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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  December 1, 2012 9:00am-10:15am EST

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visit for more on this weekend's television schedule. >> you are watching booktv. up next, martha nussbaum talks about an time muslim bigotry in the west since 9/11. this is just over an hour. [applause] >> thank you very much for that great introduction. i want to thank the seminary co-op for making this possible but also a specialty thank all of you for being here.
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i am really overwhelmed to see so many people, but because my main hope is to engage with you and spend at least half an hour on q&a i am going to speak briefly and what i am going to do is introduce the book in a general way and focus on just one section about demands on the burke that in europe. quince not very long ago americans and europeans pride themselves on religious toleration and understanding. and animosity and violence including such bloody episodes as the wars of religion, including as well be quieter violence of colonial religious domination by europeans in many parts of the world and added to that, domestic anti-semitism and anti catholicism and culminating
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in the horrors of nazism which implicated not only germany but many other nations as well. europe and the u.s. until recently liked to think these dark times were in the past and religious violence was somewhere else, in societies more allegedly primitive, less characterized by heritage of christian values. today we have many reasons to doubt that. our situation calls urgently for critical self examination as we try to uncover the roots of ugly fears and suspicions that currently disfigure all western democracies. in april of 2011 a lot affect in france according to which it is illegal to cover the face in any public space from march to marketplaces to shops, although the law does not mention the word women, muslim, bertha or bail it was introduced by
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president nicolas sarkozy and a ban on muslim veiling which according to him imprisons women and threatens french values of dignity and equality. the new law makes illegal the barca but france is the first country to enact a full ban on the burke that in public space similar restrictions of being considered all over europe and many countries in regions that adopted some type. on april 28, 2011, the chamber of representatives of belgium voted for a similar ban although the law expected to be challenged in a constitutional court. in spain in 2010 the catalonia and assembly narrowly rejected a proposed ban on a burke got in all public places reversing an earlier vote. similar laws are in progress in italy as well. in switzerland after a campaign designed to appeal to fears of a muslim takeover, a popular
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referendum voted by 57% to ban the construction of minarets associated with mosques, despite the fact that very few mosques in switzerland actually have minarets, there are only four minarets and the whole country on of 150 mosques and in consequence the architectural issue is clearly symbolic. in july of 2011, terror struck northern europe. murdered approximately 76 people in twin attacks bombing barbara and -- government buildings and shooting young representatives of the labor party who had gathered on the island for a youth camp. he confessed to the crimes but claims that he is not at fault, at least on the day of the attacks, 1500 page manifesto in which he outlined a series -- a theory supporting his actions based on the idea that europe must fight against the surge of islam, he evidently has ties
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with a variety of anti islamic movements. i go into that in the book. in the u.s. the legal side is somewhat better owing to our long constitutional heritage of welcoming religious dissenters who express their conscientious commitment by dressing in nonstandard ways, no bans on the burke up or head stock proposed that there have been numerous attempts to use zoning laws to force out mosques including locally in page county and some 0 crafted proposals forbid the application of sharia law by u.s. courts and yes, there has been as you all know horrific violence. the recent attack on the sikh temple in wisconsin that what seven people dead. the perpetrators seems to have influenced by hate sites. my book argues that political philosophy can help us think
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about how to deal with this kind of fear and suspicion. what i advance in the book is the three pronged approach to. the first is good constitutional principles based on sound arguments deriding from the idea of equal respect for indignity. here i studied the history of debate about religious liberty including the ideas of roger williams and john locke and look at how those ideas about equal respect for conscience and the burdens that imposes on government and public policy led to a constitutional tradition according to which government may not substantially burden and an individual's free exercise of religion without an extremely weighty public interest. i defend those ideas as a good basis for public policy in other nations as well. the second prong of my approach of which i will focus tonight is
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the need for principled consistency and self examination in our approach to the religions of other people. i note that many policies in this area wac socratic self examination. the basic virtue of trying to have a coherent and consistent policy across similar cases and as we will see soon, many are in a deeper way that was at the heart of ethics mainly people act in ways that give their own group special privilege and refuse to apply the same law to all people so we will go on and see that. the third prong of the approach i argue that even when we have good principles and consisting reasoning we still need something more, an active, curious imagination interested in learning about the lives of others and in coming to see how the world looks from other points of view.
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i give examples of works of literature for both adults and particularly important, children, that promote this sort of understanding. throughout, my common crocus throughout the book is i use the history of prejudice against jews in europe and the historical case to think about as we face the day's prejudices against muslims. nineteenth century anti-semitism has many of the same ideas and it's obvious wrongness in the light of history may guide us as we think about issues that are too close to us to be seen with the clarity they deserve. to the second prong, physical consistency. i will focus on bans of america and arguments can certainly be in other cases. i will argue the five most prominent arguments in favor of banning of a gurkha automating
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consistency in ways that favor majority practice -- the idea of equal respect for all people from which this spring as. all cases of what might turn to the christian tradition against itself called cases of seeing demoting your brother's eye while failing to appreciate the large plank in your own eyes, all target situations alleged to be present in muslim communities failing to note their ubiquity in the worst form in the majority culture. let's look at how each is treated with equal respect. first, is an argument that holds security requires people to show their face when appearing in
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public places. a second closely related argument which i will treat with that says that the argument of transparency, it says the kind of transparency and reciprocity proper to relations between citizens is impeded by covering part of the face. what is wrong with both of these arguments is they are applied totally inconsistent the. as you know or will soon come to know if you are new here, it gets very cold in chicago. we walk along the street, had cooled down over years and browse, scarf wound tightly over nose and mouth and often sunglasses to keep the wind out, no problem of security or transparency are thought to exist, nor are we forbidden to enter public buildings so insulated. moreover, many beloved and trusted professionals covered their faces all year round,
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surgeons, dentists, american football players, skiers and skaters. the latter typically wear in the outdoors a full face coverings with only slits for the eyes. similar -- some are even more coverage than the burqa where are. it will be said we are living in an era of terrorism and in the war against terror it is legitimate to suspect women who wear the burqa. that is a widespread view in the u.s. and in europe. all i can say is if i were a terrorist in the u.s. and europe and if i were not stupid the last thing i would where would-be burqa, since that way of dressing attract suspicious attention. criminals usually wants not to attract suspicious attention. i think i would dress like eddie bauer down coat, hat down over the eyebrows, extra over the half for insulation and large sunglasses and a balky indian
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shawl wrapped around the face. nevertheless i have never been asked to remove these clothes in a department store or boutique or public building or even a bank. in the summer if i were the intelligent sort of terrorist i would wear a big floppy hat and a long list cast and carry a louis baton handbag. that is what a smart terrorist would do and those are the new ones we need to worry about. so what to do about threats that all balky and non revealing clothing creates? airline security does a lot with metal detectors and body imaging and pat downs and so forth and so long as it is done consistently we are all right. one system i particularly like is in place in india where all passengers a full menu will pat down by members of the same sex who are trained to be courteous and respectful.
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private stores or other organizations who feel bulky clothing is a threat with shoplifting or terrorism or both could institute a nondiscriminatory rule banning floor length coats, even have a body scanner at the door but they don't, presumably preferring customer friendliness to the extra margin of safety. what i want to establish is the discrimination inherent in the belief that the burqa poses a unique security, reasonable security policies are similarly fine. a reasonable demand would be that a muslim woman had a full face photo on her driver's license or passport with suitable protections for modesty during a photo session, such a photo could be required and most islamic scholars agree on that point. i don't think this requirement would be incompatible with equal liberty. however, we also know by now the
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face is a bad identify. at immigration checkpoints, i recognition and speaker printing technology of already replaced those. many superior technologies are broadly available and have spread to police on patrol and airport security lines. we could do away with the photo and what remains of the first argument. we still need to say something more about the end of the argument that focuses on transparency. i have begun to reply by pointing to the many contexts in which we make contact with other citizens along the street. to some extent this is covered. we can now had two further points. the first is long standing traditions in many cultures hold that the eyes of the windows to the sole. contact with another person as individuals is thought to be made more through the eyes and nose and mouth. once during a construction project that involved a lot of dust in my office i actually had
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to cover everything but my eyes when talking to students for a number of weeks and i put on sunglasses too. at first they found it quite weird but soon they were asking how they could get a mask and filters like ones i was wearing. my personality did not feel stifled more did they feel they could not access my individuality. the further point i would make is people often have difficulty talking to people who look odd. there's an unfortunate human tendency to blame this difficulty on the person who looks odd rather than on oneself. people with facial disabilities are hugely stigmatized in most cultures. people with both mental and physical disabilities are often excluded from conversation. indeed children with disabilities used to be as we know hidden away from so-called normal children in a separate room, not integrated into
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mainstream classrooms, partly on the grounds that so-called normal children founded difficult to interact with them. today we still have difficulty with this, when in waffle admitted a student with major disabilities, she used a wheelchair and breathing tube and needed a dog to guide her because she was legally blind. people didn't talk to her at first. they thought she must be stupid. that is very common. and of course they quickly discovered she was a star and not only a star but a very gifted actress who starred in the unlawful musical so this change. in general instructors are intellectually aware that they should not include people from conversation just because they are disturbing to them in some way even if they have to read syndrome which can be quite disturbing. if a person finds it hard to talk to such a student or colleague she will blame that
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not on the person but on herself and try to do her job better. and in the process we are learning to make human contact in greater variety of modality. prominently through the voice in the case of my student who was legally blind but in many other instances as well. a third argument very prominent today is that the burqa is a symbol of male domination that symbolizes the objectification of women and discourages people to think of and treat a woman as a mere interchangeable object for their use. the first thing i think we should say about this argument is that the people who make it typically don't know very much about islam and would have a hard time saying what symbolizes what's in that. and but the more glaring flaw in the argument is modern societies are suffused with images of male supremacy that treat women as sexual objects.
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sex magazines, hard-core pornography, nude photos, tight jeans, transparent or revealing clothing, all of these product one might argue and it has been argued by many, treat women as objects as do many aspects of the media culture. women are encouraged to market themselves for male objectification in this way and it has long been observed that this is a way of robbing women of agency and individuality, using them to object or commodities. i have written several articles on this subject myself and the latest one was about the pornographic abuse of women on the internet. what about the degrading prison of plastic surgery's. nicolas sarkozy calls the burqa a degrading prison, what about plastic surgery? agreed, and dress in the locker room of my jaw my see women bearing the scars of mike reception, to me, breast implants and some no doubt undertaken out of personal choice but i think a lot
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undertaken also by the pressure of the gender culture to conform to a male norm of female beauty that casts women as sex objects. of the proposal were to ban all practices concerning which the ministry of feminism concluded day objectify women the proposal would at least be consistent, although few including few feminists would endorse such a sweeping restriction of liberty where the authorities would have a small number of alleged feminist experts. but it is not consistent. proponents of the burqa ban did not propose to ban all these objectifying practices and often strongly object to even the radical feminists who would like to ban certain kinds of violent pornography and even participate in these practices. the opponents of the burqa are utterly inconsistent, be trading fear of the difference that is
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discriminatory and unworthy of the egalitarian democracy. in effect they aggregate themselves to the position of the ministry of feminism, a point well made by joan scott in her book about france but only for certain people, people whose real motives and understanding are particularly likely not to understand clearly not their own sort. way to deal with sexism in this case as in all is by persuasion and example, not by removing the birdie. of course, things that are legal can still be disapproved of. what i am arguing is equal respect for persons requires equal conditions of liberty. of course it doesn't require equal personal approval of all religiouss. many things are illegal arkansas did deplorable, and kindness, intemperance, instability, narcissism.
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in a society based on equal respect, people with one religious or secular view remain perfectly free to disapprove of some religious practices or even of all of them and religion itself and to express that disapproval. still, i think such a person ought to think at least about consistency and a duty of civility suggests you ought to try hard to understand, one should listen to what women who where the bird the think it means before opining and in general one should hesitate before offering one's view of into that aspect of other people's lives like the way people come up to a pregnant woman and start talking about their pregnancy is ubiquitous but not very pleasant. a fourth argument holds that women wear the burqa because they are coerced. this is a rather impossible argument to make across the board and is typically made by people who have never
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investigated what the circumstances of this or that individual are. we should reply that of course all forms of violence and physical coercion in the home are illegal already and laws against domestic violence and abuse should be enforced more zealously than they are. do argue really believe domestic violence is a peculiarly muslim problem? if they do they are not right. according to the u.s. bureau of justice statistics into the partner violence made a 20% of all non fatal violent crimes in the year 2001. the national violence against women survey cited on the web site reports 52% of surveyed women said they were physically assaulted as a child by an adult caretaker and/or an adult by any kind of perpetrator. there is no evidence muslim families have a disproportionate amount of such violence.
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we don't have enough data on this but given strong and documented association between domestic violence and abuse of alcohol one might predict they turn out to have someone less. suppose there were evidence that the burqa was associated statistically with violence against women? could government legitimately ban at on those grounds? the u.s. supreme court has held nude dancing in indiana, an interesting case if you look it up later, newt dancing may be banned in this bar in indiana on account of its contingent association with crime including, crimes against women. there's no evidence this holding is correct reversing trends on the seventh circuit where rigid pose near said it was a band of
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the first amendment and david souter at the data were not there, that new dancing is connected with crime and somehow the presence of the g string would change that. david souter did not have much experience in this area. anyway, college fraternities are very strongly associated with violence against women. we know that and there's lots of evidence of that and universities have made all or some fraternities move off campus as a result private institutions are entitled to make such regulations about what could occur on their premises. public universities are entitled to limit the type of activity that will get public money particularly when it involves illegality under -- underage drinking. a total government ban on the fraternity were the mail drinking club or other places working to get drugs like soccer matches, would certainly be a
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very bizarre restriction association of liberty. one thing we have long known to be associated with violence against women is as i said before alcohol. the amendment to the u.s. constitution manioc always motivated by exactly that concern. was on dubious flooding in terms of liberty. why should law-abiding people suffer for the crimes of users but what was most obvious was the prohibition was a total disaster politically and practically. increased crime did not stop violence against women. even during prohibition, religious that required second to use about all got an exemption. similarly federal law today reduce the drinking age so the correct and what would be a ban on the burqa that exempted those who wear it for religious allegiant -- reasons which is virtually all who wear it. what is most important is anyone
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proposing to ban the burqa must consider it together with other cases, to weigh the evidence and take the consequences for their own cherished hobbies but what about children? surely they do not have much choice so long as they are living with their parents. family pressured to wear religious dress is likely to be difficult to resist. this question opens up another huge topic since there is nothing more common to the modern family and various forms of colors to the emotional pressure to get into a top college, date people of the so-called right religion or race, to wear appropriate clothing, to choose a renew meredith career, to take a shower and so on and so on. i should say my own father who was a racist from the deep south, living in philadelphia told me he would disinherit me and not pay for my college education of i appeared in
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public with any group of african-americans. that was coercive pressure. it was definitely emotional blackmail and extremely unpleasant. where should government and law stepping? certainly it should step in where physical and/or sexual abuse is going on which is very often. then it is much tougher to talk about emotional coercion and i actually think as bad as my father's practices where it would not have been right for government to remove custody or do something else like that where religious mandate are concerned, intervention would be justified where the behavior either constitutes gross risk to bodily health and safety, witness children being forgiven to have a life-saving blood transfusion or impairs some major bodily function in. i think female genital mutilation practiced on myers should be illegal if it impair
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sexual pleasure or other bodily functions. the symbolic kirkwood be a different story. christian science believe children should not be taken to the doctor when they are ill, has also been litigated successfully. some forms of so-called alternative medical treatment have led to abuse and neglect convictions. it is important to treat all these cases to get there. is there a substantial burden on the parents's religious freedom and if so does it compelling public interest justify the imposition of this burden? now to the burqa. the burqa for minors is not in the same class as genital mutilation, it is not irreversible and does not endanger health or impair other bodily function. we will get to the whole argument in a minute but i will say more about that. if it is imposed by physical or sexual violence and that violence ought to be legally punished. otherwise, however, it seems to
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be in the same category of all sorts of requirements, pleasant and uncared pleasant for parents impose on their children listen practices of this type do appear to violate laws against child save chief. that is one law professor amy shoea submitted in her pocketbook the tiger mother that she had forced her little daughter to stand outside in the cold without supper and on another occasion forced her to stay at the piano without bathroom access because she had not mastered it difficult passage in the piano work. that was child abuse and one did wonder why the police were not on her doorstep, this upper-middle-class yale law professor. that is the sort of thing where they could intervene. if similar coercive tactics used against the girl to wear a burke of the case would be open to intervention but most cases are not like this and are more like
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emotional blackmail, maybe less draconian than that. parents who motivate by emotional blackmail of blameworthy but to bring the police in on all such occasions would be to countenance too much legal intervention in the affairs of the family did societies are certainly entitled to insist that all female children have decent education and employment opportunities that give them access options from any home situation they may dislike. extremely important. if people think women only where the upper cut because of coercive pressure, but create ample opportunities for them and see what they actually do. before we leave the topic of coercion there's a reasonable point to be made in this connection. there was a good reason for turkey to ban the burqa because women who went unveiled were being subjected to harassment and violence. the band protected the choice to
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be unveiled which did not exist yet and was legitimate so long as women did not have that choice. you might think of this as a substantial burden, temporarily justified by compelling public interest. the ban does not appear to be justified today when women are able to circulate freely unveiled norwood its certainly be justified in today's europe and the u.s. where women can dress as they please. there is no reason for the burden on religious liberty. one thing that americans and europeans need to face squarely is some people actually choose life involving authority and constrained given that the u.s. and most european nations have volunteer armies for some time and germany just dropped its own prescription law. all citizens of these countries have reasons to be grateful for the fact that preference for structured life runs relatively
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strong in their society. and most do treat the choices of men and women in the military respectfully rather than suggesting such choices should be banned. people should not demonize laws that involve submission to authority and extol others unless they can find a relevant difference. the u.s. is worth the sacrifice of autonomy but religion is not. many people did not believe something like this but it seems nosey and rude to make such judgments about strangers. finally, one frequently hears the argument that the burqa is received unhealthy because it is hot and uncomfortable. i remember the first time i heard this argument i was in barcelona and i had just been very uncomfortable -- i have very fair skin and -- this woman who was burned to a chris and i was worried about the state of her skin she made a point that
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the burqa is unhealthy. clothing can be comfortable or uncomfortable depending on the fabric. people from india no full body coverings made of cotton is a very good choice in the heat because it is comfortable, and it keeps dust and some of the rays of the son of of one's skin. it is far from clear that the amount of skin displayed in typical spanish or u.s. female dress would meet with a dermatologist's approval. i am paying the price for not thinking about that by getting checked by a dermatologist every few months now. more pointedly what the argue where seeks to ban all uncomfortable and perhaps unhealthy female clothing? wouldn't we have to begin with
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high heels and platform shoes? delicious and enjoyable and lovely as they are. but no, high heels are associated with majority norms, major spanish and atari and french export, they draw no iron. in general the state is right in regulatory interventions in clothing -- but women are encouraged to wear clothing that may in some way create health risks and what is important is information and education and let people make that choice. all five arguments it turns out are discriminatory. you don't even need to reach the delicate area of what their religion should get special accommodation, see that they are
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unacceptable in a society committed to liberty. philosophical principles shape constitutional traditions and the laws that are shaped by those. i have tried to give you a flavor of some important principles behind tradition of religious liberty and equality in the u.s. and europe. what i say in the rest of the book is even if we had the right laws and public policies, the danger of narrowness and narcissism is so acute and you can see it in these arguments that what we also need in addition to good laws is the cultivation of the imagination. curiosity and what leads us to really think about others as human beings, curious about a end to secure that curiosity as
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the university of chicago this to some and wonderful opportunities to do. today a climate of fear and suspicion directed particularly against muslims friends to the rail these admirable commitments but if we articulate ideas clearly in that may help us to oppose these. [applause] so i will call on people and we will go on until they cut us off. please come to the microphone. i will hear you anyway but other people won't here you if you don't come to the microphone and please say who you are and if you are the university save what programs or year you are in.
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and after that, we will be doing book signings. if anyone has to be the and you still want to get a book, get it and bring it by my secretary at some point and i will find it sooner or later. yes? >> one thing that disturbs me is young girls who want to wear coverings and not allowed, they are forced to go to a normal school and they need special schooling so they may not be deprived of the education other children get which would be a problem for them finding jobs in the future or being equal. >> thank you. that is very important.
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that shows you that the policies in many ways car counterproductive because if what is wanted is some degree of assimilation and mingling, then as you say this is against that. i didn't talk about schools where only the head scarf is banned, not just the burqa but the head scarfed. that is especially clear case of inconsistency because they bandy yarmulkes for jews and the head are for muslims but nothing for christians because they say a large christian crosses are banned but no question is religious required to wear a large cross so is just the appearance of symmetry with no symmetry. france is a special case in the
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following respect -- that makes a few extra steps before we see what is wrong with the ban on the burqa you can see it is just inconsistent. but the burqa the problem is no other religion has a customer of that sort so to see it as inconsistent we have to read the text of the law. i don't like the french policy anyway because it privileges non religion over religion and it is like for example university of free genius that we are going to fund all student organizations except the religious ones because we don't want to sponsor religion and that was overturned on the grounds that why should religion be treated differently? it also should be treated with disfavor so i prefer that balance. if you want to see how they are inconsistent, if you read the
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law you read that in the law there's a long list of exceptions, occasions when it is okay to cover your face and put on this list everything except the one they really want to get at so they include additional money and it goes on and on and reasons of sport and so on so everything i have mentioned is on that list some place except for the burqa. i think that is malicious and inconsistent but it is against the backdrop, we are going to decide what the french way of doing things is and as you say, it even if they have this idea that in jones got's book, i recommend a very good treatment of that, they will not get that by this device but the opposite
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result. >> peripheral the chicago use to have an ordinance against appearing in public with a mask and was directed against the ku klux klan. aside from that i am interested in a related issue which is polygamy. to you think reynolds versus the u.s. which banned polygamy among the mormons was a good law and is ever going forward to be overturned? >> thank you. that is an interesting issue. chicago used to have laws against appearing in public if you were ugly. [talking over each other] >> former colleagues with major neurological disabilities, we found he would not be able to walk down the street. polygamy, if a religion came
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forward today with a genuine religious requirement of polygamy as was the case with the church of latter-day saints, i think it would be very hard if the regime were no substantial burden, that is not where the regime is for complicated reasons but should have been. what would the compelling state interest be? sex equality would be such an interested it were limited to a men bearing wives absolutely. there is a case where bob jones university lost its tax exemption because the court argued there was a compelling interest in not having the state collaborate with racism. very similarly they should collaborate with the oppression of women but a practice of pauley emery, what would the objection to that be?
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of course administratively impossible because it creates so many layers of families and former families but in our legal tradition administrative difficulty has to be really extreme to be compelling state interest. one case i know of that trumped the religious interest was a case where an american family refused to allow their child to have a social security, they said that was so fundamental in an organized society, it turns out she had already been given one anyway so the case was very odd in that respect. that shows you that you have to go far out on a limb to trump the religious claim. u.s. about reynolds. reynolds is a case in the 1870s where a polygamous mormon man lost, the first case to test the free exercise clause because it was not applied to state law yet
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and therefore only the territories were under the direct control of the u.s. supreme court and they thought they should win and they should have won because as argued he had a very good case. does just terrible bigotry. racism, this guy, there was a scholar who was a political scientist who wrote that mormons were african. it was really full of racial tropes and they even believed against the evidence of their senses that morgan -- mormons looked africans. you see description 6 elated at the time that said thick lips and all these things combined with certain features mormon males actually do have like square jaws and tall height and so on so the whole thing was full of hideous racism and they also said this comical thing that polygamy is a patriarchal
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institution. what do they think of monogamous marriage in the 1870s? the only difference between women in polygamous marriages and monogamous marriages is the women in the polygamous marriages could vote because they had the vote in the territory in 1870 women and women in monogamous marriages did not have the votes. the lack of divorce on grounds of cruelty and all these things that were present in monogamous marriage at the time the judge didn't even bother to mention. i think that was a terrible case. today there would be a strong interest in protecting gender equality, but paul lee ann marie --plyamory -- if you get some weird claim particularly in the drug area people are always making up new religions and the court, even though they would on the hole preferred to allow the
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person to define the religious claim, whenever it is a matter where you are skeptical of the vote and fall back on tradition and the presence of a recognized group, if there was a recognized -- if the mormons the side once again this was a religious requirements, they are far from doing that, i have difficulty with my mormon students even teaching that history because they have been, from a very young age that it is extremely unfortunate and they should repudiate it very strongly and so on. but if they ever did change on that in the mainstream of the religion, not these fringe sects that engage in child abuse, then i think it would be hard. the court would find something but it would be hard to do it.
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>> thank you very much. i thought the talk was great. i serve with the department of medicine and i wanted to ask a question. it seems to me one of the things important in framing this conversation is whether or not it is an external requirement of a person to wear the burqa or an internal decision. i think the star of david required in nazi germany was an external application by others, labeling them to others. when we think islam and muslims, is that one in turtle group or do we think of that as two groups, men and women and is there an external application of force by one group subjugating the freedom of another group, the women? is a question of non islam versus islam or is it a question of do we have an obligation as a society to protect the freedom
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of all including subgroups. >> good question. i am talking liberal democracies but not countries that are tyrannies which impose islam by force. that would be a totally different question. it is even possible that in a so-called democracy it might be possible. people worry that egypt might impose some restrictions by some kind of simulacrum of democracy so i think first of all i am a strong constitutionalist. there should be fundamental rights that define the quality of each human being and they should be entrenched and should not be such that a majority could vote the way.
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we have a system of that sort, we're already ahead. i think the country, talking about systems of that sort so what we are dealing with in those countries is the kind of external imposition that is done by parents, peer pressure and so forth. it is perfectly fair to say it is the same case exactly as my father, i didn't have the situation in the community around me but it was pretty racist and no one was helping me have my social life the way i wanted. i couldn't even go to a dance that had people from public school much less african-americans so that is external. it didn't define who i was. i was in a democracy and faint goodness i did go to college and i got to go where i wanted to go
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and converted to judaism and met all the people my father didn't want me to meet. that is what happens or can happen in a real democracy with freedom of association where women are given certain opportunities. this will not do them forever. but when it comes from the state and of course racist rules came from the state all over the country. that is what jim crow was. a state-sponsored external regime that interfered with individual choice across the board. it was absolutely imperative that we get rid of that, the case that as late as 1967 got
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the supreme court to overturn the laws that ban interracial marriage. 52 people, the case is called loving versus va. but richard loving, a white man married an african-american woman and they married by choice but then society clamps down on them because they got married in the district of columbia but live in virginia. the police came into their bed room where they had their marriage license friend over there bed and arrested them. that is what you are talking about an hour country it has happened on grounds of religion in certain times and places but much more often happened, happened across the board with the jim crow regime where race was concerned. all of that external coercion that impedes people from exercising their fundamental right to get married and another
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instance we are struggling about now is the struggle of gays and lesbians to get rid of an impediment to their ability to exercise the right to marry, which i do believe is a fundamental constitutional right that they have. that is the kind of external coercion struggling against. if a woman were in that situation with regard to the burqa but it is hard to imagine what the situation would be because the societies are not telling these women that they can't apply for a job or go to school. what the french and european situation does is deny them certain avenues of employment and education, so that approach is the external coercion. if we have -- if we get rid of that and get rid of these bans
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we are left with parents, friends, the peer community, that is often quite bad but at least we can deal with that with constitutional liberty. >> i am will sullivan. i want to ask how you apply the decision in light of the german court? >> okay. first of all, there is this curious parallel, i don't suggest you are making it, between female genital mutilation and male circumcision. female genital mutilation is practiced in much of africa, is first of all very extreme and impedes in some forms of sexual pleasure but there are many common forms that impede also painless urination and all kinds of things associated with many
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health problems. male circumcision seems to me not to be associated with any health problems or diminution of sexual pleasure. people can always imagine they are missing something but the real truth is there's certainly no evidence on the health front and contrary that it retards the friend of hiv aids and the zulu leaders in south africa have been urging circumcision for that reason but on the pleasure front, there is no reason to think there's any impediment. what i think the german decision was all about was muslims. they did not even reflect that the jews would get upset about this. i think than what they say is there is pain inflicted on the baby and it is true there's a
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little bit of pain in the process. so what should we say about that? i do think the u.s. courts that are trying to ban the form in which the rabbi must touch his mouth to the incision, it is quite right to be troubled about that. that could spread the hole point so a lot of orthodox rabbis are willing to substitute different forms for that reason and that would be ok to do on health grounds. but the ban on grounds of pain, are they going to do that consistently? lots of little girls get their ears pierced. in some ethnic groups it would be routine that one girl is 2 or 3 she get her ears pierced. getting your ears pierced at the age of two or 3, more than circumcising a newborn infant. if they really want to define the threshold of pain and have a
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consistent policy and insist we ban all those things we would have to think very hard what all those things would be and whether this wouldn't be too great a restriction of liberty, next week at the fact that this is the religious mandate whereas having your ears pierced to my knowledge is not a religious mandate in any religion. should we really -- should we allow this amount of pain to trump the religious claim? i must say i don't see it and i don't think most courts would see it either. it is not any more pain than the mandatory inoculation and states of always felt intitled to insist on various inoculations. and even whether people should be exempted for religious reasons, a very controversial and often religious sales, i
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don't think the case even if they did sweep in ear piercing and all other things wouldn't be a very strong case. >> hello. i am kenneth, social scientist. my question is i think if you showed two cases, parallels between the burqa and mutilation of children because you can't take it off, don't have to be, should not be illegal for children to wear -- i listened to you quietly. >> it doesn't come under the range of practices that are illegal because they impair health or major bodily function. >> on the other hand, wearing
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the burqa, someone who wears burqa with how to amplify someone with disabilities. the act of taking off is a source of ambiguity, problematic. i am going to make a general and sweeping argument why is it is this way. if you look at counties in the middle east especially, not having a burqa for many years was a sign of affluence, coming from turkey, changing by now fortunately but still the way it has been, so many people in liberal democracies in the west,
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a modernizing of guelph, goes hand in hand with not wearing a burqa. on the other hand i would have to say all these countries, it is, i think they're getting more in some sense but even in turkey there is a lot of waiting with tunisia which was free arabs spring with all sorts of problems about feminism concerns and more than anyone, educated in religious charter schools and staunch anti feminists and anti abortionists and openly give consent for husbands and brothers to commit disloyalty to their wives and such and very rich and have their own bmws and the mentality for them is coming
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from a good university and economic rationality in which i can get a rich husband and don't have to work. >> could you make a little bit briefer? there are people waiting behind you. >> anyway, this ambiguity makes it difficult. ..
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better education and more employment. i'm sorry though. i do have to talk to the others. >> my name is chris and i can't probably say this as well as i rode with regards to better familiarize and our children how might we agree this religious cosmopolitanism and dilettantism that is a part of the culture consumption. >> i think that is a great question because i think europe may be more than the u.s. would have difficulty with people whose lives involved constrained and some degree of antimodern at
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tire were behaviour, so if you don't find the colts people think of as threatening are the ones that seem incompatible with this kind of secular modernity that seems to define and this is very strong. when i taught in europe believe me people say we find your views offensive because we should be pooled into the middle ages or something like that. i think in america people are more willing to accept the fact people come here with all kinds of strange words and sometimes require them to do other kinds of things. i think it is pretty common in this country people do understand this.
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i tell in the book when i was at a game at the u.s. cellular field sitting in front of me -- first on one side was a middle class father telling his daughter about how baseball was played and then there was an african-american couple who had a dog that had the logo of the u.s. state department's religious affairs subcommittee but in front of me with your the box jewish boys but it was under a white sox shirt so they have the baseball close and on top was the most interesting because it turned out when the national anthem was played they moved their cap. you would expect in some places i could imagine they did make a lot about the flag in europe
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people would say you are supposed to take off your hat or here we take off our hat but actually no one gave them a second left except for me to read was one of these things as a part of america. and i think that has been deeply internalized and i and a book with the controversy and the building of the islamic community center in manhattan and the epigraph to the whole book is a quotation from a stripper that works in a strip club next door to where the community center was going to be built and now exists, which of course they were not objecting to the strip club as an insult to those that lost their lives but i asked her what she fought and she said she felt it might be noisy but when she understood they were not going to have the call to prayer and allowed forum, then she said what is this all about?
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its religious freedom, you know. and it's the reaction it's a very healthy american reaction. how can we keep inculcating the squawks one thing is in the big city it's easy to inculcate this in the city where you come across people look different all the time. then i also talk about literature. when i was a kid i didn't come across people were different all the time and i learned about religious minorities, african-americans, i learned from books there was a particular author i talk about who was a pennsylvania woman that wrote books about religious minorities and she particularly focused on the minorities that had lives that seemed constraining and one of my favorite books when i was little was about a little quaker girl once the dresses her classmates had and she hates that her
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mother is urging her to wear this so then one day set in the pogo of the underground railroad a woman comes to is a sleeve on the underground railroad she sees this little girl and knows right away this is somebody that stands up for me and will help me so she asks can you find me a place to hide and she realizes the religion has constraints about positive ideas in the social justice and then she becomes proud so it is rather simple but it's a nice story because it told me we were the ones who could wear anything so long as he was [inaudible]
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it tells me that there is something in this life of constrained that's very principled and admirable. anyhow i think stories like that are very important. >> thanks everyone for coming tonight. [applause] >> now we bring to book tv, 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books. here are some programs to look out for this weekend.
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we are here with author and journalist new book america's great debate stephen douglas and the compromise of preserve the union. will was so great about the great compromise? >> well most people would say they have only a vague recollection from high school. there was a crisis in 1850. the nature of the crisis was this. the country went to the brink of the civil war. most of the political culture and most americans thought the war was great to take place but the deep south was going to succeed and they were closer to the secession than most americans today even realize. certainly the deep south state.
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texas was arming other southern states were sending. had there been a collision with began in 1850 wouldn't have begun in charleston would have begun in santa fe mexico y? because texas did its own imperial ambitions to move westward supported by the slave holding south and to invade the new mexico territory. there were many other parts of the crisis with or not the last would be free. in 1850 the south was mother eternized, southern nationalism was at the peak. jefferson davis in 1850 said if the southern confederacy was to be formed now it was ready to accept the presidency of its. the north on the other hand was nowhere near ready to go to war and indeed still dominated by
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the conservative wing of the democratic party allowed largely with the south and in other words the norm wouldn't have fought the war matt or the same war and secession would have succeeded and the consequences of that not only for the american history but for the rest of the world would have been quite tragic. >> what was the floor of congress like in 1850? status tunnell to this, chaotic, intense. aid debate in congress was like the world series today. which there was no sports culture in the mid 19th century. politics was the great american sport. americans came from all over the country to attend the debate especially when the titans like henry clay and samuel webster and john c. calhoun and others
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were debating. but imagine a much smaller senate chamber crowded with men who might have hated each other literally elbow to elbow a room reeking of cigar smoke, smelling of gas from gas lamps, carpets, the two and scattered here and they're meant sitting in one directional another often missing and an intense justice an atmosphere of political men going mano a mano in the arena and 19th century america. >> to of those men, henry clay and stephen douglas, was their role in the compromise? >> he was called out of retirement in kentucky to take
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charge of an attempt to create some kind of a compromise to the it he was known as the great compromiser for husbanding the compromise of 1820 and also the 1833 compromise the blocked the country back again from crisis oversaw the carolina's nullification of the law. henry clay, grand remarkable man and was never one to say no when he was invited to be in political him attention. so he led the the date for seven months straight attempting to persuade the congressman from the right and left from the south and the number two agreed to a grand compromise, grand bargain that would solve the question once and for all. he failed. he was pivotal in the debate but
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he failed. he had put together one of the first omnibus bills of american political history, the omnibus collapsed. what happened? stephen douglas known to the journalists at the time as a steam engine. very short, ferocious northern democrat, young this man and the senate, 35-years-old, to marco rubio did what lay ahead and done. he did the numbers. in other words, stephen douglas d. term and that there were enough combinations of votes in the senate to pass the different parts of the compromise but not all at once. so the past six separate bills using different combinations. so the lesson is persuasion is necessary and imperative to sway the downfall but if you don't do
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the numbers coming you won't succeed. these men together cindy obsequy to this gimmick we are speaking with fergus bordewich authors of "america's great debate" stephen a. douglas and the compromise of the union. thank you. i think the writers institute is very important with a culture. we are a culture of words and voices. words are key to our imagination and capacity to envision things. we ourselves are not completely tied to print on the page. but i think that there is no other art form so readily


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