The news that a group of Muslims near Marseille have rented a private swimming pool to allow Muslim women to swim in so-called burkinis has caused some controversy in France, with some defending the arrangement based on the right of free association and others arguing that the dignity of women in France as well as concern over the balkanization of Muslims in Western society require restrictions on such private arrangements. At City Journal, Dalrymple says all sides have some good points and that the correct policy is not obvious:
Here, it seems to me, is an illustration of a general principle articulated by Edmund Burke: that political questions cannot be reduced to abstract reasoning. In another context, for example, the argument that private associations may do as they please so long as what they please is not against the law would be unanswerable. But in politics, context counts.