November 8, 2005

Paris Intifada meme = Xenophobic Reduction

WaPo blog link
The explosion of violence in France has taken place after four years of "zero-tolerance" law enforcement policies of France's two leading conservatives, Prime Minister Dominique Villepin and Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. Their strategy has included measures that U.S. conservatives would probably look on with favor, including tighter visa controls, curfews, and police checkpoints in crime-ridden neighborhoods...
The problem is that some Americans assume all French politicians must be social liberals because a solid majority of the country opposed the Iraq war. But Sarkozy is among the most pro-American of French politicians. Villepin, Sarkozy's boss and rival for leadership of the French right, is remembered by Americans as the voice of French opposition to the invasion of Iraq. But in domestic politics, he is on the right. Villepin implemented many of the "zero tolerance" policies when he served as Interior Minister in 2004.
I don't mean to stop at saying, "Look--It's conservatives screwing up again." My point is to counter opinions like Joe Malchow's that want to put this all on liberal tolerance of other cultures and more importantly on the inherent nature of Islam. Joe says, "I've no clue, no lead as to what to make of all this. I do, however, know that even more permissiveness on the part of the West for an ideology that is pretty consistent in its resort to violence is not the answer."

Joe seems to forget that in most of the world (and in the minds and pens of many Americans), it is America that is criticized for its consistency in resorting to violence. America isn't really on the moral high ground here, and xenophobic attempts to claim it are caustically wrongheaded and counterproductive--the attitude that the rioters are merely displaced potential jihadists is likely to be a self-fulfilling prophecy if no effort is made to actually address the sources of the violence.

Perhaps I don't know what "liberal tolerance" is, because this ain't it. The French "integration" policies amount to no more than feigned tolerance--segregation rather than acceptance, isolation rather than empowerment. The French model of "integration" was abandonment with a smile. Intolerance and exclusion is not the opposite of this mock tolerance--actual concern and dialogue is. Better ways of integration through self-empowerment are needed, not new ways of alienating through exclusion.

Edit: One more article advocating what amounts to forcible assimilationism, from Pat Buchanan. He contrasts Arabs in Europe with blacks in America--'we sure assimilated those negroes and look how well that's turned out' is the force of his argument. Interestingly enough, the man never mentions the minor historical detail of slavery. He ends with "Colonization of the mother countries by subject peoples is the last chapter in the history of empires—and the next chapter in the history of the West—that is now coming to a close." He opens with a comparison to Rome and the barbarians. The really scary thing is that this type of rhetoric has traction in a lot of the West (including on Joe Malchow's blog). Buchanan's penultimate paragraph raises the specter of the influx of Mexicans and Hispanics.

Point of contrast: if assimilationism is so great, why don't conservatives shut the hell up about liberal bias on campuses. Try fucking assimilating for a change if you think it's such a smashing good idea!

"End of the Western Empire"--I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.

Further edit: As a friend points out over email, Buchanan's claims that blacks "[while] not integrated fully into our economy or society... had been assimilated into American culture" by the 1950s mean that he is entirely ignorant of American cultural history, of African-American cultural history, and of history history. This entirely elides the uniqueness and distinctness of African-American Christianity, music, comedy, and even dialect. It also elides the more militant aspects of the Civil Rights movement, glossing over the real turmoil as if the 1950s and 1960s were a period of gradual change. Where the fuck was he in the 60s?

1 comment:

  1. hahahaaaa fuckers i can speak japanese

    enjoy the slow painful death of your empire. i know i'm going to enjoy it, as i watch from my tokyo penthouse, margarita in hand.