- Apr 2018
- Upland, Sweden
No, there aren't really - not in a liberal democracy. What else can the government do but take him to court? What can the people do without being branded "discriminatory" or being dragged into court themselves for breaching mr Conrads vaunted rights? The point I'm making is that liberal democracies are not meant to handle the kind of ethnic tension this is so clearly an example of. If such a system is to actually work you need, I believe, a "pre-political we" - some kind of common identity that is not merely the result of whatever happens to be the consensus reached by the public discourse at a particular moment. We used to have that in Europe, more than most places in the world - which is probably one of the reasons why we could develop liberalism...There a lot of ways to answer to such a song.
Why did human beings develop governments back in the early bronze age - was it to uphold human rights? Look, I like the Rule of Law (TM) as much as the next guy, but the reality is that in situations of tension it will be infringed, regardless of what your or my opinion is on the matter. The example of Abraham Lincoln and his suspension of habeas corpus in the US during the civil war is very telling. What we have in Europe now is that social stability is continuously decreasing, thanks in large part due to immigration. This also creates problems for a society that values the rule of law.We like to say that our societies are based on the rule of law. If respecting what we think it's a fundament of our societies is a waste of time and makes us week ... IDK. I was thought that a week person is the one not able to respect it's own decisions, it's own precepts, it's own rules.
But ok, I might be wrong.
Also, the rule of law is a part of our societies. Tell me, do you think mr Conrad is an assimilated, working, proud citoyen de la république? Do you think he sees himself that way? If you could take the ideal type of the perfect frenchman (an abstraction, of course) - proud of the republic's values, loyally pays his tax (up to a point), hardworking, great taste in wine and a bit worse taste in women - do you think he would see Conrad that way? And what is the rule of law anyway: The ever increasing security arrangements the french government, along with all other Western European governments implement because of fear social unrest and terrorism, do they serve the rule of law as well? Would you say that the rule of law has been strengthened, weakened or remained the same in Europe during the past 40 years? Why do you think the rule of law developed and grew in Europe, and hasn't really caught on in say... the Middle East or Africa? Could social division and lack of any common identity besides tribe or religion have something to do with it?
This is precisely the point - no society, not even supposed liberal democracies treats foreigners and native people the same. Doing so is madness, even according to old, classically liberal principles (or do you think it is a coincidence that nationalism and liberalism arose in Europe at more or less the same time during the 1800s?). Now in much of Europe, our elites seem to have forgotten this, and pretend as if this is not the case. What this inevitably results in is that we end up with a large group of people who in practice are neither entirely french nor entirely foreign, but the legal system and all formal institutions of society must treat as french. Even though everyone knows they're not french in the same way as say, Gérard Dépardieu or Charles de Gaulle.
If anything, there seems to be good reason to suppose these matters are even more important in a free society - like ours are supposed to be - because, as you just pointed out, the government can't regulate social unrest very effectively. Just look at ancient Athens - I don't think it is a coincidence that Pericles tightened citizenship laws simultaneously as he extended political rights also to the poorer athenians? Or how about modern Switzerland, the most democratic country on the planet - I don't think it's a coincidence they have the attitude they have towards immigration and non-western immigration in particular.