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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Gay Paris

Over a week into violent rioting in Paris and hardly anyone is talking about it. Bizarre. OK, some blogs like LGF and co are. For God's sake I was watching CNN this evening and they had a brief shot of Paris before showing an extended clip of madman Chavez addressing a crowd of commies without so much as a sarcastic comment. I can understand the Euro area being keen on not playing it up, they'll be shit scared of it spreading out of France even as it spreads across France. Reuters:
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.
...
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.
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)
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.

Perhaps the reason such a big event is not receiving the attention of New Orleans, say, is that it doesn't fit the required pattern of cultural imperialism and nasty capitalism that usually provides the instant explanation. Surely it can't just be that if Bush isn't responsible then it isn't worth talking about! For sure if it was Washington DC the snide gloating would have been oozing days ago. But Paris? Is it just too outside the box?

Posted by Chefen | 11/05/2005 06:55:00 AM

14 Comments:

Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

I find the riots quite fascinating in morbid kind of way, as we've seen little of the underlying reasons presented in our own media, but anyone who's followed some key international rightwing blogs is well aware of the problems.

11/05/2005 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Perhaps it's too difficult for the Herald to find any real analysis in the Indepenbent, BBC, Reuters or CBS?

11/05/2005 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

I think I may have changed your independent spelling when I was correcting something else in your post - whoops.

And isn't it TV3 who rebroadcast CBS? (well of course they do).

11/05/2005 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Chefen said...

I wonder how clueless Sue will explain this in terms of glorious social welfare, not to mention letting thousands of oldies die in a heatwave.

11/05/2005 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger waymad said...

Having just yesterday had a day trip to Paree - Eurostar/Gare du Nord, taxi to central Paris and return same route to London, can report that to the ordinary traveller (and by extension, to a large number of Parisians?), there is simply no visible evidence of these riots.

So it will get a lot worse before the citizenry really take notice, perhaps. Wretchard is right in that appeasement - the natural French reaction - really does suit most of the population. As Chefen notes, it allows a continuation of 'inside the box' event framing. After all, consider the intellectual alternative, which requires confidence in their culture (espoused by Sarkozy - sp?) and actual physical courage to confront the causes. Ain't gonna happen.

11/05/2005 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Too Right said...

I agree - deafening silence from the MSM - to date. Gotta go search the net to get anything substantive. I have blogged here and here . The UK and european papers (even the righties) are still quite circumspect. The US newslines have a deeper and more expansive analysis. A smallish story today in the herald. I also agree the long winded and several complaints of the Frogs about race relations in the US, Iraq etcetera by Chirac and De Villepin are now looking most odious.

Interestingly the US media is still treating this as a French problemé. Not making the excoriating linkages to French ministers and Presidents that I have made along with Chefen and Adolf for instance. Rather civilised actually. I guess they see revenge as a dish best served cold.

11/05/2005 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Yes. Radio Left Wing News at 1100 had a minor mention of Paris with Sikorski blaming it all on problems created thirty years ago. Nothing quite matches the lefties ability to ALWAYS find a problem is someone else's fault. Amazing how the news writers can blithely pen a few words about '100 cars and 23 busses being torched in one night' and then give extensive coverage to a few hundred ratbags at Mar del Plata shouting at President Bush and, repeat the abuse mouthed by Chavez. At least they had the good grace to carry Bush's excellent reply.

11/05/2005 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Nate said...

DWTV a German news channel had a 30minute InFocus report on the riots this morning. Very informative. Haven't seen much about it on other news shows.

11/05/2005 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

There are similarities between the Sunni insurgents in Iraq resisting domination by the majority Shiites, and Muslim insurgents in Paris resisting domination by the majority French.

Clearly the UN should be called in to sort it out, as they are the only organisation with international legitimacy. Deploying a few thousand third-world peacekeepers on to the streets of Paris would be a start. Along with a number of bribe taking UN bureaucrats.

11/05/2005 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger Berend de Boer said...

The requirement introspection to face the events in Paris is too painful. But we don't have to look outside New Zealand. Just look at how the gangs in South Auckland are explained: just a ploy to get the attention of authorities so they will appoint more youth workers. Yeah right.

11/05/2005 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger Psycho Milt said...

The lack of media coverage probably just reflects the lack of coverage of any European events in our media (or the US media, for that matter). The theory about social welfare being to blame is interesting, but not persuasive given that France is also full of French people on welfare who aren't burning people's cars. Admittedly, the Left isn't any more interested in admitting that allowing mass immigration from the third world was a bad plan than they would be in going with the social welfare theory - I'm not sure why this is, because Marx was pretty clear about the history of the West constituting progress, and capitalism being the highest form of development that had existed to that time (even if he thought he had a plan for a better form). So any socialist ought to be in no doubt about the superiority of Western capitalism to any form of tribal or feudal society, which is what the rioters come from. I guess the anti-racism movement is responsible, given that they mistake recognising Western culture as superior to tribal or feudal culture as being the same as assuming Western people are superior to third world people.

11/05/2005 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Chefen said...

They were quite happy to allow massive immigration over the years they needed cheap labour, but when the economy stalled they've been left with a huge class of unemployed people who have had no expectation of ever becoming "French". So now there's tens of thousands of kids who don't want to be French and have no desire to pull themselves up because they still get the generous welfare that tanked the economy in the first place. Regular Frenchmen on welfare aren't burning cars of course, but they have the feeling of belonging. The combination of an overly generous welfare state crippling the economy, a huge population that doesn't want to be French and what you might call cultural Marxism not allowing criticism or expectations of the "others" leads directly to this. What's logically next if it doesn't die away? Maybe the rise of an intolerant backlash feeding on the resentment of the average Frenchie because the government is so pissweak at making a decision.

11/05/2005 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

What's next is fascism of course, unless the present mainstream politicians start dealing with this problem in meaningful way. Fringe politicians will start offering a solution (probably already are - Sarkosky, is that the guy?), and French will start voting for them in even greater numbers out of frustration.

11/05/2005 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger Blair said...

I disagree that these riots are not assisted by racism. The French, generally speaking, are the most blatantly racist people on earth. You get an indication of this by studying French advertising, where dark skin is almost invisible despite being all around you on the streets of Paris.

There is much to be said for these riots being simple Islamic agitation, but they also stem from a deep frustration on the part of French minorities at their status as second-class citizens in a way not unlike America in the '60s.

11/05/2005 10:26:00 PM  

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