Showing posts with label equality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label equality. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Trump Signs Feminist Foreign Aid Policy Into Law


Sources: White House, Congress, Center for Family and Human Rights, USAID

Trump signed the little noticed Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act January 9th, likely at the behest of his daughter, who lobbied for it in congress where it was put on hold in the senate. While the new law seems well meaning and does contain some good provisions, it also gives professional feminists or 'gender advisers' power to dictate foreign aid policy mired in inter-sectional feminist restrictions on the design and implementation of all USAID policies, grants and programs.

As the Center for Family and Human Rights noted, it is very ironic that Trump would enact Obama's gender policies, especially ones informed by a radical left-wing cultural perspective that includes the whole spectrum of LGBTQ (and whatever other letters they'll add in the future). It is very likely that he didn't even read the bill and just signed it to make his princess happy. Whether he agrees with the law or not is irrelevant at this point. He approved it; he put his name to it; he owns it now, especially the parts that seem to run counter to his domestic policies. The Obama era gender policies in question are outlined in ADS chapter 205. The document details steps for implementing 'gender integration' through all USAID programs, making gender equality the main focus of all USAID projects, and by equality they don't mean legal equality or equality of opportunity. Apparently, the goal is to close gender gaps in status, access to resources, participation in the labor force, and leadership positions, presumably until they are about the same. The Bureau for Policy Planing and Learning, which shapes development policy, is mandated to have a full time gender adviser for this purpose.

Section 3 of the law subjects all USAID strategies, projects, and activities to 'gender analysis' and 'gender integration'. Gender analysis is defined as:

a socioeconomic analysis of available or gathered quantitative and qualitative information to identify, understand,
and explain gaps between men and women which typically
involves examining differences in the status of women and men and their differential access to and control over assets, resources, education, opportunities, and services

This could be interpreted in several different ways, but it seems to imply that the goal is equal outcomes between genders, rather than equal opportunities or more practically equal liberty. If they meant to imply equal opportunities or equal liberty they could have made this clearer by wording it different by, for instance, stating their goal was to remove legal and cultural market barriers for women in developing nations; however, this is not the case. It becomes clear that the goal is equal outcomes in section 4 (b), which introduces a gender quota for financial assistance.

50 percent of all small and medium-sized enterprise resources shall be targeted to activities that reach enterprises owned, managed, and controlled by women.

However well meaning this may be for women's' empowerment abroad, it will also have the unintended consequence of hurting entrepreneurs in developing countries where women are nowhere near 50% of total small and medium-sized enterprise owners or managers. Hypothetically, lets say a certain developing country x has 20 small and medium-sized businesses in need of financing; 15 of them are owned by men and 5 are owned by women. Under the provision in section 4 (b), we would only be able to provide financial resources to 5 businesses owned by men and 5 owned by women, leaving 10 small and medium sized businesses without assistance. This is especially damaging given the fact that the authors' of this bill own findings that '50% of small and medium-sized businesses, in emerging markets, lack access to formal credit'. Imposing a gender quota on these businesses isn't going to make it any easier for them to get credit through any USAID development program.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The False Association Between Mental Illness and Mass Shootings


In the wake of every mass murder, whether it is a terrorist attack or a lone wolf mass shooting, the public, swept up by mass hysteria, has always looked for an easy scapegoat and a quick and simple solution to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future. In the case of terrorist attacks the blame is usually placed on Muslims or in instances where the perpetrator is not a Muslim, the tragedy is politicized to smear everyone on one side of the political divide. In the case of mass shootings committed by lone wolves, the tragedy is used to smear gun owners and the blame is placed on mental illness. In fact, mental illness seems to be the common refrain whenever a religious or ideological motive is absent, and it is usually followed by suggestions that we spend more on mental healthcare and prohibit people with mental illness from buying firearms, which is already a law on the books. However well-meaning these people may be they are marginalizing an already disenfranchised and misunderstood population based on the false notion that mentally ill people are inherently violent.

The corporate media plays no small part in promoting prejudice against the mentally ill. A 2013 survey study examining the effect of news media coverage of mass shootings on public attitudes towards mentally ill persons found that stories about mass shootings increased negative attitudes towards people with serious mental illnesses and increased support for taking away their rights (Mcginty, Webster, and Barry, 2013). Baseline attitudes towards people with mental illness were already pretty dreary; thirty-six percent of participants were unwilling to work closely with mentally ill people, thirty percent did not want them as neighbors, forty percent believed that people with a serious mental illness are far more dangerous than the general population, and more than seventy percent wished to ban people with mental illnesses from buying firearms (Mcginty, Webster, and Barry, 2013). The media takes this natural prejudice and amplifies it. Participants who read one of three stories describing a mentally ill person going on a shooting spree reported less willingness to work with or live near a mentally ill person compared to the control group, who simply responded to the survey, and reported a higher perceived dangerousness of mentally ill people (Mcginty, Webster, and Barry, 2013).

The scientific consensus contradicts media narratives and popular opinion about the link between mental illness and violence. The clear majority of people with a serious mental illness are not violent. A National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related conditions found that only 2.9% of persons with a serious mental illness alone committed acts of violence (Swanson, Mcginty, Fazel, and Mays, 2015). The clear majority of people with a serious mental illness are also not prone to mass murder. Only four percent of psychiatric outpatients, in an urban setting, report a history of homicide attempts (Rueve and Welton, 2008). Disenfranchising the mentally ill would do very little to prevent acts of violence, specifically mass murder. Only four percent of violence is associated with mental illnesses by itself; even if the slightly elevated risk of violence by mentally ill people were reduced to the average level of risk in the general population, ninety-six percent of violence that occurs now would continue to occur (Swanson et al., 2015).

Although psychiatric patients are more likely to commit acts of violence compared with the general population, this disparity is due, in large part, to multiple social, economic, and psychological risk factors such as substance abuse comorbidity, low socioeconomic status, crime victimization, and early life trauma (Swanson et al., 2015). The MacArthur Violence Risk Assessment Study found that most of the violence committed by discharged psychiatric patients was attributable to substance abuse comorbidity; outpatients who had no substance abuse issues were at no higher risk of committing acts of violence than their non-mentally ill neighbors (Swanson et al., 2015). Psychiatric patients with substance abuse comorbidity are seventy-three percent more likely to display aggressive behavior than people who don’t have a history of substance abuse, regardless of whether they also have a history of serious mental illness (Rueve and Welton, 2008).Furthermore, studies that assessed the contribution of covarying risk factors such as crime victimization, exposure to neighborhood violence and substance abuse history found that psychiatric patients who only have a diagnosis of serious mental illness have annual rates of violent behavior that do not significantly differ from the general population (Swanson et al., 2015). For an issue that affects one out of five U.S. adults on an annual basis and about one out of twenty-five U.S. adults who suffer from a serious mental illness, it does not help to make sweeping generalizations and smear millions of people struggling to get along (National Alliance on Mental Illness,.n.d.).

The false but popular belief that mental illness causes mass shootings or that mentally ill people are prone to mass murder is a prime example of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy; inferring that one phenomenon caused another simply based on their chronological order (commonly abridged as the post hoc fallacy). The narrative is usually that the perpetrator had a pre-existing mental illness or had developed a mental disorder, although the diagnoses of armchair psychiatrists is always dubious, therefore, mental illness caused the perpetrator to kill people. It would make about as much sense to say that ice cream causes violent crime since the sale of ice cream and violent crime both tend to spike around the same time of year. This is also an example of a hasty generalization. Just because one person or even a few mentally ill persons committed mass murder does not mean that all mentally ill people are violent. Social phenomena like violence are complex problems that cannot be delineated to a single cause, but rather have multiple causes and contributing factors that need to be studied in depth.

References


Dowden, B. (n.d.). Fallacies. Retrieved March 13, 2018, from https://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/

Knoll, J. L., M.D., & Annas, G. D., M.D. (2016). Mass Shootings and Mental Illness (4th ed.). American Psychiatric Association Publishing.

Mcginty, E. E., Webster, D. W., & Barry, C. L. (2013). Effects of News Media Messages About Mass Shootings on Attitudes Toward Persons With Serious Mental Illness and Public Support for Gun Control Policies. American Journal of Psychiatry,170(5), 494-501. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.13010014.

National Alliance on Mental Illness. (n.d.). Mental Health By The Numbers. Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers.

Rueve, M. E., & Welton, R. S. (2008). Violence and Mental Illness. Psychiatry (Edgmont), 5(5), 34–48.

Swanson, J. W., Mcginty, E. E., Fazel, S., & Mays, V. M. (2015). Mental illness and reduction of gun violence and suicide: Bringing epidemiologic research to policy. Annals of Epidemiology, 25(5), 366-376. doi:10.1016/j.annepidem.2014.03.004.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

City Appeals Injunction Ending Their Illegal Property Confiscation Scheme


Source: Institute for Justice

I haven’t been keeping up with IJ as of late, so I was surprised to see that an Indiana judge had granted a temporary injunction against the City of Charlestown’s use of eminent domain on behalf of private developer John Neace. I have made previous posts about this story which you can read here: Indiana Mayor Steals Property From Homeowners To Give To A Private Developer and hereBombshell Documents Reveal Collusion Between Charlestown Indiana and A Private Developer

The original story about the Indiana judge granting a preliminary injunction against Charlestown was posted by the courier journal on December 4th.

An Indiana judge granted a temporary injunction that forces Charlestown officials to treat the residents of Pleasant Ridge the same as they do a developer seeking to redevelop the low-income neighborhood. In his Monday ruling, Scott County Judge Jason Mount wrote that if the city waives fines for properties owned by Pleasant Ridge Redevelopment LLC, "then it must waive fines imposed on other property owners" in the neighborhood, according to court records.

As part of the Monday ruling, Mount stated that the Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association would likely win its claim that Charlestown officials violated their Federal Equal Protection. He said the city has treated the developer different from those who do not want to demolish their properties, which violates Indiana law.

Of course equal protection of the law or equality before the law usually only exists in theory. In practice, the U.S. government selectively enforces its laws, and that’s one of the reasons the U.S. is not a true republic, and this whole ordeal might have been avoided if our criminal government had abided by the constitution and respect people’s property rights.