Yglesias

Switzerland Bans Minarets

CREDIT:

Europe is generally ahead of the United States with regard to high-quality public services, but the United States is generally far ahead of Europe in terms of tolerance for cultural differences. Thus you get things like the passage, via referendum, of an odious law banning the construction of minarets in Switzerland.

The referendum is the latest in a series of political wins by the Swiss People’s Party. Traditionally these right-wing populists had been the smallest of the four parties in Switzerland’s perpetual four-party coalition (along with the center-left Social Democrats, the center-right Christian Democrats, and the business oriented Free Democrats) but they’ve become the largest party in parliament and in various ways disrupted the cozy traditions governing Swiss politics.

Spp-poster

They’re also pretty much a straightforwardly racist party, prone to doing things like promising “creating security” by kicking the black sheep out of the Swiss flock. So you get things like this minaret ban. And you have to wonder how many other European countries might follow suit if they had the kind of referendum-heavy system of government that you see in Switzerland.