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It's the economics, stupid OR Those darn neighborhood schools

The following was written by a writer currently living in Paris. I've read lots of speculation about the French riots by people NOT living in France. I've also read and believed that riots don't occur when people have no hope. Rioters 'see' the hope, but like a bad dream, the hope always eludes their grasp.

The writer makes what seems to be a conservative argument without buying into the religious war angle.



It's not an intefada. I'm an Australian SF author temporarily living in Paris;....

The problem in France is not the same as in the UK or the Netherlands. There, there's been an overdose of PC multi culturalism... but American critics are wrong to assign that to France. France HAS insisted on integration, as seen by the controversial ban on headscarves in French schools. And most French muslims do consider themselves French, to varying degrees, and Islamic extremism is pretty small thing here (there was far more protest against the headscarf ban outside of France than inside). So it's not an intefada.

There's just no damn jobs. White college grads can't get jobs, what hope do immigrants from regions with bad schools have? I think this is more like the LA Rodney King riots -- there's people there who want the French dream, just as in LA people wanted the American dream, but they just don't see it when they look around, and they resent the fact enormously. They can't change schools to get a better education because the government says you have to go to the school where you live, and they live where they do because of the zoning laws... which I'm no expert about, but I do know that the government owns 30 percent of all housing in France, and poor immigrants basically live where they're told. The government tries to give them everything and does it extremely badly, there's no upward mobility, and it doesn't breed a happy community. Religion exacerbates the feeling of exclusion, I'm sure, but the rioting seems mostly driven by economics and bad social policy.

So yeah, it's a stupid French government problem, but not the one some American critics are ascribing... however attractive it might be to do so.


HT: Instapundit

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  • I'm John H
  • From Salemtown, Tennessee, United States
  • Cruising past 50, my wife and I have reared three kids and several dogs. I work for state government and daily conspire to deflate bureacracy.
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