Let’s Be Like France—Seriously

It is great sport to make fun of the French as cheese-eating surrender monkeys and worse, but I think there might be some game for a candidate, especially one with initials “DT,” to suggest we borrow a page from the French in the war against Islamic terrorism.

Mark Lilla of Columbia University, one of the smarter liberals around whose writing I always try to take in, has a long essay in the current issue of the New York Review of Books (another pub we cover here at Power Line so that you don’t have to) on the topic of “France: Is There a Way Out?” Lilla lists the numerous small-scale terror incidents over the last year in addition to the Charlie Hebdo and Bataclan massacres. And also what the French are doing about it. The article is behind a subscriber paywall, but here’s the part that makes our Patriot Act look like kindergarten stuff and gives the ACLU an embolism:

The Hollande government responded in kind [to public Islamist threats], immediately putting ten thousand troops on Parisian streets and declaring a state of emergency, giving the police extraordinary powers to conduct searches without warrants, detain suspects, and impose temporary house arrest. Speaking before a joint session of the National Assembly and the Senate, the president then declared that France was at war with ISIS and would be stepping up its bombing campaign in Syria and Iraq, not withdrawing. Most controversially he called for binationals convicted of terrorist crimes to be stripped of French nationality, a proposal that runs up against current constitutional and European jurisprudence but has been Hollande’s most popular move since being elected. (The government has subsequently removed any reference to binationals from the proposal.) According to a national poll taken a few days after the attacks, a large majority of the public would like to go even further by detaining all those who have been identified as potential terrorist threats by the police.

Just imagine the outrage if le Donald proposed these measures here. He could say we’re finally getting in step with Europe! Watch cosmopolitan liberal heads explode.

The same issue of the NYRB also has an article entitled “Liberal, Harsh Denmark” that is equally eye-opening. High Eakin reports that Denmark, Bernie Sanders’s favorite country, has had enough with immigration and Euro-style multiculturalism:

When it comes to refugees, however, Denmark has long led the continent in its shift to the right—and in its growing domestic consensus that large-scale Muslim immigration is incompatible with European social democracy. To the visitor, the country’s resistance to immigrants from Africa and the Middle East can seem implacable. In last June’s Danish national election—months before the Syrian refugee crisis hit Europe—the debate centered around whether the incumbent, center-left Social Democrats or their challengers, the center-right Liberal Party, were tougher on asylum-seekers. The main victor was the Danish People’s Party, a populist, openly anti-immigration party, which drew 21 percent of the vote, its best performance ever. Its founder, Pia Kjærsgaard, for years known for suggesting that Muslims “are at a lower stage of civilization,” is now speaker of the Danish parliament. With the backing of the Danish People’s Party, the center-right Liberals formed a minority government that has taken one of the hardest lines on refugees of any European nation.

When I arrived in Copenhagen last August, the new government, under Liberal Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, had just cut social benefits to refugees by 45 percent. There was talk among Danish politicians and in the Danish press of an “invasion” from the Middle East—though the influx at the time was occurring in the Greek islands, more than one thousand miles away. In early September, Denmark began taking out newspaper ads in Lebanon and Jordan warning would-be asylum-seekers not to come. And by November, the Danish government announced that it could no longer accept the modest share of one thousand refugees assigned to Denmark under an EU redistribution agreement, because Italy and Greece had lost control of their borders.

And such sentiment seems to be moving beyond just Denmark. Eakin also reports:

Nor is the backlash limited to the right. Since the New Year’s attacks by migrants against women in Cologne, conservative opponents of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s refugee policy have been joined by feminists and members of the left, who have denounced the “patriarchal” traditions of the “Arab man.” Recent data on the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats, who in January were polling at 28 percent of the popular vote, shows that the party’s steady rise during Sweden’s decade of open-asylum policies has closely tracked a parallel decline in support for the center-left Social Democrats, the traditional force in Swedish politics. Confronted with such a populist surge, the Swedish government announced on January 27 that it plans to deport as many as 80,000 asylum-seekers.

But not all is worthy reading in the current issue of the NYRB. There’s a long review by Nicholas Lemann of two recent Reagan books (one of them the O’Reilly tripe) that contains multiple errors in nearly every paragraph. You really have to work hard to be consistently wrong in every paragraph, but Lemann is up to it. I doubt I’ll have time the next couple days for the deserved fisking, so I’ll just let this stand as a marker.

Notice: All comments are subject to moderation. Our comments are intended to be a forum for civil discourse bearing on the subject under discussion. Commenters who stray beyond the bounds of civility or employ what we deem gratuitous vulgarity in a comment — including, but not limited to, “s***,” “f***,” “a*******,” or one of their many variants — will be banned without further notice in the sole discretion of the site moderator.