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No freedom of religion in Switzerland

by IdiotSavant Sun Nov 29th, 2009 at 05:07:10 PM EST

From No Right Turn - New Zealand's liberal blog:

Switzerland has voted in a referendum to ban minarets.  I am simply appalled.  This is an outright attack on freedom of religion, specifically the freedom of Muslims to build religious buildings, and if it was reversed and applied to e.g. church spires, people would instantly recognise this.  

The good news is that Switzerland is a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, which affirms freedom of religion.  The Convention is legally binding and enforceable on its members through the European Court of Human Rights, and it is difficult to see how the ban could survive a legal challenge.  OTOH, the Court has previously upheld a Turkish law banning headscarves, so they may simply decide that allowing Christians but not Muslims to express their faith in architecture is within the "margin of appreciation" granted to states, and effectively piss on the document they are supposed to be enforcing.

This is also a perfect example of how citizens initiated referenda can be used by a majority to victimise and oppress a minority, and a strong argument for building human rights safeguards into any system of binding referenda.  


Display:
The initiative was stupid and should never have happend, but you are wrong - muslims still can be build their religious buildings - it is not a prohibition of mosques, it is of the minarets.

A friend of mine did some research and found that it is not uncommon to build mosques without minarets.

The Muslims can still practice their faith and religion.

Despite this, I do hope that the European Court of Human Rights will challenge the law.

And as far as I know, there are also communities in Switzerland that prohibit to ring the church bells, as they are considered a nuisance by some.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Nov 29th, 2009 at 05:36:11 PM EST
it is not a prohibition of mosques, it is of the minarets.

Sure, but at the same time, it is a religiously-targeted building restriction, aimed at preventing visible symbols of a minority religion.  Which seems to violate the right to manifest one's beliefs at the most basic level.

Religiously neutral planning restrictions - e.g. noise controls (as you mention), or height restrictions (as are common in some cities to preserve their historic character) are one thing.  But this targets a specific type of building used by one religion, and on purely religious grounds.  If a Muslim-dominated country banned the construction of churches or church belltowers (as I'm sure some do), we would have no problem calling it what it is: religious discrimination.  And this is no different.  

by IdiotSavant on Sun Nov 29th, 2009 at 06:20:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
especially in light of Fran's correction above.

But you make a very good point:

IdiotSavant: Religiously neutral planning restrictions - e.g. noise controls (as you mention), or height restrictions (as are common in some cities to preserve their historic character) are one thing.  But this targets a specific type of building used by one religion, and on purely religious grounds.

Not to mention that only four out of 200 mosques in Switzerland even have minarets.  And those four do not even broadcast the call to prayer out of respect to surrounding neighborhoods.

So I agree with your charge that this vote was instituted and passed on religious grounds and for xenophobic reasons, and as you suggest and Fran agrees, the European Convention on Human Rights needs to come down hard on Switzerland for this.

La Chine dorme. Laisse la dormir. Quand la Chine s'éveillera, le monde tremblera.

by marco on Sun Nov 29th, 2009 at 08:26:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IdiotSavant:
If a Muslim-dominated country banned the construction of churches or church belltowers (as I'm sure some do), we would have no problem calling it what it is: religious discrimination.

I wouldn't waste five minutes calling it anything.

But the charge, that Idiot Savant doesn't make at all, of xenophobia, does seem to me far more important. And is the real problem in the Swiss referendum.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 08:27:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  "Not to mention that only four out of 200 mosques in Switzerland even have minarets."

   That's four too many, in my opinion.

   What about "honor killings"?  You're against those, I suppose.  Why can these be prohibited without "infringing religious freedom" while the construction of minarets may not be prohibited without infringing religious freedom?  Please explain this to me.

  "And those four do not even broadcast the call to prayer out of respect to surrounding neighborhoods."

   Why have them at all then?  Is it understood by all concerned that these minarets won't ever come to be used for such public calls to prayer?  Would you find such a "promise" credible?  

   "But this targets a specific type of building used by one religion, and on purely religious grounds."

   Uh, I bet the same law would prohibit McDonald's "restaurants" from putting up minarets on their "restaurants" in neighborhoods which have concentrations of Muslem people living there, even if it were promised that they would not be used to call people to come consume Happy Meals (tm).

    If the Paris parish concerned decided for some reason to completely dismantle Notre-Dame-de-Paris, do you think the municipal or national authorities would stand for that?  Suppose the same parish authorities decided to build a similar cathedral on a patch of ground some four or five km. from the present site of Notre Dame de Paris, would, should, the civil authorities have anything to say about it?

   

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 10:45:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What about "honor killings"?  You're against those, I suppose.  Why can these be prohibited without "infringing religious freedom" while the construction of minarets may not be prohibited without infringing religious freedom?  Please explain this to me.

In your first example, someone gets killed.

In your second example, no one gets killed.

by Upstate NY on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 05:06:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  "In your first example, someone gets killed.

In your second example, no one gets killed."

    That begs the question, which is, after all, why is the limit to your "tolerance" drawn there or somewhere else which is similar?

   Because someone gets killed?  That's your "reason"?

  So do I understand you to claim that any religious practise which results in someone being killed may be properly prohibited?  Is this your position?  You're gonna stick to this and defend it in debate with me?  Or is just a cheap-shit shot of sarcasm which is worth no more than what is shows for face-value, namely, crap?

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 05:14:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Disagree without insults, please.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 05:53:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]

 I was insulted.  Did you miss that?

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 05:59:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[ET Moderation Technology™]

Upstate NY did not insult you in any way at all. Calm down.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 06:08:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
proximity1:
Because someone gets killed?  That's your "reason"?
That seems like a pretty big reason.

For instance, just because a country votes in a referendum to institute the death penalty doesn't make it right, in my book, because innocent people will get killed.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 06:16:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't like it when people are murdered.
by Upstate NY on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 05:21:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is certainly discriminatory based on religion.

As a (weak) historical analogy, there is the 18th century Habsburg Empire. Following the last bout of brutal [but later whitewashed] Recatholisation under the reign of Maria Theresa (1740-80), his son, the enlightened absolutist Joseph II, enacted a so-called Patent of Toleration. Protestants and Greek Orthodox got the right to build churches, provided that

  1. there are more than 100 families of the given faith in a settlement,
  2. they pay for construction all themselves,
  3. the church's main door doesn't open on a road,
  4. the church doesn't have a tower or a bell.

The tower ban was circumvented with a trick applied during the earlier periods of Recatholisation, too: protestants built towers or bellfries separate from the church building.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 03:56:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - No freedom of religion in Switzerland
This is an outright attack on freedom of religion

Why is freedom of religion the freedom to build any form of religious building one may wish?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 05:15:43 AM EST
Because religion is a social practice that includes  strange buildings?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 07:14:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]

 LOL!

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 10:33:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some people seem to be making it into a feminist issue. From The Times
A right-wing campaign to outlaw minarets on mosques in a referendum being held in Switzerland today has received an unlikely boost from radical feminists arguing that the tower-like structures are "male power symbols" and reminders of Islam's oppression of women.

A "stop the minarets" campaign has provoked ferment in the land of Heidi, where women are more likely than men to vote for the ban after warnings from prominent feminists that Islam threatens their rights.

Interesting that the support for the ban closely matches the vote against giving women the right to vote in 1959, with Appenzell Innerrhoden leading in both (over 70% against minarets, 95% against women voting), and the French-speaking cantons in the West, led by Geneva, voting against the ban and for women's right to vote.

What with the ease in which they were manipulated by Bush to support the Afghanistan invasion, and now this, I'm becoming very cynical about feminists....

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 05:31:03 AM EST
 
Pontification Warning:  The following is pontification.  If my pontificating annoys you, then please, don't read the following, okay?  You were warnded.

"For 'Call to Prayer, tapez '36##', 0.38€, par minute, HT" ...

   I wasn't going to get into this.  Before I left my little room, I said to myself, "Just don't comment on it.  Others will be writing the predictable "This is horrible!" stuff, but, leave it alone."

  And here I am, commenting anyway.

   Why "appalled"?

  And why is this the case?:

    "This is also a perfect example of how citizens initiated referenda can be used by a majority to victimise and oppress a minority, and a strong argument for building human rights safeguards into any system of binding referenda.

    Questions:

   Was the referendum issue a legitimate matter on which a majority might vote and determine the issue's outcome?  If not, why not?  Have you thought carefully about this issue?

   Why does the minaret ban necessarily constitute a "slap in the face"  "to Islam"?  Does "Islam" even have a  "face"?

   What were the minarets supposed to be for?, merely an architectural flourish or something more practical, as in the platform from which to issue Islam's traditional "calls to prayer"?

   If it's the latter, then I'd like to ask all those who are outraged at this vote's outcome how each of you would like to live in ear-shot of such a thing.  Tell us honestly.  By the way, my little room is on the other side of a thin wall.  Every weekday (Saturdays included), my neighbor, whose shop is on the other side of that wall, against which my bed sits, comes in at between nine and ten a.m. and the very first thing he does every morning, like clock-work, is to put on a scratchy recording of a voice---the voice sings a prayer in Arabic. It's always the same prayer, the same portion of the same prayer, and it runs mechanically for about a minute or, usually, even less than a minute.  This has been my daily wake-up ritual (on the frequent days when I'm still in bed at 9 or 10 a.m.) for well near nine years.

  And I really get along fine with this neighbor.  He's quiet, modest, reserved in every way.  In the nine years I've lived on the other side of the wall from his little shop, I've never had occasion to dispute with him about anything.  He is outwardly completely "Western" in appearance and in habits.  I noted long ago that he even goes about doing other things while the prayer recording is running.  Then, he switches it off and goes about opening his shop for the day.  Though, if I had my personal preference, I dispense with having to listen to this each weekday morning, it has never provoked in me the urge to move out just to get away from it.  With all that said, I would, at the same time, be very much opposed to the construction of a minaret in my neighborhood.  I'd defintitely vote against it.  And that would not be because I wanted to issue a "slap in the face" to "Islam".  As I do with ALL religions without exeception, I consider Islam as an institution an obscurantist and obnoxious relic of ancient superstitions which we'd be better off leaving in the past.  But, on a personal level, I have nothing but goodwill and kind regard for my Islamic neighbor and I'd never choose to offend him for any reason if there was any way I could avoid that.  He's a nice guy who NEVER bothers anyone and minds his own business, literally and figuratively.  In the few occasions when we've discussed current affairs, he's always expressed a clearly liberal and tolerant view of political life, and shown ordinary contempt for extremists of whatever stripe.

   On the Swiss referendum, I believe the Swiss not only had every good right to pronounce on this issue, but, moreover, their choice was entirely defensible without having to resort to absurd claims that it shows unmistakably that extreme right-wing reactionary views are in vogue there.  In my view, a majority can choose to prohibit the construction of minarets without necessarily being religiously intolerant.  Their motives are explainable by other very reasonable grounds: a desire to keep the public square free of yet another intrusion by religious practise which, in the present case, is not even one which springs native to the soil of Switzerland.  

   Questions continued:

   Are you Muslem and living in Switzerland?  Except in the case that you happen to have been born in Switzerland in a "Muslem family" (that is, one in which Islam is the family's religious practice), you came to Switzerland as a Muslem  or you converted to it.  

In either case, I ask: were you aware before immigrating or converting that Islam is not the prevalent religion in Switzerland?  Have you noticed the nation's flag?  It bears a white cross on a red field.  Why do you suppose that is?

   Why, after all, did you come to Switzerland in the first place (or convert to Islam and remain in Switzerland) if your ambition was or is to live a mode of religious life which includes a society where minarets and calls to the mosque are the norm?  If that is so important to you, why not leave Switzerland and go to any of the numerous places in the world where such is the habit?

   I suspect that one reason that you either came to Switzerland in the first place (as a Muslem) or choose to remain there is that the society is relatively blessed with a degree of civic peace and tolerance for opinion that is markedly more narrow in most if not all other nations where Islam is the state-approved (if not imposed) religion.  Now: who's forcing you to remain there?

   Are you aware that in some Muslem societies, women are obliged to wear a chador or other religiously approved garb and, if found in public wearing anything else, are subject to arrest, beatings and other punishments?  If that is the sort of society that you approve, please, demonstrate that by leaving a relative haven of tolerance that is Switzerland and go live in such an oppressive society.  Or, failing that, please spare me the sermons about how the Swiss are fascistic, right-wing oppressors of religious freedoms, etc.

   And, please note: from the time of the European Enlightenment, religious freedom has been understood to mean freedom of conscience.  It's premised on the understanding that it is vile and inhumane to use coercive force to dictate to others what they shall believe and profess religiously, philosophically and morally beyond a few very core moral principles which all are held to respect: to refrain from causing the unwarranted death or injury to any other, etc.

    The construction of minarets does not constitute any core principle of basic religious freedom.  Islam has and does continue without such architectural flourishes.  And, in modern-day Switzerland, if you want to call one or one million people to prayer, you can do that using a computer and a call-list of telephone numbers.  Had these been available in the century when minarets were first being built, instead of minarets, everyone's cell-phone would commence ringing at the appointed hour, calling them all to prayer.

   How'd you like that?--- to have hundreds of people's cell phones start ringing aloud around you at each of five times a day, calling them to prayer---would you find that just fine?  

   In some places, practising "Islam," as it is known there, also includes such things as "honor killings" of women and a host of other chatiments all believed to be required by Islamic law.  Are those to be admitted in the same absurd name of "religious freedom"?  Of course not.

   This whole tempest-in-a-teapot is a ridiculous bit of nonsense dreamed up and driven by the hopelessly confused and deluded who imagine that they are protecting, defending and advancing something socially useful in the way or religious freedom and tolerance.   Well, that is simply hogwash.  Muslems are free to worship in their mosques in Switzerland today just as they were yesterday.

   The building and use of a minaret is not any essential part of religious freedom.  It's a matter which concerns the use or abuse of the public square, a matter about which a democratic referendum is preeminently proper for determining the issue.  In distant times past, the matter would have been determined without public debate or consultation, and determined by and in the favor of ruling religious authorities with a preordained outcome:  the Cathedral, the Synagogue, the Mosque, with their spires, or other architectural trappings, would be built, period.  And the views of the common public, living under the yoke of an imposed "faith"---or even one which was accepted without thought or question---would not make a damn's worth of difference to those authorities.  

   A minaret is a physical manifestation of what was in another more ancient time, the use of religious power over societies of men and women.  When the call to prayer went out, was there the slightest freedom to choose to heed it or not?  (That's another question for you, our "defenders of religious freedom".)

   Today, there is, at least in Switzerland and in most or all of what's commonly thought of as civilized Western Europe.  The fact that this is the case is only thanks to centuries of political struggle to win certain insights into what constitutes real political and religious freedom and tolerance and what social progress should be understood to mean.

   To now begin to construct minarets anywhere in Europe is a gross and flagrant step backwards, gross and flagrant failure to understand what was learned only with repeated hard and suffering struggle.

   Yesterday's vote was a confirmation of democratic practise, one which would never have been imaginable in ancient times.  And the choice to prohibit minarets is a step forward , not backward, though not every democratic referendum vote produces such an outcome.  When it does we should have the sense to recognize it and be grateful.

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 10:27:42 AM EST
This is not about religious freedom but about xenophobia. The minaret is a convenient excuse to have a referendum passed on a campaign of fear of the other.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 11:03:24 AM EST
and do they not ring them on sundays?
by wu ming on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 11:40:14 AM EST
Many Swedish churches, at least in Stockholm, have no bells because the tolling pissed people off. Oh, and halal slaughter is illegal here as well, so I guess we're racists. There's also a strong push to ban male genital mutilation, so we're also anti-semites.

And really, how many of the people who want minarets for their mosques in Switzerland would accepts spires, or even churches in Mecca and Medina? All in all, instead of whining and complaining they should be grateful the Swiss have allowed them to live in their country.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 01:17:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, we can conclude that the Swiss are racists.

NATO should bomb them for it.
...then dismember the damn place
...then prod all the suburbs around Geneva and Zurich with a majority Muslim population to declare independence
...then bully Macao, Trinidad and Bhutan to recognise those newly independent states
...then go to Saudi Arabia to collect the cash
...then stash the cash away in Switzerland

Wait a minute!

by vladimir on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 04:05:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, our standards are those of the mullahs. No churches in Saudi, therefore no mosques in Europe.
by Upstate NY on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 05:07:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And if Israel cracks down on the churches (instead of just spiitting at the monks) then no synagogues either?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 05:25:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course not, that would be antisemitism.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 05:33:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Our standards are ours, the standards in Switzerland are the standards the Swiss people, living in the most democratic country on earth, decide for themselves. Switzerland is after all their country.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 05:06:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, I guess they'd prefer it if there country were in the Middle East, with people of like mentality, where they would feel more comfortable, than in the middle of Europe.

Then again, Europe has had its share of Neanderthals.

by Upstate NY on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 05:19:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't be silly. If the Swiss wanted to live in an islamic mideast country, they would move there. This referendum is about just the opposite, how the Swiss do not want to live in a country like that.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 05:42:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now you're doing self-parody again... So you think minarets on its mosques would have turned Switzerland into an Islamic country? And Upstate NY was of courtse thinking of those in ppenzell and elsewhere who would like to live in a Christian version of Saudi Arabia...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 01:35:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So you think minarets on its mosques would have turned Switzerland into an Islamic country?

Of course not, the entire issue is one of symbols. It doesn't really matter if Switzerland gets one more minaret or not, but the referndum is a very strong symbol of the Swiss saying stop! no further, we're quite happy with our country the way it is, and we're worried that it's started changing in a way we don't like.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 06:41:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's how xenophobes perceive the world -- everywhere, everytime.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 02:55:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I as talking about isolation.

Xenophobia.

Lack of movement, lack of travel.

Switzerland is next to France. Presumably, as France mixes colors and creeds over the next century, Switzerland will begin building a big wall to keep the French out.

by Upstate NY on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 09:42:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Too late. They have lots of French already. And they seem to vote like the French in France - against bans on minarets, for the right for women to vote, etc.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 12:11:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do we have data on EU membership referenda by Canton?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 12:14:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is the last. Indeed the French cantons came closest to a Yes vote (but still below 50%). Rejection was strongest in Appenzell-Innerrhoden again.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 03:05:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rejection was strongest in Appenzell-Innerrhoden again.

But not in the 1992 referendum on the EEA which was rejected even more strongly by Uri, Schywz, and Obwalden.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 04:41:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess the only bad thing about the Holocaust was that it wasn't decided in a referendum.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 05:35:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why thank you Mr. Goodwin...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 05:42:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Okay, how about "if only Spain had decided in a referendum to expel the Moriscos at the start of the 17th century it would have been a laudable decision".

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 05:46:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Moriscos were natives of the land, not foreigners allowed to work as gastarbeiters. Furthermore I might add, I can't really recall the Swiss voting to expel all non-Swiss from the country...

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 06:07:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All I'm saying is that just because something is decided in a referendum doesn't make it less morally abhorrent.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 07:01:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Abhorrent? The Swiss have a right to decide what foreigners and foreign influences they want to welcome in their own country, for the simple reason that it is their own country. Living in Switzerland, especially in a way the Swiss find disconcerting, is no human right. It's a generous privilege extended by the Swiss people.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 06:45:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I happen to find xenophobia abhorrent, even if the Swiss people are in their rights to assert their xenophobia in a referendum.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 06:48:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is precisely the position of the Council of Europe: Concern about referendum on minarets Statement by Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland
Bearing in mind that it is a fundamental right of democratic States to debate and vote on issues of importance to their societies, the referendum held yesterday on the construction of new minarets in Switzerland raises concerns as to whether fundamental rights of individuals, protected by international treaties, should be subject to popular votes.
(My emphasis)

Also: Minarets in Switzerland - reaction of PACE President

Although it expresses the popular will, the decision to ban the construction of new minarets in Switzerland is a source of profound concern to me", said Lluís Maria de Puig, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), commenting today on the referendum of 28 November.

...

"The result of this referendum goes against the values of tolerance, dialogue and respect for other people's beliefs which the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly have always upheld."

Statement by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance on the ban of the construction of minarets in Switzerland
In its report on Switzerland published on 15 September 2009, ECRI clearly regretted that "an initiative that infringes human rights can be put to vote". ECRI added that it "very much hoped that it would be rejected".


En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 06:56:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Saudi king has a right to decide that his country stones adulterers. It's still abhorrent.

You have mixed up rights - and this is about clash of rights - and morality. It is perfectly possible to do something abhorrent and be within your rights.

It is also perfectly possible for democracy, even the much vaunted but flawed direct democracy, to result in abhorrent outcomes.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 08:25:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's perfectly common for democracy to result in abhorrent outcomes - starting with Hitler, the West has had a depressing tradition of popular support for right-wing crackpots.

Hitler was exceptionally insane. Reagan, Bush, Thatcher, Burlesconi and Blair may have been milder, but they're hardly good adverts for sane and functional democratic outomes.  

Xenophobia and racism are very possibly the default popular positions. It takes a lot of political effort to overcome them.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 08:39:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It has been pointed out with some frequency in this forum that, had it depended on popular votes, most of Western Europe would still have the death penalty.

I guess human rights are an elite project and to a certain extent imposed by enlightened authority in an undemocratic way.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 08:46:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a vast gap between the rhetoric and reality of democracy. In theory the bold, enlightened and dispassionate electorate carefully weighs its options before assembling into interest groups and fighting valiantly for different possible outcomes.

In practice most voters are idiots who have little or not interest in politics, and even less knowledge, and it's left to the conservative and sociopathic elite and the somewhat more progressive sub-elites to slug it out, influencing voters with whatever tricks, lies, dishonesties, and other forms of narrative engineering they can invent.

Democracy has more to do with thermodynamics than Plato's Symposium. The challenge is to apply pressure just so to get a desired result. And the more resources you have, the easier it gets.

Since most people have been conditionted to clap happily and dream of pink unicorns whenever anyone says the D word, this isn't the popular understanding of democracy.

Which is a good thing, because if voters realised what was really going on, they might be quite unhappy - for a while, at least.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 01:58:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're selling the Dictatorship of the Proletariat? No, thank you. I prefer the dumb, backward masses to the enlightened elites any day.
by vladimir on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 03:28:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not selling anything.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 03:40:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a figure of speech.
But ok, if you prefer, let me rephrase and say that you're arguing in favour of...
by vladimir on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 03:49:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not really.

The statement in question was descriptive, not normative.

It is possible to argue that the Enlightenment really always was an unelected, undemocratic elite project, that the Enlightenment was, on balance, A Good Thing, and that democracy is, on balance, A Good Thing.

All it takes is recalling Winston "Let's Carpet Bomb The Kurds" Churchill's quib that demoracy is the worst of all forms of government - except for all the others.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 04:16:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Xenophobia and racism are very possibly the default popular positions. It takes a lot of political effort to overcome them.

Don't forget the dimension of time - something that any culture of influence in the modern world doesn't take into account.

It's easy to call the average person an idiot, but compared to the average person from 1000 years ago, maybe not so much, and folks back then didn't have to contend with radically efficient mass propaganda.

Complaining about the tribalism of the Swiss is so much pissing in the wind - we either invent a pan-human identity or this sort of thing will continue until we all perish. Fran took a decent middle ground with her comment, and while proximity1 deserved the abuse he got for his poor attitude, the counter-argument was nothing more than idealism.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 04:32:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
MillMan:
invent a pan-human identity

I'm all in favour. But forgive me if I say that sounds to me like... idealism.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 04:43:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you have resources, anything is possible. You'd invent a pan human identity by enforcing cross-cultural and cross-economic mixing from an early age.

You create tribalism by limiting out-group experience, and creating narratives that de-humanise anyone outside the tribe.

That's the social and cultural default - it's what happens if you don't apply pressure.

To prevent that pressure, you have to enforce the opposite.

There's nothing idealistic about this. It takes time, money, and political energy, but it's not unpossible - as long as you have those resources.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:35:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cue in our earlier discussion on legal positivism.

I also see parallels with the Great Danish Cartoon Controversy. I would guess most people would either have

  1. defended the cartoons on the grounds of freedom of speech and defends the minaret ban on the grounds of direct democracy; or
  2. denounced the cartoons on and the minaret ban on grounds of minority human rights.

So, I am curious: is there anyone reading this who either
  1. defended the cartoons but denounces the minaret ban; or
  2. denounced the cartoons but defends the minaret ban?


En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 08:41:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Intersting poll.

Me on 1.

by Nomad on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 09:20:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Which 1 ? ;)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 03:48:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm unequivocally in favour of printing silly pictures of religious "authorities" - including, but not limited to Mohammad.

But I'm lukewarm at best towards the idea of banning explicitly religious architecture (a case can be made, but it's not a very convincing one), and banning minarets explicitly without touching Christian belltowers is chauvinistic bullshit.

Now, if the case had been a Muslim community suing to get a local planning statute overturned because their minaret violated a provision about height, architectural style, fire regulations and/or potential noise pollution, then it would have been a different matter. Nobody has a God-given right to construct ugly and/or hazardous buildings.

(Although to be fair, I think a lot of the steel-and-glass office buildings being put up today would be a better target for a ban. Like Starvid says, Peak Architectural Style seems to have been a hundred and fifty years ago...)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 01:28:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
defended the cartoons but denounces the minaret ban

That would be me.

Sticks and stones etc...

by IdiotSavant on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 06:13:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If the cartoons were originally published somewhere where it was forbidden - or was planning to be forbidden - I could have defended the publication on freedom of speech grounds.

My view of that conflict was that the right being defended was the right to insult and not have your cheese boycotted. I see no particular right to insult without consequences.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Dec 4th, 2009 at 06:22:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is somewhat of a conceptual difference between the Saudi King and 57% of the national population.
by vladimir on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 03:30:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Want to try a referendum in SA?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 03:46:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, whatever the outcome, it would certainly be more credible.
I'd bet that 95% of the population there would be racist and xenophobic.
by vladimir on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 03:51:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The question was on stoning adulterers.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 04:08:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd bet that 95% of the population there would be in favour of stoning adulterers.

You know... if that's how they want to do it, who am I to argue? Their land, their laws.

Did I just say something abhorrent?

by vladimir on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 04:12:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At the risk of angering the Godwin Gods, I'd ask whether the Holocaust would have been OK if it had been approved in a free and fair referendum?

Their land, their laws...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 04:19:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course it's abhorrent.

I'm just pointing out the extremes in an effort to debate how far national sovereignty should go to define the rights of governments and their people.

It's been a long day...

by vladimir on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 04:44:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<sigh>

Is it worth attempting to go back over that to try to point out the logical thread you lose every time because you'd rather look for trouble?

I don't think so. You're not here for reasonable discussion.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 04:25:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you'd rather look for trouble

I was always a good student. and I only had a few fist fights when I was a kid and that's because the others ganged up on me.

You're not here for reasonable discussion

Of course I am. Be nice to me for a change.
by vladimir on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 04:38:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did I just say something abhorrent?

Yup.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 04:30:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well on the vile racist crap scale thats fairly near the top.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 04:47:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is???
by vladimir on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 04:48:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 If you're going to come her and trot out ridiculous unfounded things like that dont try and insult my inteligence by acting stupid and  not wourking that out.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 05:06:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd bet that 95% of the population there would be racist and xenophobic.

And would that be abhorrent or not?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 04:45:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That would be 57% of the people that voted.

Swiss referendum, November 2009 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Final results indicated that 57.5% of voters had approved the proposals to ban minarets, out of a 53.4% turnout.[6]

So 30.7% of eligable voters. Which in turn means about 25% of the citizens (young citizens not having the vote). And then there is another group that does not have the right to vote, non-citizens.

FiveThirtyEight: Politics Done Right: Foreigners in Switzerland

about 22 percent of Switzerland's population are foreigners

Take those away and the correct statement is:

There is somewhat of a conceptual difference between the Saudi King and 19% of the national population.


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 06:02:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That simple and apparently unassailable argument doesn't resist comparison with the complexity of real life.

It's an argument that forgets that 43% of "the Swiss people" voted to say minarets were OK by them. It also betrays xenophobia in assuming that those who are presumed to support minaret-building are aliens. In fact, some may be, while others may be Swiss nationals. Immigration is not a clearcut affair in which there are "us" and "them" (this is the demogogic portrayal of the situation favoured by the extreme right), but a lengthy process of assimilation that involves more than one generation. As for the "generous privilege", that completely obfuscates the economic reason for opening the immigration door, which is to obtain cheap labour. It's a matter of give-and-take: immigrants and their offspring may gain by it, but so does the economy of the host country. And once immigrants are accepted and carry out the desired function, then living in (Switzerland or another country) does become a human right.

National sovereignty with respect to human rights isn't the simple business your argument claims. Nations are signatories to binding agreements, treaties, and charters. In this case Switzerland joined the Council of Europe nearly half a century ago, subscribing to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Council of Europe - ETS no. 005 - Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

Article 9 - Freedom of thought, conscience and religion1

  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
  2. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

That doesn't say "nationals not aliens", it says "everyone". Nor does it say "one kind of nationals against (some who may be aliens and some who may be nationals)", it says "everyone". And Switzerland is a highly dignified signatory to this convention.

What the minaret controversy comes down to is a question of the meaning of religious "observance", and what is covered by "the rights and freedoms of others". That is why it's in fact difficult and complex. My own secularist bent would lead me to say I don't like either bell towers or minarets impinging on public space. At the same time I'm aware that the simple assimilation of a religious label with "foreign" and "alien" is a figleaf for xenophobia and racism. If a rightwing initiative of this kind were to be pushed in France today, I would oppose it.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 09:09:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your reply is about 10 times longer than what you're replying to, including a quotation from a treaty. Guess which side wins at soundbite politics.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 12:19:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guess where we are right now. On TV?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 03:39:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Swiss have a right to decide what foreigners and foreign influences they want to welcome in their own country

Foreign? "Muslim" and "foreign" are not coterminous. I'm "foreign" from a Swiss PoV (what with them not being in the EU), but I'd really be rather surprised if somebody took me for a Muslim. And plenty of Swiss Muslims happen to have been born in Switzerland, making them foreign only by a rather contrived stretch of the imagination.

Now, you can discuss the proper place and role of religion in the public sphere, and the desirability (or not) of accommodating the part of the Swiss population that have religious-conservative views on the matter. But please, let's not pretend that there aren't Swiss (or French) Muslims.

Living in Switzerland, especially in a way the Swiss find disconcerting, is no human right.

It is when you're born there.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 01:14:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By far not all Muslims in Switzerland are guest workers. Then again, the Swiss xenophobes you defend also place major roadblocks on the naturalization of immigrants, and even their children.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 01:36:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But if one of these immigrants has a child with a Swiss mother, the child is automatically Swiss. That's progress - until 1985 children with  a Swiss father were automatically Swiss, but those with a Swiss mother were not. I've no idea if this change was approved by a referendum. I suspect not.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 02:59:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or why not go back much further? The inventors of democracy, Athens, had a nice practice called Ostracism. Entirely democratic. Problematic, or not?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 01:41:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the context of criminal law, I have been wondering for a long time whether imprisonment or banishment is more humane.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 02:43:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Banishment requires that there is somewhere to banish people to.

Historically, this has meant giving them a ship and enough weapons that they could beat the natives over the head and grab their land wherever they landed, but not enough weapons to cause trouble for "civilised" people.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 03:09:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, in the current overfull world, imprisonment or deportation?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 04:16:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The world is not - yet - overfull.

At any rate, the empty/full/overfull distinction does not pertain to the amount of occupied land - you can have a perfectly empty world in which every parcel of land is still claimed. In fact, this has been the case for the majority of the last 13 thousand years.

Now, in a world in which there is no unclaimed land (full or empty doesn't really matter), deporting people imposes an externality on the place that you deport them to. This can be a positive or a negative externality (if the British had deported Turing for the crime of being a homosexual, then whomever got him should count it as a positive externality...), but the fact that it imposes an externality on another country means that it is not properly within the ambit of national sovereignty.

Imprisonment, on the other hand, imposes no such externality, and so it does fall within the proper scope of national sovereignty (except when it is cruel to the point of torture, or otherwise falls afoul of fundamental human rights).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 01:41:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...the only bad thing about the Holocaust was that it wasn't decided in a referendum.

I take it this was suposed to be funny?

by vladimir on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 03:24:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sure that you are aware of the inherent conflict between rights and collective decisions.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 01:38:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A US diplomat of Greek origin who lived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, told me a story in the 1990s of the Swiss who were ordered to remove the cross from the tail of their aircraft - because it was offensive to Muslims.

The Swiss replied, "If that is the case, then you won't be able to fly Saudi airline into Geneva!" That was the end of the story.

Now why is there never a diary about every day religious intolerance (no, racism) in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Lybia (should I go on to list them all) on Eurotrib?

by vladimir on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 01:28:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because racism in us is more bothersome than racism in them. And one should be criticising and improving oneself - hectoring others may be satisfying but it s pretty useless. All I need to do is throw Switzerland in the them category and I will cease to be bothered by the rise of the SVP.

By the way, have you noticed that the Minaret issue is a footnote and the real issue is that a xenophobic extreme-right-wing party is the largest in Switzerland, and growing?

There are a number of commenters who apparently would feel quite at home in Appenzell Innerrhoden, except that the Appenzeller would probably vote them out of the Canton if given the chance.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 04:12:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If this becomes a narrative of us vs them, it's already lost.

Perhaps the only us vs them I want to see is the one that distinguishes by those who embrace xenophobic discrimination and by those who condemn this.

by Nomad on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 04:21:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But that's what the vote was about, and that's what the defenders of the result are saying.

"Why did you immigrate into Switzerland if you're a Muslim? Switzerland is not a Muslim country!" WTF?

Even better is the one that goes "If you converted to Islam as a Swiss, why didyou stay in the country?" WTF2?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 04:30:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The majority of Swiss are engaging in xenophobic discrimination. And those who condemn this, we, Arabic countries, or anyone else, are right to criticize this.

When this becomes a contest for the moral high ground, however, countries with their own track record of xenophobic discrimination will have the tables turned on them. One hopes the one with the higher moral ground wins eventually - though it generally will be the one with the best press machine. And as long as religious doctrines interfere in shaping politics it won't be won easily at all.

I'd say that the Vatican has a pitch-perfect PR release condemning the Swiss vote, to mask the more important struggle: secular vs religious freedom.

by Nomad on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 04:47:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But will the Vatican back its words by actions? They could start by kicking out the Swiss Guards....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 04:54:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nomad:
secular vs religious freedom
Do you mean secularism vs. religious freedom or secular freedom vs. religious freedom?

In any case, the distinction between secularism, freedom of conscience and separation of Church and State becomes important.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 04:56:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Secularism as in the right to be free from religious rule and teachings, first.

Freedom of conscience (including freedom of religion), second.

The Vatican has lost ground on the second point for centuries in (most of) Europe; as a society we´re still actively struggling with the first.

And the Vatican may be teaming up with countries that haven't established freedom of conscience - just like the Vatican hasn't, come to think of it... What does that say?

by Nomad on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 05:29:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And the Vatican may be teaming up with countries that haven't established freedom of conscience - just like the Vatican hasn't, come to think of it... What does that say?

That the Vatican should be kicked out of Schengen?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 05:52:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know if we'd want to knock the Vatican on this. They seem to support the ecumenical ideal in the Swiss question.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 07:09:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is their "ecumenism" inclusive enough to allow "atheism" as a respectable "belief" protected by "freedom of conscience"? How about Freemasonry? Or Buddhism? Do you have to believe in supernatural beings to qualify?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 07:18:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Practically speaking, I think you need to be an old religion with a large followership to qualify. The test will be whether the pope has met your designated leader.

I'm saying that as the Vatican has just denounced the minaret ban, this is not a good occasion to get worked up about the Vatican's current or past influence on freedom of (or from) religion. Reward good behaviour, and all that...

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 07:24:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pitch-perfect PR campaign. It's so good, we can't help but nod along.
by Nomad on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 08:09:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree. But if anybody is trying to resist, there's always Karlheinz Deschner
Und was die guten Christen betrifft, so sind sie, ich sage es immer wieder, am gefährlichsten - man verwechselt sie mit dem Christentum.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 09:19:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bloody hell, is the best defense for racism you can dream up to point at the other children and screech "They're doing it too?" Really? Your point is that Switzerland isn't as bad as Saudi Arabia? You aspire just to be better than Iran? Is that the best you can do?

The hint is in the name "EUROtrib" and the membership: mixed across Europe and the US, mostly. Not a whole lot of members from any of those countries. Want to write those diaries, feel free.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 04:22:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is like "we're better than Bush on torture and wars of aggression".

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 04:31:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can';t they build a mosque with a bell tower and then forget to put bells in it ? Or have I missed something ?

Can Eastern orthodox churches erect their suspiciously cylindircal belltowers ?

Joan smith says some useful things about this, but I feel she got lost on her way to a better argument than the one she made.

Any notion of universal human rights recognises the right of individuals to practise their religion, but that isn't incompatible with believing that religion is divisive and seeks to exercise unelected power. (Look at last week's revelations about the way in which the Catholic church in Ireland protected priests who abused children for decades.) If you take that position, it's perfectly reasonable to believe that public displays of religious symbols should be kept to a minimum, whether they take the form of crucifixes or hijabs. As Ian Traynor reports in today's Guardian, the proposed ban on minarets in Switzerland received "substantial support on the left and among secularists worried about the status of women in Islamic cultures". In other words, the referendum was a proxy for a much wider argument which doesn't divide easily into "for" and "against" camps. Somewhere in all this noisy rhetoric of racists and religious apologists, the reasonable voice of secularism urgently needs to be heard.


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 02:52:35 PM EST
the proposed ban on minarets in Switzerland received "substantial support on the left and among secularists worried about the status of women in Islamic cultures"

What does "substantial support" mean? A few politicians on the left said so? Or a significant number of voters voted for the ban for that reason? If the latter, how do they know, given the total failure of the polls to predict the outcome?

When I looked at the distribution of the votes, the thing that struck me was that the highest support for the ban was in Appenzell Innerrhoden. Appenzell Innerrhoden! Women in that canton only got the vote in 1990, and if it hadn't been for the Federal Court deciding to reinterpret the Constitution they probably still wouldn't be able to vote. And we are supposed to believe that they voted for the ban because they were worried about the status of women. (As I pointed out already, opposition to the ban was strongest precisely in those places that were most supportive of women's right to vote).

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 03:58:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nate Silver has done some analysis of the vote.
For a small country, however, Switzerland is also fairly diverse, and this is where things get interesting. If we break the results of the referendum down by canton (province) and compare them against the number of nonreligious people in that region, we find a fairly strong relationship. The more religious the region, the more likely it was to support the ban

The R-squared, for those scoring at home, is .57 -- which is reasonably strong. If we include another good predictive variable, which is the percentage of French speakers in a canton (Francophone regions were less likely to support the ban), we can improve the explanatory power of the model further, up to .80


The idea that the left and/or secular people supported the ban is looking less and less plausible.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 04:51:35 PM EST
German-speaking Christians voting against Muslims, who would have thunk?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 04:58:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I really don't like that fit. Take away an outlier or two and the graph gets a lot flatter.

The point being made is probably correct, but the data does not appear to have sufficient resolution to support it.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Nov 30th, 2009 at 08:40:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree. But it's still more data than I've seen anybody else bring to this discussion...
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 01:35:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is an even worse chart in a followup post at 538.

Interestingly, there was a simultaneous referendum last Sunday on weapons trade. Here's another regression:



En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 1st, 2009 at 04:15:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Le Figaro - 2 December 2009.
Les Français de plus en plus hostiles aux mosquées.

The French more and more hostile to mosques.
41% of those surveyed against.
Now, that makes 25,42 million xenophobe racists in France. Add that to the 4 million xenophobe racists in Switzerland...

Can someone tell my why this is happening instead of just branding half of European society as irrelevant, dumb, abhorrent racists who merit a dictatorship of the enlightened elites?

by vladimir on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 03:38:06 PM EST
Could this be happening because half of European society are racists? I mean, they vote for the EPP of worse.

Once thing they're not is irrelevant, plainly.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 03:42:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For once we agree... irrelevant they are not.
by vladimir on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 03:51:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the EPP ofor worse, that is.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 04:43:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it really a good thing for progressives to brand a majority of the people, and likely an even greater fraction of the working class, as xenophobics and racists? Might there not actually be something progressives have missed, but which the people haven't? Might there not be some kind of credible worry which people feel in their daily lives about immigration, islamification, creation of ethnic enclaves and so on? If people in general actually do not want this to happen, who are progressives to shove their multicultural pink unicorn "pan-human identity" project down the voters throats? When all parties support that project and the voters do not, what are they to do? Vote for anti-establishment parties who oppose the project. People don't vote for parties like the SVP because people are racists, but because the old parties have ignored the will and worries of ordinary people. These new parties will keep growing until the old parties change their tune and adapt to the popular sentiment, or the new parties become big enough to form governments by themselves.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 08:47:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
to shove their multicultural pink unicorn "pan-human identity" project down the voters throats

Who are you to use this kind of abusive language?

Turn it down and respect others' views or stop posting.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 08:53:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Abusive language? Well, I thought my post quite clearly referenced politicians with these ideas, not eg MillMan, who never have done anything that can be considered throat-shoving, and who have just argued for his opinions. Which I obviously have nothing against him doing, or I wouldn't be at this site.  

But it is quite enlighting to see how just debating these issues is considered "abuse" and how the actual issues are skirted, even at sites like the ET which pride itself on open debate.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 09:00:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
Well, I thought my post quite clearly referenced politicians with these ideas, not eg MillMan
"progressives" references all kinds of people and is vaguer and broader than what you imply. In addition "politicians" should refer to specific politicians (such as the specific, named ones that have been quoted in this thread).

In addition, if you re-read the thread nobody (including those quoted "progressive politicians") is really questioning that Switzerland is in its rights to hold a referendum on whatever issue or the voters to vote their conscience.

But that doesn't prevent one from criticising the motives, the question, the result, the voters...

Hey, Switzerland would be in its rights to leave the Council of Europe and renounce the European Convention on Human Rights. I don't think progressives would like it or remain quiet about it, but that's a different issue.

If you wanted to say "progressives" are "having a hissy fit" over the referendum, I would have to agree, just like I think the SVP is xenophobic and those who voted for the minaret ban are, too. That doesn't mean I'm shoving anything down any voter's throat.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 09:09:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To state that "progressives" use force to "shove" ideas "down throats" (are therefore tyrannical and undemocratic) while at the same time claiming that rightwing parties are simply correctly representing popular feeling (ie are democratic) is in itself insulting and abusive, and I think you know that and meant it.

Secondly, you quote one user here between quotes, and another without quotes. The effect of that (whatever you may say now) is to group them with the throat-shoving "progressives", and so you are also insulting those posters by association.

As to open debate here, read the limits in the Guide pages and particularly here.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 09:20:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the wording bothers you so, instead of reading "progressives" as "nice people here at the ET", read it as "people in charge of the mainstream parties and the media", which all are more or less progressive, at least here in Sweden. Read it like that, because that's how I mean it.

And considering the throatshoving, the multicultural project is a project decided exclusively from above, without any debate. Someone just figured that it should be done, and the debate actually happened far later, when people started seeing how their homes changed in ways many didn't like. Was that a tyrannical and undemocratic way of acting? Yes, I think it was. And it becomes even more nasty when the same politicians and organisations that support the idea criticise Switzerland when they decide not to go all the way, in a democratic referendum nonetheless. It seems democracy is only good when people vote in the right way.

And I quote two different people? I did quote MillMan, because he had such a good turn of phrase in describing exactly what 57 % of the Swiss voted against.  I didn't try to insult him, even if I disagree with him. So, who is the other person I unwittingly quoted?

And anyway, are we still going to keep to the meta-debate because it is so obvious that my feeling on why people vote like they do on these issues is completely preposterous?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 09:37:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
If the wording bothers you so, instead of reading "progressives" as "nice people here at the ET", read it as "people in charge of the mainstream parties and the media", which all are more or less progressive, at least here in Sweden. Read it like that, because that's how I mean it.
Don't listen to what I say, listen to what I mean. :)

Let's try to be precise and not use shibboleths or weasel words and maybe some misunderstandings will clear and some things won't be read as innuendo.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 09:41:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because I believe that if we are content to say that; "well, these people vote like they do because they are obviously xenophobic racists, that's that, next question on the agenda, windmills", not only will we have an absurd view of the world (a majority of all Swiss are not racists, as anyone who's been in Switzerland could tell you) but these parties will keep strengthening at the expense of the mainstream parties. Eventually the neolibs and the hard right will capitalise on this, just like they did with the race/civil rights issue in the US. They will use the immigration issue as a lever to tear the welfare state apart, both because multiculturalism breaks down the social capital (see Putnam) that makes the welfare state possible, and because you create an unemployable foreign underclass (a majority of the immigrants coming to the Swedish city of Borlänge this year were illiterates, and that city is likely representative). Unemployable unless you remove all minimum wages and collective wage bargaining systems that is, and the elite will have created a pliable subservient swarthy servant class, just like during the colonial era.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 09:54:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  "Because I believe that if we are content to say that; "well, these people vote like they do because they are obviously xenophobic racists, that's that, next question on the agenda, windmills", not only will we have an absurd view of the world (a majority of all Swiss are not racists, as anyone who's been in Switzerland could tell you) but these parties will keep strengthening at the expense of the mainstream parties." ...

  this portion gets a "4": "excellent", from me. [ I single it out because I'm either unfamiliar with or not sure I understand the point you are arguing. ]

   There are other comments from you, now unavailable on the main page's thread because the prevailing censorship here has down-rated them; and, though I'm obviously not free to cite them, I agree wholeheartedly with those, too.  

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:13:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 above, where I wrote within [brackets], "[ I single it out because I'm either unfamiliar with or not sure I understand the point you are arguing. ]

 I intended to write,

   [ I single it out (distinguish it) from the remainder of your comment ( only) because I'm either unfamiliar with or not sure I understand the point you are arguing in that portion. ]

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:16:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have some of my comments been removed? I though you had to be troll-rated for that to happen, and my worst score in this thread, as far as I can see, is a 3.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:20:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No. I gave you a 2, (and not as official moderation). All your other comments are plain to see, and not down-rated.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:23:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant the lowest average value. You gave a 2, someone else a 4, average 3. That's what I meant. :)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:39:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You misunderstand me. I wasn't disputing the 3, I was saying the "worst" downrating you got was a 2 from me. And confirming that none of your comments have been hidden or toggled.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:52:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh I got that, no worries.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:59:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now, don't bring facts into this subthread...

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:35:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
proximity1:
There are other comments from you, now unavailable on the main page's thread because the prevailing censorship here has down-rated them
This is not true.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:21:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  under "recently toggled comments" one finds this:

 

  In story: No freedom of religion in Switzerland

Re: No freedom of religion in Switzerland ( / )
You shoul rename this diary to: No freedom of expression on ET. LOL.

by vladimir on
[ Read Story | Read Comment | Reply to This ]

 

  and, since it contains a convenient misspelling [here: "You shoul " (sic) ], it's easy to search the visible thread for it.  Please do that and show us where in the main thread this comment is still extant.  When I search the thread for it, I get nuthin'.  Am I missing something?

   

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:37:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that's a comment from vladimir. You are talking to starvid. Hello!?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:40:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
 Okay, yes, I see I failed to notice that.  Thank you for straightening out my mistake.  

  I should have written

  "There are other comments from Vladimir, now unavailable on the main page's thread because the prevailing censorship here has down-rated them; and, though I'm obviously not free to cite them, I agree wholeheartedly with those, too."

  so please consider this the corrected version.

   

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:47:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You have also failed to read Nomad's top-level comment about vladimir.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:49:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]

 Actually, now that you point it out, I read the first two lines of that post and no further.  Re-reading it in its entirety I see what you're referring to.  So, there, too, I missed that remark.

  I guess one of the authorities will have to delete it then, huh?

"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge

by proximity1 on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:55:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
a majority of the immigrants coming to the Swedish city of Borlänge this year were illiterates, and that city is likely representative
Are we talking about refugees or asylum seekers, or economic migrants. And, if they were economic migrants, what jobs were they coming for since they're unemployable?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:15:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The case in Sweden is that 5-10 % of the immigrants are refugees or asylum seekers. And who said anything about jobs? Nations with generous welfare states and open borders have a magnetic pull. The Swedish city of Södertälje (poulation 60.000) have taken in more Iraqis since the war began than all of North America. Open borders and a generous welfare state are not only an impossible for the reasons I mentioned above, but for this reason as well.

A good example is the no.3 Swedish city, Malmö, in the agricultural district of Skåne. It has a major foreign population which has a more than 50 % unemployment. The farmers outside the city have a vast need for labour during the harvest. So what do they do? Go across the Baltic and contract Polish students.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:32:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
A good example is the no.3 Swedish city, Malmö, in the agricultural district of Skåne. It has a major foreign population which has a more than 50 % unemployment. The farmers outside the city have a vast need for labour during the harvest. So what do they do? Go across the Baltic and contract Polish students.
And why is that? Can't those unemployed foreign residents do the work, won't they, or are they just swarthy heathens?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:39:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They won't, and indeed why would they? If they wanted the work, there would be no Polish students needed.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:59:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you know that they have been offered the jobs and declined them, or that they are not looking for jobs?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 11:11:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
Nations with generous welfare states and open borders have a magnetic pull.
So close your borders. That has nothing to do with multiculturalism per se.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:41:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Closing your borders to immigration is racism, dontcherknow? See Denmark.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:59:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Danish borders were closed back in the early 1990s. I don't remember anybody calling that racist.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Dec 4th, 2009 at 04:32:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
The case in Sweden is that 5-10 % of the immigrants are refugees or asylum seekers.

According to SCB about 10% of immigrants 2008 were refugees. But then again 20% were swedes, 10% were from other Nordic countries and some 30% from a non-Nordic EU country. And these were generally not refugees.

So among the immigrants from outside the EU, about 25% got asylum. But I bet neither many chinese or thai (two big immigrant groups) got asylum as refugees. And it is standard praxis to give a whole family refuge if one gets asylum (because it would be kind of cruel to give a parent refuge and send the children back).

So I do not see why you think that 10% of immigrants being granted asylum as refugees is a particularly low number?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 05:01:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A good example is the no.3 Swedish city, Malmö, in the agricultural district of Skåne. It has a major foreign population which has a more than 50 % unemployment. The farmers outside the city have a vast need for labour during the harvest. So what do they do? Go across the Baltic and contract Polish students.

There's an obvious alternative explanation for this, and it's nothing to do with the refugees...

(We sadly have this effect in New Zealand - Maori unemployment is always higher than Pakeha, with the gap growing wider during a recession.  There's some socioeconomic factors, but the root cause is that Maori seem to be last on and first off for jobs - i.e. pervasive racism)

by IdiotSavant on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 06:24:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is one factor, another is that people living in Malmö has better chance of actually knowing their rights and thus less attractive to use as illegally cheap labor.

Quick googling gave a LTE by a union rep:

LO Nösk
Den 25 november var det dags igen för nya avslöjanden i Svt:s sydnytt. Två Polska lantarbetare vittnade om arbetsveckor på 70 timmar utan övertidsersättning och OB-tillägg.On 25 November it was time again for new revelations in SVT's Sydnytt. Two Polish farm workers testified about working weeks of 70 hours without overtime pay or extra for inconvenient work hours.
Dessa människor behandlades som djur och kallades för svin av odlaren. De Polska arbetarna fick ut omkring 40 kr i timmen när skatten var betald. These people were treated like animals and called swines by the farmer. The Polish workers had about 40 SEK per hour left when the tax was paid.


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Dec 4th, 2009 at 06:16:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, immigrant-haters think immigrants and refugees should be thankful if they'd get to work under those conditions.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 4th, 2009 at 07:45:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, wouldn't the rational thing be for people to turn on their elites? According to you, they're the ones who brought the immigrant in, the ones that imposed the multiculti project, and the ones who would benefit from dismantling the welfare state and creating a pliable subservient class of swarthy servants.

But it is much easier to turn on the immigrants.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 04:57:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
the multicultural project is a project decided exclusively from above, without any debate. Someone just figured that it should be done, and the debate actually happened far later, when people started seeing how their homes changed in ways many didn't like
This is only a half-baked thought, but I think "the multicultural project" can probably be traced back to the atrocities of WWII and the 1930's. If I am not mistaken, the right to political asylum and to keeping one's own culture when immigrating are right there in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And, no, I don't think any State put membership in the UN of adoption of the UNDR to a popular referendum. In today's political climate it would probably fail in most of Europe.

As with finance, where it is memory of the previous crash rather than regulation that prevents reckless behaviour, so it is in politics where the fading memory of the first half of the 20th century makes things like the UNDR ineffectual and leads to curtailment of the right to asylum, legal/administrative harassment of immigrants, refugee crises that drag on for decades, and so on.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:10:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hardly a product of the 30's and WWII, rather one of 1968. Otherwise, these tendencies would have been strongest during the 50's and 60's, not during the 70's and going forward.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:18:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Immigration began strongly in the '50s and '60s, and was for economic reasons, ie low-wage industrial workers wanted. It sparked off reactions that could be variously described as rejection, anxiety, claims of "invasion", even then. We are not talking about anything new.

Do you really think it's '68ers who made a plan to bring people from other places into the countries of Europe? If these migrations were ever planned, it was by big industry.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:28:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The immigration from Hungary, Italy, Greece and so on came from an industrial need and worked completely smoothly, at least here in Sweden. All those people are since long assimilated. Immigartion changed completely after 1968, partly because the economy headed south and no more immigration was needed, and partly because naive 1968 do-gooder values became the ones in power.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:36:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Restriction of the right to asylum is against the UNHR. So is making cultural assimilation a requirement for asylum. All too often, the kind of anti-immigration arguments you describe are used to limit the right of asylum.

Once someone is allowed to immigrate other than for asylum, it is also against the UDHR to differentiate in the access to property and the use of that property between immigrants and nationals. To argue, as someone on this thread has claimed, that a Swiss citizen converting to Islam should leave the country, is also against the UDHR which explicitly states people are free to keep their religion or to convert.

And so on, and so forth.

By the 1960's the memory of the 1930's was beginning to fade and you had the first generation of political and opinion leaders who had not seen what cultural chauvinism could to a society, even if it started out nominally democratic.

Of course, it is possible that the UDHR was motivated by errors in understanding of human nature which 60 years of development of social science, cognitive science, etc, would correct. But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for an international conference today to actually produce a document that improves on the UDHR, let alone that it would be passed in a referendum. It would be too easy a target for right-wing populists.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:32:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
my feeling on why people vote like they do on these issues is completely preposterous

I made no comment on that.

As for "progressives" being in power, that is demonstrably not the case across all Europe. If you want to say "the Swedish government", that's what you should say.

It's also the case that "progressives" are not necessarily multiculturalists. The French left gets accused of "throat-shoving" in exactly the opposite sense, because the secular republican line is against multiculturalism. Result, "progressives" are throat-shovers whatever they do...

ThatBritGuy:

pink unicorns
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:15:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite frankly, I hadn't seen TBG use that phrase here, or possibly I noticed it when I skimmed a comment he'd written and it got stuck in my mind. I didn't knowingly quote him. :)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:25:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Starvid:
Might there not actually be something progressives have missed

If you mean that given an economic system that demands unemployment, where the political parties blame the unemployed for being unemployed while cutting down the systems that protects the workers and thus keep wages (aka inflation) down, it becomes popular to blame people with a strange religion that are already in a weak position (and thus over-represented in the unemployed cathegory) for economic woes, then partly yes. And partly no. (Progressives do not all think alike.)

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 04:51:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's actually 46% against...
Here's the full report:
http://www.lefigaro.fr/assets/pdf/Sondage-minaret.pdf
by vladimir on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 03:57:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you remember to strip out the five "Le Figaro" percentage points?

Oh, and let's hear the full questionnaire. We may need to strip out another 5-10 "push poll" percentage points.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 04:26:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Point taken.
You think that Le Figaro has a hidden agenda on this one?
by vladimir on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 04:47:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You think there's water in the Atlantic Ocean?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 04:51:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Would you care to share that so self evident agenda that Le Figaro has with regards to the Muslim population and/or the construction of mosques in France?
by vladimir on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 04:55:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the house organ of the UMP and run by one of "I Want To Grab LePen's Voters" Sarko's buddies.

It's not even a hidden agenda.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 05:02:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What are you talking about? Sarko has been running a campaign to get Muslim worship out of the cellars and into proper mosques. He's even been willing to repeal the 1905 act which forbids the state to finance places of worship. The Big Mosque in Marseille which has just received its building permit from the UMP mayor is subsidised by the state (illegally may I add).

This survey's results represent a clear slap in the face for Sarko & his buddies.

by vladimir on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 05:07:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... Some more statistics from the same article:

In Germany, 78% are against Minarets... That's a shit load of xenophobe racists.

Among French socialist voters, 33% are against Minarets... which makes the majority of French socialists human.

I don't understand why there are no thought-out proposals from the members of this community as to the reasons behind these numbers (except Migeru, who simply stated the obvious - that all these people ARE racists).

by vladimir on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 05:24:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Without seeing the full questionnaire, or at a bare minimum the actual question, polls mean jack all.

There's a wide variety of possible questions that can be spun as "a question about minarets." Should the state fund mosques with minarets? Should minarets be prohibited? Should religious buildings (including minarets) have exemptions from local building codes? Should ostentatious religious architecture (of all faiths) be prohibited?

Not the same question at all. But they all have to do with minarets, to some extent or another.

Besides, even with that information, a single poll from a given constituency means jack all. Polls are like all other studies - a single study can, at most, tell you that another study is needed.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Dec 2nd, 2009 at 05:51:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why can't you believe that the majority of people can be xenophobe racists?

If I remember correctly, you come from Serbia. Then you must be aware of the situation of, and the majority population view on, Gypsies in Central and Southeastern Europe. Would you seriously claim that the negative views on Gypsies shown up by poll after poll for the majority of Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, Romanians, Bulgarians and so on aren't a sign of racism and xenophobia?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 01:35:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would you seriously claim that the negative views on Gypsies shown up by poll after poll for the majority of Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians, Romanians, Bulgarians and so on aren't a sign of racism and xenophobia?

I bet a poll would show those same majorities claiming that no, this is not a sign of racism or xenophobia.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 02:41:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe it's racism. Maybe it's fear. Maybe it's attachment to culture, tradition and identity.

Whatever you want to call it, I think that it's worthwhile trying to understand the root of the problem instead of just giving a name to the disease and amputating. Hence my question.

by vladimir on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 03:53:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
vladimir:
Whatever you want to call it
Ah, but that's not neutral.

There is attachment to one's culture [in fact, everyone is "attached to their own culture" pretty much by definition] and there's fear of the other, supremacism or racism. So, what you call it matters and it is not arbitrary.

Encouraging the building of church steeples may be an expression of attachment to one's culture, but banning the building of minarets is suppression of another culture. There is a very important difference. Sort of like the one between Positive and Negative liberty.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 04:02:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
trying to understand the root of the problem... just giving a name to the disease

Ah please.

  1. It is a nontrivial matter whether the disease is widespread xenophobia and racism, or an actual threat to one's collective identities.
  2. With a few hundred mosques in Switzerland, and each of them having been subject to local laws and local referendums if theys wanted to build a minaret, you can't seriously claim any real threat to any Swiss identity.
  3. If the disease is widespread xenophobia and racism, the look for root causes will lead to problems in culture and to hate campaigners whipping up public opinion -- e.g. the SVP. However, it seems you consider a national culture unquestionable, hate campaigners irrelevant, and the suggestion that the majority could be factually as well as morally wrong impossible.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 04:15:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 made these comments following a news story on the Swiss vote; the following comments are those listed under the rubrique "Readers' Recommendations" and these shown are the top of the most-recommended list, with no comments deleted---in other words, no comments, negative or positive, were deleted almong those shown (at the time of this posting)in  ALL of the comments from the most popular here, on down, are shown in rank order of their popularity, in descending order:

 

  312 of 403 Readers' CommentsAll Comments

 Editors' Selections

 Readers' Recommendations

 Replies
  of 13Next

  [the top-rated comment] is from Mandy:

4.Mandy United KingdomNovember 29th, 20093:56 pm:

Europe has been strained to breaking point by the invasion of Islam. The vast majority of us are sick of the 'Religion of Peace', it's warrior prophet and it's obscene intolerance of everything non-islamic. Congratulations to the Swiss voters for drawing a line in the sand and showing them it goes both ways.

The Swiss vote is a precursor of the political firestorm coming to Europe which will certainly see Geert Wilders elected the next prime minister of Holland.

Islam will never be integrated into the civilised world until it undergoes a similar process of enlightenment to that which happened in Europe 300 years ago.

 Recommend  Recommended by 466 Readers

7.EDITORS' SELECTIONS (what's this?) HelveticoDissentiaNovember 29th, 20094:05 pm:

This is a proud day in Switzerland for all whom Islam discriminates against: Jews, homosexuals, women, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists and agnostics...in short, the majority of the world's inhabitants. It is a message that Islamic intolerance will not be tolerated. It is a vote for Western liberal democracy and against totalitarian theocracy.
 Recommend  Recommended by 458 Readers

5.satcongSan FranciscoNovember 29th, 20094:05 pm:

Good for the Swiss.
 Recommend  Recommended by 340 Readers

34.EDITORS' SELECTIONS (what's this?) PhilipNew York CityNovember 29th, 20094:27 pm

When they allow a Christian cathedral to be built in Riyadh or Tehran with a prominent steeple, when they allow Christian women in Saudi Arabia to drive cars, walk down the street with men they are not married/related to and drink openly in bars and restaurants then this issue should be revisited. As it now stands, I don't see the problem.
 Recommend  Recommended by 306 Readers

1.MazamaWANovember 29th, 20093:55 pm:

Why are people who vote to resist further encroachment of a "theology" that is opposed to democratic government, opposed to free speech and opposed to equal rights for women characterized as "Switzerland's political right"? Just askin'.
 Recommend  Recommended by 305 Readers

32.KateWashington, D.C.November 29th, 20094:26 pm:

Can't say I'm too upset about this. There comes a point where you just have to respect other countries' traditions and history and stop bringing/forcing your own culture. When you immigrate, you assimilate. Period.
 Recommend  Recommended by 236 Readers

21.TreeOhioNovember 29th, 20094:17 pm:

Interesting development. I am for free speech but I am also for the separation of church and state. And further, I somewhat enjoy that a religion as intolerant as Islam got a slap down. Maybe one should look at this as a victory for the women, Jews and gays of the world.
 Recommend  Recommended by 231 Readers

33.Anna JNY, NYNovember 29th, 20094:26 pm

I don't see Amnesty International protesting that churches, synagogues, gurudwaras, Hindu temples and other non-Muslim houses of worship cannot be built in Saudi Arabia. I don't think what the Swiss did was based on intolerance as it was based on the fear that Islam is not a very tolerant religion and that it allows for no dissent among Muslims and non-Muslims.....

 Recommend  Recommended by 223 Readers

  link to site:

  " readers' comments
Swiss Ban Building of Minarets on Mosques"

   http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2009/11/30/world/europe/30swiss.html?sort=reco mmended

   



"In such an environment it is not surprising that the ills of technology should seem curable only through the application of more technology..." John W Aldridge
by proximity1 on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:00:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess a vast majority of not only the Swiss but of New York Times readers as well are xenophobic racists. That's the only possible explanation.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:13:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Considering this is the top-rated comment...

Europe has been strained to breaking point by the invasion of Islam. The vast majority of us are sick of the 'Religion of Peace', it's warrior prophet and it's obscene intolerance of everything non-islamic. Congratulations to the Swiss voters for drawing a line in the sand and showing them it goes both ways.

The Swiss vote is a precursor of the political firestorm coming to Europe which will certainly see Geert Wilders elected the next prime minister of Holland.

Islam will never be integrated into the civilised world until it undergoes a similar process of enlightenment to that which happened in Europe 300 years ago.



En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:24:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup, especially towards Islam, as they've been taught to be for the last ten years or so in particular and the thousand or so before that as well. Shock fucking horror.

Or at least they're demonstrating xenophobic racism. It's not as if it's incurable.

You'd have got the same response in 1920 to an article on the nasty Jews and their evil plans. Was anti-semitism ok in the early 20th C? Admirable, because so widely held? Eugenics were good because they were popular?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:26:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So some (many) New York Times readers are racist. What's your point?

And again the sentiment is that we're not as bad as a fucking horrible extremist Islamist monarchy that would consider most of the world's 2 billion or so muslims as worthy of a good stoning so we're ok? Is that really the best we can do?

Turns out propaganda works. Who knew?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 10:23:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[ET Moderation Technology™]

Read this.

ET, as a collective, has drawn a line in the sand where tolerance stops. It stops with unfounded defamations.

Some of your comments have been toggled out of public sight, not deleted. We are in our full right to even delete some of your comments - we haven't for the sake of the transparency of the discussion. Trusted Users will be able to see them.

Any further responses to this comment will be considered trolling and deleted without question.

by Nomad on Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 08:30:12 AM EST


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