Friday, March 18, 2016

Dishonorable Discharge

When politics is drained of substance and reduced to symbolism, even the greatest blunders can be quietly buried. That is what the Senate did yesterday with la déchéance de nationalité, Hollande's folly. By approving a different text from the National Assembly--authorizing stripping nationality only from binationals rather than any French citizen convicted of terrorism--the Senate ensured that neither provision will become part of the Constitution. And that is that.

Since la déchéance would have been an ineffective measure in any case, no one cares. One might see this dénouement as a face-saving way out for Hollande and Valls, except that the damage has already been done. They have shown their readiness to jettison principle and divide the Socialist Party at its very core. To the majority of French citizens who (wrongly, in my estimation) favored a strong déchéance clause, they showed that they were powerless to get it done even after reneging on their previously professed values. They may have saved face, but only after castrating themselves. A monumental error, from which I doubt Hollande will recover.


bernard said...

my grandfather was stripped of his French nationality by the Vichy traitors, so I guess I am sympathetic to the outcome. Vive les checks and balances. In other news, vive les belges.

Mitch Guthman said...

I have never understood la déchéance de nationalité. Nobody has every really tried to explain why it’s a good idea and how it will improve the security of the republic. Quite apart from the excellent points that Art makes, the law seems designed to address a very different kind of terrorism and very different terrorist groups than the ones responsible for all of the recent atrocities.

At first, I assumed it was intended to address the security problems that come from allowing citizens of the EU to travel to ISIS and then return and move freely within EU. This is obviously a huge vulnerability that needs to be address but la déchéance de nationalité doesn’t address this situation at all. Indeed, as a practical matter, it wouldn’t be a particularly useful weapon in the current fight. As with so much of what Hollande has done, it was poorly thought out, inadequately articulated, ineffectually defended and, ultimately, totally pointless