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Commenter Wilkey points out:

… We keep hearing that Muslims must tolerate blasphemy because free speech. But Europe doesn’t have free speech. In most European countries, including France, there is a long list of blasphemous statements for which one can go to jail – from publicly denying facts, like the Holocaust, to denying opinions, like racial equality.

America has a lot of ways of enforcing blasphemy taboos as well, such as being forced out of your job (e.g., James D. Watson, Jason Richwine, Brandon Eich, etc.), public humiliations, leaking confidential conversations, and so forth.

The Left is an amorphous religion from which one cannot claim religious freedom, because the Religion of Political Correctness has never been formally declared. But it has its own dogma – racial and gender quality, etc. It has its own scriptures – poems like “The New Colossus,” and plays like The Crucible. It has its own hymns – “Imagine.” It has its own deities, including one – The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior – with his own holiday. “Public schools” are now effectively parochial schools owned and run by the Religion of Political Correctness.

A belief in magic is almost mandatory these days.

It must seem to Muslims very hypocritical to claim they must accept blasphemy while banning blasphemy against the Left.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Charlie Hebdo, France, Freedom of Speech 
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Since there doesn’t seem to be much in the English language press yet on French exit polls, and because France is, whether Jonah Goldberg likes it or not, a big deal, here are some polling results. A commenter writes:

I’m not French and I don’t follow French politics, but I can read the language.
Some of the data at those links: 

Sarkozy won 58% among craftsmen, businessmen and CEOs. Compared to the last election 5 years ago he held his ground (46% vs. 46%) among “workers” (I’m guessing these are actually blue-collar workers), but lost 9% (52% to 43%) among top-level employees and people in “liberal professions” (who are those? college professors? teachers?) Sarkozy got 49% of the voters who work in the private sector, 37% of those who work in the public sector. He won 47% of permanent employees, 43% of the people employed through time-limited work contracts (temps, I guess) and 36% of the unemployed. So far nothing seems surprising to me. He WAS running against a Socialist. Sarkozy won 52% of the people who own their own homes, 40% among private-sector renters and 36% among the people living in public housing. I just learned something – French public housing must be far whiter than the US version. 36% for a “candidate of the right” – wow.  

The important stuff: Sarkozy got 59% of the Catholics and Hollande got 93% of the Muslims. The article literally said that Muslims “supported the left by 93%”. It’s pretty funny when you think about it. What can be more right-wing than Islam?  

Sarkozy got 41% of those who make less than 1,000 Euros per month, 45% of those who make between 1,000 and 2,000, more among those who make above 2,000. He got slightly more votes among those who’ve had 2 or more years of college than among those who’ve had less education than that. I’m curious about who people with post-graduate educations voted for, but that info isn’t in the article.  

The biggest issues for Sarko voters were debt and deficits (65%) and immigration (53%). Those who voted for Hollande were more concerned with social inequality, the level of employment and with purchasing power.  

The article says that Sarkozy did well in the deindustrialized portion of France (their rust belt), which seems to be in the north-east. The article suggests that this is also the portion where the National Front usually does best.

Another interesting question would be what was the effect of Marine Le Pen’s announcement that she would cast a blank ballot? Would Sarko have won if Le Pen had endorsed him? Any data on that?

• Tags: France 
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A French reader writes:

Hello Steve, 

I m one of your long time French readers and I really appreciate the work you are doing. 

I m give you some interresting numbers about the french elections : 

- the difference in term of voters was 1,130 Millions between Sarkozy and Hollande.
Source : 

- Muslims voters ( church goers – about 2 millions )  are massively leftist. They vote at 93% for Hollande. 

Source : 

- Jewish from Israel are massively pro Sarkozy ( 92 % of Israel French Jews voted for Sarkozy). 

Source : 

- Dom Tom ( about 2 millions): black tropical Islands [like Martinique in the West Indies] are aslo massively pro Hollande : about 65 % for Hollande. But not as much black Americans. 

Source : 

So as Obama, Hollande was not the winners of the white vote. Actually Sarkozy was the large winner of the White. Most of rightist political commenters recommands the Sailer strategy to the right, go righter and whiter. 

Hope to hear your thoughs about it even if you are not a big french politics followers.

Thanks. I can’t read French, so, if you do, check these links out for yourself. There doesn’t seem to be much demographic analysis of the French election available in English.

• Tags: France, Politics 
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The WikiLeaks’ State Dept. cables revealed so far have been mildly entertaining. For example, American diplomats reported on President Sarkozy of France (according to the NYT):

But the cables also convey a nuanced assessment of the French leader as a somewhat erratic figure with authoritarian tendencies and a penchant for deciding policy on the fly. … By January 2010, American diplomats wrote of a high-maintenance ally sometimes too impatient to consult with crucial partners before carrying out initiatives, one who favors summit meetings and direct contacts over traditional diplomacy.

… Mr. Sarkozy was criticized by European diplomats referred to in a cable for an “increasingly erratic” last half of his 2008 European Union presidency.

“Combined, these stories have bolstered the impression that Sarkozy is operating in a zone of monarch-like impunity,” said an Oct. 21, 2009, cable. 

In December 2009, Mr. Rivkin told Mrs. Clinton: “Sarkozy’s own advisers likewise demonstrate little independence and appear to have little effect on curbing the hyperactive president, even when he is at his most mercurial.” He added: “After two years in office, many seasoned key Élysée staff are leaving for prestigious onward assignments as a reward for their hard work, raising questions as to whether new faces will be any more willing to point out when the emperor is less than fully dressed.”

Nothing terribly surprising here, but gossip is fun. I especially look forward to (hopefully) forthcoming cables about Berlusconi.
What I’d really like WikiLeaks to leak, however, is the exact counterpart of this: what French diplomats are telling Sarkozy about Obama. It would probably be a lot more interesting than what the American press has told the American public about Obama.
For example, if Sarkozy tends toward mania, the obvious question is: does Obama tend toward depression? 
Obama’s own memoirs suggests that the President suffered through significant depressive episodes in roughly 1981-1983 (a period when his sister asked his mother during a visit, “Barry’s okay, isn’t he? I mean, I hope he doesn’t lose his cool and become one of those freaks you see on the streets around here”) and 2000-2001 (of the 18 months following his crushing defeat by Bobby Rush, Obama wrote, “Denial, anger, bargaining, despair — I’m not sure I went through all the stages prescribed by the experts. At some point, though, I arrived at acceptance — of my limits, and, in a way, my mortality.”)
But some Googling on “Obama” and “depressive” brings up mostly an Onion piece and me.
Is Obama entering a third depressive phase?
I don’t know, but it would seem both interesting and important. Of course, the American press hardly noticed Obama’s references to his first two depressive phases, so we can hardly count on them to be on top of this question. 
On the other hand, I would suspect the energetic Sarkozy has been pestering his diplomats in Washington to keep him apprised of the Most Important Man in the World’s mood swings. Maybe some day we’ll be able to read what they’ve found out.
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: France, Obama 
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A half dozen or so years ago, during the debate over which city should host the 2008 Olympics, I was against China getting it, for all the reasons being bandied about today — lack of free speech, lack of democracy, oppression of Tibet, and air pollution. If the Chinese government wanted the Olympics so much, then they should be withheld until such time as they’ve earned them as a reward for their progress.

But, the Olympics were promised to Beijing, anyway, and the Chinese have since spent vast amounts of money getting ready for them. They haven’t improved on freedom, democracy, or Tibet, but they haven’t gotten worse, either. They’ve lived up their end of the bargain, such as it was.

Yet, now, enlightened opinion wants to punish China’s Olympics for all the same sins China was committing back when it was handed the Olympics in the first place. All the evidence suggests that this moral grandstanding by Westerners would just infuriate the Chinese people, who are always looking for reasons to be angry at the round eyes, and strengthen the Beijing government’s grip.

The runner-up city for hosting the 2008 Olympics was Paris. I blogged back in 2002:

• Tags: France, Olympics 
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The endemic disorder in France’s North African and sub-Saharan African suburbs (unlike Americans in the 1960s, the French refused to flee their beloved cities) is peaking once again, with rioters now using shotguns to blast away at the police.

It’s hard to get a straight story out of France about the riots. It was widely assumed in 2005 during the car-burnings that the rioters were motivated by Islamic fundamentalism, but little evidence of that emerged. It seemed more like an American black riot (but without the looting), with a Gallic twist. Fighting in the streets for ostensible political causes is an honored French tradition, and it’s common for immigrants to assimilate toward the more destructive of host country traditions.

It’s hard to even find out who is doing the rioting. In 2005, the pictures I saw tended to make it look like black Africans were taking the lead rather than olive North Africans, but there wasn’t much direct reporting on the demographics. One exception: Martin Walker wrote for UPI:

AUBERVILLIERS, France (UPI) — It still smells of smoke along the Rue Henri-Barbusse in the French suburb of Aubervilliers, but the skeletons of burned-out cars are cold now and look oddly like randomly parked pieces of modern sculpture in the shadow of the giant Quatre-Chemins housing estate that saw some of the worst riots in the two-week spasm of riots that swept France.

The sullen faces that gaze on the handiwork of the local rioters and sneer at the vans of the riot police are black rather than brown: Africans from Mali and Martinique rather than Arabs from Algeria and Morocco. …

One of the striking features of the two weeks of rage that swept France is that so many of the rioters are black rather than Arab, though North Africans from Algeria and Morocco and Tunisia make up more than two-thirds of the estimated 6 million immigrants, their families included, in France.

Another important element is that in places where the rioters were ‘beurs,’ as the French Arabs call themselves, Islam and religion seemed to play only a minor role. A tear gas bomb fired into the mosque of Clichy-sous-Bois on the first day of the riots infuriated local Muslims, but there have been no Islamic slogans and no taunts against the French as Christians. They are identified instead, by young blacks and beurs alike, as the Gaulois, the Gauls, a taunting reference to the way French primary schools traditionally begin their history lessons with the phrase ‘Our ancestors, the Gauls…’

Local Islamic leaders who tried to calm the young mobs have been routinely ignored, as have the fatwas issued by the leading Imams saying rioting and attacks on innocent people are against Islam…

Experts who work with France`s black community point to a different kind of family breakdown. Sonia Imloul of Respect 93, a non-governmental organization, says one of the biggest problems is polygamy, and cites the example of one family she knows with one father, four wives and thirty children, all living in the same standard 4-room apartment of French public housing.

In 2005, I wrote about American pundits’ misconceptions about rioting for The American Conservative in “French Lessons.”

On the other hand, I’m still confused by the apparent lack of looting in the 2005 riots. Were the rioters in France sober? The 1992 LA riots were essentially one long drunken brawl. It started with looting Korean-owned liquor stores and most of the rioters were drunk the whole time. If the French rioters are sober, perhaps that means they really are faithful Islamic tea-totalers and not the hip-hop inner city American wanna-bes, as I picture them.

• Tags: France 
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In the NYT, Elaine Sciolino explains “New Leaders Say Pensive French Think Too Much.” “Pensive” isn’t the right word, since it implies the French have unexpressed thoughts, but it is pretty funny:

In proposing a tax-cut law last week, Finance Minister Christine Lagarde bluntly advised the French people to abandon their “old national habit.”

France is a country that thinks,” she told the National Assembly. “There is hardly an ideology that we haven’t turned into a theory. We have in our libraries enough to talk about for centuries to come. This is why I would like to tell you: Enough thinking, already. Roll up your sleeves.”

To graduate from college in France, you have to pass a test that consists of writing a three hour essay on a philosophical topic such as “Being or nothingness: which is more ineffable?” I may have a few details wrong about this, but the general point is that the ability to philosophize fluently off the top of one’s head at great length is a status marker that shows you are a college graduate and thus important to cafe flirtation. Michael Blowhard explained:

Hard though it is for an American to believe, the French wake up in the morning and look forward to a full day’s-worth of Being French. …French philosophy is, IMHO, best understood as a cross between a hyperrefined entertainment form, and an industry for the supplying of fodder for cafe-and-flirtation chatter. Take French philosophy straight and you’re likely to wind up doing something stupid like destroying a department of English, or maybe even ruining your own life. The French would never make such a mistake; after all, nothing — not even philosophy — can distract them from the pursuit of Being French. In fact, part of Being French is enjoying philosophical chitchat, the more fashionable the better. We may not have much patience with it, but the French love the spectacle of radical posturing. We tend to engage with the substance of a radical position. For the French, this kind of attitudinizing is enjoyed. It adds spice to life; it’s sexy intellectual titillation… French philosophy? Well, it gives the French something sophisticated-seeming to say (and to gab about) as they go about the genuinely serious business of Being French.

The NYT continues:

Citing Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America,” she said the French should work harder, earn more and be rewarded with lower taxes if they get rich.

Ms. Lagarde knows well the Horatio Alger story of making money through hard work. She looked west to make her fortune, spending much of her career as a lawyer at the firm of Baker & McKenzie, based in the American city identified by its broad shoulders and work ethic: Chicago. She rose to become the first woman to head the firm’s executive committee and was named one of the world’s most powerful women by Forbes magazine.

So now, two years back in France, she is a natural to promote the program of Mr. Sarkozy, whose driving force is doing rather than musing, and whose mantra is “work more to earn more.”

Certainly, the new president himself has cultivated his image as a nonintellectual. “I am not a theoretician,” he told a television interviewer last month. “I am not an ideologue. Oh, I am not an intellectual! I am someone concrete!”

But the disdain for reflection may be going a bit too far. It certainly has set the French intellectual class on edge.

“How absurd to say we should think less!” said Alain Finkielkraut, the philosopher, writer, professor and radio show host. “If you have the chance to consecrate your life to thinking, you work all the time, even in your sleep. Thinking requires setbacks, suffering, a lot of sweat.”

Indeed, sweat is pouring from my brow as I try to think up something smarter to say about this than “Indeed.”

Bernard-Henri Lévy, the much more splashy philosopher-journalist who wrote a book retracing Tocqueville’s 19th-century travels throughout the United States, is similarly appalled by Ms. Lagarde’s comments.

“This is the sort of thing you can hear in cafe conversations from morons who drink too much,” said Mr. Lévy, who is so well-known in French that he is known simply by his initials B.H.L. “To my knowledge this is the first time in modern French history that a minister dares to utter such phrases. I’m pro-American and pro-market, so I could have voted for Nicolas Sarkozy, but this anti-intellectual tendency is one of the reasons that I did not.”

Mr. Lévy, who ultimately endorsed Mr. Sarkozy’s Socialist rival, Ségolène Royal, said that Ms. Lagarde was much too selective in quoting Tocqueville and suggested that she read his complete works. In her leisure time. …

Here’s Garrison Keillor’s well-known review of BHL’s insufferable American Vertigo.

Indeed, the idea of admitting one’s wealth, once considered déclassé, is becoming more acceptable. A cover story in the popular weekly magazine VSD this month included revelations that just a few years ago would have been unthinkable: the 2006 income of leading French personalities ($18 million for soccer star Zinedine Zidane, $12.1 million for rock star Johnny Hallyday, $334,000 for Prime Minister François Fillon, $109,000 for Mr. Sarkozy).

Johnny Hallyday is 64 years old. How do you make $12 million per year when you are 64 as a rock star, especially one who is utterly unknown in the English-speaking world? I guess maybe the reason is that M. Hallyday is the only French rock star. Perhaps an emphasis on rationalism prevents the French from developing rock stars more often than once every 40 years?

And do you want to guess that Mr. Sarkozy lived a little better than $109,000-worth?

Still, the French devotion to Cartesian rationality has served the French fairly well. The French don’t score any higher in IQ than Americans or other Europeans, but they sometimes seem to think things through better than others do, as in nuclear power or health care. Unlike the Marines, the French tend to believe that there are two ways to do anything: the wrong way and the right way, which should be the French way.

• Tags: France 
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A number of readers have sent in this article from Der Spiegel:

New [French] immigration minister, Brice Hortefeux, confirmed on Wednesday that the government is planning to offer incentives to more immigrants to return home voluntarily. “We must increase this measure to help voluntary return. I am very clearly committed to doing that,” Hortefeux said in an interview with RFI radio.

Under the scheme, Paris will provide each family with a nest egg of €6,000 ($8,000) for when they go back to their country of origin. A similar scheme, which was introduced in 2005 and 2006, was taken up by around 3,000 families.

Hortefeux, who heads up the new “super-ministery” of immigration, integration, national identity and co-development, said he wants to pursue a “firm but humane” immigration policy.

The new ministry was a central pledge in Nicolas Sarkozy’s election campaign, who had warned that France was exasperated by “uncontrolled immigration.”

I outlined a similar, although much more lucrative, program in two VDARE articles in 2005: first and second. I suggested that $25,000 per person would have a sizable effect.

• Tags: France, Immigration 
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

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