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Nick Cohen's bigotry backed up by the three most powerful leaders in Europe.   Share:  
Thrust of argument: Nick Anstead writes 'The classic example of such a measure is the French government's ban on burqas and niqabs. This measure was defended on the grounds that dress of this kind was used to repress women. Liberal philosopher Will Kymlica has pointed out the flaw in this argument, however: such laws are inherently illiberal, as they remove the right of a woman to choose to wear particular forms of Islamic dress in public. Essentially, one illiberal arrangement (familial power forcing women to wear certain clothes) is replaced with another (the state using the full force of its legal authority to prevent people wearing certain clothes). Neither arrangement is liberal. Instead, the challenge for a liberal society is to ensure that everyone has the autonomous freedom to choose what to wear. The whole Clash of Civilisations narrative promulgated in Can We Talk About This? moves debate away from that outcome, not towards it.' Direction of resistance / implied resistance: Anstead mocks Cohen: 'There are a few problems. First, the central conceit of the play - that it is saying the unsayable - seems overstated and not really related to reality. In fact, the arguments in the play actually feel a bit dated. Journalists such as Nick Cohen and the late Christopher Hitchens adopted similar positions a number of years ago.[3] So it is certainly not a radically new position intellectually. More importantly, state multiculturalism has now been attacked by David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel.[4] It is rather harder to claim to be radical and liberal when your position is also backed up by the three most powerful leaders in Europe, who also happen to be the three most powerful conservative politicians in the world.'


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Removal of resistance: Anstead explains ' Can we really link a debate about education in 1985, abandoned plans to show Geert Wilder's far right short film Fitna at the House of Lords, the Pakistani government's stance at the UN, and forced marriage in contemporary Britain? All are distinct issues, yet are shown with a moral equivalence (expressed symbolically through writing words and phrases on a wall at the back of the stage), placed into a broader thesis about the failure of British policy to cope with radical Islam. What is perhaps most disturbing about this is that it binds the various actors - Muslim parents in Bradford, Muslim members of the House of Lords, the Pakistan government etc - together, casting Islam as a conspiratorial ideology, an enemy within.' Unification: I hope to read more of Anstead's writing in the run up to the election. His blog is definitely an absolute MUST READ for all of you!
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(TVhobo's estimated size of readership since 2013, mainly in the UK and USA, with Germany in third place:
over 200,000 readers across approximately 200 cities/towns


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