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 History of tolerance

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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: History of tolerance   Fri 27 Nov 2015, 22:05

As I was mingled in a debate about the separation of church and state and about the "laicity" in the French Republic and it seems that in English laicity is secularism...
As I discussed it already on the old BBC historyforum I did some new research...
I give this evening first my links before discussing it tomorrow...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_state


http://theconversation.com/tolerance-is-more-than-putting-up-with-things-its-a-moral-virtue-31507
https://books.google.be/books/about/The_Power_of_Tolerance.html?id=eNo0AwAAQBAJ&source=kp_cover&redir_esc=y
https://ndpr.nd.edu/news/52795-the-power-of-tolerance-a-debat/




https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/La%C3%AFcit%C3%A9_en_France
http://www.gouvernement.fr/observatoire-de-la-laicite


Kind regards, Paul.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: History of tolerance   Sat 28 Nov 2015, 12:32

Just an observation but I found it refreshing that the commemoration for the victims of the Paris attacks, held yesterday at Les Invalides, was completely non-religious, although I think Hollande in his address did mention God once, albeit in a rather indirect way. I would imagine a similar event in Britain would have been much more religious, if not actually a service held in St Paul's Cathedral and conducted by the archbishop of Canterbury. Do any other countries have quite the same degree of laicity as France? The ex-Soviet republics: Russia, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova ... all seem to have swung from state enforced atheism to a state enforced religion, and with that official religion operating almost as an unelected arm of the government.

That said I know Notre Dame cathedral in Paris has also become something of a gathering point and a place to demonstrate solidarity/defiance/grief and to seek comfort etc, over the past week. Though the state is secular, many French are of course still staunchly Catholic, or Moslem, or ... whatever.


Last edited by Meles meles on Sat 28 Nov 2015, 14:05; edited 1 time in total
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Vizzer
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PostSubject: Re: History of tolerance   Sat 28 Nov 2015, 14:03

@Meles meles wrote:
I know Notre Dame cathedral in Paris has also become something of a gathering point and a place to demonstrate solidarity/defiance/grief etc etc, over the past week.

I was pondering this very subject only the other week when one of the UK television channels was trailing the 1973 film The Day of the Jackal based on Frederick Forsythe's novel. In the film a fictional assassination attempt on President Charles de Gaulle by a professional hitman is scheduled to take place on Liberation Day (25 August). The film depicts this public event as including a military parade and also high mass at Notre Dame.

Is Liberation Day is a real event in Paris or did the film makers merely cobble together shots of Bastille Day with dramatic licence. And if it is a real day then does it still take place in 2015 or was it specific to the de Gaulle years. Does anyone know?
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: History of tolerance   Sat 28 Nov 2015, 14:15

Interesting point. Liberation Day is not a recognised holiday in France. It may be locally remembered in Paris but if so I'm unaware of anything particular. It might have been more generally commemorated in the years shortly after WW2, and when De Gaulle was president, but again if it was I feel sure it was still only local to Paris. Apart from the actual event in 1944, and possibly in 1945, I'm unaware of any specific commemoration other than on the 60th anniversary in 2004, with wreaths, a parade of preserved WW2 vehicles etc,  ... and I think there was something similar for the 70th anniversary in 2014. However VE Day (8 May) is still a national holiday (Bank holiday) throughout France, and is remembered a bit like a smaller 11 November Armistice Day, with wreaths laid on the local memorials etc, and in Paris a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe.

PS: No State occasion in France these days would ever include "a high mass", and I believe such an event would have been effectively illegal for most of the 20th century. A high mass from Notre Dame is a traditional TV broadcast on Christmas Day (and by the state broadcaster too), but although government figures attend, they do so only in a 'personal' capacity and it is most definitely not a State event.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: History of tolerance   Sat 28 Nov 2015, 22:06

Thank you Meles meles and Vizzer for your reply and yes it has to do with democracy neutral to and free from religious societies as voted by the citizens of a country.
BTW: In France they seem to have a special body to assist the government in the maintenance of the laicity...

http://www.gouvernement.fr/missions-de-l-observatoire-de-la-laicite

But first I want this evening to give my line of thinking about my concept of a liberal democracy, where in my eyes the individual has his freedom to act as he wants but is constrained in his freedom to not act to prevent the freedom of others and to submit to the laws he helped to vote via his chosen representatives in his democratic country...

But there it all starts: I found as ever on a first start the wiki:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_liberty
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_democracy

 Of course you have more difficult...
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/liberty-positive-negative/


It is all not so clear cut as the difference between a so called democracy and some other "mixed" societies...
For me over the years I was in a sense obliged to admit that Hitler, although perhaps with some tricks but nevertheless along the German Weimar constitution, came legally to power as dictator to impose his Nazi religion...I discussed it in depth on the BBC and on a French messageboard...

I asked also in the time: what if a country by democratic votes wants to change its constitution to a religious guided society...as in the time in Algeria, where the FIS had a majority...but came not to power...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algerian_Civil_War#FIS_electoral_victory.2C_1990


More comments tomorrow...

Kind regards, Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: History of tolerance   Sun 29 Nov 2015, 17:59

Further about the concept of a democratic state. The state has over the years constructed by the work of the voters, who have chosen legislators, a set of moral rules where the citizens have to adhere to. In a country there are always societies, groups of individuals, who adhere to a different set of moral rules. As such they can in a democratic country inside their community exercise their own set of moral rules, but if they act outside their community they have to stick to the common set of moral rules voted by the community of that particular country. In a democratic country there is also grown over the years a consensus that the majority respects the convictions of the minority...but here comes, in cade venenum: only in such a degree that the minority don't disturb "the public order"...

This are all theoretical approaches but in practice there is a huge twilight zone...for instance what to do with the children in the schools...I mean the public schools subsidized by the state....have the parents the right to require a special moral education according to their convictions (and I understand by conviction not only religious adherences), or are the pupils have to be educated along the common set of moral values the state by way of its voters has agreed to...it is not surprizing that in both France and Belgium that I know best there was a "school funding controversy", which was for Belgium only settled recently (I was confronted for instance with it as a child)...

And now we have only spoken about one particular country...but in the international community, has a particular country the right to impose its moral set of rules to another country?...and in case of conflict who has to mediate...?

Kind regards, Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: History of tolerance   Mon 30 Nov 2015, 10:13

The "catch" with democracy will always be when a majority opinion expressed through suffrage enables discriminatory policies within a community, sometimes even policies that adversely affect the enablers. Democracy alone is therefore no protection against intolerance (or indeed general stupidity) within any community from being translated into legally enforced actions that ultimately work to the detriment of the community, in whole or in part. An agreed constitution acts as a bulwark against rapid descent into a level of communal disfunction which will ultimately adversely affect the entire community. However when this bulwark is removed or neutralised, even through democratic means, then democracy no longer safeguards anything.

More through trial and error than any explicit political philosophy many communities have arrived at the compromise in which the agreed legal and constitutional framework contains within it an assurance that no overtly discriminatory action, however democratically chosen it may be, can be allowed detract from one citizen's experience of living within that community to the advantage of another. These assurances are called rights in some societies, but not all, and in any case what they are called is of far less importance than that they exist.

Any so-called democratic process in which a community on the whole becomes a dictatorship, or in fact breaks down in any way to a point at which all citizens potentially will undergo a deterioration in the conditions under which they live within that community (including a future say in its conduct and organisation), always starts with a removal of these assurances and safeguards.

The only proven method of preventing the chances of such a deterioration within any community is the twofold policy of educating citizens to take responsibility and to participate, while at the same time keeping these assurances in place. As long as both of these conditions apply then any democratic system, however it is organised, will tend to produce a status quo in which the least harm on minorities is inflicted while the system functions, and one which has the least chance of unravelling when extraneous or fundamental pressures are brought to bear upon it. If one or both of these conditions no longer apply then history suggests things will get a lot worse for everyone within that system before they get better again.

Examples of such pressures and dismantling of assurances abound. The USA's so-called "Patriot Act" in which citizens are obliged to exchange civil liberties for the promise of increased security is a typical such manouevre - while the effects of the withdrawal of civil liberties can be measured and analysed by the community as a whole the same cannot be said for the promised return the community's members receive for their voluntary sacrifice (or not so voluntary in the case of the Patriot Act) - a return which by its nature is hidden and therefore subject to unilateral assessments of its efficacy by what is essentially an undemocratic and unrepresentative group, one moreover with authority and power commensurate with and often even exceeding that of the elected authorities. Britain's use of fiscal policies to marginalise and effectively disenfranchise huge swathes of its population through government-driven impoverishment is another such example. And I am sure you can find instances within your own community, as indeed could almost anyone these days within any democratic system.

My own take on this, at least when it comes to the question of tolerance and how it is accommodated within these systems regarding minorities' rights, is that the most dangerous levels of intolerance and discrimination are often expressed and acted upon quite unilaterally by the chief policy makers at the highest levels of power, and this is especially true when some of these people effectively have no political mandate or indeed any responsibility to account for their actions, being outside the democratic process entirely. If any internal threat within any community is to be identified and assessed with regard to discrimination against people's interests as citizens, be they a majority or a minority, then really it has to start with analysing the impact of the majority tolerating this particular subversion of the process. In my view this subversion, and the acceptance of a majority that it exists, lies at the root of much which then escalates into generally detrimental conditions becoming a norm within any democratic system.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: History of tolerance   Mon 30 Nov 2015, 22:16

Nordmann, thank you very much for this thought provoking essay on democracy and tolerance. I learned a lot from it.

I know that most of the contributors here don't understand French, but I suppose at least you understand enough to follow the reports from the Radio Television Belge Francophone. And I suppose Meles meles will be able to understand most of the conversation.
About the background of djihadism in Belgium and a report about the mothers (and some fathers) of Djihadists in Belgium.
Look especially from 1h32 till 1h34 about a youngster returned from Syria...
And it is all that bad for the tolerance in a democracy as proven now again with the prognoses of the votes for the party of LePen in France where she in her department Nord-Pas de Calais can have 44 % (or something like that) of de votes...
http://www.rtbf.be/video/detail_dossier-special-belgique-base-arriere-djihadiiste?id=2062655

Kind regards, Paul.
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