Monday, April 11, 2011

Ambivalent about France's Burqa Ban

I agree with what JoeSettler wrote here. What's next? Will politicians come up with reasons to ban sheitlach (wigs)? Kippot (yarmulkes, skullcaps)? Hey, they're already trying to ban brit milah (ritual circumcision) (hat-tip: Heshy).


Anonymous TOTJ Steve said...

Things are not quite a clear-cut as you might think. And weren't you a French major -- or did you only study the language? Republican France has a tradition of paternalism, and the burqa ban is nothing if not paternalistic. I think official France truly believes that "liberty, equality & fraternity" stuff, and seeks to impose it by enforced assimilation.
Sadly, our own country seems to be experimenting with its own peculiar brands of paternalism from both the left and the right. As an example of the former, your Mayor's effort to compel socially responsible eating and smoking choices. For the latter, see efforts to impose predominantly christian concepts (American exceptionalism is a christian, new covenant concept) on society.

Mon Apr 11, 10:40:00 PM 2011  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Yes, I was a French major, and yes, I only studied the language. Our courses did not include French history or aspects of French cultural life other than the literature.

I don't know about the enforced assimilation. When I was a student in France, there were substantial immigrant communities, especially from former French colonies such as Vietnam and some North African countries--many of my classmates were Moroccan. To what extent the permanent residents felt forced to become "more French than the French," I couldn't say.

I wouldn't say that the new and/or proposed restaurant rules impose "socially responsible" eating, but they certainly are attempts to compel *healthy* eating. As for the smoking ban in public buildings, that protects us non-smokers. But I think some proposed private prohibitions, such as co-ops and condos forbidding residents from smoking in their own apartments, might be too intrusive on personal rights.

"American exceptionalism is a christian, new covenant concept"


Nu, you never heard of the Chosen People? For better or for worse, we got there first.

Tue Apr 12, 10:31:00 AM 2011  
Blogger Geoffrey said...

Aren't kippot already banned in French schools?

"compel socially responsible eating and smoking choices"

While these are troublesome, they also are not merely meddling in personal choices. The public has seen their eating habits forcibly changed for the worse already by the workings of the food industry. That government should fight back on our behalf is good. Doing so in a non-paternalistic way is very difficult, though.

Fri Apr 15, 01:01:00 PM 2011  
Anonymous TOTJ Steve said...

I don't believe the government should "fight back". The food companies are doing nothing illegal. Knowledgeable consumers need to make appropriate choices, to which the food industry responds.

Fri Apr 15, 04:19:00 PM 2011  

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