Monday, August 23, 2010

Who Said That?

Playing against type:
C'est en tant que Française et sans complexe que je dis qu'il peut y avoir de la délinquance par défaut d'intégration, et que le crime n'a pas de couleur. Cessons donc d'opposer les Français les uns aux autres, au profit d'un meilleur vivre ensemble !

-- Rachida Dati (UMP)


Rien n’a changé, et pourtant tout a changé. Changé, le regard sur les autres – Roms, gens du voyage, immigrés, musulmans… Changé, le regard sur la France, pays qui jadis avait des repères, des principes. Changé, notre regard sur nous-mêmes, entre citoyens français et "citoyens d’origine étrangère" quand l’article premier de notre Constitution "assure l’égalité devant la loi de tous les citoyens sans distinction d’origine, de race ou de religion".

Il ne s’agit pas là de simples détails, car nous ne pouvons oublier, au-delà de l’indigne, jusqu’où peuvent conduire ces jeux-là. Erreur, dit le philosophe… Non! Faute. Faute morale, faute collective commise en notre nom à tous, contre la République et contre la France. Il y a aujourd’hui sur notre drapeau une tache de honte.

-- Dominique de Villepin (UMP)

Il faut "rétablir la police de proximité , car la délinquance en banlieue vire au grand banditisme, au trafic de drogue à grande échelle avec l'apparition de stocks d'armes. Mais comment combattre ? On a supprimé dix mille postes de policiers depuis 2002.

-- Henri Emmanuelli (PS)

France and the Ratings Agencies

Nicolas Sarkozy recently called an emergency meeting of his economic team to deal with the perceived threat of a downgrade of French sovereign debt by ratings agencies, especially Moody's. But why? Paul Krugman notes that eight years after Japan was downgraded, it can still borrow at 1 percent. Economic policy should not be guided by fear of the ratings agencies' wrath.

Of Prefects and Patronage

Now that Nicolas Sarkozy has decided to stake his presidency on le tout sécuritaire, it's not surprising to see policemen being named prefects. Bernard Girard reflects on the consequences of this choice and, more generally, on Sarkozy's penchant for relying on men and women who owe their careers to him--appointees who, under the Ancien Régime, would have been known as ses créatures. I have nothing to add to Bernard's astute comments on the way in which this style of governance induces phénomènes de cour.

I do have one additional observation, though. Sarkozy is by no means the first French leader to opt for this manner of rule, and Éric Le Douaron, the ex-cop, is not the first prefect of the Isère to be a favorite of the prince. Indeed, he was preceded in this very post two centuries ago by the illustrious mathematician Joseph Fourier, for whom the Fourier series and transform are named. An admirer of Napoleon who became one of his favorites, Fourier quit his chair at the École Polytechnique in 1806 when Napoleon named him prefect and sent him to Grenoble. Would that all créatures du pouvoir were as prodigious in their contributions to knowledge as the former prefect of the Isère.