Month: February 2017

Private goods vs. investment capital

In an earlier blog, I discussed how I think we need a mixed economic system (although I did not call it that; I hope to make another posting soon discussing in detail what I mean by this term), in which goods are private, but investment capital is heavily taxed and used to fund a basic income.

I think what I meant might be self-evident to some. However, I want to give two examples here of the difference between a ‘private good’ and an ‘investment.’ It is not as simple as what an object of possession is. Rather, it is the manner in which it is used.

Let us consider if I own a house. If I live in the house with my family, or let my friends use it or visit it, or if I use it for vacations, then it is a private good. It becomes an investment when I begin using it for the purpose of making a profit, for example, by renting it out.

As a second example, suppose that I own a plot of land. If I use it to go camping on vacation, that is a private good. If I charge other people to use it for camping, it becomes an investment. If I sell the logging or mineral rights, it becomes an investment.

I hope that helps clarify what I meant. Of course, there are subtleties, like the fact that automobiles could be used sometimes for private uses and sometimes as investments, but those are the kinds of details that I think are best left to the politicians and economists who implement these general principles to figure out.

Freedom

What is freedom?

Thesis: To be free, the individual must not only be free from legislation that interferes with their autonomy over themselves; they must also be free from certain forms of social coercion, if necessary by legislating against such social coercion.

To the libertarian, freedom means freedom from legislative control, or governmental control. This is, of course, a very important aspect to freedom. However, I argue that it is only one aspect to being free. I will address this perspective first. However, there are also, ironically, democrats/leftists who argue essentially the same – and I wish to argue against their perspective, as well.

Let us begin with the libertarian side. Now, I am an individualist. I believe the individual should be autonomous over themselves, and that we should strive to help each individual to improve and advance themselves as much as possible, or to give them the opportunity to do so. However, this cannot mean simply saying that the government is to be disallowed from infringing upon individual freedoms. That is an important part of freedom, yes, but it really cannot be the entirety of it. Okay, yes, it could be part of a self-consistent philosophy – but not a philosophy of freedom for the individual.

The problem is that freedom from government, or legislative, interference, is merely one part of individual freedom. In fact, governmental interference is merely one type of social coercion. Let us consider an illustration of another type. Suppose that an homosexual person is living in a purely libertarian society. Suppose also that this society is filled with conservative christians and muslims, who decide that they will refuse to do business with this person. If every other person in the society refuses to do business with them, they will be unable to work or buy food or shelter, and will starve to death.

I have heard people defend this, by saying that freedom does not mean freedom from consequences, only from legislation. Which is certainly a point of view. However, legislated consequences are just one form of consequences. After all, anyone can break the law; they merely may face consequences from the police and the courts. So why should we say society cannot impose consequences via legislation, police, and courts, but can impose consequences by making it impossible for an individual to survive?

Such a thing does not necessarily even require a large percentage of society to shun the individual. It can even enable coercion that is, in theory, illegal. For example, forced marriages are illegal in many western nations. However, in practice, if the family of a person controls their source of income, they can impose heavy social coercion on that person by threatening to cut off their ability to survive.

What I am proposing, then, is that certain forms of social coercion should be banned by the government. I am not proposing that anyone should be required to do anything in the private lives that they do not wish to do. To privately shun a person is of course the prerogative of the individual. However, I do strongly believe that businesses should be required to provide their goods and services without prejudice, and to employ people without prejudice. Of course, the business owner is not required to like or socialize with these people outside of a business context. Therefore, the owner’s individual autonomy over himself is not affected; only his business is affected.

In fact, this is required in some ways in the US. For example, landlords with large apartment complexes are not allowed to be prejudiced against clients (tenants) on ethnic or religious grounds. I strongly support this. This goes back to something which I have talked about before: we should differentiate between an individual’s private activity and private goods, and the individual using their goods as business investments (https://lokijotunn.wordpress.com/2017/02/20/investors-and-welfare-queens/). But I think it does not go far enough. And one of the main areas in which it does not go far enough is in the defence of free speech.

Many people defend the right of social media platforms to ban users for ‘speech crime.’ The argument is that they are not the government, so it is perfectly fine for them to engage in censorship. I do not agree. A social media platform is a business that provides a service, namely, allowing people to make posts. As such, it ought to be required to provide that service to people without prejudice on the basis of religious or political or social opinions held or expressed by those people, just as a landlord must rent to such people and just as a grocer must sell to such people (or if they aren’t required to do so, they ought to be). The right to refuse business services should be quite restricted.

Of course, that does not mean other users should be disallowed from blocking those users with whom they disagree. They have every right to do so. However, I do not think that the platform as an whole should be permitted to refuse to offer their services on such prejudicial grounds. Imagine if the phone company were allowed to cut off any conversations which they found offensive. This would be an act of censorship and an affront to free communication, because the whole function of the phone system is to provide a means of communication to everyone. Of course, nobody has to answer the phone or stay on the phone, but the phone company should not be allowed to decide who gets to call whom or what they get to say. Likewise, social media on the internet should be considered a public means of discourse, and not allowed to engage in censorship. Similarly, a hall that rents itself out should not be allowed to deny a group from using its space for a meeting, even if the owners do not agree with or like that group. Public forums of communication should not be allowed to engage in censorship any more than the government should be.

Indeed, I believe that to be really free, free speech must be free not only from legislation, but also from certain social consequences, such as which business services are provided to the speaker. Speech that is not free of business consequences is not really free speech.

Note that this does not mean that a company which employs a person, as, say, an analyst, might not fire that person if their views contradict the company’s. For example, there was a woman whose name is Yassim or something like that, who appeared on ABC with factually inaccurate and incredibly dangerous statements about sharia. I would have no problem with her being fired (in fact I believe she ought to be fired), because she is an employee whose job is to provide opinion analysis. I would object to her being banned from a social media platform where she is the client, however, no matter how disgusting and dangerous I find her opinions and statements.

Of course, there are areas that remain a bit grey. For example, should a cake maker be required to make a cake with a message with which they utterly disagree? I would lean towards no, because, likewise, a book publisher should not be required to publish a book with which they fundamentally disagree. Social media services differ, however, in that they are open platforms for the exchange of ideas, and therefore should not be allowed to vet their customers for thought crime, any more than the phone company should be allowed to cut off any calls wherein ideas are expressed with which the phone company disagrees.

To summarize this point on free speech: Nobody has to listen, but no public means of communication should be allowed to engage in censorship against free speech any more than we should allow the government to censor free speech. I hold that this is perfectly consistent with the principles of individual autonomy with restrictions on social coercion, as outlined above.

Investors and welfare queens

It is my opinion that investors and welfare queens are really not very different, in terms of their effects upon society. Both are parasitic, in that they harm the rest of society by draining the pool of common resources without adding to the common pool of resources.

Consider that in any society, there is a collection of resources which is available to the society as an whole. Different economic systems distribute the control, or ownership, of these resources, in different ways. Through labour, new resources can be added to this resource pool, or those resources can be transformed into a more useful form. Meanwhile, to survive and to enjoy life, each person in the society will consume a certain amount of resources.

Now, a labourer therefore produces new resources. Generally, the labourer will not retain ownership of these resources, but exchange said ownership for ownership of some other resources. Thus for example, a logger will exchange the labour which produces lumber for money which can be exchanged for food, shelter, and so on.

The investor, however, does not produce new resources for society. Suppose I invest in a logging operation, by purchasing some land with trees on it. Now, I let loggers harvest these trees, in exchange for getting a percentage of what they get for the lumber. I have not personally produced anything for society. Indeed, the loggers would be better off if society gave them direct control of the forest, since they could keep more of the profits; the people who purchase the lumber would also be better off, because they could get it more cheaply. The only person who benefits from me investing is… me, because I produce absolutely nothing.

In this way, then, investors are parasites upon society. They leverage their ‘control’ of certain resources to coerce others in society to give them more resources, without producing anything.

Therefore, they are virtually identical to welfare queens, who leverage their lack of resources to get society to give them more resources without having to produce anything.

Now, the solution in my opinion is not to do away with private ownership and investment. For one thing, it is very hard to distinguish between privately owned items and privately owned items that are used for production. Rather, we should require some form of profit-sharing for capital gains. For example, some might argue that the labourers involved should receive a percentage of all profits made by the investors. This is a viable solution, but I do not think it is optimal. In particular, with the advance of technology, it becomes possible to invest in machinery that allows labourers to be cut out of the process almost entirely.

Instead, therefore, I would recommend placing a high tax on capital gains, and using the revenue not to fund the government itself, but to fund a basic income: a stipend, or pension, given to every citizen without any conditions.

However, I am not necessarily saying exactly how this should be implemented. I am not an economist. I am merely stating two principles:

  1. Investing is a process whereby an owner of property uses that ownership to gain more property, without personally contributing to the increase of the pool of resources available to society.
  2. Therefore, investments ought to be taxed at a far higher rate than labour.

Exceptions of course should be made in cases where a person’s wages are absurdly high. For example, CEOs who make hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single day’s work are clearly receiving far more resources than they can personally add to the pool of resources in that time period, and therefore they too should be very heavily taxed.

Some would argue that heavily taxing private investing goes against the principle of letting people do what they wish with their goods. However, I am not suggesting that we should legislate what people do with their own things privately, only that we should require them to share the profits when they decide to use their goods for investment – because then they are demanding resources from society, without providing resources to society.

Others would argue that we should go for a Marxist approach, in which all resources are held in common. My objection is that 1. I like private ownership of private things, 2. it’s very hard to clearly differentiate goods into personal vs. non-personal, if we want to allow private ownership of personal items but not of anything else, and 3. pragmatically, Marxism is a recipe for disaster. In particular, under Marxism, in practice, it is necessary to turn over control of most resources to some small group who are charged with redistributing them, and this group will almost always become corrupt. There are also issues with motivating people, when their work does not really benefit them.

By rather allowing private ownership, but taxing any goods that are used in an investment-like manner, we avoid the second problem above, as well as the third, while still forcing a sharing of the profits of investment.

EDIT:

To clarify what I am saying, I am proposing that all goods should be allowed to be owned privately, and freely used for private purposes, but taxed whenever they are used as means of production, i.e. whenever they are used in the manner of an entrepreneurial investment.

Is refusal to date ‘racist?’

Alright, for context, consider the video linked here.

Now, never mind the bead part of the story. The part I want to focus on is how she went to the doctor, and, in her words,

‘Well, the doctor walks in, and this man looks like he’s late for a taping of the bachelor, and I’m like “hello,” but “goodbye,” ’cause I like my men CHOCOLATE.’

In other words, she admits he was incredibly attractive, but that she would never be with him because he was not adequately ‘chocolate,’ which we may presume means ‘black.’

So, here is the question: was this ‘racist?’ Well, it really depends what you mean by ‘racist.’

Okay. She was attracted to this person, but would turn them down for not being black (enough). That is definitely racist, if by ‘racism’ we mean ‘treating people differently based on their race.’ Imagine the outrage if a white person said ‘Yeah, they were super attractive, but I said no because they weren’t white.’ That is essentially what she did here, except with ‘black’ replacing ‘white.’

On the other hand, if by ‘racist’ we mean ‘a person who believes one race is objectively better than another,’ then no, it was not necessarily racist. I mean, maybe she believes blacks are superior, and is racist in that way. But we cannot conclude this based upon what she said. Perhaps she merely wants to continue the black race, and therefore does not want to engage in miscegenation, not because she thinks blacks are inherently better than whites, but because she wants to personally help preserve the black race. But if this is okay, then clearly it must also be okay for white people to say ‘Look, blacks aren’t inferior, but I want to personally help continue the white race, and not have mixed-race children.’

But what really gets me is that I think a lot of liberals would approve of what this (black) woman says, but would be appalled if a white person made a similar statement. I can understand people who think this woman is racist. I can also understand those who do not think she is a racist, and who also don’t think whites who only want to date other whites are racist. As I said, it depends upon what we mean by ‘racism.’ But anyone who thinks this woman is not a racist, but a white who only wants to date other whites IS racist – they are self-contradictory.

(I want to emphasize, for the record, that I have no objection to ‘miscegenation.’ I myself am a mix of many ethnicities, although as far as I know, they are all European – Irish, Scandinavian, probably German and English, so while I think of myself as being of mixed ethnicity, some people might say ‘Eh you are just white.’ However, while I see the benefits to genetically mixing different ethnicities, I think it could also be beneficial to keep some pure – in the sense of ‘unmixed,’ not in the sense of ‘better’ – bloodlines for the future. If we had no more Japanese, but only ‘Japanese crossed with X,’ that would be rather sad, for example).

Winning the popular vote does not mean you’re popular

People are making a big deal out of the fact that Trump, like Lincoln, lost the popular vote. But in a system where people only vote for their first choice, and do not rank the candidates, it is impossible to say that the person who wins the popular vote is the most popular candidate.

Let us take an extreme example. Not the most extreme possible, but close to it. Suppose there is an election between 3 candidates, A, B, and C. Suppose 34% of votes are for candidate A, 33% for candidate B, and 33% for candidate C. Was candidate A the most popular?

Well… maybe. But suppose that that every person who voted for candidate B preferred candidate C over A, and every person who voted for candidate C preferred B over A. That would mean 66% of voters thought A was the worst candidate, even though A won the popular vote! Maybe voters who picked B and C as their first choices even thought B and C were both ‘pretty good,’ while A was ‘awful!’

Similarly, with Trump v. Hillary, Trump lost the popular vote by less than around 3 million. However, there were 3.8 million votes for Johnson, and 1.2 million votes for Stein. Plus many for other candidates. So how did those 3rd party voters feel? I wrote in Sanders. However, I would greatly prefer Trump to Hillary. Presumably, most of those who voted for Johnson would prefer Trump to Hillary. If all the Johnson voters preferred Trump to Hillary, and the Stein voters were split 50/50, that would make Trump more popular than Hillary by .4 million votes!

Unfortunately, our voting system does not tell us anything except a person’s reported ‘first choice’ for president. As such, we really cannot say whether Trump or Hillary was the preferred candidate by the majority.

Of course, as I have argued before, the federal government was never meant to give equal representation to every individual. It was meant to give representation to states, and not to weight each state by population, as is evidenced by the setup of the senate (which gives 2 senators to every state, regardless of population).

However, I repeatedly see people arguing that Clinton is the rightful president because she was more popular, ignoring the fact that:

  1. Our law says the president is based on the electoral college, and Trump won that by a landslide.
  2. Clinton may not have been more popular. She had the most people who said she was their first choice. She could easily have been the LAST choice for everyone else, which would mean Trump was far more popular than she was.

My least PC blog yet: sex and transgender

Alright, I want to say something about transgender people and biological sex.

First, let me say, I don’t personally care one way or the other about transpeople. Be trans. Have sex-change ops. Wear whatever clothes you want. I support every type of clothing-wearing and body modification.

However, biologically, sex is determined at birth. In humans, sex is determined by chromosomes, and by physical characteristics: whether you produce sperm or eggs. Of course, there are exceptions that have no biological sex, or hermaphrodites with both. But that is the exception, not the rule.

Now, some claim that ‘gender’ is determined by brain-type. There are a few points to be said about this. First, no, biological sex is biological sex, no matter what sort of brain is in the body: you produce sperm, eggs, or neither or both (or at least are born with equipment to produce sperm, eggs, neither, or both). Second, trans-people have said that they were surprised at how they changed when the new hormones were added to their bodies. This indicates that they were NOT already ‘the other gender’ in their brains, but weren’t even aware of what the other gender experienced. This comes particularly from the account of a trans-man who recounted that he/she was very surprised at how his/her view of sex changed when he/she started getting testosterone (describing it as going from a very special experience to the equivalent of getting a sandwich). If he/she had been born with a ‘male’ brain, that would not have been the case. Clearly, male/female goes far beyond the brain.

In any case, biological sex is about your reproductive role, not your brain or thought-processes. So, being born with a ‘brain’ of one type, and a body of another, well, your sex goes with your born reproductive role.

So let me say my controversial opinion: transpeople are just body modification people taken to an extreme. And as such, I strongly support them.

Look, I have rabbits on my arm, but I don’t claim to be a ‘trans-rabbit symbol person.’ My wife has holes in her ears and nose, but does not claim to be a ‘trans-hole-having person.’ So, if you modify your body to resemble a woman, even though you were born as a male, you are just a man who has modified your body to resemble a woman. If you take hormones, you are a male who took hormones and surgery to resemble a woman. And likewise if the genders are reversed.

Hey, I don’t care. Do what you want with your body. But don’t deny the reality of the situation. Facts are facts, and don’t care about your feelings. Muslims ‘feel’ that Allah is real. That does not make allah real, and it does not make me ‘islamophobic’ for denying it – neither does denying that transgender people are the gender they ‘feel’ that they are. So, neither does ‘feeling like a woman’ make you a woman, nor am I ‘transphobic’ for denying that you are the same as a cis-woman. Male and female are biological roles in reproduction, not states of mind.

As to the bathroom question: I say, let the public decide. They are public bathrooms after all. I don’t care about who uses which bathroom personally*, but they are public bathrooms.

 

 

 

*My wife is part-Sicilian. So if you have a penis, and are tempted to try to rape her in the bathroom, I will tell you what Youtube’s Metatron said about Mario: ‘[He] keeps trying to rescue Princess Peach from getting raped by Bowser. A Sicilian woman, she would no1t get raped by Bowser. Sicilian woman would rape Bowser.’ So yeah, you try to fuck with my wife, she keeps your balls as souvenirs, and leaves you bleeding to death on the floor. And THEN you deal with me.

Sociopolitical islam vs sociopolitical christanity

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Thanks to https://twitter.com/NazNazarian for helping to check over the aspects of this dealing with the quran and the history of islam, and for helpful extra details she added.

I’ve been thinking about this question for a while now: which is worse, in a pragmatic sense (not an ethical sense): christianity or islam? Recently, I became involved in a brief discussion of this with Shawna Lenee on twitter. I greatly respect Shawna’s intellect, and I follow her because she is an insightful atheist. However, I do not always agree with her, and on this topic, we had different answers. Unfortunately, twitter is a bad medium for in-depth discussions, but I had intended to write a blog on this topic anyway, and this spurred me to finally get it done.

Now, both religions believe that those who disagree with them deserve to, and will be, tortured for all eternity in a hideous manner. So, ethically, both religions are quite awful. And yes, I realize not all members of these religions believe this. My wife is a christian, but believes that ultimately everyone will be saved from hell, or at least have the opportunity to leave hell. However, the vast majority of people who follow these religions agree that all non-believers will suffer horrible torture for eternity.

However, the question that I want to discuss is not the moral details of these religions, but which religion is scarier, sociopolitically. Now I will say that political christianity and political islam are both very scary. However, between the two, sociopolitical islam scares me far more. And here are some reasons why.

Now, I recognize that different believers of these religions take different interpretations. For example, the Ahmadiyya (or something along those lines – I don’t recall the exact name) muslims believe in secular government. Various christian denominations have vastly differing beliefs on how they should be involved, politically. In fact, individual denominations have differed from one time to another in how they should be involved politically. Both religions have been spread using violence at various times through history. However, I maintain that the origins of a religion, and its original practice, have a big influence upon what that religion means, because while interpretations of a religion can vary, people who turn to that religion will always be drawn to look to its original practices. Also, the dominant modern interpretations have a big influence upon how believers today follow those religions.

So I am going to focus upon three points:

  1. The example of the founders of these religions, as these religions tell it (both religions claim their founders to be perfect examples). Also the examples of their early followers as history tells it.
  2. The instructions in the scriptures of these two religions: the bible and the quran, as a sensible reader might understand them.
  3. The modern example of these religions when they dominate a nation.

Now, here is the short version:

  1. Jesus is portrayed in the bible as apolitical, saying his kingdom is not of this world, and being largely nonviolent (with an exception being when he beat up some bankers in the Jewish temple). Mohammed is portrayed as using violent war to spread Islam, and establishing a theocratic state.
  2. The New Testament encourages apolitical submission to the government, and also encourages nonviolence. The Quran encourages establishing Islamic caliphates everywhere, and also spreading Islam through violence.
  3. Today, most christian nations are tolerant of non-christians of all types, and their laws do not require christian behavior of their citizens. Islamic nations require Islamic behavior, such as the wearing of islamic dress by women, and tend to be based around quranic sharia law.

PRELIMINARY: WHAT ABOUT JEWISH LAW?

Okay, Jewish law is pretty bad. Jewish law, like islamic law, allows sex slaves. It allows stoning adulterers. It encourages establishing a theocracy.

However, Jewish law only says to establish a theocracy in a very small geographical area, not the entire world. More importantly, Jewish law was superceded by instructions in the New Testament. Although some christians believe the Jewish law still applies, their only argument in favour of this is a statement recorded in Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus says that anyone who breaks the least of the commandments of Jewish Law or teaches others to do so will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. Otherwise, the gospels present an example of Jesus breaking Jewish law and saying that the Jewish Law does not apply (see for example his statement about unclean food). The apostle Paul’s attributed writings declare the Jewish law to be obsolete. And the first council of Jerusalem, recounted in Acts, says that the only parts of Old Testament law to apply are a prohibition upon fornication and eating blood (the latter seems to conflict with Paul’s and Jesus’ statements that all foods are acceptable).

So, I am going to take it that most sensible readers of the New Testament will assume the Old Testament is superseded and that the New Testament should be focused upon.

By the same token, islam suggests that the bible is superseded by the quran, even though it acknowledges Moses and Jesus as prophets.

The Examples of the Founders

According to the bible, Jesus was nonviolent, except when he chased the traders out of the Jewish temple with a whip, and when he cursed a tree to die. When he was being arrested and Peter tried to defend him with a sword, he told Peter to put the sword away, and healed the slave whose ear Peter had chopped off. He tells his followers to turn the other cheek (although this may be only in the context of a private citizen in a conflict, as C.S. Lewis argued).

When asked if he was a king, Jesus said his kingdom was not of this world.

All Jesus’ commands and admonitions were apolitical in nature.

In other words, a person following Jesus’ example has nothing that would suggest they should engage in politically forcing people to follow Jesus’ teachings, or to engage in politics in any way. And they have an example of being basically non-violent.

Meanwhile, Mohamed, in the Quran, engages in religious war to spread Islam and to establish a theocratic state, in which Islamic law will rule over muslims and non-muslims alike.

Both religions hold their founders to be perfect human examples. Which is scarier, from a sociopolitical perspective? I have to say Mohamed.

The Teachings of the Scriptures

All the New Testament contains no political suggestions, except that christians should ‘fear god, honor the king.’ But there are no admonitions to make a christian theocracy. There is nothing forbidding such a thing either, of course. But nothing saying that it is the duty of a christian to pursue such a thing.

Meanwhile, the Quran says to follow the example of Mohamed, establishing an Islamic state wherever you can.

The Example of Early Followers

For their first couple of centuries, the christians were apolitical and non-violent. Not that they lacked resentment; just read Tertullian to see an example of a total asshole, who celebrated the fact that, while he could not visit the gladiator pits because he was a christian, he would get a far better spectacle of torture in the next life, watching non-believers tortured in hell! Nonetheless, it was not until Constantine that the followers of christianity got involved in a political dimension, and not until Augustine that a theological justification was put together for forcible conversion (‘compel them to come in,’ a quote from a parable of Jesus, was used by Augustine to justify forcing people to convert to christianity).

On the other hand, Mohamed and his followers from the start used war and violence to force people to convert to islam, and to spread a theocratic state.

Sexual Slavery and Marriage

Whereas christanity does approve of slavery without condemnation, and Jewish law approved of sexual slavery of women, christianity condemns all sex outside marriage, and hence implicitly condemns sexual slavery.

Mohamed on the other hand approved of taking sexual slaves via conquest (‘the women taken by your hand’). This is attested to in the quran. A large section, which as I understand it is called a ‘surat,’ and corresponds roughly to a biblical chapter, discusses the treatment of ‘what your right hand possesses,’ which includes the women taken as sex slaves in war (explicitly allowing sex with women captured in war – it is known as the Surat an-Nisa, or chapter on women), and Mohammed himself sold sex slaves to pay for his religious wars.

However, the New Testament does not condemn polygamy. Now, I do not personally object to polygamy, as long as polyandry is also allowed (although for evolutionary psychology reasons, I expect polyandry to always be much rarer than polygamy). The monogamy tradition appears to have entered christianity from the Greco-Roman culture. In any case, all christian branches (I do not consider mormons christians, since they have a separate holy book) condemn polygamy and polyandry. However, islam only condemns polyandry, not polygamy, which is allowed.

In addition, Mohamed gave the example of marrying a six year old girl, rubbing himself to orgasm on her legs, and taking her virginity when she was just nine years old. However, this may or may not be attested to in the quran, so I will leave it out of the consideration. CORRECTION (thanks to Abdullah Sameer!): This is NOT in the quran, and as I am unsure of the source of this story (I have only heard it second hand from several ex-muslims), I’m going to say it may not be correct. I’m leaving the original text here as a matter of consistency, but without further evidence, the story should be disregarded. Not to mention that in islam, husbands are told to beat their wives to elicit obedience (Quran 4:34).

The Religions Today

There are certainly christians who want to see a christan state today. My sister-in-law went to college with christians who argued that we should stone gays to death. So I am no stranger to how christianity can be bad, sociopolitically, today.

However, islamic states (and not just ISIS) today actually kill gays. Christian states do not. Islamic states actively allow polygamy without polyandry; christian states do not. In every way, islamic states are worse for individual freedom than christian states. Even Russia, which has become a pseudo-Orthodox state which has made violence against female spouses legal, is not as bad as islamic states (which allow beating wives).

Meanwhile, the worst thing that christians today threaten is: to end gay marriage as a legal contract and make abortion illegal. While I am strongly in favour of legal gay marriage and am strongly pro-choice, these are points upon which islam and christianity are in agreement – and in fact, many christians do not agree with the normal christian position on these issues, anyway. So islamic political efforts today are worse than any christian efforts today. At best they are just as bad as the very worst, most extreme, christian efforts.

ADDENDUM: Some christians do commit violent acts motivated by their religions, such as the Planned Parenthood shooting a year or two ago. Also, some have made death threats in response to LGBTQ-positive messages. The latter example was kindly pointed out to me by Abdullah Sameer. It should also be noted that in some places, notably parts of Africa, there are very violent christian religious groups, and there have been efforts to punish homosexuality made by Ugandan christians.

Conclusion

I have known perfectly nice muslims (I’m sure there were perfectly nice nazis and perfectly nice communists too – Fidel Castro was said to be incredibly charming, socially). But the examples of the founders of these religions, the teachings that are plain to an impartial reader of their holy books, the examples of their early followers, and the examples of those nations dominated by these religions today, all combine to convince me that from a sociopolitical perspective, islam is far more to be feared than christianity.

That does not mean I wish to ban islam. Far from it. I believe in freedom of speech and freedom of thought, including freedom of religion. I do not want to see islam made illegal. I do, however, wish to see those who love individual freedom call islam out for its abominable nature at every turn (as we should do to every religion and every ideology). And I wish that those who see the harm in theism in general would recognize how islam is the most harmful form of theism that we face today.