May 1, 2020
Author: Chilton Williamson

Liberals, Democratic governors especially, are unhappy with the latest eruption of “populist” resistance to the nation-wide lockdown that keeps ordinary people from working, earning a living, paying their bills, paying off their debts, and living ordinary human lives. To them the protesters are troublemakers bent on monkey-wrenching  the carefully balanced policy machine set in place by “experts” and the various governing bureaucracies: enemies of the public order and safety, Aldous Huxley’s “natives” in Brave New World;  products of the messy acts of sexual intercourse and childbirth rather than of sanitized test tubes in state-run laboratories. They have plans to deal with them effectively after November 3, but for now they can only make disapproving noises and bide their time, while trying to make what political hay they can from the situation.

Meanwhile, to learn just how unpleasant resistance to the Establishment really can be, they should look across the Atlantic to France–the banlieues of Paris and the communities of the valley of the Upper Seine especially but elsewhere around the country as well. That might give them a greater appreciation of the incomparably milder challenges to their authority they face at home. It could even make them secretly thankful that the United States has accepted a great many fewer Third World immigrants of the Muslim faith than the French Republic has done since 1945.

Current events around the edges of the capital city, and elsewhere, are being treated with notable restraint by the French media, including even the thoughtful, frank, and admirably outspokenly conservative paper, Le Figaro. The facts are, that the Parisian police have warned the Élysée Palace that, should le couvre-feu (the curfew,  or lockdown, that is far stricter in France than in most of the United States) continue for much longer, the crisis in the suburbs will pass beyond control as le beau temps advances with spring, the weather warms, more people go out into the streets, and patience wears ever thinner. Naturalement, the reason for their reserve  is that the communities of concern are also “communities of color” and of the Muslim faith–which makes journalistic commentary and even objective reportage “problematical,” as the media say. This is not just from liberal politesse, but also from the very real fear of igniting civil war. Since the riots of October and November 2005 that began when a pair of immigrant Muslim youths attempting to hide from the police in an electrical substation in Clichy-sous-Bois got themselves electrocuted–thus setting off three weeks of rioting in cities across France that prompted a declaration of national emergency–violence in the banlieues has been a festering problem that the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic has raised once again to near critical proportions. In the past couple of weeks, resistance to the curfew has escalated dramatically.

The insurgents have ambushed the police and bombarded them with projectiles, including fireworks (tossed mainly by children), and carried out innumerable incendiary attacks. At Gennevilliers,  they torched and partially destroyed a school. A “protester” on a motorcycle rammed an unmarked police vehicle (his lawyer claims that “un flic” swung open his door deliberately in the path of the approaching machine, at obvious risk to himself ) and was critically injured in the collision. As in “l’Emeute de 2005,” the rioters have set fire to trash bins, and burnt out or smashed up automobiles.  They have attacked the police with mortars, and used one in an attempt  to bring down a police  helicopter. In Strasbourg they have ambushed fire fighters, and in Toulouse they set a trap for police officers by blockading the streets with barricades  set aflame. There is talk of calling in the army to aid the municipal police in restoring order.

In America, liberal critics of the demonstrations in defense of  civil rights–notably Nancy Pelosi, Governor Whitmer of Michigan (liberals against civil rights?), and those who have called President Trump a “traitor” for supporting the demonstrators–should be grateful that the “natives” they have to contend with  are Aldous Huxley’s, not the Prophet Muhammad’s.  Otherwise their lives would be far, far more unpleasant than they are now.