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"It Is Amazing What A Couple Of Assassinations Can Do"
By Ed Driscoll · January 17, 2006 04:57 PM · Bobos In Paradise · Radical Chic · The Future and its Enemies · The Return of the Primitive

In a post titled "Autos-da-fé", Theodore Dalrymple writes that when it comes to France's existential woes, no exit is in sight:

The more the rioters rioted, the more cars they burned and the more écoles maternelles they wrecked, the higher rose the stock of the interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy. His characterization of les jeunes as racaille, scum, proved especially popular. Polls now suggest that 70 percent of French adults would vote for him in a presidential election. Whether he has any solution, other than fierce repression when necessary, to the intractable social problem created by mass immigration from North Africa and the welfare state (to which the French remain fiercely attached), is an open question.

Driving to the Netherlands, I was surprised by how much the political atmosphere there had changed. Not long ago, the Dutch seemed insufferably complacent, regarding the rest of the world de haut en bas, as if it had not yet reached Dutch levels of enlightenment and generosity. It is amazing what a couple of assassinations can do. The Dutch are now the only people in Europe who are thinking, and thinking hard. It is as if they had awakened from a pleasant but unrealistic daydream.

To my amazement, the Dutch Ministry of Justice asked me to give a talk. The audience proved intelligent, respectful, but not supinely uncritical. Such a thing had never happened to me in my native Britain. Of course, the French riots were on Dutch minds. Could such a thing happen there? Probably not. For one thing, the Dutch had presciently demolished their high-rise housing projects a few years ago.

In the audience was a young immigrant who told me that he had relatives in the banlieues of French cities. A cousin had his car burned by les jeunes, but told him over the phone that if losing his car helped improve conditions in the banlieues, it would have been worth it. I have no doubt that the young man reported accurately what his cousin said. In reply, however, I wondered whether the generous decision of French insurers to compensate the owners of the 9,000 burned cars, despite the fact that all policies exclude civil disturbance, had something to do with his cousin’s broad-mindedness over his loss.

The insurers’ decision amounts to a de facto tax on French drivers—unless the companies pay the compensation out of their profits, which seems unlikely.”

As Dalrymple adds, "The message to the rioters, therefore, is: 'You burn, they pay".

Update: Sigmund, Carl & Alfred have some related thoughts on Europe.

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