Forced to Be Free

What burqa bans, anti-TV crusades, and Leonard Peikoff have in common with the reform movements of the antebellum era

As European countries ponder bans on burqas and headscarves, legislators and pundits on both sides of the Atlantic have tried to justify such laws with the language of liberty. A Spanish politician, for example, denounced the veil as a "degrading prison." He was not referring merely to families that force women to cover themselves. In that case, the legislation would target the compulsion, not the clothes. The garments supposedly serve as prisons whether or not the wearer wants to don them. Removing them by force, it's implied, would be an act of liberation.

It isn't the first time we've heard this notion that the exercise of liberty is really an impediment to freedom. It's an idea with a long history in the United States as well as in Europe; it has emerged in debates over rights ranging from the freedom to drink to the freedom to follow the faith of your choice. The belief has many roots, but in the American context the most important source might be the antebellum reform era. From the early 19th century to the Civil War, reformers battled liquor, prostitution, Catholicism, and Sabbath-breaking; they built prisons, asylums, and utopian communities; they both denounced and defended slavery. Some of their efforts extended the sphere of American freedom. Others merely presented a restriction on liberty as a revolt against servitude.

Liberation or Social Control?

In the aftermath of the New Deal, historians typically treated the period as just another step in the progression of liberal reform. A typical example is Arthur Schlesinger, Sr.'s sweeping little book The American as Reformer, published in 1951, with its closing declaration that Americans "have never regarded democracy as a finished product but something to keep on building." That reading looked a little too sunny when you considered the more illiberal campaigns of the era, such as the Know-Nothings' crusade against Catholic immigrants. That sure looked like a reform movement: It was an effort to refashion society, advanced with the rhetoric of republican values, and its supporters often embraced more conventionally progressive causes as well, such as the fight against slavery. Yet for Schlesinger the Know-Nothings were simply one of the "bigoted enemies" of change. He thus avoided the issue Clifford Griffin would raise in The Ferment of Reform (1967): "if anti-Catholicism was a reform movement, it might be necessary to define reform in a different way from that accepted by the majority of historians."

Problems like that one soon led to a much darker interpretation of the period. The key text here is Griffin's 1960 book Their Brothers' Keepers. Guided by the gloom of the McCarthy era, Griffin painted the antebellum reformers as intolerant Grundies "possessed by the assumption that everyone who differed from them was wrong. They sought to make other men sober, righteous, and godly—to make others like themselves." To that end they deployed both voluntary suasion and governmental force, seeking "the rule of the righteous and the jurisdiction of the just."

It was a powerful and influential interpretation, and it was grounded in far more evidence than Schlesinger's book. But it too had limits. Griffin was writing at the tail end of a period when historians tended to treat the abolitionists with condescension, painting them as maladjusted fanatics whose aversion to compromise made peaceful emancipation less likely. That made it easy for him to treat the anti-slavery movement as just another band of busybodies, even though they aimed to extend rather than constrict human liberty. By the end of the '60s, young historians were more likely to see the abolitionists as heroes and to bristle at portraits like Griffin's.

It didn't help that the reform community included slavery's apologists as well as its opponents. In his 1987 book Proslavery, Larry Tise pointed out that the institution's defenders included not just southerners but a host of old New England Federalists; when proslavery arguments were revived after the Revolution, northeastern clergymen were in the vanguard. Tise's tale of northern elites spouting "a reactionary critique of anything that smacked of being French or Jeffersonian" fits snugly with Griffin's description of northern elites alarmed by social transformation and bent on maintaining social control. Indeed, some of the same names appear in both books. But Tise's enforcers supported servitude while Griffin's endorsed abolition.

The deepest problem, though, was that Griffin simply tried to cover too much. At different times and places, reform could be conservative or disruptive; any explanation that tried to paint the reformers as either one or the other was bound to be incomplete. If you're trying to understand the period as a whole, you need to find themes that emerged in both forms of reform. Two of those themes concern us here.

Slaves to Perfection

One theme was the rise of perfectionism: the idea that individuals and societies could free themselves from sin. Sometimes, the leftist historian Eric Foner points out, this manifested itself as a "tendency toward social control"; other times it led its exponents "into an intense anti-institutionalism and, occasionally, all the way to anarchy," as the reformer's evangelical passion "came to challenge all existing institutions as illegitimate exercises of authority over the free will of the individual, and as interferences with his direct relationship with God." The first form of perfectionism produced the prison, the asylum, and the almshouse, authoritarian institutions that exploded in the reform era. The second perfectionism spawned the anarchism of Adin Ballou, Henry Clarke Wright, and the young William Lloyd Garrison, the abolitionist who did the most to popularize what became known as the "no government" position. "Unquestionably," the former Federalist wrote, "every existing government on earth is to be overthrown by the growth of mind and moral regeneration of the masses. Absolutism, limited monarchy, democracy—all are sustained by the sword; all are based upon the doctrine, that 'Might makes right;' all are intrinsically inhuman, selfish, clannish, and opposed to a recognition of the brotherhood of man." The Garrisonites rejected politics entirely, stressing nonviolent action instead.

There was a big gulf between the two brands of reformers. But to the extent that they shared the perfectionist impulse, it was possible to flip from one side of the divide to the other. When the Civil War broke out, for example, Garrison abandoned his pacifist anarchism and became a pro-war nationalist. Another anti-state abolitionist, Gerrit Smith, endorsed not just war but conscription, and at one point complained that Abraham Lincoln was too respectful of constitutional liberties. Smith is an especially interesting case, because he proved it is possible to espouse both sorts of perfectionism at the same time. Before the Civil War, he usually sounded like a radical libertarian. Arguing that "Government owes nothing to its subjects but protection," he opposed slavery, tariffs, subsidies for internal improvements, public debt, public schools, and the idea that government should protect "the morals of its subjects." Yet he also favored a ban on alcohol. This combination of views is hard to fathom today, but it felt natural at a time when the rhetoric of the temperance movement drew heavily on the rhetoric of the abolitionists, with prohibitionists promising to liberate drunkards from the "slavery of drink."

That's the second theme: the way the concept of slavery was extended to cover noncoercive activities. In Inventing the Addict, the cultural historian Susan Marjorie Zieger quotes an anti-slavery minister who declared the plantation preferable to the bottle. The drinker, he explained, is reduced to "buying, and when his money is gone begging for the privilege of being a slave." The rhetoric of slavery and the rhetoric of addiction are still closely linked today. You don't often encounter people calling for a ban on beer in the name of freedom, but you still might hear alleged anti-authoritarians denouncing, say, television in the same terms.

Temperance wasn't the only movement that aimed to restrain people's liberties under the banner of resisting slavery. Nativists saw Catholics as the agents of an alien hierarchy, so they conducted their crusade in the name of preserving American freedoms. (As one orator put it, America faced "two co-operating foes, the Papacy and Slavery.") Anti-Mormon propagandists saw the Latter Day Saints in similar terms, and the first Republican platform denounced "those twin relics of barbarism, polygamy and slavery." The metaphor didn't die with emancipation: After the Civil War was over, the anti-prostitution movement routinely referred to sex work as "white slavery," whether or not actual compulsion was involved. Such rhetoric has reappeared repeatedly in subsequent decades. Whenever an unusual new religion emerges, you're more likely to hear it described as a "cult" that menaces its members' psychological freedom than as a set of beliefs and rituals they adopt voluntarily.

The Return of the Nativist

The arguments once used against Catholics and Mormons come out in force today when the topic is Islam. And I'm not just referring to burqa bans. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born feminist now based at the American Enterprise Institute, is in most respects a classical liberal. But when Reason interviewed her in 2007, she called for the abolition of Muslim schools. The United States "is based on civil liberties," she said, "and we shouldn't allow any serious threat to them. So Muslim schools in the West, some of which are institutions of fascism that teach innocent kids that Jews are pigs and monkeys—I would say in order to preserve civil liberties, don't allow such schools."

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Max||

    Well of course true freedom can only come from government-enforced standards of equality. Once the government assures every one is equal, then everyone will be equally free.

  • ||

    Like North Korea. Or Manor Farm after the revolution.

  • Shoeless Chris||

    ".. and the Trees were all kept equal by hatchet ax and saw."

  • RM||

    C- trolling. Too straightforward and not enough invective.

  • LarryA||

    True. 0=0

  • smartass sob||

    then everyone will be equally free.

    Yeah, and equally dead.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Nice Max-troll, but way too civilized.

  • ||

    Did Max die or something? Who is running the Max franchise now?

  • ||

    It was all part of the Edward/Lefiti/Max conglomerate. I wonder if maybe Edward didn't make bail or lost his mental competency hearing.

  • ||

    Well, I'm willing to send a few bucks. This new Max lacks the sturm und drang of the original product.

  • ||

    That is what happens when you franchise a product. The quality is just not the same.

  • ||

    It's true. I wonder if there are Maxes in other blogs, lamely imitating the great trollosopher that once was Edward?

  • WTF||

    Max is being played by a series of understudies, I believe.

  • ||

    It's really more like a Lassie thing.

  • Shoeless Chris||

    Or a second Darren or a New Becky?

  • ||

    There's only one Derwood.

    Speaking of him, I bet Endora would make a great Internet troll.

  • celtigirl||

    Children to Endora: Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

    Endora: Comme çi, comme ça.

  • dfd||

    Perhaps his parents sent him to summer camp or something...

  • kilroy||

    And Peikoff continues his plunge into insanity.

  • skr||

    continues his plunge??? he's been swimming around in it for a long time.

  • ||

    I wonder if this thread will make it to 650+ comments as well.

  • Barry Loberfeld||

    We need a gloves-off debate on the war: Paul and Buchanan on one side, and on the other ... ?

  • ||

    Warty & Sugarfree.

  • ||

    only if they can keep their hands of each other.

  • Applederry||

    The cost of freedom is constant vigilance. Peikoff is an excellent example that we must be vigilant not only of others, but also of ourselves, lest we become the tyrannical do-gooder.

  • Jeff P.||

    Have you been hurt in an accident? Let the lawfirm of Sober, Righteous, and Godly get you money.

  • N. Gulf & D. Vour||

    We have very reasonable rates and, if your case is right, are willing to work on a congingent fee basis.

  • Old Mexican||

    As European countries ponder bans on burqas and headscarves, legislators and pundits on both sides of the Atlantic have tried to justify such laws with the language of liberty.

    It's not the first time nor will it be the last time that politicians and authoritarians co-opt a concept anathema to their intentions in order to better sell their snake oil.

  • ||

    The old paradox about whether tolerance requires accomodating the intolerant.

  • Draco||

    Precisely RC Dean.

    Many libertarians like to pretend that it's right - so principled! - to extend tolerance to those who actively plan to take away their rights and enslave them, as long as they haven't actually done so yet. Hey, everybody is entitled to their weird beliefs, right? No harm, no foul! Just because the inerrant holy book of the great Shazam says "convert or die!" doesn't mean Shazamites will actually act on that belief!

    Then again, many libertarians like to pretend that individuals should be free to keep nuclear warheads in their basements.

    This is the stuff of dorm room debates; in the real world, people follow their interests and while they might say "live and let live" most of the time, they are eventually motivated to take action - perhaps very ugly action - when the perceived threat level gets too high.

    "Human, all too human?" Maybe. But we're survivors more than anything else. And that's probably why most people aren't libertarians, and don't want to be.

  • RM||

    Most libertarians don't believe one should be able to keep an active nuclear warhead in one's basement. And yes, wearing burqas is the first step to evil terrorism.

  • ||

    Survivors would be well advised to throw statists into the ovens.

  • ||

    What's an "active" nuclear warhead? Can I keep one in my basement if it's "deactivated?"

  • Coeus||

    We are, however, somewhat ambivalent towards tanks and armored personnel carriers.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I'm not. Anyway, they're already legal to own. Even in the UK.

    Unless you were talking about tanks with working cannons / machine guns. Those aren't legal, they just should be.

  • DADIODADDY||

    they can have my nuclear device when they pry it from my radioactive dead hand...

  • jtuf||

    There are peaceful ways to confront people with beliefs that threaten liberty. Talking and arguing works fine. In some rare cases, pointing and laughing is appropriate.

  • ||

    Talking and arguing works fine.

    Got your lunch money taken a lot, didn't you?

  • jtuf||

    Actually, I've never have my lunch money taken. This month, someone did post online saying that "Someone should kill [me]". I told the guy to pm me so we could arrange a face to face meeting. When he didn't, I publically humilliated him for his cowardace. That was one of the rare instances when pointing and laughing is called for.

  • ||

    I can't decide if this is an elaborate joke or not.

    You publically humiliated him? What, by posting a really stinging and sarcastic message on the Internetz? Ooo! Burn!

    Maybe you're just very young and haven't had any time to experience genuine enmity -- someone really truly wanting to hurt you.

    Sometimes it seems a lot of youngish folks I meet feel that way; think the worst possible outcome of an interaction with their fellow men is to have people commenting Snap! and OMG you loser on their Facebook pages. They seem alarmingly unprepared for, say, genuine thieves, rapists, con men, or anti-social and vengeful assistant DAs.

  • .||

    They seem alarmingly unprepared for, say, genuine thieves, rapists, con men, or anti-social and vengeful assistant DAs.

    Don't forget cops.

  • jtuf||

    The vast majority of incidents are not that severe. I was assaulted in the past for reasons that had nothing to do with religion. The guy left bruise marks on my neck. I took the assailant to court, which is the appropriate, peaceful response. Listing all my experiences would be a threadjack, so let's just leave it at that.

  • Jimbo238||

    Subjecting someone to authority that is enforced by the implicit, explicit and tangible promise of violence in the event of non-compliance is not a 'peaceful' act.

    Maybe there's no blood on your hands, but siccing the dogs on them doesn't mean it was peaceful.

    Appealing to the courts may be the 'appropriate' thing to do, but never confuse the government with peace or non-violence until the goverment will cheerfully take no for an answer rather than escalating with as much force as necessary to win. The concept of being a good loser never occurs to the government.

  • Xenocles||

    "...peaceful response..."

    No it's not. You just relied on someone else to apply force on your behalf.

  • DJ Drugs||

    No it's not. You just relied on someone else to apply force on your behalf.

    Well, yes, but did he initiate force against his assailant?

  • Xenocles||

    Never said there was anything wrong with it, just that it wasn't "peaceful."

  • Les||

    A lot of youngish folks have always and forever felt that way. Then they get older and fewer feel that way, but not few enough.

  • ||

    What if people want to wear a burqa? What if a woman believes that she should where a Burqa? I will admit that there is no way to really know if she wants to wear one or if she is forced. How bout this, no one can be forced to wear a burqa. If someone forces you report it.

  • ||

    "If someone forces you report it." Or better yet...point at them and laugh!

  • ||

    What R C Dean and Draco said. Libertarianism has got to be more than applying basic principles at 100% strength to every problem, immediately and forever. There are political and practical realities and hard problems that call for compromise, at least temporarily. Unless your goal is to be marginalized as fanatic purists of no help in the real world.

    I am still of two minds on this issue. It's a perfect edge case. Everybody treating this as a "who cares how people dress?" issue: You have a very strong case. And yet, it's undeniable that the burqa is not just a religious garment and (sometimes) a free personal choice. It's also a tool and symbol of female oppression, very socially divisive, something that aids some crimes, and (pay extra attention now) the uniform of the female auxiliary of a worldwide totalitarian movement whose goal is global conquest and universal Shazam law. That's tens of millions of people totally devoted to destroying everything libertarians believe in, and hundreds of millions more who will acquiesce or at least not object much.

    So when the uniforms and beliefs of the worldwide anti-libertarian Shazamites start appearing in the birthplace of Western civilization, I am reluctant to condemn a negative reaction.

  • jester||

    A boyfriend beats the shit out of his girlfriend. She calls 911. The cops come. She doesn't press charges. This is different how?

  • ||

    Because we are not talking about individual abuse, but cultural abuse. It isn't a boyfriend who beats the disobedient woman, but a father or brother or cousin or husband. Not only is the actual victim part of this abuse, but every other woman in the family, who knows it will happen to her.

    When a "boyfriend beats the shit out of a girlfriend" do the woman's female members fear being beaten by the boyfriend's male family members also? Literally millions of women are forced to wear the burka upon fear of pain and even death.

    Attaturk realized that no society that had the burka could ever be equal.

    Considering the danger that she has faced and still faces and her personal experiences I will go with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She knows what it is like to be a slave, but now freed will never be bowed again.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Because we are not talking about individual abuse, but cultural abuse. It isn't a boyfriend who beats the disobedient woman, but a father or brother or cousin or husband. Not only is the actual victim part of this abuse, but every other woman in the family, who knows it will happen to her.


    And that is worse that divorce laws and child support laws in America?

    I am certain that shit like the Bradley Amendment does not occur in countries with those customs.

  • ||

    It is clear that you simply do not understand the concept of principle. It doesn't matter what a burqa is a "symbol" of. If a woman chooses to wear one, she should be free to do so. I heard about the French law on NPR. First there is the penalty on the woman if she chooses to wear one and then there is the more severe penalty on, say, her husband if he compels her to wear one. In the second case the husband is being penalize for a crime against her. In the first, apparently, she is being penalized for a crime against herself. That people can justify this - enforcing legal sanctions against a woman for her choice of clothing, whatever you may think that clothing "symbolizes" is chilling and sickening to me.

    To me it represents the same sort of mentality that we see on the right with respect to flag burning and demonstrates the same sort of lack of understanding of the idea of principle. The left and the right - neither understand nor care about the critical importance of principle. The drive from both sides is always expediency and always purely utilitarian and history shows where that invariably leads.

  • ||

    "If a woman chooses to wear one, she should be free to do so." Or free to not do so...aaahhh there is the rub!

  • ||

    Not nuclear warheads but certainly nuclear tipped m-60 ammunition. In case you wanna shoot Psychlos or John Travolta for laying that turd on society.

  • ||

    It's not a real paradox. It only looks like one because you've chosen to use antonyms to make a short description of it.

    But if you write down what you mean by those words, you'll find no paradox. Very few people by "tolerance" mean "absolute passivity", i.e. if criminals break into your house and propose to rape you with baseball bats you should "tolerate" their peculiar ideas of fun. "Tolerance" as a rule means "let other people do stuff that doesn't grossly interfere with what you want to do." It means not getting down the .30-.30 when the neighbor mows the lawn at 8 AM on Saturday, that kind of stuff. There's plenty of room to take vigorous defensive action when the neighbor starts setting dynamite charges beneath your foundations because your house blocks his view.

    Furthermore, "intolerance" tends to mean "interferes with other people for selfish personal reasons," i.e. forces his woman to wear a burqua because it suits his weird personal fetish, and because she's scared stiff of refusing the way she wants to. There's no contradiction in someone who believes strongly in individual liberty coming to the defense of someone else's liberty, and telling Mr. Intolerant Misogynist his wife can tell him to shove it up his ass -- and you're prepared to make that stick by force if necessary.

    My God, language is a tool not a straitjacket. The thoughts determine the words, not vice versa.

  • Rudan||

    "permission should be refused, and if they go ahead and build it, the government should bomb it out of existence"

    I don't think he actually listens to what he is fucking saying. He's practically foaming at the mouth for Crusades.

  • Rudan||

    Did you not read it? There's a difference between disallowing someone the liberty to force it on someone else and disallowing the liberty to wear it.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "language is a tool not a straitjacket. The thoughts determine the words, not vice versa."

    Beautiful sir.

  • smartass sob||

    The thoughts determine the words, not vice versa.

    Difficult to have any thoughts without words, though - sorta like trying to count without numbers.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    The concept (III) came before any form of 3. Numbers and words are just symbols representing concepts.

  • An Idealist (Philosophically)||

  • smartass sob||

    The concept (III) came before any form of 3.

    No, I don't think the concept "three" came before any form of "3" - unless by "form" you mean the actual numeral itself. The concept "three" would have been abstracted from the perceptual concrete of three things, objects, colors, etc. More likely it was the concepts "one" through "ten" (or twenty.)

    I agree that "numbers and words are just symbols representing concepts," but it is next to impossible to hold in one's conscious mind any concepts much more involved than the idea of "three" without using numbers and words - symbols - to represent them; one could probably visualize as high ten fingers and ten toes - it's said man learned to count on his fingers. However, anything much larger is just "many" without a system of numbers, numerical notation, or markers (such as an abacus.) Try working with or even forming the concepts three hundred twenty-three or two hundred thirty-two without them.

    =======================================

    I was going to agree that language is a tool - a tool of thought, but now I'm not sure I do. Perhaps language is the thought and thought is the tool - the tool of the mind, or consciousness. Some might say that the mind is that which thinks and others would say that it includes that which it thinks. But just as most any craftsman or engineer can tell you that he is often limited in what he can build by the tools he has at his disposal, I think one's mind can be limited in its thinking and the concepts it can form by the mental tools available to it, eg., language and vocabulary.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    I was unclear-
    By "the concept of III" I meant man's ability to understand that he is looking at three objects and abstract the concept !!! or ,,, or JJJ.
    And
    By "any form of 3" I meant any numeral or symbol designated by man to represent that observation.

    First man understood "entity" then he understood "entity,entity,entity" then he wanted to communicate this phenomenon so he made a symbol.

    "but it is next to impossible to hold in one's conscious mind any concepts much more involved than the idea of "three" without using numbers and words - symbols - to represent them"

    Yes. That's why numerals, math, letters and words were such good inventions. Improvements on hieroglyphs. It's hard for humans to hunt without tools and it's hard for them to pass tool/hunting knowledge on without language(cognitive/expressive tools).

    Next time you see your hippie Linguistic Analysis Professor, ask him how the word "danger" came to be, While he's explaining how "a necessarily true proposition cannot be factual and a factual proposition cannot be necessarily true", KICK HIM IN THE NUTS AS HARD AS YOU CAN and ask yourself while he's making that "I'M ABOUT TO GET KICKED IN THE NUTS" face, how the word "danger" could have come to be without the concept of danger.

  • smartass sob||

    I don't think we actually disagree on anything here. I don't have a hippie Linguistic Analysis professor though - or for that matter, any other kind of professor - to kick in the balls. Would a politician do? ;-)

    No, I don't suppose the word "danger" could have come to be without the concept of danger first, but likewise I don't suppose the concept of danger could have come to be without first having a conrete instance of it. If that professor (or politician) actually has that "I'm about to be kicked in the balls look" on his face, I suspect it is because he has already experienced or observed at least one occurance of it before and knows well the significance of it. Of course, in the case of the politician, it would do no harm to repeat the act several times - just in the interest of proper concept formation, you understand.

  • smartass sob||

    However: After thinking about it a bit more I wonder if one might be able to form the concept of being kicked in the balls and its subsequent concept of "danger," without first having seen or experienced an instance of it. If one already had grasped the idea "to kick" and the idea of "male crotch" or "balls", one could combine them mentally, even if one had never seen or experienced a kicking of the balls. Such a combination would have little meaning though, unless one could add the idea of pain resulting from forceful contact to that part of one's anatomy. That, at least, would probably have to be abstracted from experience. Then probably one could mentally combine all those and abstract the concept of danger.

    But it's nearly 6:00 AM here, so I'm going to go and extract a few hours of sleep.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    No, It seems we don't disagree.

    "Of course, in the case of the politician, it would do no harm to repeat the act several times - just in the interest of proper concept formation, you understand."

    Can I help? I love concretizing concepts.

  • Van||

    It would seem there are concepts which have not yet been articulated in any language however, which is why progress is possible in the Sciences, Mathematics and so forth.

    A concept precedes its apprehension, then symbols that are recognizable and communicable are selected to communicate the concept to others.

    The symbols are in fact arbitrary, but the processes of apprehension and communication are not.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    ^^that too

  • DADIODADDY||

    so if someone puches you in the face III or 3 times it's just a concept, right?

  • ||

    Really? So people born deaf and blind don't think?

  • mr simple||

    It's the same as the socialist argument I always hear: when the government controls economic activity and all property is communally owned, then people will be free to do what they want. It's pretty self evident how absurd that statement is.

  • ||

    It's not, actually. It just relies on a subtle redefinition of the word "free." Everyone will be "free" to do what he wants, so long as what he wants remains within certain invisible mental walls.

    For example, you'll be able to fuck anyone you want, in any orifice, and use any sex toy or drug you like along the way. But you'll have no right to make any important decisions for any children that result from your frolic. You'll have no choice at all about your work. But you'll be able to choose any color at all for the fabric covering your cubicle. In short, you'll be forced into a regimented program, to be a number -- but you'll be able to choose which number you'll be, any number at all!

    You can see elements of this already in modern statists. You'll notice they tell you that, for your own good, your privacy and liberty must be strongly "regulated" in areas that determine your long-term liberty -- whether you have control over your own earnings, whether you pay your bills yourself (and therefore have power over those who sell you stuff, from houses to college degrees to healthcare), and whether you are free to associate with whomever you wish and carry on whatever business you wish. For all that stuff you need government "help" and, ha ha of course, along with the help comes a few strings...

    But on the other side, they will tell you you deserve absolute freedom with respect to any short-term more or less pleasure-seeking consumerism. Fuck anyone! Drink what you like! Read anything! Locked into your cage, masturbate any way you want to!

    The theory of how constraint on freedom will be accomplished without violence, or without people feeling unfree is explored interestingly in Skinner's Walden Two. In essence, the theory is that by properly training you from the moment of your birth, the walls will be invisible, and you will be incapable of even imagining wanting to do things that are outside the rules.

    Kind of like Orwell's picture of Newspeak, in which by carefully controlling the language, it becomes impossible to even frame crimethink in words.

  • fortyouncer||

    "For example, you'll be able to fuck anyone you want, in any orifice, and use any sex toy or drug you like along the way. But you'll have no right to make any important decisions for any children that result from your frolic."

    Fair trade.

  • ||

    Yuck. Can I pay to have you sterilized? The last thing the Republic needs is a cohort of utter hedonists, who'll trade away every important liberty for today's sensual gratification.

  • smartass sob||

    Think outside the box.

  • smartass sob||

    No, not that kind of box. I was replying to Carl Pham. (damn threaded comments.)

  • Adonisus||

    In the world of the ARI cult, Peikoff's word is law. If you disagree with him or his views, you are considered anathema, anti-life, collectivist, etc. and therefore should be shunned by 'orthodox' objectivists.

  • leavemealone||

    Peikoff left Yaron Brook in charge of the ARI. A few years ago, I think.

  • .||

    Moses and Aaron?

  • Fiscal Meth||

    As a kool-aid chugging member of the ARI cult, *no one's word is law*, nature is law.

    Francis Bacon
    "In order to command nature, one must obey it"

  • ||

    In the U.S., we allow the Amish to force their kids to wear bonnets and funny clothes. If they find the life to confining they can leave the Amish life whe they grow up, which some do.

    It seems to me that if the French want to be consistent, they would have to ban Amish bonnets as well Muslim burkas. After all, you can hide a gun or a bomb more easily inside a bonnet than you can a burka! Any terrorist knows that.

    Banning burkas is just like the TSA asking all of us to take off our shoes. It's stupid.

  • Meh||

    They probably will, if the Amish start blowing up buses and threatening to enslave the world. I see a non-trivial difference between the Muslims (at least those who the ban is meant to target) and the Amish. Hint: it has nothing to do with funny clothes.

  • ||

    Why not ban the wearing of yarmulkes given all of the buses and villages that jews have blown up and incinerated?

  • Meh||

    Which French villages have the evil Jews blown up recently?

  • ||

    Not familiar with the Nabatiyeh Massacre of March 21, 1994?

  • ||

    Familiar with the Western Bekaa village Massacre of December 29, 1999?

  • ||

    "Destroy all of the land; beat down their pillars and break their statutes and waste all of their high places, cleansing the land and dwelling in it, for I have given it to you for a possession."

    Koran or Torah?

  • Meh||

    Do Western Jews take the Torah seriously in 2010? Apart from a few whackjobs (that exist in the ranks of every religion/ideology/philosophy just look at Leonard Cuckoo Clock up there) European Jews in the year 2010 do not pose a threat to civilization (for instance by not threatening to destroy it).

  • jtuf||

    Someone shot a couple of homosexuals in Tel Aviv, Israel about a year ago due to their sexual orientation. The entire nation mourned the incident. Even the religious political parties issued statments condemming the attack and pointing out that protecting human life is the highest commandment in Judaism.

  • Midianite||

    Is that so?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Someone shot a couple of homosexuals in Tel Aviv, Israel about a year ago due to their sexual orientation. The entire nation mourned the incident. Even the religious political parties issued statments condemming the attack and pointing out that protecting human life is the highest commandment in Judaism.


    While the Torah prescribes the death penalty for sodomy, it was a specific commandment for the rulers of Israel.

    In Israel circa 1100 B.C., if one were suspected of sodomy, a judge would investigate, often calling witnesses, and if the accusation was true, the judge would pronounce sentence. People who killed someone on the basis of sexual orientation, outside of Israel's judicial process, would be treated as murderers.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Do Western Jews take the Torah seriously in 2010? Apart from a few whackjobs (that exist in the ranks of every religion/ideology/philosophy just look at Leonard Cuckoo Clock up there) European Jews in the year 2010 do not pose a threat to civilization (for instance by not threatening to destroy it).


    As seriously as Christians take the Gospels, Muslims take the Quran, etc.

  • jtuf||

    Libertymike, your religious views are a few thousand years out of date. The rabbis concluded millenia ago that the commandment to destroy the Cannanites was a specific commandment. It does not apply to any other generation or against any other nation. Quoting that passaging is like saying that America kills all women just because 1 woman in Virginia is scheduled for exicution soon.

  • .||

    You might have a different take on it, if you were that one woman in Virginia.

  • DADIODADDY||

    screw her...before, not after

  • Meh||

    Certainly not familiar with the "we will enslave the filthy kaffirs" rhetoric of the evil blood-drinking Jews. Although the whole point of the ban was not so much related to rather legitimate fears of an Islamic takeover of Europe (something those evil Jews aren't planning) but rather to protect women from being coerced into wearing a burqa. Whether you agree with the legislation or not the punishment for forcing a wife/sister to wear a burqa is much greater than the crime of wearing one.

    And two attacks in the last 16 years, the most recent being 11 years ago isn't very impressive. Google religionofpeace; the rate of Islamic terror attacks is more like 16 a day.

  • ||

    Intellectual honesty and consistency are qualities I often find missing in those who are quick to brand islam and islamic practices as a threat to liberty yet somehow find it within themselves to look the other way when it is the jewish state which murders, rapes, robs and pillages.

    I am not asserting that you are within the aforementioned group Meh; but the double standard is an existential phenomenon.

    My comments were not directed to the French situation as the thread, and Jesse's piece, encompass a proposition far greater than its French manifestation.

    Btw, I can list examples of Israeli mass murder and other acts of barbarism all night long. Instead, google history of israeli massacres.

  • ||

    Meh, don't get wrong, I loathe mohammedism. I have nothing but contempt for any person who believes he must kneel five times a day facing mecca while worshipping allah.

  • Meh||

    "Meh, don't get wrong, I loathe mohammedism. I have nothing but contempt for any person who believes he must kneel five times a day facing mecca while worshipping allah."

    I don't give a shit about their silly rituals; it's the "killing filthy kaffirs" and "loving death as us filthy kaffirs love life" part I don't like. Let them pray to their silly invisible sky-daddy, just leave me alone and stop trying to destroy civilization.

  • Meh||

    Owing to the fact that Israel is the only free, secular and borderline capitalist country in the Middle East and the only one that truly respects the rights of Women and treats Arabs better then they're treat in Arab countries I'm not one to rant on about the Nazi, homicidal, genocidal, blah, blah, blah, Jewish state. I have no reason to fear Israel, living in Europe right now I have great reason (including personal encounters) to fear Islam.

    Also on the subject of big bad Israel, imagine due to some freak event the government of Canada was overthrown tomorrow and replaced by savages who treat their own people almost as badly as they treat their sworn enemies and imagine that Canada began dropping rockets on American's heads with the same frequency that [insert name of most recent group of Islamic lunatics to rule "Palestine"] drops them on top of Israeli's heads, how long would your government put up with it? And when they finally turned round and retaliated would you damn them as genocidal Nazis or would you say that they're fulfilling they're duty, i.e. the government is protecting its own citizens from attacks from outside forces?

    I don't get this passionate hatred of the only civilized state on the arsehole of the world called the Middle East and the perpetual support for the savages that want to destroy the tiny state and destroy every other civilized state. Of course it's not anti-Semitism. That's why you only refer to it as the Jewish state.

  • ||

    No support here for any savages. Not one penny of any american's wealth should be confiscated for the purpose of handing it over to any state, Iran, Iraq or Israel.

    Israel is a socialist state, btw.

  • Meh||

    I said borderline capitalist state. It's a horrible mix of real wealth creators and government elite connected robber barons. Still, it's the closest thing to a capitalist state in the Middle East and the US and Western European countries copy this same horrible model (Obama sure is a big fan of government-private cock sucking alliances).

    Interesting thought experiment on the subject of private property in the Middle East: what would the world look like today if the British government had held true on its gunboat diplomacy policy when the Shah of Iran looted the property that BP built for him? That was perhaps the most empowering (god I hate that word) event for Middle Eastern despots and sent out the message loud and clear: those Westerners are a bunch of pussies and we can walk all over them with no consequences.

  • jtuf||

    Libertymike, you missed the 2.0 Billion to Egypt, 1.6 Billion to Russia, 1.0 Billion to Pakistan, and the 1.2 Billion to Sudan that DC gives each year. Of course, you would only be aware of those figures if you bothered to google "USA foreign aid by country". You must have been too busy googling "USA aid to Israel" to try that search.

  • Lord Ballsac||

    You're right jtuf about the money. That's why we should not being giving shit to anybody. Fuck 'em.

  • jtuf||

    Lord Ballsac, I agree that we should end all foreign aid from DC.

  • jtuf||

    Israel is a socialist state, btw.

    The Heritage Foundation's Economic Freedom Index gives Israel a ranking of 67.7 out of 100. To put that in perspective, here are some sample countries:

    Hong Kong 89.7
    USA 78.0
    Lebanon 59.5
    Haiti 50.8
    Venezuela 37.1
    Cuba 26.7

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    This is all a bit dishonest when taken out of context. For one, Israel is in 44th place out of 179. Not too shabby, but let's look at some of the other nations that beat it: Sweden, Chile, UK, Ireland, Spain, Mexico, Kuwait, Bahrain, Estonia and Qatar---hardly the paragons of economic freedom by Libertarian standards. Heck, the European countries mostly have forms of universal healthcare that were decried here on Reason.com all of last year. Moreover, one can argue that the United States is “freer” than Israel. You know, the United States where one out of every 10 people is in jail, drugs are outlawed, a new healthcare boondoggle was just rammed down our throats, and income confiscation from every level of government is the law of the land. Let’s not forget that this income is then used to overpay unproductive “workers”, fund unwinnable wars, and to further devalue the savings and income of everyone in the first place. Sure, the US is better than North Korea, but if Israel is objectively more socialist than us, than I think it is safe to say they are socialists. Let’s not forget that the UK walloped Israel as well. You know, the UK where every goddamn street corner has a camera being rammed up your ass. Yeah… that’s free. I’m not sure how they measured this, but disregarding the drug war and wholly unnecessary size of the American military makes me think that all of these countries should be knocked down another 10-20 points.

    Ultimately, the Heritage Foundation is just a conservative think tank that brandishes talking zombies like Rush and Hannity on its web-page. You know assholes who called for these wars that have wrought nothing but pointless death and two permanently unstable governments. These people don’t even want marijuana to be legalized. MARI-fucking-JUANA. What a bunch of limp-dicked bloodthirsty morons. These are not people we should be trusting to feed us information. These are the types of fucks we railed against for 8 years and pretending that they never tried to sell their brand sewage laden falsehoods is folly.

  • jtuf||

    Sorry, I meant the Israel's freedom score is 67.7, not the Israel's rank. I think looking at the freedom score is more informative thank looking at the rank. Space limitations prevented me from showing more than a few sample countries. I tried to pick countries whose economic policies were famous enough for readers to be familiar with. By the way, the Bahamas has a freedom score of 67.3 and Barbados has a freedom score of 68.3. I figure there has to be a reason why incorporating companies in the Caribbean is so popular.

  • I Heart Capitalisms||

    I for one am shocked that a Holocaust denier like libertymike doesn't like Israel.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Also on the subject of big bad Israel, imagine due to some freak event the government of Canada was overthrown tomorrow and replaced by savages who treat their own people almost as badly as they treat their sworn enemies and imagine that Canada began dropping rockets on American's heads with the same frequency that [insert name of most recent group of Islamic lunatics to rule "Palestine"] drops them on top of Israeli's heads, how long would your government put up with it?


    Only for a few hours until the U.S. Strategic Command launches missiles and deploys bombers.

  • jtuf||

    Libertymike, you missed the 2007 Muslim on Muslim bloodshed in a Lebanese refugee camp. I see that your focus on the Jews provides you with a very convenient way to blind yourself to the rest of the World.

  • Meh||

    Why do people obsess about Jews so much? There are so many other people who can be used as scapegoats too. Using Jews as scapegoats seems unimaginative and unoriginal.

  • Proud Libertarian||

    Jews tried and failed to take over Europe and we haven't heard the last of it from those sore losers ever since.

  • ||

    Wow, that's all you've got for 16 years? One missile that hit a school bus by accident, and some other incident, forgotten by everybody but Israel-haters? That's hardly evidence of a policy of targeting civilians intentionally for decades, as their opponents have done. And they also lack the whole "our religion is destined to take over the world, by force if necessary" thing.

  • jtuf||

    I went to Paris for my honeymoon and ate at the kosher resturants there. They Jews put their yarmulkes on when they entered the resturant and took them off before they went into the street, as the law demands. Coming from a country that allows free religious expression in the street, I found this sight chilling.

  • jtuf||

    The French are consistent, even if I disagree with their possition on the public display of religious symbols. They passed a blanket ban on wearing religious symbols in public in the 2003-2004 academic year. The French aren't allowed to wear crosses or yamukahs in public either. This attitude about keeping religion out of the public sphere goes all the way back to the French Revolution.

  • MJ||

    "This attitude about keeping religion out of the public sphere goes all the way back to the French Revolution."

    The Jacobin (proto-communist) aspect of the French Revolution, yeah, those guys were not raging authoritarians once they got ahold of power.

  • jtuf||

    Exactly. An authoritarian ban against the public display of a religious symbol in France is not a knee jerk xenophobic response to Muslim immigration. It is consistent with a couple of centuries of French attitudes towards public religious symbols in general.

  • ||

    In the U.S., we allow the Amish to force their kids to wear bonnets and funny clothes.

    Hell, we allow parents in general to force their very young kids to wear diapers and onesies, even though they're much happier running around naked.

    Can the black helicopters be far behind? I think not. Pass me that box of buckshot and the turkey jerky, Clem. And stop molesting that chipmunk.

  • Clem||

    Whaaa? The chipmunk came on to me first.

  • DADIODADDY||

    mice, I only fuck mice. you ratfuckers

  • Fiscal Meth||

    FUCK! Don't let the Amish hear you!!!
    The Amish will suddenly become interested in technology and world domination if they find out that they could hide things in their bonnets.

    IDEOLOGIES ARE IMPORTANT STUPID!!!!

  • Paul Kersey||

    So is vengenance.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    OhSnap! Wait..what?

  • ||

    The Amish will suddenly become interested in technology and world domination if they find out that they could hide things in their bonnets.

    You're too late.
    http://sonoguy.tripod.com/aog.html

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Worry not my friend, the Menanites will save us.

  • ||

    Oh wow, that actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Wow.

    Lou
    www.anonymous-surfing.es.tc

  • fyodor||

    The best argument I've heard for a ban on burkas or headscarves is that it provides cover for women who don't want to wear it but would be coerced to by their peers (well, by the men amongst their peers) otherwise.

    I don't agree with this, mind you, but it at least gives me pause. It also reminds me of an argument made in favor of the prohibition on private party discrimination in the civil rights laws, that it gave cover to businesses that did not want to discriminate but had little choice in the discriminatory environment of the South.

  • fyodor||

    Eek, please excuse the inadverdent pun!!

  • Michael||

    That rationale is sound right up to the point where you realize that many such men would simply opt to keep their wives locked indoors in the event of such a ban.

  • Old Mexican||

    One theme was the rise of perfectionism: the idea that individuals and societies could free themselves from sin.

    This is actually the original philosophical foundation for Progressivism - the longing for bringing a Paradise on Earth, free of man's imperfections. The Eugenics movement is nothing more than a logical extension of this ideology, as was Prohibition (and the current War on Drugs.)

  • ||

    The mere inclination to force others to achieve some form of perfectionism is, in and of itself, an imperfection.

  • skr||

    and they call us idealistic.

  • DADIODADDY||

    no, they call you douchebags

  • ¢||

    The best argument I've heard for a ban on burkas or headscarves is...

    That one's fine, if you think wedgie-ing teh patriarchy and shit is more important than not pushing people around. You might be a "liberaltarian" if.

    The "No one else gets to wear a mask in public, you Dead Ringers-lookin' fuckin' wackjob assholes" is probably the actual best. The first part, at least.

  • Michael||

    You can't say that about Leonard Peikoff, the officially designated "intellectual heir" of the novelist Ayn Rand. (I think that means Peikoff inherited Rand's intellect after it died.)

    Ouch.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Arguing that "Government owes nothing to its subjects but protection," he opposed slavery, tariffs, subsidies for internal improvements, public debt, public schools, and the idea that government should protect "the morals of its subjects." Yet he also favored a ban on alcohol. This combination of views is hard to fathom today, but it felt natural at a time when the rhetoric of the temperance movement drew heavily on the rhetoric of the abolitionists, with prohibitionists promising to liberate drunkards from the "slavery of drink."

    Bullshit. We hear so called conservatives and tea partiers scream "small government" from one side of their mouth, while they hold high the torch of anti-abortion, anti-immigration, pro drug war, etc every single day.

    Rand Paul has turned out to be just that kind of guy. One who espouses small government, but wants social control of the populace anyways.

  • Jason||

    If the social control were on the state or lower level, then one could escape it by moving.

  • ||

    Don't forget the hypocrites who fellate to the military industrial security complex.

  • jacob||

    +1

  • ||

    Well, first of all, dickweed, there's a big difference between being anti-abortion and a temperance fanatic. People don't want to regulate abortion because it will make people more sober and righteous, they want to do it because they consider some kinds of abortion equivalent to murder. Would you call "anti-homicide" people fanatical cultural warriors? You may certainly disagree about whether abortion is murder, and therefore consider the anti-abortion crowd wrong, but you can't lump them in with the social perfectionists and progressives. Well, you can, but a reasonable man could not.

    Secondly, there's a whole lot of daylight between "anti-immigration" and "anti-illegal-immigration." Unless you're an idiot, or have an axe to grind. Some people are indeed the former, but many are only the latter.

    But other than that, i.e. that the war on drugs is a direct descendant of temperance and abolition movements, you're right.

  • ||

    +1.

    Also, I haven't seen any evidence that Tea Partiers are saying much if anything about abortion or drugs. In fact, my sense is that they are steering clear of the issues, seeing them as divisive and distracting from their core message of smaller government.

    Speaking of which, mad libertarian guy, you're a foolish libertarian if you don't see any political opportunity in the fact that there is a friggin' nation-wide mass movement that's been demonstrating for less government for over a year now. With millions of "regular" people suddenly doing this, a wise libertarian would see the common ground and jump into the parade to provide help and guidance, and set aside some issues for now. Instead, you're yelling "Splittist!" and condemning them for doctrinal impurity. Thanks, that's a big help. All Congressional Democrats and the worst of the Republicans welcome your help in trying to defeat everything Tea Party related, and keeping libertarian principles restricted to the smallest possible number of purists.

  • jacob||

    Help the tea party movement? I say fuck that. Why are these idiots trying to tear down Ron Paul instead of trying to get behind him?

  • ||

    Like I was saying, it depends on whether you want to tactically ally with a mass movement far larger than libertarians, but who share a distaste for big government. You can join the statist Democrats and Republicans and say "fuck that" if you want, but the progressives and socialists who've taken power over the last century didn't do it by being purists.

  • jacob||

    So you're saying we should support Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin rather than convincing their idiot followers to support Ron Paul?

    No thanks. I will continue my stance at supporting gridlock - ensure that congress is made up of about half and half of the ideologically conservative and ideologically liberal, and vote for a president that isn't in the same boat as the majority of congress. A gridlocked government is far better than a unified government that I don't agree with.

    "the progressives and socialists who've taken power over the last century didn't do it by being purists."

    Got any examples of this?

  • ||

    Yes, you should support Bachman and Palin, because they're better than the Democrat alternatives. If the top two parties were Republicans and Libertarians, I'd vote L. But if the choice is R. vs. D., I usually vote R.

    On the other point: it's called "Fabian socialism." There's no way our giant, semi-socialist government could have come to be except incrementally. It's like the old saw about boiling the frog. Various periods of emergency and reform each add to the power of the government, but it's a ratchet that nearly always moves that one way, not the other. So FDR (or another D.) expands the government, but Ike (or another R.) and Republican Congresses reduce it by only a little, if at all.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Also, I haven't seen any evidence that Tea Partiers are saying much if anything about abortion or drugs. In fact, my sense is that they are steering clear of the issues, seeing them as divisive and distracting from their core message of smaller government.


    Indeed, some of them may very well support abortion rights or legalization of marijuana.

  • smartass sob||

    People don't want to regulate abortion because it will make people more sober and righteous,

    Some do. Some believe that "if you want to play, you have to pay." Some believe that being forced to bear and raise a child is punishment for illicit sex. And some believe that any sex which is not expressly for procreation is illicit - even in marriage. You'd be surprised.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    God damnit!!! I just got done sticking up for Pham and accusing you of being an idiot and now Pham is an idiot and you are right. What the fuck is going on?

  • ||

    Your agonizer, please.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "Would you call "anti-homicide" people fanatical cultural warriors? You may certainly disagree about whether abortion is murder, and therefore consider the anti-abortion crowd wrong, but you can't lump them in with the social perfectionists and progressives. Well, you can, but a reasonable man could not."

    I believe that abortion is not murder, and that forcing a woman to trade in her pursuit of happiness for the unwanted life long commitment of motherhood is one of the most anti-life things which can be done to someone. At least as bad as anything that progressives do.
    Why now should I grant them their moral claim as defenders against homicide, and accept my role as murder advocate who will politely agree to disagree even though I hold that all those judgements are false?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Some do. Some believe that "if you want to play, you have to pay."

    Just like our "child support" jihadists.

  • Fluffy||

    Secondly, there's a whole lot of daylight between "anti-immigration" and "anti-illegal-immigration." Unless you're an idiot, or have an axe to grind. Some people are indeed the former, but many are only the latter.

    Not really.

    Most people who say "I'm only anti-illegal immigration" really just don't want any more Mexicans around.

    So they made it illegal for Mexicans to come to the US.

    And then the Mexicans didn't obey. Which allows the people who just don't want any more Mexicans around to act like their real interest is the rule of law. Sure it is - when the law at issue was put in place to keep out the darkies.

  • Fluffy||

    If there was a law in place that punished with flogging black kids who looked at white women, if people came around saying, "I'm not against black kids, I just want the law respected" I would not be impressed. So I'm not that impressed in this case either.

  • ||

    Most people who say "I'm only anti-illegal immigration" really just don't want any more Mexicans around.

    And Fluffy knows, because he can read the minds of those with which he disagrees.

    When Fluffy says anything, he is really just asking for cake.

  • Fluffy||

    First of all, I said "Most". So if it doesn't apply to you, it doesn't apply to you.

    But you'd have to give me a reason. Then I could scrutinize your reason and determine whether or not it's wanting.

  • ||

    First of all, I said "Most".

    Because you have intimate knowledge with the actual beliefs of "most" people, especially those who disagree with you on this issue? Your position is identical to those who claim that opposition to affirmative action is racist. It is preconceived regardless of the actual beliefs of said people. I am sure that some people oppose both illegal immigration and affirmative action because they are racist. The majority of those who oppose them do not say "because we want to keep the darkies down". Until someone actually says something similar in regard to either subject calling them racist is pulling shit out of your ass.

    Most people you know, could be. I doubt you know "most" people who oppose illegal immigration.

    I am sorry, Fluffy, I don't have any cake.

  • Zeb||

    I suppose that I am anti-illegal-immigration in the same way I am anti illegal-drug-use: I think that the vast majority of the immigration that goes on now should be legal. I don't think that this is what most who say that they are anti-illegal immigration mean. If you don't want people who can come here and find jobs and work to be able to come here, then you are just anti-immigration.

  • ||

    Really? Really?

    Why don't you just bash your head into the keyboard repeatedly and post whatever gibberish that gets you--it'll make more sense than this.

  • ||

    So they made it illegal for Mexicans to come to the US.

    Off your meds today? You simply can't be unaware of the millions of legal Mexican immigrants in this country. Dude, I want some of whatever you have been smoking. No wonder you want cake.

  • jtuf||

    Emails from the NJ teaparty came out last week announcing which congressional candidates they support. I'm just starting to question them. The Republican candidate for district 6 opposes amnesty but is an immigration lawyer. She told me that the constitution leaves it up to states to decide on marijuana policy, but she is hoping for legalization on the state level too. The Republican candidate for the 9th district also got the Tea Party endorsement. He is the son of an immigrant, and he opposes amnesty. He hasn't yet responded to the email I sent yesterday. Oh, and all the Tea Party members I spoked to so far liked the idea of tripling the number of slots available for legal immigration. It's amazing how stereotypes break down when you are willing to talk to the other side.

  • ||

    Amen, Jesse.

  • An Unthinking Person||

    Is this type of dress legal or illegal in the U.S.? In France? In the Muslim World?

    Appropriate Dress?

  • jtuf||

    It is legal in New York State. New York State allows women to go topless. Female toplessness is illegal in New Jersey and Delaware. I don't know the dress codes in the rest of the jurisdictions.

  • ||

    I heard the new mosque is actually 4 blocks from the WTC site, and another one the same distance already exists.

    For that reason, I say we block the new one from being constructed.

  • DADIODADDY||

    I say kill them all and feed the bodies to the hogs...that's what I say.

  • Fluffy||

    Basically the entire argument behind this legislation boils down to:

    "There are more women who are forced to wear the burqa and will be liberated by this law then there are women who wish to wear the burqa who will be oppressed by it."

    In other words, it's a utilitarian law. The liberty of the women who wish to wear the burqa will be sacrificed in order to benefit the women who don't want to wear it.

    And you know what? Fuck that shit. If that's a just way to make law, then every last statist law ever proposed is right and every last libertarian objection to statist law ever voiced is wrong.

    If you believe in liberty at all, you have to find some way to save the women being forced to wear the burqa that doesn't involve taking away the liberty of the women who want to wear it. And if that's too much trouble for you, I don't want to hear you object in the future to ANY law where the liberty of a small group is sacrificed for the convenience of a larger group. No matter what the identity of the groups, either. So when liberals say, "We're taking away a little liberty from businessmen to give a lot of liberty to workers" I don't want to hear your fucking complaints.

  • jacob||

    Threadwinner

  • val||

    Its pretty danm ridiculous that you would hold these two freedoms and the two groups of women equal.

    On the one hand you have a group of women who are effectively enslaved and are forced to live in prison. They want to be free, but so far its not in the cards. On the other hand you have a group of women who are memebers of that enslaving establishment, many of whom are actively forcing the first group to submit.

    Really? No difference there? You dont hold the struggles and ideas of one group more dear to you over the other? They are the same to you?

  • Fluffy||

    Too bad.

    To determine whether or not a law is just, I merely have to ask whether it is just to me. If it's not, no further analysis is required.

    If I was a woman who wanted to wear a burqa, this law would be unjust.

    Analysis ends.

    There is no balancing act to perform. The entire notion that there are balancing acts to perform is a statist notion and I reject it out of hand. Therefore as soon as you say, "On the one hand..." I know that I will reject your argument.

    "On the one hand we have a handful of racist property owners..."

    "On the one hand we have a handful of fringe cultists..."

    "On the one hand we have a handful of homosexuals..."

    "On the one hand we have one university professor..."

    "On the one hand we have a handful of organic farmers..."

    Stop. Just stop right there. There's no need to go on.

  • Hate Potion Number Nine||

    What if you didn't want to wear it? That's the entire point of the burqua ban. What's the point of "being free" if anyone can coerce you into doing something you didn't want to do?

    Or is it the "Just not government" argument? It's okay for Abdul to coerce and threaten to kill his daughter for not wearing the burqua - that's dandy, in fact - but a law protecting that daughters free will is immoral? Is the coercion you pretend to despise okey-dokey as long as it's not from the government?

  • Fluffy||

    Nope. And that private coercion is already illegal.

    You're basically saying, "Figuring out who really wants to wear one and who is being coerced to wear one is too hard. So we're just going to ban it for everyone, to make sure that no one is coerced any more."

    You're making the people who legitimately want to wear one pay for the injustices perpetrated by others. And that's simply not just, sorry.

    I don't care if there's only one person who legitimately wants to wear it.

    "Let us commit this small injustice to solve this larger injustice!"

    No.

  • val||

    "You're making the people who legitimately want to wear one pay for the injustices perpetrated by others. And that's simply not just, sorry."

    Who the heck are these 'others' you speak of? Must be all those white french people who are forcing the hijab on unwilling participants. Ridicoulous. Its those same people who 'legitemately' want wear it that are actively forcing it on people who dont.

    "Let us commit this small injustice to solve this larger injustice!"

    More like let us commit this injustice to our enemies to solve this larger injustice to our allies (or atleast not-enemies)

  • val||

    You are missing the point. Not one of your "On the one hand" examples included a slave and a slave owner.

    So ya, if on the one hand we have a muslim daughter desperate to throw of the shackles. And on the other hand we have a father and a compacent or active mother threatening death if she removes the shackles and exposes some wrist, I know where my support would lie.

    But apparently you dont need further analysis. So that (dutch?) dude that kept his daughter chained in the basement is cool with you eh?

  • Zeb||

    Keeping your daughter chained in the basement is (rightly) illegal, no matter why you did it. As is forcing someone to wear a burka.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    So ya, if on the one hand we have a muslim daughter desperate to throw of the shackles. And on the other hand we have a father and a compacent or active mother threatening death if she removes the shackles and exposes some wrist, I know where my support would lie.


    The solution is to criminalize murder.

  • Ika||

    Well, consider the consequences of this law for the women who are being forced to wear the burqa. Now instead of at least being able to go out in public, they will be forced by their male relatives and husbands to remain behind closed doors always. I don't see how that advances their liberty...

  • ||

    No female Muslim WANTS to wear a god damned burqa. Not one.

    That particular freedom to choose was beaten out of Muslim women a long time ago.

    But you can't see that, can you, Fluffy?

    Steven King, of all people, made this point in the Shawshank Redemption when he talked about men who'd been 'institutionalised'. How they'd gotten so used to the chains around their necks, so comfortable in their shackles, that when they were freed they simply couldn't cope. That really happens--and it happens over decades. Imagine it happening over centuries.

    The Muslim woman is just like that institutionalised man.

  • Fluffy||

    You have absolutely no right to judge the consciousness of another human being and tell them what they do and do not "really" want.

    All arguments asserting any variation of the concept of "false consciousness" are Maoist crap and if Muslims deserve to lose their liberties, so does Maoist trash like you. Please report to an extermination camp immediately.

    Everyone's desires are equally reflexively self-justified. You just don't get to assert that your desires are "genuine" but other peoples' aren't because you know better. Or because you think you know what they would want if all of their experiences were different. Make every last Orthodox Jew take a shower and get out of their stupid outfits, and then come back and talk to me about whether or not Muslim women "really" want to wear a burqa.

  • ||

    In France, Fluffy, where this law is being considered, Jews already cannot wear their religious symbols on the street. Christians cannot wear crosses. Why are Muslims exempt?

    And 'Maoist'! That is the first time anyone has ever associated me with anything on the left side of the spectrum. How cute!

    And I have every right to judge anything I want to judge. I am the sole arbitor of what is right...to me. And possibly to anyone I can convince...but that is a whole other story.

    I am pointing out a fact. That Muslim women can have no real choice in this because it is something that is demanded of them, on pain of beating or death regardless of their choice. Thus, to say 'I want to wear a burqa' is, regardless of the woman's stated 'wants', merely an aquiescence to that demand. She would never ask to wear the burqa absent the religious demand.

    So 'choice' is long gone.

  • jacob||

    In France, Fluffy, where this law is being considered, Jews already cannot wear their religious symbols on the street. Christians cannot wear crosses. Why are Muslims exempt?

    The solution to this conundrum is to work to end the suppression of Christians and Jews, not force it on Muslims. Some people would be smart enough to see that.

  • MJ||

    "She would never ask to wear the burqa absent the religious demand."

    You are undoubtably right that there are many Muslim women for whom this is true, but I rather suspect that that is not universally true for all Muslim women who wear burkas. You do not undersatnd why they would want to wear sucha thing and hence will remove their legal choice to do so.

    This is not a solution to those Muslim women who are culturally bullied into a burka.

  • ||

    They are all culturally bullied into a burqa. The garment did not exist proir to the introduction of Islam.

    Those who say they want it now are conditioned to feel that way.

    And, technically, it is not the burqa, per se, but any quranic demand that women be covered be it headscarf or abaya.

  • jacob||

    No female Muslim WANTS to wear a god damned burqa. Not one.

    [citation needed]

  • ||

    I'm starting to get it. Liberty is great so long as you don't defend it. And, whatever you do, if someone wants to take all your liberties away and is using those liberties to get to you, don't ever fail to assist that person or people in using your liberty to destroy you.

    Have I got it now? This seems the most concise definition of 'libertarianism' that a whole lot of you seem to practice.

  • Hate Potion Number Nine||

    As long as you profit by selling the rope to the mob that is lynching you, everything is cool.

  • JoshINHB||

    That's the position of NY-DC Liberal tarian douche bags.

    Of course most of them are just white-guilt liberals that want to get stoned a lot.

  • ||

    The courts have ruled you have no right to expect privacy when you are in a public area. Yet burka-wearers are claiming that right. Can I (as a male) expect to go about dressed as a ninja, with only my eyes visible, in public, without interference? Not in a bank (or any commercial establishment, where money is being handled). Not in a government setting like in court or a library or the DMV, where personal identity is key. Not while operating a motor vehicle. Maybe on the sidewalk or in a park. But even there, it draws suspicion, and rightly so (except on Halloween). How is a burka different?

  • ||

    I would not lump Hirsi Ali in with the anti-freedom folks covered in the first part of your article. In wanting to ban Islamic schools, she is not asserting that Islam makes its believers less free, but rather that it is really a political movement which, if successful through either political or violent means, will take away important freedoms from you and me. I don't think this fear is exaggerated at all, as the murder of Theo Van Gogh proves.

    France, Germany, and Holland already (correctly, in my opinion) ban Nazi and sympathizer groups as a danger to the freedom and safety of the public. It seems self-evident to me that this should be generalized to cover any teacher or group, whether or not labeled as a religion, which urges its followers to violently destroy multiculturalism (and politics counts as an attempt to use violence).

  • e3livelife2thefullest||

    surely people are delusioned if they believe that building a mosque, ANYWHERE, is a threat to their freedoms. However, Islam should still be looked at with a suspicious eye! I'm sorry to say, as libertarian as I may fancy myself to be from time to time, nonetheless, it is true that if Islam were to become as great a force as JudeoChristianity in this nation, it could be a threat to womens rights in particular, individual rights in general, and our sexual civil liberties. Our country is blessed with sexual freedom...something which Islam HATES WITH PASSION!!! That cannot be allowed to happen...rather than trying to ban Islam, however, it would be wise to use social ostracism instead...in other words, allow them to feel welcome, but just make sure that they don't have any final say in our policies regarding our freedoms...many of them are indeed control freaks!!!...and their women allow it!!! Unlimited sex between consenting adults is something that the muslim men resent, but in many cases, they may be sanctioned to rape and kill 'their' women. No way!!!

  • ||

    Somalia is the living example of what happens in the absence of State power, BUT in the presence of ideological mind-viruses such as Islam. Islam is a totalitarian political ideology taking advantage of its status as religion, and seeks to abolish liberalism.

    I think that, unfortunately, we can never have true liberalism (libertarianism or anarcho-capitalism) until nearly all individuals living on this planet are educated enough scientifically so as to turn against their innate biases (of which zero-sum bias and the tendency to believe authorities without questioning them are particularly damaging) and abandon the illiberal ideologies that parasitize their brains.

    Since most people, by their nature, will not seek out science and general knowledge about how the world works by themselves (the same way they lack the incentives to research politics and who they vote for), they have to be forced to learn (maybe by changing the incentives somehow in society?). Of course, the education system must be top-notch, so that even the least intelligent people understand why science works, why creationism is false, why zero-sum bias is false, etc. This is easier said than done, since I suspect most teachers are themselves not free of biases; perhaps the Internet and the ability to learn from prerecorded lectures of the brightest minds on Earth and the best teachers can help in this regard.

  • Nykos||

    Also, in places where the negative influence of religions and ideologies is not that visible, zero-sum bias ensures that those societies will not experience great progress.

  • Victor||

    I think the most insightful commentary on Burka bans and such comes from Claire Berlinski who recently wrote a comprehensive article in National Review. Allowing Burkas will transform many areas in America to areas that infringe on freedom values we hold dear.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement