English (I) and French (II).
For the title section you must scroll down to the French part of this post, sorry, but you can also google the phrase to know more about this little-known event (from 1815 AD).
Meet the Reactionaries
Texas is First US State to Adopt IHRA Definition of Antisemitism. (i24news June 16, 2021)
This comes after Amawi v. Pflugerville Independent School District (April 2019), “a case in Texas where the plaintiffs had all faced potential or real loss of employment with the State of Texas for being unwilling to sign contracts promising not to participate in boycott activities against Israel.”
The Texan District Court held that “content based laws…are presumptively unconstitutional” and that “viewpoint-based regulations impermissibly ‘license one side of a debate’ and ‘create the possibility that the [government] is seeking to handicap the expression of particular ideas.’ It further asserted that the law the State had relied on, HB 89, was unconstitutional under the First Amendment.” (Wikipedia)
Governor Greg Abbott couldn’t have “his” anti-BDS law stand the judicial test (it was eviscerated) so he “adopts” a new definition of antisemitism. So what? As far as legal value is concerned his adopted definition is nonexistent. He could have repainted the state capitol instead and that would have been exactly as relevant in terms of positive law (with the difference that it would be something useful as buildings need new paint once in a while). Any attempt to give a positive legal value to the definition will be a major infringement on First Amendment rights, just like his anti-BDS law.
As far as the American Jewish Congress’s remarks on … [a social platform beside Twitter and Facebook] in a Newsweek opinion called We need to stop Marjorie Taylor Greene’s online extremism before it gets violent are concerned, the authors examine two solutions.
One –the second discussed by them– is transparency about online fundraising. Why not? Yet do the authors really believe that transparency would be of any use against what they claim is their concern, namely that online speech incite violence? I fail to see how this would work (to be sure I only read the first two paragraphs, which were screenshot, of their paper).
Before looking at their second proposal, let us remember that under the American Constitution even speech that incites violence is protected if it is not “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and likely to incite or produce such action” (Brandenburg v. Ohio 1969). In my opinion that excludes all online speech to begin with, since then the people get the message through electronic devices, mostly sitting in a room with a computer, so the imminence criterion is lacking altogether (although with smartphones things could change in the future, if for instance we could see such a thing as a mob where individuals are both absorbed in their smartphones’ content and committing violence at the same time, which would be peculiar still).
The authors’ second proposal is to ban the platform. They write: “There are precedents in law where exceptions to the First Amendment regarding hate speech exist. ” I have no idea what precedents they have in mind (they do not name them here, if at all) but I know the current state of the law is Brandenburg v. Ohio, which does not support the idea of a ban. In fact there are no currently valid precedents at all. They would have to resort to the Espionage Act, as has been done with Julian Assange, but this is not even credible.
What they call for, then, is reviving precedents long fallen into disuse, in the spirit of the Sedition Act. I can see no other alternative. This is the most reactionary stuff I have read in a long time.
As to the Anti Defamation League’s call to investigate … [same platform as above] “for possible criminal liability in Capitol attack,” it is preposterous. A platform cannot be held responsible for the content its users publish: this is SECTION 230 (as if people had not been talking at length about it recently!) (the section “provides immunity for website platforms from third-party content”: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider”). So even if some people on … had posted content that was “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and likely to incite or produce such action” (the Brandenburg v. Ohio requirement for prosecuting speech), which must be what ADL has in mind, with the “lawless action” being the Capitol attack, Section 230 prevents the Justice Department from even considering to investigate … The slightest step in that direction would be a civil liberties case against the state.
This being said besides the fact that platform content cannot even be fancied to be “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and likely to incite or produce such action.” The Justice Department would have to prove that an internet post was likely to produce the Capitol attack by a crowd of people gathered on the spot. In any world with stable judicial rules of evidence this is not conceivable.
Coloradans Not Wanted
Many Companies Want Remote Workers—Except From Colorado. After a new state law that requires employers to disclose salaries for open positions, some are advertising jobs available anywhere in the U.S. but Colorado. (Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2021)
Companies must reveal salary information in job ads if Coloradans are eligible, so they now advertise their job positions in this way:
“This position may be done in NYC or Remote (but not in CO due to local CO job posting requirements” (DigitalOcean’s online post)
Yet seven states (unnamed in my source below) have laws that prohibit advertising discrimination based on “race, color, or creed”:
“Jews were denied welcome at hotels, resorts, public accommodations, and schools. In 1907 a hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, declined accommodations to an American Jewish woman. She complained to Louis Marshall, a lawyer and president of the American Jewish Committee. Marshall drafted a law that barred the printed advertising of discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of race, color, or creed. Enacted in 1913, this statute did not require hoteliers to rent rooms to all comers but prohibited the publication and dissemination of statements that advocated discriminatory exclusion. By 1930 seven states had adopted versions of the New York statute, making group rights a nascent category [nascent or rather stillborn] in First Amendment law.” (mtsu.edu First Amendment Encyclopedia: Group Libel [nonexistent])
This means in all other states you can advertise your business’s discriminatory choices legally. How common is this? And, in fact, why is this not more common? Is it ignorance of the law? Do people mistakenly believe they cannot make such advertisements?
What about the constitutionality of these laws?
Here the author is quite obscure. She says: “Throughout the 1930s the laws remained untested in the courts. Marshall apparently preferred to field inquiries from resort owners about the legalities of their advertisements than to file lawsuits.”
In her first sentence “throughout the 1930s” seems to be saying that the laws were tested by courts but later, otherwise why limit the talk to the thirties? However the author says nothing about results of later constitutional challenges.
The second sentence seems to be saying, correct me if I’m wrong, that there never was any lawsuit based on one of these 7 (or 8, actually, the New York state law plus seven copycats, I’m not sure how to read “By 1930 seven states had adopted versions of the New York statute,” if that means 7 or 8 in total) and notwithstanding the fact there was not a single challenge in courts this man managed to have all such advertisements removed forever. Quite a feat indeed…
At that time commercial speech was not protected by the First Amendment, so constitutional challenges were bound to fail, the laws would have stood the test. This could explain why the hoteliers etc did not care to go to courts to defend their advertising and instead complied with the “inquiries” fielded by said lawyer. Today it is different: commercial speech is protected speech (at least it receives partial protection, not as broad as political speech but still) so, assuming these laws are still around (and this is more likely than the reverse, isn’t it?), challenging their constitutionality is more open-ended today.
American Child Labor
Conservatives would legalize child labor again if they could.
Child labor is legal in the U.S. at the date of this post.
“These regulations do not apply to agricultural labor because of outdated exemptions”: “Estimates by the Association of Farmworker Opportunity programs, based on figures gathered by the Department of Labor, suggest that there are approximately 500,000 child farmworkers in the United States. Many of these children start working as young as age 8, and 72-hour work weeks (more than 10 hours per day) are not uncommon. … Today’s farmworker children are largely migrant workers” (American Federation of Teachers, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO)
Besides, “Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), workers under the age of 16 cannot work between 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., except during the summer. From June 1 to Labor Day, the prohibited hours are from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Once you’re 16, federal law no longer restricts what hours you can work.” Only the night shift is illegal for child workers.
“Today’s farmworker children [estimated 500,000] are largely migrant workers.” Conservatives don’t have to legalize child labor again, they’ll keep crying about the border crisis while overworking Mexican children on their farms.
They legally work children below 14 in farms, family businesses, private homes for “minor chores,” newspaper delivery, and more sectors undisclosed in the sources I quoted.
A 14-year old is not a child according to U.S. labor law, while the International Labour Organization (ILO) has a 15-year old threshold.
While the federal minimum wage for adults is $7.25 per hour, for children it is $4.25 per hour. (See also prison inmates work, given the rates of inmates in the states: “By law, incarcerated workers do not have to be paid. Some states take this to heart. Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas do not pay incarcerated workers for most regular jobs performed within the prison. Inmates in other states are not much better off, as most state prisoners earn between $0.12 and $0.40 per hour of work. Even if an inmate secures a higher-paying correctional industries job – which about 6% of people incarcerated in state prisons do – they still only earn between $0.33 and $1.41 per hour.” (Corporate Accountability Lab, Aug 2020)
American companies outsource a large part of their industrial activity to China where “About 7.74 percent of children between the ages of 10-15 are laborers.” (The Borgen Project, Aug 2019) American law prevents Americans from knowing the figures of American companies’ job outsourcing.
Erasure of History Forum
Who remembers the Anti-Masonic Party?
The Wikipedia page lists more than 40 Congress members, including earlier President of the United States John Quincy Adams (MA)†, 2 state governors, William Palmer (VT) and Joseph Ritner (PA), and a host of other officials such as lieutenant governors.
†John Quincy Adams belonged to the Anti-Masonic Party from 1830 to 1834, he was a member of the Congress’s House of Representatives from Massachusetts from 1831 to 1848, and President of the United States from 1825 to 1829.
Collectivisation : L’exemple de la santé
L’État français a un argument en béton pour rendre la vaccination contre le covid obligatoire : c’est que la sécurité sociale est collectivisée. En admettant (par hypothèse) que le vaccin est efficace, ce sont ceux qui refusent de se vacciner qui continueront de tomber malades. Ils représentent un coût pour le système collectivisé.
L’individu dont les dépenses de santé sont prises en charge par un régime collectivisé n’est pas libre de refuser un vaccin. La pandémie pourrait donc ouvrir le débat sur le démantèlement intégral de la sécurité sociale.
Dans un État libéral, quand quelqu’un tombe malade, il n’attend rien de l’État. S’il est assuré, c’est auprès d’une compagnie privée, et s’il ne l’est pas (et n’a donc rien prélevé sur ses revenus entre deux dépenses de santé nécessitées par la situation), il a intérêt à avoir des économies ou bien il faut qu’il s’endette (comme quand il a acheté une voiture et un écran plasma).
Dès lors, on ne comprendrait pas qu’il y ait des obligations vaccinales dans un tel pays, les dépenses de santé étant privées. En effet, quand les dépenses de santé sont privées, les choix sont forcément individuels et on ne voit pas de quel droit l’État imposerait le vaccin puisque ceux qui le refusent en seront pour leurs seuls frais s’ils tombent malades tandis que ceux qui sont vaccinés sont immunisés par hypothèse. Si mon voisin est vacciné, il ne peut pas moralement me demander de l’être aussi puisqu’il ne risque plus rien et que mon refus n’emporte aucune conséquence pour lui.
L’obligation vaccinale est un pur produit de l’étatisation. Je souhaite que l’on reconsidère de manière très approfondie le principe même de la sécurité sociale au regard de cette collectivisation rampante.
(Je ne parle pas spécifiquement ici des vaccins anti-covid, dont certains dénoncent la supposée nocivité, mais de la question de l’obligation vaccinale en général, et ma conclusion est que, même en admettant que tous les vaccins sont toujours efficaces, l’obligation ne peut se justifier que dans des systèmes étatisés de sécurité sociale collectivisée.)
Objection : Les caisses primaires d’assurance maladie (CPAM) ne sont pas des organismes d’État.
Réponse : Les CPAM remplissent « une mission de service public définie par l’État, telle que par exemple les services d’immatriculation et d’affiliation. » Ce qui est défini par l’État est étatisé.
O. Le droit des contrats est défini par l’État. Donc, selon cette logique, les contrats entre personnes privées seraient étatisés?
R. Le droit des contrats repose aussi sur la coutume commerciale et la définition de mon interlocuteur (« le droit des contrats est défini par l’État ») est en soi de l’étatisme pur.
« Le projet de loi de financement de la Sécurité sociale (LFSS) est déposé par le gouvernement au plus tard le 15 octobre à l’Assemblée nationale. » La question ici porte sur les raisons qui font qu’un régime « paritaire » a son centre opérationnel dans un texte de loi (la LFSS annuelle). La réponse ne peut être que la suivante : c’est parce que le régime est étatisé.
D’ailleurs, la Caisse nationale qui chapeaute les CPAM est un établissement public administratif (« définissant au niveau national la politique de l’assurance maladie en France »).
Mais je pourrais en réalité me passer d’introduire la moindre considération sur la LFSS. La comparaison de mon interlocuteur avec le droit des contrats est tout simplement fautive car ce droit a bien des origines tandis qu’une mission de service public est entièrement définie par l’État.
Que les CPAM aient une certaine latitude de gestion va de soi, de même qu’un particulier chasseur mandaté par la préfecture pour exterminer des renards et autres « nuisibles » (mission de service public) s’y prend comme bon lui semble (dans le cadre des lois). Cela ne change rien à la question.
Un délit réservé aux Arabes et aux Noirs
Le délit d’incitation à la consommation de stupéfiants continue d’être poursuivi et condamné en justice. Mais seulement pour les rappeurs (Mister You, affaire de Villeurbanne 2020, affaire de Grenoble 2020, etc).
On pensait que ça n’existait plus, au moins depuis le non-lieu dans les années 90 pour le groupe (blanc) Billy Ze Kick et les Gamins en Folie, dénoncé pour sa chanson Mangez-moi ! (2e place du Top 50, explicitement sur les champignons hallucinogènes : « la chanson du psylo »). Mais non.
Montrez-moi un seul Blanc puni de ce crime ! –
Inspiré par l’achat du recueil Déplacements Dégagements du grand poète Henri Michaux, dont la présentation se lit : « Ses livres, proches du surréalisme, et cependant tout à fait singuliers, sont des poèmes, des descriptions de mondes imaginaires, des inventaires de rêves, une exploration des infinis créés par les substances hallucinogènes » (Présentation anonyme, Collection L’Imaginaire/Gallimard).
Qui d’entre nous, marchant au crépuscule sur la Colline du Crack et ressentant la mélancolie de sa finitude humaine, peut dire qu’il n’a jamais rêvé d’explorer les infinis ?
La référence à la Colline du Crack doit être comprise à la lumière des précédents billets, où j’en ai déjà parlé (Law 9 et suivantes, en anglais).
Alors que la justice condamne l’incitation à la consommation, condamne des artistes, devant le problème de la Colline du Crack à Stalingrad (Paris 19), les autorités ne trouvent rien de mieux que de distribuer des pipes à crack et de payer des chambres d’hôtel.
Un interlocuteur me transmet un jugement de la Cour d’appel de Niort.
À supposer que ce Nicolas R., condamné pour avoir mis à la vente à Niort des tee-shirts Cannabis Legalize It (c’est-à-dire un message reprenant l’un des points du programme d’au moins un parti politique représenté à l’Assemblée nationale et dans divers exécutifs locaux, cette condamnation signifiant en réalité qu’il n’est pas permis de demander de changer la loi, car c’est le sens des mots Legalize It, or aucune loi ne peut comporter une clause prévoyant l’impossibilité de son abrogation et par conséquent le jugement doit être cassé car c’est de l’instrumentalisation politique de la justice), soit Blanc, mon interlocuteur apporterait un démenti au titre de cette section. – Je répondrais que c’est l’exception qui confirme la règle. (Il faudrait demander à l’expert judiciaire Gabriel Matzneff ce qu’il en pense. Mais Nicolas R. ayant en fait été relaxé en appel, mon titre reste sans démenti pour ce qui est des condamnations.)
Mon interlocuteur évoquant par la même occasion le climat actuel, il m’offre l’opportunité d’évoquer une certaine affaire, pour un autre abus de procédure, bien que ce climat soit précisément opposé à toute forme d’expression telle que celle que je vais à présent oser.
Il s’agit de la condamnation d’un rappeur noir, Maka, à 15 mois de prison pour apologie de terrorisme, pour une chanson appelée Samuel Paty.
Le journal La Marne du 27 nov. 2020 (x) indique que la chanson « cherche selon eux [selon les juges] à ‘surfer sur la vague pour faire du buzz’ ». Il est donc totalement incompréhensible que cette personne soit condamnée pour apologie de terrorisme, les juges faisant eux-mêmes remarquer que la finalité de la chanson est tout autre, à savoir « faire du buzz ». L’incohérence est redoutable.
Or demander de légaliser le cannabis, ce qui est forcément légal comme je l’ai souligné et comme la Cour d’appel l’a reconnu (la condamnation en première instance reste très choquante, tout comme l’étaient les poursuites), est une façon indirecte de promouvoir sa consommation. Car il n’y a eu que l’Église nationale danoise pour promouvoir en 1969 la légalisation de la pornographie (premier pays au monde) au prétexte que c’est parce qu’elle était interdite qu’elle attirait les gens et que donc ceux qui étaient contre la pornographie devaient demander sa légalisation.
Ainsi, la promotion de la légalisation ne pouvant s’exclure d’une forme de promotion de la consommation, la loi est d’une abominable stupidité car elle interdit et autorise en même temps la même chose. À bas toutes ces lois.
Au temps des manifestations #GiletsJaunes, le gouvernement cherchait à lancer des débats sur qui est journaliste. Je propose la définition suivante, d’une imparable logique interne :
Est journaliste toute personne condamnée en droit de la presse.
Histoire d’un mariole
Je reproche à Victor Hugo d’avoir écrit Napoléon-le-Petit. Je veux dire ce titre qui, en appelant Napoléon III le petit, laisse entendre que Napoléon Ier était grand. Non.
Il est certain que vous n’avez jamais entendu parler des guerres américano-barbaresques. Elles furent au nombre de deux : la première de 1801 à 1805 et la seconde, également appelée guerre américano-algérienne, en 1815. Dans la première les États-Unis d’Amérique et la Suède et dans la seconde les États-Unis seuls combattirent les États barbaresques d’Afrique du Nord (nos futures ex-colonies).
Les États-Unis d’Amérique et la Suède luttaient ainsi contre la piraterie en Méditerranée pendant que l’autre fou, qui avait causé la perte de notre flotte à Aboukir (1798), courait dans tous les sens en Europe et cherchait à faire un « blocus continental » pour empêcher les navires anglais d’aborder sur le continent.
Les États-Unis d’Amérique (!) – et la Suède (!) – devaient lutter contre des pirates maghrébins en Méditerranée, la mer qui borde nos côtes (!), pendant que nous avions un EMPIRE.
Si demain la France et les États-Unis se faisaient la guerre, je pense que l’on pourrait dire à l’avance en combien de minutes l’armée française serait anéantie. C’est pareil pour le droit. #FirstAmendment
Crack Hills Have Eyes: The Clueless Panopticon
“More American police officers died during prohibition of alcohol than any other time in history. 300 died in 1930 alone. After prohibition ended, police deaths didn’t reach 200 a year again until the year Nixon declared war on drugs.”
As this person mentions interesting data on Prohibition, I have these also:
“By 1930, more than a third of the inmates in the nation’s federal prison system were persons convicted of violating the Volstead Act [Eighteenth Amendment’s implementing federal legislation]. That statistic demonstrates that a major effect of prohibition was the growth of federal prisons. As late as the 1890s, the federal government had no prisons at all ; the small number of persons jailed for committing federal crimes were held in state prisons.” (G. Edward White, American Legal History, 2014)
Nevertheless I regard Prohibition as a “noble experiment” (Herbert Hoover) and was even in touch with the Prohibition Party, which still exists. Please consider sending membership application:
As to the war on drugs, allow me to quote a previous lesson (Lesson 9):
“There’s been a crack pandemic in Paris, France, these last years, with an area now known as Crack Hill (la colline du crack) in the North-Eastern parts of the city. Neighbors talking of “hell,” “nightmare” and other such words has become commonplace. Authorities are pouring millions of taxpayer money in a so-called crack plan doing nothing but distributing under police surveillance new crack pipes every Thursday to the 1.500 crackheads (they know the numbers!) roaming on Crack Hill, and paying for 400 hotel rooms for crackheads. Thus the bureaucracy’s sole policy is to prevent the crackheads’ habit from turning them into blood felons, with the result that they will remain an endless source of unpunished misdemeanors, an everlasting nightmare for the neighborhood. – This in a country where the numbers of police officers per inhabitant are extremely high.”
That’s the “war on drugs” they’ve got there: distributing crack pipes like the Salvation Army bowls of soup and lodging crackheads in hotel rooms at taxpayer’s expense, while the very same taxpayers are living a daily hell.
Not only do they live a hell but also the governement is ruining them. You might say –maybe with French authorities– that people are free to take their things and leave if they don’t like the neighborhood, but wait a minute: If they own their house, they won’t be able to sell it at a fair price, they won’t get the price they would if the government had enforced the law instead of letting a Crack Hill sprout.
But the icing on the cake… as I said, they know everything, they know the numbers (1.500), they know how many rooms and how many pipes are needed, they know the names, I guess, and the records of everyone and who dates whom. They know everything and won’t do a thing. – Crack Hills Have Eyes: The Powerless Panopticon!
Now, when last weekend (first weekend of May 2021) and the next days neighbors were reported shooting firework mortars at crackheads, my, I can’t say I am surprised.
‘A Culture of Fear and Censorship‘
A Christian Finnish politician has been charged with multiple hate crimes, after she tweeted a Bible verse and criticised homosexuality, and could face up to 6 years in prison as a result. (National File)
“Paul Coleman, the Executive Director of ADF International, who is representing Päivi Räsänen: The Finnish Prosecutor General’s decision to bring these charges against Dr. Räsänen creates a culture of fear and censorship. It is sobering that such cases are becoming all too common throughout Europe. If committed civil servants like Päivi Räsänen are criminally charged for voicing their deeply held beliefs, it creates a chilling effect for everyone’s right to speak freely.”
When the laws are such, no one can be surprised that prosecuting authorities make use of them. What creates “a culture of fear and censorship” in Finland is not the charges but the very laws that trigger them. And make no mistake, grassroots movements for repealing hate speech laws do not exist in European countries where such laws exist.
First, you won’t hear a lawyer ask for a change in the law where judicial review is as good as non-existent, which I believe is the case in most European countries. As a matter of fact it is the case in France, where the judicial review of laws is the domain of a byzantine council where former members of the legislative and executive powers seat, that is, whose members are asked to review laws they passed in their former functions! Absent serious judicial review, no trial can be the occasion to revise legislation.
And there is and has been no support for repealing hate speech and other speech suppression laws among the public opinions of these countries, nor in the media nor from any group of which I know, probably because, among other things, people know they would go against a state-terror state that does not hesitate to deprive people of their freedom because of their speech. That is, where a state has hate speech and other such laws, asking to repeal these laws is a remarkably exigent demand on such a state, a demand for which one could easily be labeled an enemy of the state.
God Bless America.
The defence chosen by Räsänen’s lawyer is doomed. On the one hand he refuses to criticize the Finnish law, probably for the following reason: To criticize the law would be an argument for judicial review of the law, which is not available to the defendant (this is a mere conjecture, but if judicial review is available, clearly the lawyer ought to make use of it). On the other hand he criticizes the step taken by prosecuting authorities –that is, the charges– as contrary to a ‘cornerstone of democracy,’ freedom of speech, but as the charges are based on Finnish law the argument aims at the wrong target: Judges (it should be juries if you ask me but as I said we are dealing with a type of state devoid of refined conceptions of individual rights) will determine that the charges are conform to the law and condemn Räsänen. It is the law that is supposed to defend freedom of speech, so when the law requires to condemn someone for her speech, the judge, if not summoned to judicially review the law, will descry it as both defending speech and nonetheless instructing him or her to condemn someone for their speech because there are ‘necessary exceptions etc.’ Judges in their quality of ordinary judges are no judge of the law: They will examine the charges but they cannot, as ordinary judges, decide that the charges violate a fundamental guarantee when observing at the same time that the law commands the charges.
Political Cartel Persecution
In the parliamentary debates on the French bill against Muslim separatism the representative responsible for the bill (rapporteur général) said at some point that proselytism is forbidden, which is simply not true. Think of it, to claim religious freedom exists and at the same time declare that proselytism is forbidden! To be sure in recent years French authorities took measures to restrain proselytism in the surroundings of schools –I have no idea how such measures can even be applied, so stupid it looks: does it mean that people are forbidden to talk about religion in the surroundings of schools?– but of course proselytism is a fundamentam right. As if one had no right to proclaim their faith!
Then they say speech laws in France distinguish between criticizing a religion, which would be allowed, and derogatory speech against people because of their religion, which is hate speech. Such a distinction is meaningless; one would say, for instance, “Bahaism is a moronic religion” and that would be fine, but if they said “Bahaism is a religion of morons” that would be hate speech. On the one hand that means you can skirt the law by mere phrasing, by immaterial speech warps with no effect on the content. On the other hand, and this is the truth of this distinction, it means the whole thing is at the discretion of prosecuting authorities (and in France prosecutors are both at the orders of the government and from the same body as allegedly independent judges). There is no rule of law anymore, it’s government arbitrariness throughout.
Then, once they have told you that censorship does not exist in France, that only the judge can rule that such and such speech is illicit, they pass legislative bills allowing the government to shut down associations, close mosques, seize material etc based on alleged hate speech without prior intervention of a judge!
Recently, the head of a Muslim charity was under accusations linked with terrorism. For two years he was subjected to police surveillance restricting his freedom because of the judicial proceedings against him. At the end of two years the judge cleared him of all charges: He never had any connection with terrorism, the judge said. In response the administration shut down his organization and the government is now gloating over it. How do you call that, if not a police state?
Likely you won’t even find the word Islam or Muslim in the bill, it’s a catch-all text. The government says it’s against Muslim separatism, not Corsican separatism (an example given by a cabinet member), but a future government may use it against all separatists they want or all people they want to call separatists, and conversely instruct the administration and prosecutors to apply the law in no circumstance whatsoever to such and such other groups.
(When people who are the majority in the assembly of Corsica call themselves Corsican Nationalists, of course they are separatists because the ‘Nation’ is France, not Corsica. So the law can be aimed at them, no matter what the government says.)
But the truth of such catch-all bills is that they must be implemented discriminatorily. Short of being a catch-all text, the bill would be declared unconstitutional as a result of its discriminatory nature, so the intended discrimination is left to its application by the executive.
With the bill the government claims that restrictions on freedom of association are necessary to prevent foreign interference (Turkey was blamed several times in the public debate). When Iran and Venezuela did the same with the same arguments, this was described as dictatorial moves. I guess the same people will express no objection here, as the associations targeted are not the same and they pay lip service to principles, having only their narrow interests in mind.
Reading a U.S. conservative commentator describing the evils of Venezuela, I would like to call his attention on America’s French NATO ally.
This commentator tells how Venezuelan authorities stopped the airing of a TV soap about two sisters, Colombia and Venezuela, the latter, the bad one, having a dog called Little Hugo. Such a soap is not even imaginable in France, where recently private citizens have been held in police custody for mere jokes on the street (a placard reading Macronavirus) and others prosecuted for having beheaded an effigy of the president. After six months of police and judicial surveillance and a trial, these latter were not convicted. Still their ordeal was serious enough. And all this while a few months ago Kathy Griffin’s symbolic Trump beheading had been viral…
Satirical entertainment programs targeting the French president do not exist. In France the specific incrimination of insult to the head of state, actionable by prosecutors with no complaint filed and for which the principle “truth is no defense” obtained, was abolished in 2013 only.
The specific crime was abolished… so such speech is now regulated by the more general criminal law of insult to public officials, and in France insulting a public official is a more serious crime than insulting one’s neighbor.
Here there is no Western World but a New World and an Old World. (As long as antiterror laws in the U.S. do not blur the line – but still, as the same phenomenon leads legislators in Europe to push for even more repressive legislation, as both the old and the new world go on the same path of repression a span will remain somehow.)
The “enlightened West” is a myth here. There is only one “enlightened” country as far as I can see and it is the United States of America, all others being sh*thole countries (to speak like a former Potus). Hence my motto: Hate speech is a crime in sh*thole countries. (That is, all countries but the U.S.)
Contemporary Western lèse-majesté laws
Let’s make a short trip through these countries, via Wikipedia pages on lèse-majesté (interesting that the English word for this is a French word precisely).
In Belgium derogatory comments on the King or the royal family are punished with three years imprisonment.
In Denmark (where there exists a legal Nazi Party) penalties for libel are twice when targets are the monarch or a member of the royal family (eight months imprisonment).
In Spain, two years.
In the Netherlands, “In April 2018, the maximum punishment for lèse-majesté was reduced to four months, making it similar to that for insulting police officers and emergency workers.” (Before that date it was 5 years.)
The British monarchy seems to be more enlightened but this is according to Wikipedia and I keep some doubts about it.
In France, the specific incrimination as to the head of state (the president, endorsed with significant executive powers) was punished with 1 year imprisonment until 2000, when the law was changed and only a fine remained, before the law was eventually repealed in 2013 as I said in iv. The irony is that now the president is treated like other public officials and the penalty can be 6 months imprisonment, so between 2000 and 2013 the president was less “protected” than he is today… and the 2013 repeal was not even a progress in the sense of more freedom of speech!
In Italy, “impinging on the honour or prestige of the president is punishable with one to five years in jail.” But the Italian president has more symbolic than executive power, so the incrimination is not as political a tool as it is in France, where the president is the person who actually governs (in most situations).
In Germany, “insulting the federal president is still illegal, but prosecution requires the authorisation of the president.” Same remark as for Italy: the German head of state has only symbolic powers.
These lèse-majesté laws are not the relevant issue in fact, one should look at libel law and how it protects public officials (like presidents when they are an executive power, as in France, U.S., and Iraq under Saddam Hussein) compared to other persons. Because then these officials who are heads of state are political actors, so political criticism can be prosecuted as libel and political freedoms gagged.
Regarding other countries, in Morocco, it’s 1-5 years imprisonment; in Brunei, up to 3 years. No major difference with the above, as you can see. – In comparison, in Thailand it’s 3 to 15 years imprisonment (and in Cambodia since 2018, 1 to 5 years). In all these countries the monarch is a real executive power (no matter what the Constitution says in the last two).
Immigration and Consociationalism
Jus naturaliter speaking, legal migrants are under no compulsion to relinquish their worldviews: the moral contract with the host society is that they would be free in these societies just as the natives, and if the condition was that they had to denounce their views and living style, then they would eo ipso be second-rate citizens deprived of some fundamental freedoms.
Then, the truth about illegal immigrants is that they are wanted by the capitalists. In ancient democracies everybody was free and equal, “everybody,” that is, a handful of citizens surrounded by masses of slaves and helots. Same in the U.S. in Tocqueville’s time, all equal and free, but of course not the Negroes and not… the paupers (who had no voting and such rights, who knows how many people that made?) And it is the same today, we are all equal and free, but of course that doesn’t include the “illegal immigrants” who have been toiling in our sweating system for decades and without whom the system would crash overnight.
In this context, the Ottoman model is not a far-fetched idea. In modern political theory what’s known as consociationalism, or consociational democracy, may not be much remote from the functioning of the Ottoman polity or of any multiethnic empire of the past like the Austro-Hungarian empire also. What other alternative can there be, as Western societies have made the choice to accommodate masses of immigrants from other cultures, except complete suppression of cultures, a totalitarian mould raising the required conformity to levels so far unknown, even for the native populations?
Has this choice been forced on Western populations by so-called globalist elites? But then it means middle classes really had no grip on their polities, so what exactly are they defending? their own alienation?
An alternative to consociationalism may be the American constitutional theory as exposed by Supreme Court judges. Quoth:
“We are not an assimilative, homogeneous society, but a facilitative, pluralistic one, in which we must be willing to abide someone else’s unfamiliar or even repellant practice because the same tolerant impulse protects our own idiosyncracies. … In a community such as ours, ‘liberty’ must include the freedom not to conform. ” (Justice Brennan, on Michael H. v. Gerald D. )
That may make America look sound very liberal but I still perceive it as more conservative than continental Europe (it is no accident, by the way, that of all European countries the U.K. left the European Union), where we’ve got authoritarian liberalism whereas in the States it remains PC liberalism (enforced by political correctness, not police and tribunals).
Home Affairs Colonial Policy
The main French social-democratic student union (UNEF) is under fire, some politicians calling for no less than its disbandment. In cause two things.
1/ A local branch of the union dared denounce on their website two professors, quoting their words as “Islamophobic.”
I can’t find the words in question with a quick search, the media seem more interested in telling the public that the national board of the union apologized for what the local branch did. The media will simply not buy that the professors might have made Islamophobic, that is hate speech.
To be precise, the blame has to do with the fact that the union posted words and photographs of the two professors. Such a blame is quite harmful because with a recent bill French authorities created a new crime, that of publishing personal data with malicious intent. The context being the beheading of a teacher by a Muslim boy after data of the victim were published on the Web. So now the union, which has always been a leading student union in the country, is basically accused –on a subliminal level– of being calling for physical assassinations.
The character assassination they intended is perhaps objectionable enough in itself, but then it certainly is not the first time, in fact character assassination is the daily bread of political life, and it is also telling that the razzmatazz takes place when the accusation is that of Islamophobia. The crime, actually, for the powers that be, is to raise that cry: Islamophobia!
Please note that this comes a couple of weeks after the government ordered a report on “islamogauchisme” (“islamo-leftism”) in academia.
2/ Moreover, the union dared organize meetings without male and white people present, in order for colored women to talk freely about racism and sexism as they see and/or live it.
The establishment calls this “racism.” Thus we see how antidiscrimination laws or the antidiscrimination animus is used: in today’s France it means that colored people are not allowed to do anything without whites being present. You would think yourself in the colonies of old.