The backwaters of humanity

Reading this article makes my blood boil (even if the first thing on the page is the Queen of Jordan, who is a real looker). If you don't have the time, while detailing Jordan's legal wrangles over "honor killings", it gives the story of a woman killed by her relatives in relatively civilized Jordan for...wait for it...leaving the house at night with her infant son.

His sister's crime was simple. Her husband complained that she had left the house on the middle of the night carrying her 16-month-old baby son. The police had found her wandering the streets half an hour later.

The dishonour such wanton behaviour brought on her own family, it seemed, could only be expunged by her death.

Here's the real punch in the gut:

Police inquiries have revealed his sister's husband had not told the brothers the entire truth. They allege he had beaten his wife severely with his belt, and then kicked her out. He only called for help when he realised she had taken his baby son with her.

Yet Abu Ishmael does not appear angry. Instead, the whole business remains to him a matter-of-fact quandary, one he seemed to think that any family might face, when addressing the competing possibilities of family disgrace.

"If she really had left the house of her own free will she would have deserved what happened to her," he said, with a sad shake of his head. "But it appears not."

Abu Ishmael is not only the murdered woman's brother, he also participated in her kidnapping. I'm dumbfounded by this attitude: if she actually had left the house of her own free will, she deserves to be stabbed until she dies.

I've tried to write this part several times now, and frankly I don't even know what to say. That family is a blemish on the human race.

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That family is a blemish on

That family is a blemish on the human race.

Are you just venting? Or do you propose some sort of political solution?

Let's suppose you suggest doing something about it. What do you propose doing about it? Do you propose policing families to make sure that they can't define and punish capital offenses? If so, then someone else, an external agent, needs to define and punish capital offenses, and do so against the family.

That's not obviously going to happen in an anarcho-capitalist arrangement, so you would probably need to be a minimal statist. The private defense agency hired by the family isn't going to police the internal behavior of the family. That would only happen if a private defense agency were hired by specific individuals in the family to protect them against the rest of the family. While it's conceivable that women in this situation would do that, keep in mind the phenomenon of battered wife syndrome: the acquiescence of women in their abuse. Children also usually side with their abusive parents, so I understand, and need essentially to be kidnapped by the state to separate them from their abusers.

Of course, a general liberalization of the society - one which does not directly touch family autonomy - might work to undermine whatever it is that is sustaining the weird and horrifying family practices. Economic development has given women greater autonomy in the West than they enjoyed previously. Also, the weird practices might be rooted in religion which might be distorting the entire society through political capture of the state.

One anarcho-capitalist possibility

I think Randall has plenty to vent about. Not having one's head blown off by steam pressure is generally considered a good. And this problem is a bugger, for the reasons you suggest. Religion is evidently exacerbating the situation but can't control it: the apologists say plainly here that they believe their religion forbids the murders and they do not care. Overt general liberalization is exactly what the killings are directed against. Perhaps the State might have the power and the will to ram some through, and time might make it stick voluntarily. What else would have the teeth? Pistol-packin' feminist jihad?

Well, actually...

That does suggest one anarchist solution. People will pay for their own security arrangements, just as they will for their own healthcare. But some people won't be able to pay to maintain their own health. They won't all go without - history suggests that charity hospitals will abound. Their neighbours, even the most rugged, will not like to live in a society full of sick people on every side. Will they necessarily like to live in a society full of murder - and swaggering murderers?

I predict the emergence of arrangements where companies are established, commissioned, or even operating pro-bono schemes to punish blatantly non-consensual violence. I predict further that classes of thugs who target particular groups - let us say, frex, their wives or children - will attract correspondingly concentrated counter-terror funding from those group's natural sympathizers. Domestic murders are hard to prevent under any imaginable conditions; I'm not convinced that the demise of government would stop them being avenged.

In places like Jordan, I can also imagine covert anti-murder insurance being taken out by dissenting relatives, to avenge a beloved individual if needed - or communally by small pools of women, lest any of them should draw the short straw. It might concentrate the mind somewhat to know that a counterstroke might come from anywhere.

To some extent I'm blowing smoke, since I think civil anarchism won't work in a culture that is still like that - or even like this one over here. But I think it can answer these particular objections.

As someone who was in an

As someone who was in an abusive family, you have to decide for yourself to GTFO. The state can take you away, but you will go back. Friends can take you away, but you will go back.

You need to become a human before others will treat you like one. Simple as that.

Sounds harsh, but life is harsh. No such thing as fair, otherwise cheating wouldn't be part of the game.

Time for Janet Reno

Time to make Janet Reno governor general or Afghanistan or Iraq. Then let the rest of the Muslim world know that if they cross us, they're next...


Relatively civilized? Compared to what, Iraq?

Not Just the Family


In case you are new to this sort of thing, its not just the family thats despicable - its the whole culture of honor killing in Islam. Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan lead in this statistic I think, and recently we've seen it happen in Uk, Canada and the US as well.