Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Riots of Ramadan and the revolutionary moment in Europe

The rioting is continuing and has spread to 300 towns, including Belgium and Germany. One death is reported. Chirac tries to conciliate. See ABC News, Reuters,
and AP.

John von Heyking has started reflecting on all of this. This longish essay is very valuable because it takes you immediately into both the cause and the meaning of the violence, and why France (Europe) can’t defend itself. John thinks that "France’s Algerian and Islamist powder keg has exploded and the situation and the regime’s response illuminate some of the deepest fault lines of the modern age." He uses de Tocqueville to explain why the French paternal state can’t integrate the third generation immigrant. De Villepin is cast aside, and Sarkozy doesn’t fare much better. Interesting. Pay attention, this is good stuff.

Discussions - 3 Comments

A subtle and interesting article. I have to wonder if that section of the article which focuses on the personalities of the government leaders is not irrelevent at this point. France is experiencing an epochal shift in demography - these riots reveal what has already happened. No personality can contain or fundamentally alter the course which this massive change in demography has set into motion. The author’s focus on de Tocqueville is certainly revealing in the immediate sense, but to really comprehend what is happening in Western Europe, we will need a new Bloch or Braudel - and he will write the story generations hence, in Arabic.

I’m about leave for Paris for three weeks of teaching, research, etc. Chirac has his head in the sand. The situation can only be turned around by a state of emergency or martial law. Much too much ground has been given to the thugs already. One should distinguish between the social problems that the thugs exploit (that deserve serious attention) and the thugs themselves, who have been controlling their own people in these areas through rape, torture, and intimidation. They deserve not the least sympathy or accomodation. They need to be crushed decisively. Once order is restored, THEN one should engage with responsible interlocutors in the communities in question.

Anyhow, I volunteer to serve as your correspondent in Paris for the rest of the month.


After re-reading the article by von Heyiking I can’t find much I disagree with. I think he is right on. Then again sometimes I wonder if the Iraq we are building will be closer to France the U.S. or Iran, right now I think it will be a mixture of french style liberal democracy, and Iranian Islamic extremism with considerable U.S. influence both economic and military. I don’t know why it seems Robert Alt has stoped writting about the Iraqi constitution or the type of government they are building but from what I pick up here and there it seems to me an aweful lot like a paternal state.

I call for a clarification of the term Liberal Democracy. Is France a liberal democracy? Will Iraq be a liberal democracy(is it already)? Is Turkey a Liberal democracy? Is India?

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