March 21, 2007


Sarko's Interior Monologue (CLAIRE BERLINSKI, March 21, 2007, NY Sun)

Americans with a friendly disposition toward France have many reasons to hope for Nicolas Sarkozy's victory in the presidential elections in April. The interior minister and leader of the Union for a Popular Movement is the most dynamic and exciting politician France has produced in years. He is a loyal admirer of America, which he calls "the greatest democracy in the world." He has promised to overhaul the sclerotic French social welfare state and reform France's second-rate educational system. Unlike his chief rival, the pretty airhead Ségolène Royal, he is not a tired socialist who declares money the "lifelong enemy."

Mr. Sarkozy is the only politician in the race forthrightly to address the challenge of integrating France's Muslim minority and to propose serious policies to redress its estrangement -- policies that go beyond firehosing more taxpayer money into French ghettos. He correctly deplores a contemporary French culture that discourages initiative, punishes merit, and remunerates sloth more than work. He calls for lower taxes, more flexible labor laws, the partial deregulation of the French economy, and the streamlining of its bureaucracy. He affirms his solidarity with Israel and rules out no options in countering Iranian nuclear ambitions -- as opposed to the current Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy who recently claimed Iran is a "force for stability" in the Middle East.

Mr. Sarkozy takes a tough line on crime, but he is by no means inhuman (as he is often portrayed). As Interior Minister, for example, he ended the practice of "double punishment" -- the policy of deporting foreign criminals at the end of their jail terms -- on the grounds that most of those deported had families in France. It did no one any good, he argued, to make children fatherless.

Except that France is everything Sarkozy opposes, so if you care about it you'll dislike him. It is Americans with a friendly disposition towards the Anglosphere who hope for his victory, that the failed French experiment may mercifully be brought to an end, even if two centuries too late.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 21, 2007 12:00 AM

France has passed the point of no return and can no longer be turned back.

Posted by: erp at March 21, 2007 9:52 AM

To change the French experiment you would have to eliminate Louis XIV, the Great Centralizer. Over three hundred years of history and habit would have to go overboard.

Tricky, that.

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 21, 2007 11:23 AM