Consider Germany following WW1. In many ways, Germany was a cultural shambles following that war. I have described in these spaces, many times, what happens to a country whose culture is essentially destroyed. I have warned that the same problems can happen here, or anywhere in the western world, for that matter… anywhere where socialism, and some forms of libertarianism, are in sway. In the case of Germany however, that cultural destruction is precisely what gave rise to Hitler, and the Nazis. Disaffected Germans felt they needed something to rally behind. People in such a situation will tender rally behind just about anybody.
It strikes me that in many ways the situation in the France of today is quite similar. Yet, that situation is taking on a somewhat different dynamic. Those disaffected are those who were second class citizens within the socialist empire France has become. All this kindling needed was a match to set it aflame, someone who was willing to manipulate the cultural divide to his own advantage. In the case of Germany, that match was Adolf Hitler. In the case of Muslims in France, is that match Usama BinLaden? The similarity of the rise to power, the methods, and the madness, are striking.
Let me be clear here. I think the current problems in France did not start as a jihad. Rather, it started as a weakness. As Jack Kelly says in this morning’s Post Gazette :
The elephant in France -- whose name begins with the dreaded M-word journalists dare not mention -- hasn't been allowed in the living room. He's been locked in the shed out back.
This gives liberals an excuse to blame the rioting in France -- which has finally died down after two weeks -- on the standard liberal villains, poverty and racism.
But if racism is a cause of the rioting, poverty isn't. As Theodore Dalrymple noted in a prescient article in the City Journal three years ago ("The Barbarians at the Gates of Paris"), those whom the media choose to describe as "French youths" have cell phones, cars, boom boxes, gold chains around their necks. "They enjoy a far higher standard of living than they would in the countries of their parents' or grandparents' origin, even if they labored there 14 hours a day."
The economic part of the problem is a lack of social mobility, compounded by idleness. An idle mind is indeed the devil's playground.
Since the lack of social mobility is a product of the welfare state, the standard liberal "solutions" -- appeasement, coupled with great gobs of taxpayer money -- are unlikely to be effective.
There is no social mobility in France because the economy is stagnant. Unemployment is high. If French scientists have to emigrate to find work, what chance do those with few job skills have of grabbing a rung on the shrinking corporate ladder, much less of climbing it?
For the children of immigrants to have the same opportunities in France they do in the United States, taxes must be cut, regulations slashed, the minimum wage reduced, trade restrictions eased, labor unions weakened. But no politician in France would dare propose such remedies.
(Aside; Sounds like the US, after 80 years of leftist rule, doesn’t it?)
So what now? Predators tend to prey on the weak. Islam is a predator, much the same as Nazism was a predator. The weakness that this predator is sensing is a cultural one. In the case of France it becomes a cultural issue by power of sheer numbers as I wrote a couple of weeks ago. These numbers are building dramatically. They are doing so the cause of the fact that we in the west refuse to insist upon those coming to live in our western societies become actual parts of that society. Even the people who come to our countries legally…( and they comprise less than half of the people that show up on our shores)… do so with no intent whatsoever of actually becoming part of our society. Rather, they insist upon bringing their society with them and imposing their society on us.
Again, from Jack Kelley;
"A vast army of young unemployed Muslims ... stands at the disposal of the would be Napoleons of radical Islam, and they have no choice but to lead it," wrote the Asia Times commentator known simply as "Spengler." "The outcome well might be a new Algerian war, fought on French soil."
It’s clear that the troubles in France did start much the same as our own civil rights riots in the sixties started; because one group of people was fed closed and housed by the largess of government, who because of the nature of government could do no more. Thus, those under the care of the government became second class citizens.
The difference here is that in this case, those second class citizens happened to be cultural Muslims. The Christian Science Monitor has reported that anti-semitic violence in France these days is perpetrated in the largest degree by North African immigrants. These are people who don’t fit into French society and so identify themselves with the global Muslim community for what they see apparently as a lack of a better choice. “The kids don’t practice Islam, but they use it to give themselves an identity,” says the mayor of a small town in one report I’ve seen recently. Because they do identify themselves as Muslim, however, I think all that’s necessary to turn this into a full scale Jihad in France is for Al Quieda to take advantage of the cultural split.
What frightens me is, I think BinLaden knows this, too.
There’s another aspect of this that is rather striking, to me. To my mind there’s never been any stronger proof that freedom is a cultural artifact… that rights in reality descend from culture, than what is going on currently in France. Freedom you see, is only possible when all of, or at least the majority of individuals within the society subscribe to a certain set of moral guidelines, a common sense of right, and wrong.
Each culture has its own set of moral guidelines, its own morality. I am by no means suggesting by saying this, that all cultures should be treated equally or even that all cultures are just, true, and right. Far from it. This difference is in fact why some cultures last longer than others and do better than others in a long run. But to survive any culture must have primacy in its own country. Without it, not only to opposing cultures clash, but cultures that were once good are melded with cultures that are less good, the total result of which is less than desirable.
France at this moment is a prime example of what happens when cultural clash occurs. In France’s case, as in so many before it, the existing culture is being overrun by the interloper. Herein lies the biggest problem; France’s “respect for other cultures” has become so prevalent that they no longer have respect for their own culture. In this way;
Time was when someone went outside the cultural boundaries of right and wrong the majority culture would label such people “criminal”. Funny how it took the French a few nights of burning neighborhoods to figure out that they weren’t dealing with other cultures which deserve respect, but a criminal element which at the very least deserved jail time. At this stage of the game it is arguable whether not the French waited too long to come to that conclusion. The really sad part here is the French have brought this on themselves.
Finally, there is the issue of illegal immigration. It took awhile for this part of the story to come to the fore, but it appears by some reports that a goodly number of the rioters in France are not only immigrants, but illegal immigrants. This would seem to bring on a whole new dimension to the argument, at least from an American perspective, given our own illegal immigration problems at the moment.
All of these subplots add up to a pack of trouble for any government not willing to listen and learn from France’s errors.
For France I fear it is too late to do anything about it. And if it is, we certainly have a new dynamic in the international arena; Another Muslim majority nation with the atomic bomb at its disposal. If we are concerned over the prospect of Iran and it’s brand of radical Islam, getting the bomb, what of the takeover of an ostensibly western nation by the same radicals? It’s basicly a race now to see which happens first.
Even if I’ve misjudged this, and it’s not too late for France, even if France manages to drag it’s croissants out of the fire, we still have some major issues to deal with in the remainder of the western world, because it’s not just France where this kind of thing is happening.
France is given us a very good example of what not to do.
The question is, have we learned that lesson?