Sunday, June 18, 2006

France & the third dynamic

What drives multiculturalism and mass immigration?

I believe the underlying reason, the “first” dynamic, is the logic of the liberalism which has dominated Western politics.

In short, liberals believe that individuals fulfil their humanity when they are free to author their own lives according to their individual will and reason.

This sounds nice, but has some unforeseen consequences. It means, for instance, that a traditional ethnic nationalism, a national identity based on a shared ancestry, language, culture and religion, becomes illegitimate. Such an identity is inherited, rather than chosen by individual will, so it is thought of by liberals as an oppressive impediment to individual freedom.

However, once the political class arrives at this conclusion, there are a number of other flow on effects which also encourage multiculturalism and open borders.

The “second dynamic” I would explain as follows. In the liberal view, a society is a collection of millions of competing individual wills, each trying to enact their own desires. For liberals, therefore, an important question has to be answered. How is such a society based on competing wills to hold together?

The answer given by right-wing liberals is that the hidden hand of the free market will regulate any number of profit-seeking individuals for the benefit of the whole society.

So an entire wing of liberalism very firmly believes in the free market, not just on economic grounds, but as a basic part of their social philosophy.

For many liberals, therefore, the market must be kept free, including the movement of both labour and capital. They support open borders, in other words, because it goes against their free market beliefs to restrict the movement of workers.

And then there is the “third dynamic”. Politicians are people who are interested in the wielding of power. Ever since the early twentieth century there has emerged the growing possibility of global power – of some form of world government.

If you are a politician in a traditional country, with an identity based on a common ethnicity, you might seek to participate in global power arrangements through the old-fashioned method of alliances.

If, though, there is no longer an attachment to a common ethnicity, there are other ways to try to be at the centre of an emerging world order. You might try, for instance, to combine your nation into larger regional blocs.

There are many examples in the West of politicians wanting to open their borders in the pursuit of “diplomatic greatness”. It’s certainly a reason given by some Australian politicians from the 1950s onwards of wanting to merge more closely with Asia.

However, one of the clearest examples is that of France. The French have not only been at the forefront of building the European Union, but they have also, it seems, wanted to build greatness by fostering a bringing together of Europe and the Arab world to create a “Eurabia”.

But is this really a path to national greatness? In the case of France, the answer would seem to be no. If anything the Eurabia project has only exposed and extended French weakness.

The problem is this. The French welcomed millions of Arabs and Africans into their country, which fits well with the Eurabia project. However, the merging process hasn’t gone so smoothly. In 2005 the immigrants rioted in over 270 French towns, torching about 9000 cars.

Just recently there was a further riot in Montfermeil, a suburb in the north of Paris. Here is a newspaper account of the circumstances leading up to the riot:

It all began with an administrative decision by the mayor. A few months ago, he outlawed gatherings of more than four youths in the downtown area. Since January, the number of thefts and robberies had skyrocketed by 600 percent, and the dynamic mayor was seeking solutions that could increase his citizens' sense of security.

On investigating the problem, he discovered that most of the crimes had been committed by gangs numbering more than four members. His decision enraged the city's youths. Very few French suburbs have this small town's variegated ethnic mosaic: More than 30 percent of its inhabitants are foreigners from 40 different countries and 80 percent of them are Muslim. Satellite dishes on the balconies and in the windows receive transmissions from Al Jazeera and hundreds of television stations in Arab states.

In the town's immigrant neighborhood, 50 percent of the residents are under the age of 20.
At midday, hundreds of young people can be seen leaning indolently against the railings of homes and shops. Last week, the mayor was again in the headlines after he faced off with a group of youths who had attacked a passenger on a bus. The police arrived and the mayor, who had witnessed the attack, identified the assailants. News of the incident spread like wildfire through the immigrant neighborhood and that same night hundreds of youths gathered in front of City Hall and began hurling Molotov cocktails.

They then proceeded to the mayor's residence at which they threw stones. By morning, seven people had been wounded. Since then, the mayor's home is under constant surveillance and police officers are posted at the entrance to City Hall throughout the day. Nonetheless, despite the security measures, the mayor's wife and sons have been physically attacked and have suffered injuries.

So it is not so much a case of the French widening their sphere of influence in Arabia, but of Muslim North Africa extending its influence into France. The North African immigrant communities in France are young, growing and have kept their connection to their home region via satellite TV. They are asserting themselves with considerable force.

So what is to be done? It’s difficult for a liberal politician to recognise the problem: that the ethnic differences between the native population and the immigrants are too great for an easy integration. A liberal would see this as a “pessimistic” view, and would prefer to think that all people would readily adapt to what a liberal French society has to offer.

If they aren’t doing so, thinks the liberal, it must be because of “exclusion of the other” by the host population. Therefore, the instinctive liberal solution is to further berate the host population for their historic faults of oppression and discrimination and to try to make their country even more open and yielding to the Arab immigrants.

The Mayor of Montfermeil is no longer in the liberal camp. He says:

I am pained by the thought that my country is ashamed of its culture and values. When France denies its own history and incessantly apologizes for slavery, for its conquests and for colonialism, is it any wonder that the immigrants are rising up against it and are showing no respect for it?

The third dynamic, of pursuing diplomatic greatness through regional mergers, has failed France. It has not placed France at the centre of world power, but has weakened France through the creation of serious internal divisions.

Other Western nations should take heed.

1 comment:

  1. Liberals are wrong and have always been wrong. All they care about is power. Visit for more good political news articles.