Le Pen Advisor Convicted Of Hate Speech For Complaining About Rise In Muslim School Children

Freedom_of_SpeechWe have been discussing (and lamenting) the rollback of free speech in France where writers and speakers are now routinely prosecuted for what would be protected political or religious speech in the United States.  The latest case involves Robert Menard, mayor of Beziers and a top adviser to Marine Le Pen, who has been found guilty of inciting hatred against Muslims.

Menard  was fined 2,000 euros for saying there were too many Muslim children in his city’s schools.  It is a stupid and insulting statement. However, it is also a statement reflecting his political beliefs about the impact of immigration on the country.

 We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have even seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here).
In the most recent controversy, Menard said in an interview that “In one of the classrooms in my town centre, 91 per cent of children are Muslim. Obviously this is a problem”  He also posted a tweet comparing a school picture from the 1970s to one taken recently to show what he said was the “great replacement” of Muslim children with the traditional French population.

The prosecutor charged that Menard had reduced children “to their religion, regardless of whether they have French nationality or do not practice”.  I agree. However, there remains the question of the right of the government to punish people for expressing such thoughts.  Suppressing such statements does little to change minds. It creates the false impression of uniformity of thought and agreement.  The way to change minds is to allow bad speech to be met with good speech.  Instead, the French government is regulating speech under a highly ambiguous standard that creates a chilling impact on all speech.  Writers and speakers do not know when an individual or group will allege that they are inciting hatred with a comment.

As I have previously discussed, it is terribly depressing to see France (once the bastion of freedom) leading the world in cracking down on free speech.  The desire to silence those with whom you disagree is a natural desire for many and becomes an insatiable appetite when the government enables speech regulation.  Prosecution is not persuasion.  If you want to combat Menard, answer his speech with your own countervailing arguments.  Changing minds rather than silencing voices should be the universal goal of every free nation.


183 thoughts on “Le Pen Advisor Convicted Of Hate Speech For Complaining About Rise In Muslim School Children”

  1. https://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/quotes/charles-de-gaulle-on-algerian-independence
    Charles de Gaulle on Algerian Independence
    March 5, 1959

    It is very good that there are yellow French, black French, brown French. They show that France is open to all races and has a universal vocation. But [it is good] on condition that they remain a small minority. Otherwise, France would no longer be France. We are still primarily a European people of the white race, Greek and Latin culture, and the Christian religion. […] Those who advocate integration have the brain of a hummingbird. […] Arabs are Arabs, the French are French. Do you think the French body politic can absorb ten million Muslims, who tomorrow will be twenty million, after tomorrow forty? If we integrated, if all the Arabs and Berbers of Algeria were considered French, would you prevent them to settle in France, where the standard of living is so much higher? My village would no longer be called Colombey-The-Two-Churches but Colombey-The-Two-Mosques.

    1. Thanks, Paul, but No. 10 is really what the serious students, as opposed to the yahoos, are doing in the week before finals:

      10. Cry a little bit, then suck it up and decide to study after watching just one more episode on Hulu.

      After you have a good cry about your grade situation, you’re determined that crying won’t solve your problems but that studying might just save your ass. Time to study! But only after you watch the latest episode of Scandal on Hulu. UC Berkeley students are all about priorities, and Olivia Pope’s fate is pretty damn important.

      1. Steve, that’s hilarious although I admit to being a Scandal fan during the first 2 seasons. The students would be better off watching “Curb” IMO =)

        1. Autumn – when I was in school they were involved in soaps and Judge Wopner. Today, Trailer Trash Boys would have done it. 🙂

          1. Paul, when my sister was at college her classmates would arrange their schedules around their fav soaps- Days of our Lives and General Hospital. There were also drinking games that took place when Earnest Angley had his show – whenever he “healed” someone shots were consumed.

            1. Autumn – the graduates of one of early classes of the ASU Law College selected Judge Wopner to be their commencement speaker. Sadly, the administration did not agree, they got in some 3rd string politician.

      2. When I was in college, the students would be hopped up on No Doze all week. I can’t handle caffein in significant amounts, so I did not have that pleasure. But I think now it’s energy drinks.

        So there’s an added level of nervous hysteria from all the stimulants combined with lack of sleep. Fun times.

        1. When I was in college, we were learning how to sharpen stones. Just one course, but very demanding. Amazing how complex that “discipline” is. Anyway, late night study aids such as amphetamines, much less bright light for homework, or even homework for that matter, were not available.

          Since the stones where for clobbering our food – and each other – over the head, we would have loved to hear Ann Coulter speak. We would have been rapt, by the light of the fire! It just goes to show that everything is relative.

          1. Oh yes, almost forgot. And no one seems happy with what they’ve got.

          2. BB – did you write out your lessons on pieces of slate and walk 2 miles through snow drifts to get to the school house? Seriously, it is amazing how much has changed – one of our local colleges has a fabulous library with Aeron chairs, a light-filled atrium, banks of computers, PC plug ins at every table, a Starbucks, a lovely terrace and lawn with a fountain yet within the first year kids had carved their initials in the desks and the rest rooms look like hell — I always feel bad for the cleaning staff. I was brought up in a dinasour age too apparently =) When I attended George Mason U I was able to get a library of Congress card and do much of my research there – to this day I consider it sacred space.

            1. Autumn – I know how you feel about great research libraries. I had the privilege of working on a project at the Huntington Library when I was working on my Masters and it was scholars nirvana. 🙂

              1. Paul, I used Amazon like any one else, but nothing beats the library – wandering through the stacks for me and discovering new authors brings me such joy. I actually once thought about getting an MLS but the curriculum is so dull.

                1. Autumn – my joy was the serendipitous find of the right book while wandering through the stacks.

            1. Karen – I will never forget my Basket Weaving Underwater. It was both art and P.E. Took my three tries to pass it. But I am clumsy.

  2. “We are from France! People have no Pants! We eat Frogs! People in Paris need a big ferris!
    Madam Le Pen is a wren!

  3. Bernie Sanders would fit right in the middle of the Norwegian Conservative Party according to a parliamentarian of that persuasion.

    1. Doubtful, but if so the Norwegian Conservative Party is not worth a pitcher of warm spit.

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