Monday, July 30, 2007

Choosing French Identity

Brice Hortefeux, Minister of Immigration and National Identity, is attempting to justify the new policy of "selective immigration." An article in La-Croix reports on his declarations which, I must admit, I had trouble deciphering. He seems to be saying that "heritage" is no longer the only component of national identity, but service (in the form of skills) is what counts now.

First he defends the idea of national identity against accusations of "hostility towards immigrants":

"Promoting our identity in no way indicates hostility towards immigrants... Far from regarding immigration as a problem in itself, we think that it is the reference to identity that gives meaning to immigration and permits integration." The Ministry of Immigration "allows us to weave anew the fabric of the ties between nation and immigration that had been pulled apart." (...)

"Being French henceforth is a choice rather than a condition," affirms this close collaborator of Nicolas Sarkozy who advocates "selective immigration" based on work and study in areas defined by France, instead of "immigration forced upon France", i.e., family reunification, which accounts for most influxes.

"Identity is based above all on what each person desires to bring to his country more so than on what he inherits," affirms Mr. Hortefeux. (...)

"We are going to bring into balance the portion of economic immigration with the portion of family reunification. In so doing we will be sending a message to those who want to become Frenchmen, as well as to those who are here already: have a project (for France) first, heritage is secondary," adds Brice Hortefeux who, in early July, proposed legislation that the lobbies denounced as an affront to the right to live with one's family and as a further restriction on family reunification.

"The duty to memory is no long sufficient," concludes the minister. "There is also the duty to serve."

Though he is addressing the immigrants, his message is really meant for ethnic Frenchmen. They are being told that the original meaning of "Frenchman" no longer exists. It has been supplanted by a notion drawn from the world of employment: France is hiring. If you are an African or a Maghrebin with marketable skills, France needs YOU! You will benefit from French national identity handed to you with your first paycheck. It's as simple as that. No more of this blood and heritage nonsense.

If that is his meaning he has cleverly institutionalized immigration as a means of putting to rest forever the claims of the obsolete "Gaulois" - those outdated ethnic Frenchmen who wrongly believe that national identity is rooted in race first, if not exclusively.

If France is hiring skilled workers why doesn't Brice Hortefeux entice back to the homeland the 3 or 4 million very capable Frenchmen who have emigrated across the globe?

This is what happens when a basic traditional value such as national identity is "highjacked" by progressives. They deform its meaning and purpose, making it more difficult for future leaders to return to the original meaning.

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