France

Non-Religious Fundamentalists

Secular and socially-liberal Americans are blasting the French burkini bans. Yet when it comes to spreading "tolerance" here, will we get the message?

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HANNAH MCKAY/EPA/Newscom

France's recent crackdown on a garment known as the "burkini," popular among Muslim women who want to remain modest while enjoying a swim, has accrued ample criticism from all over the world this week. But it's just one example of a wave of non-religious fundamentalism, in which the allegedly patriarchal print of Islam and other faiths must be destroyed by the righteous benevolence of public officials.

In Germany this week, a Muslim woman was fired from her government internship when she refused to remove her headscarf. In Tajikistan, a country long hostile to Islam, some officials have begun keeping lists of women who sport hijabs, the traditional head-covering worn by Muslim girls and women. "The country's staunchly secular authoritarian government disapproves of attire or grooming that would suggest supposedly radical Islamic beliefs," reports The Washington Post.

True, Tajikstan is an extreme example: its government has been known to shut down mosques at random, ban parents from giving their children Arabic names, and otherwise go hard on quashing religious expression. According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, "the government of Tajikistan suppresses and punishes all religious activity independent of state control."

But France, an allegedly liberal and democratic country, also takes a pretty authoritarian line toward religious expression. Secularity is its own sort of religion there, at least to those in power, who have banned religious symbols such as crosses, yarmulkes, and hijabs in all government buildings and public schools. More recently, some 15 towns voted to ban burkinis on public beaches.

This week, the sight of French police publicly forcing a Muslim woman at the beach to remove clothing has (understandably) drawn a lot of outrage, with many rushing to point out why such policies go against the spirit in which they're intended. This takes the state at its word on why Muslim women's garments have been banned: they're a symbol of women's ongoing inequality in some cultures. That is not the culture of France, say leaders, and hence its zero-tolerance policy for such symbols of female oppression.

It's a silly scheme for several reasons. For one, it's unlikely to make the lives of actual oppressed women any better; for those whom husbands or families force headscarves and burquas in public, a ban on these items will simply mean many Muslim have to forgo the beach and other public outings entirely. (It's also unlikely to inspire goodwill among Muslim communities already alienated from mainstream French society.) For another, it's contradictory: in the name of women's equality, France is literally forcing women to wear less clothing than they're comfortable in and passing laws that target female attire but not male.

And these policies are also hypocritical in how they define symbols of female oppression. As many, many Muslim women have pointed out, hijabs and other traditional Muslim garments don't necessarily signify second-class status, and women may choose to wear them for cultural reasons or personal beliefs about modesty. Some folks counter that the "cultural reasons" are rooted in sexism, so what difference does it make? But surely we could say the same about many women's garments, from the habits worn by Catholic nuns to the wigs worn by Hasidic Jewish ladies to the stiletto-heels and string-bikinis worn by some secular women. Certainly not every woman who dons a skimpy outfits or slaps on bright-red lipstick is doing so to please men, or fulfill cultural norms, but many are, and you don't see France rushing to ban Forever 21 or L'Oréal.

But of course this is about more than just women's clothing. France's burkini-beach-party crackdown is rooted in a geopolitical zeitgeist that includes the rise of ISIS, the influx of Syrian immigrants to Europe, and the escalation of "lone-wolf" terrorist attacks in Western cities. The battle over burkinis, hijabs, and other outward symbols of Muslim womanhood has become a proxy battle for bigger conflicts over immigration and assimilation, terrorism and state control.

Emphasis on state control, though. While feminism and fear-of-terrorism may flavor this au courant crackdown—giving liberals and conservatives alike something to latch on to—the French ban on Muslim womenswear is based in good old-fashioned authoritarianism and toxic nationalism. The start of France's opposition to Islamic head-coverings came during the French-Algerian War of the 1950s and '60s, in which Algeria gained its independence after more than 100 years as a French colony.

At various times during this era, the French undertook campaigns to "liberate" Algerian women by making them remove their headscarves and veils, something Katherine Bullock details in Rethinking Muslim Women and the Veil. The last push came during Algeria's struggle for independence, as those who wanted the area to remain a part of France campaigned to convince Algerian women they were better off under French rule. In 1958, the French army rounded up around a hundred Muslim Algerians—mostly maids, sex workers, and other poor women—and unveiled them in a public square to cries of "Vive L'Algerie francaise!"

With that, the veil took on new significance as a symbol of anti-colonialist resistence. So, does that mean veiled French Muslim women are all subversive freedom fighters? Of course not. But it illustrates nicely how the same object or article of clothing can take on different meanings in different contexts, or hold multiple meanings for the same individual. Setting our Western gaze on women in hijabs and seeing only oppression isn't some new-fangled feminist awareness, it's a perfect extension of imperialist legacies.

At USA Today, Boston University religion professor Stephen Prothero points out that the U.S. was fond of exerting the same sort of state force against Catholics not too long ago. "In the late 19th century, several states passed laws, obviously aimed at Catholic nuns, that forbade teachers from wearing clerical garb in public schools," writes Prothero. "Today, such statutes remain on the books in Pennsylvania and Nebraska, where they effectively bar not only many Catholic clerics but also Muslim women with headscarves from serving as public school teachers."

Overall, however, separation-of-church-and-state took a different path in the U.S. than it did in France from the get-go. France set out to ensure the separation by more or less banning all religious expression in the public sphere, while the U.S. (generally) went the opposite route, stipulating that the state couldn't ban any particular public expression of faith. The result, writes Prothero, is that "a spiritual free market emerged. Here the power of any one denomination would be restrained by the presence of other denominations competing for adherents in full public view."

One only need look to the story of Catholics in America to see we got it right: once an outcast, suspicious, and non-assimilating crew, Catholics are now no less mainstream in America than apple pie. It turns out that when you let people assimilate at their own pace, picking and choosing from the dominant (liberal, secular) culture and their own smaller communities as they go along, most people will eventually begin to blend the two. The process can work in reverse, as well, with a minority group shifting dominant cultural views through time and tolerance—something we've seen in America over the past few decades when it comes to same-sex relationships and rights.

The lesson here for secular, socially-liberal Americans (and one I'm afraid few progressives pillorying France right now will entertain) is not to be like the burkini banners and other non-religious fundamentalists when it comes to spreading "tolerance" in America. Just as forcing French Muslims out of their comfort zones via state force has and will backfire, attempting to eradicate the last vestiges of homophobia, speed-up the destigmatization of transgender people, or otherwise encourage compassion, acceptance, and social tolerance through government force will always be a losing strategy.

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101 responses to “Non-Religious Fundamentalists

  1. Coercion is certainly the best way to teach tolerance. Who could possibly think otherwise?

    1. I wouldn’t assume that the burkinis are being worn entirely voluntarily. I suspect that there’s a non-zero number of burkini wearers who would rather wear something else, but have been coerced (perhaps even in the narrow sense of
      “threatened with violence”) into wearing them.

      Just to keep this from getting too simplistic.

      1. That’s probably true, but even in cases where women have been originally coerced into wearing burkinis, hajib, etc., it may be that at this point they feel more comfortable with them than without them. If you’ve worn something every day for 20 years, it’s going feel really weird and uncomfortable *not* to wear it, regardless of how or why it started.

        Of course, if they want to give it a try, and brother/husband/father is threatening them into submission, that is another matter, but not one that is going to be helped by anti-burqini sweeps.

        1. This is pretty much exactly why I say that kidnap victims should be allowed to continue to live with their kidnappers.

          /sarc

          They should be able to wear petty much whatever they want including traditional garb, and I suspect a large number of their children would abandon the practice within a generation or two either way if the French can stop being French for even that long.

    2. Intolerance will not be tolerated!

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  2. ……aaaaaaaaand nothing about this is surprising. Every single ardent Atheist (TM) I know is also a hard leftist. Who needs (a) god when you have the benevolent state ready to punish your enemies?

    1. Every single ardent Atheist (TM) I know is also a hard leftist.

      So, you’ve never read a comment thread on the subject here on H&R?

      1. It has become clear over the years Zeb that my God is definitely stronger than your god.

        1. Now, now, Children, we are ALL Children of Government Almighty, so let us now join hands and sing a song of Praise Unto GAWD (Government Almighty’s Wrath Delivers)

          Scienfoology Song? GAWD = Government Almighty’s Wrath Delivers

          Government loves me, This I know,
          For the Government tells me so,
          Little ones to GAWD belong,
          We are weak, but GAWD is strong!
          Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
          Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
          Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
          My Nannies tell me so!

          GAWD does love me, yes indeed,
          Keeps me safe, and gives me feed,
          Shelters me from bad drugs and weed,
          And gives me all that I might need!
          Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
          Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
          Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
          My Nannies tell me so!

          DEA, CIA, KGB,
          Our protectors, they will be,
          FBI, TSA, and FDA,
          With us, astride us, in every way!
          Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
          Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
          Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
          My Nannies tell me so!

        2. It’s the capitol “G” that does it.

      2. So, you’ve never read a comment thread on the subject here on H&R?

        Maybe he should’ve said personally vocal? Militant?

        1. I thought that was what was implied by the capital A and the TM

          1. Yeah, that combined with ‘ardent’ I don’t know that he was describing any of the regulars here.

            1. Well, there’s always Ron Bailey I suppose but I’m not sure ‘ardent’ fits the bill there.

  3. Counterpoint: tolerance of Catholics leaves Eddie free to comment on H&R.

  4. In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.

    – Dalai Lama

    1. “Gunga galunga… gunga, gunga-lagunga.”

      -Dalai Lama

      1. So you got that going for you, which is nice.

      2. Mmmmm, you made me think about Galangal Chicken Soup!

        1. I’ve not had Galangal before. I’ll have to look for it. Sounds like something I would like. Large Asian mart by a gun range so good excuse to go make a little trip.

        2. I’ve not had Galangal before. I’ll have to look for it. Sounds like something I would like. Large Asian mart by a gun range so good excuse to go make a little trip.

        3. I prefer the Moo Goo Gai Pan in a Poo Poo Pie Pan, if’n you don’t mind, please…

  5. Here’s what’s happening.

    The French government has effectively outlawed self defense.

    And, islamists have been taking advantage of that to assault people who dress immodestly.

    In order to prevent the islamists from ‘winning’ the government is engaging in counterviolence. And, as many islamists as there are, the French governments security forces vastly outnumber them.

    It’s the same process that John said he could use to get everyone in NY city to wear a hijab, but going the other way.

    Interestingly, this is what they did in Turkey after Attaturk rose to power. It works too. After a generation, nobody misses the veil.

    1. Exactly that. Self defense issues aside, which are good ones, Elizabeth leaves out the very important. If you just read the post, you would think Muslims were totally blameless in this. They are not. If you are going to start assaulting and murdering women for not wearing a burka, you can’t really bitch when the government bans the thing to keep you from attacking women.

      And while self defense is certainly vital and would help, even if France had good self defense laws, this still might be justified. Even though people have the right to self defense, having to defend yourself from an assault is still an infringement on your freedom. Sorry but “just buy a gun and shoot them” is really not a good answer. You shouldn’t have to shoot them in the first place.

      1. “If you are going to start assaulting and murdering women for not wearing a burka, you can’t really bitch when the government bans the thing to keep you from attacking women.”

        So, douchebags start getting beat up over their Oakleys, and the proper governmental response is… ban Oakleys?

        1. No. that analogy doesn’t work. You have it backwards. Women are being assaulted for not wearing something not for having something nice. if you have a militant Islamic population who starts attacking women who don’t wear Burkas, you have three choices. You can tell women to start wearing Bur. You can start shooting Muslims who attack women. Or you can ban Burkas.

          The problem with shooting them is that the sometimes shoot back. You cant’ expect women to win every confrontation. The question is how many innocent women have to die defending themselves so Muslims can wear burkas. My answer to that is zero. So I would just ban the Burka and be done with it.

          Libertarians of course wouldn’t do that because they love Muslims even more than they love gays and trannies.

          1. How does banning the burka stop Muslims from assaulting women? They just don’t let women leave either the house or areas effectively under sharia, and continue assaulting kaffir women. Burkas are a symptom. Sharia is the disease, and disentangling sharia from Islam is like disentangling the Trinity from Christianity.

            1. disentangling sharia from Islam is like disentangling the Trinity from Christianity.

              So there is hope for them yet: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nontrinitarianism.

              1. My point was that, yes, they probably exist. No, they are not viewed as legitimate group members by the vast majority of people who identify using the same label. And unlike (modern day) Christians, Muslim express their disapprobation of heretics through execution, so the odds of them becoming a majority are slim.

                1. Well, give them time. Christians were burning anti-Trinitarians and other heretics for a long time.

                  I’m not trying to draw moral equivalence between Islam and Christianity here. The point is that we had better hope that Islam can and will grow up a bit, as Christianity did, and lose the brutal, barbaric aspects. If that’s not a possibility, then shit’s going to suck for a long time. It’s not possible to remove all Muslims from Europe, or to eliminate Islam from the world, so we’d better hope it’s possible to moderate that shit.

              2. “Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name.”

                1. Auto-formatting problem. Lose the period at the end of the link.

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nontrinitarianism

          2. “they love Muslims even more than they love gays and trannies”

            It’s close but I don’t know. Can I get a ruling?

            1. Was the Pulse nightclub shooting Islamic hate or the work of a mentally ill repressed homosexual?

              1. Trump supporter of course.

              2. Was the Pulse nightclub shooting Islamic hate or the work of a mentally ill repressed homosexual?

                I’m not sure why that is so often posed as an either/or thing.

              3. Good point! *polite applause*

          3. Libertarians of course wouldn’t do that because they love Muslims even more than they love gays and trannies.

            I know you’re probably just trolling, but come on. You can do better than that.

          4. So, no where in that rambling paragraph did you mention just make assaulting women illegal.

            Interesting choice.

      2. Sorry but “just buy a gun and shoot them” is really not a good answer. You shouldn’t have to shoot them in the first place.

        Not to mention that carrying ruins the lines of whatever qualifies as ‘not a burkini’.

    2. Whenever I see things like this I’m reminded of this movie quote;

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAXKzJzHSGg

    3. This has completely wrecked my ambition to open a religious tailor shop in Tajikistan offering custom-fitted suicide vests.

  6. “But France, an allegedly liberal and democratic country, also takes a pretty authoritarian line toward religious expression.”

    Perhaps we’re just wrong about liberalism and it isn’t really some neutral position.

  7. …Catholics are now no less mainstream in America than apple pie. It turns out that when you let people assimilate at their own pace, picking and choosing from the dominant (liberal, secular) culture and their own smaller communities as they go along, most people will eventually begin to blend the two.

    When I was starting out as an altar boy, the older servers would tell me stories of how in the early days they were expected to wear suicide cassocks and set themselves off at the most populated masses. Fortunately that meant Easter Sunday service or Christmas midnight mass, both of which times of the year our priest was too drunk to configure the bombs right so no one ever exploded. And then assimilation happened.

    1. Deus Magnus est!

      1. Deus Vult, bitches!

        1. Um…

          Deus ex machina?

          I think it means ‘Jesus built my hotrod’.

          1. Deus est auxilium

            God is my copilot

        2. Next up on the Deus Vult, Ding Feng of China. He’s one to watch, he scored a 15.7 in last year’s nationals.

    2. How did you avoid the crusades draft?

    3. My favorite Catholic story from my family. My wife is Catholic so all four (yes four, doing my part for climate change) were raised in the church. I’m an atheist (but obviously not an ardent one as I wasn’t aware there are degrees of non-belief) and figured they would find their own way when they grew up. Anyway, we went to my granddaughter’s baptism at a Methodist church where they celebrated communion. The pastor announced that they had gluten-free host for those with gluten intolerance. I leaned over to my devoutly Catholic wife and whispered, “Gluten-free Jesus”. She laughed so loud the whole service came to halt. That’s what you get when you mix religions, even if they are sects of the same faith.

      1. Okay, as some one who’s not religious myself but is sympathetic to those of a religious bent, this little story made my day. Consider it stolen. 😉

  8. Maybe it’s just their way of trying to get dirty beggars to stop moving there.

  9. And those who are too attached to the veil will find other places more welcoming than France and leave. Of course, that strategy only works if there is somewhere to go, so more effective on immigrants than natives.

  10. It turns out that when you let people assimilate at their own pace, picking and choosing from the dominant (liberal, secular) culture and their own smaller communities as they go along, most people will eventually begin to blend the two.

    I often claim that progress (cultural change) only happens generation to generation; about 20 year shifts. I think hindsight and historical record-keeping would support this in part, though not absolutely.

    It’s kind of shitty because each generation can only do so much to change the feel of society before they are the society and it falls to the next generation to adapt society to meet its new challenges.. I feel like this could tumble into a rant, but to be brief it’s like old men who fought the Japanese might never have forgiven or forgot — but the next generation who didn’t fight comes along and the dialogue changes, and then the next etc. to today where once we were enemies now we are close allies. I believe that first generation post-war could not do that — only the passing of generation was capable of such a profound cultural shift in opinion.

    1. It turns out that when you let people assimilate at their own pace, picking and choosing from the dominant (liberal, secular) culture and their own smaller communities as they go along, most people will eventually begin to blend the two.

      Current problem with Muslims in Europe is that this is exact opposite of what happened. 40 years ago they were less radicalized than 20 years ago, and it’s worse now. And the new phenomenon is ethnically French/English/whatever converts joining ISIS – they weren’t oppressed by the racist, horrible predominant culture for sure.

      1. whoops, was supposed to quote

        I often claim that progress (cultural change) only happens generation to generation; about 20 year shifts. I think hindsight and historical record-keeping would support this in part, though not absolutely.

    2. Assimilation happens but there is no guarantee which way it will go. The immigrants can assimilate you.

      1. Of course, I completely accept that cultural shifts can go in any direction but I maintain — barring certain catalysts (e.g., war can often expedite cultural shifts) — that major cultural changes in societies still take generations or decades before the shift can be clearly established, i.e., demonstrably different from the societal norms of the past.

        1. Assimilation requires co-mingling where the next generation wants and has a social need to “fit-in”. Not sure how much of that is happening in France versus keeping Muslims to their enclaves?

    3. That “eventual” assimilation is all well and good, unless non-assimilation involves the perpetuation of barbarian practices and mores that have a negative effect on citizens, or even other immigrants.

  11. It turns out that when you let people assimilate at their own pace, picking and choosing from the dominant (liberal, secular) culture and their own smaller communities as they go along, most people will eventually begin to blend the two.

    And that’s why Belgium has such an easier time!

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  13. This issue is portrayed as complex, yet, in my view, it is quite simple.

    Civil Rights are absolute and come after the individual’s freedom of choice. One may subject themselves to persecution in order to be a member of their faith (in the US; Branch Davidians, Mennonites, etc.), but should the individual seek help through police or legal channels, say in the instances of angry husbands or crazy messianic gonads, the help is provided. In majority Muslim countries and communities, that help is not provided. In my view, I believe Americans have both the Civil Rights that I have, and the integrity of their choice to be a raging, self-oppressing, idiot.

    When the “choice” provided to these women through their faith-based courts is not backed up with absolute Civil Rights advocacy, it becomes a Hobson’s choice, as they aren’t effectively choosing anything but avoiding beatings.

    1. Ding, ding. We have, if not a winner, at least more context that adds meaning to this issue.

      Which is not as simple as “hurr durr, state bad, barbarians good”.

    2. That is sadly so true.

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  15. It’s amazing how often Elizabeth’s compassion involves reaching into my wallet.

  16. “One only need look to the story of Catholics in America to see we got it right: once an outcast, suspicious, and non-assimilating crew, Catholics are now no less mainstream in America than apple pie.”

    Until quite recently, the Obama administration was trying to impose crippling fines on an order of nuns because they wouldn’t fill out some government form, in a dispute over employee “rights” to have “free” birth control.

    1. Yeah, the juxtaposition of homosexuals against the Rise of Catholicism with the former as the reverse of the latter, is as much disjointed, context-free, and nonsensical as describing the baking of cake as the opposite of starving. I particularly loathe the (continued) whitewashing in preservation of the victimocracy.

  17. “The lesson here for secular, socially-liberal Americans (and one I’m afraid few progressives pillorying France right now will entertain) is not to be like the burkini banners and other non-religious fundamentalists when it comes to spreading “tolerance” in America.”

    HAAAAA AHAHHAHA.
    To the true-believers in the power of the state, it’s never wrong to force people to agree with everything they think is right. Cause there’s no way that could ever have grave, unintended consequences.

  18. Secularity is its own sort of religion there

    Down, ENB! My pups are all “Weigeling out” on me.

  19. “One only need look to the story of Catholics in America to see we got it right: once an outcast, suspicious, and non-assimilating crew, Catholics are now no less mainstream in America than apple pie. It turns out that when you let people assimilate at their own pace, picking and choosing from the dominant (liberal, secular) culture and their own smaller communities as they go along, most people will eventually begin to blend the two.”

    That’s not entirely true. Only when they were pushed out of their enclaves in the cities (by both direct and indirect government action) did Catholics, particularly Italian ones, assimilate. That’s not to say they wouldn’t have eventually, just that the data isn’t very neat.

  20. to the stiletto-heels and string-bikinis worn by some secular women.

    Pics?
    Good article ENB. Keep the fruit sushi shaming up.

  21. The object lesson for Muslims and non-Muslims alike is DON’T DEPEND ON THE STATE TO PROTECT YOUR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM!!

    Whether you are a baker or a bather….

  22. France is literally forcing women to wear less clothing than they’re comfortable in

    But we don’t actually know what they’re comfortable in–that’s the point. There’s always someone ready to punish Muslim women for being insufficiently submissive to Allah

    To put it in SJW friendly terms, you cannot consent under duress.

    1. Your first paragraph is pretty SJW friendly too. You don’t really want to buy all that stuff. Corporations are making you do it! False consciousness!

      Not that what you say is false. I’m sure some and possibly most burkini wearers do so out of fear of violence or ostracism. But some also do it out of sincere religious belief. Do you really want to say that women can be forced to behave in a certain way because they don’t really want what they say they want? Seems like that causes a lot more problems than it solves.

    2. To put it another way, if you’re brought up from birth being told that god will smite you if you don’t wear certain clothing you’ll find that a lot of people will go along with it either way their entire lives because they don’t want to go to hell. Reference modern day Amish and you’ll perhaps see the pattern. You can debate that ‘choice’ until the cows come home but you’re going to have a really, really bad time of it. (Note that plenty of Amish kids go ‘abroad’ but usually end up coming back to the fold.)

      If the amount of immigration from those places is slow, you’ll see integration eventually but that whole ‘melting pot’ theory has been thoroughly debunked even though they still teach that horse shit in high schools and some colleges today. Go figure. Yeah, there definitely weren’t ghetto’s in New York during the whole ‘Ellis Island’ period of American history. Nah, ignore all those stories of the Irish being beaten in the streets or fleeing West! We were just melting together, you know?

  23. Good thing there’s a libertarian candidate to defend the religious. Haha- just kidding. Gary ‘Democrat Lite’ Johnson proposed a burqa ban before and thought it was totally okay for the federal to force nuns to pay for birth control.

    What a disgrace. And his enablers at Reason are a joke.

    1. Then why are you still reading Reason every day? Seriously, I’m very curious.

      1. I do appreciate a lot of the articles (like this one), I just don’t care for the ‘team mentality’ they’ve developed for Gary Johnson.

        I honestly can’t find a reason why Johnson should be considered a ‘libertarian’. He’s anti-religious liberty, pro-humanitarian wars, his running mate (who he says will be his co-president) is in favor of ‘no fly, no buy’, he’s pro-executive orders against the wishes of Congress (he says when Congress won’t act, whatever that means, and he says nothing about civil liberties.

        I don’t see how he furthers the cause of liberty.

        That’s just me. I’m just saying

        1. Compare him to the other candidates; discuss why Libertarians should vote for objectively worse candidates and abandon all hope of getting a Libertarian on the debate stage.

          1. I’m not pimpimg some other candidate (although, it can’t be denied that Trump’s seemingly anti-interventionism is far more ‘libertarian’ than Johnson’s ‘humanitarian interventionism’). All of the candidates are bad (though Jill Stein, Trump, and Castle are decidedly more ‘libertarian’ than Johnson in terms of foreign policy). If you criticize the Republicans and Democrats for playing ‘red team’ versus ‘blue team’, though, as Reason as constantly done, than you have to admit that backing Johnson (whom, I’m not sure is a libertarian as he is just a disgruntled Republican) is just like backing ‘team yellow’ (I’m not sure what color the Libertarian Party is).

            What makes Johnson a ‘libertarian’? He’s a shitty candidate through and through.

          2. What would really be gained from getting a squishy moderate, like Johnson, on the debate stage? What would he contribute to the conversation? He’s just slightly to the Right of Clinton

      2. Then why are you still reading Reason every day? Seriously, I’m very curious.

        Why do I read Reason everyday? Because I like to see their viewpoints on current events.

        I call myself a “rational anarchist”.(Heinlein) I read Slate everyday. I read AceOSpades every day. I was even reading Althouse before Reason made her cry- mostly because she has great photos. I also occasionally check out ThinkProg, BalloonJuice, InstaPundit, TPM, HotAir, can’t remember what Jerilyn Merritt’s blog is called, GatewayPundit, Kevin Drum’s blog at Wash Monthly, and whatever else looks interesting at “Memeorandum”.

        I’m supposed to agree with everything on all these blogs? Am I permitted to investigate other positions on a particular topic?

        1. This guy seems like a looter party infiltrator here to dis the candidate. Gary would do fine as a cardboard cutout offering copies of the LP’s 7-page platform. He has finally read the platform and won the nomination against a field of worse candidates. If the looter candidates were to go the way of the Calico Cat and Gingham Dog, it would suit me to see Gary get elected in addition to simply winning the election by repealing bad laws.

  24. “Just as forcing French Muslims out of their comfort zones via state force has and will backfire, attempting to eradicate the last vestiges of homophobia, speed-up the destigmatization of transgender people, or otherwise encourage compassion, acceptance, and social tolerance through government force will always be a losing strategy.”
    Um, what? Sorry ENB, but transwomen wanting to pee in the women’s room has nothing to do with “compassion, acceptance, and social tolerance”. It has to do with them peeing.

    Acting like this is all about you is kinda weird. Like the people who object to my marriage because they don’t want to talk to their ugly kids.

  25. All we really need to do here is check the applicable box:

    Who owns a French Muslim woman?
    [ ] The French State
    [ ] Islam
    [ ] Her husband
    [ ] Her father
    [ ] Her brother
    [ ] Other french women
    [ ] Feminism
    [ ] Secular values
    [ ] Other?
    [X] She owns herself

    …and if she owns herself, she has the goddamn right to wear anything she wants, for any reason she wants!

    1. Just to be contrarian: “could”* she wear nothing? Does she have that “right”?**

      *: I dislike words like “could” in this setting since it misconstrues the nature of governance… Governance isn’t about what you can can (or even worse, should) do; it’s about what others will do after you have made your choices and taken your actions. No one can stop someone from wearing a burka; what they can do is threaten that if you do, they will do X in retaliation.

      **: I also dislike reasoning in terms of “rights” except in very precise, limited situations, e.g. explicitly granted contractual rights.

      1. Yes, I believe that she has the right to go naked if she wanted to. (Of course, anyone else could be offended by that and not want to associate with her if they didn’t want to….being France though, she might get along better if she did)

        I was/am using the word “right” to mean that no one else would be morally justified in trying to stop her from non-violently using her property as she wanted to (her body, clothes, etc), and that no one would be morally justified in taking violent action against her in retaliation for doing so. I could morally refuse a naked woman from patronizing my business or (my property), but I wouldn’t be justified if I tried to grab her and force her to wear something.

        It does seem like the word “rights” sometimes gets abused, so if that’s what you mean I agree.

    2. Please check all that apply:
      [ ] Suicide vest
      [ ] String bikini
      [ ] Parka
      [ ] Wetsuit & face mask
      [ ] Ninja hood
      [ ] Just a smile

  26. I don’t disagree with anything Elizabeth has written here, but the title is misplaced… why blame “non-religious” intolerance when clearly the fault doesn’t lie either with either atheists or religious folks, but rather with Statists? The article’s title should have focused on the real problem: Statism. That it can be used either for or against religious people, atheists, etc is clear and documented. *That* is the religion that we need to fight against.

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  28. Again, culture (including religion etc) is relative. Even travelers on short overseas visits anywhere are always cautioned about cultural sensitivity, or the colloquial”when in Rome, do as the Romans do” (with reasonable discernment/universal ethics & righteousness). Or avoid best as you can, creating unnecessary conflicts arising from differences in perceptions & practices. Among migrants new to their socio-cultural environment, adaptation (less of assimilation) certainly takes time and a process. Inherent to adaptation is tolerance — a value learned from the home and the community. And intolerance is universal, neither a monopoly of a particular ideology, culture, social/economic status — as appalling & atrocious even among poor third world communities. I just come across this article “appropriate fashion for women over 50” (written by a woman) in the internet. Huh? as long as anybody’s “own” fashion does not undermine the national security and the common public good …who cares?

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  30. ENB constantly impresses me with her take on issues. It certainly was satisfying to see a historical view, especially as an antidote to the common mistake of thinking that contemporary narratives/symbols/ways of framing an issue are the ones that have always been in place.

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