I had a couple of very pertinent messages from Mohamed about freedom. They were about the Nichane magazine issue in Morocco and the question of freedom of press and freedom of expression in general. But for some reason, the same issue is now being debated in the EU, due to the current German attempt at imposing a general European ban on all public display of extreme right symbols, negationist opinions and neo-nazis ideas. As was to be expected, the main opponents to this new directive proposal are Hindus. They are affraid (and rightfully so) that any display of swastikas would be banned, while this religious symbol of peace, they claim, was actually highjacked by the nazis. They make the point that the symbol is much older than its use by Hitler's party.
This brings me back to my messages about freedom and one of the purposes of this blog: I was trying to collect ideas on what should constitute a "right" political system and a just set of laws. In fact, freedom is much more than a simple right, a kind of item you put in a declaration and then that the State can more or less ignore in the name of other "more pressant" issues. Freedom, and especially freedom of expression, is what makes us different from animals. There is a main opposition on this topic between utilitarist philosophers like Bentham and humanists like Kant. But no one can really make a strong case anymore that humans are purely determined by their nature and social environment. Rousseau and Sartre have proven, once and for all, that both nature and culture shape humans and that they also have the possibility to make free choices, even purely "gratuitous acts". A gratuitous act is the absolute proof that freedom is what makes us humans.
This means that freedom should be the first thing that any kind of government should be protecting. This goes beyond the limits of religion or culture, social or mental setups. It also shows, in my opinion, that Churchill was wrong when he was saying that "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time". Democracy is actually the political true expression of the humanist ideal. It is not just one regime amongst others, it is (in its perfect form) the ultimate philosophically and ethically just regime. Any tenants of political and cultural relativism should think about this a great deal before defending the idea that democracy is not right for other cultures than the Western one.