ROOT CAUSES OF URBAN HELL IN FRANCE (LESSONS FOR AMERICA)
I listened this morning to Laura Ingraham's radio show on News Talk KRLA and she referenced this exposition (linked at her Web site) on the root causes of the rioting and mayhem across France, written by Max Boot and published in the Los Angeles Times.
Here are excerpts, but do read the entire piece:
It is precisely because of France's high level of "social protection" that it is now experiencing its own version of urban hell. The welfare state that is the pride and joy of postwar France has become a ball-and-chain hobbling its ability to keep up economically with the despised Anglo-Saxons. In the United States, the government spends 35.9% of gross domestic product; in France, it's 54.5%.I love that line -- the political class lacks the will to face down such powerful entrenched interests as labor unions, farmers and pensioners.
Generous unemployment benefits, free housing and healthcare and other goodies make life cushy even for those without a job. Yet this generosity has not bought social peace. The prisons in France are filled with young men of African and Arab descent who decided to supplement their subsidies with the proceeds from muggings, break-ins and drug deals. The crime rate in France is soaring even as it is declining to a 40-year low across the Atlantic.
Lack of economic opportunity is not, of course, the only reason why France faces growing insécurité from a surly underclass congregated in dingy banlieues (suburbs). France, like most European nations, defines itself in ethnic, cultural and religious terms that can leave non-Caucasian and non-Christian outsiders feeling excluded, however long they have lived there. Foreigners find it much harder to become "French" or "German" than "American." Thus the growing European problem with Muslim residents who are so estranged from the mainstream that they are attracted to extremist ideologies.
However severe the cultural obstacles to assimilation, the bleak economic outlook makes this task all the harder. In theory, it ought to be easier to reduce barriers to growth than to redefine notions of nationhood. But, in practice, Europeans are finding it almost impossible to Viagrify their sclerotic economies because the political class lacks the will to face down such powerful entrenched interests as labor unions, farmers and pensioners. The mention of mild reform can lead to massive strikes, such as the "black Tuesday" walkouts that paralyzed France on Oct. 4.
Cause for reflection here at home wouldn't you say? Come on, think hard about it.
Arnold Scwarzenegger, Republican governor of California, had the political will to take on powerful, entrenched interest groups in California in a major "reform" campaign, and was handed a resounding, across-the-board defeat. Maybe the liberals should bring Gray Davis back and accelerate the demise of the once Golden State where unionized prison guards make six-figure incomes, teenage girls can have preborns aborted without any parental notification, and you can neither recite the Pledge of Allegiance or keep and bear arms.
Is there a country more energy-dependent and less inclined to find new domestic sources of energy than the United States? Is the world's super-power allowing itself to be blackmailed by oil-rich countries conspiring against it through a web of terrorist networks?
President Bush has had the political will to lead a global war on terror and to oust a ruthless dictator who committed horrific genocides on his own people, but the rabid left-wing of the Democratic Party continues to savage him. For the Democrats it is more about ascribing lies to the president than winning the war on Islamofacists.
Neither the president (or Clinton before him), nor the Congress, has had the will to deal with an unprecedented invasion of our country by illegal aliens jumping our southern border, bleeding our taxpayers dry, renting our culture, and bringing with them disease, illiteracy, and crime. Both political parties erect a white elephant called The Department of Homeland Security, but look askance at the routes through Mexico and our border states that terrorists can tread with impunity.
And if you think we don't have unassimilated immigrants living in squalor and more aligned with their countries of origin than their adopted America (as does France), then take the time to read Frosty Woolridge's column on Colonias -- the out of sight, out of mind, immigrant ghettos right here in the United States, a product of porous borders, an unprecedented illegal immigrant invasion, and, as Frank Laughter describes, a slave-class coveted by businesses in search of cheap labor.
As Mr. Woolridge writes chillingly (excerpts follow) of the disease and abject poverty found in our own immigrant ghettos:
It is especially rampant in the growing ‘colonias’ (new neighborhoods) stretching from Brownsville, Texas along the Mexican border all the way to San Diego, California. The poorest illegal alien migrants set up shantytowns on the U.S. side of the border. They feature no sanitation of any kind. No toilets. No showers. No clean water. Disease proliferates unchecked. In 1985, 185,000 Mexican and South Americans inhabited those shantytowns. By 1995, they numbered 500,000. By 2000, according to the New York Times, they totaled one million. At the current rate of growth, they will grow to 20 million in the next 16 years. As they expand and move into the United States, they carry many diseases including the parasite Taenia solium.
The New York Times reported, "Colonias are rusted trailers and shacks nailed together from tar paper and packing pallets…without toilets…mounds of trash…attracting multitudes of rats…the lack of sanitation has polluted the underground water to the point that many residents are literally drinking their own waste."
The Times continues, "Colonias are chaotic, contaminated, explosive, fecal, filthy, illegal, putrid, powder kegs, shocking, slums, stench, unsanitary and wrenching." As one who visited the colonias in El Paso last year and filmed them, I can tell you the New York Times reporter could not adequately describe the kind of horrible, pathetic, disease ridden misery I witnessed. It is so grossly offensive; you want to vomit not only physically but also emotionally. This is another aspect of Third World Momentum stampeding into our country a breakneck speed. It’s happening because most Americans think they are safe, think their Congressmen and Senators are protecting them. They would be deadly incorrect!
So the notion that our own unassimilated immigrant problem here in the States has no parallels in France and Europe is simply wishful, myopic thinking. Believe that and you're a spinmeister of the first rank.
Fact is, you can't have 11+ million illegals afoot in our country and up to 10,000/day breeching our borders without profound consequences. And if, as Max Boot maintains, a broad social safety net coupled with an acute absence of cultural assimilation were the sparks of a major ethnic-based conflagration in France, then we in America shouldn't be too smug. We're sowing the seeds right here at home of our own destruction.