Dennis Hackethal’s Blog

My blog about philosophy, coding, and anything else that interests me.

Published · 1-minute read

Forced to Freedom

Ayaan Hirsi Ali shared an article by The Times in a tweet. In the wake of the recent islamist terrorist attacks on French citizens, “France’s 12 million schoolchildren stood for a minute’s silence and received a lesson on freedom of expression today in honour of Samuel Paty, the teacher who was murdered after showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.”

The article continues, “In a message to pupils on social media, President Macron wrote: ‘The idea of terrorism is to create hatred… We are living through difficult days and I want you to recall these few words. To be French, at school in the republic, is to learn to be free.’”

I can’t read the whole article, because it’s cut off behind a paywall. But overall, what I have heard Macron say so far in response to the attacks has been sensible. He’s not afraid to criticize islamism. That means he also isn’t afraid to counter social-justice warriors (who defend it, and who otherwise might vote for him). Many politicians lack the spine that Macron displays.

However, it’s rather ironic for students to be made to stand for a minute of silence in the name of freedom. Why? Because it’s not up to them whether to stand or not. They don’t even get to choose if they want to go to school at all. They are forced to go. They are not free. So, while the content of what they’re learning—freedom of expression—is good, the method by which they are learning it—force—is horrific.

A minute of silence means nothing if it’s forced. If we’re serious about freedom, we need to stop forcing kids to go to school. When they turn 18, they will indeed need to “learn to be free”—but only because they will have been subjected to force for so long they won’t know what it’s like to be free.


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