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November 08, 2005

Comments

From the NewsHour tonight, interviewing "Alexis Debat, a contributing editor to the National Interest and a consultant for ABC News. He was a French defense ministry official and social worker before moving to the U.S. And Alec Hargreaves, author of "Immigration, Race and Ethnicity in Contemporary France." He is a French professor at Florida State University.":

(Debat): "A lot of Islamic leaders, by the way, a lot of - you mentioned fatwas, but a lot of - even Salafi leaders are coming out and saying we have to stop the violence. And one of the most interesting phenomenons about these riots is that for the most part, the neighborhoods where the Salafi influence is -

RAY SUAREZ: And that is - Salafism -- what is that?

ALEXIS DEBAT: Salafism -- where radical Islam is the most influential are the neighborhoods that are the most quietest now and it has to do with the fact that these neighborhoods, this rebellion is being channeled through religion. "

Also:

"ALEC HARGREAVES: I think the critical point was made by the young man who was interviewed in that the piece from France who said I have French papers but when I go to the police station they treat me as if I'm not French. It is as if they are excluded and treated as not belonging in French society that gives them that feeling.

What they want is an opportunity to participate in French society. And if that is denied to them, these particularly young folks that we are seeing at the moment, these are just teenagers -- they believe at the moment that when they look at their older brothers and when they look at what's happened to their fathers, that there seems to be no way ahead for them in French society.

And that's why they are now targeting these, for example, institutional symbols such as the police and also of course automobiles which are symbols of what they are excluded from. They want to participate; they want to be French, but they are being told that they are not French.

RAY SUAREZ: Go ahead, Alexis.

ALEXIS DEBAT: The point the professor is making is excellent. I would like to add that it is mainly an issue of employment. Today a French Muslim has one-eighth to one-tenth the chance of a non-Muslim French national with a non-Muslim name to get a job.

I mean, there is a pervasive, very dark racism in French society that associates the second generation Muslims, these second generation immigrants with trouble.

And we're talking about a generational change that is going to be needed. Some very tough questions are going to have to be addressed. And I'm afraid that the people who are going to address them are the same people who are not able to address them in the past 20 years.

And that's what these riots are about. They're about the lack of trust in the French government by these people -- the lack of trust in the French elite to make a difference. Today there is no organization or institution to channel this anger because those political parties have been totally discredited."

Think about it: "a French Muslim has one-eighth to one-tenth the chance of a non-Muslim French national with a non-Muslim name to get a job."

Also, I disagree that "Anything done to increase pay, benefits and job security for people who have jobs now makes it more difficult for people without jobs to get them." That is true, if at all, only for a very narrow range of things one might do to try to increase pay etc., not including (for instance) providing training that will help people be promoted to better-paying jobs.

Moreover, those benefits that are (in France) provided by the government, notably health care, do not have to be provided by employers; this makes jobs more available.

I do not for a moment mean to deny that French employment policies have a (large) role in this; only that the sweeping statement you quoted with approval is obviously false.

I read an opinion over at Talk-left dismissing the islamist cause. They were right, and yet, i think the real cause should rock the neo-left to their core. Namely the abject failure of the modern socialist state... Housing - paid for; Medical needs - taken care of; Employment - unemployment benefits; docile constituents - yea right!

If only they accepted what we told them what was best for them...

bains, what twaddle, baloney, bilgewater, bosh, drool, humbug, taradiddle, tommyrot, tosh...

Do you (or Charles) speak or read French? Have you visited France, or Europe?

Why are there no riots in Scandinavia according to your theory?

Think about it: "a French Muslim has one-eighth to one-tenth the chance of a non-Muslim French national with a non-Muslim name to get a job."

[rhetorically] and what's unemployment running in France?

If you cant even provide employment for 'traditional' nationals, why do you think the french government is going to bend over backwards to provide employment for a faction that already detests the government?

"If you cant even provide employment for 'traditional' nationals, why do you think the french government is going to bend over backwards to provide employment for a faction that already detests the government?"

Self-interest would be a good reason.

Since you asked, unemployment is running (pdf) 9.7% in France, 9.6% in Germany, 6.8% in Canada, 6.3% in Sweden, 5.1% in the US, 5% in Denmark, and a mere 3.6% in New Zealand. Make of this what you will.

Alopex...

(no, im not going to ruin your construct)

Damn right, I've lived in Scapoose all my life, and I wouldnt touch a Grand Cru if my life depended upon it

WARNING: RIGHT WING OPINIONS ON LINK

The best rant Ive about the riots seen is how this is about how the rioters are and how this is all about Really F***ing Stupid People

Also, I want to state my solidarity with BirdDog, It's not like a concrete cinder block solidarity, more like a lime Jello with cottage cheese and crushed pineapple type of solidarity.

"Why are there no riots in Scandanavia?"

What's the immigrant population ratio/density/origin distribution there as compared to, say, nearby Holland?


Of course there's violence everywhere. (I hope bob mcmanus doesn't see this as the third sign of the apocalypse.)

How shall we take seriously someone who brags (!) about having lived in Scappoose all his life, yet can't spell it? The rural ignoramus stereotype practically writes itself. (For those not from Oregon, imagine Kurt Cobain's Aberdeen, Washington, only with fewer people and more rain. More meth, too.)

Let's all keep in mind a couple of things:

First, unemployment in France (and the rest of Europe) is figured differently than in the USA, so 9% in France isn't the same as 9% here.

Second, Charles, as might be easily predicted from past behavior, blames the Welfare State for the current trouble in France. Left unsaid by such Scrooge types is of course the "moral hazard" posed by a system that doesn't allow real failure: without starvation in the streets, the unwashed masses won't fully embrace competitive capitalism. They'll set cars on fire! Instead of every tenth one of them dropping over dead from hunger!

Charles's brand of Republican libertarianism is a complete rejection of conservative noblesse oblige one used to see from conservatives. Oh, they love the big state, all right, and welfare for Exxon and Halliburton is fine and dandy. But for the huddled unwashed masses, it's all survival of the fittest. "Are there no workhouses?"

It should be noted out loud that the "Danish riots" Charles mentions consists of 30-40 youths occupying a parking lot at a mall in Århus. I guess the Islamonami wasn't as big as thought.

"Medical needs-taken care of;...."

Check.

I've burned down city blocks just after having major medical needs taken care of; it's when they are not taken care of that I don't riot -- I'm too weak.

Rioting among the Medicaid patients in nursing homes here in the U.S. is a huge problem, too. They rip out their catheters just throwing the Molotov cocktails.

Bains, I guess you consume healthcare. No wonder you have the self-control to not riot.

Do you mean to say that you have considered rioting but you don't because your medical needs are not taken of?

Too busy shopping.

Imagine. Two for the price of one. We're incentivized by price to not seek healthcare AND to not riot and break windows.

I'll add that I hope you do not suffer (really, this is just a political discussion)....

... and that Alopex Logopus used up all the cool words.

stickler: the figures I cited are from the OECD, and are standardized.

Since you asked, unemployment is running 9.7% in France, 9.6% in Germany, 6.8% in Canada, 6.3% in Sweden, 5.1% in the US, 5% in Denmark, and a mere 3.6% in New Zealand. Make of this what you will.

According to this (slow link here) the problem is more about unemployment rates for young men.

I blame Sadam Hussein...I hope the French are considering invading and occupying a Middle Eastern nation.

Bains, while your up (you butler don't you?) could you get me a beer, please?

My sciatica is acting up and I need to save myself for tomorrow's rioting.

Hilzoy's statement:

stickler: the figures I cited are from the OECD, and are standardized.

flies in the face of all that I hold dear regarding unemployment statistics, so I refuse to believe it.

Plus, I'm too lazy this late at night to look up links to refute her. Let my high dudgeon and dismissive wave of the hand be noted by all and sundry.

"you're" not "your". Yet another unattended medical condition which may cause a rampage.

I may take a hacksaw to the Eiffel Tower.

Re unemployment - a genuine question (meaning I don't even pretend to know the answer, and am not just asking it to make some point indirectly):

Do calculations of unemployment take into account the number of people who are incarcerated, and therefore (presumably) neither "employed" not on the job market? Given that the US imprisons proportionally far more of its (employment-age) population, is this already adjusted for, or, if not, how might an adjustment for this affect the figures quoted?

Re: Unemployment rates.

I can't find much, but this paper touches on the differences b/w how Canada and the United States have measured unemployment. It might be useful.

dr ngo - incarceration is not I think accounted for. Last I heard this is estimated as a 1 percentage point effect for the US, or anyway not the primary driver in the US/European difference.

Hilzoy: the figures I cited are from the OECD, and are standardized.

It's my understanding in that the European nations are standardized since they use the same standard for measuring unemployment (counting citizens not working), which is the same as every nation extant except the United States, which has been using the rather ridiculous mechanic of counting citizens collecting unemployment instead - that mechanic ignores citizens simply not looking for work and off the rolls, which deflates it.

Realistically I can't see a way that the OECD would be able to get data that the United States itself doesn't collect.

the inherent inverse relationship between security and stability on one hand and economic growth, mobility and creativity on the other

Deeply counterfactual, as even a moment's reflection should reveal.

Before even gettting into this post, this has me very confused:

Obviously, the rioters themselves are responsible for breaking the law. But what about the many rioters who didn't and don't?

If they didn't and don't break the law, how can they be rioters?

sidereal, like

the brightest constellations,
does not write haiku
.

Here comes the terrorist French Fries.

i just love this latest round of Fit The Conservative Belief To The Event.

Something Happened in France. It must be because:

(_) Socialism!
(_) Islamocoddlers!
(_) Freedom Hating!
(_) Surrender Monkeys!

There's also the distinct problem that the "welfare state" is not a monolith; Shannon Love doesn't seem to have ever heard of Gosta Esping-Andersen, for example. While IA certainly NAE on such things, to say that the structural insider/outsider divide and lower growth created by the French welfare state, plus strong racism/religious bigotry, plus the particular French model of citizenship, plus poor urban design, plus racebaiting politicians has a large part to play in these riots...well that's a long way from saying the "welfare state," full stop, is responsible.

Other reasons cited have been . . . Euro multiculturalism, poor assimilation . . .

Does . . . not . . . compute . . . bzzzzzzzzzzzzzztt!!

(Head explodes.)

While waiting for Chas to explain how people can be rioting without breaking the law, I pass on this link, from Doug Ireland, a former correspondent at La Liberation. If you have some French, this report from that newspaper titles "Sarkozy must apologize or resign"

One thing virtually all American commentators seem to have missed (damned if I know how) is that France is very much not into multiculturalism. There was a big fuss a while back about muslim girls not being allowed to wear headscarves to school, which was due to this policy.

It's surely a combination of the above, but Shannon Love writes persuasively that the French welfare state is the root cause

Puh-lease. The welfare state causes rioting? That is some serious ideological blinders at work.

The root cause is virulent racism in France toward its muslim minorities, which has created a sullen underclass. Think Watts, 1965.

Its not that complicated.

The root cause is virulent racism in France toward its muslim minorities, which has created a sullen underclass.

Sadly I think this is correct. And I think this is likely endemic throughout Europe. For all the racism in the U.S., I think we're much further along the path to ridding ourselves of that awful scourge than any place in Europe, in part (if not in whole) because of the level of diversity in the country, and its relative integration (though by no means truly integrated) when compared to Europe.

It's a lot harder to hate black/white/asian/latino people if you have one as a neighbor, co-worker or friend (though by no means impossible).

"It's my understanding in that the European nations are standardized since they use the same standard for measuring unemployment (counting citizens not working), which is the same as every nation extant except the United States, which has been using the rather ridiculous mechanic of counting citizens collecting unemployment instead - that mechanic ignores citizens simply not looking for work and off the rolls, which deflates it."

This is incorrect. No country counts unemployment as "citizens not working".

I'm tellin' you guys it's SADDAM HUSSEIN!!!

A Middle Eastern nation must be taught a lesson!

I think it's right that this is mostly about smoldering resentment of France's peculiar policies towards its immigrants, insofar as one can tell from the news.

I mean: France is this peculiar mixture. On the one hand, rhetorically they are all about assimilation. As noted, they don't allow headscarves, etc.; they don't collect demographic data by ethnicity, or by any similar sub-category, on the grounds that everyone is French, period; and so on.

On the other hand -- and here I'm speaking from a combination of by now antique personal experience (I spent some time in France in my youth) and general reading -- it's not just that the French are racist; they also have a bunch of attitudes that could easily go wrong in such a way as to make it worse. Algeria is every bit as unsettled for them as Vietnam is for us, and every bit as much an open sore. They are convinced that French culture is superior to, well, anything, and that if possible it should be "bestowed" on those less fortunate, whom they find it easy to regard as benighted. They are at the same time incredibly nervous about its possible demise, for reasons that (I think) have more to do with the US and creeping Americanization, and also with the fact that French high culture has not actually produced all that much truly great stuff for decades, than with immigrants, but might easily be turned against them. And so on.

I think that the result of this seems to have been the (to my mind truly toxic) combination of an official doctrine of complete equality and an actual practice that is truly racist, and that is all the worse for not being acknowledged by those in power. I think that if there's anything to compare it to, it might be northern US cities in the 60s and 70s, when many residents of those cities, especially (and crucially) the most privileged, thought that racism was only in the south, when it was all around them, and all the more pernicious for being almost entirely unacknowledged.

"No country counts unemployment as 'citizens not working'."

I'm fairly sure that citizens who are 6 years old are still citizens.

Oh, they love the big state, all right, and welfare for Exxon and Halliburton is fine and dandy. But for the huddled unwashed masses, it's all survival of the fittest. "Are there no workhouses?"

I'm not sure if you've earned a Karnak Award or just made a bad guess. In either case, you're just flat wrong, Stickler.

If they didn't and don't break the law, how can they be rioters?

Spoken like a true linguist, LJ. Small change made.

If you have some French, this report from that newspaper titles "Sarkozy must apologize or resign".

I have no French, but it looks like Direland's solution is that there is not enough socialism, or just not quite the right kind.

CB: "I'm not sure if you've earned a Karnak Award or just made a bad guess. In either case, you're just flat wrong, Stickler."

Well, it's an understandable mistake; judging somebody's beliefs by their sustained actions and choices.

BTW - do we Evul Libruls now get to accuse right-wingers of excusing terrorism, when they think that they observe underlying problems, and propose solutions to them?

"Spoken like a true linguist, LJ. Small change made."

? Where?

I'm not sure if you've earned a Karnak Award or just made a bad guess. In either case, you're just flat wrong, Stickler.

Well, Charles, you've pretty consistently intimated that the Welfare State is bad for the huddled unwashed masses, and you pretty consistently tut-tut in amused condescension when "leftists" point out the corruption and cronyism surrounding this Administration's policies toward big contractors like Halliburton.

Welfare State for the weak and poor = bad.
Welfare State for the rich and powerful = good.

That's not something worthy of the great Karnak. That's just readin' what you wrote.

I find that I experience two (possibly) contradictory reactions to these events. The more I read about the situation of black and Muslim immigrants in France, the more I feel like their grievances are very real and very legitimate.

I agree completely with hilzoy: I think that the result of this seems to have been the (to my mind truly toxic) combination of an official doctrine of complete equality and an actual practice that is truly racist, and that is all the worse for not being acknowledged by those in power. I think that if there's anything to compare it to, it might be northern US cities in the 60s and 70s, when many residents of those cities, especially (and crucially) the most privileged, thought that racism was only in the south, when it was all around them, and all the more pernicious for being almost entirely unacknowledged.

And yet, the longer the riots continue, the more sympathy I lose for the rioters. My conservative impulses desire that the riots be put down, even if it requires a whiff of grapeshot. Once law and order is restored, then the French should have a national conversation about increasing opportunity and access for 2nd and 3rd generation descendants of immigrants. I wish them luck.

"(I hope bob mcmanus doesn't see this as the third sign of the apocalypse.)"

Sans-Culottes

I have not partaken of the sacred mushroom or secret knowledge, so I must depend on my tech-priest to interpret the signs.

"The time is running out on the extractive economy, it cannot for much longer contain the envy, anger and desperation that it is generating, and it cannot seal the world off. The generation of terrorists that will use an atomic device when they acquire it has been born. The question is whether this neo-Edwardian age can see that riots are merely the wispy cirius clouds of a great tempest." ...Surly Knownothing, aka Stirling Newberry, who probably doesn't appreciate me linking his great thoughts to the likes of you.

I am a disgraced acolyte, for the heresy of not hating Hilary with sufficient fervor. My tonsure is getting plugged.

ThirdGorchBro: I basically agree with you, as far as sympathy and so forth goes. I once found myself (by accident) in the middle of a quite serious riot in Berlin, in which very well-prepared anarchists were prying up big paving stones and throwing them at police; when I talked about it the next day with my (idiot) German teacher, he said: "You and I speak the language of words; they speak only the language of violence, and it is wrong to blame them." I thought this was one of the dumbest and most odious things I had ever heard: violence is not a 'language', rioters are responsible just like anyone else, etc., etc.

However, the crucial point that this brings home to me is: by far the best thing to do is to address these sorts of problems before they reach the boiling point. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it prevents having to ask yourself: do we ameliorate the problem, thereby rewarding riots, or not, thereby virtually ensuring their reoccurrence? That's a choice that policy makers get as a punishment for waiting until riots start to do what they should have been doing all along.

And I think that the answer is: do the right thing, rewarding riots or no rewarding riots. Every country should be a place in which people who are willing to work hard can live a decent life, whoever their parents were.

"...a mere 3.6% in New Zealand. Make of this what you will."

hilzoy, unemployment rates across nations are very tricky and untrustworthy. Including, or especially ours.
...
"The only long term solution is to create an economic and social environment were every individual believes they have the opportunity to better their lives through their own initiative." Spoken like a true libertarian." Love & Charles.

Psuedo-meritocracy is the Prozac of the masses. As long as they believe it, they'll work and save at subsistence levels fot their entire lives. And buy lottery tickets.

Well, Charles, you've pretty consistently intimated that the Welfare State is bad for the huddled unwashed masses, and you pretty consistently tut-tut in amused condescension when "leftists" point out the corruption and cronyism surrounding this Administration's policies toward big contractors like Halliburton.

Oh, I see, you don't understand the difference between welfare and the awarding of contracts for services received. BTW, I oppose the farm bill, which is truly a welfare program for agribusiness, and any other form of government payout to businesses where the government does not get sufficient value in return. You're not "just readin' what you wrote", you're making stuff up, Stickler.

"I'm fairly sure that citizens who are 6 years old are still citizens."

In America, certainly at best 2nd-class citizens, lacking most if not all of the rights the rest of us enjoy. Including resident status and protection, if a parent desires to forcibly remove them to an oppressive and backweard state.

Never mind. Not a threadjack.

For all the racism in the U.S., I think we're much further along the path to ridding ourselves of that awful scourge than any place in Europe, in part (if not in whole) because of the level of diversity in the country, and its relative integration (though by no means truly integrated) when compared to Europe.

That, unfortunately, is my feeling too. At the same time I sometimes feel that the US is much more racist when it comes to black people, which is weird and contradictionary. However, racism and 'unrecognized' racism (as Hilzoy and ThirgGB pointed out) are a problem in Europe.

dr. ngo: this link has more info, I can't look up the info right now; have to go for the evening.

For all the racism in the U.S., I think we're much further along the path to ridding ourselves of that awful scourge than any place in Europe, in part (if not in whole) because of the level of diversity in the country, and its relative integration (though by no means truly integrated) when compared to Europe.

That, unfortunately, is my feeling too. At the same time I sometimes feel that the US is much more racist when it comes to black people, which is weird and contradictionary. However, racism and 'unrecognized' racism (as Hilzoy and ThirgGB pointed out) are a problem in Europe.

dr. ngo: this link has more info, I can't look up the info right now; have to go for the evening.

the United States, which has been using the rather ridiculous mechanic of counting citizens collecting unemployment instead

This is incorrect. US unemployment is measured using a survey of households. IIRC, the percentage of people receiving unemployment benefits is a fraction of the unemployment rate - perhaps one third.

For all the racism in the U.S., I think we're much further along the path to ridding ourselves of that awful scourge than any place in Europe, in part (if not in whole) because of the level of diversity in the country, and its relative integration (though by no means truly integrated) when compared to Europe.

That, unfortunately, is my feeling too. At the same time I sometimes feel that the US is much more racist when it comes to black people, which is weird and contradictionary. However, racism and 'unrecognized' racism (as Hilzoy and ThirgGB pointed out) are a problem in Europe.

dr. ngo: this link has more info, I can't look up the info right now; have to go for the evening.

Charles blames society!

Oh, where have all the conservatives gone ...?

If Europeans would imprison their non-white citizens, like the United States does, they would not have so many criminals on the street.

Imprisoning huge swaths of non-white citizens is the most enlightened way to diversity.

Re:Racism

1) If among a group of job-candidates, I favor my cousin over the others, it is likely not racism.

2) If, all things being equal, and having no other particular external interests, I favor the white candidates over the black, that is racism.

3) If as an Irish-American, I favor unknown Irish-Americans over equally qualified Blacks, it is cronyism but I am not sure it is racism. It is the reason for affirmative action.

I think the French and other Europeans are more often guilty of 3 than 2. Do the French like Germans and Italians much better than they like Arabs and Muslims?

Americans are guilty quite often of 2.

Charles, some hints about not looking like you're a supporter of welfare for the rich - don't support the party which is most into that.

My French friends have been rather dismissive about rioting in France, because it's such a common pastime over there. They riot over the building of a McDonalds, vacation days, college admission policies, labor contracts, whatever.

My French friends have been rather dismissive about rioting in France, because it's such a common pastime over there. They riot over the building of a McDonalds, vacation days, college admission policies, labor contracts, whatever.

Psuedo-meritocracy is the Prozac of the masses. As long as they believe it, they'll work and save at subsistence levels fot their entire lives. And buy lottery tickets.

Bob, a person could almost get the idea that you're a little cynical.

Re the riots: I seem to recall that France has a fairly robust history of this sort of thing, at least over the past 200 years or so. I'm not nearly knowledgeable enough to form an opinion as to what, if any, significance to assign to the fact that the rioters are, among other things, French, but it's curious that so many seem eager to categorize the rioters as "angry Muslims" and to ignore the possibility that "angry Frenchmen" might be a more appropriate frame of reference.

CB: "Oh, I see, you don't understand the difference between welfare and the awarding of contracts for services received."

Is that your definition of "not-welfare?" Awarding of contracts for services received? Um, you might note that I mentioned the word "Halliburton." Are you seriously not aware that they have been rather casual about the "services received" part of the process? To an untrained observer, it looks a lot like no-bid contracts with no oversight and hundreds of allegations of massive waste approach the definition of "corporate welfare." Or what would you call it?

Psuedo-meritocracy is the Prozac of the masses. As long as they believe it, they'll work and save at subsistence levels fot their entire lives. And buy lottery tickets.

Bob, a person could almost get the idea that you're a little cynical.

Re the riots: I seem to recall that France has a fairly robust history of this sort of thing, at least over the past 200 years or so. I'm not nearly knowledgeable enough to form an opinion as to what, if any, significance to assign to the fact that the rioters are, among other things, French, but it's curious that so many seem eager to categorize the rioters as "angry Muslims" and to ignore the possibility that "angry Frenchmen" might be a more appropriate frame of reference.

I seem to recall that France has a fairly robust history of this sort of thing, at least over the past 200 years or so

yup. and they haven't even brought out les Guillotines yet.

The unemployment rate in the U.S. does not take into account those who are incarcerated. While this is probably also true of most European countries, because of the high proportion of people we incarcerate, it has a greater impact on the U.S. statistics. There's an excellent article on the subject by Bruce Western and Katherine Beckett - "How Unregulated is the U.S. Labor Market? The Penal System as a Labor Market Institution." 1999 American Journal of Sociology 104:1030–160

It's a state of emergency now, by the bye.

Is that your definition of "not-welfare?"

Stickler, you had to skip my other sentence in order to come to your wrong impression, quote: "BTW, I oppose the farm bill, which is truly a welfare program for agribusiness, and any other form of government payout to businesses where the government does not get sufficient value in return." If you think that is an endorsement of Halliburton or any other Evil Corporation, then I suggest you're still just making stuff up about me.

I do believe a

Blog War

has been declared.

My first attempt at posting this, embedded Farber-style got me an illegible number request.

The second number request was legible. Have y'all done somethong new, or have I?

Charles, where is your evidence of causation? Are you really saying that but for the French welfare state, the riots wouldn't be happening? Why haven't other countries with generous welfare states collapsed into anarchy? What on earth are you talking about?

Morning all, lots of eau under the pont. Direwolf wrote

France is very much not into multiculturalism

A lot of that depends on how one defines multiculturalism. Decentralization of the famed French government (most notably the education system) has created a space for Breton, Basque and a number of other regional cultures to flower. In 1999, the Jospin government tried to ratify the Council of Europe’s Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, but (in part because of the rise of Le Pen and the National Front) the government has moved to the right and Chirac refused to sign the charter. But regional groups have been able to assert some independence and this moving forward of traditional groups tends to inflame the situation even more.

If we imagine multiculturalism operating under the umbrella of civic and secular identity (remember, the decision to remove the veil was not originally a rebuke to multiculturalism, but an argument that the school is a neutral place where the value system of the Republic is presented and inculcated), what France has been moving to has been a 'multicultural' society.

Ironically, Sarkozy has been at the forefront of attempts to use the hijab ban in order to score rhetorical points.

Oxblog's Patrick Belton took the TGV to Paris to ask people about what they thought, and this point was interesting

Those residents of the banlieues who are religious, even Islamist, are not the ones who are throwing stones or assaulting the Marais's Jews (whatever international activity some of their number may get up to to the side). Contra one recent meme of commentary, the problem of the banleieus in a sense is not that its inhabitants are Muslim, but that they are not.
which pretty much pours could water on assertions of Stephen Schwartz and others who are pointing to Islam.

Chas, I'm not sure how you read Ireland as talking about socialist models, (remember, Chirac and others aren't socialists) and I would note the following:

Despite the mushrooming rebellion, Sarko (no doubt thinking of the polls) wrote an op-ed in today's Le Monde entitled, "Our Strategy Is Working." Well, the barely-concealed racism of Sarko's demagogy may be working with the white electorate -- but it won't stop the violence, it will only increase it. And the violence will only further increase the racism among the French whose skins are white. So it is inevitable that what the French refer to as the "social fracture" will only get worse.

I do believe a Blog War has been declared.

Bob,
Not meaning to say I told you so, but this will be the kind of stuff that we have to deal with as we go to a gloves off world. Unfortunately, Stirling has skipped the part about undercutting the opposition and gone directly to undercutting potential allies because they might take power from whatever brand he likes.

This article in the OECD observer points at the importance of labour participation.

whereas fewer than 5% of working-age persons continuously employed during a five-year period are long-term poor in the US, the risk of long-term poverty rises to 32% for persons who are never employed; these risks are present in Europe too, but far less so, at 3% and 13%, respectively. And the risk of long-term poverty for people in continuously low-paid work over five years is 41% in the US, compared with 13% in Europe. This risk escalates for low-educated persons and immigrants.

Appearantly just having generous unemployment benefits is not a hindrance:

For instance, certain countries such as Denmark and Canada have managed to maintain relatively generous unemployment benefits, while at the same time achieving high employment rates. In 2002, the proportion of the population of working age who had a job in Canada and Denmark was, respectively, 72% and 77%. These figures are higher than those in the UK and the US, which can be regarded as good performers.

Admittedly, Danish and Canadian workers are relatively well qualified – which could contribute to explaining the good overall employment performance. However, it is interesting to note that the employment rate among unskilled workers in Canada and Denmark, at practically 55% and 63% respectively, is also relatively high.

Unfortunately, Stirling has skipped the part about undercutting the opposition and gone directly to undercutting potential allies because they might take power from whatever brand he likes.

That, or he's just not paying attention. Nobody could be that wrong on purpose, could they?

Nobody could be that wrong on purpose, could they?

I dunno, but I refuse to be surprised by stupidity any longer.

btw, Belle Warning has my favorite take on the rioting. She got a bit punched up for using 'run of the mill', but post is hilarious, especially that last line.

"Quiet Riot"
"Let the skull cracking begin."

Bang your head.

Favorite lyrics: "I'm like a laser/Six-stringeduh razor/I've got a mouth like an alligator."

Charles, where is your evidence of causation?

Donna, I wrote about the welfare state, then wrote about two close seconds, then also wrote that I'm trying to get a better read on the situation. If I were to judge it at this moment in time, racism would be at the top, with welfare state, Islamism and a huge Muslim population tied for second. Racism may very well be at the root of it, but it doesn't help when these folks can't get jobs, are consigned to goddawful state housing and live life on governmental handouts. But that opinion might change again this evening. I'm still trying to take it all in.

Chas, I'm not sure how you read Ireland as talking about socialist models, (remember, Chirac and others aren't socialists) and I would note the following

Well, given Direland's adulation of Gore Vidal, LJ, I thought I was on pretty safe ground concerning his socialistic solutions. I understand that you're down on Sarkozy. As for me, I'm reserving judgment, but I like his politics better than Chirac and de Villepin, notwithstanding the "scum" comments.

One British reporter's take, by the way.

Charles, you might take particular notice of this from Zimbabwe.

On the torture front, even Negroponte won't stand up for Cheney.

Costs of doing business in Iraq.

Lots more above, below, and around.

bob m:

I think the French and other Europeans are more often guilty of 3 than 2. Do the French like Germans and Italians much better than they like Arabs and Muslims?

Well, that would be discrimination based on national origin, to be technical. But so what?

Frankly, its not that different from the tribalism that resulted in the genocide of Rwanda. Not racial, but just as evil.

And don't kid yourself about the virulence or evil of that form of discrimination in Europe. It may have something to do with the fact that the Europe, over the last few centuries, has been the charnel house for the world.

Do the French like Germans and Italians much better than they like Arabs and Muslims?
Well, that would be discrimination based on national origin, to be technical. But so what?

Frankly, its not that different from the tribalism that resulted in the genocide of Rwanda. Not racial, but just as evil.

Isn't the fact that European nationalism these days tends to be more of the verbal sort than the hack-your-neighbor-with-a-machete sort? I kinda think this makes some difference on the "just as evil" scale. Linear time matters.

It may have something to do with the fact that the Europe, over the last few centuries, has been the charnel house for the world.

brilliant!

Oopsie.

Well, given Direland's adulation of Gore Vidal, LJ, I thought I was on pretty safe ground concerning his socialistic solutions

*sigh* Charles, perhaps you can show me where in the post I cited that Ireland even mentions socialism. You seem to pull this from the fact that the previous post is review of Gore Vidal's America where Ireland seems to concentrate on Vidal's bravery in publically defining himself as a homosexual (and note that the review doesn't even mention socialism) Yes, Ireland has written about socialism, but looking at the previous post, seizing upon a Gore Vidal connection and assuming that it means that Ireland is speaking about socialist models is threadbare argumentation even for you. Or is this one of those 'it's not mindreading when I do it' moments?

*sigh morphs into extreme embarassment for Chas* Your comments about Chirac, Villepin, and Sarko suggest that you have no understanding of the French political scene. I'm not claiming that I am expert, but Sarko's politics are an extension of Chirac and Villepin's (they are in the same party) and what they are concerned about is Sarko's popularity, not his politics. You were aware that Sarko was romantically linked to Chirac's daughter at one time and was often discussed as the 'protege' of Chirac, but now is Chirac's main challenger? Even if you didn't know, a little reading might clue you into some of the non-political dimensions of this. In fact, if you would have read Ireland's blog a little more deeply than alighting on Gore Vidal and having an 'aha!' moment, you might have noticed this:

P.S. Nicolas Sarkozy is to be named Number Two in the Villepin government, where he will replace Villepin as Interior Minister, France Info radio reported this morning -- that's the job that Sarkozy (now the elected chairman of Chirac's UMP party, in which he is wildly popular) held previously, and where he cemented his reputation, and popularity, as a hard-line law-and-order crackdown artist. Villepin and Sarkozy detest each other, and have been at daggers drawn behind the scenes as both men vied to become the next p.m. in preparation for the 2007 presidential elections, in which each would like to be the candidate of the right. For example, Sarkozy blamed Villepin for leaking wiretaps and confidential information in a political scandal earlier this year in attempt, Sarkozy felt, to blacken his name. Villepin denied it, of course, but political insiders in Paris believe that's exactly what Villepin -- who has a reputation for brutality with subordinates and merciless vengefulness against his enemies -- did. Sarkozy, a masterful and media savvy politician, will try to outshine Villepin at every turn. Thus Sarkozy and Villepin will make a strange governmental team indeed.

link

Hey! Look over there, Gore Vidal, who is a socialist! I've got Ireland figured out!

A number of newer commentors have leaped in to take issue with your take on this. I would suggest that it is a utter waste of time because Chas is totally uninformed about the background and conditions from which these riots arose as well as the politics of the main players. You can't pack fish any more tightly in a barrel than this.

Charles, I will concede the obvious, that the welfare state has not cured all of France's social ills, but that is a far cry from being a cause of said ills. You're not being analytical, you're being tendentious. You identify the "welfare state" as a cause of the problem because you want it to be a cause, because that fits your worldview.

And that was way too harsh. I appreciate the fact that you say you are still taking this in and I appreciate the links. But when you have a former correspondent for one of France's major newspapers giving you his take, reading things that aren't there is not the best way to start a meaningful conversation. Again, apologies for the overdose of snark.

Sorry, that 'that was way too harsh' was concerning my post, not Donna's.

Your comments about Chirac, Villepin, and Sarko suggest that you have no understanding of the French political scene.

I'm aware of Sarkozy, his history, his onetime position as Chirac's protege and his break with Chirac. I've written about the man at least a couple of times and am aware of the political differences he has with the French president, particularly as it pertains to terrorism, the WAMI and immigration. Your comment suggests another one of a seemingly endless series of misimpressions, LJ.

OT, but speaking of religious dogma:

Intelligent Design is back in the Kansas curriculum.

my favorite bit:

    In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.

Kansas = dumb. there, i just rewrote the definition of "Kansas".

I'm trying not to be snarky, but links to previous posted materials would serve to correct misimpressions or even stop them from arising in the first place. If you are posting to somewhere other than RS, Tacitus, or here, I would certainly appreciate a pointer.

I'm trying not to be snarky, but links to previous posted materials would serve to correct misimpressions or even stop them from arising in the first place.

I wrote about Sarkozy here, relying heavily on a long piece by The Economist here. Since Tacitus has gone through several renditions, previous posts are not the easiest things to find, so I'm disinclined to scrap around further. I've been casually following Sarkozy for the last eleven months. One other thing: A French conservative is not a British conservative is not an American conservative, so when you tell me that Chirac and Sarkozy are conservatives, it says very little.

You identify the "welfare state" as a cause of the problem because you want it to be a cause, because that fits your worldview.

Whatever, Donna. You may also not like my conclusion that one of the main root causes of Islamist terrorism is the lack of freedom and democracy in Muslim-majority countries. A closed, repressed society with no open media and no avenues for democratic redress, coupled with a vile ideology, breeds terrorism and terrorists, in my opinion. A welfare state society that offers little or no hope to ethnic minorities, coupled with racism and sprinkled with Islamist ideology and a non-assimilated culture, can lead to riots under certain circumstances. Is it "evidence"? Probably not. It's just an opinion, but it makes sense to me. Because riots haven't happened in Germany doesn't mean they won't, but they have a different situation because most of their Muslim population is Turkish, and there are other differences. But now that it's evening, my take is still evolving, but it seems several factors (culture, society, racism, economics, politics) are all sort of woven together, and the right (or wrong) event sparked it all off.

Gary Farber:

Isn't the fact that European nationalism these days tends to be more of the verbal sort than the hack-your-neighbor-with-a-machete sort? I kinda think this makes some difference on the "just as evil" scale. Linear time matters.

I agree that linear time matters. European behavior has moderated as has, for example, American racism over the same time scales. And I am not trying to compare current European behavior with Rwandan behavior. In fact, my point is pretty minor.

My point is that it does not make a lot of sense to suggest that various forms of discrimnation are better or worse. Racism, national origin, religion -- such discrimination tends to lead to the same types of evils. They may be expressed with different degrees of ugliness at various times, but its all ugly.

So the fact that the French may be motivated more by discrimination regarding national origin rather than race hardly matters.

Chas
I lurk at Tacitus, and I don't believe I have seen anything else about Sarkozy from you. I realize that it is not the easiest thing to find stuff on Tacitus, but a one paragraph post that simply rehashes the points of a Economist article does not really enlighten me about your held opinions on Sarko. I certainly am not demanding that you do research on Tacitus for me, but I find myself strangely unconvinced about your knowledge and expertise on the French political scene.

Next, I did not say that:
"A French conservative is not a British conservative is not an American conservative, so when you tell me that Chirac and Sarkozy are conservatives...". I said that they were from the same party, which I presume means that _they_ share certain basic principles, not that they share certain _conservative_ principles (Sarko has discussed the need for 'positive discrimination', which is known on this side of the Atlantic as 'affirmative action'. Believe it or not, I realize that this is not a core principle of US conservatives). To say that they are of the same party might suggest that their political differences are not as profound as you seem to believe. Please read what I write and not what you imagine me to be writing.

I certainly am not demanding that you do research on Tacitus for me, but I find myself strangely unconvinced about your knowledge and expertise on the French political scene.

Whatever. I never claimed to be an expert on the American South either.

I'm sure there are many faults with the French govt, but this looks to me like pro-criminal riots, like Toledo 2005 or Cinncinati 2001.

If the French are only to blame, then the rioters would have a clear message, which they do not. I wish I did not have to point this out, but clearly the rioters are not Martin Luther King or the NAACP of the 60's.

I never claimed to be an expert on the American South either.

No, you just made assertions about the US South and then said "I underwent a boot-camp, total-immersion experience in southern culture for a three-month period" Had I know there was a hidden clause there saying 'but this in no way qualifies me to pontificate about the South', I would have been a lot less upset. I'll just have to keep in mind that when you present your experiences, you aren't claiming that this experience informs your opinions, but rather the opposite, that your opinions inform your experience. Good thing to know.

DaveC,
what exactly is a pro-criminal riot?

I think for instance that MLK's "I have a dream" speech was great, and Louis Farrakan's (who I disagree with) Million Man March was totally legitimate and to be taken seriously. Throwing Molotov Cocktails and torching cars, on the other hand, are fundamentally criminal acts.

One Time at the Racine (WI) Zoo, this black guy from Pascagoula, accosted me and totally bent my ear for about a half hour. It was only later that I realized that his relatives actually couldn't understand him because of his accent, which was really thick, so that was why he was so interested in talking to me.

So I guess I have big time credentials.

Actually most people are more concerned with their own life experiences than big political issues, however anecdotal my evidence may be. Perhaps Charles' experiences made him realize this as well.


Gotcha. But referring to the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom" a riot is a bit misleading. Also, riots occur for a lot more mundane reasons.

I never claimed to be an expert on the American South either.

No, you just implied it. But rest easy, I don't think anyone will be mistaking you for one anytime soon.

Throwing Molotov Cocktails and torching cars, on the other hand, are fundamentally criminal acts.

Isn't every act of civil disobedience?

Also, riots occur for a lot more mundane reasons.

No question about that. I could have been arrested during the 1974 streaking craze, and after Tennessee beat Alabama after a long losing spell. But I was just hanging around acting afool and not being violent or destroying things.

Isn't every act of civil disobedience?

There are crimes of civil disobedience in which people voluntarily get arrested, and then there are crimes when people intentionally harm other people or destroy their property.

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