Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

 By Professor J. Manrakhan

The latest development on the ‘Gays-in-the-US Armed Forces’ controversy is likely to prove decisive in liberalizing attitudes. ‘Faut-il interdire l’homosexualite’ (Mauritius Times, 22 July 11, p3) may be a rather ironic response from ‘Ceux qui sont pour la justice’, but one nevertheless, that tries to bring rationality into an unduly protracted state of affairs.

How long can humanity expect to use (or abuse) the (rare) talents of communicators, nurses and doctors in highly risky field conditions only to be dishonorably discharged once discovered to be ‘gay’?

Humanity as a whole has suffered more than enough from such attitudes: uncounted number of deaths simply because the heart is not always on the left (until medical science and technology decreed otherwise). The discovery of ‘irrational’ numbers (e.g. the square root of 2) by Pythagorean Greeks, who threatened to kill any who revealed that discovery (6th century BCE); the most bewildering discovery of the Infinite which bedeviled all including Euclid (fl. c. 300 BCE) till tamed Georg Cantor (1845 – 1918); the veritable scandal of the Calculus invented in the 17th century and which worked superbly well but no one knew why, until proven late in the 19th century. In a similar vein, we could list biotechnology and genetic engineering – how does the world otherwise feed 10 billion people by mid-21st century, as juxtaposed to escalating fears of Frankenfood?

And nuclear waste currently stockpiled in deep mines — for how long, until a more permanent and altogether safer and cheap alternative is found?

Doubtless, ‘gays’ and their supporters may be vastly disappointed at the slow rate of recognition of the plight, here and worldwide. But that has been the way of humanity for two millions years: ‘flee’ or ‘fight’, till it could ‘reconfigure’ and ‘refashion’ Nature, from coping with environmental hazards, fire, poisonous plants, wild beasts, Neanderthals, and finally coming to terms in peace and harmony with all forms of life – all of which takes time and patience.

‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ may be an unsatisfactory expediency but is, nonetheless, a practical, if slow solution, pending the realization, hopefully soon, that it really takes all sorts to make the World: then and only then can Homo sapiens aspire to a post-human future à la Fukuyama.

* Published in print edition on 5 August 2011

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