Liberal Illusions in France

Jack Kelly, the national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, writes an article that hits the proverbial nail on the head.

It’s harder to ignore the elephant in the living room when the elephant is setting fire to it.

The elephant in France — whose name begins with the dreaded M-word journalists dare not mention — hasn’t been allowed in the living room. He’s been locked in the shed out back.

This gives liberals an excuse to blame the rioting in France — which has finally died down after two weeks — on the standard liberal villains, poverty and racism.

But if racism is a cause of the rioting, poverty isn’t. As Theodore Dalrymple noted in a prescient article in the City Journal three years ago (“The Barbarians at the Gates of Paris”), those whom the media choose to describe as “French youths” have cell phones, cars, boom boxes, gold chains around their necks. “They enjoy a far higher standard of living than they would in the countries of their parents’ or grandparents’ origin, even if they labored there 14 hours a day.”

His article is all about the fact that liberal solutions won’t work and haven’t worked in France.

For the children of immigrants to have the same opportunities in France they do in the United States, taxes must be cut, regulations slashed, the minimum wage reduced, trade restrictions eased, labor unions weakened. But no politician in France would dare propose such remedies.

So there is a search for less controversial ones. “We are victims of our architecture,” Guillaume Permentier told the Washington Post’s Jim Hoagland, referring to the high-rise ghettos designed by the Stalinist architect Le Corbusier.

Looking everywhere but at the elephant gives liberals an illusion of control. A problem “caused” by ugly buildings can be cured by prettier buildings, with skateboard parks to calm the passions of “disaffected youths.”

The elephant isn’t really there, the media assure us. “The violence in France has not taken on religious overtones,” said The New York Times. “Islamic ideology and leaders play no role in the disturbances,” said The Washington Post.

But the “disaffected youth” shout “Allahu Akbar” as they toss Molotov cocktails into churches and synagogues. They talk of turning Paris into “Baghdad on the Seine.”(emphasis added)

He concludes his article with an insightful, cutting, but highly accurate statement:

Going up in smoke along with thousands of Peugeots are liberal illusions. Multiculturalism is social poison. Toleration of intolerance isn’t sophistication, it’s suicide. Work, not welfare, is the key to social integration. Making excuses for violence begets more violence.

We cannot corral the rampaging elephant until we see the elephant for what he is. Liberals prefer blindness.

How refreshing to have a journalist “tell it like it is.”

Read the whole article

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