100% agree. This is a fundamental issue of sovereignty, not an FoE issue.
This point is worth elaborating. It is wrong to frame this issue as some debate about what are the responsibilities and limits of free speech. Reasonable people can differ on that question. But this issue is NOT about that.
The nation-state of France has been created to advance the interests of the French people- that is the nation. A state has a legitimate *monopoly* of power - that is to create laws, and enforce them, with violent force if required.
Any source of law or de facto imposition of law by any other entity is a challenge to such sovereignty. You cannot allow a blasphemy law to be de facto enacted and enforced in the French society at large. That means the French state no longer has a monopoly
Especially if the source of such law lies outside of anything to do with French culture, norms and history. Macron has hence correctly identified the fight as being with *Islamism*, not just Islamic extremism.
Islamism would hold that Islam is a legitimate source of political action- that laws, and hence the state should be shaped by Islam. That simply cannot be accepted as legitimate in modern non-Islamic nation-states without an erosion of sovereignty.
In modern nation-states, Islam is accepted as a religion. But NOT as a source of law, and a legitimate source of political action.
As an aside, this is why 370 to some extent and UCC even more so are also important. Not only because the laws themselves were bad. But because in principle we should not limit the sovereignty of the Indian state and legitimise the notion that political power lies outside.
370 still in theory one could say was just asymmetric federalism (which is legit even in modern nation states) and it is not like it came from some other source. But the fact is it legitimised the notion that Kashmiri identity limits the sovereignty of the Indian state AND...
...the subtext was that was because of a Muslim majority. Similarly the underlying philosophy of UCC - that the Indian state lacks or limits sovereignty over personal laws (or family laws) of Muslims and Christians but does have that power over the Dharmic faiths. ...
And that underlying philosophy is what should be combated. Islamism doesn’t have legitimacy. Islam is a religion that should be freely practiced by people without any hindrance. But it is NOT a legitimate source of law and law enforcement
And any concession that it is only erodes the sovereignty of the state, and provides a challenge, with another basis of political identity going all the way to sovereignty - that is the power to adopt and enforce your own laws. Such a “state within a state” is not acceptable.
Hence let’s not make these debates about FoE or even “secularism” (in the case of UCC). This is about ensuring that sovereignty is maintained, that the state is the only legitimate political actor with monopoly power of law making and enforcement (end).

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More from @akshayalladi

20 Aug
Thread: Interesting debate online on UCC. Will blog my views when I find the time, but the headlines- I am in favour 1. Cultural diversity doesn’t always need different family laws for different groups. 2. The liberal argument is clear- the state should frame laws for individuals
BUT even if one doesn’t accept the liberal argument, Indian conservatives have rightly embraced one aspect of modernity which is nationalism. Nationalism argues that the nation is a corporate body that seeks its sovereign state to advance its goals.
Different systems of law altogether (as opposed to mere provisions for disadvantaged groups as an exception) detract from that principle of a unified corporation. As a “strong society, weak state” (to use the Daren Acemoglu framing) India has been outside the “narrow corridor”..
Read 7 tweets
6 Jun
Long thread: Poorly argued column on why Modi doesn’t feature in a list of India’s reformist PMs. Since some version of this argument is used by many, counters in this thread, with an argument of what I think is the fundamental misdiagnosis by most (lazy) analyses
First the headlines: 1. Modi IS a reformist PM 2. As a reformer he clearly ranks below PVNR, it is arguable if he is tied with ABV or not; including MMS in the list of reformist PMs is 🙄 3. However Modi’s economic mgmt. has been poor; econ. management is NOT = reforms
So on q1- is he a reformist PM? Just tot up a list- IBC; inflation targeting; GST; RERA; infra financing through InVITS, TOTs and REITs; corporate tax changes. This is before current round where every sector in the Indian economy is opened up for private sector ...
Read 20 tweets
3 Nov 19
Long thread: I see this 👇 line of argument often enough in public policy analysis that I think we should coin a phrase for it- “The Panacea Fallacy”. It is a flawed argument that argues against a policy action by pointing out the banal fact that it is not a panacea
We can do this with regard to ANY policy, even one that is very effective: “Have economic reforms ended poverty completely?”, “The US has the most powerful armed forces in the world, yet their people still die in armed conflict” etc. The value add of such an analysis is low.
The right way to evaluate a policy step is not to ask whether it is a panacea or not (newsflash- nothing is), but to ask - does it confer significant benefits, with limited costs as compared to the alternatives (which includes do nothing) and is it feasible to do politically
Read 18 tweets
15 Oct 18
Alert- Extremely long thread: What would an agenda for Indian conservatism look like? My response to this thread by @shrikanth_krish which has an interesting diagnosis and some innovative and eccentric solutions
Firstly, a clarification on the definition and context: By conservatism I don't mean right wing. There may be areas of convergence with the right wing, but I arrive at these positions very differently
The core context for what I am referring to as conservatism is the insight that society is a complex, adaptive system. And hence any set of policy positions adduced solely by reasoning from first principles is ineffective since it has unintended consequences
Read 72 tweets

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