Monday, April 03, 2006

April in Paris: It's not about love this time

The Times of London has a sickening story about the barbarism into which France, once considered by many the epitome of civilization, has sunk. (Tip of the hat: Jay Reding.)
Forget the French idyll portrayed in such books as A Year in Provence. France is being forced to confront her dark side as details emerge of horrific crimes in the suburbs.

Testimony from this grim underbelly, the immigrant banlieues — literally “places of banishment” — has fortified the elite’s view of young immigrants on the wrong side of the Paris ring road as “barbarians at the gate”.

For years the Parisian establishment has quaked at the prospect of angry hordes invading their affluent heartland and last week that nightmare came true as gangs of hooded youths robbed and bludgeoned white students attending anti-government demonstrations.
Read the rest of the story, if you can stand to. It's a powerful corrective to all the smiley-face Liberal Establishment cant about the gorgeous mosaic of multi-culturalism.

All countries do stupid things at times, but a successful country has ways of undoing them. The United States, for all its faults, can change course -- for instance, in reversing the softness in criminal sentencing that got out of hand in the '70s and '80s. France, by contrast, looks like a prime example of a state that lacks any self-correcting mechanism. It is clearly not responsible to the will of its citizens, as we see when farmers, students, and anyone who feels hard done by goes into strike or street theater mode, feeling there is no other way to be heard.

French political leaders have the standard charcteristics of oligarchs, including a pathological inability to say, "We made a mistake." But they did. France foolishly opened its arms wide to large-scale Muslim immigration, and the bill has come due. Creating an unsustainable welfare state, partly based on immigrant labor, is a related blunder.

But the unwillingness to acknowledge wrong policies means that the country's powerful must carry on playing let's-pretend until, perhaps, the whole society comes crashing down, torn apart by its own refusal to engage in reality testing.

Barbarians at the gate? For the moment, perhaps. Soon, I am afraid, they will be inside the door, battle axes clanging on the grand staircase.

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