New York Times columnist David Brooks had an interesting column that discussed how certain cultures lead to corruption. According to his column:
"Between 1997 and 2002, the U.N. Mission of Kuwait picked up 246 parking violations per diplomat. Diplomats from Egypt, Chad, Sudan Mozambique, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Syria also committed huge numbers of violations. Meanwhile, not a single parking violation by a Swedish diplomat was recorded. Nor were there any by diplomats from Denmark, Japan, Israel, Norway or Canada."
Notice the countries that have the most parking violations also violate human rights - especially those of gay people. Just like with parking tickets, the success of nations can be determined by the way gay citizens are treated. For those that say the acceptance of homosexuality brings down civilizations, all evidence indicates that the opposite is true.
I think it's horrible that these countries have such horrible human rights records, but I think it's pretty ridiculous to say that not accepting gays is what makes a country unsuccessful. It seems to me to be a very small factor in a country's success, but it feels (understandably) huge to those of us in the gay community.
posted by Ash, at
8/14/2006 1:37 PM
Ash, I think what Mr. Brooks is saying is that there is a correlation between the number of violations a country has amassed, the way it treats gays (accepting vs. non-accepting) and its ability to maintain a stable, successful government. In other words, how recklessly a country behaves and the lack of respect that is shows for diversity are probably indicators of future collapse for the country. Remember: correlations do not constitute proof, they merely show that a relationship exists.
posted by Christopher's Partner, at
8/14/2006 2:09 PM
It is far from ridiculous. If I am wrong, please show me countries that are bad on gay rights that are also successful. Most are horrible places to live. It is no coincidence.
The only way some of these anti-gay nations can even get by is oil revenues. Take that away and they would sink.
What makes a country successful depends on what your definition of success is. Your definition dictates what the determining factor is. Maybe it's a booming economy, or a rigid law-and-order atmosphere, or adherence to democratic principles, or a sterling human rights record. Maybe it's some combination of the above. I understand what Wayne is getting at, and I basically agree with him, but what constitutes success is a value judgment that people are bound to disagree on.
posted by Stuffed Animal, at
8/14/2006 2:23 PM
The parking violation examples indicates the relative level of entitlement that highly class stratified societies have. People at the top, like embassadorial appointees, feel they aren't accountable to anyone and laws don't apply to them. Individuals from more egalitarian societies or societies that value homgeniety and conformity know that everyone follows the same rules.
posted by Pete, at
8/14/2006 2:42 PM
Allah said the 64 virgins would pick up the tab.
posted by Anonymous, at
8/14/2006 3:45 PM
If Gay Rights = Freedom = Success, then the good ol' US of A is most assuredly headed in the wrong direction. That's hardly news, is it?
But wouldn't it be a tragic twist of fate if the current influence of religion in our country led to its demise, considering that at least some of the original settlers came here to escape state-regulated religion?
I'm not sure that we can claim a causal relationship between gay equality and success. For example: Canada, the Netherlands, and Denmark are probably more accepting than is the United States and yet on most scales (economy, global impact, etc.) the US would appear to be more "successful".
But I do agree that there is a correlation. Those countries that favor more individual freedom generally foster more creative thinking. Thus those - such as No. America and W. Europe - who are more accepting of diversity and less structured on class and knowing your place will more likely have entrepreneurs. Those - such as the muslem nations - where structure is strict and rules are rigid tend not to produce many new ideas.
This tends to be true even within a culture. Richard Florida's idea about a Creative Class has been a compelling argument for business leaders in geographic areas to support gay rights. Gay rights alone are not the issue, they are more of an indicater of culture and mindset. Currently in Minnesota there is concern that anti-gay marriage efforts may hinder tourism and drive away Creative types who may come to view Minnesota as less progressive and more provincial or redneck.
posted by Timothy Kincaid, at
8/14/2006 4:20 PM
I go along the lines that in a highly stratified society those on the top echelon have a tendency to have a sense of entitlement. Yep, their human rights policies are viewed negatively from our perspective. Those who cherish people have a more equal understnading of themselves in society.
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8/14/2006 5:31 PM
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