The Barbarians (Still) at the Gates of Paris

No doubt many of us (especially we francophiles) are thinking of the people of Paris today. It seems like a good time to re-post this:

…imagine yourself a youth in Les Tarterets or Les Musiciens, intellectually alert but not well educated, believing yourself to be despised because of your origins by the larger society that you were born into, permanently condemned to unemployment by the system that contemptuously feeds and clothes you, and surrounded by a contemptible nihilistic culture of despair, violence, and crime. Is it not possible that you would seek a doctrine that would simultaneously explain your predicament, justify your wrath, point the way toward your revenge, and guarantee your salvation, especially if you were imprisoned? Would you not seek a “worthwhile” direction for the energy, hatred, and violence seething within you, a direction that would enable you to do evil in the name of ultimate good? It would require only a relatively few of like mind to cause havoc. Islamist proselytism flourishes in the prisons of France (where 60 percent of the inmates are of immigrant origin), as it does in British prisons; and it takes only a handful of Zacharias Moussaouis to start a conflagration.

4 thoughts on “The Barbarians (Still) at the Gates of Paris

  1. Joseph von Trotta

    It’s one of the first essays I read by Theodore Dalrymple and I remember being struck by the accuracy of his analysis. Most of the aspects he describes in the article, also resembles the reality of Antwerp and Brussels—and I guess of most of the major West-European cities. The Old Continent is encountering some very grim decades.

    Reply
    1. Clinton Post author

      Unfortunately, I think you’re probably right, Joseph. It sounds like the Charlie Hebdo attackers and the ones of last Friday all came from Brussels.

      Reply
      1. Joseph von Trotta

        It doesn’t come as a surprise. For decades Molenbeek has been known to be a place of lawlessness. When a few years ago a Kalashnikov-shooting incident took place in Molenbeek, Philippe Moureaux, the then Socialist Mayor of Molenbeek, depicted it as a “fait divers” (a “side issue”). All signs of Muslim radicalization were willfully ignored; Saudi Salafist preaching imams have been allowed to spread their propaganda in Belgian Mosques. At the same time, our foolish belief in multiculturalism has made it possible for vast numbers of young people (not just Muslims) to grow up without having a sense of identity or understanding of the cultural traditions of the West. (Multiculturalism, of course, being itself a sign of a lack of understanding of Western Civilization.)

        In 1944, Wilhelm Röpke identified the threat to Western Civilization as “an infection rather than an invasion” … “a revolt in our own inner rather than an external treat” … “a moral and spiritual confusion rather than a sudden catastrophe” (“Civitas Humana” – translated into English as “The Moral Foundations of Civil Society”) – I think those words are still true, even as the “face” of the existential treat has changed. If it were “merely” an external treat, I would be less worried.

        Reply
  2. John Johness

    I have just been in France – before the 1st Safar ( look it up – the month of battles in Hijri calendar).
    I purposely watched the cops on the street. Machine guns and slack attitude. Leaning, smoking chatting. The army on the other hand were in threes and absolutely alert. Nearby were beggars with big attack dogs. They hassled everyone and the police did zero.
    This was near the Bastille – not far from the Safar 1st attacks.
    While I am at it Safar 8th is the 100th anniversary of the fall of the last Caliphate. A good time to stay at home, I would guess.
    “If seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”

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