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Thread: Freedom Takes A Hit In France

  1. #1
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    While I am a firm believer that scarves should be removed for purposes of creating and verifying photo identificaion, etc, this is a tad bit ridiculous. As long as it isn't interfering with school, is tastefull, and within reason, it should be allowed.

    And the French want to lecture us?



    [url=http://www.freep.com/news/latestnews/pm18156_20040128.htm]http://www.freep.com/news/latestnews/pm181...56_20040128.htm[/url]

    French cabinet adopts bill banning Muslim head scarves in public schools

    Wednesday, January 28, 2004

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    PARIS - French Cabinet ministers on Wednesday adopted a bill to ban conspicuous religious symbols in public schools - the first step to outlawing Islamic head scarves in the classroom.

    The bill, containing three articles, goes to the parliament for debate on Tuesday.

    It stipulates that ``in schools, junior high schools and high schools, signs and dress that conspicuously show the religious affiliation of students are forbidden.''

    It does not apply to students in private schools.

    The law would forbid Islamic head scarves, Jewish skullcaps and Christian crosses, but it is clearly aimed at the Muslim head coverings.

    Conservative President Jacques Chirac, who called on lawmakers to move ahead with such a law in a nationally televised speech in December, had asked that the legislation be succinct, quickly passed and in force by the new school year in September.

    The legislation culminates 15 years of often bitter debate over the wearing of Islamic head scarves in classes, perceived as an affront to the constitutional principle of secularism that underpins French society.

    Most, but not all, public schools have observed guidelines forbidding head coverings. However, schools have been left to decide on taking action against those who flout the rules, and decisions have been made on a case-by-case basis.

    Scores of young girls have been expelled over the years for refusing to respect school rules.

    Chirac's party, the Union for a Popular Movement, or UMP, has a large parliamentary majority that is expected to approve the measure quickly. However, some party members have recently voiced dissent.

    The opposition Socialists favor a law, too. However, one Socialist official, Francois Rebsamen, said Wednesday that the party plans to seek amendments to improve the bill's ``comprehension and application.''

  2. #2
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    GOB...listen, give the french some credit as they are only being fair.

    I mean they are the biggest anti-semites in the world so why not also pick on muslim's?

  3. #3
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    [quote][i]Originally posted by Come Back to NY[/i]@Jan 28 2004, 12:56 PM
    [b] GOB...listen, give the french some credit as they are only being fair.

    I mean they are the biggest anti-semites in the world so why not also pick on muslim's? [/b][/quote]
    Hahaha.

    Well said.

  4. #4
    Agreed; it's a clumsy and vaguely prejudiced hack solution to the fact that kids over there and their fanatic parents have just as much trouble getting along with each other as people in schools here.

    Just like the ridiculous post-Columbine attempt to ban black T-shirts or trench coats from high schools in some districts here, or some idiotic school boards being unable to differentiate between voluntary private and enforced public prayer thus giving the religious right-wingers more ammo for their "activist judge" and "separation of church and state is a communist plot to destroy America" crusades.

    That said, I don't remember the French lecturing America about how it regulates fashion in its primary schools ... though since they take every shot they can, I wouldn't bet my life against it. :rolleyes:

  5. #5
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    France has a very big assimilation problem, this is part of it. They are currently 8% Muslim, and that allocation is exploding...in a few short years 1 in 4 Frenchmen will be Muslim.

    It's a problem all over Europe, actually. Their replacement rates are drastically low. They are simply becoming the minority. The replacement rates of Muslims and most third-world countries are much higher then the West. In fact, Europeans aren't even having enough kids to even replace themselves...they are shrinking!

    Abortion, greater acceptance of homosexuality and the advancements in birth control have something to do with it, but affluence and "dual-income" families do as well. This is not a moral judgement, merely a fact. Generally speaking, the combination of dual careers of spouses and a lack of religion (in the secular West) does not add up to lots and lots of children for people - they get married later (if at all) and even married couples have one or two kids, as opposed to four or five. Unless every woman has TWO children , the population has not been "replaced." (one for her, one for hubby)

    Western Culture is [b]dying[/b]. Again, in terms of simple arithmatic, not a moral or partisan point. Pat Buchanan has been talking eloquently about this for years. The USA is only marginally better than Europe and that is largely due to our high allocation of Christians, who, relative to their white, non-religious counterparts, DO have enough children. Again, not trying to start a moral or political debate - just stating facts.

    [i]"Between 2000 and 2050, world population will grow by more than 3 billion to over 9 billion people, but this ... increase in global population will come entirely in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as one hundred million people of European stock vanish from the earth. In 1960, people of European ancestry were one-fourth of the world's population; in 2000 they were one-sixth; in 2050, they will be one-tenth. These are the statistics of a vanishing race." [/i]

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    Doesn't surprise me in the least.

  7. #7
    And yet, one of the things that has made Western culture so powerful in the first place, besides the obvious "right place, right time" circumstances in terms of natural resources, IS the greater amount of freedom, open-mindedness, desire for self-empowerment/advancement, and desire to innovate that have traditionally been a driving force behind much of "Western" modernization.

    Everything has a give and take, 5ever, and though I don't dispute some of your points I disagree with the fundamental conclusion that Western Culture is "dying". There's more to culture than sheer quantity of kids being popped out. My god, you sound like one of them cultural relativists when you place things in terms of reproductive rate.

    I also disagree fundamentally that some of these "rising acceptances" are new of new creations -- goes back to the reactionary conservative view that homosexuality and feminism are purely hip urban trends created by self-loathing commies rather than concepts and desires that have existed since the dawn of humanity.

    That more people are willing to 'accept' things like this today just speaks of a culture more willing to empower and diversify itself rather than brush everything under the table for the sake of family, religion, or community. There is give and take with this, as well, of course. If everyone was always selfish and outrageous and unaccepting 100% of the time we'd all die out. But that is far, far, far from the case right now.

    I don't personally see any of these trends leading to the death of culture or traditional values, and feel really sorry for people who do (again, not calling you out 5ever since you said you weren't judging and suggesting political "cures" to the problem). Just as while I'm extremely critical of certain trends like consumerism and corporate homogenization/wallmartification of every outpost in America and beyond -- and would in fact consider it MUCH more dangerous to culture than people who choose to remain single or have less than 2.5 kids -- I don't believe they are inherently unncessary and can completely destroy society if kept in moderation. Again, give and take.

  8. #8
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    Jet Set-

    you make some valid points, but I think you aren't truly thinking about the ramifications of what the shrinking of European stock will have. Yes, obviously there is more to culture than simple numbers of children. The cultures that ARE replacing themselves rapidly are NOT as innovative, free, open-minded or modern as the West is and that will have a considerable affect on how the world is run 50 years from now, 100 years from now. Even in our own country.

    The data is out there because it exists separately from our own personal viewpoints and peccadillos. I meant it quite literally when I said Western culture is dying. We are. There is no way around that. We are simply not replacing ourselves abnd others are. We are rapidly becoming a smaller percentage of the total world population. You have heard the same stats I have - soon latinos will be a majority in America, and European whites will be the minority. The problem is even greater in Europe. Sure, this could mean that "The West" undegoes a siesmic shift in that these latinos simply become "Western" or it may not. It bears watching. But there is no argument to the contention that, as presently constituted, what we consider to be "Western people" are slowly but steadily dying out.

    I don't fully understand your cultural relativst line, to be honest.

    I also think you need to loosen up your trigger finger a bit, you seem ready to throw out the "reactionary conservative" and 'commie' lines even when they don't apply - have I honestly EVER used the word commie in any post ever?? If you do not think a growing acceptance of homosexuality has lowered the birth-rate I don't know what to tell you - the numbers don't lie. If you do not think feminism and abortion have lowered the birth rates, I don't know what to tell you. The numbers don't lie. Whether or not these things are "new" is irrelevant, the [b]wider acceptance or practice of them [/b]is what is new and that is what is germane to the argument. You are making a moral judgment about validity of this new acceptance, which is outside of this narrow issue. It's great that you like feminism and abortion and homosexuality and think that wide acceptance of them is long overdue...but they [b]are[/b] contributing to our winnowing population. Now, whether or not that matters, or de-values those things or is even a bad thing is a whole 'nother dicussion....

    Also - traditional values must mean something different to you than it does me. A wide acceptance of homosexuality is by definition a blow to the tradtional concept of "traditional values."

    I never said single people or people without 2.5 kids are "inherently unnecessary" - that is you projecting your stereotypes about conservatives on to what I wrote about. Buchanon goes into the "moral" aspect of the birthrate far too much, for my tastes. The numbers literally speak for themselves. Not everyone is able to have kids and single people have been around forever. However, there are simply more and more of them now and married couples are having far, far fewer children, it's just the truth.

    Politics cannot solve this problem (other than ending the atrocity that is abortion). I don't blame liberals for this and I thought I had made it clear in my original post that this is not a partisan topic. I am not saying our "moral culture" is dying and am certainly not blaming any designated victim group for it. I am merely stating what is indisputable - that we are 'dying' a [b]people.[/b] Perhaps if I had said the people of western culture are dying, that would have been more faithful to the point I was trying to make.

    Anyways - always a pleasure.

  9. #9
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    [quote][b]Abortion, greater acceptance of homosexuality and the advancements in birth control have something to do with it, but affluence and "dual-income" families do as well.[/b][/quote]

    Abortions and homosexuality have not increased as acceptance has. There were more abortions in this country while it was legal. Homosexuals have been around since the dawn of man. Just because you see more of them these days doesn't change the percentage between now and then. Homosexual men are of less concern since they can not conceive. Lesbians on the other hand are more and more frequently getting artificial incemination and having children despite being gay. If you want to point to a factor decreasing the birth rates among white people, the answer is in education and birth control. I consider keeping the population down as a good deed to humanity. The problem is that poorer ethnic groups do not have the same sort of education and access to birth control as we do. Bush actually sent a representative to the World Population Summit (Or whatever it's called) and denounced contraception. Thank God for the Aids epidemic in Africa or we would have an even bigger problem on our hands.

  10. #10
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    Abortions have definitely [i]increased [/i]since the Roe decision, are you nuts?

    Also - many gay men would marry and have kids in the past, nowadays they do not. Why do you also think the number of priests has declined? Not solely due to a wider acceptance of homosexuality, but that is a part of it. There has also been a considerable shift away from religion in general in this country, particularly among young people and that is also a huge part of it. But homosexuals were definitely a considerable underground population in seminaries...the so called 'Lavendar Mafia' - the church in Boston is seeing that dirty little secret exposed in recent years. My uncle joined a seminary and later quit and would tell us stories about the gay priests and their clandestine rendezvous....

    Education (and affluence) are certainly aspects, as are birth control and abortion. I don't know if I agree completely with your tired cliches about poor ethnic groups and their lack of "access" to this or that. That tune is kind of played out, don't you think?

    You are glossing over religion as if it doesn't affect this issue. Poorer ethnic groups tend to be more religious than educated whites. Just going by %'s. Being religious affects ones attitudes towards borth control and child-bearing. It is simply too easy to dismiss it with tired platitudes about "access."

    I am willing to forgive your appalling last sentence since I think I [i]understand[/i] what you mean, but that is just an awful, awful way to articulate it, dude....

  11. #11
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    [quote][b]You are glossing over religion as if it doesn't affect this issue. Poorer ethnic groups tend to be more religious than educated whites. Just going by %'s. Being religious affects ones attitudes towards borth control and child-bearing. It is simply too easy to dismiss it with tired platitudes about "access."
    [/b][/quote]

    Yes Religion is a big part of it, but it ties into what I was saying. Many religions shun birth control and sexual education, so having a decline in religious white people certainly diminishes the birth-rate. The best way to conceive is the rhythm method. (Are you trying that, you mentioned you were trying to have kids)

    [quote][b]I am willing to forgive your appalling last sentence since I think I understand what you mean, but that is just an awful, awful way to articulate it, dude.... [/b][/quote]

    I'm glad you could see I was being sarcastic. I like to get a rouse out of people.

  12. #12
    Hey, I very clearly said I wasn't calling YOU out as a reactionary since you've never suggested 'solutions' to these stats even though you quote them over and over again as problems.

    If we were going to have a long-winded anthropological discussion about the implications of population rates on "culture" and not just on ... population rates, we'd have to factor in assimilation, population density, diversity, and resources (wealth, hunger, land, etc) into the mix. Saying that there are more Latinos, Asians, or Blacks than ever in America doesn't make them "not" Western Culture; in fact, most people from those specific groups have largely integrated themselves into Western Culture the most after the 1st generation.

    I'm not trying to make this about ethnicity, and I know you weren't either, but those are the only clear conclusions you can draw from population rates alone. And with so many mixed marriages/families and greater acceptance of those in Western Culture than we had even 40 years ago, the grays will soon far outnumber the pures especially in the most "Western" societies. Pretty much every cultural anthropologist from every social stripe has admitted that in another 50-100 years more people than not will have a blurred light brown-skinned vaguely asian, vaguely latino ethnic look to them. Years of informational and travel technology accelerating has forced all of humanity to put up with each other more, and many have chosen to mix and match.

    As for a culture "dying", I've seen arguments like the ones you quote, but again: how do they account for medical science and quality of life technology allowing for longer lifespans and such? As long as the overall net population is increasing -- especially with genetic engineering coming right around the corner -- I don't see this imminent "dying out" you describe. Especially when, in diverse societies like America, there is more assimilation than ever.

    Besides hacidic Jews, Native Americans on reservations, and the more "traditional" / first-generation immigrants from Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America who choose to live in tight neighborhood enclaves, who in this country isn't completely assimilated into "Western Culture" by and large? And can you provide hard evidence that those enclave numbers are increasing? Was "American Culture" dying out 100 years ago when Irish, Italian, and German immigrants were becoming the dominant population in big cities and now consider themselves as American as people who trace their heritage back to Colonial times?

    Ask any citizen -- native or imported -- in a major Third World city if they think "Western Culture" is receding in their country. There's far more of a legit argument that the basic infrastructure and political/economic values of "Western Culture" will take over the world by sheer economic, cultural, and occasionally military force than that cultures with higher birthrates will successfully assimilate and take over "Western Culture". And at the end of the day, isn't that what all good card-carrying PNAC neoconservatives WANT? Isn't that part of why we're over "liberating" Iraq when the WMD and Oil arguments are exhausted? Hell, I can't remember the last pundit from either side of the right/left aisle who claimed sweatshops, dictatorships, and third world poverty were a GOOD thing.

    According to the CIA World Factbook
    [url=http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/us.html]http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbo...ok/geos/us.html[/url]
    The US is at 2.07 births per female as of 2003 estimates. This is higher than China, Japan, South Korea, most of Europe, Iran, Brazil, Turkey, and Russia to name a few world powers that were all between 1.5-1.9 based on the CIA factbook. It is not as high as Saudi Arabia (5.05 WOW!), Syria (3.0), Egypt (3.0), Morocco (2.8), and most countries in Africa. So, 90% of the developed world seems to be thriving with a birth rate of lower than 2.0. Is your thesis that "African Culture" or "Middle Eastern Culture outside of Iran and Turkey" is going to take over the world by sheer numbers? :blink:

    As for the ramifications of homosexuality and feminism, both of those cultural 'designations' are becoming more open to (and other people accepting their ability/right to) adopting children. If they raise an average of 2.0 (as a couple) or 1.0 (as a single) children from whatever statistic landed these babies in adoption/foster homes in the first place, are they not technically keeping the replacement rate alive and well? Singling these groups out as "lowering the birthrate" and not other realities like economic situation, personal preference, and shifting of cultural values beyond religion and sexuality just strikes me as playing scapegoat - I know it's not what you are TRYING to do, 5ever, but it sure as hell is what most conservatives intentionally do when waxing poetic about the impending Death of America. Do you honestly think queers from 50 years ago -- whether in or out of the proverbial closet -- were popping babies out like wildfire?

    We're about 100 miles from the threadstarter at this point, which is fine since it's more interesting IMO than taking potshots at the French. Can you tell I'm stuck late at work and bored? :lol:

  13. #13
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    Damn - that's a thorough and impressive response.

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