02 February 2006

So, there I was wondering why France and Britain are so different and then, almost by magic, a half-way decent explanation comes along:

First, France is under normal circumstances an immensely disciplined country: disciplined by manners, social custom, law, protocol, taxes. A phrase you will hear almost every day, if you live in France, is ça ne se fait pas, meaning, that is not done; these words are a key to understanding French culture. France is far more disciplined, on a daily basis, than the United States; it is also more disciplined than almost any other European country, save perhaps Germany. (This is a point, by the way, that I stress in the chapter of my book titled “The Hell with Europe”. ) It is entirely natural that this discipline exacts a psychological cost, one that is paid regularly every few years in riots, anarchy, lawlessness and a great eagerness to get into the streets and do damage. This has been a feature of French life for centuries.

Claire Berlinski via Instapundit

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