Forced to be Free: The Limits of European Tolerance

30 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2020 Last revised: 20 Jul 2020

See all articles by Liav Orgad

Liav Orgad

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law; European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS); WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Date Written: July 10, 2020

Abstract

This Article addresses a long-established debate in political theory — under which circumstances is it legitimate to force people to be free? Focusing on recent cases in Europe—handshaking, gender-mixed swimming lessons, and burkini ban — the Article reveals two types of moral hypocrisy. First, there is an increasing appeal to the notion of “forcing people to be free.” This seems counter-intuitive and the antithesis of freedom, yet it is often justified based on conformity with the “general will” and the avoidance of self-imposed “harm.” The Article shows the dangerous use of the concepts of the general will and harm and claims that they are employed to legitimize the submission of the minority to the majority culture. Second, the Article indicates the double standard of European policies. While religious symbols and ways of life of the majority are first culturalized and then universalized, symbols and ways of life of the minority, even when seen as cultural, are often religionalized and politicized. This legal façade enables the majority group to frame social reality as a direct conflict between universal morality and religious fundamentalism.

Keywords: Integration, Immigrant, Citizenship, Naturalisation, EU Law, Political Theory, Forced to Be Free, Handshaking, Mixed Swimming Lessons, Burkini, Dictatorship of Reason

Suggested Citation

Orgad, Liav, Forced to be Free: The Limits of European Tolerance (July 10, 2020). Harvard Human Rights Journal, Vol. 34, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3648135

Liav Orgad (Contact Author)

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah - Radzyner School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 167
Herzliya, 46150
Israel

European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS) ( email )

Villa La Fonte, via delle Fontanelle 18
50016 San Domenico di Fiesole
Florence, Florence 50014
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.liavorgad.com

WZB Berlin Social Science Center ( email )

Reichpietschufer 50
Berlin, 10785
Germany

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