For example, in the New York Post (November 8, 2005), the neoconservative columnist Ralph Peters declaimed:
"French abuse of Arab and African minorities — mostly Muslims — made it only a matter of time before the country's prison-like ghettos exploded. If your skin is brown or black in la belle France, you haven't got a chance at a decent life. Now the wretched of the earth have exploded in rage… Meanwhile, every American who believes in racial equality and human dignity should sympathize with the rioters, not with the effete bigots on the Seine."
But is France really so "racist"? The most popular French novelist of the 19th century, Alexandre Dumas père, author of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, was one-fourth black. But in France, it just didn't come up much.
To an extent that would surprise many Americans misled by immigration-enthusiast propaganda, France too sees itself as a "Proposition Nation." Its national self-image is built not around race, but around mastering French language and culture. Thus Leopold Senghor, a black African who wrote exquisite French poetry about "negritude", served in the French cabinet way back in the 1950s, before becoming the first president of independent Senegal.
The French believe in the assimilative power of their language so much that, for 175 years, they've taken criminals from around the world, given them new French names and taught them French, and molded them into perhaps the finest fighting unit in the world: the Foreign Legion.
That's why the rioters, most of whom were born in France to immigrants, speak French. The French abominate bilingual education as one of those awful American multiculturalist ideas.
But it's not working with these kids anyway.
What evidence do the pundits have to convict the French of discrimination? Essentially, it's the immigrant ethnicities' lack of accomplishment.
You can sense the pundits are thinking something like this:
Surely, if those snotty French weren't so mean to the Algerians and Guineans, then the children of the immigrants would be designing Airbuses and getting elected to the Académie Française in the exact same proportions as the natives.
You see, if the Muslims aren't exactly the same as everybody else, well, that would be a bad thing, and only bad people believe bad things might be true. And if anybody called me a bad person, I would just die.
Answer: because the problem lies less with the French than with the Muslims and Africans.
Back in September, I was widely denounced for pointing out that the low average IQs of the people stuck in New Orleans meant that the post-hurricane collapse of law and order there was entirely predictable. Many people, especially intellectuals, don't like to think about IQ. But it matters.
The brutal fact is that the economic failings of France's Muslim and African immigrants stem in large measure from their low average IQ.
The French, being the ultimate "Proposition Nation" with a deep-rooted ideological contempt for multiculturalism, have made it illegal to collect statistics by ethnicity. But we can roughly estimate the IQ of France's Muslims from the studies assembled in the landmark 2002 book IQ and the Wealth of Nations by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen.
It lists six studies of national average IQ in Caucasian Muslim countries and four of Muslim immigrants in Europe.
The average IQs by country range from 78 in Qatar to 90 in Turkey, 83 in Egypt, 84 in Iran. Two studies both show 87 in Iraq.
Perhaps most relevant for assessing the French immigrants' IQs: two studies in the Netherlands of Moroccan immigrants—many immigrants in France come from Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. They averaged 84 and 85. Likewise, Turks in the Netherlands scored 88 and 85.
The black Africans, who are committing much of the arson, average even lower. Lynn and Vanhanen tabulated 31 studies of national average IQ in black countries. The highest recorded was 80.
It's likely that black Africans in France score higher than in Africa, due to better nutrition, health, and education—just as African-Americans average about 85, well above their African cousins.
But the key point is this: the IQ gap between the white majority in France and the Muslims appears to be at least as large as the IQ difference between whites and African-Americans—which causes so many problems in this country.
Further, France is a particularly difficult place for the not-so-bright.
Much as it would pain them to admit it, the French are not the smartest people in the world. Their national average IQ of 98 in Lynn and Vanhanen's book is no higher than America's, and well below that of several northeast Asian countries. [Peter Brimelow gloats: And below the 100 average in the U.K., where this stuff was first studied!]
But few countries have ever valued raw brainpower more than the French do, with their obsession with Cartesian rationality, abstraction, and theory.
The French state has constructed a society that is both hierarchical and meritocratic, with much highly competitive testing of students. Entry into the French elites depends upon passing exams to first get into the prestigious colleges, or Grandes Écoles.
Then, to graduate from college in France, you must pass a final exam in which you write an abstruse but facile philosophical essay off the top of your head in a few hours.
And the ability to intellectualize at a high level of abstraction, even if you don't know what you are talking about, is an important status marker for impressing the opposite sex while flirting in cafes. Michael of the 2Blowhards culture blog explains:
"Part of Being French is enjoying philosophical chitchat, the more fashionable the better. We may not have much patience with it, but the French love the spectacle of radical posturing. We tend to engage with the substance of a radical position. For the French, the attitudinizing is the point. It adds spice to life; it's sexy intellectual titillation… That strange, nonsensical combo of rhapsodizing, fantasizing, and the stirring-up of logical pirouettes? All the French do it—it's like a national sport."
Anne Applebaum writes in the Washington Post (November 9, 2005):
"I was in Paris on the night of Chirac's electoral victory over the National Front leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in 2002. Although the campaign had been dominated by immigration issues and race, vigorous channel-surfing produced not a single black or North African face on any of the post-election talk shows. That doesn't excuse the violence, but it does help explain it."
But one reason for this might be that, unlike Americans who will tolerate inane tripe from their pundits and politicians, the French like their political performers to be cerebral dazzlers. They just don't have much patience for affirmative action celebrities.
The French admiration for brains applies to private industry as well. The French don't work very hard, with a 35-hour workweek and a minimum of five weeks of vacation annually. But they work smart, with a high enough productivity per hour worked to afford a way of life that remains widely envied.
The standard neocon response to immigration, clearly seen for example in a derivative thinker like Tamar Jacoby, is that mass immigration would be all hunky-dory if it weren't for those evil leftist intellectuals (probably of French descent) who seduce innocent immigrants into identity politics, affirmative action, etc.
But France shows that you can follow all the convenient neocon ideas and still have minority groups rioting in the streets.
Of course, the French won't be allowed to discuss any effective solutions for their problem—such as the push-pull plan to encourage Muslim emigration I outlined on Sunday.
Instead, respectable opinion is telling the French that they must impose affirmative action quotas on themselves. (Indeed, that was the plan of supposed tough-guy Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy all along.)
And, of course, free speech—never France's strong point—will have to be replaced by "anti-hate" laws to suppress the inevitable native protests, especially when affirmative action is seen to be failing.
Not for the first time on VDARE.COM, we see that diversity is not strength. It's weakness—the subversion of hard-won liberal principles (quotas are incompatible with freedom of association and equality before the law). And, back of that, it's rioting in the streets.
Moral: If you want to preserve the civilized world's traditional freedoms, don't import large groups of foreigners with radically different average IQs.