November 09, 2005
First there is the economic problem. Dick Morris writes today in the NY Post about a French society designed to provide a high-quality (and high cost) of life for the traditional white French citizens. A major negative consequence, however, is that there is no chance for upward-mobility within this cushy system that creates few jobs and grows anemically at best. And those most affected are its immigrants.
Â“Far from a melting pot, the stagnation of the French economy Â— and the rigidity of its society Â— leaves them a congealed mass at the bottom of the economic ladder, concentrated in poor suburbs, shunted out of sight and out of the way. With 10 percent of the population thus confined to the lowest rung of society, the threat of violence is quite real.Â”Then, there is the cultural problem as outlined by David Ignatius in the Washington Post. The fantasy that the American Left holds dear of a noble, Â“progressiveÂ” and egalitarian French society Â– in contrast to what they view as a Â“narrowÂ”, provincial and racist one in America - is nothing more than a complete farce. As Ignatius explains:
Â“America's lesson for the French is that they have a long, hard road ahead. The starting point is to break the French state of denial. The average (white) French person believes fiercely in the country's revolutionary traditions of liberty, equality and fraternity -- to the point of pretending that these virtues exist for everyone when they clearly don't. France's prized educational meritocracy -- a gulag of tests and exams that prepare the way for the best and brightest to enter elite national schools -- is in fact gamed by the existing elite. They know which lyces are the fastest entry ramp for their kids, which test-prep programs will produce the best results on the feared baccalaureate exams. Right now, France has what amounts to a reverse affirmation action -- a system of supposed equality that guarantees unequal results.Â”These Â“unequal resultsÂ” have served as the fuel for the fire, but as Max Boot warns in the LA Times, the spark that ignited the fire comes from Islamic Fundamentalism. This is an issue that France and other European countries have managed to tiptoe around in as politically correct a way as they could manage.
Â“Lack of economic opportunity is not, of course, the only reason why France faces growing insÃƒÂ©curitÃƒÂ© from a surly underclass congregated in dingy banlieues (suburbs). France, like most European nations, defines itself in ethnic, cultural and religious terms that can leave non-Caucasian and non-Christian outsiders feeling excluded, however long they have lived there. Foreigners find it much harder to become "French" or "German" than "American." Thus the growing European problem with Muslim residents who are so estranged from the mainstream that they are attracted to extremist ideologies.Â”Tony BlankleyÂ’s new book, Â“The WestÂ’s Last Chance: Will We Win The Clash Of CivilizationsÂ” serves as a dire warning to both Europe and the United States about the barbarians at the gates. He highlights this underlying threat in his column in the Washington Times today:
Â“As Paul Belien, writing from Brussels this weekend, observed: "It is not anger that is driving the insurgents to take it out on the secularized welfare states of Old Europe. It is hatred. Hatred caused not by injustice suffered, but stemming from a sense of superiority. The 'youths' do not blame the French, they despise them." As Mr. Belien reports, look what a typical radical Muslim leader, Dyab Abou Jahjah, the leader of the Brussels-based Arab European League, says: "We reject integration when it leads to assimilation. I don't believe in a host country. We are at home here and whatever we consider our culture to be also belongs to our chosen country. I'm in my country, not the country of the Westerners." Or consider the statement of a German radical Islamist that I recounted in my book (based on a National Public Radio news-story broadcast): "Germany is an Islamic country. Islam is in the home, in schools. Germans will be outnumbered. We [Muslims] will say what we want. We'll live how we want. It's outrageous that Germans demand we speak their language. Our children will have our language, our laws, our culture" (The West's Last Chance, page 75).Â”The weak response of the French government to these riots has served simply to encourage more and more violence, which started in the Paris suburbs and spread throughout the pockets of Muslim immigrant communites all over France and later to Germany and Belgium. Now, once again, the Europeans have got themselves into a fix that the U.S. has a compelling interest in. ItÂ’s been a long time since Americans have found themselves in a position where they need to actually root for the French. ItÂ’s a strange feeling, but an all too familiar one.
Posted by: Georgia Girl at November 09, 2005 10:17 PM (M2L+3)
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