After weeks of national unrest, Jacques Chirac finally got tough on the car-broilers: he proposed job training for 50,000 of the unemployed malcontents. That’ll teach ‘em.
Ha ha, those wimpy French! Offering solutions to the CAUSE of the problem! What they really need to do is address the SYMPTOM, by stoving in the heads of more teenagers, but they are too snobby and effete to do such a thing.
Of course, job training is one thing; actual jobs are another. Given the French economic performance – regularly described as anemic, which might be apt if the body had any blood left - the chance of 50,000 jobs materializing for the rioters is rather slim.
Naturally, Lileks scoffs at attempts to offer job training to unemployed French people because he knows no jobs will be forthcoming -- this is just more evidence of the rotten job socialism has done on Europe's biggest economy. Oddly enough, he has nothing to say about the possibility of offering job training to unemployed Americans, despite our lack of socialist boogie-men and our far more than 50,000 unemployed.
If cities across the United States went up in flames for two weeks, de Villepin would blame it on hamburgers, cowboy movies, global warming and Mickey Mouse.
If cities across the United States went up in flames for two weeks, a lot more than one person would get killed.
But why hasn’t it happened here?
Except in Chicago in 1919 (4 days, 38 dead), Tulsa in 1921 (3 days, 300+ dead), Los Angeles and Detroit in 1943 (6 days, 36 dead), Los Angeles again in 1965 (7 days, 34 dead), Detroit again in 1967 (4 days, 43 dead), the entire country in 1968 (8 days, 47 dead), Miami in 1980 (4 days, 18 dead), New York in 1991 (5 days, 4 dead), Los Angeles once again in 1992 (4 days, 52 dead) and Cincinnati in 2001 (3 days, 5 dead)? Other than those, and probably a few dozen more in the 20th century alone, it hasn't happened here!
Two reasons. Less social planning.
Because clearly, the way to prevent riots by desperate, unemployed ethnic minorities is to not help them at all.
The American projects do not birth a fortnight of national firebombings.
Except in Chicago in 1919, Tulsa in 1921, Los...wait, did I cover this already?
The American identity is protean, and the underclass do not feel the sort of utter existential alienation that characterizes the Arab experience in Gaul.
Nothing like a rich white guy from Minnesota telling us how the American underclass doesn't feel alienated, is there? Unless it's a rich white guy from Minnesota telling us how the Arab underclass in France feels.
Which leads to cause #2: the M Word.
Because please, God, it HAS to be about Islam.
The riots are not entirely a Muslim groove.
Nice little qualification there to grudgingly accept the reality that tons of the rioters were non-Muslim black Africans, and more than a few were poor white people.
The devoutness of the agitators, however, is irrelevant; revolutions usually end up putting the worst sort of tyrants in power once the useful rabble has cleared the way. (See also, the French Revolution.) If the end result of the riots is more autonomy, the suburbs of Paris will be a foreign country, a shard of irredentist Islam in the heart of Europe.
So it doesn't even matter that the riots were in no way about religion! Because if this was a revolution, which it wasn't, which threatened to overthrow the government, which it didn't, and it resulted in the installing of a tyrant, whcih it won't, he would probably be some kind of crazy Ayatollah or something! So obviously we can't give these people any more autonomy, because they will become Fajullah North. (Of course, we also can't give them any government aid, so I guess we just have to, what? Kill them? Deport them? What's Lileks' solution?)
Back in '68, the same argument -- riots that lead to liberalism will plunge France into totalitarian rule -- were made by proto-Lilekses in France and elsewhere. The result? Another year of DeGaulle, five subsequent years of DeGaulle's hand-picked successor, and seven more years of a DeGaullist UDF leader. They didn't even elect a mild socialist until 1981, nearly 14 years after the '68 riots (which were far, far worse in terms of destabilizing the existing order than these were).
If they have portraits of Napoleon on the wall, it’ll be to show the correct way to hide the hand that triggers the bomb belt.
Unaddressed: why all these Islamist terrorists-in-training failed to shoot anyone despite all the reports by hysterical right-wingers of their massive stockpile of AK47s, or blow anyone up despite all the reports by hysterical right-wingers of their sprawling, well-oiled bomb factories. If Islamists were looking for a time to strike, the iron was pretty fucking hot this month; what are they waiting for? More welfare checks?
So the rioters will not be bought off with job training. They know they have a brie-spined enemy, filled with doubt.
HA HA THE FRENCH ARE COWARDS AND LIKE CHEESE
The revolutions of ’68 brought to power the romantic leftists who despised the old order, its sense of tradition, its bourgeois values, its confident (if unexamined) sense of cultural coherence.
Yes, who can forget the tradition-despising, wild-eyed pinko romantics like Georges Pompidou and Valery Giscard d'Estaing?
They built a new order based on dorm-room bong-fest ideas
Get off my lawn, Pompidou, you crazy drugged-out hippie! For goodness' sake, who does he think governed France in the 1970s? Guy Debord?
They can’t even revert to the hypernationalist models of the 30s, either - Le Pen only drew 300 people at a recent rally. Fascism is too much work these days. Even for the old pros.
I'm not sure what is more confusing here, his seeming to say that France really NEEDS fascism right now, or the "old pros" claim which suggests that France, which has never been a fascist state in the 20th century except when it was occupied by the Nazis, has a tradition of fascism. He might be confusing it with Germany; I wouldn't be surprised, seeing as he thinks the riots of 1968 swept a generation of Stalinists to power.
Oh, we’ll always have Paris. But don’t think some angry lads aren’t looking from their ghettos at the Eiffel Tower, and thinking what an excellent minaret it would make.
Conclusion: MUSLIMS ARE SCARY!