12 October 2014

The Economist Gets It

This week, The Economist published an editorial that left me pleasantly surprised.

I often read the magazine simply because it's more literate and has a broader horizon than most other magazines.  Their book and theatre reviews are among the best.  However, I don't always agree with their political and economic views, which always seemed to the right in a Thatcherist (if not Reaganesque) kind of way.  

As this week's editorial rightly points out, there seems to be a growing divide in this world when it comes to LGBT rights.  Now most western European countries, and some in Latin America and Asia--along with Canada and nineteen (as of this writing) US states--have legalized civil unions or gay marriage.  And those countries, along with others, have struck down old laws that criminalized homosexual acts.

On the other hand, some countries are developing ever-more-repressive policies toward LGBT people.  Those countries, mostly in Africa and the Muslim world, are--to some degree--reacting against the increasing tolerance of the West (and Far East).  But Russia's anti-gay policies cannot be laid solely at the feet of Vladimir Putin:  Polls indicate that about three in every four Russians disapprove of homosexuality.

Could the reaction of such countries be, in some way, a tacit admission that the world is changing?  Could they be left behind in other social areas, as well as economics, if they don't follow the rest of the world?  The editorial seems to imply as much:  In those countries, as in the rest of the world, the population--particularly the young--are becoming more urbanized and educated.  And, of course, they use the Internet.  So, perhaps, old prejudices and taboos could simply fade away as those younger people take their places in the world.

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