Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Paris, night eight

Another 420 set ablaze last night in suburbs surrounding Paris. That’s 420; with 187 cars destroyed; but only five buildings were destroyed. One cop said, "The peak is now behind us." There was some TV coverage of the events last night. This story puts the cars torched at over 500, as the unrest has spread to 20 provincial towns.

"According to one report, a disabled woman was doused in petrol and set on fire when she was unable to escape a bus under attack in the northern suburb of Sevran. She was rescued by the driver and is being treated for severe burns, according to state prosecutors.

Disturbances also took place for the first time in other towns, including Dijon, Rouen and the outskirts of Marseille.

Television networks have mostly stayed away from the scenes of the confrontations. Camera crews have been physically attacked and reports blamed for stoking the discontent."

The Telegraph
says that many of the rioters are Muslims of north African origin and "They are mostly second and third-generation immigrant youths who feel cheated by France’s official promises of liberty, equality and fraternity."

Discussions - 18 Comments

Have the French surrendered yet?

Tens of thousands in France, and millions across Europe, felt similarly cheated by those false promises from 1789-1815, and after.

This isn’t just a French problem. It’s THE problem of post-Christian Europe. The chickens of low birthrates and undigested mass Muslim immigration are coming home to roost. We may have somewhat similar problems here if we’re not careful.

Chickens and undigested immigration? I think you’ve mixed metaphors, Dietrich.

Nope, "chickens coming home to roost" is a single metaphor. The items within the genitive phrase ("low birthrates" and "undigested mass Muslim immigration") illustrate the substantive content for which the metaphor stands. Any guide to English grammar should be able to explain the genitive case.

Speaking of substance, by the way, do you think what’s going on in France is evidence of how well and thoroughly Europe has "digested" (assimilated) its Muslim-immigrant populations?

I don’t think we’ll have the exact same problems as we have far fewer Muslim immigrants. Also, while any immigrant can be an American, no immigrant is ever going to be "French", "German" or "Italian", no matter how much multi-cultural claptrap Europeans profess to believe in.

The only good thing about this is that it’s possible that Europeans will finally ditch post-modernism and finally take a step back into reality. Maybe it will even jar our wooden headed Democrats here out of their 60’s-nostalgia comas.

If the Democrats at home operated in their "60’s nostalgia comas," then I would be much happier. Modern Liberalism is not the same as the liberalism of Wilsonian, F.D.R., and Kennedy.

I am going to hold off on believing the more sensational reports.

Clearly, the French government needs some policy changes in how they deal with their immigrant populations.

I understand that "chickens coming home to roost" is, by itself, a single metaphor, but you’ve introduced digestion as a metaphor for assimilation. Normally, living animals, such as birds that can come home to roost, are not digested. Any denotative use of "undigested" doesn’t really work in this case. Also, the final phase of digestion is excretion, so what are we to think of immigrant people who are successfully "digested" by this additional metaphor? Had you simply used the word assimilation from the start, the metaphor would have been clearer and the possible, if unintentional, insult of successfully assimilated immigrants could have been avoided.

I just digested a chicken.


Kelly, in my opinion I used "digestion" as a synonym for assimilation, not a metaphor.

The word digestion, when used in a cultural or noetic rather than an alimentary context, need not imply "excretion" with the potentially insulting connotations thereof. One can speak of having "read and digested" a book, for instance, and one is not thereby saying that one has physically masticated and swallowed it and expects to expel it through one’s anus.

At any rate, I think my meaning was pretty clear and I don’t see any substantive disagreement between us. Certainly I mean no insult against successfully digested/assimilated legal immigrants.

Whather we call it digestion or assimilation, official Europe has simply pretended that this issue doesn’t even exist. Europe now has burgeoning populations of people of Muslim North African or Middle Eastern origin who are not really citizens and are not meant to be citizens, but who appear to be there to stay. Europe had better figure what to do with/about/for these people PDQ. And the contribution of the "contraceptive society" to this state of affairs is real, tho’ what can or should be done about that is, I confess, another matter--I doubt that the traditional populations of Europe are about to start marrying young and having big families anytime soon if ever, nor would I recommend trying to force anyone to do so (positive incentives for childbearing may be another story, but alot of European countries already have those and it’s made little difference).

I worry about our situation in America because I fear--I think with good reason--that our own assimilative resources as a society have become attenuated by decades of pervasive and sentimental multicultural "happy talk," combined with the rise of identity politics and a kind of "affirmative-action state" designed to service the demands that idenitity politics mobilizes. While I yield to no one in the jaundiced view that I’m willing to take of the French and their many pretensions, I’m not smug about what’s happening to them because we might be in somewhat the same boat.

"Shoot to kill" seems reasonable. Anything less is an invitation to even worse riots the next time.

It seems like a reasonable hypothesis that people purposefully had children for two primary reasons: 1. To contribute labor in order to support the family (get more production out of 6 kids compared to 5, and the cost increase was less than increase in production because of hand me downs, food bought in bulk, etc.), 2. Old age insurance

I think the change of these two factors is what dooms welfare-capitalist states to low birthrates. Children are a lot more expensive to raise in modern times. Health care has improved, so this expense is greatly increased (in olden times the child would have died and the cost of such illness would have be a lot less). Children are also more expensive because it is impossible for their parents to educate them. They have to send them off to some sort of post high school education. I do not think this factor will change, and I think it will increase as technology and specilazation increases.

What could be done to encourage birth rates is to reduce government provision of needs for the elderly. If old people had to depend on children for support then they would certainly have more of them. Having children would be an investment, and treating them nicely would be important (I wonder if treatment of children has worsened since old age government care, I am certain there are more children without active fathers).

I wonder if anyone else has any suggestions as how to increase the birthrate?


Sometimes I swear you must be kidding Steve, but then I realize you are serious. (perhaps the sentiment is shared?)

Why in the world would you want to increase the birthrate? While I am not Malthusian neither do I believe that the gov. should make any attempts in this area one way or the other.

The french subsidize a lot of leave for women, child care, exct... some European nations even hand out checks for each child born...

The facts are in: Europe in general has more problems with a low birth rate despite gov. programs to rectify the situation.

I would wager that old age insurance is not a significant motivator for having children. It may perhaps even be a hindrence. As a smaller familly unit you could invest more and have a greater nest egg for retirement, not to mention more liberty during middle age. Your notions are historically dated, and seem to suggest that man is still living in the time of Malthus. Perhaps your assumptions of why people have children would hold true in the third world, but they are certainly not true in Europe(or at least not broadly, there could always be exceptions). Perhaps this is the crux of the matter. Europeans don’t feel a pressing need to have children to compensate for income or take advantage of economies of scale (second hand items) nor to help them as they grow old. The stick is gone and they have children or don’t have them only as they see the carrot in it.

The Humanity of it all! China and India will use the stick to reign in population, while Europe uses a mixture of stick and carrot to increase it? Foolish world leaders! Laissez-faire.

I also believe that it isn’t the responsibility of the parents to provide for post-secondary education, unless the kid pays himself the education isn’t trully his own. If all college students paid the way themselves wouldn’t they take it more seriously and demand better?

As for treating children nicer, that is an interesting question... in some sense I believe children have never been treated nicer in all of world history. In the past at the age of 13 a child was expected to fend for himself. Perhaps he slaved in a textile mill, or behind a plow share, and perhaps he was injured or grew sick and the parents were saved high medical costs by letting him die... Yet to ballance this, children today are probably spoiled excessively. There is no cause that is not holy if it is only done in the name of the children... The problem is that adults think the best way to treat children is to give them freedom and then shield them from the consequences, or to give them material goods and shield them from performing the labor by which such goods are attained. This is why it is almost a duty for parents to refrain from paying for college...

I think I know what Washington Irv...errr...Friedrich Knickerbocker (hey, GREAT username!) is talking about. My son lives in an area of Chicago dominated by Polish and Korean immigrants, and he tells me, and my own experiences there confirm, that they aren’t so good at learning English, and that many of them are illegally employed, or engaged in illegal activities. Seems like a recipe for disaster to me.

John Lewis

Have you read the above posts? I think it is pretty obvious why increasing the European birthrate is a concern. If Europe is to remain what it has historically been, then they either have to 1. deport all of the immigrants they have, 2. make them stop having so many children, 3. or have more children themselves. I will let you decide which option is most feasible.

Children are obvisouly a better investment than saving away money spent on them and hoping to gather 8% a year. Besides love, pride, and all of that stuff, children are a more efficient old age resource. Compare the cost of an elderly person receiving in home care from a nurse, to the cost of that same person being cared for by his or her children. Furthermore, you know that EVERY social security system is a pyramid scheme that depends on more workers than retirees. How can you say having children is not crucial for old age, it is essential for any old age program to work. This is another reason Europe is begging for people to have children.

You claim I am out of touch, yet think it is unacceptable for parents to help their children with paying for college because it will deprive their child of some sort of physic benefit. I do not believe many would agree with that position.

I have no looked at the data, but just as a general hunch, people started having less children as the government started providing more social programs. It could be a coinicidence, or the two could be related. I would wager they are related.

You want Laissez-faire but the government has already disrupted the equilibrium by having social programs. Remove the programs and see if more people have more children. I am pretty sure they will.

Mr. Preston:

Do you happen to know the whereabouts of that young Washington Irving scamp? The last I saw of him, he was stealing away from my lodgings with the sole manuscript copy of my "History of New York from the Creation of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty" concealed under his waistcoat, and I want my text back!

Car torchings are a daily fact of life in France’s tough suburbs, with thousands burned each month, police say.


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