A Modest Proposal: the Inverse-Burqa Law

Man is a difficult and contrary creature, who hates to do what is good, and loves to do what is bad, for him.

For example, working as a doctor in a prison I noticed that anyone who would take medicine didn’t need it, while anyone who needed it wouldn’t take it. This law had its exceptions, of course; but it often seemed to me that the only prisoners who were not taking anticonvulsants were the epileptics.

Man’s contrariness has led to a technique known as paradoxical intention, according to which a parent or therapist asks a refractory young person to do exactly the opposite of what he really wants him to do. If you want a child to speak, you tell him to shut up; if you want him to sleep, you tell him that he is not allowed go to bed. And there is surely no better method of making someone completely wooden than to tell him to act natural, to be just himself.

These considerations led me to formulate an inverse-burqa law that came to me as an inspiration when, returning briefly to France recently, I saw a report in Le Monde that Belgium has become the first country in Europe to ban the wearing of female attire that covers women up entirely like the plague doctors of the sixteenth century.

Now this is all to the good, but if adopted in Britain would not entirely solve the problem of the female dress code. For we in Britain face not only the problem of the niqab and the burqa, but the opposite problem of young women who uncover themselves far too much.