Roger L. Simon

The Big Simmer

Things have quieted down a bit in France. 1173 vehicles were torched last night compared to 1408 the night before. With more draconian short-run emergency powers put in by the government plus an ever-increasing police presence, it is likely (although far from certain) that things will continue to simmer down, at least for now. Of the temporary powers, one that caught my eye was “allowing police to carry out raids for suspected stockpiling of weapons.” Who was doing that? Or is it that just a precautionary measure? It would be interesting to find out.

In any case, the French are going to be dealing with all this for a long time to come. One thing I hope they do not do is roll back the legislation against wearing the hijab in state schools. The oppression of women, symbolic or otherwise, should not be tolerated in civilized society. (For the record, I feel exactly the same way about extreme Orthodox Jewish women being required to shave their heads and wear wigs after marriage. It’s morally repellent and psychologically disturbed. Clear enough?)

EVIDENTLY NOT: Sexism is as bad as racism, in fact arguably worse because it affects half of humanity. A cultural relativist might say it’s okay to allow groups who engage in these discriminatory practices to do so privately. I disagree. Follow that out in racial, rather than gender, terms and you will see what I mean. (Is it okay for discrimination against blacks to be practiced by certain groups?) That said, I guess commenter Jeff did not notice I was talking about “state schools” above. Words, again.

UPDATE: bkochba‘s (b as in bar, I assume) criticism of me below makes sense. I stand corrected. [Again?-ed. When will this ever end?] Though I still loathe all sexism. [Will you shut up?-ed. Now I will.]