The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information

Publications Filter?
Nothing found
 TeasersiSteve Blog

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New Reply
🔊 Listen RSS

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 
🔊 Listen RSS
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?

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: France 
🔊 Listen RSS
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.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: France, Politics 
🔊 Listen RSS
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.
(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: France, Obama 
🔊 Listen RSS

Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West is an important and surprising book.

Granted, readers won’t see much that’s new. In essence, Caldwell’s Reflections is a Brimelovian vindication of Enoch Powell, the brilliant Tory who warned against immigration in a prescient (and thus notorious) 1968 speech that began “The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils”.

Caldwell points out in his opening pages (which you can read here):

“Although at the time Powell’s demographic projections were much snickered at, they have turned out not just roughly accurate but as close to perfectly accurate as it is possible for any such projections to be: In his Rotary Club speech, [November 16 1968] Powell shocked his audience by stating that the nonwhite population of Britain, barely over a million at the time, would rise to 4.5 million by 2002. (According to the national census, the actual “ethnic minority” population of Britain in 2001 was 4,635,296.)”

Readers who get their views from the MainStream Media, though, will be startled by how gracefully—yet bluntly—Caldwell delivers an intellectually cohesive assault on the conventional wisdom of the diversity dogma.

Reflections is also a model for how a working journalist can transform years of old articles researched on scores of trips to Europe into a stylish book. Caldwell’s solution is to enhance his prose style with aphorisms worthy o f G.K. Chesterton.

For example, in Caldwell’s original February 27, 2006 Weekly Standard article on Nicolas Sarkozy, The Man Who Would Be le Président, he discussed Sarkozy’s call for affirmative action in France to appease riotous Muslims:

“It can be argued that France needs such measures desperately, … but, … Sarkozy shows a bit of the naiveté of, say, Hubert Humphrey in 1964 when he implies the program would be only temporary. … How long would the program last, then? Twenty years? ‘No, twenty years is too long.’”

In his book, however, Caldwell adds this memorable dictum in reply to Sarkozy’s Continental innocence about America’s experience:

“One moves swiftly and imperceptibly from a world in which affirmative action can’t be ended because its beneficiaries are too weak to a world in which it can’t be ended because its beneficiaries are too strong.”

(I suspect that when Sen. Lindsey Graham decided to vote for Sonia Sotomayor, he was saying something like this to himself, just less elegantly.)

Caldwell adds:

“This logic is not lost on white people in the United States, and it will likely not be lost on European natives.”

The courage that Caldwell displays in Reflections is unexpected. Among conservative literary intellectuals, Caldwell has pursued mainstream approval with perhaps the most success. For example, in a June 1998 Atlantic article, The Southern Captivity of the GOP, this Harvard English Lit major argued that the Republican Party appealed too much to white Southerners (whom he described as “U-Haul-renting denizens of two-year-old churches“.)

His dust jacket biography reads:

“Christopher Caldwell is a columnist for the Financial Times, a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, and a senior editor at The Weekly Standard.”

(You can’t blame him; he and his wife, who is Robert Novak‘s daughter, have five kids.)

Unexpectedly, Caldwell takes the arrogant bluster of European intellectuals and patiently and quietly extracts the simple silly-mindedness at its heart:

“Bizarrely, as immigration began to change Europe at its economic and cultural core, the political vocabulary remained the same as when immigration had been a fringe phenomenon. People kept talking about restaurants.”

He points out the endless contradictions of the cult of tolerance:

“The policing of tolerance had no inbuilt limits and no obvious logic. Why was ‘ethnic pride’ a virtue and ‘nationalism’ a sickness? Why was an identity like ‘Sinti/Roma’ legitimate but an identity like ‘white’ out of bounds? Why had it suddenly become criminal to ask questions today that it was considered a citizen’s duty to ask ten years ago?”

And yet, as the Danish Cartoon Riots of 2006 showed, the absurdity of Europe’s ever-growing restrictions on freedom of speech about immigration—both legalistic (what Caldwell calls “the criminalization of opinion“) and vigilante (enforced by young Muslim thugs)—aren’t funny. As Caldwell explains, “Immigration exacts a steep price in freedom“:

“A new, uncompromising ideology was advancing under cover of its own ridiculousness—not as the Big Lie of legend, perhaps, but as something similarly ominous that might be called the Big Joke.”

Caldwell is extremely good at disentangling the ideological evolutions—the “He who says A, must say B” thought processes—that got Europe into its Muslim mess.

“The Holocaust has in recent decades been the cornerstone of the European moral order. … Under the pressure of mass immigration, however, post-Holocaust repentance became a template for regulating the affairs of any minority that could plausibly present itself as seriously aggrieved. … Once on the continent, Muslims took up a privileged position in any public debate on minority rights: they, too, were ‘victims.’”

This, of course, is an unmistakable echo of VDARE.COM Editor Peter Brimelow’s opening to his much-denounced book Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster back in 1995:

“There is a sense in which current immigration policy is Adolf Hitler’s posthumous revenge on America. The U.S. political elite emerged from the war passionately concerned to cleanse itself from all taints of racism or xenophobia. Eventually, it enacted the epochal Immigration Act (technically, the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments) of 1965.

“And this, quite accidentally, triggered a renewed mass immigration, so huge and so systematically different from anything that had gone before as to transform—and ultimately, perhaps, even to destroy—the one unquestioned victor of World War II: the American nation, as it had evolved by the middle of the 20th century.

“Today, U.S. government policy is literally dissolving the people and electing a new one. You can be for this or you can be against it. But the fact is undeniable.”

Brimelow, needless to say, goes prudently uncited in Caldwell’s book.

Europe’s elites needed a new minority in order to feel morally superior to European commoners. And the Muslims agreed.

“[M]any Muslims felt their community offered native Europeans a more appropriate object than the Jews themselves for moral self-examination and moral self-flagellation. An increasing number of Muslims saw themselves, in fact, as the ‘new Jews.’…”

Ironically, Europe’s obsession with the Holocaust has stimulated the outbreak of anti-Semitic violence by European Muslims in this decade:

“As the Jews accumulated ‘rivals’ with an interest in dislodging them from their position as Europe’s top victims, the system was suddenly turned inside out. The ideology of diversity and racial harmony … now became the means through which anti-Jewish fury was reinjected into European life. … If the Muslims were the new Jews, apparently, then the Jews were the new Nazis.”

Caldwell sums up with a quote from French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut:

“I think that the lofty idea of ‘the war on racism’ is gradually turning into a hideously false ideology. … And this anti-racism will be for the twenty-first century what communism was for the twentieth century: a source of violence.”

It would be interesting to know whether Caldwell was always a secret VDAREite regarding European immigration, but had his logic emasculated by his periodical editors.

Or did he not come to these logical conclusions until he tried to make sense of his research while writing this book?

In either case—welcome aboard!

[Steve Sailer (email him) is movie critic for The American Conservative.

His website features his daily blog. His new book, AMERICA'S HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: BARACK OBAMA'S “STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE”, is available here.]

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: France, VDare Archives 
🔊 Listen RSS

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:

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: France, Olympics 
🔊 Listen RSS

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.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: France 
🔊 Listen RSS

The French have so assiduously cultivated their knack for glib philosophizing that most Americans less credulous than professors of English literature have lost all interest in French intellectual life. They sense that the French are more interested in expounding noveltiesthan truths.

This state of affairs is doubly unfortunate. That handful of contemporary French thinkers who are immune to the Parisian infatuation with fashion and fads are heirs to a grand tradition, including Montesquieu and Tocqueville. Moreover, the French language may bemore conducive to lucid rationality than any other tongue.

Finally, as irritating as French arrogance can be, it’s often rooted in a genuine and admirable national pride, a patriotism seldom found in other European countries in the 21st Century.

Among the most acute and sagacious French political philosophers of our era is Pierre Manent.

He began his career as the assistant to Raymond Aron, the liberal intellectual who served during the 1960s as the tribune of common sense in a France in love with insane ideologies—epitomized by Aron’s

École nationale d’administration classmate and life-long rival, the pro-Communist existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.

Over the last decade, Manent has turned from the study of the great thinkers of the past to grappling with new problems—above all the European grandees’ attempt to suffocate national self-rule within the bureaucratic European Union.

Manent’s forthcoming work from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute is a short (103 pp) and highly readable book entitled Democracy Without Nations: The Fate of Self-Government in Europe, translated by Paul Seaton. It’s of particular interest to readers and to anyone concerned with the National Question—whether the nation-state can survive as the political expression of a particular people.

Elite opposition to nations, and thus to self-government, is not confined merely to Europe. On September 11, 2001, the Melbourne Age reported on former President Bill Clinton’s speech to an Australian confab:

“‘[Clinton] discussed the immigration issue in Australia and he took a position on it,’” said Tom Hogan, president of Vignette Corporation, host of the exclusive forum. ‘Thepresident believes the world will be a better place if all borders are eliminated—from a trade perspective, from the viewpoint of economic development and in welcoming[the free movement of] people from other cultures and countries,’ Mr. Hogan said. Mr. Clinton … said hesupported the ultimate wisdom of a borderless world for people and for trade.”["Open borders to all:" Clinton, ByGarry Barker, Melbourne Age, September 11, 2001]

Manent’s reaction to 9/11 was similar to that of—we cited a once-famous poem by Rudyard Kipling:

The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughterreturn.”

Manent writes:

“In my view, the most deeply troubling information conveyed by the event … was this: present-day humanity is marked by much more profound, much more intractable separations than we had thought. … Before that fateful day we spoke so glibly of’differences’ …

[which] could only be light and superficial, easy to combine, easy to welcome and accommodate in a reconciled humanity whose dazzling appearance would be enlivened by these differences. This was such an aesthetic vision—a tourist’s view of humanthings!”

The contrast between Manent’s French clarity and the intentionally opaque and woozy ideas rationalizing the growing dominance of the EU can be striking. He continues:

“Today, all of us—at least in Europe—are moved and evencarried away by … a passion for resemblance. It is no longer simply a matter of recognizing and respecting the humanity of each human being. We are required to see the other as the same as ourselves. And if we cannot stop ourselves from perceiving what is different about him, we reproach ourselves for doing so, as if it were a sin.”

And yet, this requirement to “celebrate diversity” does not make us more interested in others:

“But what can ‘same’ or even ‘similar’ mean to someone who refuses to see what is different? … Europeans immerse themselves in an indifference toward the world that their humanitarian endeavors hide less and less well.”

Peace and prosperity in Europe have not unleashed a cultural golden age:

“Under a flashing neon sign proclaiming ‘human unity,’contemporary Europeans would have humanity arrest allintellectual or spiritual movement in order to conduct a continual, interminable liturgy of self-adoration.”

Manent offers a clear defense of the nation-state:

“… the city-state and the nation-state are the only two political forms that have been capable of realizing … the intimate union of civilization and liberty.”

To Manent, the nation-state is the optimal size, better than either the city-state or the empire, occupying “the middle ground between the puny and the immense, the petty and the limitless…”

Manent notes:

“… one cannot but admire the long duration of the European nation-state… Most of our nations are recognizable over the course of at least seven or eight centuries. … the European nations, during the course of centuries, knew how to invent new,unprecedented political instruments that would allow theadventure to continue.”

According to Manent:

“The sovereign state and representative government are the two great artifices that have allowed us to accommodate hugemasses of human beings within an order of civilization and liberty.”

Under the EU, however, “This strange contemporary ‘depression’ of the most inventive peoples in history, until recently the most capable of renewing themselves” has led to a new form of government where “the state is less and less sovereign, and government is less and less representative. … The time of enlightened despotism has returned.”

But are the new little despots all that enlightened? Or are theyhamstrung by the very political correctness that they use to make their own power seem inevitable?

Consider the ongoing controversy over the admission of Turkey into the European Union. The EU, which began as an invitation-only club, is now confronted by American insistence that to exclude Turkey from the EU would be—horrors—discrimination!

Alec Russell reported in the Daily Telegraph:

“‘Including Turkey in the EU would prove that Europe is not the exclusive club of a single religion, and it would expose the “clash of civilizations” as a passing myth of history,’ Mr. Bush said.”[Bush says Turkey must be allowed its place in EU June 30, 2004]

Manent expands upon Bush’s bullying:

“‘By what right do you leave us waiting at the door?’ … How could Turkey be refused what has been granted to so many others? … There is no doubt that the majority of European citizens and their representatives believe that the fact that populous and powerful Turkey is a massively Muslim country constitutes a major obstacle to its integration into the Union. But how can one say that?”

The only weakness of Manent’s Democracy Without Nations? is that it never mentions the single word that has the most powerful future implications for its thesis: immigration.

Yet it’s highly relevant. The Eurocrats and their supporters are clearly beginning to use high immigration to undermine nationalism and entrench their power. One popular anti-immigration party, Belgium’s Vlaams Blok, was actually banned outright by judicial decree. Similarly, the leader of the British National Party, Nick Griffin, was charged with “incitement to racial hatred” on the eve of the 2005 General Election. (He was acquitted, but only after two trials.)

Of course, mass immigration is relatively a new issue in Europe. Let’s hope that Manent will take it on in his next book.

[Steve Sailer [email him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and movie critic for The American Conservative. His website features his daily blog.]

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: France, VDare Archives 
🔊 Listen RSS

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.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: France 
🔊 Listen RSS

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.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: France, Immigration 
🔊 Listen RSS

Everywhere you read that the North African and black thugs who have been rioting in France for the last fortnight are the victims of French “racism” and discrimination“.

For example, in the New York Post (November 8, 2005), the neoconservative columnist Ralph Peters declaimed:

“French abuse of Arab and African minorities — mostlyMuslims — made it only a matter of time before thecountry’s prison-like ghettos exploded. If your skin is brown or black in la belle France, you haven’t got achance at a decent life. Now the wretched of the earth have exploded in rage… Meanwhile, every American who believes in racial equality and human dignity should sympathize with the rioters, not with the effete bigots on the Seine.”

But is France really so “racist”? The most popular French novelist of the 19th century, Alexandre Dumas père, author of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, was one-fourth black. But in France, it just didn’t come up much.

To an extent that would surprise many Americans misled by immigration-enthusiast propaganda, France too sees itself as a “Proposition Nation.” Its national self-image is built not around race, but around mastering French language and culture. Thus Leopold Senghor, a black African who wrote exquisite French poetry about negritude“, served in the French cabinet way back in the 1950s,before becoming the first president of independent Senegal.

The French believe in the assimilative power of their language so much that, for 175 years, they’ve taken criminals from around the world, given them new French names and taught them French, and moldedthem into perhaps the finest fighting unit in the world: the Foreign Legion.

That’s why the rioters, most of whom were born in France to immigrants, speak French. The French abominate bilingual education as one of those awful American multiculturalist ideas.

But it’s not working with these kids anyway.

What evidence do the pundits have to convict the French of discrimination? Essentially, it’s the immigrant ethnicities’ lack of accomplishment.

You can sense the pundits are thinking something like this:

Surely, if those snotty French weren’t so mean to the Algerians and Guineans, then the children of the immigrants would be designing Airbuses and getting elected to the Académie Française in the exact same proportions as the natives.

You see, if the Muslims aren’t exactly the same as everybody else, well, that would be a bad thing, and only bad people believe bad things might be true. And if anybody called me a bad person, I would just die.

Question: Oh yeah? So why don’t we see Vietnamese or other East Asian immigrants rioting in France?

Answer: because the problem lies less with the French than with the Muslims and Africans.

Back in September, I was widely denounced for pointing out that the low average IQs of the people stuck in New Orleans meant that the post-hurricane collapse of law and order there was entirely predictable. Many people, especially intellectuals, don’t like to think about IQ. But it matters.

The brutal fact is that the economic failings of France’s Muslim and African immigrants stem in large measure from their low average IQ.

The French, being the ultimate “Proposition Nation” with a deep-rooted ideological contempt for multiculturalism, have made it illegal to collect statistics by ethnicity. But we can roughly estimate the IQ of France’s Muslims from the studies assembled in the landmark 2002 book IQ and the Wealth of Nations by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen.

It lists six studies of national average IQ in Caucasian Muslim countries and four of Muslim immigrants in Europe.

The average IQs by country range from 78 in Qatar to 90 in Turkey, 83 in Egypt, 84 in Iran. Two studies both show 87 in Iraq.

Perhaps most relevant for assessing the French immigrants’ IQs: two studies in the Netherlands of Moroccan immigrants—many immigrantsin France come from Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. They averaged 84 and 85. Likewise, Turks in the Netherlands scored 88 and 85.

The black Africans, who are committing much of the arson, average even lower. Lynn and Vanhanen tabulated 31 studies of national average IQ in black countries. The highest recorded was 80.

It’s likely that black Africans in France score higher than in Africa, due to better nutrition, health, and education—just as African-Americans average about 85, well above their African cousins.

But the key point is this: the IQ gap between the white majority in France and the Muslims appears to be at least as large as the IQ difference between whites and African-Americans—which causes so many problems in this country.

Further, France is a particularly difficult place for the not-so-bright.

Much as it would pain them to admit it, the French are not the smartest people in the world. Their national average IQ of 98 in Lynn and Vanhanen’s book is no higher than America’s, and well below that of several northeast Asian countries. [Peter Brimelow gloats:And below the 100 average in the U.K., where this stuff was first studied!]

But few countries have ever valued raw brainpower more than the French do, with their obsession with Cartesian rationality, abstraction, and theory.

The French state has constructed a society that is both hierarchical and meritocratic, with much highly competitive testing of students. Entry into the French elites depends upon passing exams to first get into the prestigious colleges, or Grandes Écoles.

Then, to graduate from college in France, you must pass a final exam in which you write an abstruse but facile philosophical essay off the top of your head in a few hours.

And the ability to intellectualize at a high level of abstraction, even if you don’t know what you are talking about, is an important statusmarker for impressing the opposite sex while flirting in cafes. Michael of the 2Blowhards culture blog explains:

“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, the attitudinizing is the point. It adds spice to life; it’s sexy intellectual titillation… That strange, nonsensical combo of rhapsodizing, fantasizing, and the stirring-up of logical pirouettes? All the French do it—it’s like a national sport.”

Anne Applebaum writes in the Washington Post (November 9, 2005):

“I was in Paris on the night of Chirac’s electoral victory over the National Front leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in 2002. Although the campaign had been dominated by immigration issues and race, vigorous channel-surfing produced not a single black or North African face on any of the post-election talk shows. That doesn’t excuse the violence, but it does help explain it.”

But one reason for this might be that, unlike Americans who will tolerate inane tripe from their pundits and politicians, the French liketheir political performers to be cerebral dazzlers. They just don’t have much patience for affirmative action celebrities.

The French admiration for brains applies to private industry as well. The French don’t work very hard, with a 35-hour workweek and a minimum of five weeks of vacation annually. But they work smart, with a high enough productivity per hour worked to afford a way of life that remains widely envied.

The standard neocon response to immigration, clearly seen for example in a derivative thinker like Tamar Jacoby, is that mass immigration would be all hunky-dory if it weren’t for those evil leftistintellectuals (probably of French descent) who seduce innocent immigrants into identity politics, affirmative action, etc.

But France shows that you can follow all the convenient neocon ideas and still have minority groups rioting in the streets.

The truth is this: the quantity and quality of the immigrants matter more than the details of how you treat them.

Of course, the French won’t be allowed to discuss any effective solutions for their problem—such as the push-pull plan to encourage Muslim emigration I outlined on Sunday.

Instead, respectable opinion is telling the French that they must impose affirmative action quotas on themselves. (Indeed, that was the plan of supposed tough-guy Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy all along.)

And, of course, free speech—never France’s strong point—will have to be replaced by “anti-hate” laws to suppress the inevitable native protests, especially when affirmative action is seen to be failing.

Not for the first time on VDARE.COM, we see that diversity is not strength. It’s weakness—the subversion of hard-won liberal principles (quotas are incompatible with freedom of association and equality before the law). And, back of that, it’s rioting in the streets.

Moral: If you want to preserve the civilized world’s traditional freedoms, don’t import large groups of foreigners with radically different average IQs.

[Steve Sailer [email him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and movie critic for The American Conservative. His website features his daily blog.]

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: France, VDare Archives 
🔊 Listen RSS

I have numerous correspondents of South Asian descent. One of the most perceptive and independent-minded sent me his thoughts on Jean-Marie Le Pen’s defeat of the Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin in the first round of the French Presidential election. He points out that Le Pen’s long opposition to Muslim immigration has been proved prescient by the grotesque pogroms against French Jews being carried out by Muslim hooligans. As you read the press about the French election, note how few establishment media news stories draw that connection.

By the way, the most balanced introduction to Le Pen may well be his April 18th interview with the outstanding leftist Israeli newspaperHa’aretz.

I was logged into the Internet when the news of Le Pen’s victory flashed in. It was accompanied by the usual pooh-poohing nonsense about abstractions like “Crime” and “Insecurity,” though they never care to explain what the “insecurity” is about. And worst of all, the media never tires of prattling about the “shock” of Le Pen’s strong showing. This is all nonsense, of course. Only people blinded by their smugness and self-righteousness refused to see the writing on the wall. Le Pen got 15.2% of the vote last time and 14.4% in 1988. He merely garnered an extra 2.3 percentage points. But the point is, the very fact that he got 15% of the vote in ’95 ought to have rung a fewbells in the halls of the “diversity” worshippers.

Like a lot of nations in Europe, the French feel under siege. Different sections of the populace have differing perspectives on it, depending on whether they are on the right or left. But there is no doubt that France is at its core a very conservative country that feels its very existence threatened by massive immigration and Americanization. Americanization is not seen by the French as an unadulterated boon. InHollywood movies, they see a repulsive sort of culture, which leftists and conservatives equally believe is poisonous to the minds of the young. It is coincidental that you reviewed “Scorpion King” just above the Le Pen story. That movie, like most other contemporaryHollywood blockbusters, represents all that is wrong with American culture in the minds of the French. And, I believe, France is the beginning of a rebellion that has been brewing in Europe for some time.

Unlike America, France or Europe never were lands of massive large-scale immigration, though arguably immigration has been a feature of European life on a very small scale. But the current influx is seen by most Europeans as life-threatening. The political Establishment has reacted to this widespread feeling with disdain.

I have had this apprehension for some time that the disdain of the elitists for popular dislike of immigration would some day throw up people that most “liberals” (or even decent conservatives) wouldn’t find palatable. If you may recall, I wrote an earlier mail about immigration in Europe and the perspective offered by Pat Buchanan’s book. I said in that email that I didn’t think the Europeans (especially those on the continent) were going to take mass immigration lyingdown like American voters.

The other point about immigration in Europe is that it is largely drawn from North Africa. These immigrants are Arabs who are staunchly religious, deeply attached to their own culture, and therefore unlikely toassimilate. Add to this volatile equation the Arab hatred of Jews. The attacks on synagogues and Jews in France have been carried out almost exclusively by Arabs. It is rather strange that, while the media prattles on about anti-Semitism, it doesn’t mention the identity of the attackers.

The French vote is a warning shot to the political Establishment of Europe. If they refuse to address the concerns of average Europeans, men like Haider and La Pen may, in the foreseeable future, begoverning every European country. And it would be the free immigration fanatics and the asylee-helpers who will be responsible.

P.S.: Please keep my identity confidential.

[Steve Sailer [email him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and

movie critic for The American Conservative. His website features his daily blog.]

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology • Tags: France, VDare Archives 
No Items Found
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.

The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?
The evidence is clear — but often ignored
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?
A simple remedy for income stagnation