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The veil as a test of liberty

I am watching Newsnight with my wife. Kirsty Wark does the intro – something like: “When a Syrian university bans the niqab on campus, why is Britain defending it?”

“Good point,” says Sue.

“Because we’re not bloody Syria!” I yell, “thank God!”

Glad to see a fully veiled Moslem woman interviewed in the street making exactly the same point.

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64 comments to The veil as a test of liberty

  • Valerie

    Don’t make mountains out of molehills. Banning the facial veil is not a slippery slope towards full-blown fascism, but a considered cultural statement by Western society. Do keep in mind the many european women seen as “fair game”by muslim male immigrants who have been raped because they don’t dress “properly”. People are not microwaves, HD T.V.’s or camcorders-They bring their cultural baggage with them, which affects us all for ill or good.

  • Nuke Gray

    Until a few years ago, dressing modestly was considered a sign of good manners and civility. When did it become an assault on Western Civilisation? Isn’t the west supposed to celebrate the right of the individual to live and dress according to their own tastes, within broad parameters?
    What next, banning Holloween? Who knows who’s really lurking behind those masks, after all? If this had become the law, it would have been another step to a complete nanny state!

  • Nick Timms

    I would not wish to see a ban because the state should not impose restrictions on what anyone wears.

    However, as an individual, I would not interact with a person who is hiding their identity from me. It is insulting. It is a statement by that person that they do not trust me.

    We can all babble on about cultural norms but I am not a cultural norm. I am an individual who chooses who I interact with.

  • michael farris

    “Until a few years ago, dressing modestly was considered a sign of good manners and civility”

    There is _nothing_ modest about wearing a niqab/burka in societies where that has not been the norm. It is an ostentatious display and signals contempt for that society.

    (I have no problem with hair/neck covering as long as it really is the woman’s choice, but the niqab is something else again, a relic of dead end low trust non-civil societies.

  • michael farris

    “When a Syrian university bans the niqab on campus, why is Britain defending it?”

    The thought occurs that maybe, just maybe, the Syrian government understands the niqab a lot better than the British government does…..

  • I have no problem with Niqab wearers doing their thing as long as they have no problem with my refusing to do business with them.

    B another thought does occur to me. If we don’t tolerate public nudity on the grounds of ‘public decency’, then why is the Niqab permissible? I consider it far more indecent than the sight of human genitalia.

  • Valerie

    Well Nuke, when certain ‘people’ rob banks, escape from authorities for acts of violence, explode suicide belts and carry other weaponry under niqabs, it IS an assault-and one which is politically protected by PC homilies.

  • John B

    If I wear a mask in the street I can be arrested. If I wear a niqab/burka I am acceptable because of religious/cultural sensibilities.
    I think indeed it is preferable that everyone can wear exactly what they like, including nothing.
    But I suppose some accommodations have to be made. And lets face it the niquab/burka is a very definite statement against certain “norms” of western civilisation.

  • What Nick Timms said.

    Jay:

    If we don’t tolerate public nudity on the grounds of ‘public decency’, then why is the Niqab permissible? I consider it far more indecent than the sight of human genitalia.

    It depends on what you mean by ‘tolerate’ – are you talking about laws or cultural norms? Personally I happen to disagree with you on the nudity-vs-Niqab point (I’ll take Niqab over stranger’s genitalia), but that is beside the point: people should be free to wear or not to wear whatever they please, and the rest of us should be free to not interact with them if we so choose for whatever reason.

  • ian

    Well the niqab is worn by women and to date, most suicide bombers have been men, and in the case of the Tamil Tigers or the Japanese who shot up the passenger lounge at Tel Aviv airport not even Muslim, so your point is?

  • John:

    But I suppose some accommodations have to be made.

    Yes, but they need not be legislated, as they will evolve naturally. If enough people refuse to serve you in a store or give you the time of day, pretty soon you will reconsider your appearance – or withdraw from society.

  • Ian: there were several female suicide bombers in Israel. I am almost sure though that they did not wear Niqab (it is not customary with Palestinians), so here we are.

  • @John B:
    “If I wear a mask in the street I can be arrested. ”
    Are you sure about that? Under what law? Having been stopped and searched by the police whilst wearing a mask before now they can’t even ask me to remove it unless they suspect me of being engaged in criminal activity.

    The problem with banning the niqab is the ban is more likely to be on “face coverings” otherwise it’ll achieve nothing except lots of arguments about what counts as a niqab. So that’s no masks, no shades and pollution mask for cyclists, no scarf round your face in summer etc. etc.

    Having to remove a face covering for security reasons or to establish ID is a different question – and one judging by the number of banks that ask you to remove motorbike helmets is quite easily solved.

  • Alisa

    I was talking about the legal rather than social sanctions that result from appearing nude in public.

    Honestly I find both public nudity and the niqab obnoxious but accept that my preferences on the matter should not be of consequence in a public space, provided I am not forced to interact with them

  • pete

    We can ban the burqa if we like, just like we ban fox hunting or smoking in public places. We can elect MPs who promise to reverse these rules if we see fit.

    Syria’s burqa ban has been imposed by a non-democratically elected government. The people have no say.

    That’s why ban in the UK would be more acceptable than one in Syria.

  • Syria’s burqa ban has been imposed by a non-democratically elected government. The people have no say.

    Not true: the people who issued the decree had a say. You are simply expressing a personal preference for a different (and larger) set of people to have issued the decree – I don’t see how that would improve things in the least. The democratic process is not an end in and of itself, it is just that: a process.

  • JadedLibertarian

    I don’t think we should ban anything, least of all items of clothing. From whence does the government derive the right to tell people how to dress?

    I find these ghouls swooping around the streets most disconcerting, but I would be most wary about entering into the “Ban those things I disapprove of!!” mentality that has served Britain oh so well. The government might just listen to you, if you’re the right sort of person. And where has that left us?

    No guns

    No sports days

    No child minding for friends

    No carrying Pepsi on a plane

    No cutting the grass (in the paper today)

    Need I go on?

    Instead perhaps we should remove the state from public life altogether. No equality laws, no bans, no nothing. Then private individuals on private property would be quite welcome to put up “No Burkas” on the window. The Burka would become consigned to the religious ghettos from which they emerged, since it would serve as a hinderence in non-Muslim shops. Most businessmen if given the chance would disallow the thing on their own property.

    The thing I find much more worrying about the whole thing is that the ministers are defending burka wearers, not out of respect for individual rights, but because the sentiment doesn’t sit well with them. There is no respect for individual rights in this country at all. The implication is that if the ruling class Zeitgeist were somewhere else, then they would be happy to ban… well, anything.

    Britain is a reactionary authoritarian state.

  • The entire worldis a reactionary authoritarian state. You stand corrected:-/

  • Have any of you seen the front page of the Daily Star (UK)? That seems to think the Syrians are way ahead of us…

    When I saw that Chris, I had the same reaction as you pretty much.

  • John B

    Alisa:
    Yes, but they need not be legislated, as they will evolve naturally. If enough people refuse to serve you in a store or give you the time of day, pretty soon you will reconsider your appearance – or withdraw from society.

    Yes, ma’am. But I’m sure if you refused to serve someone in your store because they were wearing a burka you would very quickly fall foul of the law.
    The problem, indeed, does go back to the artificial protections that have been erected by the law makers. Same as in all fields, such as finance, the banks, etc.
    I think we agree it would be better to simply scrap all the protections and let things find a natural balance?

    Giolla. I must now research that. I am informed that it is illegal to walk around masked. I could be wrong but had assumed the accuracy of my source.
    If, in fact, one can walk around masked, then I guess that might be a protest that could be made by those who object to the niqab and the separation it creates?

  • Indeed, John – see Jaded’s comment. As to your comment to Giolla re masks, it just goes to show the absurdity that our lives have become, when in order to stay out of trouble one has to investigate the legality of some simple act that does not harm anyone in and of itself. The mind boggles.

  • ian

    Alisa – I did say most suicide bombers.

    My point though, is that however misguided I may think the women who wear the burqa and the niqab to be, unless it can be proven that the women doing so have been coerced, I am unconvinced that this is something the state should be doing. I would be perfectly happy if banks etc, were to require wearers to remove them they do with motorcycle helmets. I suspect though that the same mentality that makes women wear them also means they don’t have independent access to bank accounts.

    To be honest, I found the huge number of priests, nuns and the like walking the streets of Knock to be as disturbing as seeing niqabs and burqas. They are all manifestations of delusional belief in my view.

  • Don’t make mountains out of molehills. Banning the facial veil is not a slippery slope towards full-blown fascism, but a considered cultural statement by Western society.

    No, that is exactly what it means. You are wrong on every level imaginable…

    …to pass a violence backed LAW dictating how someone can dress is not an artefact of western *society*, nor an expression of western ‘culture’, it is an artefact of a western *state*… to conflate the two is a horrendous error, something pointed out more than two centuries ago.

    Islamic dress is a vile expression of subjugation and I do not give a damn if the woman wears it ‘willingly’ or has delusions it someone empowers her. And yet it is her responsibility, not anyone else’s, to come to the realisation that her dress marks her being worth half that of a man (so sayeth Mohammed, PBUH, with P not standing for ‘peace’ but just about rhyming with it).

  • Personally, priests and nuns don’t bother me – even though I do agree about delusion. I am bothered by people covering their faces. The sun is blindingly bright in Israel right now and everyone is wearing sunglasses. Still, when I talk to someone for longer than just a few minutes, I try if at all possible to remove mine, and if the other person does not extend me the same courtesy, it does not speak in their favor as far as I am concerned. Some people have no understanding of the concept of civil society or of plain old civility itself, and that civility cannot be legislated or enforced.

  • RAB

    I find the Burqa deeply offensive. It is like sticking two fingers up to my whole culture. It says I may be in your world, but I am not part of it and want nothing to do with it, and you will have to accomodate me, not me you.

    Having said that, I would not ban it because I am against banning things. I just completely ignore the little brown blobbies bobbing down the High Street.

    I do not have to interact with these people, but those people who do, should be within their rights to not serve them in shops etc. One Tory MP has refused to see women wearing the veil in his constituency surgery for example. The trouble is the Law will step in and force you to serve them.

    I get very frustrated that this is not a two way street however. It is always us who has to accomodate them, and never vice versa.

    Muslim taxi and bus drivers are refusing to take blind people with guide dogs on board, on the grounds of their religion saying that dogs are “unclean” and they seem to be getting away with it, because the powers that be prefer to look the other way.

    Well I want them prosecuted or fired please, just like the shopkeeper who refused to serve a woman in a Burqa most certainly would be.

  • John B

    Besides any concern for the welfare, or not, of the person wearing the concealing garb, there is the concern of the effect it is having in the Islamification of western society.
    A friend used to do substantial business in Algeria. The comment he makes is that everyone used to go around in pretty much average western dress.
    It is only in recent years that the whole dress code has been changed as a result of militant campaigning.
    It is about changing the whole cultural balance. Further, it is very easy to be swept along quietly into cultural changes that one does not find significant as they unfold.
    We are all brainwashable.

  • pete

    ‘Not true: the people who issued the decree had a say. You are simply expressing a personal preference for a different (and larger) set of people to have issued the decree – I don’t see how that would improve things in the least. The democratic process is not an end in and of itself, it is just that: a process.

    How right you are Alisa. Some people did have had a say in the ban in Syria. It wasn’t decreed by god via stone tablets or a voice from the clouds. Most people haven’t had a say in the ban because Syria’s doesn’t allow the population to have a say about anything.

    If we in the UK ever decide to legislate for a ban that’ll be OK because we elect the people who make our laws, and anyone disagreeing with the ban would be free to campaign for its end.

  • Yes, most of us, if not all, are potentially brain-washable, but brain washing is only truly effective when it is backed by physical force or threat thereof – and guess who has the monopoly on that.

  • If we in the UK ever decide to legislate for a ban that’ll be OK because we elect the people who make our laws, and anyone disagreeing with the ban would be free to campaign for its end.

    You are wrong on two counts, Pete: firstly, it wouldn’t be morally OK, since support by majority does not necessarily ensure the actual moral (or even merely practical) soundness of the law. Secondly, once you give the majority an unchecked legislative power, soon enough that same majority legislates away the democratic process itself (is Godwin watching?)

  • John B

    Alisa.
    Mind conditioning, brain washing, meta context setting, whatever, does not need to be backed by physical force. In fact force is fairly irrelevant.
    In a social context the main requirement is the cooperation of the media and other ‘imaging’ organisations/operations/functions.
    Force can be used in some situations, sure, in subjugating people into accepting something and/or establishing a “strong horse” awareness.
    But it mainly goes around what we feel “good” about.
    Freedom is naff and social responsibility is cool, etc.

  • John B,
    You are right about the cultural shift but the burkha is the symptom not the cause. A very obvious symptom but a symptom nonetheless.

  • RW

    Without being an expert on Syria I have been there a couple of times. Once in 1980 when I was actually the closest I have ever been to a terrorist bomb (a small one in a bus station from Islamic extremists), once in about 2000 when Assad pere died and a wave of fear rolled over Damascus as civil war was on the cards over the succession.

    Far more than most countries, Syria is multicultural – a tapestry of close but distinct ethnic/cultural/religious/ language groups – with an assortment of different dress, although I saw very few people veiled.

    Keeping order in such a country is not easy and in the early 80s uder Assad a massacre of 30,000 muslim extremists took place. Draconian I agree, but the Islamic Brotherhood was a serious threat and was dealt with as such. After all, Syria has the experience of Lebanon to guide it in realising consequences.

    On my last visit I was struck by the amount of development going on, including quite a few large new mosques. This was supposedly financed by Saudis or Gulf investors who summer in Syria. Presumably this money has brought with it, as elsewhere, proselytizing for extreme Islamic views. I am not at all surprised that this time the Syrians are clamping down early.

  • Mind conditioning, brain washing, meta context setting, whatever, does not need to be backed by physical force. In fact force is fairly irrelevant.

    I think that you are very mistaken, John, and that if you take any example of a successful “brainwashing”, such as a religious conversion on a massive scale, you can be fairly certain that such a process has been backed by physical force of either a government or its de-facto equivalent.

  • Roger Clague

    I agree with “JadedLibertarian that ‘Britain is a reactionary authoritarian state.”

    However ‘that the ministers are defending burka wearers’ is not evidence of that.

    I was glad to hear a politician, Damien Green, rushing NOT to ban something, Even though I don’t like anyone hiding their face

    This is a government response any libertarian should welcome

  • If we in the UK ever decide to legislate for a ban that’ll be OK because we elect the people who make our laws, and anyone disagreeing with the ban would be free to campaign for its end.

    And if ‘we’ elect people who make laws that lock up, oh I don’t know, say… gays… jews… capitalists… kulaks… presumably your reply would be… gays, jews, capitalists and kulaks are free to campaign for its end, because after all, the law is the law, yes? The moral theory underpinning that view has a long and savage tradition.

  • Oh, and anyone in the government opposing this is to be conditionally applauded…

    …they are right to reject this vile authoritarian notion…

    …but if they opposite it because “Islamic dress is ok” then they are a horse’s arse and need to called that.

    A burqua or any item of islamic dress for women is as “ok” as a Nazi arm band… and people’s ability to wear Nazi arm bands also should not be banned, but they sure as hell should not be applauded.

  • Laird

    Apparently this same debate is going on in Canada.

    I’m a bit hesitant to step into this discussion because I’m actually quite conflicted on the issue. Essentially, I agree with the points made by RAB at July 20, 2010 01:52 PM. The “pure” libertarian position is that government should ban nothing which isn’t actually causing harm to others, people should be free to dress however they please, etc., and with this I basically agree. On the other hand, radical Islam is truly a cancer which is metastasizing in the West, and once it takes hold it seems to be irreversible. We “progressively” tolerate their point of view, and defend their right to maintain their religion and culture, but given the opportunity (and power) they don’t reciprocate; dissent against Islam is not permitted. So part of me would like to simply ban Islam outright, libertarian principles be damned.

    I will be following the rest of this thread with interest.

  • michael

    What we need is an application of common sense. Where ID is needed, you can’t cover your face. You can’t drive a car wearing a veil. If a shopkeeper declines your business – it is not discrimination. You can’t teach children or operate in a court of law. And so on. Otherwise, you can wear what you like

  • Valerie

    Ian, many male suicide bombers use the Niqab to reach their target, as women are seen as less threatening. There was also a wanted muslim male, Somalian I believe who escaped custody in the U.K. by wearing one of the garments. Just where have you been?

  • Valerie

    Giolla, In the U.S. several states have banned facial coverings because of the K.K.K.

  • Valerie

    Gee Perry, What VIOLENCE are we talking about? What is the difference between the expectation that one show one’s face for a drivers license or at a bank and that one do so in other public arenas? Laws need not be ENFORCED in order to be effective. It would certainly be preferable that no laws were needed, but what of the case of native French women forced to wear a burhka/niqab simply to safely navigate their own neighborhoods?

  • John B:

    I am informed that it is illegal to walk around masked. I could be wrong but had assumed the accuracy of my source.

    You are perfectly free to walk around masked. There are certain circumstances in which the police can demand the removal of face coverings which they believe are being used to conceal identity, but the general wearing of a face covering is not illegal.

  • michael

    Of course, we could take another approach. Make the niqab compulsorily for all Muslim women. Might spark a reaction or two.

  • Oh, and anyone in the government opposing this is to be conditionally applauded…

    …they are right to reject this vile authoritarian notion…

    …but if they opposite it because “Islamic dress is ok” then they are a horse’s arse and need to called that.

    A burqua or any item of islamic dress for women is as “ok” as a Nazi arm band… and people’s ability to wear Nazi arm bands also should not be banned, but they sure as hell should not be applauded.

    Very very well put Perry.

  • Valerie writes:

    Well Nuke, when certain ‘people’ rob banks, escape from authorities for acts of violence, explode suicide belts and carry other weaponry under niqabs, it IS an assault-and one which is politically protected by PC homilies.

    Well, I remember reports of a man wearing too much by way of a denim jacket on a summer morning.

    Best regards

  • To me, the key point seems to be to defend BOTH the right to wear the burka and the right to refuse to associate with those who do.

    At base, they are the same right: the right to order your own life as you see fit, even if others are offended by your behaviour.

  • Giolla:

    The problem with banning the niqab is the ban is more likely to be on “face coverings” otherwise it’ll achieve nothing except lots of arguments about what counts as a niqab. So that’s no masks, no shades and pollution mask for cyclists, no scarf round your face in summer etc. etc.

    Anybody who believes that a universal ban on all face coverings is a side effect, rather than the actual intention of these kind of laws, is a fool who clearly doesn’t understand the nature of the state.

    The primary concern of any state is the perpetuation and expansion of its own power. When states put so much effort into building surveillance systems to serve that purpose, the ability of the general public to operate anonymously through the use of clothing is obviously going to be undesirable to them.

    Any mention of a particular form of face covering when selling a ban is just a strategy used by the state to extract support from useful idiots, in order to achieve its underlying aim of outlawing anonymity.

  • Gee Perry, What VIOLENCE are we talking about?

    That would be the violence of the state enforcing laws on what people can wear.

    What is the difference between the expectation that one show one’s face for a drivers license or at a bank and that one do so in other public arenas?

    Huge difference. On private property or in a private business, I should be able to insist on whatever conditions I like if you want to do business with me. Refuse to remove your motorcycle helmet… or burqua? Security will eject you. Perfectly reasonable. Is it therefore reasonable to arrest people walking down the street wearing a motorcycle helmet… or a burqua? No. I support the right to keep and bear arms… however I would think it perfectly reasonable if a bank plagued by armed robberies to ask me to not bring my weapon into that bank, or to check the weapon with a member of staff for safekeeping, until I am ready to leave.

    Laws need not be ENFORCED in order to be effective.

    Highly debatable contention.

    It would certainly be preferable that no laws were needed, but what of the case of native French women forced to wear a burhka/niqab simply to safely navigate their own neighborhoods?

    What of it indeed?. If women are being assaulted or threatened for not wearing Islamic dress, then the law should not focused in preventing anyone wearing Islamic dress but rather those people committing or threatening assaults.

  • Sunfish

    Any society that needs laws to tell adults how to dress themselves is screwed.

    If I own the QwikieMart, I can refuse to let people with covered faces into the store. That’s become quite common in the US.

    In my own home, someone with a facial covering coming to the door will be invited to turn around and kick rocks.

    If someone is a member of some deranged seventh-century death cult that requires them to wear a blanket over their heads, that’s their problem. It shouldn’t be mine.

    That being said, when I have some legit official reason to compel someone to identify himself/herself, the tarp is coming off. But there’s an important difference between assuring that a given driver’s license belongs to a given driver, and worrying about what the same person is doing when she walks on the sidewalk in the absence of specific reason to intrude upon her life. Police in Minneapolis and Dearbornistan have figured this one out.

    If some Somali cabbie wants to not transport women or guide dogs, then that’s fine. All we really need is to eliminate their PUC-granted oligopoly. There will be a market for non-asshat cabbies if this becomes a problem the way it has in Minneapolis.

    And if French women need to cover themselves up to avoid being assaulted, then France needs to do a better job of jailing or shooting or deporting (or any combination thereof) violent street criminals.

  • Nuke Gray

    Laird, perhaps a strategy we could use is to preach other religions to muslims, and convert them to a better one (and I tend to think that ANY other religion would be better!)
    Valerie, most robbers are men, and in any case robbers routinely put on masks to hide their faces, so this seems a weak argument. I have not heard of people escaping by wearing a veil, but one or two escapers shouldn’t be used to justify oppressive new laws.

  • Nuke Gray

    Paul Lockett, if there is no such thing as Society, but only individuals acting together, there is also no such thing as The State, only individuals acting together. Those individuals can be persuaded to serve their own long-term interests by relaxing the grip of ‘The State’, if we offer enough positive incentives to do so. If ‘The State’ is likened to a ship, then persuading the captain to turn around is a feasible goal.

  • Laird

    Sorry, Nuke Gray, but that doesn’t help me at all, since I don’t accept any religion. (Unless you’re planning to convert them to atheism, but I don’t think that’s what you had in mind.) I’m perfectly happy to tolerate religion in others as long as it’s not forced on me. But that is precisely the problem I have with Islam: it’s not “just” a religion, it’s a complete societal code reaching into every aspect of a believer’s life, and is non-accepting of other religions and cultures. And it’s a Roach Motel: once your society has checked in there’s no checking out again. Better to exclude it entirely, to keep it from gaining a foothold. Which, of course, is completely un-libertarian, so I expect to feel Perry’s wrath shortly.

  • Endivio R

    What Natalie Solent said.

    Laird: “But that is precisely the problem I have with Islam: it’s not “just” a religion, it’s a complete societal code reaching into every aspect of a believer’s life, and is non-accepting of other religions and cultures. ”

    In other words, a religion. (Ask Torquemada.)

    “Better to exclude it entirely.”

    Counterproductive. Blood of martyrs is the best fertiliser there is. Ask any Jesuit.

    What we need – ALL we need – is a state apparatus that, when you complain that you were turned away from someone’s store on grounds of dress (or of how you make your wife dress), simply sniggers.

    “Sorry, we don’t do anti discrimination laws any more. Try the twentieth century.”

    That, or no state at all (prob. unfeasible).

  • Valerie

    I am essentially arguing from a cultural standpoint. If our ‘dear leaders’ had been more attuned to the potential problems inherent in mass immigration, we wouldn’t be having these debates to begin with. Nuke: How many people do you know that wear Halloween masks 365 days a year? Perry: Before there even was a state, laws grew out of the expected normative behaviors of a given society.

  • Nuke Gray

    Laird, your specific complaint was about islam. Even if you can’t talk to them about religion, you can set religious preachers onto them.
    And another proposal would be an entry requirement test- we only let people in if they sign a contract of tolerance. They would be free to preach their beliefs, but so should all other people, and citizens. As soon as they ACT intolerantly, we should then send them back to their country of origin.

  • Paul Marks

    In spite of my local M.P. (and friend) being opposed to covering the face on state property (such as a public street), I will not be demanding that people take off tinted crash helmets (the moment they get off their moter bikes) or remove Islamic face coverings any time soon. Although he is consistent – the example of the crash helmet is a real one, Philip will not speak to someone who comes to see him wearing a tinted crash helmet and refuses to take it off (although I can think of only one case where that has happened).

    What people do on their own property is their own affair – but once they step on state property (such as public street)……..

    Of course this is why some of us are not very supportive of the idea of “public streets” and so on.

    As for Syria – I am no fan of “Arab Socialism” (although Assad Jr is moving away from socialism – better Assad Jr than Obama), but I do not want to see the rule of the extreme Sunni “Muslim Brotherhood” either.

    And, many people tell me, that the only alternative to Assad (whose family come from a small, and rather tolerant, Shia sect – rather different from the rulers of Iran) is the extreme Islamists (in the case of Syria Sunni ones).

    Assad does not share the theology of the rulers of Iran – he is allied with them out of fear of his own people, or rather of the politically active minority of them (in Syria, as in most countries, most people just go with who ever seems to be the “strong horse”).

    Thinking about these matters should show people how misguided certain “nonconservative” notions are.

  • Does not sound effective to me Nick (and Laird). I’m with Endivio on this – that, plus no welfare.

  • What people do on their own property is their own affair – but once they step on state property (such as public street)……..

    When did public streets become state property?

  • Valerie

    I notice my last comment was not “acceptable” to the administration.

    [editor: read the dialogue you got when your comment got moderated by smitebot as that explains how it works.

    It does not give a damn what you say, it only cares if you look like spam.

    And that means if smitebot takes umbrage at some spam-like string of text, your comment gets held up until next time a moderator actually logs in and approves the queued up false positives that inevitably get stuck in the system, what with smitebot being a bot-of-limited-smarts]

  • Perry: Before there even was a state, laws grew out of the expected normative behaviors of a given society.

    So what?

    I expect ‘normative behaviours’ to preclude murder and robbery and am happy to see laws instituted to stand behind that notion… indeed this is one of the few legitimate roles of a state.

    I also expect ‘normative behaviours’ to include the use of ‘please’, ‘thank you’, ‘excuse me’ and not talking with one’s mouth full of food… are you suggesting such behaviour also be mandated with violence backed laws?

  • Rich Rostrom

    I see much of the usual theoretical libertarian claptrap.

    The hijab/niqab/burka isn’t about religious devotion, it’s about pseudo-religious fascists demonstrating their control over females, especially in the public space.

    Free-market systems don’t cope well with determined vigilantism and systematic intimidation.

  • Free-market systems don’t cope well with determined vigilantism and systematic intimidation.

    Rich, can you back this assertion with real-life examples?

  • The hijab/niqab/burka isn’t about religious devotion, it’s about pseudo-religious fascists demonstrating their control over females, especially in the public space.

    Quite so, but there is nothing ‘pseudo’ about their religions fascism…

    Free-market systems don’t cope well with determined vigilantism and systematic intimidation.

    Quite wrong. It is the regulatory state which has protected these people from the public opprobrium and discrimination that is *essential* to oppose them. In short, the problem comes entirely from the statist side…your side.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes even organized crime (in Mexico and so on) is supported by government regulations.

    For example who can stand against the gangs in Mexico? They are the only people who own firearms.

    And why is that?

    Gun control.