On War #139

C’est la Guerre

By William S. Lind

[Editor’s note: We agonized over this commentary but decided to post it because Mr. Lind’s thoughts on the meanings of the French riots deserve consideration.  Readers should keep in mind that Mr. Lind often dramatizes his conclusions, which are (it cannot be repeated too often) strictly his own.]

[The views expressed in this article are those of Mr. Lind, writing in his personal capacity. They do not reflect the opinions or policy positions of the Free Congress Foundation, its officers, board or employees, or those of Kettle Creek Corporation.]

War has broken out in France, Fourth Generation war to be precise. It has been underway for some years, quietly, disguised by calling it crime. Now, with 3000 cars and dozens of buildings burned, rail and bus services disrupted and the police overwhelmed, even the French are calling it what it is. “There is a civil war underway in Clichy-sous-Bois at the moment,” said Michel Thooris of the CFTC, a French police union. “We can no longer withstand this situation on our own. My colleagues have neither the equipment nor the . . . training for street fighting.”

France has a long history of civil wars. But this civil war is unique. Showing how radically the Fourth Generation changes things, it is a civil war against a foreign invader. Mark Steyn wrote in the November 6 Chicago Sun-Times, As Thursday's edition of the Guardian reported in London: ''French youths fired at police and burned over 300 cars last night as towns around Paris experienced their worst night of violence in a week of urban unrest.''

"French youths,'' huh? You mean Pierre and Jacques and Marcel and Alphonse? Granted that most of the "youths" are technically citizens of the French Republic, it doesn't take much time in les banlieus of Paris to discover that the rioters do not think of their primary identity as ''French'': They're young men from North Africa growing ever more estranged from the broader community with each passing year and wedded ever more intensely to an assertive Muslim identity . .

Here we find ourselves peering over the crater of the Fourth Generation volcano directly into its heart, the transfer of primary loyalties away from the state. In this case, the new loyalty is to Islam. And for Islam, thousands, perhaps millions, of “Frenchmen” are willing, even eager, to fight.

Despite the fact that France is one of the most wonderful places on earth to enjoy what Russell Kirk called “the unbought grace of life,” it is tempting to snicker. The French Establishment, steeped in the pernicious doctrines of the French Revolution and richly sauced with the cultural Marxism of “Political Correctness,” has for decades invited the war it now faces. It led the way in welcoming Islamic immigrants into Europe. Even now, its spokesmen pretend the problem is just “lack of opportunity” and, above all, “le racisme,” that most heinous of PC sins. As France burns, its pathetic Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, wrings his hands and spews culturally Marxist drivel. “Let’s avoid stigmatizing areas,” he said. “Let’s fight all discrimination with firmness and avoid confusing a disruptive minority with the vast majority of youngsters who want to integrate into society and succeed.”

Monsieur de Villepin’s words and attitude represent a Maginot Line of the mind. And France’s young Moslems are turning that line as boldly and successfully as did Guderian’s Panzers in 1940. Cowering behind intellectual fortifications built by Sartre, Camus, Foucault and so many other French enemies of Western civilization, the French Establishment will be - - has already been - - beaten, crushed. Not only can it not defend France, it cannot even admit that France has been invaded.

We should not gloat. France, and the rest of Europe, still represent the heart and homeland of our culture. The fact that Islamic invasion by immigration has reversed the verdict of the Battle of Tours is a catastrophe for us all.

What is to be done? The answer is not to be sought in calling in the army to support the overwhelmed French police, though that is probably necessary. Rather, France (and Europe) needs a new politics. It needs a politics purged of cultural Marxism, a politics that can recognize the difference between what and who is French or not French, Western or not Western, legal niceties of citizenship without allegiance aside. It needs a politics that can say to immigrant communities, “accept our Western culture or get out.” In effect, France needs to arm the gendarmes who now confront Islamic jihadis in France’s own cities and streets with a ham sandwich in one hand and a one-way plane ticket in the other.

A few of us, Americans and Frenchmen, know the new politics France needs is really an old, old politics. Its faith is in Christ the King, not cultural Marxism. Its banner is golden lilies on Bourbon white, not the hideous tricolor of revolution. Its song is “O Richard, O mon Roi,” not the Marseillaise, that dirge of laundrywomen. If France is to be saved from the immigrant armies of Islam, it will be by Frenchmen who wear the white cockade. Somewhere in the Vendée, perhaps a rooster is crowing.

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William S. Lind, expressing his own personal opinion, is Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation.

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