Riots in the Suburbs

The Programmed Suicide of France

By now, most have heard—sometimes with sorrow, sometimes with delight—of the latest fashion in the working-class suburbs of France: setting fire to cars at night.  There is a lot more to this than a nocturnal rite for rival juvenile gangs.  It is probably exaggerated to forecast a civil war: Two sides are necessary to make a war, and the French hardly seem anxious to wage one.  But it could very well be a sign of irretrievable decay for France—and maybe not for France alone.

Some alleged factors regarding the social unrest not only are of dubious explanatory value but look, frankly, preposterous.  The Economist’s (November 12-18, 2005) short-sightedness and intellectual platitude were appalling: France’s racial arrogance and economic inefficiency are supposed to have brought forth what France deserved.  While it is true that rampant socialism in France destroys initiative and opportunities for work, it is also quite obvious that Mr. Blair’s policy failed to avert terrorism backed by racial prejudices hostile to England.  (The father of one of last summer’s London Underground terrorists owned two shops, two houses, and one Mercedes.)  It is wrong and just plain laughable for France to stand accused of racist indifference or exploitative cruelty toward her immigrant populations, whether or not they are legally French.  Countless “suburban...

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