Banning The Burqa

In last Friday’s feedback discussion, some of our regular commenters expressed a wish for us to post more articles that ask questions instead of just giving opinions. (It seems we may have a tendency to be a bit didactic.) This is opportune because I have an issue I’d really like your opinions on. It’s the “ban the burqa” law recently passed in France.

This law went into effect last week, and makes it an offense for anyone to cover their face in public. French lawmakers claim it applies to all full-face coverings, like the ski masks and balaclavas used by criminals, but everybody knows the target population is the approximately 2,000 French women who wear the full face veil traditional in Muslim societies. Several wore their veils in public last week in defiance of the law, and have been issued fines amounting to about $300 US. Belgium and Holland are reportedly considering similar bans.

Now, this is an interesting debate. I don’t think it falls in the same category as the nonsensical “anti-Sharia” laws that have recently been passed in more than a dozen state legislatures in the US. Muslims make up about 1% of the American population. Obviously, having the Constitution and the rule of law overrun by Sharia is hardly a clear and present danger. I consider these laws popping up in state legislatures to be more an attack on the president than an effort to deal with the sinister Muslim threat to our North American courts. I also think it’s no coincidence that these laws are being passed in states where a large number of residents believe the president is a non-American Muslim.

But, like the Swiss law a couple of years ago that banned minarets on mosques within Switzerland, the French “ban the burqa” law is a symptom of a different mindset. These are the actions of societies that feel themselves to be under siege, and are a form of cultural protectiveness that people most can understand, even if they disapprove.

Are European countries really under siege by surging Muslim populations? It would seem not. There are no European nations with a percentage of Muslims rising above single digits. Part of the alarm was probably engendered by rapid growth of Muslim populations in the 1990s, doubling and even tripling in France and other countries, but those growth numbers have tailed off quite dramatically in recent years, along with the Muslim birth rate in western nations. It’s interesting to note the worldwide population of adherents to the Muslim faith is now growing more rapidly through conversion than through procreation.

So…what about this burqa law? On the one hand, Muslim women consider their hair and their faces to be an important part of their sexual selves, something to be kept private for their husbands and not displayed to other men. Most American women tend to feel the same way about their breasts. Imagine a large group of Americans settling on a tropical island where breasts are normally uncovered, and being told the American women must expose their breasts in public or face rather steep fines. Isn’t it pretty much the same thing?

And yet I can also sympathize strongly with people who feel invaded and overrun. Territorialism, protection of one’s turf, and suspicion of the Other are an integral part of human nature…a protective instinct that has evolved over countless centuries. We are also creatures with a strong sense of place and love of “home.” It is a difficult thing to see your home being changed by the Other, who comes from Elsewhere, and all the dear and familiar landmarks and traditions being gradually transformed into something that seems foreign. This can engender a deep sense of loss and grief.

My small home town was once a marketing and social hub for a group of large prairie ranches. My great-grandfather installed the first barbed-wire-fence telephone from the ranch to town over a hundred years ago, and for most of my life his original phone was displayed in the local museum. My other great-grandfather ran the town’s first stable and stagecoach service. And my great-uncle, furious over being cheated at cards, once rode his horse into the hotel lobby to confront the cowboy he was angry with. The hoof marks have been there on the pegged oak floor for all to see, a colorful part of my town’s history…until recently.

Now, because our town has a warm dry climate and lots of sunshine, it has become a market-gardening center and is heavily populated with Mexican Mennonite immigrants who have moved there to work the fields. They all wear black overalls and long print dresses, even the smallest children. They are polite, hard-working, happy people, and the little kids are adorable. But they keep to themselves and are very different from anything I knew when I was growing up. The museum where that early phone was on display is now a Spanish-German medical clinic for the immigrants. The hotel with those famous hoofprints has been transformed into a Mennonite school, and the foundations of my great-grandfather’s stable have vanished beneath an onion field.

I confess to missing all that history and familiarity. I truly don’t know which is the right approach. Should we require immigrants to become like us so we don’t lose what is precious to us? Or should we recognize all people as citizens of the same planet and welcome the diversity, recognizing change as part of life? It’s easy to make sweeping and lofty generalizations, but its different when it’s your home town…and everywhere is somebody’s home town.

So…what do you think about banning the burqa?


About filistro

Filistro is a Canadian writer and prairie dog who maintains burrows on both sides of the 49th parallel. Like all prairie dogs, she is keenly interested in politics and language. (Prairie dogs have been known to build organized towns the size of Maryland, and are the only furry mammal with a documented language.)
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89 Responses to Banning The Burqa

  1. mizunogirl says:

    If someone really wants to wear the Burka itself, I do not mind. In the US, I have never ever seen anyone wearing the full on Burqua, mostly I have seen either the Niqab or some variation of this For a distinction of the two you can look Here: http://iditis.blogspot.com/2010/05/burqa-niqab-ban-in-belgium-equality.html

    The only thing I have to say is that if anyone chooses to wear this they do have to realize that they probably are going to be subject to searches in places like airports, not so much because they are muslim, but because the outfits are very voluminous. I would think though that any nun in full habit would need to be subjected to the same searches…..
    Sadly though, I think these women are more subject to search because they are Muslim, not because of their actual large volume outfits.

    and sorry for bad punctuation. my dog is spending very personal time with me!

  2. shortchain says:

    I’ve seen plenty of people in the burka and quite a few in the full top-knot-to-toe black, with only a slit for the eyes. I treat them as they evidently wish to be treated, as nonexistent. I would only object if the family forces it on someone who doesn’t want to wear it, which is all too often, I suspect — but it does not seem the proper province of government to get involved in that other than, perhaps, to provide some community service for the victims.

    I have a question in turn. As a person of a certain age, I recall when it was not uncommon for women to wear a veil in public. That was a time-honored tradition in the west, although it has fallen on hard times in recent generations. Probably thanks to the ready availability of birth control pancake makeup. So what’s the opinion of folks here on the veil? Was it a cowardly refusal to admit a person was too lazy to put on a public face? Or a reasoned, rational desire to be more anonymous?

  3. filistro says:

    I don’t think the ban has anything to do with the veil itself. It’s the same as the minaret law… trying to ban a visible evidence of an “invading culture.” .

    It’s as if Orthodox Jews were taking over your neighborhood, so you passed a ban on hats and earlocks.

    It’s really forced assimilation.

  4. Mule Rider says:

    Aren’t there nude beaches in France?

  5. filistro says:

    Yes there are, Muley. Why do you ask?

  6. filistro says:

    shortchain.. “birth control!” LOL…

  7. Mule Rider says:

    “Yes there are, Muley. Why do you ask?”

    Seems odd to ban the display of one’s face when there are many public areas where displaying much (MUCH!!) more than that is allowable…

  8. filistro says:

    @Muley… Seems odd to ban the display of one’s face when there are many public areas where displaying much (MUCH!!) more than that is allowable…

    Indeed. In my research on this I also read a comment form some journalist who remarked that’s it’s odd for us to know exactly how many Muslim women in France wear the veil (2,ooo) but nobody knows how many Muslim women in France wear bikinis.

    I think the whole question is how rigorous a country should be about forcing immigrants to assimilate…. especially when they are doing it not through gradual acculturation but through force of law.

  9. filistro says:

    Further topic for discussion: Iran seeks to ban pet dogs.

    It seems every local government from the Middle East to the Midwest is trying to preserve its cultural norms through legislation. I think they’re probably all fighting a losing battle.

  10. dcpetterson says:

    On an historical note, during the 15th century, it was illegal in Spain to sing at the dinner table. The reason for this is that Jews sing the Seder.

    Judaism was not officially outlawed in Spain. However, there were dozens of laws preventing Jews from owning property, or engaging in commerce. etc. etc. Effectively, you could not survive, except as shoeless street beggar, if you were a Jew.

    Jews were encouraged to convert to Christianity. Many Spanish Jews went through the conversion procedure so as to be able to survive, but still retained their Jewish customs. The Catholic Church in Spain researched those customs, made lists of them, and treated them as heretical acts. One such was singing at the dinner table. This was taken as evidence that you were a heretic — that is, a Christian who engaged in heretical religious observances. Accusations of being a heretic, of course, carried the possibility of torture (to get you to confess) and death (often by burning at the stake).

    It was not illegal to be a Jew. It was simply illegal to sing at the table.

    All this led to the Spanish Inquisition. And tens of thousands of deaths.

    Today, it is not illegal in France to be a Muslim. It is only illegal to wear a burqa.

  11. parksie555 says:

    The only problem with “maintaining cultural norms” is some are clearly better than others, and while most cultures to move forward towards more enlightened behaviours, a few others appear to be stuck in neutral or reverse.

    Most Muslim societies and governments seem to favor the latter. I have no issue whatsoever with France’s actions.

    I think Winston Churchill was quite prescient with this statement over a century ago…

    “Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it.

    No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”

  12. filistro says:

    @parksie.. and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled,

    Interesting but confusing quote. Is Churchill saying here that it was Christianity or Islam that “vainly struggled” against science?

    Because nowadays (in the US at least) the former would seem to be equally true.

  13. dcpetterson says:

    parksie,

    The interesting thing about your Churchill quote is that, 500 years ago, the exact same thing could have been said abut Christianity. It was certainly a “militant and proselytizing faith” that “spread throughout” Europe by conquest and pillage, “raising fearless warriors at every step.” Christianity was (and to some extent, still is) devoutly anti-science, “the science against which it had vainly struggled.” Indeed, through most of the Middle Ages until the Italian Renaissance, science and math existed west of China only because of Islam (“algebra” is named after the Medieval Muslim mathematician al-Jibar).

    Fads come and go.

  14. parksie555 says:

    Filly, I believe Churchill was talking about Christianity struggling against science – probably referring to the whole “earth around the sun” thing.

    DC – your statement is true, but note I said most cultures tend to become more enlightened over time, and Christianity certainly has (although as you correctly note it has much room to continue to move forward in some areas).

    I don’t see the Muslim world making great strides towards general tolerance, equal rights for women, respect for other cultures, or any other sort of forward social progress. Certainly not over the last 1000 years or so.

  15. dcpetterson says:

    parksie, I disagree. My understanding of the vast majority of Islam is that it is entirely tolerant of other cultures. The strictures of Islam do not apply to non-Muslims. They are perfectly happy to allow non-Muslims to do what non-Muslims do.

    It is true that there are some proselytizing Muslims, and some intolerant Muslims, and some Muslim sects that wish to convert others to Islam. The same is true of Christianity. You cannot say there are no Christian missionaries, no Christian racists, no militant Christians.

    I have never seen a study done of the percentage of Muslims vs. the percentage of Christians who are missionary, proselytizing, or intolerant of others. I would be incredibly surprised if the percentages differed much. People are people, and they tend to, in roughly consistent numbers, misapply their faith in tragic ways.

  16. dcpetterson says:

    Here’s a factor to consider.

    Muhammad lived in the late sixth century. We are now about 1400 years into the history of Islam.

    When Christianity was 1400 years old, it was at the height of the Inquisition, its most vile and violent period of repression and murder and torture and conquest, far worse than anything I’ve seen in modern Islam.

    Perhaps religions naturally go through a sort of adolescence.

  17. filistro says:

    I’m not concerned with arguing the relative merits of the two religions. That is an issue we are not going to settle here, or in this century (or, if history is any guide) in this millennium, either.

    I am interested in whether we agree with using the force of law to force immigrants to assimilate.

    Parkise says I have no issue whatsoever with France’s actions.

    In order to be intellectually consistent (and I’ve always known you to be)… that has to mean that you also have no objection to American women being fined in Saudi Arabia if they refuse to wear a head covering. Right?

  18. WA7th says:

    I don’t often see the full burqa, but I see the full black niqab on a near-daily basis. I see them on the local bus all the time. I like to sit near them because I also like to be treated as nonexistant while riding public transportation, but my version of the burqa is to pull the brim of my hat down low and not look up.

    I’m surprised about France making their prejudice official public policy. It was not so long ago that someone was trying to turn their culture German.

    I don’t even agree that anyone should have to identify herself in any way whatsoever for interstate travel by any means, until she’s under arrest, applying for a job or official government document, or the cops have a warrant.

    Ah, the 80’s: those were the days back when the Supreme Court mostly agreed with me about having to show ID for no justifiable reason.

  19. parksie555 says:

    DC, please.

    Christian intolerance: Burn a Koran.

    Muslim intolerance: Behead someone because someone else burned a Koran.

    Christian intolerance: We don’t believe in abortion, and we are not too hipped on divorce either.

    Muslim intolerance: Stone adulterers to death

    Christian intolerance: We don’t believe in evolution and would prefer that our children be taught that the world was created in 7 days.

    Muslim intolerance: We don’t believe in Christianity and will behead infidels to prove it.

    Christian intolerance: If people in our society adhere differently to a religion than we do, it is perfectly acceptable to target them in elections based on their beliefs.

    Muslim intolerance: If people in our society adhere differently to a religion than we do, it is perfectly acceptable to target men, women, and children with suicide bombers based on their beliefs.

    Need I go on?

    The proof is in the pudding. If you can’t see that at this point in time the Muslim world is much more intolerant and violent than the West, you are being willfully ignorant.

  20. filistro says:

    parksie, please…

    All the things you cite are the actions of a tiny group of crazed fringe lunatics.

    Would you really want Christianity to be judged in other countries by the actions of David Koresh or Terry Jones… or the snake handlers down south?

  21. parksie555 says:

    Better a snake handler than a suicide bomber, I always say.

    And I love how the liberal response to every Muslim outrage is “just a fringe element”. It’s not. All societies contain fringe elements. However, what’s considered broadly acceptable within the society is what shapes the influences and actions of the fringe elements.

    There is story after story about suicide bombings in Muslim countries. Nearly every day it seems. Constant stories about stoning people to death, caning, mob violence, for minor offenses.

    The left trots out the same few stories about Koresh, and Jones, and not much else. There is just no moral equivalence, and until you can see that it will be very difficult to have an adult conversation on this subject.

    If an American woman wants to emigrate to a shithole like Saudi Arabia, then I guess she should have to wear a burqua if the local authorities demand it. A mere visitor to Saudi Arabia, no, probably not. But I am not that torqued up over it either way to be honest. Burquas are a symptom, not the real problem.

  22. dcpetterson says:

    parksie, I’ll gladly have a conversation with you on this topic another time. Let’s not hijack filistro’s thread.

    I think it is shameful for France to express its religious intolerance and fear in this way. They are playing into the hands of the tiny group of militants who want war, and are using religion as an excuse to wage it — just as did that insane American preacher who burned a Koran.

    Official governmental expressions of fear and intolerance only worsen these problems, in the same way that Gitmo and the inexcusable invasion of Iraq were powerful recruiting tools for al Qaeda. Almost as if Bush was on their payroll. I really wish people would stop providing propaganda tools to the very bullies they fear,

  23. filistro says:

    @parksie… Burquas are a symptom, not the real problem.

    What is the real problem?

  24. Mule Rider says:

    “Would you really want Christianity to be judged in other countries by the actions of David Koresh or Terry Jones… or the snake handlers down south?”

    I think parksie made it clear that Christianity and the Christians that practice it aren’t perfect in representing it as a tolerant, loving religion; no, it’s far from it as the individuals you mention as well as many others way out on the fringe no doubt give it a black eye. But any objective and reasonable person would see that right now, at this point in history, black eye for black eye, the Islamic faiths have far more than their Christian counterparts.

  25. Mule Rider says:

    “I really wish people would stop providing propaganda tools to the very bullies they fear…”

    The only propaganda on this thread is you suggesting there is some kind of equivalence between that goofy old man down in Florida burning a book and a group of suicidal thugs willing to take the lives of scores of innocents as well as their own – usually in a dramatic and horrific manner – just to prove a point.

  26. Mule Rider says:

    Tell us, dc, why do you hate Christianity/Christians?

  27. filistro says:

    @Muley… But any objective and reasonable person would see that right now, at this point in history, black eye for black eye, the Islamic faiths have far more than their Christian counterparts.

    That’s true, of course. But they also have their greatest numbers in countries so poor, oppressed and hopeless that those on the extreme fringe see no purpose in life apart form zealotry, and no hope for the future this side of Paradise.

    If they are perceived as a threat, then perhaps the best way to neutralize that threat is not to oppress them further, but to show them a vision of a society that is open, tolerant and welcoming.

  28. filistro says:

    I just found this quote from French president Nicolas Sarkozy in a recent interview.

    “If you come to France, you accept to melt into a single community, which is the national community, and if you do not want to accept that, you cannot be welcome in France.”

    That’s my question. Is this a wise policy for a nation to pursue?

  29. parksie555 says:

    Filly – Islam is the real problem, at least as it is practiced in today’s world. Nobody wants to hear it, nobody wants to say it, especially on the American left, but it is a real problem.

    The classic illustration to me is Pakistan and India. Same subcontinent, similar gene pools, similar history as a British colony. One country is moving forward, the other, not so much. Is it a coincidence which is the primarily Muslim country? I think not.

    Oh, and Filly – forgot to check in with you on Obama’s little Libyan adventure. How’s that one working out for ya? Gonna throw another 300 million dollars worth of Tomahawks at them now? Supposedly British “advisors” are on the way this week? Obama looks as amateurish at military command as he is at economics.

    Oh, and that liberal backlash in Wisconsin? Haven’t heard much from you on that since that rather embarrassing election night declaration of victory by Ms Kloppenburg.

  30. rgbact says:

    Fili-

    Its interesting. France is saying—we don’t want Muslims coming here. I’m sure their very public policy changes are meant to send a message to would be ME immigrants–go elsewhere. I still can’t figure out if its right, but I do think countries have every right to use immigration to their benefit. Somewhere immigration turned into basically throw open the doors and welcome anyone with open arms. That made sense during the cold war but I don’t see how that works in a social democracy today.

  31. shiloh says:

    Would you really want Christianity to be judged in other countries by the actions of David Koresh or Terry Jones… or the snake handlers down south?

    Timothy McVeigh

    And of course politically he was far right, but do we really want Reps/conservatives to be judged here and overseas by the actions of a true believer of the radical right.

    And don’t get me going re: religion. 😛

  32. rgbact says:

    Park-

    I ran a quick study awhile back of Islam/Christian nations and their correlation with freedom based on the Freedom Index. Think it ended up that about 70% of countries labeled not free were Muslim. Say what you will about Timothy McVeigh, but the number of countries that are predominately Christian and also repressive is very small.

  33. parksie555 says:

    rgb – Thanks, not a surprising statistic at all. I’m all for tolerance but it’s got to be a two-way street. Many on the professional left blame our support for Israel for the hatred towards the US in the Muslim world. The Israelis do make it difficult at times to support them but after all they have been through I am more than willing to cut them a little slack. They were the ones willing to roll up their sleeves and build a country out of nothing other than sheer will, grit, and determination.

    Most of the Muslim nations would rather complain about the West and throw a riot or two spiced with some suicide bombings rather than engage in serious nation-building.

  34. rgbact and parksie,
    It seems to me that you’re missing the broader point. Why was Christianity to blame for the evils of the world a millenium ago, and is not anymore? Did Jesus return and tell everyone that they had the wrong idea, and fixed it all for them? Or was Christianity not the problem in the first place? Could it possibly have been that the religion was used as an excuse for horrors inflicted upon others?

  35. filistro says:

    parksie… I don;t think the problem is “Islam” so much as it is poverty, overpopulation and oppression. You could argue, of course, that those are a product of Islam, but I don’t think so. Canada has lots of Muslims all over the place, and they are just like everybody else. Many are our dentists, surgeons and teachers. They are devout Muslims (most are Hajis because they ca n afford the trip) many wear hijab and niqab, and yet they hardly ever behead anybody.

    As to the rest of your omnibus post (you HAVE missed me, haven’t you?… ;-))

    Re: the intervention in Libya… Maybe America could have sat by and watched while Daffy slaughtered his own citizens by turning the cannons on them. There’s no way Canada could have… not after our wrenching national angst over what happened in Rwanda. So we were always going to be in favor of Canadian participation in NATO action… and we are proud of what our boys and the French, British and Americans are doing over there.

    Re: Kloppenburg… I’m thrilled at the way this turned out. If Klop had won, the unions would have been appeased and the emotion would ebb. This way, every vote Prosser casts on the SC is going to rub a bit more salt in the wounds and keep the troops fired up. Call me cynical, but I’m a political strategist and messager at heart. And I’d trade short-term victory anytime for a fired-up furious, motivated electorate (in a key swing state in presidential election year) that remains mad as hell at their Republican governor.

    Seeing those enraged union folks and garden-variety Dems swarming into Madison this past weekend to surround and drown out the Palin groupies while she was speaking… it just brought a song to my heart. 🙂

  36. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    “Tell us, dc, why do you hate Christianity/Christians?

    Mule Rider,

    Why can you not participate in didactic debate as a reasonable person?

    IOW,
    Why are you such an ass?

  37. shiloh says:

    Oh the irony …

    Many pilgrims came to America to escape religious persecution in Europe.

    People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it, making it horrible for the older people and the kids? ~ Rodney King

  38. filistro says:

    @shiloh… Many pilgrims came to America to escape religious persecution in Europe.

    You’re so right, shiloh… about that AND about the irony. Because in seeking to protect “our way of life” we are so often willing to sacrifice the very things that make our “way of life” unique… like freedom, tolerance and individual expression.

    My small town just isn’t the same place with all those new folks wandering around in long print dresses and black overalls. But if it passed a town ordinance banning long print dresses, it wouldn’t be the same colorful, free-wheeling place that once allowed a cowboy to ride his horse into the hotel lobby.

    So one way or another, you’re going to lose your old community identity. Either by allowing the Other… or by forbidding them.

  39. parksie555 says:

    Filly – Right now Quadafi is slaughtering his people. It’s just not on the teevee anymore because Obama has decided it’s not that important anymore. Anyone with half a brain could see that this is what our half-assed effort would lead to.

    And nice try on the Kloppenberg defeat. Unions and liberals gave it their best shot and were defeated. Even the Democratic mayor of Detroit is declaring war on public sector unions.

    MWeiss – Not sure why Muslim society has not developed as other societies have. Maybe it is a simple matter of “adolescence” as dc suggests above.

    Although I think that the Koran contains some more violent passages than the Christian Bible. More a message of punishment for sins than the Bible has, with it’s emphasis on hating the sin and loving the sinner.

    But I’m no scholar of either text, so who knows?

  40. Mule Rider says:

    “Tell us, dc, why do you hate Christianity/Christians?”

    To anyone concerned with this specific question that I posed to dc earlier I ask that you brush up on your history both here and at the old 538 and refresh your memory of how many times – there were literally dozens that I can remember – that dc would ask, almost always a conservative, “Why do you hate America?”

    And in chewing on that and reviewing it over and over in your head you still can’t understand the practicality of hurling him a bit of a hyperbolic question-bomb similar to what I did above, then you need help far greater than I can give you…

  41. Bartbuster says:

    Filly – Right now Quadafi is slaughtering his people. It’s just not on the teevee anymore because Obama has decided it’s not that important anymore. Anyone with half a brain could see that this is what our half-assed effort would lead to.

    He’s not slaughtering people, he’s slaughtering Muslims. Why do you only care about their rights when it gives you an excuse to drop bombs on them? Funny how your concern for their rights tends to disappear when they want to build a mosque in NYC…

  42. filistro says:

    @Muley… dc would ask, almost always a conservative, “Why do you hate America?”

    DC can speak for himself… bu I always took that to be a joke based on Ann Coulter’s constant harping about how “liberals hate America.”

    Coulter… “Even Islamic terrorists don’t hate America like liberals do. They don’t have the energy. If they had that much energy, they’d have indoor plumbing by now.”

    Speaking of the fair Coulter… she has a new book out. The title is “DEMONIC… How The Liberal Mob Is Destroying America.”

  43. Mule Rider says:

    Hey, dude, DePalma no longer hunts here so why do we have to smell your nasty ass?

    Why don’t you get the &%^# out and never come back, you warped, demented piece of shit…

  44. Mule Rider says:

    I really wish you’d change your name to Mulebuster and hound me relentlessly so I’d have a good excuse to hunt you down and slaughter you like the filthy animal that you are….

    I’m serious, though, you need to beat it…

    Amscray, Ouche-day!

  45. Bartbuster says:

    Mule, your internet tough guy act is not nearly as intimidating as you seem to think it is.

  46. parksie555 says:

    Bartbuster – Our dear leader is the one who decided to drop bombs on them. My issue with the intervention is if you decide a job needs doing (Quadafi needs to go) then go in and do it. Don’t half-ass the thing and hope the British, Italians, and God forbid the French will go in and finish the job for you.

    Obama let the bunch of halfwit academics (Samantha Power – I’m looking at you) that seems to be running the White House these days talk him into this mess and now everybody seems to be ignoring the steaming pile Samanatha and her ilk left on the Oval Office carpet.

  47. Bartbuster says:

    Bartbuster – Our dear leader is the one who decided to drop bombs on them. My issue with the intervention is if you decide a job needs doing (Quadafi needs to go) then go in and do it. Don’t half-ass the thing and hope the British, Italians, and God forbid the French will go in and finish the job for you.

    I hear ya. Why kill just a few of them when you can send an army and kill tens of thousands.

  48. Mule Rider says:

    “Mule, your internet tough guy act is not nearly as intimidating as you seem to think it is.”

    And your Bart-stalking, obsessive, boisterous, shit-talking act isn’t nearly as cute or impressive as you seem to think it is.

    You’re of the dregs of society. Get over yourself, asswad!

  49. Bartbuster says:

    Mule, I would never try to impress a low-life scumbag like you. That would imply that I care what you think.

  50. Mule Rider says:

    “That would imply that I care what you think.”

    I’m sorry. By speaking to you, I must’ve implied that I care what you think. Didn’t mean to give off that impression…

  51. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mule Rider = shining example for Christians and Christianity of all denominations everywhere.

    I purely LOVE the dichotomy between the pious, “Repent, the End is near!” Mule and the “slaughter you like a filthy animal” Mule.

    And some people actually wonder why some of us question the folks on the right.

    Seriously, Mule, you need to stop drinking and posting.

  52. Bartbuster says:

    Apology accepted. Now, bugger off…

  53. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Banning the burqa.

    Is that any less a problem than:

    banning peyote in religious ceremony?

    banning polygamy?

    and several examples here in the good old USA?

  54. drfunguy says:

    peyote in religious ceremonies is not banned in the US… at least in one church
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_Church#Federal_law

  55. dcpetterson says:

    Mule, since you’ve said you’re asking a hyperbolic and rhetorical question, I won’t bother to answer.

    For other comments — I am sensing quite the anti-Islamic sentiment, justified or not. I won’t try to sway anyone’s opinion — perhaps this sentiment is entirely justified in every way.

    Interestingly, the line that Islamic extremists use to turn peaceful Muslims into terrorists is that Christians hate / fear / disrespect them and want to oppress them. Are the extremists accurate in this assessment?

  56. Mule Rider says:

    “Apology accepted. Now, bugger off…”

    That was sarcasm, not an apology…

    Thought you might be smart enough to recognize it but I guess you aren’t…

    Why don’t you beat it, you filthy rat…

  57. Mule Rider says:

    “Mule, since you’ve said you’re asking a hyperbolic and rhetorical question, I won’t bother to answer.”

    Good! Now we know to ignore your inane, knuckle-dragging nonsense when you ask people why they hate America. Thanks for standing up and finally admitting you were being nothing more than a mouth-breathing douchebag in asking such an idiotic question.

  58. Bartbuster says:

    Mule, it’s good to see you have stopped that ridiculous “reasonable Christian” charade and are back to being an angry racist. It’s more honest.

  59. shiloh says:

    brush up on your history both here and at the old 538

    hmm, Mule’s history at the old 538 … and new 538 😛

    Oh the humanity!

  60. Mule Rider says:

    “Mule, it’s good to see you have stopped that ridiculous “reasonable Christian” charade and are back to being an angry racist. It’s more honest.”

    LOL! “Angry racist” huh? The old far-left stand-by….play the “racist” card, no matter if it even makes sense or remotely applies. I’d love to hear what instigated that little accusation….I readily acknowledge I did a little name-calling, but I fail to see anything racist about things like “knuckle-dragger,” “mouth-breather,” “idiotic,” etc. Perhaps I’m missing something, but I thought those were just standard issue insults.

    Oh, and I’d treat you with a modicum of respect if I thought you deserved any; but since you’ve proven time and again to be one of the most odious, obnoxious, vile, disgusting, demented, bitter, and hateful little trolls across the entire internet, I’ll stick to the frictious exchanges.

    You made it known long ago that you had zero interest in friendly discourse, whether it was with DePalma, myself, or anyone else, particularly of a conservative persuasion but even a fair number of people on the “sensible left,” so I’m just responding in kind.

    Basically, if you want to be treated with an ounce of respect, you have a looooooooooooooong ways to go to prove you’ve reformed and no longer plan on acticing like such a dick.

  61. Mule Rider says:

    I thought the maggots had been banned or had left permanently????

    That was the deal, right????

    Kick out DePalma from the right and then Bartbuster and shiloh would be sent packing????

    Either DePalma comes back to balance out the idiocy of those two and they can have their own flame war orgy while the rest of us have a conversation or this site goes full-fledged echo chamber.

  62. Bartbuster says:

    I’m just responding in kind.

    That’s pretty funny. Between the two of us you’re the only one with a history of threatening people.

  63. Bartbuster says:

    Either DePalma comes back to balance out the idiocy of those two and they can have their own flame war orgy while the rest of us have a conversation or this site goes full-fledged echo chamber.

    Mule, are you threatening to take your ball and go home? TFF

  64. shiloh says:

    I thought the maggots had been banned or had left permanently????

    Mule, you’re still here …

    take care, blessings

  65. dcpetterson says:

    It certainly seems as if this topic has brought out some of the most energetic and colorful language we’ve seen in a while. It seems as if it’s struck something of a chord, as if the mere discussion of this topic is a call to over-the-top responses — even to comments veering into the personal.

    Is that because it is a religious issue? Is it something that many people feel as personally threatening in some way? What deep emotion does it stir up so as to lead to nearly irrational deflections into simple name calling? If I was a sociologist, I’d be fascinated. Even without being a sociologist, I’m fascinated.

    It does make me wonder if this is the same sort of drive that leads to holy wars, Inquisitions, and various mob mentalities. If simply asking for reactions to France enacting a law that bans burqas can lead to otherwise rational discussion so rapidly degenerating into something so silly — is this a matter of human psychology, of cultural conditioning, of the particular qualities of people who post on Internet blogs? It is a recent sort of drive, or has this hair-trigger tendency toward irrationality always been part of humanity? Is it related to the question of religion, or to fears for safety (i.e., leftover reactions to 9/11) — and are “religion” and “safety” closely related in our subconscious?

    Fascinating.

  66. filistro says:

    Hey you kids… GET OFF MY THREAD!!

    Seriously… this is ridiculous. Please, go somewhere else to throw juvenile spitballs at each other. The grownups are trying to have a conversation here.

  67. filistro says:

    And speaking of grownups (and the actual topic of the thread)… poor Mitch Daniels, probably the only actual grownup anywhere in the Republican presiedential field, gets the Kiss of Death:

    From TPM: The Arab American Institute is set to honor Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) with its annual Najeeby Halaby award.

    “It’s a moment to honor our own and Mitch Daniels goes back to the founding of the institute as one of our earliest supporters. We have a community that comes with some unfortunate political baggage in terms of bigots…it’s just nice when folks are proud of their ethnic background and don’t allow that kind of politics of exclusion to get in the way,” said AAI Executive Director Maya Berry. Praising his “truce” on social issues, she added: “I think he’s been the adult in the room.”

  68. Mule Rider says:

    “Between the two of us you’re the only one with a history of threatening people.”

    And you’re the only one with a history of stalking people…

    So to put it in perspective, lots of blowhards talk about handing out ass-whoopin’s all the time; some may have issues, but most are usually just blowing off steam. You can make your own value judgement as to which category I fall in, but anyone who knows me would tell you I really just like blowing off some steam (although I would relish the opportunity for you to say some of that shit to my face).

    Anyway, not a whole lot of people go around stalking strangers on the internet. You could argue a small portion of those people may just be acting out in a strange way, but I think most people would argue that someone that goes to that kind of length has serious issues.

    So in summary, while I might talk some shit, you’re seriously ^$%@ed up.

  69. Mule Rider says:

    “Is that because it is a religious issue? Is it something that many people feel as personally threatening in some way? What deep emotion does it stir up so as to lead to nearly irrational deflections into simple name calling?”

    Don’t overcomplicate this….there isn’t some esoteric psychological explanation related to the topic at hand….just two demented assbags that have been on hiatus are now back to make us all miserable with their inane and/or vitriolic musings.

  70. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    fili,

    You note that, as soon a Mule popped up with his inanities, your entire thread was hijacked. I admit to my own culpability in responding to his idiocy, but his over-the-top insult aimed at dc was just too much to ignore.

    Perhaps it is time for a time-out for such behavior as a warning that continued provocation in the same vein will garner more a serious disciplinary action.

  71. filistro says:

    Max… I know. I just hate deleting posts… and I hate even more to see people banned. It’s hard to know what to do.

    I don’t even mind that much when the boys blow off a bit of steam, but it doesn’t have to go on so long that the entire thread gets lost. (Especially on a post like this that I put a lot of work into, on a topic I care about.)

    I just wish these guys would behave like grownups, so we didn’t have to treat them like children.

  72. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    I just wish these guys would behave like grownups, so we didn’t have to treat them like children.

    Well, when I grow up, I want to be . . .

    Actually when I was flying mongolfiers we had a popular bumper sticker:

    When I was a child, I wanted to grow up to be a balloonist.
    Then, I found out that you couldn’t do both!

  73. mclever says:

    Filistro, I think France is wrong on this. Paraphrasing what you said earlier, I think that their efforts to restrict freedom in order to enforce assimilation actually hurt their culture as much (or more) than the “invading” culture ever could.

  74. Thomas says:

    The problem with banning one form of clothing is where does it end? Skinny ties, UGGS, Justin Bieber t-shirts? Do we want government deciding what is an acceptable item of clothing to wear in public?

  75. filistro says:

    @Thomas… yes, definitely Justin Beiber t-shirts! I think hipster jeans with muffin tops would also have to go, and I’m leaning strongly against plaid loafers…

  76. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Of course, y’all got to remember that France actually has a language police in their Ministry of Culture. Can’t let them English subvert the Gallic purity!

  77. mclever says:

    I dunno, Thomas. Banning socks with Birkenstocks doesn’t sound so bad to me.

    😉

    I agree with your point. Assuming minimal standards of decency are met, specific attire shouldn’t be made illegal, especially not as a means of cultural control. Will they also outlaw saris and dhotis? What about danshikis and African gelees?

    What if Boston banned Yankees caps, because “If you come to Boston, you accept to melt into a single community, which is the local community, and if you do not want to accept that, you cannot be welcome in Boston.”

    (Dress codes at businesses are an entirely separate matter, because there’s a big difference between unwelcome and illegal.)

  78. mclever says:

    Max,

    France has a ministry of language, because someone has to keep all of the dialects straight! That’s a problem we in America simply don’t have. There are minor variations by region and sub-community, but essentially put anyone anywhere in the upper Midwest, and they can travel up to 2000 miles in any direction and still be surrounded by people who speak a mutually intelligible language.

  79. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    mc,

    I must respectfully disagree. As Prof. Foxworthy pointed out a simple invitation to dinner here in Texas can befuddle most any Yankee.

    Hey, djeet yet?
    Naw, jew?
    Naw. Yaountto?
    Awwyt.

  80. mclever says:

    Max,

    This Yankee lived in Texas for six years and didn’t have significant language difficulties. It’s still recognizably American English. Y’all just say the words a little funny. Here, we can all watch CNN and understand the language without requiring a translator.

    Not like a Gascon trying to speak with a Breton or Lorrain. They might all be *technically* speaking dialects of French, but they are so different as to be mutually unintelligible. The words are spelled differently, pronounced differently, etc. They’re almost as different from Metropolitan (official/Parisian) French as Spanish is from Italian. News from one region would require translation to be understood by the rest of the country, even though the entire country is smaller than Texas.

  81. mclever,

    Banning socks with Birkenstocks doesn’t sound so bad to me.

    Great…then everyone in the Pacific Northwest would go naked. Is that really what you want???

  82. Heikki Jähi says:

    @mclever

    Living myself in France I must admit I have rarely had any major difficulties understanding the different French “dialects” — the local languages do/did exist, but they are/were spoken by older people that had never traveled further than the next village. Anyway, TV is a powerful unifying tool. And the local newspapers are all written in standard French too.

    As for the original question here, is it a good idea to ban the burka, if I can remember correctly, in the beginning the idea was to ban any piece of clothing or anything that you can wear that is a religious message (like wearing a cross around your neck). Now whether that was a good idea to begin with, that’s yet another debate. The way things turned out here, it is plainly a law destined to make orthodox (burka-wearing) muslims less visible. Will it help “integrate” those muslim populations? Probably not.

  83. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Thank you, Heikki.

    And welcome.

  84. filistro says:

    Thanks for your post, Heikki. It’s great to hear from someone who’s actually there and dealing with the situation firsthand.

    Isn’t the Internet a wonderful thing? 🙂

    Bienvenue!

  85. filistro says:

    @parksie.. Oh, and Filly – forgot to check in with you on Obama’s little Libyan adventure. How’s that one working out for ya? Gonna throw another 300 million dollars worth of Tomahawks at them now? Supposedly British “advisors” are on the way this week? Obama looks as amateurish at military command as he is at economics.

    I’ve been brooding over this ever since yesterday, and the more I think about it the more it infuriates me.

    Those of us who ventured to complain that the Iraq mission was a huge waste and unjustified because there were no WMD, were constantly told by the right.. for EIGHT YEARS… that Saddam was a bad man who had killed his own people in the past, and the war was worthwhile to get rid of him.

    Now we have a truly bad guy who killed hundreds of Americans over Lockerbie and was actively IN THE PROCESS of turning the guns on his own people, and after ten years and a trillion dollars squandered in Iraq, the same crowd has the nerve to rag on Obama because the whole Libya thing hasn’t been ended in two weeks.

    I swear, it’s so putridly dishonest, I don’t know how you guys sleep at night. I really don’t.

  86. filistro says:

    Obama looks as amateurish at military command as he is at economics.

    Yeah right… after Dubya and the Dummies floundered around Iraq for three years before even starting to get their act together….and had the full and fervent support of the right for the whole time.

    Anybody who ever wrote anything in support of the Iraq war has no standing of any kind to say one word in opposition to Libya, and they should just STFU.

  87. parksie555 says:

    Filly, I have plenty of standing to say whatever I want. And STFU is pretty rude, even for a liberal.

    I have no problem with the idea of going to war to depose a dictator such as Quadafi.

    The problem I have is the execution. In warfare I fully believe in the Powell doctrine. Don’t go unless you absolutely need to, but if you do go, you must go to win. Incrementalism is generally a bad idea in warfare.

    Now we look foolish and weak. Now those that would potentially try to overthrow dictators in their own country see that Obama will dither and try to take the easy way out – and leave them hung out to dry.

    Take the blinders off Filly – the guy just isn’t nearly as great as all of you made him out to be. It’s OK – infatuation happens to everybody, not just liberals.

  88. Bartbuster says:

    The problem I have is the execution. In warfare I fully believe in the Powell doctrine. Don’t go unless you absolutely need to, but if you do go, you must go to win. Incrementalism is generally a bad idea in warfare.

    We dropped some bombs. We didn’t go. Problem solved.

  89. Bartbuster says:

    Seriously, we could have bombed Libya to glass from one end to the other, and everyone knows it. The idea that we look weak because we didn’t piss away huge piles of money to get rid of some dictator is moronic.

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