Freedom Needs a Foundation

The Muslim hijab. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s no real threat to Quebec values. And most women here wear it by choice, not because of coercion.That’s what the Bouchard-Taylor commission has concluded after a year of study costing $5 million.

In the final draft of their report – which was submitted to the provincial government yesterday and is to be made public at a press conference Thursday –scholars Gérard Bouchard and Charles Taylor say Quebec society will have a lot to lose if it restricts the wearing of the Muslim head scarf strictly to the home and outdoors.

Saying the province’s 130,000 Muslims, especially Arab Muslim immigrants, are “along with blacks, the group that is the most touched by different forms of discrimination” in Quebec, Bouchard and Taylor plead for an end to bickering over the hijab.

“In light of a great number of unequivocal testimonies, we can take it for granted – believe us – that the young girls or women who wear it give it various meanings and are motivated in contrasting ways, some of which, it’s true, don’t jibe with the dominant values of our society.”… (Source)

The thing about Freedom is that it cannot exist in a vacuum, value-less culture.  It must exist on a foundation which affirms certain elements which are not subject to negotiation.  A freedom that allows everything and anything, devoid of any moral fibre or direction, will allow itself to be completely eroded and eventually destroyed.   We’re seeing that all around us.  There’s plenty of Muslims that don’t believe in freedom of speech or in freedom of religion.  When that thinking becomes a power player in western democracies like in Europe and now in Canada through the InHuman Rights Commissions, then the so-called “freedom to dissent” from traditional Canadian values will end up destroying a culture that was once built on freedom.

You cannot have freedom unless it is built on the truth of our human nature and a shared common good that is transmitted from generation to generation.  Freedom presupposes foundational truths. It cannot be built on mere opinion or moral relativism or religious relativism, for that matter.

Freedom cannot exist without a search for the truth.  And a culture built on freedom cannot exist by treating all ideas, movements, religions and philosophies as equally valid, especially when those ideas are diametrically opposed to freedom itself.

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