“You can feel that this can’t continue,” Michel Houellebecq declared two weeks ago following the publication of his novel Soumission, imagining a Muslim-ruled France a decade from now. “Something has to change. I don't know what, but something.”
The carnage in Paris on January 7 has the potential, slim yet real, to trigger off that “something.” France’s political and media elites will try to stem the tide: even before the attack, President Hollande has warned against France’s “inclination toward decay, decline and compulsive pessimism.” The pathetic Socialist President cannot offer an antidote, however. The angst is real, it is well founded, and the establishment’s multi-culti platitudes can no longer keep it in check. I have witnessed it first-hand in the Riviera last week, where the bien-pensants no longer parrot the Parisian mantras. When the serious plutocrats decide that a new paradigm is needed, it is far more significant than any Le Monde editorials.
France is the pivotal nation of Europe, and her survival – tentative morally and demographically – is a common concern of us all. Yes, she has given the world many bad ideas and experiences – Rousseau, Robespierre, Derrida et al – but on balance her culture and civilization, her cathedrals, her wit and charm, her cuisine and wines, have enriched the lives of all cultivated men everywhere for centuries.
The threat is real. France reputedly has the largest Islamic diaspora in Europe, but its size is unknown. Ever since the Third Republic came into being in 1870, race and religion have been excluded from census data. Immigrants are classified as such only for as long as they hold foreign nationality. Those who naturalize or who obtain French citizenship by birth are classified as French, and their race, geographic origin and religious affiliation vanish from the statistics. Children born to immigrants in France are automatically considered French at the age of 16, unless they specifically request not to be counted as such; practically none do so. Each and every one of them is a potential time bomb, capable of discovering the spiritual roots and political motivation in the deadly message of seventh-century Arabia, once the futile quest for meaning in the drab banlieus is over.
Current estimates range from 5-6 million people who migrated from countries with a dominant Muslim population, or whose parents did (INSEE, Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques, October 2010) to 7.7 million, or 11 percent of the population of 60+ million. The latter figure, presented by Jean-Paul Gourévitch, is more reliable because the INSEE includes in the under-18 group only those born abroad. According to Gourévitch, “This bit of trickery falsifies the statistics and minimizes the impact of immigration, because the children born in France to these immigrants have greater needs than the native population in education, health care, housing, and environment.” In addition, he says,
Some residents do not want to be counted, were absent during the count, cannot fill out the papers, or did not receive them because they live in lawless zones that government representatives cannot enter. Researchers estimate that from 1.5% to 3.0% of the population is missed by censuses, which means the percentage of immigrants may be closer to 14% than to 11% and the number of immigrants and their children in 2008 may be between 8.5 and 9.0 million rather than around 6.9 million.
While women in France, of whatever origin, average 1.9 to 2.1 births, immigrants from the Maghreb and from sub-Saharan Africa have much higher rates, currently accounting for one-third of all French newborns. Various studies indicate that just over a third of France’s originally Muslim population is religiously observant (36%), with one-fifth regularly attending mosques on Fridays and as many as 70 percent observing Ramadan. Significantly, France’s young Muslims are reputedly more religiously observant than their parents or grandparents. They have been exposed to state-mandated secularism in schools, and have found it wanting. They cannot be blamed for that: France cannot inspire loyalty, patriotism, and love of the country for as long as it preaches a mix of neo-Marxist inclusivist bile and Masonic cosmopolitanism.
The greatest favor France can do to her Muslim community is to make their young more French. The task is hard but not impossible. Bring back Corneille, Molière and Racine to the classroom. Play them the madrigals. Take them to Verdun. Feed them some foie gras. And of course stop the immigration. Now, totally.
As a life-long Francophile who enjoyed an exquisite bouillabaisse in Marseilles two days ago, I believe that President Marine Le Pen will take my advice to heart when she takes office in 2017.
Dr. Srdja Trifkovic, foreign affairs editor of Chronicles, is the author of The Sword of the Prophet and Defeating Jihad.