Kategori: Jacob Mchangama (side 3 af 6)

President Thompson? IV

Fred Thompsons positioneren fortsætter ufortrødent. Senest med et indlæg i National Review, hvor han i kølvandet på tragedien på Virginia Tech slår til lyd for retten til at bære skjulte våben:

The statistics are clear. Communities that recognize and grant Second Amendment rights to responsible adults have a significantly lower incidence of violent crime than those that do not. More to the point, incarcerated criminals tell criminologists that they consider local gun laws when they decide what sort of crime they will commit, and where they will do so.

Thompson kritiserer Virginia Techs våbenpolitik, der i modsætning til, hvad der ellers gælder for delstaten forbyder studerende og lærere at bære våben: 

Virginians asked their legislators to change the university’s “concealed carry” policy to exempt people 21 years of age or older who have passed background checks and taken training classes. The university, however, lobbied against that bill, and a top administrator subsequently praised the legislature for blocking the measure.

The logic behind this attitude baffles me, but I suspect it has to do with a basic difference in worldviews. Some people think that power should exist only at the top, and everybody else should rely on “the authorities” for protection.

Despite such attitudes, average Americans have always made up the front line against crime. Through programs like Neighborhood Watch and Amber Alert, we are stopping and catching criminals daily. Normal people tackled “shoe bomber” Richard Reid as he was trying to blow up an airliner. It was a truck driver who found the D.C. snipers. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that civilians use firearms to prevent at least a half million crimes annually.

Hvad enten man er enig med Thompson eller ej er det en modig udmelding på et tidspunkt, hvor mange politikere ville være tilbøjelige til at stramme våbenlovgivning. Indlægget vil givetvis appellere stærkt til både social-conservatives og libertære dele af det det republikanske parti, og placerer Thompson solidt til højre for både Guiliani og Mccain.

 

 

 

President Thompson? III

Vores tidligere redaktør har i et par poster (her og her) fulgt Fred Thompsons (mulige) præsidentkanditatur vinde momentum.

Nu har Weekly Standard også meldt sig i koret, som vurderer Fred Thompson som en seriøs (potential) republikansk præsidentkandidat.

Fred Thompson selv har heller ikke just lagt låg på spekulationerne. F.eks. havde han sidste uge et indlæg i Wall Street Journal.

I indlægget positionerer Thompson sig fint, som den manglende “Reagan kandidat”, som så mange republikanere skriger efter. Indlægget handler nemlig om de gavnlige virkninger af skattelettelser:

Now, as before, politicians are itching to fund their pet projects with the short-term revenue increases that come from tax hikes, ignoring the long-term pain they always cause. Unfortunately, the tax cuts that have produced our record-breaking government revenues and personal incomes will expire soon. Because Congress has failed to make them permanent, we are facing the worst tax hike in our history. Already, worried investors are trying to figure out what the financial landscape will look like in 2011 and beyond.

This issue is particularly important now because massive, unfunded entitlements are coming due as the baby-boom generation retires. We simply cannot afford higher taxes if we want an economy able to bear up under the strain of those obligations. And beyond the issue of our annual federal budget is the nearly $9 trillion national debt that we have not even begun to pay off.

To face these challenges, and any others that we might encounter in a hazardous world, we need to maintain economic growth and healthy tax revenues. That is why we need to reject taxes that punish rather than reward success. Those who say they want a “more progressive” tax system should be asked one question:

Are you really interested in tax rates that benefit the economy and raise revenue–or are you interested in redistributing income for political reasons?

Retorik som ovenstående har man selvfølgelig hørt mange gange før fra republikanere, der varmer op til valgkamp. Men ifølge ovennævnte artikel fra Weekly Standard er der måske noget om snakken. For da Thompson førte valgkamp i Tennessee var hans valgkamp baseret på:

a strong small-government–even antigovernment–message. “America’s government is bringing America down, and the only thing that can change that is a return to the basics,” he said. “We will get back to basics and make the sacrifices and once again amaze the world at how, in America, ordinary people can do very extraordinary things.” Thompson emphasized issues that would appeal to disaffected voters–making laws apply to the members of Congress who pass them; congressional pay raises; entitlement reform.

Det lyder ikke dårligt omend en “anti-government” politik, næppe kan gennemføres i andet end særdeles udvandet form, hvad enten en fremtidig Præsident Thompson skulle have en demokratisk eller republikansk domineret kongres at tøjle med. Dertil er der for mange politikere i begge partier der – i praksis – er mest interesserede i den sidste af de af Thompson opstillede valgmuligheder.

 

 

 

 

Når markedet tilfredsstiller basale behov

En af grundende til vi i Danmark har en velfærdsstat med en stor offentlig sektor er en udbredt opfattelse af at visse samfundsområder og behov er for essentielle for borgernes ve og vel til at blive overladt til markedet, og at det ville være moralsk forkasteligt at tillade private at profitere herpå. Derfor spiller det offentlige så dominerende en rolle når det kommer til sundhed, ældreforsorg, social sikkerhed m.v.

Men det er bemærkelsesværdigt, at der et samfundsområde, der er helt essentielt for den menneskelige eksistens, hvor staten spiller en meget begrænset (direkte) rolle og hvor ingen rejser krav om statslig indblanding eller stiller spørgsmålstegn ved private aktørers profit: nemlig vores adgang til mad og drikke. Et mere basalt behov end at få stillet sin sult og tørst kan man næppe forestille sig. På trods af dette bliver danskernes behov herfor så godt som udelukkende tilfredsstillet af private aktører – supermarkeder, købmænd, slagtere, bagere, kiosker, restauranter, cafeer m.v. – hvis motivation ikke er et altruistisk ønske om at stille danskernes sult og tørst men at tjene penge herpå.

På trods af, at disse private aktører alene er motiveret af profit og derfor kræver betaling for deres ydelser, og på trods af at intet centralt offentligt organ sørger for, at mad og drikke bliver distribueret og fordelt til alle borgere og samfundsgrupper er der ikke en særlig udsat gruppe af svage danskere, der ikke har adgang til ordentlig mad. Tværtimod. Det er næppe forkert at sige at den fattigste dansker i dag har et større og mere varieret udvalg af mad og drikke – inklusiv eksotisk frugt og grønt fra hele verden – i lavprissupermarkeder, som Aldi og Netto end den rigeste konge eller adelsmand kunne drømme om for hundrede eller to hundrede år siden. Ovenstående er et godt eksempel på, at markedet også kan tilfredsstille vores mest basale behov og at kombinationen af muligheden for profit og konkurrence tilgodeser alle – ikke kun de rigeste – i samfundet, med overflod og billige priser til følge.

Men hvad ville der ske hvis staten tog over og "sikrede" at alle danskere fik mad og drikke. Ville staten kunne gøre det endnu bedre end markedet?

Paul Kennedys klassiker fra 1987 "The Rise and Fall og The Great Powers" giver – med udgangspunkt i Sovietunionen - et godt indblik i hvad der sker, når staten overtager fødevareproduktionen fra private aktører. Jeg citerer:

"The most critical weakness in the economy during the entire history of the Soviet Union has been agriculture, which is the more amazing when it is recalled that a century ago Russia was one of the two larges grain exporters in the world. Yet since the early 1970's it has needed to import tens of millions of tons of wheat and corn each year."

Det fremgår endvidere, at den kritiske situation i Sovjetunionen opstod på trods af, denne stat i 1980'erne brugte 30 % af sit budget på landbruget mod USA's 5%. Endvidere var 20% af USSRs arbejdsstyrke ansat i landbruget mod kun 3% i USA. For at opretholde befolkningens levestandard var USSR således nødt til at investere 78 milliarder dollars i landbruget, samtidig med at man subsidierede fødevarepriser med 50 milliarder dollars. Det medførte bl.a. den absurde situation at et pund kød, der kostede 4 dollars at producere blev solgt for 80 cent i de statslige supermarkeder, samt, at det var billigere for landmænd, at fodre deres besætninger med brød og tomater end uforarbejdet korn.

Hvad var – ifølge Kennedy – problemet?:

"By far the biggest problems are simply caused by the "socialization" of agriculture […] The denial of responsibility and initiative to the individual peasants is probably the single greates reason for disappointing yields, chronic inefficiencies, and enormous wastages."

Selvom sammenligningen mellem Danmark og Sovjetunionen måske kan forekomme lidt søgt, så er det alligevel bemærkelsesværdigt hvor afgørende forskel, der er på effektiviteten af en markedsøkonomi og en planøkonomi, og hvor stor effekt det har for det enkelte menneskes livskvalitet og værdighed. Disse lektioner er værd at komme i hu, når man diskuterer det offentlige versus markedets rolle på andre basale områder, som f.eks. sundhed og ældrepleje.

 

 

Curtailing Freedom of Speech: The Human Rights Council in Action (again)

On 30 March 2007 the United Nation's Human Rights Council (the Council) concluded its 4th regular session in Geneva. The outcome of the session was eagerly awaited since the previous three regular and four special sessions have shown that the Council is as prone to politicised bias as its predecessor the Human Rights Commission. The Council has – among other things – consistently singled out Israel for condemnation while resisting serious scrutiny of Sudan's atrocities in Darfur. Many of the Council's failings stem from the fact that it is bitterly divided between Western and non-Western states with markedly different agendas resulting in very little substantive action being taken by the Council when it comes to protecting human rights.

However, the result of the fourth session – seven resolutions and two decisions (all non-binding) – served to reinforce the divisions within the Council. Three of the decisions and resolutions were carried through with all Western states (a coalition of 11-14 states including Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) voting against. Moreover several of the decisions represent a step in the wrong direction when it comes to the protection and relevance of international human rights.

The most worrying example of the Council pursuing an agenda contrary to the protection of human rights and freedom is the resolution on "combating defamation against religions", tabled by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). According to this resolution all instances of religious discrimination, hatred and defamation must be combated by UN-member states. Yet the resolution is deeply flawed and biased in two aspects.  

Firstly, the resolution only specifically mentions Islam and "Islamophobia", which according to the resolution is a particular concern. While it is likely that many innocent Muslims have suffered discrimination after September 11, Muslims minorities in Western countries – against whom the resolution is aimed – enjoy far larger freedom than religious minorities in most Muslim countries, including the ones on the Council.

According to the US State Department's country reports on religious freedom Council members Saudi-Arabia and Pakistan are home to widespread discrimination against both Muslim and non-Muslim religious minorities. In Saudi-Arabia public worship of other religions than the official version of Sunni Islam is prohibited and sanctioned with criminal liability. Moreover text-books used in public schools include language which is anti-Semitic, anti-Christian and anti-Shiite.

In Pakistan members of the Ahmadi religion have by constitutional amendment been declared non-Muslim. Moreover according to the report the Pakistani penal code

 "prohibits Ahmadis from calling themselves Muslims or posing as Muslims, referring to their faith as Islam, preaching or propagating their faith, inviting others to accept the Ahmadi faith, and insulting the religious feelings of Muslims".

The punishment for violation is imprisonment for up to three years. Such discriminatory practises would be unthinkable in any Western state where Muslims are protected by anti-discrimination laws and generally enjoy the right to practice their faith.

The second – and most pressing – problem with the resolution is that the call for combating defamation of religions is at odds with freedom of expression. The resolution should be seen as a consequence of the so called Cartoon- crisis, which ensued after Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published a number of drawings of the Prophet Mohammed. This led to riots in many Muslim countries, death threats and calls for conviction of the responsible editors.

However both Danish and French courts have decided that publishing the drawings was within the limits of the right to freedom of expression. Should the resolution be followed it would therefore result in a drastic restriction on freedom of expression and thus the right and ability to publicly debate and criticise religious doctrines, a right central to the functioning of Western style liberal democracy. This is illustrated by Pakistan's blasphemy laws which according to the above mentioned report

"sanction the death penalty for defiling Islam or its prophets; life imprisonment for defiling, damaging, or desecrating the Qur'an; and ten years' imprisonment for insulting another's religious feelings".

The incompatibility of the resolution with freedom of expression also follows from the Cairo Declaration the OIC's own human rights instrument. Article 22 of said charter states that

"Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari'ah".

Accordingly Islamic religious doctrine is put before the right of the individual to express his or her thoughts and follow his or her conscience. It is such a state of affairs that the resolution aims for. If individual freedom including freedom of speech is to retain a meaningful protective sphere at the international level the resolution must be unequivocally rejected, and the right to dissent and subject religion to public debate and criticism upheld.

The fourth session of the Council served as yet another reminder that the Council is not worthy of its mandate and that a majority of non-Western states are determined on abusing the Council for their own agendas, which are often in conflict with the protection of human rights. Western states must now ask themselves how long they will continue to lend legitimacy to a body whose practice merits none.
 

Socio-økonomiske rettigheder: Justiciable eller ej? II

Når jeg gør gældende, at socio-økonomiske rettigheder ikke er justiciable (som f.eks. her,og her) skal det selvfølgelig ikke forstås, som udtryk for en videnskabelig naturlov. Det er klart, at domstole i praksis kan pådømme hvilket som helt forhold der måtte blive forelagt dem, fra Nazi-Tyskland racelove til Saudi-Arabiens Shariah. Hvad jeg mener, med, at socio-økonomiske rettigheder ikke er justiciable er, således, at de ikke kan anvendes retligt af domstolene indenfor den retlige ramme, som retsstaten opstiller og i særdeleshed, at de ikke er retligt anvendelige på samme måde som de borgerlige og politiske rettigheder.

Lad mig prøve at demonstrere ovenstående med et eksempel der – delvist – er hentet fra virkelighedens verden.

CEPOS har for nyligt foreslået at nedsætte dagpengeperioden fra 4 til 1 år. Det ville som udgangspunkt udgøre et indgreb i retten til social tryghed, herunder social forsikring, som beskyttet i artikel 9 i FNs Konvention om økonomiske, sociale og kulturelle rettigheder.

Ville CEPOS' forslag så udgøre en krænkelse af artikel 9, hvis denne var juridisk bindende? Det kan ikke udelukkes. FNs Komite for økonomiske, sociale og kulturelle rettigheder har i en af dette organs – ikke bindende – fortolkninger af konventionen har anført, at når en socio-økonomisk rettigheder har noget en vis minimum standard, vil

"deliberate retrograde measures[…]require the most careful consideration and would need to be fully justified by reference to the totality of the rights provided for in the Covenant and in the context of the full use of the maximum available resources.

Betydningen heraf blev understreget da Tyskland under Gerhard Schröder i 2001 barslede med reformer af adgangen til offentlige ydelser. Komiteen udtalte følgende:

"The Committee is concerned that the State party's reformed social security, and the pension system under reform, do not take sufficiently into consideration the needs of families, women, elderly persons and the more disadvantaged groups in society". (Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Germany, U.N. Doc. E/C.12/1/Add.68 (2001).

Udover at være ekstremt nedsættende overfor kvinder, viser Komiteens anbefaling – hvis nogen skulle være i tvivl – at de socio-økonomiske rettigheder har rod i og er drevet af en socialistisk samfundsopfattelse, hvor den økonomiske kage er konstant og skal fordeles så ligeligt som muligt. Komiteen overvejer ikke om reformerne kunne føre til højere vækst og dermed mindre grad af arbejdsløshed for de omfattede eller andre dynamiske effekter.

Det er også værd at bemærke, at den social demokratiske Schröder regerings tiltag var ganske beskedne den tyske økonomis forfatning taget i betragtning.

Det er således svært at se hvordan en ambitiøs borgerlig-liberal regering skulle kunne få gennemført nogen som helst reformer i et europæisk velfærdsland, hvis Komiteens fortolkning skulle opfattes som juridisk bindende. Dermed bliver det også klart, at justiciable socio-økonomiske rettigheder er uforenelige med magtens tredeling og politisk pluralisme. En borgerlig-liberal vil konstant skulle kæmpe mod sagsanlæg fra borgere, hvis socio-økonomiske rettigheder er blevet indskrænket. Domstole der var forpligtet til at lægge de socio-økonomiske rettigheder til grund, som grundrettigheder, ville derfor ofte være tvunget til at erklære en borgerlig-liberal regerings politiske tiltag for forfatningsstridige/ i strid med menneskerettighederne og den lovgivende og udøvende magt på den ene side og dømmende magt på den anden side ville konstant være i kamp med hinanden.

Domstolene ville ikke sikre individets ret mod vilkårlige overgreb fra statsmagten – som de borgerlige og politiske rettigheder gør det – men derimod privilegier, som de øvrige medborgeres produktivitet skulle finansiere. Enhver demokrat fra SF til Dansk Folkeparti anerkender kernen i de borgerlige og politiske rettigheder som udgørende rammen for det liberale demokrati, hvorfor disse er politisk ukontroversielle. Den status vil de socio-økonomiske rettigheder aldrig kunne opnå uden samtidig at ødelægge det liberale demokrati.   

Socio-økonomiske rettigheder: justiciable eller ej?

Undertegnede har i en række debatdueller hos Ræson krydset klinge med Trine Pertou Mach fra SF.

Debatterne har hidtil handlet om Irak-krigen (modbydeligt emne), indvandring og senest menneskerettigheder, hvilken debat Berlingske var så storsindede at bringe et uddrag fra i dagens udgave.

Trine er et af de rareste mennesker man kan tænke sig, men vi er godt nok fundamentalt uenige om stort set alt, hvad der drejer sig om politik og samfundsforhold, hvilket har skinnet igennem i alle debatduellerne.

Det ærgerlige ved en debatduel á la ovennævnte er at den der får det sidste ord kan slutte med en konklusion eller betragtning, der forbliver uimodsagt. Dette er netop tilfældet med debatten vedrørende menneskerettigheder. Der er mange af pointerne, som kunne udvides og nuanceres men særligt et bestemt emne har jeg behov for at “svare” på, hvorfor jeg vil trætte denne blogs læsere hermed.

I et af mine indlæg gjorde jeg bl.a. gældende, at de kollektive socio-økonomiske rettigheder ikke er retlig anvendelige (justiciable) på samme måde som de borgerlige og politiske frihedsrettigheder.

Hertil opstillede Trine et par eksempler på, hvorledes socio-økonomiske rettigheder ifølge hende rent faktisk kunne anvendes af en domstol:

1) Et uland har underskrevet en handelsaftale med EU, hvori EU kræver, at ulandet skal skærpe sin patentlovgivning, så det ikke bliver lovligt at importere (billig) kopimedicin. Dette vil forringe adgangen til medicin i ulandet og forringe borgernes socio-økonomiske rettigheder betragteligt.

2) I et samfund ejer staten en række ejendomme, der er bygget for at tilgodese fattige menneskers behov for boliger. På et tidspunkt beslutter et politisk flertal, at boligerne skal privatiseres. En række beboere har så få penge, at de ikke er i stand til at købe boligerne selv og i stedet sælges de som investeringsobjekt til en investor. I sådanne tilfælde ville socio-økonomiske rettigheder sikre, at beboernes hjem ikke måtte gøres til genstand for spekulation og tvinge dem fra hus og hjem.

Heroverfor gjorde jeg bl.a. gældende, at

Hvorfor skal borgere i statsejede boliger stilles bedre end dem, der må gå fra privatejede hus og hjem på grund af en krise eller fyringer? Hvad med de millioner af mennesker, som i fremtiden vil lide af sygdomme og måske dø fordi den tvungne kopimedicin medfører færre investeringer i ny medicin? Positive rettigheder, som de socio-økonomiske, involverer ALTID valg mellem forskellige prioriteter, ønsker og krav, der ikke alle kan opfyldes. De må derfor afgøres efter fuldstændig vilkårlige principper – i praksis: politisk gunst – der ikke er en retsstat værdig. Dine eksempler på justiciabilitet er derfor intet andet end skabelsen af en række privilegier for en vilkårlig udvalgt samfundsgruppe, som i din optik fortjener særbehandling i forhold til andre. Det er et fundamentalt opgør med den måske væsentligste menneskelige opdagelse, nemlig den formelle lighed for loven, som er det bærende princip for de borgerlige og politiske rettigheder.

Til hvilket Trine svarede:

Udmøntning af socioøkonomiske rettigheder til politisk praksis kan netop ske via lovgivning, jf. de eksempler jeg gav ovenfor. I den forbindelse er det lidt forstemmende, at du ikke anerkender, hvorledes en række stater, inkl. Danmark, er indrettet i dag. Mener du i fuld alvor, at Danmark ikke er en retsstat, fordi der udbetales SU og vi har en lejelov? Disse ting er nemlig, med dine ord “skabelse af en række privilegier for en vilkårlig udvalgt samfundsgruppe”, der får særbehandling i forhold til andre. Med mindre idealet er et samfund, hvor alle tager vare på sig og sine, synes jeg med al respekt at du har argumenteret dig ud på tynd is.

Min fornemmelse er, at mange neutrale læsere umiddelbart vil opfatte Trines svar som en effektiv tilbagevisning af mit anbringende om, at socio-økonomiske rettigheder ikke er justiciable, idet Trines argumentation ofte anvendes af jurister.

Men argumentet er – efter min mening – en vildfarelse. Trine peger på, at der i Danmark er mange love, der varetager de hensyn, som de socio-økonomiske rettigheder tilsiger, herunder lejeloven og SU-loven. Men disse love og de rettigheder de skaber for folk har jo netop ikke status af menneske – eller grundrettigheder. De har med andre ord ikke højere rang end (anden) almindelig lovgivning og kan indskrænkes eller ophæves efter forgodtbefindende. Der er heller ikke grundlovs eller menneskeretlige bestemmelser der (af nogen domstol med jurisdiktion) vil kunne medføre, at indskrænkning eller ophævelse af sådanne love er grundlovs- eller menneskeretsstridige.

De privilegier – for privilegier er der tale om – som leje- og SU-loven skaber, er derfor mere tålelige end hvis de havde grund- eller menneskeretlig status, i hvilket tilfælde de udvalgte grupper, som måtte kunne støtte ret herpå dermed ville have sikret sig privilegier, som ikke eller kun vanskeligt ville kunne ændres. Vel at mærke privilegier, som de privilegerede de facto ville kunne kræve tilvejebragt af deres mindre privilegere medborgere. Derfor er det stærkt misvisende at kategorisere lejeloven, SU-loven, retten til pension m.v., som socio-økonomiske menneskerettigheder. Kynikeren vil selvfølgelig påpege, at ovennævnte love de facto ikke kan ændres på grund af de politiske omstændigheder, der gør sig gældende i en velfærdsstat. Det kan der være noget om, men det ændrer naturligvis ikke på de rent juridiske betragtninger.

Om den herskende borgerlig-liberale negativitet

Denne Punditokrat bliver – i lighed med en af mine medpunditokrater – ofte deprimeret over, i hvor høj grad borgerlig-liberal retorik er præget af negativitet, pessimisme, fordømmelse og til tider også af selvretfærdighed og skråsikkerhed. Der er eksempelvis intet mere uinspirerende og sterilt end den borgerlige dyrkelse af offerrolle i forhold til og skyttegravskrig med “kulturradikalismen” (i Danmark) eller “New York Times læsende liberals” (i USA).

Skal borgerlig-liberale vinde opbakning til borgerlig-liberale ideer, nytter det ikke at beklage sig over, hvor dumme, selvhadende eller totalitære ens ideologiske modstandere er. Det betyder naturligvis ikke at kritik og polemik skal bandlyses, men når polemikken bliver det bærende element træder egne selvstændige argumenter, som oftest i baggrunden og debatten bliver forudsigelig, uinteressant og uinspirerende.  Resultatet af overvejende fokus på det negative er blot – tror jeg – at man prædiker for de allerede omvendte, støder tvivlerne fra sig og gør modstanderne endnu mere indædte.

Jeg skal langt fra gøre gældende, at jeg selv er immun overfor tendensen til at fokusere på det negative. Det er jo så dejlig nemt at “bashe”. Men nemme løsninger bør være undtagelsen frem for reglen, i hvert fald hvis man rent faktisk har en ambition om at vinde gehør for de ideer man selv tror på.

Udfordringen for borgerlig-liberale må bestå i at fremhæve alle de positive aspekter af vores daglige liv, som overordnet set kan spores til den grad af individuel, økonomisk og politisk frihed vi trods alt nyder, ikke bare i Vesten, men også andre steder, hvor frihed så småt har vundet frem. Et godt eksempel på en, der mestrer dette er Johan Norberg, hvis entusiasme på den klassiske liberalisme vegne er utroligt smittende og givetvis har været medvirkende til at liberale ideer har vundet terræn i Sverige.

Et andet eksempel er Indur Goklany, der har skrevet bogen “The Improving State of the World: Why we’re living longer, Healthier and More Comfortable Lives on a Cleaner Planet”, som Reason Magazine omtaler i en artikel her.

Af omtalen fremgår det bl.a., at:

the 20th century saw the United States’ population multiply by four, income by seven, carbon dioxide emissions by nine, use of materials by 27, and use of chemicals by more than 100.

Yet life expectancy increased from 47 years to 77 years. Onset of major disease such as cancer, heart, and respiratory disease has been postponed between eight and eleven years in the past century. Heart disease and cancer rates have been in rapid decline over the last two decades, and total cancer deaths have actually declined the last two years, despite increases in population. Among the very young, infant mortality has declined from 100 deaths per 1,000 births in 1913 to just seven per 1,000 today.

These improvements haven’t been restricted to the United States. It’s a global phenomenon. Worldwide, life expectancy has more than doubled, from 31 years in 1900 to 67 years today. India’s and China’s infant mortalities exceeded 190 per 1,000 births in the early 1950s; today they are 62 and 26, respectively. In the developing world, the proportion of the population suffering from chronic hunger declined from 37 percent to 17 percent between 1970 and 2001 despite a 83 percent increase in population. Globally average annual incomes in real dollars have tripled since 1950. Consequently, the proportion of the planet’s developing-world population living in absolute poverty has halved since 1981, from 40 percent to 20 percent. Child labor in low income countries declined from 30 percent to 18 percent between 1960 and 2003.

Equally important, the world is more literate and better educated than ever. People are freer politically, economically, and socially to pursue their well-being as they see fit. More people choose their own rulers, and have freedom of expression. They are more likely to live under rule of law, and less likely to be arbitrarily deprived of life, limb, and property.
Social and professional mobility have also never been greater. It’s easier than ever for people across the world to transcend the bonds of caste, place, gender, and other accidents of birth. People today work fewer hours and have more money and better health to enjoy their leisure time than their ancestors.

Hvorfor går det så så meget bedre på jorden end de fleste af os tror?:

The proximate cause of improvements in well-being is a “cycle of progress” composed of the mutually reinforcing forces of economic development and technological progress. But that cycle itself is propelled by a web of essential institutions, particularly property rights, free markets, and rule of law. Other important institutions would include science- and technology-based problem-solving founded on skepticism and experimentation; receptiveness to new technologies and ideas; and freer trade in goods, services—most importantly in knowledge and ideas. In short, free and open societies prosper. Isolation, intolerance, and hostility to the free exchange of knowledge, technology, people, and goods breed stagnation or regression.

Hvis en overbevisning om kausalitet mellem velstand og økonomisk, politisk og individuel frihed – som Golky (og Johan Norberg) så blændende demonstrerer – var gængs blandt menigmand (og politikere), ville de tiltag, som (vi) borgerlig-liberale så ofte raser mod givetvis være langt færre. Det må være borgerlig-liberale debattørers fornemmeste opgave at søge at manifestere denne opfattelse hos vores medborgere, hvilket bedst sker via overbevisende argumenter frem for via en resignerende negativitet.

Secular Islam Summit

Den 4 og 5 marts i år afholdtes en særdeles bemærkelsesværdig begivenhed i St. Petersburg, Florida; nemlig "Secular Islam Summit". Konferencen havde deltagelse af prominente navne som Ibn Warraq, Amir Taheri,  Shaker Al-Nabulsi,  Tawfik Hamid,  Irshad Manji og Wafa Sultan (hele deltagerlisten kan læses her) og havde reformation af Islam som emne.

 

Videodækning fra konferencens debatter kan ses her, og her kan ses en række interviews med bl.a. Irshad Manji, Ibn Warrag (og Michael Ledeen).

 

Konferencen mundede ud i en erklæring underskrevet af deltagerne (samt Ayaan Hirsi Ali) (Ibn Warraq kan ses læse erklæringen op her):

 

We are secular Muslims, and secular persons of Muslim societies. We are believers, doubters, and unbelievers, brought together by a great struggle, not between the West and Islam, but between the free and the unfree.

We affirm the inviolable freedom of the individual conscience. We believe in the equality of all human persons.

We insist upon the separation of religion from state and the observance of universal human rights.

We find traditions of liberty, rationality, and tolerance in the rich histories of pre-Islamic and Islamic societies. These values do not belong to the West or the East; they are the common moral heritage of humankind.

We see no colonialism, racism, or so-called "Islamaphobia" in submitting Islamic practices to criticism or condemnation when they violate human reason or rights.

We call on the governments of the world to

reject Sharia law, fatwa courts, clerical rule, and state-sanctioned religion in all their forms; oppose all penalties for blasphemy and apostacy, in accordance with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights;

eliminate practices, such as female circumcision, honor killing, forced veiling, and forced marriage, that further the oppression of women;

protect sexual and gender minorities from persecution and violence;

reform sectarian education that teaches intolerance and bigotry towards non-Muslims;

and foster an open public sphere in which all matters may be discussed without coercion or intimidation.

We demand the release of Islam from its captivity to the totalitarian ambitions of power-hungry men and the rigid strictures of orthodoxy.

We enjoin academics and thinkers everywhere to embark on a fearless examination of the origins and sources of Islam, and to promulgate the ideals of free scientific and spiritual inquiry through cross-cultural translation, publishing, and the mass media.

We say to Muslim believers: there is a noble future for Islam as a personal faith, not a political doctrine;

to Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Baha'is, and all members of non-Muslim faith communities: we stand with you as free and equal citizens;

and to nonbelievers: we defend your unqualified liberty to question and dissent.

Before any of us is a member of the Umma, the Body of Christ, or the Chosen People, we are all members of the community of conscience, the people who must chose for themselves.

Konferencen fik i øvrigt dækning af Wall Street Journal, CNN, Times of London og måske endnu mere væsentligt af muslimske medier som Al-Arabiya, Kuwaiti News Agency og Muslim World Today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Punditokraterne på P1 II

For de af punditokraternes læsere, som interesserer sig for menneskerettigheder kan det nævnes, at undertegnede deltog i P1s program Agenda, hvor jeg debaterede hvilke udfordringer menneskerettighederne står overfor med advokat Sune Skadegaard Thorsen. Debatten tog bl.a. udgangspunkt i en ny bog udgivet af Institut for Menneskerettigheder, der ser Vesten - b.la. på grund af krigen mod terror og "nationalisme" - som den største trussel mod menneskerettighederne. En konklusion jeg langt fra er enig i, hvilket også fremgår af debatten.

The Triumph of Authoritarianism: An Assessment of the UN's Human Rights Council

On 15 March 2006 the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 60/251 establishing the new Human Rights Council ("the Council"). The adoption of the Council had become necessary since its predecessor – the Human Rights Commission – had lost its credibility due to the politicising and double-standards of its work. This often resulted in the effective protection of human rights having little or no bearing on the agenda of the Commission. The Commission was further tarnished by the fact that its membership was open to countries which systematically violated the most basic civil and political rights of its citizens, culminating with Libya chairing the Commission in 2003.

While the improvements made from the old Commission were very modest and mostly theoretical in nature, Resolution 60/251 does state, inter alia, that the Council shall

"address situations of violations of human rights, including gross and systematic violations, and make
recommendations thereon" and "that the work of the Council shall be guided by the principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity."

According to former Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch Brown the reform of the Commission was a "litmus test" of UN renewal. At his statement on 19 June 2006 at the Council's first day of work, former Secretary General Kofi Annan proclaimed a "new era in the human rights work" of the UN. Annan also expressed his hope that the Council would entail "a change in culture" from the Commission.

However, rather than ushering in a new era of non-partisan commitment to the efficient protection of international human rights, the work of the Council has so far proved even more politicised, biased and hostile to the protection of basic rights than the work of the Commission. In particular, the failure to limit Council membership to States with proven human rights records has proven costly.

The 3 regular and 4 special sessions held by the Council so far, have shown fundamental and bitter differences between Western and non -Western – in particular Muslim – States. The Muslim States are often co-ordinated by the Organization of the Islamic Conference ("OIC"), which has a substantial number of members on the Council which consists of a total of 47 members. The Muslim States can often count on the votes of the members of the African group, as well as the votes of countries such as Cuba and China. The Western states can only sometimes hope to count on the support of other liberal democracies such as South-Korea and Japan.

In effect, this forms a majority coalition of States with a very questionable, if not hostile attitude toward classic, civil and political human rights. Accordingly, countries based on Western style liberal democracy with separation of powers, constitutionalism and protection of individual rights at its core, form a marginalised minority within the Council. These States are thus powerless to prevent the aforementioned coalition from setting the agenda of the Council and in the name and with the moral authority of the Council, adopting resolutions and decisions which are blatantly at odds with the effective protection of human rights.

While the first regular session was largely ceremonial in nature and the third concentrated on institution building, the second regular session of the Council -supposed to achieve substantive results – offers a good window into the workings of the Council.

Western States continually found themselves unable to gain support for decisions or resolutions on issues such as freedom of speech and religious tolerance, Sri Lanka, which experienced wide-spread violence at the time, and Darfur, which continues to be the worst current example of systematic human rights violations in the world. According to an anonymous EU official:

"the unsuccessful attempts to reach consensus, despite exhausting efforts, have showed once again that the EU simply cannot muster enough support for its proposals and was repeatedly forced into an underdog position." 

The coalition of non-Western States also successfully obstructed other attempts at any country specific discussions, decisions and resolutions, which would otherwise seem a prerequisite for the Council since human rights violations are committed by states and, that the obligation of human rights conventions rest upon states.

According to another anonymous EU official:

"Country mandates were more vigorously attacked than previously; the "hardliners" did not accept that the Council "took note" of  reports of SRs (Special Rapporteurs)[..] and discussing human rights violations by countries, appeared  to be increasingly difficult."

The Report also claims that most likely a majority of the Council will seek to do away entirely with the current possibility of appointing Special Country Rapporteurs charged with investigating human rights violations in designated countries.

The second ordinary session resulted in no substantive decisions or results and the session had to be suspended with a view to further discussion of different proposals.

The EU official paints a bleak picture of the future work of the Council:

"Still, the past three weeks have shown that it will be an uphill battle for those who want a strong Council effectively equipped to promote and protect HR worldwide, in a non-selective and non-politicised atmosphere, and to ensure that its objective and balanced recommendations are adequately implemented." 

The Israeli Exception

Despite the resistance of non-Western States to country specific reports, these countries have shown themselves willing to make a notable exception. In the Council's first regular session the Council decided to ask various Special Rapporteurs to report "on the Israeli human rights violations in occupied Palestine", as well as on:

"human rights violations and implications of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and other occupied Arab territories at its next session and to incorporate this issue in following sessions".

Accordingly, the Council decided to make specific consideration of Israel a permanent issue of future sessions, all the while unwilling to consider any substantive human rights issues in other countries with serious human rights problems. Moreover, the wording of the decision is markedly biased in that it only mentions Israeli human rights violations and omits any reference to terrorism and the killing of civilians by Palestinian groups.

It is noteworthy that the countries voting in favour of this decision included Algeria, China, Cuba, Saudi-Arabia and Pakistan, whose human rights records are notoriously poor. The Western States were easily outvoted, demonstrating the power of the OIC to set the agenda on the Council. When the Special Rapporteurs, appointed by the Council, reported back on their findings with regard to Israeli human rights violations in Palestine, their conclusions were vigorously opposed by the very same majority which had requested the Special Rapporteurs to initiate their work. This opposition seemingly resulted from some of the Special Rapporteu
rs – while roundly condemn
ing Israel – also mentioned Palestinian killings of innocent civilians, which the majority found tantamount to pro-Israeli bias. Accordingly the OIC states worked actively to drop any reference to the conclusions of the reports of the Special Rapporteurs from the Council's decisions and resolutions.

3 out of 4 of the Council's special sessions have been called in order to discuss Israel and issues such as Palestine, Lebanon and Beit Hanun. All of these extraordinary sessions have resulted in completely one-sided, strong-worded condemnations of Israel – often based on no verifiable factual background and/or media reports. Moreover, these condemnations include no reference to the abduction of Israeli soldiers or terrorism by Palestinian factions and Hezbollah. These decisions have been carried through despite Western States voting against the proposals.

Of particular interest is the Council's second special session on " The grave situation of human rights in Lebanon caused by Israeli military operations", a session called by Tunisia on behalf of the Group of Arab States and the OIC. The title of the session – attributing the war and its civilian casualties solely to Israel without mentioning Hezbollah – is indicative of the extreme level of bias demonstrated by the Council during this session.

The Council adopted a resolution, which, inter alia, condemned Israeli military operations in Lebanon as "gross and systematic violations of the Lebanese People" – language ordinarily reserved for circumstances such as the ethnic cleansing of the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. The Council was moreover, "appalled at the massacre of thousands of civilians", an accusation which should only be employed by the body of an international organization if backed by solid facts and clear supporting evidence, which was not the case.

The Council also decided to establish a high-level commission of inquiry comprising of eminent experts on human rights:

"To investigate the systematic targeting and killings of civilians by Israel in Lebanon[…] to assess the extent and deadly impact of Israeli attacks on human life, property, critical infrastructure and the environment".

The Council had thus already concluded that Israel was guilty of "systematic and targeted killings of civilians" before the independent experts whose job it was to investigate the conflict had even been appointed, let alone commenced their work.

The Council also ensured that the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry would be limited to deal only with Israeli human rights violations, so as to effectively shield the actions of Hezbollah from any scrutiny. In fact, Hezbollah is not mentioned once in the Council's resolution, nor are the deaths of Israeli civilians mentioned therein.

The wording of the Council's resolution is not consistent with the Security Council's balanced Resolution 1701, which does not speak of massacres, but rather, makes mention of hundreds, rather than thousands of deaths, and specifically mentions Hezbollah attacks on Israeli civilians as well as the abduction Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah. Once again, the Western States were helpless in preventing the Council from hijacking the cause of human rights in order to pursue the political agenda of its majority – or perhaps rather the agenda of the OIC – an agenda which is completely at odds with the mandate of the Council as set out in Resolution 60/251.

The conflict in Lebanon would have been the perfect occasion for the Council to prove to the world that it had risen above the Commission's old failing ways. There was good reason to initiate an impartial investigation of the behaviour of both parties to the conflict in Lebanon, including those Israeli violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, which did occur. Instead, the Council descended into practices and rhetoric so one sided as to practically constitute a defence of Hezbollah, thereby exhausting what legitimacy it still possessed.

Sudan

When the Council, in its fourth special session, finally decided to investigate a country other than Israel, namely Sudan, the difference in the approach adopted was stunning. In its decision, the Council merely expressed its concern about the situation in Darfur. Moreover, the Council commended the Sudanese Government for its cooperation with the Human Rights Council.

This despite the fact that the Sudanese government has persistently frustrated the efforts of the international community to solve the crisis in Darfur. The decision included no condemnations of Sudan and made no mention of the wide spread massacres which have occurred in Darfur with impunity for years.

This is so despite the fact that the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Sudan on 11 January 2006 had issued a report stating, inter alia that she "saw no improvements in the Human Rights situation". The Special Rapporteur also reported that

"the renewed level of conflict too often left civilians the target of attacks by government forces, milita and rebels. Armed men travelling in small groups […] continued to murder, beat and sexually assault IDPs and villagers".

While the Council did decide to dispatch a high-level mission to Sudan, surely the gross and well documented human rights violations in Darfur including the killings of tens of thousands of innocent civilians warrant a condemnation or at the very least an acknowledgement from the UN's premier human rights body. The fact that the Council has repeatedly chosen not to do so while routinely condemning Israel demonstrates that the Council can not be trusted to fulfil its mandate under Resolution 60/251.   

An alternative approach?

It is a good measure of how bad things have become that Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International – both vocal supporters of the adoption of the Council – have been critical of the work of the Council. However, organizations such as the abovementioned and other prominent members of what can be labelled as the human rights movement are unlikely to call for the abandonment of the Council and will most likely insist on any reform to be kept within the institutinal framework of the UN.  Yet the implosion of the Council demonstrates that serious reform of a UN human rights mechanism, which members consist of UN member States rather than individual and independent persons, is a utopian dream.

Despite the beautiful words in countless UN conventions and resolutions, the UN has never been and never will be the guarantor of basic civil and political rights. Such rights have always – however imperfect – been best secured at the national level by liberal democracies with constitutions much older, more vigorous, and more proven and respected by political institutions and citizens than the UN Charter and its human rights related off springs. This demonstrates that if classic civil and political human rights are to be efficiently protecte

d at the international level, the relevant states must be liberal democracies and share a culture of and commitment to constitutionalism.

A good example of this is the Council of Europe ("CoE"), the brainchild of Winston Churchill. In its preamble, the CoE member States reaffirmed

"their devotion to the spiritual and moral values which are the common heritage of their peoples and the true source of individual freedom, political liberty and the rule of law, principles which form the basis of all genuine democracy".

Liberal democracy and ratification of the European Convention of Human Rights ("ECHR"), supervised by the European Court of Human Rights is compulsory for member states. The CoE, which now includes former fascist states such as Portugal, Spain, Greece, as well as the former communist States in Eastern Europe, has quietly played its part in spreading and consolidating basic civil and political rights in European States.

While the European Court of Human Rights have at times engaged in worrying levels of judicial activism, thereby arguably somewhat diluting the ECHR, it's jurisprudence is generally well respected amongst the member States including the national courts of these. The success of the CoE in the area of human rights is in stark contrast to the failure of the UN. A failure which the UN will be unable to remedy unless it too realises that when membership is open to democracies as well as totalitarian, authoritarian, fundamentalist and communist States, the latter will never be committed to respect classic civil and political rights since systematic violations of these are the means by which the regimes of such states keep themselves in power.

The Western States on the Council should be commended for voting against the often outrageous proposals submitted by the majority. However, their support for the Council as an institution is in the long run, tantamount to acquiescence in the further deterioration of human rights standards and the effective protection thereof, which seems to be the aim of several members of the Council. After all, the mood among EU officials demonstrates that Western states know perfectly well that there is little chance of improving the Council within the UN system.

Thus, rather than protecting the Council and the UN, Western States ought to insist on the intimate link between liberal democracy and human rights and the moral, as well as practical superiority of such a system of government. This would entail abandoning the UN as the principal international organ for the promotion and protection of human rights and the creation of a new international organization better equipped to serve this purpose.

Membership of such an organization should be open to countries of all continents, provided that they are liberal democracies with basic protection of civil and political rights. If one uses Freedom House's "Freedom in The World 2007" survey as inspiration, 25 countries from the Americas, 1 Middle Eastern (Israel), 24 Western European, 16 Asian and 13 Eastern/Central European countries are deemed to be "free" and would thus qualify for membership of the proposed new organization entrusted with the protection of international human rights.  

The creation of a new international human rights organization would be a watershed event on the international scene marking the intent of the free countries of the world to stand up for the basic rights and liberties which ensure the freedom enjoyed by their citizens. The work of a competing human rights organization consisting of free countries used to free public debate and criticism of their governmental policies and practises would expose the way the Council majority abuses the rights it is meant to protect. At the same time, it would send a loud and clear message to the authoritarian countries of the world that their form of government lacks the legitimacy of liberal democracies. A message sorely needed at a time where human rights at the international level are expected to be protected by countries where no human rights exist.

 

Den glemte krig

I dagens udgave af Berlingske kan man læse, at Taleban hævder at kontrollere Helmand-provinsen i Afghanistan.

 

Indtil for nylig har der været relativt stille om Afghanistan men deltagerlandende i NATO-koalitionen er så småt ved at vågne op til, hvor katastrofalt man har svigtet i dette land.

Gode eksempler på det politiske svigt – for det er ikke de udsendte soldater der svigter – kan ses i en række dokumentarudsendelser.

 

To britiske dokumentarudsendelser (der kan hentes i flere bidder her og her) viser, hvor underbemandede de (i dette tilfælde britiske) NATO-soldater er, samt at de ikke kan regne med tilstrækkeligt udstyr såsom pansrede køretøjer eller forsyninger. Slutningen på den første dokumentar er vel et skoleeksempel på, hvordan man taber en krig ikke bare militært set men også i forhold til at vinde lokalbefolkningens tillid og skabe en vindende kampånd hos det lokale militær, der jo skal tage over.

 

Den sidste dokumentar viser, hvor hensynsløs en fjende Taleban er. Man undertrykker og dræber gerne civilbefolkningen, inklusiv kvinder der for første gang i en årrække har kunnet mødes uden mænd. Man går heller ikke af vejen for at udstyre en 15 årig dreng med selvmordsbombebælte. Endnu mere deprimerende er det forhold, at oprørere fra hele den muslimske verden sammen med Taleban og øvrige lokale militser tilsyneladende frit kan operere i visse del af Afghanistan og Pakistan, og at de her har baser, hvor terrorangreb mod Vesten bliver udtænkt og udøvet og terroristerne der skal udføre dem bliver oplært. Scenen hvor 30 amerikanske soldater skal sikre en dal med anslået 1.000 oprørere, siger alt om, i hvor høj grad krigen mod terror bliver nedprioriteret i Afghanistan.

 

Man må føle den dybeste respekt og ærbødighed for de NATO-soldater, der under disse vilkår kæmper imod en hensynsløs og ofte usynlig fjende og samtidig viser overskud til at hjælpe lokalbefolkningen. Konsekvenserne af at lade Taleban komme til magten igen vil ikke blot være katastrofale for den afghanske befolkning, det vil givetvis også betyde endnu flere terrorangreb i Vesten, hvorfor krigen må og skal vindes.

Showdown om vestlige værdier i Paris II

Det er helt fortjent, at sagen mod det franske ugeblad Charlie Hebdo har påkaldt sig så meget opmærksomhed, som det er tilfældet – også her på bloggen med vores redaktørs seneste post.

Men sagen har faktisk et ganske sammenligneligt fransk fortilfælde, der sidste år kulminerede i en dom fra den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol. I 1994 fik journalisten og historikeren Paul Giniewski bragt en artikel i den franske avis "Le quotidien de Paris" under overskriften "The obscurity of error" (EMDs engelske oversættelse).

I denne artikel vedrørende et skrift fra Vatikanet kaldet "Veritatis Splendor", skrev Giniewski bl.a.(og jeg vælger igen her den engelske frem for den franske version):

"The Catholic Church sets itself up as the sole keeper of divine truth… It proclaims clearly the fulfilment of the Old Covenant in the New, and the superiority of the latter… Many Christians have acknowledged that anti-Judaism and the doctrine of the "fulfilment" [l'accomplissement"] of the Old Covenant in the New lead to anti-Semitism and prepared the ground in which the idea and implementation  ["l'accomplissement"] of Auschwitz took seed".

Det fik en organisation ved navn Alliance générale contre le racisme et pour le respect de l'identité française et chrétienne (AGRIF) (Alliancen mod racisme og for respekten for den franske og kristne identitet), til at indlede både en civil- og strafferetlig sag mod Giniewski og avisen for at have bragt racistiske udtalelser mod det kristne (tros)samfund.

Giniewski og avisen blev – efter en langvarig retsproces ved flere instanser – først fundet skyldige men siden frifundet for så vidt angår den strafferetlige anklage. Dog tabte Giniewski den civilretlige sag og blev dømt til at betale 1 Franc til AGRIF, samt til at betale for at bringe dommen i en avis.

Giniewski bragte herefter sagen til den EMD, som i 2006 afgjorde sagen med bl.a. disse ord:

50.  The Court considers, in particular, that the applicant sought primarily to develop an argument about the scope of a specific doctrine and its possible links with the origins of the Holocaust. In so doing he had made a contribution, which by definition was open to discussion, to a wide-ranging and ongoing debate), without sparking off any controversy that was gratuitous or detached from the reality of contemporary thought.

51.  By considering the detrimental effects of a particular doctrine, the article in question contributed to discussion of the various possible reasons behind the extermination of the Jews in Europe, a question of indisputable public interest in a democratic society. In such matters, restrictions on freedom of expression were to be strictly construed. Although the issue raised in the present case concerns a doctrine upheld by the Catholic Church, and hence a religious matter, an analysis of the article in question shows that it does not contain attacks on religious beliefs as such, but a view which the applicant wishes to express as a journalist and historian.

 In that connection, the Court considers it essential in a democratic society that a debate on the causes of acts of particular gravity amounting to crimes against humanity should be able to take place freely
Furthermore, it has already had occasion to note that "it is an integral part of freedom of expression to seek historical truth", and that "it is not its role to arbitrate" the underlying historical issues.

52.  While the published text, as the applicant himself acknowledges, contains conclusions and phrases which may offend, shock or disturb some people, the Court has reiterated that such views do not in themselves preclude the enjoyment of freedom of expression. Moreover, the article in question was not "gratuitously offensive" or insulting, and does not incite to disrespect or hatred. Nor does it cast doubt in any way on clearly established historical facts.

53.  In those circumstances, the reasons given by the French courts in support of the applicant's conviction cannot be regarded as sufficient to convince the Court that the interference in the exercise of the applicant's right to freedom of expression was "necessary in a democratic society"; in particular, his conviction on a charge of public defamation towards the Christian community did not meet a "pressing social need".

Det bemærkelsesværdige ved denne sag er, at den – så vidt jeg er orienteret – på intet tidspunkt har været kraftigt eksponeret i medierne eller blogosfæren. Jeg husker heller ikke Trykkefrihedsselskabet juble over denne dom, eller skose de kristne i AGRIF for deres forsøg på at knægte ytringsfriheden. Endvidere husker jeg ikke Politikens hus være bestyrtet over EMDs dom, som jo nu – på europæisk plan – tillader at såre religiøse følelser i ytringsfrihedens navn.

En sag som denne – og nu følger visse generaliseringer – viser, at de der råber højest op om ytringsfrihed i Europa i dag (de kultur-konservative), reelt kun er interesserede i, at kæmpe for denne sag, når det er muslimer, der truer ytringsfriheden. I disse tilfælde er den folkelige opbakning – med rette – massiv bag den der insisterer på vestlige frihedsrettigheders ukrænkelighed i konfrontationen med ublu religiøse krav.

Det har nok også spillet ind at, det, at henlede opmærksomheden på, at kristne organisationer ligeledes har og kan true ytringsfriheden, ikke passer  i den kultur-konservative verdensopfattelse. Her er kristendommen frihedens religion og dermed Islams diametrale modsætning, hvorfor kristendommen er fuldt forenelig med – eller ligefrem understøttende for – vestlige værdier såsom frihedsrettigheder. Det passer givetvis heller ikke ind i den kultur-konservative selvopfattelse, at Giniewski skrev om kristendommens historiske og omfattende antisemitisme, nu hvor man fra dette hold slår sig op på at antisemitisme alene er et muslimsk problem.

Tavsheden fra de "progressive" kræfters side skal givetvis søges i, at man i virkeligheden har stor sympati for dommen, men nødigt vil skilte hermed. Det ville nemlig udstille, hvor hyklerisk argumentet om ikke at forhåne religioner er, når de progressive med denne argumentation i virkeligheden kun forsøger at immunisere Islam og muslimer fra kritik.

Kristne og kristendommen har den progressive fløj i Danmark (og Europa) altid yndet at forhåne. Religiøs tolerance er for de progressive kun interessant at promovere, når det gælder om, at "beskytte" muslimer, ligegyldigt, hvor åbenlyst urimelige og samfundsundergravende de krav om særlige hensyn og censur, som en anseelig del af europæiske muslimer stiller til det omgivende samfund er. Når det kommer til frihedsrettigheder er principfasthed således det sidste man skal forvente fra nogle af de ovennævnte fløje.

Er danskerne retsløse når institutionerne svigter? II

Sagen hvor en urmager blev varetægtsfængslet for at forsvare sin person og forretning mod et par røvere satte gang i en større diskussion her på stedet. Jeg vil undlade selv at deltage direkte i debatten og i stedet henvise til nogle vise ord, der forekommer mig at være yderst relevante for sagen. Ordene er John Trenchard og Thomas Gordon's (og Ciceros) - forfatterne til de fremragende og inspirerende Cato's letters og stammer fra Cato's letter no. 42 om "Considerations on the Nature of Laws" skrevet i 1721:   

The two great laws of human society, from whence all the rest derive their course and obligation, are those of equity and self- preservation: By the first all men are bound alike not to hurt one another; by the second all men have a right alike to defend themselves: Nam jure hoc evenit, ut quod quisque ob tutelam corporis suifecerit, jure fecisse existimetur ["For this comes from the law: that which someone does for the safety of his body, let it be regarded as having been done legally."], says the civil law; that is, "It is a maxim of the law, that whatever we do in the way and for the ends of self defence, we lawfully do."

All the laws of society are entirely reciprocal, and no man ought to be exempt from their force; and whoever violates this primary law of nature, ought by the law of nature to be destroyed. He who observes no law, forfeits all title to the protection of law. It is wickedness not to destroy a destroyer; and all the ill consequences of self-defence are chargeable upon him who occasioned them.

Many mischiefs are prevented, by destroying one who shews a certain disposition to commit many. To allow a licence to any man to do evil with impunity, is to make vice triumph over virtue, and innocence the prey of the guilty. If men be obliged to bear great and publick evils, when they can upon better terms oppose and remove them; they are obliged, by the same logick, to bear the total destruction of mankind. If any man may destroy whom he pleases without resistance, he may extinguish the human race without resistance. For, if you settle the bounds of resistance, you allow it; and if you do not fix its bounds, you leave property at the mercy of rapine, and life in the hands of cruelty.

It is said, that the doctrine of resistance would destroy the peace of the world: But it may be more truly said, that the contrary doctrine would destroy the world itself, as it has already some of the best countries in it. I must indeed own, that if one man may destroy all, there would be great and lasting peace when nobody was left to break it.

The law of nature does not only allow us, but oblige us, to defend ourselves. It is our duty, not only to ourselves, but to the society; Vitam tibi ipsi si negas, multis negas, says Seneca:["If one denies life to oneself, one denies it to many."]  If we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our property and fortunes, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom. And Cicero says, "He who does not resist mischief when he may, is guilty of the same crime, as if he had deserted his parents, his friends, and his country."

Amnesty om den amerikanske trussel mod menneskerettighederne

Menneskerettighedsbevægelsen har udviklet sig fra at være forsvarere af undertrykte mennesker til at være arnested for venstrefløjens drømme om en internationale verdensorden baseret på et abstrakt menneskerettighedsbegreb, der – set med klassisk liberale øjne – kun kan medføre den totale ophævelse af de klassiske menneskerettigheder, som liberalismen var bannerfører for. På den baggrund er det ikke overraskende, at menneskerettighedsbevægelsen også deler venstrefløjens antipati overfor USA. Et godt eksempel herpå er den danske afdeling af Amnesty, der i en nylig meddelelse vedrørende de påståede fangemishandlinger i Afghanistan kom med følgende bemærkelsesværdige udsagn:

USA’s systematiske undergravelse af centrale menneskerettigheder i krigen mod terror er den største trussel mod respekten for menneskerettighederne i dag.

Ovenstående udsagn fik mig til at fare i blækhuset og JP var så venlige at bringe mit debatindlæg, som midtpunkt i dagens udgave, hvilket kan læses her.

En vaskeægte borgerlig-liberal regering

Denne punditokrat er for nylig kommet hjem fra et tre ugers ophold i Australien. Udover at have en fantastisk og smuk natur er Australien bemærkelsesværdigt fordi landet har noget så sjældent som en borgerlig-liberal regering, som rent faktisk fører borgerlig-liberal politik – og tør stå ved det.

Siden 1996 har landets premierminister været John Howard, der også er leder af Australiens Liberale parti. De liberale er i regering med det konservative National Party og regeringens resultater er på mange områder imponerende.

I så godt som hele Howard-regeringens embedsperiode har Australien oplevet solid økonomisk vækst og lav arbejdsløshed. Denne udvikling har været hjulpet af, at Howard regeringen har foretaget en række relativt vidtgående reformer af bl.a. den offentlige sektor (der blev slanket bl.a. via en række privatiseringer), arbejdsmarkedet (der blev gjort mere fleksibelt) og skattesystemet (skatteprocenten – inklusiv topskatten p.t. på 45% – er kontinuerligt blevet sænket, ligesom, der i 2006-2007 skal tjenes 150,000 AUD, før topskat skal betales mod AUD 95.000 i 2005-2006).

Effekten af disse reformer har været så populære, at Howard regeringen ved parlamentsvalget i 2004 opnåede flertal i både Repræsentanternes Hus og Senatet. I modsætning til i Danmark, hvor en borgerlig regering bliver nødt til at føre socialdemokratisk politik for at være spiselig for et flertal af vælgerne, er det i Australien Labour, der (ligesom Tony Blair i 1997) har set sig nødsaget til at opgive tidligere tiders ideologiske tankegods og stiltiende acceptere centrale dele af Howard-regeringens tiltag.

Howard regeringen er ikke en ærkeliberalistisk regering, der søger at indføre en minimalstat, og den er heller ikke immun overfor populisme. For den liberalistiske krakiler vil, der givetvis være masser af tiltag, der ikke burde være ført ud i livet eller som man ikke har været modige nok til at gennemføre. Men Howard regeringen har en klar borgerlig profil, både i sin grundlæggende ideologi og i de politiske tiltag man gennemfører. Det liberale partis “core beliefs”, er oplysende:

We are the party of initiative and enterprise.

We believe in the inalienable rights and freedoms of all peoples; and we work towards a lean government that minimises interference in our daily lives; and maximises individual and private sector initiative. We believe in government that nurtures and encourages its citizens through incentive, rather than putting limits on people through the punishing disincentives of burdensome taxes and the stifling structures of Labor’s corporate state and bureaucratic red tape. […]In short, we simply believe in individual freedom and free enterprise.

Den slags retorik – der vel nærmest er uddød i det politiske liv i Danmark – er ikke kun henvist til principprogrammer og skåltaler men går igen i Howard-regeringens praktiske politik (man har åbenbart endnu ikke opdaget, at en stærk velfærdsstat er forudsætningen for den moderne liberalisme, men der er selvfølgelig også en betragtelig tidsforskel mellem København og Canberra).

Howard-regeringens liberale økonomiske politik er blandet med en solid dosis patriotisme (som denne punditokrat i stigende grad er overbevist om er forudsætningen for folkelig opbakning til borgerlig-liberale regeringer). Den almindelige australier er tydeligvis glad og stolt over sit land og såkaldte “Australian Values”. Men den australske patriotisme er – med visse undtagelser –  af en underfundig størrelse, fri for den konfrontatoriske og selvretfærdige bragesnak, der så ofte skæmmer patriotismen (Søren Krarups “Systemskiftet” er et godt eksempel)  – og heller ikke uden selvironi.

For desillusionerede borgerlige er Australien således et godt eksempel på, at klassisk borgerligt-liberalt tankegods langt fra er forældet men tværtimod selv i det 21. århundrede kan udgøre fundamentet for det gode samfund. Endvidere viser Howard regeringens succes, at borgerlig-liberale ideer kan opnå bred folkelig appel og tilsutning, hvis blot deres ansvarlige politiske bannerførere har modet og viljen til at være dem tro.

Frihedens globale tilstand

Den amerikanske NGO Freedom House har for nyligt udgivet sin årlige "Freedom of the World" rapport, der bedømmer samtlige verdens landes grad af individuel og politisk frihed.

Freedom House operer med tre kategorier af lande således, at de bedømte lande, alt efter hvordan de scorer i kategorierne borgerlige frihedsrettigheder og politiske frihedsrettigheder, rubriceres, som "free", "partly free" og "not free". Scoren går fra 1-7 – hvor 1 er den højeste grad af frihed og 7 den laveste – i hver kategori.

2006 var ifølge Freedom House et år, hvor friheden stagnerede globalt set. I både Asien og Afrika forværredes borgerlige og politiske frihedsrettigheder i en række lande, herunder Thailand og Congo (Brazzaville), mens fremskridtene globalt set var ganske beskedne. Den mest positive udvikling er givetvis Ukraine, der med en score på 3 for politiske frihedsrettigheder og 2 for borgerlige frihedsrettigheder lige akkurat kan kalde sig frit.

Samlet set er der ifølge Freedom House's rapport 90 frie, 58 delvist frie og 45 ufrie lande (og territorier) i verden p.t. (mod 42 i 1976). De frie lande fordeler sig på 11 i Afrika, 1 i Mellemøsten og Nord-Afrika (Israel), 16 i Asien, 25 i Latin, Mellem, og Nordamerika 13 i det gamle Østeuropa og tidligere Sovjetunionen, samt 24 i vest-Europa (kun Tyrkiet er delvis frit).

Freedom House konkluderer, at der siden den globale friheds annus mirabilis i 1998 er sket en kedelig udvikling og det liberale demokrati er ikke længere på, hvad der ellers på daværende tidspunkt, virkede som en ustoppelig global sejrsmarch.

Frihedens trænge kår er også genstand for en artikel hos Reason (skrevet af den fremragende Cathy Young). Cathy Young afslutter med følgende spørgsmål:

  Why the setbacks for freedom, which seemed to be on the rise around the world a decade ago? Could it be that the rise and fall of democratic aspirations have their own cycles? Could it be that the universalist vision of freedom and democracy is doomed to fail, because it does not take cultural differences into account? Could it be that freedom's champions lack the resolve to stand up to its enemies?

Denne punditokrat skal ikke påstå at have svarene – men hælder til, at de af Cathy Young nævnte grunde, samt en hel række øvrige kendte (og ukendte) faktorer spiller ind, hvorfor der givetvis ingen mirakelkur findes.

Bolton om FN og NATO

Man kan mene hvad man vil om USA's nu forhenvaerende FN-ambassadoer men paa vises punkter har hans no-nonsense tilgang til diktaturstater og hans usentimentale forhold til FN og denne institutions begraensninger i denne punditokrats oejne vaeret et frisk og tiltraengt pust. I et interview med the Times – det foerste efter Bolton maatte traede tilbage – konkluderer Bolton, at FN er blevet saa ineffektivt, at NATO boer goeres til et globalt alternativ bestaaende af demokratiske stater. Bolton foreslaar derfor, at lande som Australien, Japan og Israel gives adgang til NATO, som saa kan udgoere et "caucauses of democracies".

Boltons ide er naeppe realistisk men ville vaere saerdeles kaerkommen, som en kraftig markering fra verdens demokratier, af at man ikke undskylder for sit politiske system men tvaertimod finder det overlegent i forhold til de alternativer praeget af fundamentalisme, kommunisme og fascisme, som dominerer flere af af FNs oervige medlemsstater.    

At den er helt gal med FN findes der adskillige nylige eksempler paa. FN's nye generalsekretaer Ban-Ki Moon, lovede ved sin tiltraeden at reformere FN. Men Moon er kommet saerdels uheldigt fra start. Som sin vice-generelsekretaer har Moon udnaevnt Asha Rose-Migiro. Migiro er  udenrigsminister i Tanzania. Paa den baggrund kunne man maaske taenke, at udnaevnelsen var lige efter bogen.

Migiro har dog kun fungeret, som udenrigsminister i lidt under et aar. Det er endvidere vaerd at bemaerke at Migiros saede i det tanzanianske parlament ifoelge avisen the Australians mandagsudgave blev sikret i en valgkreds reserveret til kvindelige kandidater. At Migiro er en sort afrikansk kvinde – og dermed en politisk korrekt darling – vejer saaledes aabenbart tungere end det faktum, at hun ud fra helt objektive kriterier er uegnet til at bestride en post, der er helt central for Moons bebudede reformer, og hvor Migiro vil skulle haandtere diplomater og politikere med mange flere aars erfaring fra international politik.

Som om Migiros manglende erfaring ikke var nok er det kommet frem, at hun – igen ifoelge the Australian – i sin embedsperiode har stoettet Irans atomprogram og enddog udtrykt haab om at tanzaniansk uranium kan anvendes af Iran.

Et andet eksempel er FNs nye Menneskerettighedsraad, der afloeste den skandaleramte Menneskerettighedskommision. Menneskerettighedsraadet har dog vist sig endnu mere politiseret og ligegyldig overfor egentlig menneskerettighedsbeskyttelse end sin forgaenger. Raadet har saaledes – anfoert af muslimske lande koordineret af OIC – brugt det meste af sin energi paa fuldstaendigt ensidigt at fordoemme Israel og de vestlige stater i Raadet har flere gange maatte se sig nedstemt af alliancer af lande saasom Pakistan, Saudi-Arabien, Marokko, Cuba og Kina, hvilket man i oevrigt snart vil kunne laese mere om i en kort artikel af undertegnede i det nye trykte Raeson.

Naar man tager i betragtning at de ovennaevnte eksempler paa FNs inkompetence langt fra er enestaaende men snarere kendetegnende, kan det synes overraskende at en ide som John Boltons om et globalt NATO  med udvidede befoejelser opfattes som kontroversielt i de fleste Vestlige lande. Det er endnu mere overraskende, at the Economist (og Paul Kennedy) saetter sin lid til at FN kan (og skal) spille en mere central rolle i international politik. I denne punditokrats optik er det i stigende grad noedvendigt med et opgoer med tanken om FN som garant for en international retsorden. Saa laenge FN Pagten ikke skelner mellem demokratier og diktaturer er det utopi at tro paa at frie og undertrykkende lande kan enes om en vision om det gode internationale samfund og uden en saadan faelles vision er selv nok saa fromme haab derom ligegyldige.

 

 

 

Juridisk vurdering af Berlingske-sagen

Fra et rent juridisk synspunkt var et af de mest interessante aspekter ved Byrettens dom i Berlingske-sagen rettens begrundelse, hvoraf jeg har fremhævet væsentlige afsnit:.

Spørgsmålet om de tiltalte kan straffes for overtrædelse af straffelovens § 152 d stk. 3, afhænger herefter af, om de tiltaltes viderebringelse af fortrolige oplysninger kan anses som "uberettiget", eller om det i stedet må antages, at de tiltalte har handlet i "berettiget varetagelse af åbenbar almen interesse eller af eget eller andres tarv", jf. straffelovens § 152 e, nr. 2.

De nævnte bestemmelser i straffeloven skal læses i lyset af ytringsfrihedsbestemmelsen i Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskonventions [EMRK] artikel 10 og praksis fra den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol [EMD] vedrørende denne bestemmelse, idet de tiltalte har gjort gældende, at de er straffri fordi de som led i deres arbejde som journalister og redaktør var berettigede til at videregive oplysninger væsentlig samfundsinteresse til offentligheden.

[..]Afvejningen af de modstående væsentlige hensyn i sagen fører efter rettens opfattelse til, at den betydelige offentlige interesse omkring beslutningen af krigsdeltagelse i 2003 skal tillægges en sådan vægt overfor risikoen for, at efterretningstjenestens virksomhed ville lide skade, at det kan lægges til grund, at de tiltalte handlede i berettiget varetagelse af åbenbar almeninteresse, da de valgte at videregive de fortrolige oplysninger til pressen.    

Som følge af det anførte frifindes de tiltalte.

Det interessante i ovennævnte citat er den vægt retten valgte at lægge på EMRK artikel 10, og EMDs praksis, der givetvis var den udslagsgivende faktor i denne sag. Læg endvidere mærke til, at Grundlovens § 77 slet ikke er nævnt og givetvis ikke ville have medført frifindelse på grund af denne bestemmelses afgrænsede beskyttelsesområde, der som udgangspunkt alene omfatter den formelle ytringsfrihed – forbud mod forudgående censur. Bestemmelsen omfatter dog som udgangspunkt ikke materiel ytringsfrihed, hvorfor borgerne efterfølgende frit kan sanktioneres for deres ytringer. Byrettens dom er således endnu et eksempel på, at EMRK har udvidet ytringsfriheden her i landet, hvilket også skete i EMDs afgørelse i Jersild dommen fra 1994.

(En del af) den retspraksis som de tiltaltes advokat påberåbte sig og som retten henviste til i sin afgørelse, har denne punditokrat i øvrigt tidligere behandlet her.   

Byrettens dom er for undertegnede et eksempel på, at selvom den kritik Mads Bryde Andersen fremsatte af menneskerettighedstænkningen i Danmark var utrolig vigtig og væsentlig, var hans forslag om at ophæve den lov der inkorporerede EMRK i dansk ret for vidtgående. Havde man valgt at tage dette skridt ville Byretten muligvis være kommet til et andet resultat, da Højesteret for nyligt (korrekt i mine øjne) fastslog, at uinkorporerede menneskerettighedstraktater ikke udgør en originær kilde i dansk ret, hvorfor sådanne traktater ikke er direkte anvendelige.

Indvandring: hvem vinder og hvem taber? III

En ny undersøgelse fra den amerikanske National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), kaster nyt lys over diskussionen om, hvorvidt immigration medfører flere gavnlige end skadelige effekter.

Undersøgelsen viser, at indvandrere de seneste 15 år har stiftet (eller er medstiftere af) 25% af USA’s venture kapital baserede børsnoterede selskaber. Isolerer man de venture baserede børsnoterede selskaber, hvis forretningsmodel er højteknologisk, står indvandrere bag 40% af disse selskaber. Markedsværdien af børsnoterede selskaber, stiftet af indvandrere er over 500 milliarder USD. Endvidere er halvdelen af de – white collar – arbejdspladser, der er skabt af venture baserede og børsnoterede selskaber, er skabt af sådanne selskaber stiftet af indvandrere, svarende til 220.000 arbejdspladser i USA og 440.000 på verdensplan. Gode eksempler på sådanne selskaber er Yahoo!, Intel, Sun Microsystems og Google.

Tendensen slår endnu kraftigere igennem bland unoterede – og mindre – venture baserede selskaber, hvor undersøgelsen tyder på, at helt op til 47% af sådanne selskaber er stiftet af indvandrere.

De indvandrere, der starter ovennævnte selskaber er ofte fra Indien, men også Israel, Kina, Iran, Taiwan, Storbritannien og Frankrig er godt repræsenteret.

Såfremt undersøgelsen er troværdig – og det tyder omtalen hos både Wall Street Journal og CNN på – er det et glimrende eksempel på, hvorledes en relativ fri markedsøkonomi – overordnet set – formår at høste frugterne af indvandring, mens indvandring alvorligt hæmmer den europæiske velfærdsmodel.

Men undersøgelsen viser også, at der er grund til at udvise stor skepsis når – særligt national-konservative – råber op om, hvorledes indvandring medfører den Vestlige Civilisations undergang. Den teknologi, som de ovennævnte selskaber har skabt og skaber, er jo netop en af grundende til, at vestlige lande stadig har den økonomiske førertrøje på internationalt set.

Mon ikke også Europas fremtid så lysere ud hvis nogle af de indvandrere, der har skabt milliardvirksomheder i USA havde haft muligheden herfor i Europa? Eller hvis de franskmænd og briter, der har startet succesfulde selskaber i USA havde haft samme incitament i deres hjemlande?

Når den national-konservative læser via Google giver sig til at trawle Internettet for indhold, der kan tilbagevise dette indlæg, så husk, at Deres effektive elektroniske søgning kun er mulig på grund af en blanding af en (relativ) åben indvandringspolitik og ditto markedsøkonomi.

Muslimer i Frankrig: Integration eller Intifada?

Den aldrig sluttende debat her på bloggen vedrørende Islam, som særligt synes at optage denne punditokrat og vores trofaste og – trods den til tider hårde meningsudveksling – værdsatte læsere JR og Niels A. Nielsen, får nu næring af både Wall Street Journal, the Economist og Foreign Affairs. De nævnte blade har alle artikler som giver anledning til behersket optimisme på vegne af det europæiske land mange, inklusiv mig selv, har troet ville opleve de værste konsekvenser af muslimsk indvandring: Frankrig.

Artiklerne peger på, at det rent faktisk går bedre med integrationen af muslimer i Frankrig end hidtil antaget. Først Wall Street Journal, der på trods af at muslimer generelt ligger tungt til i kriminalitets og arbejdsløshedsstatistikker synes at konkludere, at det går i den rigtige retning:

At the moment French Muslims, like Muslims elsewhere in Europe, exhibit the pathologies that have long characterized the American underclass. Nearly a fifth of French residents with immigrant origins–a group dominated by North Africans–don't have jobs. Unemployment among young people in the projects runs as high as 50%. Muslims make up a majority of the French prison population, and in jails near urban areas their numbers approach 70% or 80%. It requires only a short commuter train trip from central Paris or Lyon to come across a culture of drugs, welfare dependency and crime.

France touts Europe's highest rate of intermarriage between Muslims and non-Muslims. In the realm of popular culture, its most beloved sports star (Zinédine Zidane) and comic (Jamal Debbouze) hail from Algerian Berber families. Though immigrant birth rates are high, they tend to slow down with each succeeding generation, approaching that of the general French population. A Muslim middle class is tiny but emerging.

An assimilationist outlook may be emerging as well. According to a Pew Global Attitudes survey published in July, 42% of French Muslims consider themselves French first; 47%, Muslim first. (In Britain, the numbers are 7% British first; 81%, Muslim first.)

In the same poll, 78% of French Muslims say that they want to adapt to French customs. Another recent survey, this one for La Vie, a Catholic monthly, appears to show that French Muslims aren't averse to "French" values: 91% of those interviewed approved of gender equality, 73% of the separation of church and state; 69% said that they don't oppose Muslim women marrying outside the faith. […]Messrs. Laurence and Vaisse argue that French Muslims are a diverse and fast-changing group, in many respects moderate.

WSJ er dog ikke blind overfor faren fra Islamismen:

Sounds good. So why are so many French citizens convinced that relations between Muslims and Christians will get worse and not better? The warning signs go beyond the delinquents who grab headlines by burning cars. The Pew survey also shows that Islamism–the militant, fundamentalist form of the religion–is putting down roots in France, as it is elsewhere in Europe.

The group that seems most susceptible to radicalization is the young who were born in France but feel at home neither in the West nor in the birthplace of their immigrant parents. Zacarias Moussaoui, the convicted 9/11 terrorist and a French citizen, is the most prominent example of this cohort. The authors note that up to 200 French Muslims trained in al Qaeda's Afghan camps. The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood is certainly active in Frances's suburban projects.

Artiklen udfordrer også klassik liberale holdninger til vidtgående anti-terror lovgivning, som får en stor del af æren for, at der ikke har været alvorlige terror angreb i Frankrig i lang tid:

It matters, then, that France's anti-terrorism laws are the toughest anywhere in the Western world. French prosecutors can hold terror suspects for years without charge; the definition of "links to terrorism" is loose. Every mosque in France is monitored. Since 9/11, the government has cracked down on foreign financing and moved to train "French imams." All this–more than the slow integrationist trend that Messrs. Laurence and Vaisse celebrate–may be the reason why France hasn't been hit by terrorism since a wave of subway bombings in 1995.

The French approach to assimilation, with its insistence on strict secularism and its dirigiste firmness, does not make for an American-style melting pot. But it may well carve a better path to civil peace, over time, than the policies of Europe's other Muslim-populated countries. The path would run smoother if France could undertake a major economic reform. Remarkably little has been done, even in the year since the riots, to loosen up the restrictive labor codes that do so much to keep poor immigrants–not least poor Muslim immigrants–from finding work and integrating themselves into French life.

WSJs artikel understøttes af en artikel i Foreign Affairs (hele artiklen kan læses her på Realclearpolitics) som også giver et mere nuanceret billede af, hvorledes det går med integration af muslimer i Frankrig. I artiklen hedder det bl.a:

The status of Muslims in France is at once much healthier and more problematic than most recent commentary lets on. France's experience with integration has been shaped by a unique combination of history, philosophy, and contemporary concerns, which together have produced a stop-and-start immigration policy and a wariness about Islam. Still, French sociologists agree that the integration of Muslims into French society has proceeded fairly well. Most Muslims in France — half to three-fifths of whom are believed to be French citizens — have adopted French cultural norms; they enthusiastically endorse republican values, including laïcité (the French state's aggressive official secularism).

They tend to vote somewhat less often and somewhat more to the left than most of the French population, but socioeconomic variables, not religion, account for the differences. Their desire to assimilate has sometimes been met with a form of discrimination fuelled by nativism and a deep distrust of Islam that has made it harder for them to find homes and jobs. But what has turned such vexing problems into crushing burdens is the economic stagnation that has afflicted the whole country and defied reform efforts for three decades.

Også the Economist har beskæftiget sig med Frankrig og dets muslimske indvandrere. Om sidste års voldelige uroligheder hedder det (kræver abonnement):

When the riots started, they were treated in some quarters as a "suburban intifada". "Jihad comes home", ran one newspaper headline. Some American observers regarded the uprising as further proof of Europe's inability to control the spread of radical Islam. France has Europe's biggest Muslim population—an estimated 5m, or 8% of France's inhabitants—so it comes under special scrutiny.

A report into the riots by the French Renseignements Généraux, the domestic intelligence-gathering service, however, found the opposite. Islamists had "no role in setting off the violence or in fanning it," it concluded.

Sammenlign ovenstående artikler med indholdet af a
rtikler om samme emne af R
obert Spencer i Front Page Magazine, og døm selv hvor lødigheden og troværdigheden er størst.

Hvis det kan lægges til grund, at Frankrigs hårdhændede fremfærd i kampen mod terrorisme og fundamentalisme, er spørgsmålet om en sådan fremfærd er nødvendig i velfærdstunge lande med muslimsk indvandring. Det er jo netop i disse lande indvandrere – særligt de muslimske af slagsen – samlet set nærmest undtagelsesfrit klarer sig markant dårligere end den øvrige befolkning. En sådan konklusion er dog ikke tvingende al den stund, at Danmark ikke – endnu – har været udsat for alvorlig terrorisme og at islamismen herhjemme ikke synes at have så fast et greb i de muslimske indvandrere, som i visse steder i f.eks. England.

Hvorom alt er synes den bedste opskrift på succesfuld integration af muslimer stadig at være den amerikanske med en mindre stat, lav eller ingen offentlig forsørgelse af indvandrere og en tradition for religiøs tolerance, faktorer, der synes at fremme en frivillig assimilationsproces med hensyn til demokratiske kerneprincipper. Resultater heraf er, at muslimer i USA klarer sig bedre end den gennemsnitlige befolkning og langt bedre end f.eks. den sorte og overvejende kristne del af befolkningen. Et eksempel de mest islamskeptiske debattører på mærkværdigvis konsekvent nægter at forholde sig til eller tage ved lære af.  

« Ældre indlæg Nyere indlæg »

© 2020 Punditokraterne

Tema af Anders NorenOp ↑