The March of the Impotents

Well, I’m glad I didn’t go on that march through Paris yesterday.

On Friday, French President Francois Hollande said in a public address:

“These fanatics have nothing to do with the Muslim religion”.

Which is a flat-out lie, and Hollande knows it.  These fanatics have everything to do with Islam.  Now it may be fair to say they are not representative of ordinary Muslims, and I would agree.  If may also be fair to say that these fanatics are operating on the extremes of Islam, and I would also agree.  But to say it is nothing to do with Islam?  Nothing?  Utter bullshit.

The problem is, this bullshit has been swallowed not only on a national scale, but a global scale.  The response – pretend to give a shit, but downplay the Islam angle – was utterly predictable, because we have heard the same bullshit time after time.  This is why I pretty much stifled a yawn last Wednesday, even whilst the attackers were still fleeing through the city.  I knew it would change nothing.

Of course, Hollande needs to choose his words carefully.  France is home to several million Muslims who are not murdering fanatics, and loose words from a president could easily pose a danger to innocent people.  But nobody is calling for retribution against Muslims.  Nobody is asking for mass deportations.  Nobody wants Hollande to introduce illiberal restrictions on Muslims.  It would be grossly irresponsible and unjust for Hollande, or anyone else, to come out and say Muslims are collectively to blame or that these attacks are the natural result of practicing Muslims.

But saying this is nothing to do with Islam is also grossly irresponsible: there is a real and present danger posed to citizens everywhere by an unknown number of well-organised, well-connected, and well-armed fanatical Muslims who genuinely believe they are acting in accordance with Islamic teachings.  Regardless of whether their intepretations are theologically correct or in accordance with other Muslims, this is what drives them to kill.  Unless and until Western leaders acknowledge this, it will happen again and again and again.

What we’re seeing here is politics, politics in the absence of leadership.  Hell, it isn’t even governance.  Modern day politicians operate under no principles whatsoever, save for that which makes their own lives easier (meaning, it makes their election or re-election more likely).  There was a time when politicians would make unpopular decisions because it was the right thing to do.  Nowadays these charlatans posing as world leaders do whatever they think might make them popular, and haven’t the faintest idea what is right or wrong.  It’s all about them, and nobody else.

As I said before the march, this wasn’t a demonstration by a million people that enough was enough and something had better be done, or else.  No, this was called because Hollande saw the event as a way to nail French unity in the face of a national tragedy to his re-election campaign.  And people took part in it not to demand change, but to be assured that nothing would change.  People marched in support of free speech, did they?  Then what did they propose is done differently to protect it?  Nothing.  They just marched to say “Yes, we stand for free speech – just don’t expect us to do anything to protect it from another attack.”

Supposing a French politician proposed re-integrating the disaffected Muslim population in the banlieues by tearing up the stupid, outdated employment legislation which ensures they remain jobless for life.  You’d see those same people who marched yesterday out in twice the numbers to protest.  Or if the authorities proposed closer surveillance of Muslims in French prisons and those recently released on terrorism-related charges.  The human rights lawyers would descend like vultures, and half the people marching yesterday would be screaming “racism”.  Hell, they couldn’t even bear the prospect of somebody saying something different, so they stopped the National Front from joining in.

Now I don’t know what the answer is, or what the government should do.  I’m an engineer, not an expert in terrorism or the leader of a country.  But I know sticking our collective heads in the sand is not the answer.  Maybe once, in case such atrocities are an aberration.  But now, after almost 15 years of repeated attacks by Islamic headcases across four continents, a response of some sort is seriously needed.  But yesterday’s march wasn’t to demand a response, it was to demand there isn’t one.  Where the hell is the leadership?  All they’ve done is kick the can down the road another two years.

But we’re living in an era of non-action, easy decisions, and can-kicking.  Life has gotten too comfortable for most people, and few are prepared to take the necessary hardship to ensure our way of life continues.  Look at the western economies, FFS.  Two of today’s generations are utterly fucking over the next two or three, and congratulating themselves in the process.  How many of those marching yesterday are so scared of change that they won’t even consider a 10% chance they might have to get another job at some point in their lives in order to save their own country from bankrupcy?  The modern-day “manager” is no better: facing crippling mortgage repayments due in no small part to his own idiotic voting record, he cowers in fear of even a bad word being passed down by his superiors despite ironclad employment protection, and any decision he makes is either utterly spineless, solely in his own interests, or both.

Bush Jr. was a damned clown, but at least he went and kicked the shit out of the Taliban after 9/11.  Whether this was sensible or not is largely beside the point, something needs to be done when 3,000 of your citizens have been spectacularly murdered and mere words just don’t cut it.  “The pen is mightier than the sword” was the message of many cartoonists following the massacre last Wednesday.  Not if you’re shit scared of wielding that pen it isn’t, and especially not if some crazy cunt is running at you with a big fucking sword.

I am of the opinion we need leadership and action based on sound principles of liberty and justice, not more of the same lame speeches and empty soundbites.  It seems a million people marching yesterday disagreed with me.

Probably just as well I didn’t go, then.  See you for the next massacre.

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26 thoughts on “The March of the Impotents

  1. Couldn’t agree more mate. The whole place was crawling with the liberal mined, right-on leftie brigade whose lim wristed politics have caused this shit to happen.
    They should all hang their heads in shame and grow some bollocks.

  2. These wallies quoting pens mightier than swords blah blah bloah, ought to have a careful think about the actual meaning of the full quote:

    “Beneath the rule of men entirely great
    The pen is mightier than the sword.”

    A somewhat different meaning than what many seem to think.

  3. I suppose the inquisition, secretarian wars and the crusades had nothing to do with Christianity either and the bulk of Christians were opposed to them. I think not. So it is with Islam today the bulk of Muslims may not directly participate but their sympathies will lie with those fundamentalists who wish to keep their religion pure and make believers and non believers adhere to the laws and beliefs of Islam. Add to that the other motivation for aggressive and assertive action envy and perceived injustices then the Islamic terrorists are just the tip of much larger problem that one day will spill over into greater violence.

    The left would have us believe that the bulk of Muslims can be won over by addressing the envy and perceived injustices by social engineering. Well for decades now governments have been doing just that for the poorer in our societies at great cost and with very little success. It has been capitalism not socialism that has improved the lot of the poor but socialism is undermining capitalism and therefore the ability to create more prosperity and pay for the social engineering. So increasing social engineering to bring Muslims on side will in the end achieve nothing other than to antagonise both non Muslims who are being fleeced to pay for the social engineering and Muslims who will see no appreciable benefits from it.

  4. Great, and impassioned post Tim – I share your frustration and agree with your analysis. The French are reaping the rewards of decades of bad policy, and this is just the beginning. They need radical employment law reforms, but with the unions running the show nothing is going to happen.

    They still even have a communist party here, which given world events over the past 30 years is almost embarrassing in its naivety.

  5. Hi Tim,

    I largely agree with your analysis about the impotence of current leaders (and ours to an extent) but I think you completely missed the point re the marches over the weekend.

    “As I said before the march, this wasn’t a demonstration by a million people that enough was enough and something had better be done, or else. No, this was called because Hollande saw the event as a way to nail French unity in the face of a national tragedy to his re-election campaign. And people took part in it not to demand change, but to be assured that nothing would change. People marched in support of free speech, did they? Then what did they propose is done differently to protect it? Nothing. They just marched to say “Yes, we stand for free speech – just don’t expect us to do anything to protect it from another attack.”

    That’s plain wrong to me. People marched to grieve, as a nation. I know you don’t get it (see previous post), but the cartoonists killed have something so very French about them that their assassination has been absolutely unbearable to the whole nation. Robert Crumb explains it a little here : http://observer.com/2015/01/legendary-cartoonist-robert-crumb-on-the-massacre-in-paris/

    Call me naive, but the march had nothing to do with Hollande trying to be re elected or anything. It was pure emotions, and a desire to get together to reaffirm our belief in the (civic) nation. “Nous sommes un peuple”, as Libération put it. We can live together. The march in Paris lasted till the night whereas the world leaders stayed for 30 minutes. To me it was largely about people, not politicians or their agendas.

    But you’re right of course, politicians will try and exploit these emotions, and we’ve already seen it on the very day of the march in Paris, with Sarkozy pathetically elbowing himself to the front…

    Cheers

    Erwan

  6. @Alisa,

    Sorry for my ignorance, but can anyone elaborate on those employment laws?

    The short version: extremely difficult to employ people on short-term hire, and also extremely difficult to fire people. Therefore, companies are extremely reluctant to take anybody on because you are stuck with them if they turn out to be no good. Add to this the enormous cost of employing people (e.g. 35 hour working week, generous holidays, overheads such as a Committee d’Entreprise which requires the company to set aside sums of money for employee leisure, provision of canteen, etc.) and you have very high unemployment in France – particularly amongst the low-skilled and uneducated. This has meant that whole swathes of the Muslim male population are 100% unemployable, and find their CVs thrown in the bin on the basis of their name and postal code alone.

  7. @Erwan,

    Many thanks for your comment, it is most welcome. In part, I wholly agree with you especially on the part of what the march was for. But what I have done is extrapolate it (possibly too far, I admit). As you rightly say:

    It was pure emotions, and a desire to get together to reaffirm our belief in the (civic) nation. “Nous sommes un peuple”, as Libération put it. We can live together. The march in Paris lasted till the night whereas the world leaders stayed for 30 minutes. To me it was largely about people, not politicians or their agendas.

    But who is that message aimed at? It can only be one another, because sure as hell the fanatical Islamists won’t take any notice, and nor will the less-fanatical “Jesuis Kouachi” lot either. Nor is the message aimed at politicians, and nor were they demanding change. So they marched for themselves.

    Now I concede that marching may have helped them deal with the tragedy, but I’ve been very skeptical about gigantic, mass outpourings of grief ever since the ludicrous pantomime surrounding Diana’s death. I have suffered loss in my life, and seen others suffer the same, and a desire to mingle with millions of strangers in public displays of grief is not normally how people deal with it. Such demonstrations speak more to me of a desire to be part of “something big on TV”, a desire to feel less helpless and pretend they’re doing something important, and to reassure themselves everything is okay and nothing should change.

    And my extrapolated point was that a march by people who want to assure themselves that nothing needs to change very much is pretty much an endorsement of the status quo, and indirectly in support of the incumbent politicians and their hangers-on.

    That was my take, anyway.

  8. @Antisthenes.

    So increasing social engineering to bring Muslims on side will in the end achieve nothing other than to antagonise both non Muslims who are being fleeced to pay for the social engineering and Muslims who will see no appreciable benefits from it.

    Quite, and the same is true for the inner city blacks in the USA. What has been interesting to note is the commentary of the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s march from Selma to Montgomery: many have rightly pointed out that the USA remains very much divided and blacks downtrodden, but very few have pondered on what MLK – a proud, self-respecting, and self-sufficient, honourable man would make of the modern-day black rights movement fronted by the likes of Sharpton and Jackson, blacks such as Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, and the Democrat-dominated welfare system that keeps them disenfranchised. The US has never stopped to ask themselves these questions, and the French have similarly ducked them.

  9. @Steve at the Pub,

    A somewhat different meaning than what many seem to think.

    Indeed it does, and I’d not read/heard the full quote before. It does rather make the assumption that the men above us are great in order to apply. Perhaps not the best line to use, then.

  10. Thanks to Alisa for asking the question, and thanks to Tim for answering it.
    I was interested because i heard it said that the way for Italy and Greece to escape the euro crisis is to grow (duh!) and the way to grow is to deregulate the labor market. So i went to look at the Economic Freedom of the World 2014 and (sorry to bore you with stats) i was surprised to find that France has a more regulated labor market than Italy, though not as bad as Greece or Spain.
    That is not a complete answer to the problems of the banlieues, though, because it does not say why employers assume that people from the banlieues are unreliable employees. Please note that i have no opinion about that: the employers might be right, or they might simply be able to afford their prejudice because the French economy is too regulated for their business to fail.

  11. Thank you, Tim. And, thanks to Snorri for asking the next question I was going to ask – although my guess is that the answer may again be similar if it was asked about the blacks in the US…

  12. @Snorri Godhi,

    That is not a complete answer to the problems of the banlieues, though, because it does not say why employers assume that people from the banlieues are unreliable employees.

    The problem is twofold and as Alisa guesses, is similar to that facing the blacks in the US.

    1. A combination of culture, environment, and poor education has meant many of these people are actually unemployable. And we’re now in the 2nd or 3rd generation like this.
    2. In a tight labour market with massive unemployment and few job opportunities, companies can afford to be very choosy (and with the employment protection and cost of hiring so high, are probably right to be so). So if a middle-class ethnic Frenchman has a CV from somebody called Thierry Devereaux living in Boulogne-Billancourt and another from Wissam El Bekri from St. Denis, which do you think he’s going to hire? He’ll choose the one the most like him, and not take the risk of employing “one of them” from the banlieues.

    This latter one happens for real, and you don’t have to ask around too much to hear somebody saying this is precisely what they would do as well. The government recently recognised this and (I think) banned photos from CVs. But it’s the name and postcode that gives it away, and I find it hard to believe the government doesn’t know this. A token gesture, then.

    What the government needs to do is open up the labour market so there are more jobs and lower risks to hiring, but whenever they’ve tried that the white, French middle classes go apeshit. I’m not saying doing this would solve the problem entirely, but it would certainly help and as things stand – with even white, educated, middle-class French unable to find work, what chance does the 19 year old son of an Algerian immigrant have? Zero. This can’t be good.

    Incidentally, when I moved into the apartment in Paris a year ago, I noticed that every single one of the men who came to unpack the shipments, hook up the telephone, and do some repairs on the plumbing were of Arabic extraction. In Paris at least, it seems you never see European French doing these jobs.

  13. The point about ‘combination of culture, environment, and poor education’ is worth elaborating upon, I think. It is worth recalling that in France*, as well as in other Western countries that during the second part of the previous century absorbed significant numbers of immigrants from the “Third World”, the governments instituted housing and education policies tailored specifically to those immigrants, with the proclaimed intention of helping them to integrate within the host society, but effectively achieving the exact opposite. Namely, these people were put in various housing projects, with their own schools, effectively creating ghettos of foreign culture within the host population. That, instead of letting those people settle where they would, send their kids to whatever schools they would, etc.

    *This is my general impression, and I’ll be more than happy to be corrected with specifics about France or any other country.

  14. I don’t understand. How is it that immigration is vital to an economy, the only route to avoid demographic catastrophe, and at the same time few of the immigrants, or their children, have jobs?

  15. @dearieme,

    Even supposing that immigration is vital to the economy, what we have been completely misled on is the idea that the people we need are the same as the people who are arriving. There is absolutely no reason why any country should be importing unskilled, uneducated labour when there is a ready supply of the same at home.

  16. Also, the minimum wage in France is 9,53 eur/hr. Then the payroll tax has to go on top of that, with a headline rate of 52% – though in practise this works out to around 30%. So, let’s call it 13 eur/ hr the employer has to pay just for the salary.

    That’s quite a big chunk of cash for an employee whose productivity is likely to be quite a bit lower than that.

  17. I continue to be amazed at your views and correct understandings of the problems here in the USA. Since you’ve never lived here it hardly seems possible, but you’re right on .
    Van

  18. @ Van Cloud,

    Thanks! I’ve always thought I understood America quite well, based on visiting 26 states during the summer of 2000 and deliberately ignoring most of what is said about the country! There are two important things I always remember about the USA:

    1. Its history: how it came about, who settled there, and why.
    2. The fact that most of it is vast, semi-wild, uninhabited inhospitable terrain.

    Those two alone make it so vastly different from Europe, and are key to understanding much of the culture.

  19. 2. The fact that most of it is vast, semi-wild, uninhabited inhospitable terrain.
    Now I don’t know if you are being literal or pulling my leg. Perhaps you saw Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada and maybe a few others. Those aren’t as significant as the city of Chicago. I’m still fearful of going there.

    I hope you don’t have to return to Nigeria, though I’d never thought Paris to be dangerous.
    Van

  20. Van,

    Actually, I’m being serious! I travelled through 26 states of the US: mostly north-east, but took a Greyhound bus from Washington DC to Long Beach so saw some bits in the middle, so I got a good look at the place. Now everyone knows Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, etc. are empty. But I think people don’t realise how empty the rest of it is. Outside the huge conurbations such as LA, NYC, Chicago, etc. and the relatively crowded states of New England, there is far more empty space than sizeable habitations. I drove from Washington DC down through Virginia, down the Outer Banks, south into South Carolina then cut inland to Asheville, then up the Blue Ridge Parkway to Niagara Falls, along the bottom of Lake Ontario to Montpelier then back through New England to DC. I deliberately avoided the freeways and took backroads, and I recall spending hour after hour after hour driving through farmland without coming within sight of even a large town, let alone a city. It was either very small towns (with 7 churches!) once every hour or a medium sized town two or three times per day. Now obviously I could have headed directly to Philly or Rochester or someplace like that, but I would have had to actually divert to reach them. By contrast, when you drive in France, UK, or Germany you inevitably hit a major city every few hours: they are damned near impossible to avoid.

    I remember the Carolinas being incredibly empty, with only two types of radio station – gospel and bluegrass – available more than 5 miles from I95. Driving through eastern Virginia, West Virginia, the small strip of Maryland and Pennsylvania I didn’t see much by way of sizeable population. Even New York state, which Europeans think might be a lot like New York City, is vast semi-wilderness. I remember the Blair Witch Project being set in Maryland, again a “small” state which you don’t associate with being untamed wilderness containing murderous ancient witches. I don’t think many people realise that even the “inhabited” areas of the USA are largely uninhabited, and the distances between sizeable communities are often very large.

    I’ve long believed the vast distances between communities in Russia goes a long way to explaining the mindset and culture there, and I believe a similar effect partly explains the difference between Europeans and Americans. Europeans – who generally don’t live in extreme climates and live almost on top of one another – cannot understand why *any* American wants a huge truck, airconditioning, and a gun to protect himself. You only need to live in a small town in Colorado to understand why all three might be desirable, but a lot of people don’t realise a lot of Americans live in the middle ground between a Texas ranch and a Manhattan apartment which we normally see on TV.

    Anyway, yes I am glad to have gotten out of Nigeria, and I do like Paris and France. And nowhere is as dangerous as Manchester, where I lived for 7 years. 🙂

  21. “nowhere is as dangerous as Manchester”: pah, I got mugged in Cambridge when walking back to the lab after dinner. Even though I’d enjoyed my wine, when he tried to stick his knife into my heart, I relieved him of it. Those hours at first and second slip were not wasted. Still, I suppose they have guns in Manchester?

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