Thursday, January 7, 2010

Eurabia Debunked ...

... by my friend Justin Vaïsse, with panache. And Henry Farrell points to what happens when an American racist visits France:

As Clive Davis notes, Charles Murray “is disconcerted by the number of black and brown faces he sees around him” during three days that he recently spent stranded in Paris.

I collected data as I walked along, counting people who looked like native French (which probably added in a few Brits and other Europeans) versus everyone else. I can’t vouch for the representativeness of the sample, but at about eight o’clock last night in the St. Denis area of Paris, it worked out to about 50-50, with the non-native French half consisting, in order of proportion, of African blacks, Middle-Eastern types, and East Asians. And on December 22, I don’t think a lot of them were tourists. Mark Steyn and Christopher Caldwell have already explained this to the rest of the world—Europe as we have known it is about to disappear—but it was still a shock to see how rapid the change has been in just the last half-dozen years.

The term “looked like native French” is an interesting euphemism, given that a quite substantial percentage (and, I suspect, a large majority) of the people whom Murray worried about during his peregrinations were citizens of France. I rather think that the word that Murray was looking for here is “white.”

Not just citizens, by the way, but "native" French in the sense of having been born in France.

Carbon Tax Redux

Christian Gollier and Jean Tirole criticize the carbon tax decision of the Conseil Constitutionnel for its neglect of economic incentives. (h/t Éloi Laurent, whose article with Jacques Le Cacheux appears here)

Fillon's Homage to Séguin

Fillon's homage to Séguin.

Philippe Séguin Is Dead

Philippe Séguin, 66, died last night of a heart attack. I met him once at a Harvard conference. He was an impressive man in several senses: imposingly large, remarkably eloquent, soft-spoken, candid for a politician, ironic, tough-minded, but blessed with a seductively mellow voice. He will be remembered for his outspoken opposition to the Maastricht treaty--the last genuine Gaullist, who debated the arch-anti-Gaullist Mitterrand on Maastricht yet won Mitterrand's admiration and friendship, perhaps because he shared le Florentin's caginess as well as his cultivation.


Though considered un présidentiable for a time, Séguin was a man to whom certain principles mattered more than the presidency, and he could not make the leap from the RPR's Gaullism to the UMP's Chiraquism. Several men who once were close to him now serve Sarkozy, most notably François Fillon and Henri Guaino.

After losing the mayoralty of Paris to Bertrand Delanoë, Séguin withdrew from politics. He ended his career at the Cour des Comptes, which under his leadership has been, if not quite a thorn in Sarkozy's side, at least a mild irritant, with its criticism of certain Elysian extravagances. He was a character, a politician, it sometimes seemed, from another age, before television, which did not flatter his better qualities and failed to generate the affection that his Falstaffian presence could muster in more intimate settings. He would have made an interesting prime minister if Chirac had preferred him to his antithesis, Juppé, and would probably have avoided Juppé's fatal errors. But he would likely have committed his own, because he was a man out of joint with his time, and more interesting for it.

A video documentation of his life and career can be found here. An interview with Roger Karoutchi here.