Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Political Philosophy

A Multitude of Small Countries

The New York Times runs an article, France Debates its Identity that is well worth reading.  It turns out that France has a minister (Eric Besson) of immigration, integration, national identity, and he wants this conversation because there is a "pleasure in discussing," and, when asked how the results might be judged or used, he said: "I believe in the virtue of the debate itself."  There is also a commisioner for diversity and equal opportunity; he talks about the "organic sense of being French" and also: "Let's stop linking questions of identity to the management of migrant flows while invoking the notion of integration, especially for populations already settled here for generations. One wonders into exactly what the visible minorities -- French born in France to French parents -- ought to integrate."  And then there is much talk of "a shared set of values," some of which are universal, but it is not said how or why. Sarkozy, who initiated the whole thing, calls it a "noble debate," and praised the great diversity of France as "a multitude of small countries, of terroirs."  But also this: ""France is a country where there is no place for the burka."  Obviously, this is worth following for many reasons, not the least of which because it will directly reveal (again) both the meaning and the consequences of the French Revolution.

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