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Rioters set fire to hundreds of vehicles in impoverished suburbs of northeastern Paris in an eighth night of unrest that spread for the first time to other parts of the capital and other towns in France.Which is funny, because New Orleans was a mediafest for days on end. Just like back in the 90s (from the NY Sun, via Instapundit)
But the rioting spread, with some attacks reported in western Paris suburbs -- including the torching of 23 buses at a depot -- and a few cars firebombed around Rouen in northern France, Dijon in the east and Marseille in the south.
Back in the 1990s, the French sneered at America for the Los Angeles riots. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported in 1992: "the consensus of French pundits is that something on the scale of the Los Angeles riots could not happen here, mainly because France is a more humane, less racist place with a much stronger commitment to social welfare programs." President Mitterrand, the Washington Post reported in 1992, blamed the riots on the "conservative society" that Presidents Reagan and Bush had created and said France is different because it "is the country where the level of social protection is the highest in the world."Sounds an awful lot like Sue Bradford blaming Auckland gang problems on Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson. Except of course this doesn't fit the mold, France is so highly socialised and refuses to reform yet now we see cultural tensions exploding in days on end of rioting. As Wretchard opines
The events in France may turn out to have a greater strategic impact than September 11. French policies, however maddening, had the virtue of serving as the control case to the American experiment of attempting to reform the Islamic world. The latter acknowledged, however shyly, that it was facing an aggression which had to be met at the root; which had to be resolved by building viable societies in Islamic homelands. The former, and France in particular, maintained there was nothing that temporizing and appeasement, in one form or another, could not solve. What events in France have done is discredit the liberal recipe so badly that even those who are not prepared to admit that American policy may have been right must now root around for an alternative theory. Fukuyama's essay is a good step in that direction. Faster please.Because one thing is certain, this can't be blamed on Bush, America or Iraq except by the most deliberate hacks. One thing is sure, the French authorities have no idea what to do and their neighbours will be desperately hoping it'll die out as they eye their own immigrant slums that have sprung up and been fed by the welfare state. Of course a nation can survive this sort of thing, America went through it during the civil rights era. But then the rioters were, by and large, hijacking a movement wanting proper inclusion in a society they wanted to be in. In contrast here there is no desire to be included, the hijackers are not even remotely associated with a rights movement. The government places no demands on them, they get their welfare anyway in a job market crippled by socialist policies that naturally force them to the bottom. As John Ray notes, in relation to the Fukuyama (oh no, him again) piece noted above
Well, pish. This is what the Netherlands have done for centuries. They welcomed Jews from Spain and from Eastern Europe, they welcomed Pilgrims from England, Chinese and Moluccans from the East Indies - the list goes on. While expecting everyone to pull their weight in their adopted society, they granted every new group full civil rights. The Islamists of the 20th century got the same deal. The key difference - and this is true elsewhere in Western Europe - is not the lack of "a common democratic culture"; it is the modern welfare state. In Holland, second and third generation Islamic teenagers no longer need to look for work after they finish school. The government will pay them a stipend until they find work - if ever. Thanks to this official generosity the murderer of Theo van Gogh was able to spend his days in a radical Islamist hangout in Amsterdam, to become properly brainwashed for his dirty deed. No need to go out and find a job. Every radical philosophy of the past - the French revolutionary creed, Communism, Fascism, and whatever the Baader-Meinhof gang believed - was hatched and nurtured not among the oppressed but among the privileged, the people with leisure. "Idleness," as Hippocrates noted, "and lack of occupation tend - nay are dragged - towards evil."Europeans are pretty tolerant, not perfect of course, particularly in the Northern countries. It isn't the racism of the majority driving this unrest, decades of consistent socialist policies are coming to fruition in a class of people who have had no expectation placed on them and have been left with no place, policies that have shrunk the job market and squeezed them out first. From Q and O
Of course, as pointed out in the paragraph above, the French government has reacted by going after radical imams (and it doesn't take a Nobel laureate to figure out what the reaction of those radical imams would be). Instead, of course, where they really need to focus is the economic policies they hold so dear, those which have given them high unemployment and an ecomonically frustrated and unassimilated minority muslim population.But Chirac has already used up his Bush-karma in holding on to power and diverting attention from domestic problems, but Iraq can only distract the peasants for so long and it seems time is up. Now it is biting them in the arse.