France

France's Burkini Ban is the Ridiculous Yet Totally Predictable Result of Legislating Morality

The French government has long tried to mandate correct thinking and secularism by curbing free expression.

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Free the Burkini
Arne9001/Dreamstime.com

Viral images of a Muslim woman being compelled by police to remove her "burkini" on a beach on Nice, France, combined with reports of women being fined for wearing the modest swimwear (which has been banned in a number of French cities), have sparked quite the debate over gender equality, religious liberty, free expression, and government overreach in legislating morality in France.

The Guardian reports that Nice's Socialist mayor, Ange-Pierre Vivoni, called his ban on this particular style of ladies' swimwear a vital act to "protect the population." The mayor was backed by a tribunal ruling calling the ban a "necessary, appropriate and proportionate" response in the interest of maintaining public order following several jihadist attacks in France, including one where 84 people were killed by a maniac in a truck last month, just a few hundred feet from the beach in Nice where the woman in those viral images was forced to dress down by armed agents of the state.

The tribunal also justified the ban by stating that the burkini — which resembles a looser-fitting version of a standard wetsuit — was "liable to offend the religious convictions or (religious) non-convictions of other users of the beach," and "be felt as a defiance or a provocation exacerbating tensions felt by [the community]," according to The Guardian.

In a recent Reason column, Steve Chapman noted that for proponents of the ban, it's not just the feelings of non-Muslims in terror-scared France at stake, it is concern for Muslim women compelled by what they describe as "sexist oppression" to hide almost all their skin in public:

Their argument goes as follows: France must dictate what Muslim women wear to teach them that no one may dictate what they wear. In the name of promoting the freedom of Muslim women, government should deprive them of the right to make their own apparel choices.

It's the logical extension of France's law against full-face coverings, particularly the kind worn by some Muslim women. Supporters of that law, enacted in 2010, said it was needed to keep criminals from concealing their identity. That excuse doesn't work for the burkini, which confirms it was just that: an excuse.

CNN reports, "Rachid Nekkaz, a wealthy Algerian entrepreneur and human rights activist, has stepped up to the plate to pay the penalty for any Muslim woman who is fined in France for wearing the burkini" and according to the BBC, the controversy has led to "booming" burkini sales.

But the burkini bans are just an extension of France's nationwide ban on burqas, which is in keeping with country's strict adherence to the separation of religion and public life. One sociologist was quoted by The Local as saying the burqa ban "created a monster," arguing that despite the government's best intentions, "it has both encouraged Islamophobia as well as given Muslim extremists more cause to feel the need to rise up against the French state."

France has also banned wearable religious symbols such as Christian crosses, Sikh turbans, and Jewish kippahs (male head skullcaps) in schools and government buildings. But the banning of clothing — which is inherently an expression of identity, particularly religious identity — is also a logical extension of the many bans on other modes of expression meant to rid French society of wrong thinking.

In its (literally) centuries-long quest to foster an enlightened, secular, bigotry-free society, the French government has made Holocaust denial a criminal act punishable by prison time. The same goes for making stupid drunken anti-Semitic comments to cell phone-wielding tourists, as well as making jokes "condoning terrorism." Local government bans on meetings of activists in the anti-Israeli Boycott Divest Sanction (BDS) movement continue to be litigated. Even iconic French actress Brigette Bardot was convicted for "hate speech" for her public opposition to the Islamic ritual slaughter of animals without the use of anesthetics.

The common thread is the regular practice by the French government in passing laws and prosecuting individuals based on high-minded ideals which place limits on free expression that would be unimaginable in the U.S.

This French style of government-enforced secularism and righteous thinking is ostensibly "progressive," but as the burkini kerfuffle demonstrates, the same faith in legislating correct expression not only puts drunken fashion designers and controversial comedians in jail for obnoxiously mouthing off, it also forces women to be humiliated in public by the brute enforcement of a law that's meant to protect these same women from oppression.

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  1. the regular practice by the French government in passing laws and prosecuting individuals based on high-minded ideals which place limits on free expression that would be unimaginable in the U.S.

    Unimaginable, unless you’re… Gary Johnson.

    1. Trump just wants to ban the people in the burkini.

      1. Unless they look really great out of the burkini.

    2. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do… http://goo.gl/vLekWl

  2. Socialists… they do like them some public order.

    1. Indeed. Who do muslim men think they are controlling the behavior and attire of their wives….. That’s the government’s job.

      1. He shoots, he score!

      1. They also come in XL, XXL, and 3XL, thank Allah.

    1. But it got even better after the baby made its appearance. When she went to work, she enrolled her child in a cr?che: a day care right in her neighborhood, staffed by people who knew how to rear children ? with the added bonus that they spoke French.

      OK, is that a stealth piece of racism – aimed at non-English speaking immigrants who work in creches here?

    2. France was good enough for Robert Crumb!

  3. The common thread is the regular practice by the French government in passing laws and prosecuting individuals based on high-minded ideals which place limits on free expression that would be unimaginable in the U.S.

    lolwhut?!?

    Have you tried to buy or fly a confederate flag recently?

      1. Are they trying to swindle us? The flag doesn’t match it’s description.

        1. That shit happens all the time with independent sellers on Amazon. I just ordered a new DE razor and even though I specified the gold plated one, I got the silver.

          1. Or is the seller just skirting an Amazon policy by mislabeling it.

            1. Sounds likely, as a search for “Confederate Flag” brings up nothing under ‘outdoor flags and banners‘ category

              Apparently, WalMart, Sears, Amazon, and others all decided to stop selling confederate flags last year.

              1. “Apparently, WalMart, Sears, Amazon, and others all decided to stop selling confederate flags last year.”

                Thankfully, I have enough for everyone.

                lafe.long and SIV are definitely onto something. There is something of “soft censorship” occurring here, where large corporate entities rally around the clear goals of State. While the State itself encroaches by bits and pieces here and there.

                1. Just hit a flea market. Especially, in southern states.

                  Never fail to see them in north Texas, and I have yet to witness the various sellers being given any grief for stocking them. Of course, I haven’t seen anyone actually purchase one, either. But, it would seem that sanity and peacefulness have prevailed so far.

                2. The Flag is banned in NPS and VA cemeteries except for 2 days a year.

                3. Thankfully, I have enough for everyone.

                  True story = from age ~9-12, i was obsessed with a hand-me-down Lynyrd Skynrd t-shirt (*this one exactly) and wore it every day until it literally fell apart.

                  My parents thought i looked like a poor trailer-park freak and i loved it. No one ever said a damn thing about the actual picture on it. I knew about the band, but it wasn’t why i wore the shirt. I thought it was just badass.

                  1. i was obsessed with a hand-me-down Lynyrd Skynrd t-shirt

                    Hot Damn! I knew you was REAL people, Gilmore!

                    1. I knew you was REAL people, Gilmore!

                      What may disappoint you is that i was also trying to learn to breakdance at the time.
                      (shrug)

                      you can’t win them all.

                    2. Nope-think it’s awesome.

                      You are truly a Renaissance man, good sir*.

                      *OK, you were definitely going for it in childhood. Seems like you’ve handled it gracefully.

                  2. Mine (when I was 17 or so) was Run DMC — “RAISING HELL” on the front, and on the back “WE SLAY ALL SUCKERS WHO PERPETRATE AND LAY DOWN LAW FROM STATE TO STATE”. Then, there was the I ? COPS bumper sticker on my car… probably a better idea then, now that I think about it, than it would be now.

          2. EVERYONE! SILVER IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR MR. FANCY HEROIC MULATTOOOO!

      2. Didn’t Amazon pull down a ridiculous amount of stuff that had the Confederate flag on it for a bit? And Apple was banning Civil War video games that used the flag. Not sure if that’s still in place

      3. That’s not a confederate flag. That’s the state flag of Georgia W. Bush.

    1. Agents of the state are deputized under full force of law to prevent purchase or display of the Confederate flag?

        1. That’s saying the agents, themselves, are prevented from displaying it.

          1. No.

            Private individuals and groups can decorate graves only on Confederate Memorial Day and Memorial Day. The display of Confederate flag is prohibited on other days.

    2. “Have you tried to buy or fly a confederate flag recently?”

      Drive for ten minutes in the parish I live in and you will see plenty of confederate flags.

      1. I was in Terrebonne (Houma) a few months ago and was happy with the amount I saw. Last time I was back home in VA I there were more flying than ever.

        Have you noticed any trends where you live?

  4. “The common thread is the regular practice by the French government in passing laws and prosecuting individuals based on high-minded ideals which place limits on free expression that would be unimaginable in the U.S.”

    They’re quite easy to imagine here.

  5. I guess in the rock-paper-scissors of Liberte, Equalite, and Fraternite, the French decided that Equalite always wins out over the other two.

  6. This was Christopher Hitchens’ argument for banning the burqa.

    1. Here’s the retarded version:

      Surprisingly for a libertarian, Johnson, who recently resigned as the CEO of Cannabis Sativa, a marijuana marketing form, said that he would sign a bill banning the wearing of burqas in America. Sharia, he insisted, was not an expression of religion but of “politics” and hence many of its practices could be banned or limited without running afoul of the Constitution.

    2. Hitchens makes an interesting argument, suggesting that the Burqa shouldn’t be given special consideration in places where covering or concealing your face wouldn’t be allowed for the rest of us.

      On the door of my bank in Washington, D.C., is a printed notice politely requesting me to remove any form of facial concealment before I enter the premises. The notice doesn’t bore me or weary me by explaining its reasoning: A person barging through those doors with any sort of mask would incur the right and proper presumption of guilt. This presumption should operate in the rest of society. I would indignantly refuse to have any dealings with a nurse or doctor or teacher who hid his or her face, let alone a tax inspector or customs official.

      Holding that argument up by itself is legitimate.

      Unfortunately he’s wrong on the broader context, can a woman wear a Burqa where there’s no blanket ban on face coverings for the rest of us? France’s ban does that, no?

      *I haven’t read the whole Hitchens argument*

      1. no, France generally bans face coverings in public.

        The French ban on face covering (French: LOI n? 2010-1192: Loi interdisant la dissimulation du visage dans l’espace public,[1] “Law of 2010-1192: Act prohibiting concealment of the face in public space”) is an act of parliament passed by the Senate of France on 14 September 2010, resulting in the ban on the wearing of face-covering headgear, including masks, helmets, balaclavas, niq?bs and other veils covering the face in public places, except under specified circumstances.[2] The ban also applies to the burqa, a full-body covering, if it covers the face. Consequently, full body costumes and Zentais (skin-tight garments covering entire body) were banned.

        1. How does this tie-in with the law that forbids wearing religious symbols?

          1. Those laws apply in specific, government-related circumstances. They are equivalent of ‘sue to remove 10 commandments from court’ and ‘sue to remove prayer from school’ activities in US.

        2. Was this enacted for any legitimate reason or was it just to target Muslims for being Muslim?

      2. Here’s how he wraps things up:

        My right to see your face is the beginning of it, as is your right to see mine. Next but not least comes the right of women to show their faces, which easily trumps the right of their male relatives or their male imams to decide otherwise.

        The first sentence is questionable. The second seems to assume that all women who wear burqas (at least in France), do so because men make them to not because the women themselves believe it to be the right thing to do.

        1. not because the women themselves believe it to be the right thing to do.

          I’ll accept the anti-burka proponents claim that it’s about women’s rights, when they show me the anti-Amish screed they posted or championed before they jumped the burka ban zealotry.

      3. “I would indignantly refuse to have any dealings with a nurse or doctor or teacher who hid his or her face”

        Uh, isn’t that pretty common for nurses and doctors, at least in certain contexts?

        1. Not until you are asleep. Then the pointing and laughing occurs.

  7. Was there no mention of the French laws banning the use of English terminology when French-equivalents exist?
    (even if they’re far less popular in terms of usage)

    The French State has always had a mandate to defend “French-ness”. you can find the same story being repeated going back decades.

    e.g. = 1994

    France’s old and losing battle against the English language has moved into a new and touchy phase now that the Government has presented a draft law to put up a barrier against further foreign incursions.

    The proposed law, which faces a vote in the National Assembly this spring, would ban foreign words from virtually all business and Government communications, radio and television broadcasts, public announcements and advertising messages whenever a “suitable local equivalent” exists in French.

    2008

    France has launched a new drive to stop a glut of English words from invading the native tongue.

    Terms including “email”, “blog” and “fast-food” should all be banished from the language, according to French culture ministry chiefs.

    Others words threatening to steam-roller French vocabulary out of existence are “supermodel”, “take-away” food and “low-cost airline”.

    1. Others words threatening to steam-roller French vocabulary out of existence are “supermodel”, “take-away” food and “low-cost airline”.

      Do the french not have french words to describe these things?

      Super mod?le?

      1. Anorexique

      2. AIRBAG: coussin gonflable de protection BEST SELLER: succes de librairie BRUNCH: grand dejeuner COOKIE: sable americain CAMERAMAN: cadreur COCKPIT: habitacle DATABANK: banque de donnees FAST FOOD: restauration rapide JUMBO JET: gros-porteur MARKETING: mercatique PARKING*: pard de stationnement POPCORN: mais souffle PRIME TIME: heures de grande ecoute TALK SHOW: causerie *Used by the French to mean parking lot.

        1. AIRBAG: Parisien

      3. Thanks for reminding me where I live.

    2. BTW, I hate knee-jerk thinly-based accusations of Racism, but this type of activity from ministries of culture is fucking racist.

      1. English language is like, totally white male cis shitlord of languages. So they aren’t being racist.

    3. Crap, I old. I remember my French teacher in high school would not allow “Franglais” back in the early 70s.

  8. What do the French have against bukake? Respect for other cultures, indeed.

    1. Because the Germans are better at it?

    1. Surprised that wasn’t a pornhub link.

        1. Very satisfying. Hover-rounders should be blasted at all opportunities.

  9. It is terrible to legislate morality, unless you make it illegal to discriminate against homosexuals. That is different because GAYZ

    1. Just shut up and put your banana hammock on.

    2. Re: John,

      It is terrible to legislate morality, unless you make it illegal to discriminate against homosexuals. That is different because GAYZ

      Public Accommodation means your land is my land.

    3. And blacks and Jews and Mexicans. But curiously that isn’t the hill people like yourself are interested in dying on.

    4. JOHN WHY DO YOU HATE GAY PEOPLE AND WANT TERRORISTS TO MURDER THEM?!

  10. The tribunal also justified the ban by stating that the burkini ? which resembles a looser-fitting version of a standard wetsuit ? was “liable to offend the religious convictions or (religious) non-convictions of other users of the beach,”

    Pretty much saying that burkinis offend every one so fuck you, that’s why.

  11. In its (literally) centuries-long quest to foster an enlightened, secular, bigotry-free society[…]

    So it’s kind of a work-in-progress thing.

  12. These Muslims hate our culture and our values so we’re going to pass legislation that will make more of them hate our culture and our values!

    1. Yes, let’s strip all of their women. I mean what are they going to do?

      1. Heroic, with his encyclopedic knowledge of language, culture and history would be best one to weigh in on this, but I vaguely remember reading about the varieties of cultures on the Arabian peninsula pre-Islam and there was a sizable number of them whose women went about semi-nude and offering carnal relations to visitors was considered normal hospitality.

        A bunch of bloodthirsty, red-eyed savages with ascetic attitudes and swords put an end to that shit. Yay Islam.

      2. Socialists have an amazing ability to make even deeply unlikable people look sympathetic. Being the sort of person whose religion is responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths will do that I guess.

        1. “Socialists have an amazing ability to make even deeply unlikeable people look sympathetic.”

          I don’t find this to be true, at least not for myself. What I do find is that the majority of the herd animals we call humans have an insatiable appetite for bullshit.

  13. It is only illegal to offend people who hold the right views.

    When I see stories like this I think they may be on to something.

    http://nypost.com/2014/09/09/f…..unbathing/

      1. Sometimes they are a mathematic construct.

    1. Men don’t have to wear bikini tops, so why should we? the feminists cried.

      Let me guess, the patriarchy was a little too pleased with this form of feminism.

    2. But sociologists claim that the trend should be taken more seriously, with some suggesting that French women have forgotten the achievements of feminism.

      “French young women today are more conformist. They’ve already attained freedom ? So they’ve gotten lazy and taken it for granted,” said Jean-Claude Kauffman, author of “Women’s Bodies, Men’s Gaze. Sociology of Naked Breasts.”

      Why can’t more women conform to toplessness?!! WHY?!!

      1. “Women’s Bodies, Men’s Gaze. Sociology of Naked Breasts.”

        I don’t think anyone would disagree that the male gaze is the evil. All you have to do is look around at the way women dress. It is self evident. Western women that is. In cultures where women cover themselves completely they have a much higher sense of morality; less violence, slavery, oppression and a far more enlightened view on everything.

      2. And why don’t fat, old guys conform and not wear speedos?

    3. Believe it or not, the decline of topless sunbathing has also been linked to the financial crisis.

      “France has also been hard hit by austerity since the start of the financial crisis,” said Kauffman. “If breast-baring is a sign of risk and revolution, covering up is a sign of safety. In uncertain times, you always dress more conservatively.”

      Hard Hit?

      (checks actual data)

      Ah. Feel the burn of that *austerity*. Maybe in absolute terms…. nope

      “Le sigh”

      I presume they mean, “we had to endure 2% annual increases in spending as opposed to 5%!”

  14. So when do various U.S. states and major corporations signal their disapproval by banning travel to France?

    1. France has a culture, North Carolina does not.

      1. (gasp!)

        Revoke this man’s barbecue privileges immediately.

        1. I doubt he’s ever been in North Carolina unless it was some expat Yankee cess-pit in the Triangle, or worse, Asheville.

        2. I doubt he’s ever been in North Carolina unless it was some expat Yankee cess-pit in the Triangle, or worse, Asheville.

          I was just being snarky, but this is somewhat true. I am a PA Yankee. 1968: My dad would drive down there, with me in tow, to buy stuff, put it in the trunk, and drive back to PA.

      2. France has a culture

        France has a culture alright: theocracy, feudalism, slave labor, colonialism, antisemitism, genocide, religious wars, wars of conquest, the guillotine, …

  15. Forgot to mention that Nice is planning to sue anyone who posts pictures of cops writing burkini tickets to social media. France has no freedom of speech.

  16. Not a big fan of Islam, but this is crazy pants thuggery.

    Hey Lady, take your clothes off!

    Really?

    “Don’t rape me” tattoos for young girls, and stripping Muslim women when they wear “too much clothes”. Keep the continentals far away from me.

    1. I have a photo of my mom and her sister taken in Atlantic City in about 1955. They were sitting on a rock by the ocean together wearing torso-covering swim suits, the style of the day In their mid-20’s they were both 10’s by any modern standard and chose to marry more average-looking guys could who hold down a job and help raise a family.

      THE HORROR!

      1. You have oddly strong feelings about your mom and aunt’s hotness. Just saying.

  17. “booming” burkini sales.

    The market is “exploding” you say? Despite all attempts at hindering them, Muslims are intent on having a “blast” at the beach?

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  19. Someone, someone call the police there’s women on the beach wearing burkinis! …..No wait it’s just nuns, that’s a relief.

    Of course they are forced by anything to wear those clothes it’s their freedom of choice.

    Check out my blog for some of the Arab reaction to this:
    http://Www.ArabViews.xyz

  20. Don’t understand Reason defending a religious practice that isn’t based on freedom! The women don’t have the freedom to not wear the burqa or the burkini. They are subjects, or more accurately, objects within their societal norms and have no freedom of expression. Seems like a weird position to defend?!

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  22. The tribunal also justified the ban by stating that the burkini ? which resembles a looser-fitting version of a standard wetsuit ? was “liable to offend the religious convictions or (religious) non-convictions of other users of the beach,

    While Americans have killed each other over slavery, Europeans have a two thousand year history of killing each other by the millions over “offended religious convictions”. The only way Europeans ever managed to stop that was by having government put religions and people into a straightjacket and mandating them not to offend each other. It’s an imperfect solution, but it’s the only solution that has ever worked for a continent full of totalitarians and religious nuts.

  23. The problem with Frances “burkini” ban is that it addresses a symptom, not the problem.

    The problem is their society is rapidly being eclipsed by a different “society” – Islamic society.

    Eventually it will be Muslims telling the French girls they CAN’T wear bikinis on the beach, indeed that they have to cover up more (and MORE, and MORE) everywhere until they’re wearing body bags too.

    If the French want to remain French, or simply civilized westerners, they better figure out how to stop their society from being replaced by one that isn’t interested in western civilization.

    Unfortunately, their time to avoid a “final solution” solution is rapidly running out (as it is for most of Western Europe).

  24. The problem with Frances “burkini” ban is that it addresses a symptom, not the problem.

    The problem is their society is rapidly being eclipsed by a different “society” – Islamic society.

    Eventually it will be Muslims telling the French girls they CAN’T wear bikinis on the beach, indeed that they have to cover up more (and MORE, and MORE) everywhere until they’re wearing body bags too.

    If the French want to remain French, or simply civilized westerners, they better figure out how to stop their society from being replaced by one that isn’t interested in western civilization.

    Unfortunately, their time to avoid a “final solution” solution is rapidly running out (as it is for most of Western Europe).

  25. Determining the France’s Burkini Ban is the Ridiculous Yet Totally Predictable Result of Legislating Morality means you have not realised cultural constructs such as clothing simply do not exist separate from the the cultural constructs which determines they will,be worn and why. Please stop skimming and look below the surface what other behaviors are inextricably linked to this clothing a morality which deserves to have any s[pace in a French equality-liberty political/social paradigm?

  26. Wearing a Burkha, burkini, is an acceptance of slavery! Islam is completely Immoral, and so the Morality issue is not relevant

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