In Defense of Liberty

News and Politics

The woman in the picture above was doing what a lot of us choose to occasionally partake in, relaxing on a beach, picking up a tan, and probably a bit of skin cancer. Although for this particular woman, the chances of the latter happening were admittedly limited, mostly on account of her modest choice of clothing, which incidentally is also why she happens to be surrounded by armed police. For those yet unaware, in the wake of a series of recent terrorist attacks, several towns in Southern France have imposed a ban on the so-called “burkini”, a type of swimsuit often favoured by Muslim women. Because France, the nation of Voltaire, the nation of Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, has apparently decided to become the Taliban.

Let me be clear. Whenever the argument arises, I am often the first person to voice my opposition to the burka. No matter how you attempt to spin it, it is a symbol of female subjugation originating from those parts of the world where Feminism, let’s face it, is actually needed. Sure, there are some Muslim women who genuinely prefer to cover up, but there are far more that only do it because their husband, or their government, said so.

If the burka was to disappear from the face of The Earth tomorrow, I would be a happier person for it, but how can you honestly suggest that the best way to get there is to have armed police walk around beaches, handing out fines to Muslim women and forcing them to undress. Aside from the fact that such a scenario is likely to find its way into an ISIS propaganda video, surely even a fool can see that the road to freedom cannot be paved with subjugation.

What amazes me the most is when people equate this ban with defending liberal values, seemingly unaware of what exactly liberal values are. Liberal values are not the use of taxpayer money to employ a secular French version of Saudi Arabia’s religious police. Liberal values should be a staunch reminder that not me, not you, and especially not the government, should have the power to go around telling women what they can and cannot wear. Enforcing “secular” dress codes on the beaches of Southern France is no less immoral, no less oppressive, than enforcing religious dress codes on the beaches of Iran, and this is coming from a genuinely dedicated secularist.




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