"All things are wearisome, more than one can say." - Ecclesiastes 1:8

Monday, May 17, 2010

Burqa blues

Hitchens argues in favour of the French burqa ban.

Norm disagrees.

I'm inclined to agree with Norm simply because a burqa ban falls into the Rosseauesque 'forced to be free' territory, which is always dodgy ground to find yourself in. There's no doubt that this whole business of women wearing a moveable tent is patriarchial in origin. And it would be naive to deny that the contemporary practice is often the same. But to insist this is always the case today is to make the genetic fallacy.

A good test of any proposed law is to ask: what happens if someone refuses to comply? Would the punishment meted out be worth it? In this case what you are talking about doing is fining women for failing to comply. And if they refuse to pay the fine, presumably a custodial sentence would be next. So you find yourself in a position where you jail women for failing to conform to a law that is supposed to be about women's freedom? It is for this reason that a burqa ban fails the test.
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