Wednesday, January 06, 2010

J'accuse!

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Shouting at your wife may get you a criminal record in France

Daily Mail, Jan. 6

Married couples in France could end up with criminal records for insulting each other during arguments.

Under a new law, France is to become the first country in the world to ban 'psychological violence' within marriage. The law would apply to cohabiting couples and to both men and women.

It would cover men who shout at their wives and women who hurl abuse at their husbands - although it was not clear last night if nagging would be viewed as breaking the law.
France, damn it, you're just like your mother! Er, sorry, didn't mean that. Forget I said it … please, put down the phone. What will the neighbors think when la police show up at the door?

Insofar as the Daily Mail reporter could find anyone to quote, there is opposition to the law. But only because of doubts about how it could be enforced. Well, yeah. What is the government going to do, install a Shout-O-Meter in every home? Change the wedding ceremony so it includes an exchange of rings followed by an exchange of miniature recording devices?

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No one quoted seems to find anything repugnant about the principle of a "Raise Your Voice, Go to Jail" law. But while this legislation is laughable, it's serious, terribly serious.

The soft totalitarian state continues to metastasize. Not even in the two greatest tyrannies of modern times, Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, did it occur to the rulers to regulate private relationships between couples.

Among the forces behind this loathsome intrusion into people's lives is radical feminism. The law will inevitably used by women with a grudge against a man, or men. Even in this age of feminized males, I can't see very many men making themselves targets of derision by calling the cops to complain about their wives accusing them in no uncertain terms of being a waste of space.

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But that's the least of it. Here is a further extension of the bane of modern Western society, the nanny state mentality. It's the frame of mind that sees every human problem as something for The State to fix. According to this way of thinking, individuals are incapable of arriving at their own solutions; the solutions must be imposed.

Can verbal abuse in a relationship be hurtful? Of course. And women are just as capable of saying wounding things as men. But in a sane traditionalist view, if you find yourself in such a situation you have basically two alternatives: you work it out or you leave the relationship. Either way, it's your life and your responsibility.

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The more The State takes on the role of arbiter of personal behavior, the greater the number of people who forget or never learn to develop their own character. It becomes a premature second childhood — no, not really, since the authorities' intervention in every corner of life means the first childhood cannot be outgrown.

Authoritarian states masquerading as therapists welcome a citizenry that is dependent not only economically, but emotionally. Learned helplessness is the tyrant's great enabler.

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5 comments:

David said...

I have some suggestion for the French government in comments here:

http://ellisonblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/france-bans-psychological-violence-in-marriages/

zazie said...

One piece of news I had missed...I can hardly believe it ; to any sensible person it sounds like a hoax.
As you don't seem to think so, I'll consider it as yet another blow meant to destroy people's ability to behave themselves as "social animals" ; pardon me for the comas ; I have been translating one of the popular PC French phrases.

Rick Darby said...

David,

Interesting blog you linked to.

Zazie,

Every day it seems I read of something that I would not have imagined 15 or 20 years ago. O tempera! O mores!

MaryJ said...

This reminds me of Ayn Rand's comment that a tyrannical society tends to pass laws that create more and more classes of criminals. While tyrannical laws create criminals out of ordinary people, our society moves ever onward to treat criminals like ordinary people.

zazie said...

Mary,
your comment made me think of Swift and Butler...I seem to remember that in Erewhon criminals are medically assisted and sick or ill people are sent to prison! There is something similar in Gulliver's travels, isn't there?
We might witness one of these cases when reality imitates fiction.