I came across this passage yesterday in the Charlotte Observer:
Andrew Reynolds, a British citizen and expert on European politics at UNC Chapel Hill, said Lancaster’s argument carries an element of truth, as illustrated by recent riots in predominantly immigrant suburbs of Paris.
"In some European countries," Reynolds said, "especially France and to some degree Spain, there is evidence that a whole host of marginalizing policies that keep minorities out of the mainstream is one of the factors that leads to anti-government violence."
I realize that Reynolds’s quote was probably taken out of context. He seems to be suggesting that:
a) French policy towards its North African immigrants is ‘marginalizing’ (as opposed to accommodating).
Having lived in France for a year, I know different. Immigrants get all the benefits of the welfare state. By way of comparison… North Africans in the banlieu, for example, get much more generous welfare courtesy of the French state than their undocumented immigrant counterparts in the U.S., including — welfare, welfare housing, medical care, as well as primary and higher education. One could say something similar about the Jamaican and Pakistani populations in Dr. Reynolds native Britain – contrasted, perhaps, with the more successful and assimilated Indian populations –- suggesting that “marginalization” can be self-imposed. What the French story suggests, however, is that when a generous welfare state attracts populations so quickly that they fail to assimilate, parallel cultures emerge. That can create violent unrest, particularly when you throw strains of Islam into the mix;
b) Potential anti-government violence by illegals should be pacified by use of government handouts, or other public goods currently reserved for citizens.
I would argue that the generosity of the French welfare state created the banlieu underclass –- i.e. it has amounted to subsidizing poverty and dependency on the state (which can’t cure any inter-cultural hostility that exists).
c) That enlightened leaders should abandon the rule of law completely until they adjust it according to some cosmopolitan ideal.
Again, I realize that Reynolds’ quotation is intended to supplement the piece and was taken from a broader discussion. But it does suggest not only that he agrees with Lancaster’s position, but that he’s put forth some serious false parallels with Europe. Indeed, I’d be interested in seeing some evidence that immigrants to Europe are denied government services, wholesale, as Mark Johnson intimates in the Observer article.
In short, the situations are mostly apples and oranges. And we certainly should not be thinking about ignoring the rule of law. While we should practice toleration, and hasten immigration reform, we should not send any signal that the law is something to be picked or chosen by political elites at their whim. And we certainly should not instill any sort of entitlement mentality in the minds of illegals. For that is precisely what happened in Europe.