"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, November 04, 2005

French Muslim Conditions

Commenter James Elliott quite correctly observes that there was significant French prejudice toward Muslims throughout much of the twentieth century. Since the rise of multiculturalism beginning in the past quarter-century, however, the idea has basically been to allow subcultures, including those of Islam, to flourish with no effort made to assimilate them into the broader society. That policy, along with the aforementioned economic and law-enforcement situation, has worked to isolate and radicalize France's Muslim population.

The important question is, what to do now. It appears to me that economic and criminal-justice reforms are urgently needed in France, not just for Muslims but for all the French, and that the inculcation of a shared French culture must begin forthwith. These measures may very possibly not suffice to create a decent and encouraging environment for French Muslims, but without them, things will only get increasingly worse.

It also seems obvious that the confluence of policies that brought about the current situation in France is something for the United States and other nations strenuously to avoid.

4 comments:

Tom Van Dyke said...

The question has been whether Europe is 40 years ahead of the US in this area or 40 years behind.

Recent events in New Orleans indicated the former, but not the events in France this past week...

James Elliott said...

Multiculturalism, as it is taught to those of us who research such things, isn't exactly the multiculturalism as interpreted by the right or as practiced by many well-intentioned but foolish folks on the left. Multiculturalism respects other cultures and allows them to integrate with larger culture. It's about retaining the flavor of one's home culture without alienating or segregating that culture from the mainstream. Assimilation is the act of subsuming one's culture to the mainstream. What multiculturalism encourages is integration: parent culture and mainstream culture existing in harmony within the individual and communities. Assimilation creates a backlash that just creates insular subcultures and therefore insular thinking and practices, which are excellent breeding grounds for prejudice and hate. Mr. Karnick is quite correct to assail the subcultural segregation and disintegration in France and elsewhere.

It's fair to note that the French have always been an insular culture, holding themselves apart even from their European neighbors. Just look at the crap the Huegenots went through, and at least they were French! Worse, ask a Quebecois Canadian how they are treated in France. Even Anglo-Francophones are treated poorly by the French.

Hunter Baker said...

I think Europe is 40 years into an alternate future. They had to make much more accommodation with Marxism because they didn't have the sheer amount of unexploited economic resources the U.S. had to keep the lower and middle classes striving and scratching. We've got a heckuva lot more landowners and businessowners per capita.

Tlaloc said...

More to the point France is about a milion miles away form multiculturalism in any real sense. Rather it has very aggressively tried to absorb immigrants into "french-ness" including laws that require the removal of women's veils.

How anyone could point at france as a country that is too multicultural is beyond me. It's pretty obviously the opposite. Immigrant blacks and arabs being forced to quickly adapt to traditional french mores and often experinecing significant social and economic oppression have become angry enough to rise up. Just as American blacks did in the 60s. Just as American Hispanics may well do in the next 10-20 years.

France is indeed a lesson but it's one about economic disparity and racism bordering on xenophobia. It's a lesson the GOP should heed but won't.