get blitzed and rowdy at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, because it’s St. Patrick’s Day.

2) The biggest barrier to acceptance that Islamic immigrants may face is that they have no cultural celebration where it would be acceptable for their non-Islamic neighbors to get drunk with them.

Saudi Arabia

28 Mar

I still hear, from time to time, people who think – or claim to think – that we should have attacked Saudi Arabia instead of Iraq. I thought about dealing with this issue in my The Iraq War post, but decided that it didn’t really fit, and that I would deal with it separately.

Yes, a lot of Terrorists come out of Saudi Arabia. No, the Saudi government isn’t really our ally. Nevertheless, we don’t want to get into a war with Saudi Arabia for one very simple reason. If we fight Saudi Arabia we will win, and if we win a fight with the Saudis then Mecca and Medina will be our problems.

*shudder*

The Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that every devout Muslim is supposed to make at least once if he can afford to, has to be the biggest annually recurring administrative headache in the world. Now add to that concern the reaction of Islāmic fanatics if we were in control of two of their three Holy Cities. I would rather try to rule Ireland.

This is, in a sense, my core concern with the War on Terrorism; that we not end up responsible for large tracts of intractable Islāmic territory. I don’t want us running the world, or large parts thereof. We would be bad at it, and unhappy doing it. Further, trying would change us in ways that would not be good. And, truth be told, we don’t need to track down the actual 9/11 planners and punish them; their type wouldn’t learn anything from that and will always want to attack people who don’t share their peculiar worldview. We need to persuade the nations that those vermin hide in that it is in their interest to police their own. Invading Saudi Arabia is a measure of absolutely last resort. Nobody would learn anything useful from the exercise because everyone would be focused on Mecca.