Friday, June 06, 2014

Social Pathology

Catching up on old "New Yorker" magazines, have been reading the last leftover from months ago, from Jan. 13. Specifically an article called "The People Who Pass," about the "Roma problem" in France. By "problem," I mean that a small percentage of the country's population is causing a disproportionately large percent of the crime. And even the liberal French are starting to get sick of it.

The writer, Adam Gopnik, interviews many Roma representatives who bitch that "France is the worst place for Roma to be born" (!) and "Nobody should try to integrate himself into a society that is entirely sick" and "We are no longer even allowed to claim the right to wander that we have always had. That is the essence of our history. Why should we integrate?" And then there's the cause celebre of the left in France of "little Leonarda," a Roma girl who was, with her family, ejected from the country when it was discovered that they were all there illegally.

OK. So far, so knee-jerkedly, frustratingly illogical. But then, thankfully, the article also fairly explores the other side. Starting with noting a French "respectable weekly" publishing a cover story on "The Roma Overdose," outlining "all 'the things we're not allowed to say'--that the Roma are a public burden and a social nuisance."

Gopnik also quotes France's Socialist Interior Minister (today Prime Minister), Manuel Valls (whose parents were also refugees to France, from Spain): "The Roma should return to Romania or Bulgaria...Our role is not to welcome all the world's misery." Valls also says: "France has been a country of immigration for a long time...and that's been France's good fortune. But the idea of integration remains distinct here, where each keeps his identity but shares in a set of common values: secularism, the idea of the Republic, the rights of women, the language...That's the French model, and it remains strong... I'm naturalized, I was born in Spain, and I think it's fantastic that you can be born elsewhere and become a citizen of this country, and then that I can become Minister of the Interior, just as a Moroccan-born citizen can become Minister for Women's Rights. Those are my politics. Firm, balanced, respectful of persons and of the law. A policy that integrates by naturalization, following rules that are clear and transparent, where people understand why they're legalized, or not, and why some must be sent back to the border... If there are no rules, it is always the weakest that suffer. As a man of the left, I find this essential. For me, respect for law is completely linked with our ideas of humanity and generosity. I reject the idea that order and democracy can't go together, that firmness and generosity aren't compatible. We must have both."

Says the article: "Valls supporters thought that the sentimental cult of Leonarda was a form of 'angelism'--meaning a refusal to face unpleasant realities, in this case the truth about the self-evident (if historically rooted) pathologies of an underclass. They insist...that this 'angelism' is part of a larger, enforced cult of the 'Other,' a compulsory act of celebrating difference that is undermining the French state, so that defenders of little Leonarda insist on embracing the Other, even as the Other picks their pockets."

And the article again, from the liberal standpoint (yet with a starting point of reality): "Recognizing that a social pathology persists within a minority group is not the same thing as imagining that the social pathology is natural to the minority group." I completely agree with this. Yet... here in America, no one seems to want to publicly ADMIT that there IS a "social pathology persisting within a minority group."

This article COMPLETELY describes what's going on in America, albeit in a roundabout way, filtered through the current Roma/French experience. But where's our humane truth-teller Valls or our version of "The Roma Overdose" in the mainstream media? This blind political correctness can't continue.

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