Sunday, November 06, 2005

Descent into Darkness

Mark Steyn's latest Chicago Sun Times column is a must read, an epithet equally applicable to virtually everything Mark has written in, oh, the last 50 or so months. This column is about the French Troubles. First, Steyn takes on the pernicious charcaterization of the rioters as being nothing more serious than frustrated "French youths":
''French youths,'' huh? You mean Pierre and Jacques and Marcel and Alphonse? Granted that most of the "youths" are technically citizens of the French Republic, it doesn't take much time in les banlieus of Paris to discover that the rioters do not think of their primary identity as ''French'': They're young men from North Africa growing ever more estranged from the broader community with each passing year and wedded ever more intensely to an assertive Muslim identity more implacable than anything you're likely to find in the Middle East. After four somnolent years, it turns out finally that there really is an explosive ''Arab street,'' but it's in Clichy-sous-Bois.
After a brief history lesson concerning that long ago age when the concept of a French fighting force was regarded as something other than a silly oxymoron, Steyn highlights the Chirac/de Villepin faction's uniformly childish response to the ever-worsening violence:
In Paris, while ''youths'' fired on the gendarmerie, burned down a gym and disrupted commuter trains, the French Cabinet split in two, as the ''minister for social cohesion'' (a Cabinet position I hope America never requires) and other colleagues distance themselves from the interior minister, the tough-talking Nicolas Sarkozy who dismissed the rioters as ''scum.'' President Chirac seems to have come down on the side of those who feel the scum's grievances need to be addressed. He called for ''a spirit of dialogue and respect.'' As is the way with the political class, they seem to see the riots as an excellent opportunity to scuttle Sarkozy's presidential ambitions rather than as a call to save the Republic.
Dialogue -- or, as preferred by Equal Opportunities Minister BeGag, appeasement -- will not solve the problem. It will only hasten what appears to be an inexorable descent into permanent civil strife:
If burning the 'burbs gets you more ''respect'' from Chirac, they'll burn 'em again, and again. In the current issue of City Journal, Theodore Dalrymple concludes a piece on British suicide bombers with this grim summation of the new Europe: ''The sweet dream of universal cultural compatibility has been replaced by the nightmare of permanent conflict.'' Which sounds an awful lot like a new Dark Ages.
If the hammer is not dropped, and dropped very soon, the 21st century may see traditional European Civilization consigned to the history books. Sadly, the prospect of a modern Charles Martel seems far more remote than that of a modern European subjugation.

Additional thoughts at Betsy's Page, Tel-Chai Nation, Jo's Cafe, MaxedOutMama, TheRightPlace, and BizzyBlog.