Sunday, November 13, 2005

Jonah Goldberg On the Riots

His latest article might as well be titled "Those Dirty Frogs Had it Coming!"

First, he discusses his Schadenfreude over French misfortune. Then, after making yet another unsurprisingly irrelevant aside (Katie Couric is part of the "French establishment," presumably because she is liberal), he goes on to blame the rioting on France making the minority population "invisible" and on the fact that the French economic systme doesn't make it easy for people to get jobs.

Like hell. I do tend to think that the riots are not part of an Al Qaeda plot, and are likely not Islamic per se (in that they are not about specifically Muslim grievances; it's not like they are rioting because France hasn't adopted the Qu'Ran as its national book, and I question how much the head-scarve ban really has to do with it). However, the fact that the people come from a different culture that is very alien to France would seem to be a bigger issue in my book than the fact that the French government hasn't done enough to integrate these people into French society.

Put another way, what we are witnessing may not be a part of jihad, or part of a Muslim plot, but it is the result of France having let in large numbers of foreigners who are too numerous and too alien to effectively assimilate.

France's economic policy likely hurts, but as much because lack of jobs gives these people more free time to riot than because they are rioting due to a justified anger over their unemployment. (And, as Matin Kelly points out in the comments, because the high level of welfare creates a sense of entitlement and thus an excuse to resent everyone else if they aren't successful in life).

Putting Allowing all of these minorities in to form segregated communities where they can intimidate other citizens of France so that they are afraid to go there played a role as well, but more because it allowed the minorities not to assimilate and because it concentrated poorly-behaved people in one area where they could feed off of each other's violence than because it was an unjust policy producing righteous racial grievance.

In any case, the way to deal with these rioters is not to try to bend over backwards for them or to ask "what did we do to make htem hate us so?" It is to put down the riots, and hard. Then France can ask itself (1) how it got into this mess, and (2) how to get out of it. But the rioters need to be held to account, not just coddled with us all weeping over their grievances, real or imagined.

In any case, Jonah sounds rather foolish. But what else in new?

That is all.

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