Sunday, November 06, 2005

Paris Is Burning!

God, it's bizarre to use that title without reference to drag queens! But Paris is, actually, burning. Some of the geniuses who gave us "freedom fries" are burning as well, with self-righteous glee. To them, this represents the ultimate failure of big government socialism, as America's Iraq war deserter fails to stand up to its own nasty Muslims. But, as Atrios puts it, think of this as more 60's race riot then Al-Qaeda. From the NY Times:

The government has been embarrassed by its inability to quell the disturbances, which have called into question its unique integration model, which discourages recognizing ethnic, religious or cultural differences in favor of French unity. There is no affirmative action, for example, and religious symbols, like the Muslim veil, are banned in schools.

This policy sounds like every anti-immigration conservative's sloppy wet dream. France was the very model of the "English first" movement (although with French!), but this model of forced integration has failed. It's done nothing but anger a population already horribly alienated by Gaullic nativism (remember that in the last Presidential election, they almost elected their version of David Duke).

One of the nasty differences between Europe and the U.S. is that we (paleo-conservatives aside) accept as Americans anyone who will accept our principles of government. Europeans care more about your "culture", something which you only really develop if you are raised in a proper European home. As a writer once reminded Susan Sontag after one of her polemics comparing America to France, you live in California for fifteen minutes and you are Californian. You live in France for three generations, and you're still a goddamn Jew.

These days, with its immigration problems, xenophobic white population, budget shortfalls, and lackluster politicians, France looks more like Texas then it does like New York. Except for the fucking. They aren't so hung up on that. But otherwise, when you look to the French state, you see a bloated, deficit-ridden government in its second term of conservative party rule, whose coffers are drained by near-endless corporate corruption, most prominently involving an oil company, while its isolated and arrogant President, wildly unpopular and facing criminal investigation, still insists on an outsized place in world affairs while failing to provide even basic security to his own people at home.

It's George Bush's America, with ennui!


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