Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Liberté, égalité and fraternité

Yesterday I wrote that I wanted to treat commentators in the way that I would like to be treated. I want my comments to be heard and so do they. If I don't like them telling me what I should be doing then they won't like me telling them the same thing.

The news yesterday included a report from a French parliamentary committee that recommends a partial ban on women wearing a Muslim veil in public buildings. Furthermore opinion polls suggest that a majority of the French want a full ban. I can apply the same logic from yesterday's blog to this news story. A couple of days ago I saw a nun in Lancaster. She wasn't wearing a veil but maybe some do. Then I saw two women in Muslim dress which included a veil. Would you want the same law to apply to a nun as it does to a Muslim? Would you want it to apply to you if you wanted to wear a balaclava or fancy dress mask?

I believe that the French are right when they talk about a challenge to their republic. It is not a sign of égalité or fraternité. Liberté is debatable but on the whole I would say that the individual liberté to choose to wear what you want should overide any talk of possible oppression. There are rules of uniform and safety that need to be followed. We also need to dress appropriately so that we can carry out our work or social activities, but if someone wants to cut themselves off from the rest of society, even though I disagree with them, I still don't want to be tell them what they should be wearing.

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