Right after the French Revolution, France abrogated its old laws making blasphemy a crime—and so Charlie Hebdo’s blasphemous depictions of Muhammad are not a crime. At the same time, France’s press laws, which date to the late nineteenth century, make it a crime to “provoke discrimination, hatred, or violence toward a person or group of persons because of their origin or belonging to a particular ethnicity, nation, race, or religion.” In other words, you can ridicule the prophet, but you cannot incite hatred toward his followers.
This complex distinction reflects modern France’s anti-clerical roots: individuals are protected, but churches and their doctrines are not. There was a powerful desire among the French Republicans to destroy the hegemony of the Catholic Church after the Republic was definitively reëstablished in 1871. This desire did not, however, extend to the creation of something akin to a First Amendment in France. Freedom of expression is mentioned prominently in the Rights of Man, but in practice it is far more restricted than in the U.S., and contains many confusing exceptions.
These kinds of exceptions, selective restrictions, and ambiguities in France’s freedom-of-expression laws have left the country vulnerable to charges of political favoritism. France might consider either a broader conception of free speech—the notion that the answer to bad speech is more speech—or doing a better job of clarifying what is allowed, and why. That it does not relates, once more, to France’s anti-clerical roots.
Last Thursday, the day after the massacre at Charlie Hebdo and the day before the killings at a kosher supermarket, teachers in many suburban classrooms were unable to impose a moment of silence in tribute to the dead. They had insulted the Prophet, the kids said, and the Gauls are not our ancestors—to parody the famous slogan “nos ancêtres les Gaulois” which has traditionally guided the teaching of history in the French education system.
When the slogan, “Not in my name!”, appeared in Britain in May 2013 in protest against the attempted decapitation of the soldier Lee Rigby in full view of passersby, there was criticism in France: Muslims should not appropriate the phrase. Why? Because they are French—religion should not become an identifying label.
All European countries, whatever their approach to immigration, are confronted today with the intricacies of multi-culturalism and the rise of populism. All European countries have to face the threat of al Qaeda and IS converting desperate youths to their cause, training them in Yemen or in Syria, before some of them go back home and vanish in to the depths of our free societies. There is no easy solution to this new phase of terrorist strategies against our democracies.
Edmund Burke was never more eloquent than when denouncing the Penal Laws that circumscribed the liberties of Ireland’s Catholics. That system, he wrote in 1792, was “as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of a people, and the debasement, in them, of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man.” This was Burke’s opinion at a time when Catholics were synonymous with subversion—didn’t they owe highest allegiance to the pope? To fearful Englishmen, “papists” were “the apex of all evil” above “all Pagans, all Mussulmen.”
Burke demanded civil liberty—“a liberal and honourable condition”—for them anyway. He was not oblivious to minority dangers, nor indifferent to public orthodoxy. But who can imagine him alongside such Islam-baiters as Herman Cain or Pamela Geller, shouting about Sharia or boasting of plans to exclude an unpopular minority from public office?
A great imposture has taken place. Whatever else the likes of Cain or Geller may be, if Burke is a conservative, they are not.
The attack on France’s satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is a horrid and barbaric response to some of worst, most unfair “criticisms” of Islam. The cartoons that depict the Prophet Muhammad are meant as a provocation, as was the ensuing massacre which left a dozen people dead. The magazine is now being lionized as a platform that’s been at the forefront of free speech guardianship. A look through its so-called satirical treatment of Muslim figures and it’s quite obvious that the outlet’s top priority when it comes to Islam is to offend and provoke—none of which are crimes, let alone offenses punishable by death. There’s a difference between having one’s expression being protected by free speech principles and actuallybeing a defender of such principles. All of Charlie Hebdo’s writings and cartoons deserve protection (even though their management has fired cartoonists before for anti-Semitism), the framework used for their (mis)interpretation of Islam is awfully similar to those used by the far right.
Houellebecq personally rejects religion in all of its available institutional forms, while at the same time feeling personally drawn to it and believing (as he puts it in the interview) that society cannot “survive without religion” and that “religion, of some kind, is necessary.” Indeed, Houellebecq suspects that France may be on the cusp of a resurgence of faith: “I think there is a real need for God and that the return of religion is not a slogan but a reality.”
Such statements make Houellebecq sound like a relatively straightforward French analogue to the millions of Americans who make up the religious right.
Comte, one of Houellebecq’s heroes, looked for salvation from the miseries of his own time (the mid-19th century) in the advent of a new “religion of humanity” that would succeed Christianity and the “abstract” character of modernity. But Houellebecq sees in all such human-centered proposals just another “philosophy handed down by the Enlightenment, which no longer makes sense to anyone.” The religion we need cannot be a religion of humanity. It must be a religion of submission to something higher or greater than mankind.
That is what makes the plot of Submission so chilling. Far from blaming the rise of Islam in France on the immigration of foreigners who impose it on their host society through terrorism or post-colonial guilt-mongering, Houellebecq paints a picture of a near future in which formerly secular men and women deliberately choose to embrace Islam.
Oh my dear Muslim world, I hear the cry of rebellion rising within you, and I understand it. Yes, you are right: Like every one of the great sacred inspirations in the world, Islam has, throughout its history, created beauty, justice, meaning and good, and it has been a source of powerful enlightenment for humans on the mysterious path of existence… Here in the West, I fight, in all my books, [to make sure that] this wisdom of Islam and of all religions is not forgotten or despised. But because of my distance [from the Muslim world], I can see what you cannot… and this inspires me to ask: Why has this monster stolen your face? Why has this despicable monster chosen your face and not another? The truth is that behind this monster hides a huge problem, one you do not seem ready to confront. Yet in the end you will have to find the courage to do so …
Where do the crimes of this so-called ‘Islamic State’ come from? I’ll tell you, my friend, and it will not make you happy, but it is my duty as a philosopher [to tell you]. The root of this evil that today steals your face is within yourself; the monster emerged from within you. And other monsters, some even worse, will emerge as well, as long as you refuse to acknowledge your sickness and to finally tackle the root of this evil!
Even Western intellectuals have difficulty seeing this. For the most part they have forgotten the power of religion – for good and for evil, over life and over death – to the extent that they tell me, ‘No, the problem of the Muslim world is not Islam, not the religion, but rather politics, history, economics, etc.’ They completely forget that religion may be the core of the reactor of human civilization, and that tomorrow the future of humanity will depend not only on a resolution to the financial crisis, but also, and much more essentially, on a resolution to the unprecedented spiritual crisis that is affecting all of mankind.
Will we be able to come together, across the world, and face this fundamental challenge? The spiritual nature of man abhors a vacuum, and if it finds nothing new with which to fill the vacuum, tomorrow it will fill it with religions that are less and less adapted to the present, and which, like Islam today, will [also] begin producing monsters.
Muslims have every right to hold on to a “sense of the sacred,” but need to abolish blasphemy laws and any notion of responding to offence with violence. The spirit of Islam is mercy: compassion must always dominate anger. Thousands of reformers in Muslim-majority societies are calling for this. Hans Kung, the Swiss Catholic priest and theologian, calls for a paradigm shift within Islam. We are in the midst of one, part of a reformation within Islam that has been happening for a century and a half since the Ottoman reforms of the mid-19th century.
Secondly, a psychology of victimhood and anti-Western hate must be overcome: this often develops in conditions of racism, discrimination and marginalisation. The victim is paranoid and seeks out cartoons to be enraged by, even though the vast majority of the public, Muslim or not, are unaware of the cartoons and ignore them. Extremist ideology spins a satirical or offensive cartoon as part of a binary, global war between Islam and everyone else.
Der typische Pegida-Demonstrant ist gut ausgebildet und aus der Mittelschicht. Zu diesem Schluss kommt eine Studie der TU Dresden – es ist die erste Untersuchung über jene Bürger, die seit Wochen in Sachsen auf die Straße gehen.
Auch wenn Pegida für “Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes” steht, scheinen sich die meisten Teilnehmer gar nicht um den Islam zu scheren. Nicht einmal ein Viertel der Befragten gab in irgendeiner Form an, ihre Teilnahme habe mit dem Islam zu tun. Die meisten gingen zu Pegida, weil sie “unzufrieden mit der Politik” und mit den Medien seien.
KÖ: Es geht allerdings nicht um den Ausländeranteil. Es geht darum, dass mit zunehmendem Anteil von Muslimen – eigentlich von einer Minderheit von diesen – immer mehr Forderungen an die Gesellschaft gerichtet werden. Auf diese Forderungen wird immer mehr eingegangen.
Allerdings gibt es in Deutschland noch viele andere Religionen, aus deren Gemeinden heraus nicht ständig Forderungen gestellt werden und die hier einfach nur ihre Religion nach ihren Vorstellungen leben, ohne andere damit zu behelligen, man möge sich doch bitte nach ihnen richten. Die sich auch nicht ständig durch irgend etwas beleidigt fühlen und sich an der deutschen Kultur auch nicht stören. Die muslimische Minderheit nimmt aber ständig Anstoß an den deutschen Gepflogenheiten und das finde ich nicht akzeptabel.
Alle können hier frei leben und tun, was ihnen beliebt. Wir wollen aber genauso weiterleben wie bisher, weshalb wir auch demonstrieren.
Conservatives who think they have found an ally in MacIntyre fail to attend to his understanding of the kind of politics necessary to sustain the virtues. He makes clear that his problem with most forms of contemporary conservatism is that conservatives mirror the fundamental characteristics of liberalism. The conservative commitment to a way of life structured by a free market results in an individualism, and in particular a moral psychology, that is as antithetical to the tradition of the virtues as is liberalism. Conservatives and liberals, moreover, both try to employ the power of the modern state to support their positions in a manner alien to MacIntyre’s understanding of the social practices necessary for the common good.
Put differently, MacIntyre’s fundamental problem with liberalism is the kind of people it produces. It would be a mistake, however, to conclude from MacIntyre’s worries about liberalism that he thinks any hope of recovering the tradition of the virtues is doomed. The subtitle of his 1999 book,Dependent Rational Animals, is Why Human Beings Need the Virtues, which makes clear that MacIntyre thinks that we are necessarily teleological beings who must learn to trust one another.
The “plain person” is the character MacIntyre has identified to display the unavoidability of the virtues. Plain persons are those characterized by everyday practices such as sustaining families, schools, and local forms of political community. They engage in trades and professions that have required them to learn skills constitutive of a craft. Such people are the readers he hopes his books may reach. Grounded as they are in concrete practices necessary to sustain a common life, they acquire the virtues that make them capable of recognizing the principles of natural law and why those principles call into question the legitimating modes of modernity.
Živimo v družbi zlagane vljudnosti. Pri nas vsi molče gledajo v tla, ko gre pijan kupec v trgovini mimo vrste na blagajno, čudak pa izpade tisti, ki pijanca pošlje nazaj v vrsto, ker mimo vrste ne more zgolj zato, ker je močan in pijan. Pri nas vsi vemo, kateri od naših prijateljev skače čez plot. Vemo tudi, kateri sodelavec krade material iz delavnice, a bomo zaradi ljubega miru molčali. V družbi, kjer ni dobro »delati zdrah«, bomo dolgo iskali Charlieja in vprašanje, ali ga bomo kdaj našli.
Če bi v tej gnili državi Sloveniji radi delali, ker to znate, zmorete in želite, vam bo to po vsej verjetnosti onemogočeno. Mnogi bi radi delali, pa ne morejo, ker:
- nimajo dovolj začetnih finančnih sredstev za s.p.,
- dopolnilni s.p. ne morejo odpreti, ker niso zaposlena oseba, študent ali upokojenec, ampak brezposelni,
- nimajo statusa študenta,
- osebno dopolnilno delo tega ne pokriva,
- avtorske in podjemne pogodbe ne pridejo v poštev (nizka socialna varnost, visoki prispevki, neprimerna oblika dela),
- ostalih ustreznih legalnih oblik dela pa ni.
Kot osebno dopolnilno delo se uradno NE šteje:
- sprehajanje psov,
- ročno izdelovanje mil, mazil in eteričnih olj,
- peka peciva, tort ipd.,
- popravljanje koles,
- obnavljanje pohištva,
- masaža, ki jo lahko kot ODD opravljate le v okviru občasne pomoči starejšim, bolnim in invalidom na domu,
- razne inštrukcije (jeziki, šolski predmeti ipd.),
- šiviljska popravila,
- popravljanje računalnikov in pomoč pri uporabi,
- in vse ostalo, kar bi brezposelni kreativni posamezniki radi in lahko vsaj občasno delali, pa legalno ne morejo.
* Po novem sistemu osebnega dopolnilnega dela, ki je prišel v veljavo 1. 1. 2015, se lahko izvajajo tudi občasne inštrukcije kot pomoč pri izpolnjevanju šolskih in študijskih obveznosti, občasno prevajanje in lektoriranje, občasno izvajanje umetniških oziroma drugih kulturnih vsebin ob zasebnih dogodkih in občasna pomoč pri oskrbi hišnih živali na domu lastnika živali, kamor sodi tudi sprehajanje hišnih živali (slednje samo ob odsotnosti lastnika hišne živali).
Torej lahko po stanovanju sprehajaš psa samo medtem, ko lastnika ni doma, ven ga pa ne smeš peljat…
Raven storitev se naglo znižuje in to je možno le zato, ker smo Slovenci izjemno nezahtevni uporabniki. Pisal sem že o raziskavi, kjer se je pokazalo, da samo devet odstotkov slovenskih podjetij zanima, kaj si uporabniki njihovih izdelkov mislijo o njih.
Torej lahko najamejo novinarja brez prakse in ga ničesar ne naučijo.
Lahko najamejo veterinarja brez dneva prakse.
Lahko na centru za socialno delo prvi dan pošljejo na teren dekle, ki je tam prek javnih del in nima pojma o pojmu.
Lahko oblikuje izdelek direktorjeva hči, fotografira njegov sin, model je pa ljubica.
Lahko je natakar vsak.
Lahko poučuje vsak.
Ne pozabite: začelo se je s tem, da ste menili, kako niso vredni plačila tisti, ki delamo skupno nadstavbo, torej ustvarjalci. In zdaj se je razširilo na vse poklice.