Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Paris (and Normandy, and Toulouse) is Burning

Cross-posted on the Moderate Republican:

As the Paris suburbs, heck as most of France, is awash in violence, I've been doing some thinking and listening. I believe that there are lessons for both liberals and conservatives in the wake of the recent fighting.

First, the liberals. Those on the Left tend to look to Europe as some kind of heavenly realm where the government takes care of everything and there is no poverty or racism as there is in the United States. Some (not all) Europeans were quick to criticize the US after the chaos that erupted in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Both the leftists here and Europeans have looked at the United States as a nation with a broken social model that is dog-eat-dog.

I'm not here to say the US has a better system. We clearly have problems, as Katrina showed, but the fires in the French Republic show that, at least in France, there is still much work to do on social issues. The riots have revealed what was in our faces and especially white French faces all along: an underclass of persons of color who face very little opportunity for economic freedom.

It also revealed something conservatives have known for a long time: that government alone can't solve all the problems. This is from an editorial in today's Washington Post:

It's also too facile to say that French authorities have ignored the problems. Billions have been spent on urban renewal: High-rise projects have been torn down and enterprise zones created, much as in some American inner cities. As in the United States, interlinked problems of jobs, schools, crime and discrimination have not easily yielded to government solutions. Yet until now, many in France assumed that what they regard as a superior "social model" protected them from the eruptions of lawlessness that in recent years have touched Los Angeles, Miami and New Orleans.

This isn't to say that government has no role in alleviating poverty. But thinking that having "Big Government" as the French clearly do will solve it the problem is foolish. The size of government matters less than the effectiveness of it, and it seems that the French government hasn't done as well in that effect.

Now to Conservatives. When it comes to matters of race, conservatives want to believe in the concept of "colorblindness," meaning government should not consider race in government programs. Being a Republican, I resonate with that ideal. However, in reality, what works in theory doesn't work in practice. France has followed that model, basically saying everyone is French not regarding one's ethnic background. The results have not been pleasant. From the Post editorial:

[French Interior Minister] Mr. Sarkozy recently suggested that France abandon the pretense that all of its citizens -- including an estimated 5 million Muslims -- are treated equally, and adopt affirmative-action policies.

Conservatives here have wanted to role back Affirmative Action policies. I can understand that. As an African American, I've benefitted from these policies, but also resent that they exist since they put race right up front. But I think it is a pipe dream to think that Americans can just be, well Americans. For African Americans, we have had a history of racial discrimination that has presented itself in many ways, including employment and education. If we abandoned affirmative action tomorrow, I doubt that schools and workplaces would continue to be diverse and try to help disadvantaged populations. A fellow conservative friend of mine who is Asian American said it best: you have to correct a bias with a bias. American society can't just say to African Americans as well as other ethnic groups, "You're free," and the walk away. There is still the problem of inequality that has to be addressed. This is what has happened in France and we can see what happened.

Listen, I don't like affirmative action, but at least for now, we still need it. (I would mend it though to be more sensitive to help raise poor blacks and whites out of poverty, since now it seems to benefit minorities with means more.) Conservatives who think that everything will be rosy if affirmative action were to dissappear are kidding themselves.

It will be interesting to see how France works all this out. Let's hope for the best.


At 12:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(I would mend it though to be more sensitive to help raise poor blacks and whites out of poverty, since now it seems to benefit minorities with means more.)

I agree with this part of your comment. We do not need affirmative action, we need a better distribution TO ALL those below the povery line. Poor white or black: there should be NO discrimination.
Of course, that will NEVER happen but that would imply some kind of changing in the social structure of the country.
I think we can all agree that the medical care situation in the US is proof that those who benefit from the system will NEVER allow it to change, whether it be private sector or government red tapers.

As for the riots, I find interesting that no one dares mention race. Some of the most virulent muslim fundementalists in the world are Algerian, we only have to look back at that countrys past 2 decades, and while we like to believe that all muslims are peace loving, may of them preach hatred and the perpetuation of the relationship to dhimmi people.

It does not demand that a muslim population is 100% fundamentalist. In Bosnia, most of the people accepted the 10s of thousands of muhajeddins *what the bleep did they think those people did?* to do some of the most savage killings seen in europe, becvause it was a means to an end. Of course, those same 'secular' muslims in Bosnia formed 2 SS divisions in WW2 with photographed visits from the mufti of Jerusalem, so this should not have come as a surprise.

In the province of Kosovo, the muslim population benefited of state payed universities in their own language, radio, and TV and we saw throughout the 80s's 1,000,000 people flee the terrorist acts.
Yet people equated those conditions with the internment facilities that israel runs for their Palestinian herd.
Conditions can be different yet still lead to the same conflict.

In the 1980's book Islamic Declaration, the man the west promoted in Bosnia as a moderate wrote that Islam can NOT live in parralel to any other religion or social structure, that it must be the final word in all matters of life adn that other religions can be allowed to coexist, ie: dhimmitude.

How islamists view other cultures and religions is a taboo topic but
coddling to differences WILL come back to bite you in the ass, no questions about it.

With birth rates in the double digits, the problem will increase in the next 30 years. The french can integrate all they want, you will always have a certain percentage which will resort to violent means, the rest will follow with approval because of their bond.
Which is why state sponsored multiculturalism is such an idiotic concept and why the US brainwashin of being an american first will probably save them this trouble.
Although, anyone who doesnt see that blacks and whites in the US live in different worlds is hallucinating.

Only hope would be to ban all religions in France and all traces of prior ethnicity and language and create one french identity.


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