In polite conversation, opposing policies like sanctuary cities, the release of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, welfare, or gender “transitioning” can appear compassionless, callous and fundamentally not “nice.” Intimidated by social awkwardness, most people react in silence and self-censorship, while privately believing that certain things are wrong, immoral or unsafe. However, it would be useful to examine the claims of “nice” and to determine whether these trends and policies are actually “nice” or just harming innocent people by ignoring reality. Are we hurting people in our attempts to be “nice?”
Consider the Guantanamo Bay prisoners. You’ve heard that it is inhumane (i.e. not nice) to keep terrorists and enemy combatants in the Guantanamo Bay prison. However, more than 100 released prisoners have re-entered combat to kill American troops and allies. Of course, terrorists also slay Christians, Jews, gays, Yezidis and anyone with whom they disagree. It would therefore be inhumane to allow this to happen, wouldn’t it?
Freeing terrorists to rape and murder innocent people? Not nice.
Sanctuary Cities. Borders are bigotry and we should build bridges not walls, right? And sanctuary cities are places of respite and hope for those seeking a better life. We should therefore transform our cities into law-free zones, where the rule of law does not apply—because we want to be hospitable, kind and “nice.” Thus, we have cities (and an entire state-California) which harbor criminals, rapists, murderers and others leaving our law enforcement without legal authority to arrest them. A 2014 ICE study revealed that of 8,145 criminals released—because of local law enforcement’s refusal to comply with ICE detaining requests– 1,867 were re-arrested a total of 4,298 times and charged with 7,291 crimes. Of course, not every illegal immigrant is a criminal, but the sanctuary city policy does not distinguish between illegal immigrants with a criminal record and those without one.
Transforming cities into zones of lawlessness where law-enforcement cannot detain illegal immigrants with criminal records, but instead let them go free to commit more crimes against innocent citizens? Not nice.
Welfare. Many people are under the impression that government welfare helps the poor by “giving” to the less fortunate. Yet, while the impulse to help those in need roots itself in compassion, the unintended consequence of welfare programs is the killing of the human spirit which longs to accomplish great things. True compassion sees the value and dignity of each human being and helps them to achieve their potential.
Star Parker, a former welfare single mom who worked her way out of the system, later founding Urban Cure, states, “It is no accident that the most loyal Democratic Party supporters are those most dependent on the government.” Democratic politicians essentially trade “free stuff” for votes, which keeps the poor in poverty and the elitist politicians in power. Sadly, many of welfare’s recipients have bought into the lie that welfare is good for them, when in reality, it’s only good for the politicians who exploit them.
Exploiting and stripping dignity from a whole class of people—the poor—for political power? Not nice.
The Trans-Gender Movement seeks to make gender a social construct thereby allowing a person’s feelings to be the great arbiter of which biological parts he or she (or ze) allows on his or her (or zir) body. Society should be nice and compassionate, sensitive and tolerant of those who have the courage to transition and live as their (or zir) authentic selves. Yet, this entire concept has no scientific (medical or psychological) validation, wars against nature, reason and logic, and stands against common-sense medical ethics. Will giving hormones to a five-year-old child for 10 years cause cancer? Will chopping or sewing things onto a teenage kid cause negative psychological damage? The limited research on this topic only shows increased risk of suicide among those who choose to transition.
Using children in unvalidated social experiments which lead to increased suicide risk? Not nice.
It is time to rethink “nice,” and call into question those movements, policies and political trends that make our world unsafe, exploit whole classes of people, and endanger children. Examining the evidence behind trends that masquerade as “nice,” it is clear that “nice” is just a cover for policies and attitudes that actually hurt people. In the end, we must be “nice” enough to call it for what it is: exploitation.
Originally published on Patriot Post, April 12, 2018.
Image credit: Voy/BigStock
Last week, the U.S. House and Senate passed a major bill, known as SESTA (Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act) which targets online human trafficking. Now awaiting the President’s signature, the bills “amends the federal criminal code to add a new section that imposes penalties—a fine, a prison term of up to 10 years, or both—on a person who, using a facility or means of interstate commerce, owns, manages, or operates an interactive computer service (or attempt or conspires to do so) to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person.” The law empowers Attorney Generals to prosecute websites promoting sex trafficking.
In combination with an earlier measure, known as FOSTA (Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act) which passed the Senate in late February, the FOSTA-SESTA package is disrupting the online trafficking industry for the better.
As a result of the impending law, several online trafficking websites have already shut down. Craigslist removed its “Personals” section used for trafficking. The Erotic Review removed its prostitution ads. Reddit removed its “Hookers” forum webpage and instituted policies banning the sale of sexual acts and drugs. Cityvibe has shut down. Microsoft plans to issue new Terms of Service, taking effect May 1, urging users not use their platforms (including Skype and Xbox) to share pornography or criminal acts.
According to the International Labor Organization, the sex trafficking industry claims 4.5 million victims worldwide. In the U.S., the $32 billion per year industry continues to increase in all 50 states. Currently, human trafficking has exceeded illegal sale of arms and according to estimates, could surpass illegal drug sales in the next few years.
While an established number for victims of sex trafficking in the U.S. is difficult to measure, some assert that the number of trafficked children may be as high as 200,000 per year. 70% of survivors claim that they were advertised online at some point during their trafficking experience. Pimps and traffickers advertise in online classified ads with pictures and descriptions of victims, which are often children ages 12-17, a heartbreaking statistic.
Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO), who sponsored the bill, stated, “This FOSTA-SESTA package will finally give prosecutors the tools they need to protect their communities and give victims a pathway to justice.”
The Netflix movie, I am Jane Doe, focused on the website, Backpage.com which receives 99% of its income from sex ads and facilitates thousands of daily ads for male and female prostitutes, as well as children being trafficked by adults. The movie made clear that section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) from 1996 gave exploitative websites like Backpage and others immunity from prosecution. The FOSTA-SESTA legislation amends the CDA and allows Attorney Generals to prosecute website administrators involved in sex trafficking.
Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R-CA) also noted, “Last year, a massive international sex trafficking ring that was using the Internet to sell sexual services was uncovered in the heart of my district, Irvine, California. Thousands of those ads were tracked through Backpage.com, including ads selling minors for commercial sex. Websites such as Backpage have become storefronts for this modern-day slave trade…The FOSTA-SESTA legislation will significantly help prosecutors crack down on websites that promote sex trafficking, while providing much needed recourse for the thousands of men, women, and children who are victims of this evil industry.”
The response to FOSTA-SESTA by online sex traffickers illustrates that good laws have the power to stop exploitation, bring victims to justice and renew society. Those in leadership positions have the power to wield their influence for good. If we and they commit ourselves to making the world safer and better, we could truly make a lasting difference for the decency and dignity of all human beings. These two bills stand as huge step in the right direction. As we await the President’s signature, we hope for a new day of justice for victims of human trafficking.
Originally published on Patriot Post, April 5, 2018
Image credit: Fure/BigStock