The rightly reviled ultra-nationalists of Europe, Jean-Marie Le Pen et al, are widely considered the modern proponents of fascism. This has recently manifested itself in the "exposure" of Nick Griffin to an aggressive audience and panel on Question Time. The programme may have shown Griffin up as he is, a repugnant bigot, but the political class represented on the show engaged in a display of masturbatory narcissism - forgetting about the prejudices of Parliament. Baroness Warsi conveniently forgot about the homophobic leaflets she had distributed in 2005. Let alone the way that Jack Straw fed the debate over the veil and the widespread opposition to Ghurkhas gaining British citizenship among politicians. Instead they portrayed themselves as the politically-correct, tolerant and liberal defenders of freedom and multiculturalism. We all know the horrors of fascism and the modern faces of it are no less despised.
Despite what we would like to believe about our modern politicians, it is from the political class that fascist tendencies are most likely to emerge. These tendencies will be depicted as "moderately" racist and "necessary" measures taken for national security. The Arizona immigration bill is a typical example, it came not from the American Nazi Party but it might as well have, as it stipulates that "foreign" looking individuals must carry the papers needed to prove their US citizenship. If not such individuals can face fines, arrests and even deportation. Let alone the disgraceful Berlusconian approach, which essentially encourages Italian fishermen to kill Africans trying to get to the continent by sea, and the state-sponsored torture of men picked up and accused of "terrorism" in the Middle East.
We have recently seen this theory partly confirmed as the French National Assembly has approved the banning of face-covering veils. 336 politicians voted in favour of the ban leaving only one in opposition, though the Socialist Party boycotted the vote, and the ban will go through the Senate in September. It is likely that by 2011 the veil will be banned in France and wearing it punishable by fines. The President of France, the "Rat Man" so detested by the Left, and his band of conservatives have given the bill their full support in a populist move to further perpetuate the time in power. As the spending cuts kick in, the ban will help keep the electorate on board with Sarkozy through thick-and-thin (in theory) as Muslims become a convenient scapegoat during the rough recovery.
This is a perfect instance of politicians, who are not considered extremist and are in fact liberal and politically-correct, actively cracking down on a religious minority. Out of the French Muslim population (estimated at 5 million people) around 2,000 women wear the veil. The opposition to the veil is supposedly derived from a concern for women's rights and the secular values of French society. Even though it could be argued that the bill is unconstitutional. There is no such legislation on the veils worn by nuns, but that could be because the majority of the masses are Catholic. The French government probably doesn't care about the issue, but it is bound to win over far-right votes at the next election given the delicate nature of the issue.
The logic behind the bill is to deter and prevent the subjugation of women and further integration of the Muslim community into French society. This logic is taken from liberal ideas about the equal rights and freedoms of all individuals. The penalties for wearing a veil include a fine or to be sent on a citizenship course. Notice, the assumption that if one wears a burka it is a rejection of Western culture and secular values. Paradoxically, it seems as though in a liberal society - where individuals are free to be whoever they want to be and live however they wish - the right-wing government of France expects Muslims to live according to a certain standard of "Frenchness". Naturally, not all religious groups are held to this same standard. It could be that there is a new version of the "Harm Principle" in France: you can do whatever you want so long as it is French and you do not harm others.
Unfortunately, this kind of attitude is common in European countries and we may see a similar ban in Britain. It's ironic as this ban is no better than the kind of chauvinistic legislation imposed on women in Saudi Arabia, among other places, where the veil is obligatory. Even the most simple of souls must see that it is contradictory to try and end paternalism through paternalism. Though this warped methodology is ever more common in the West. The "War on Terrorism" is a perfect instance: violence to prevent violence, terrorism to reduce the threat of terrorism. The subjugation of women in the Muslim community, or any other, cannot be resolved by further oppressing women. This should be obvious in this day and age, even to the "Rat Man" and the liberal hypocrites of Whitehall.
Sarkozy's cabinet approve ban on face veils
French Parliament approves ban on face veils
Constitutional confrontation looms over burka ban
Shopping for Burkas