Sex as a motivator and its role in Islam
Sigmund Freud's speculations and formulations are not widely accepted by psychologists today but any reader of his "Psychopathology of everyday life" will surely conclude that he was a keen observer. I think everybody should read that book. The things he reported there were real even if his theories about them are disputable. When I was doing my Master's degree in psychology at the University of Sydney, one of my tutors was the highly regarded John Maze, who was as much a philosopher as a psychologist, and it was his view that Freud alone was actually doing real psychology. The rest of us were behaviourists or what not. So that may be another reason why I have more time for old Sigmund than most contemporary psychologists do.
And one thing that stands out in Freud's thinking is the overwhelming importance of the sex drive. Freud called it "libido" and put it behind almost all human behaviour. And I think there is no doubt that he gained that impression from the counselling sessions he did with troubled people in his clinical practice. So I take it as one of Freud's acute observations that the sex-drive is a pervasive and super powerful influence on human behaviour.
And the history of Islam bears that out. Polygamous societies generally, including traditional Mormons, are known for the difficulties they create in young men. If rich older guys have all the women locked up, what are the young men supposed to do? Mormons mostly just kick the young men out into the secular world but Islam provides no alternative like that. But it DOES provide a choice: Die fighting the infidel and you will get your women in heaven. The birthrate in heaven is apparently much more skewed than it is on earth.
And that is exactly what enabled Islam to be militarily successful for many centuries. When non-Muslim armies faced Muslim armies comprised of unmarried young men, they were up against something quite alien to their own thinking: Men who WANTED to die, fearless warriors. That was very hard to combat for normal people with a fear of mortality.
Now, however, that does not work as well. Western armies have advanced military equipment that makes a great rushing charges by fanatics simply obsolete. The machine gun alone does that. But young Muslim males still have the same sexual frustrations as ever. So some do set out to be killed productively -- in killing unbelievers. That is why many flock to ISIS. ISIS enables them to become once more the men of old, who sacrifice their life for the promise of a heavenly future.
But it is still only a tiny minority who go that far for their faith. I think it is clear that only a small minority of Muslims are certain of their heavenly future. So what do the doubters do?
They molest non-Muslim women. The vast scandals in Britain about mainly Pakistani men who made sex slaves of dumb young white British girls were perhaps the best known examples of that until the recent events in Cologne became known.
Speaking of the young men who make up most of the recent "Syrians" who have entered Europe as refugees, Geert Wilders describes them as "testosterone bombs" and that is a good and well founded application of libido theory. Freud was right. Libido is such a powerful motivator that it goes close to being unrepressible. The young Muslims of Cologne essentially could not help themselves. They MUST get some contact with females, even if they do it in a totally wrong way.
And it is not in fact in the West alone that they behave that way. Young men are very predatory towards women even in Muslim countries. That is one reason why men and women are kept drastically separate in such countries. So young Muslim males are a very unsatisfactory immigrant group for any Western country. They should all be sent home to the hellholes their foolish religion has created.
There is some further useful background on Muslim sexual hangups and the events in Cologne by French female journalist Laurence D'Hondt here. I translate her article roughly below. She obviously knows the Arab world well:
Huge sexual frustration is at the root of the violence in Cologne
Events in Cologne recall the violence in Tahrir Square in Cairo. Both events reflect a sexual frustration that haunts the Arab world. With the rise of Saudi Wahhabism and the lack of economic prospects, young people no longer have access to the women of their own country.
We may recall the story of the French journalists who covered the events of Tahrir Square in Cairo. They were pushed, touched and in some cases, raped. Despite their knowledge of these countries, these experienced women journalists were shocked by the sudden violence expressed from these men who were there for other purposes.
The events that occurred during the night of New Year in Cologne resemble the violence experienced in Egypt: men surrounded a number of young women on which they literally melt with the aim of touching, pushing their hands where they can, because female company is so difficult to access. Rape in this case is rare and usually the result of an isolated man with a deliberate intention to take action.
It is a unique form of violence that is basically unknown in European countries, but is, in contrast, common in Arab countries where the local police, knowing this, immediately intervene with batons or other weapons. The lack of immediate reaction from the German police is probably partly linked to the incomprehension of what was going on in Cologne overnight on New Year's Eve.
Most young men -and women- young people growing up today in the Arab-Muslim societies have a totally restrained sexuality. Their literature and film are full of stories of their small and big frustrations. Whether taking the Egyptian film, "Women bus" whose story revolves around young men that rub against the body 'too' closely' to young women on transport in Cairo. Whether we read author Khaled El Khamissi which in "Noah's Ark", tells how a youth is deadlocked when he finds the lack of access to the labor market and a fortiori to sexuality, because he lacks the means to marry a woman.
According to a UN report conducted in April, 99.3% of Egyptian women and young girls were victims of sexual harassment, a phenomenon described as endemic. A similar situation in Yemen. And that becomes commonplace in Iraq or Syria where the collapse of state structures gives free rein to violence against women. Even in the very liberated Lebanon, the author Rachid El Daif, tells in "Show me your legs Leila", how sexuality is disconnected from reality and how men and women are found only in fiction where the woman should aspire to virginity and the man to the omnipotence. The first victims of this frustration are Arab and non-Western.
In the Arab world today, sex is more than ever padlocked.
There are several reasons for this. They are economic firstly. Indeed, in most rural and even urban areas of the Arab-Muslim world, marriage, which gives access to sexuality, is possible only by having the means to offer women the amount required by her family as a bride price. With no means due to the lack of economic opportunity, men are forced to remain living with their families and have only one outlet for their sexuality to try their luck with prostitutes or foreigners.
In recent decades, these economic blocks have been reinforced by restrictive religious considerations modeled on the Saudi Wahhabism: men and women are forced to live in separate worlds where diversity is seen as an invitation to debauchery and where any offender behavior or attitude is considered un-Islamic.
Thus it is not rare in Arab countries to meet men of 30 or 35 years who have never had the opportunity to touch a woman. This sexual frustration, told by literature and cinema is one of the engines of the violence today in the Arab world.
It was 20 years ago, that a Syrian lady offered this reflection to me: "But I do not understand how men and women in Europe may lie next to each other on the beaches without pouncing on each other". Yet she was 60, was Christian and Syrian by origin, living in Cairo ...
Obama regrets polarized rancor. He should
by Jeff Jacoby
ONE OF the "few regrets" of his presidency, President Obama said dolefully in his State of the Union speech, was "that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better." Were he endowed with "the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt," he remarked, he could have done more to bridge the partisan divide. But he pledged to "keep trying to be better so long as I hold this office."
Did you experience a touch of déjà vu when the president said that? Four years ago, when he was in the home stretch of his first term and running for a second, he said much the same thing.
"I'm the first one to confess that the spirit that I brought to Washington, that I wanted to see instituted, where we weren't constantly in a political slugfest . . . I haven't fully accomplished that," Obama told an interviewer in 2012. "My biggest disappointment is that we haven't changed the tone in Washington as much as I would have liked."
Did he even try?
From his earliest days as a presidential contender, Obama had held himself out as a healer — as a visionary who would never "pit red America against blue America," who committed himself to ending "a politics that breeds division and conflict and cynicism." That uplifting promise was at the very heart of Obama's appeal; it was what led so many voters to invest so much hope and faith — even love — in the prospect of an Obama presidency.
Yet in his first term, American political life grew more bitter, not less. Unity and goodwill receded even further. As measured by Gallup, Obama supplanted George W. Bush as the most polarizing president ever. Democrats and Republicans blamed each other for the nastiness and distrust. The president often took the low road; his opponents often did too. Deeply controversial legislation, especially Obamacare, was rammed through on party-line votes. The rise of the Tea Party prefigured sweeping Republican gains in the 2010 midterm elections, which led both parties into an even more toxic relationship.
By the time Obama ran for re-election in 2012, little remained of 2008's optimistic candidate of hope. In his place was a snappish incumbent grimly focused on winning a second term by any means necessary. Even liberal media outlets remarked on the disparity. "Obama and his top campaign aides have engaged far more frequently in character attacks and personal insults," Politico reported.
But when voters renewed Obama's lease on the White House, they also gave him a fresh opportunity to make good on the signal promise of his rise to power. A second term offered this most polarizing of presidents a chance to extend olive branches — and to eschew the ad hominem attacks that so infuriate his critics. Democracy doesn't work "if we think the people who disagree with us are all motivated by malice," the president said in his address to Congress this month. "It doesn't work if we think that our political opponents are unpatriotic or trying to weaken America."
That's exactly the right message. If only Obama had heeded it.
Let's be clear: The president is not to blame for the polarization of American life. The "mushy middle" has been dwindling for years. With Democrats moving to the left and Republicans moving to the right, there is far less overlap between the parties than there was a generation ago. In a recent study, the Pew Research Center found that 92 percent of Republicans are now to the right of the median Democrat, and 94 percent of Democrats are to the left of the median Republican.
What's worse — much worse — is how intensely hostile the antipathy between right and left has become. Large swaths of each camp say the opposing party is not merely misguided, but an explicit threat to the nation's well-being. Obama could have led the way in suppressing this corrosive tendency. Instead he inflamed it.
It would not have required "the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt" to eschew the ridicule and taunts that so pollute modern political discourse. The gifts of Gerald Ford would have done nicely. Like all presidents, Obama has been frustrated by partisan opponents. But no chief executive in modern times has been so quick to impugn his critics' motives, or to resort to mockery and demonization when amicable persuasion would serve so much better.
Obama routinely speaks of his critics as if their motives couldn't possibly be rational or decent. When Republicans balked at his proposal to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees to enter the United States (a proposal I favor), Obama jeered. "Apparently they're scared of widows and orphans," he said. "That doesn't sound very tough to me."
When GOP lawmakers resisted raising the debt limit, Obama tweeted: "Are they really willing to hurt people just to score political points?" Efforts to repeal Obamacare he attributed to cruelty — the "one unifying principle" for Republicans, the president told reporters, is "making sure that 30 million people don't have health care."
With Obama, there seems to be no possibility of honorable disagreement. Oppose something he wants, and you are a bought-and-paid-for stooge, or a denier of science, or a peddler of fiction, or a scoundrel who puts party ahead of country. He isn't the only one who talks this way, not by a long shot. But he is our only president, and how he expresses himself matters. When presidential rhetoric is mean and contemptuous, the whole public square is befouled.
It can always get worse, as Donald Trump demonstrates daily. But an awful lot of Americans, Republicans and Democrats both, want it to get better. Obama insisted he was going to heal the divide, but never even made the effort. He still has a year in office. It's not too late to start.
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