Unease, But Little Opposition as France Curbs Basic Freedoms

Polls Show French Public Eager to Limit Freedom

Still traumatized by the ISIS terror attacks in Paris, the French public is largely looking the other way as the government moves to dramatically curtail basic freedoms the Republic has enjoyed for generations in an increasingly open-ended “state of emergency.”

Police are now free to search people and houses without warrants on suspicion of “conspiratorial activity,” and despite the implication that this was supposed to target terrorism, officials are already using it to raid the homes of people suspected of drug possession and the like.

Likewise, the government is free to place people under “house arrest” and to detain people in an open-ended fashion without charges on any government perception that they may conceivably pose a threat.

Rights groups are understandably up in arms, but they’re finding very little interest among the public, with recent polls showing some 84% of French voters are eager to accept “certain limitations of freedom” in the name of increased government control.

You don’t need to ask the government twice to take away your freedoms, and both houses of parliament have unanimously pushed through presidential proposals for further limits on individual rights.

Incredibly, the Hollande government is using France’s historic claim to be the “birthplace of human rights” as a justification for the new crackdowns on individual liberty, with Prime Minister Manuel Valis insisting security is “the first of all freedoms,” and Hollande insisting that the government’s right to “resistance to oppression” under the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen allows them to carry out such crackdowns as they see fit.

Though the state of emergency which is granting a lot of the most onerous restrictions is nominally only extended for three months, rights groups say they expect police unions to fight hard for further extensions, and that having extended beyond the initial 12 days France may find itself in this state more or less forever.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.