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Political Action and the Primacy of the Good — Daniel Mahoney

“Manent thus proposes a “social contract” with French Muslims that accepts them as they are, along with their moral practices, with two notable and crucial exceptions. He argues that the burqa is inadmissible because “it prevents the exchange of signs by which a human being recognizes another human being.” Europeans have never covered their faces. This “lugubrious servitude” is incompatible with a free society. France has the “right and duty to impose the most absolute prohibition on this manner of dress.” The second prohibition is that of polygamy. The family, with one husband and one wife, is the building block of civil society and an indispensable pillar of a free society.

“Manent recognizes that the increase in open acceptance of Muslim ways (e.g., dietary restrictions in schools, separation of boys and girls in certain social activities) comes with certain risks. Those risks can be compensated for by active efforts to preserve or reinforce the “ancient constitution” of France. To begin with, Muslims must accept that they live in a nation of a Christian mark with a strong and enduring Jewish presence. They must break with the umma, a universal Islamic empire, and proclaim their loyalty to France. They must wean themselves of reliance on foreign funding and repudiate extremism of every kind. Most of all, they must stop hiding behind accusations of Islamophobia. In practice, the reflexive evocation of Islamophobia has led to serious restrictions on the ability of Europeans to think, write, and speak as they please. It undermines even the minimal capacity for self-criticism in the Arab-Islamic world and among Muslims in Western countries. French Muslims accordingly see themselves as victims and involve themselves in the civic forum only to express grievances.” Read more here.