Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Are You Buying the New Normal?

Over at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (though a post may have more intelligence), they report that French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte says that everything has returned to normal, the rioting had nothing to do with religious tensions, and that the US riots back in 1992 were far worse.
"We never saw any link, direct or indirect," the French diplomat said. "Religion played no role."

"We know that jihadists are recruiting teenagers, but this has nothing to do with the general unrest in those neighborhoods," he said. The teenagers want to be considered 100 percent French, he said. "They want full equality."

Levitte also suggested "the word 'riot' is a bit too strong" to describe the disturbances and that while thousands of automobiles were destroyed and scores of police officers injured, there were only a handful of fatalities, in contrast to the 1992 Los Angeles riots that left 55 people dead and $1 billion in property damage.

The French have invoked those riots in the past, by way of criticizing U.S. policies. In 1992, then President Francois Mitterrand suggested that France would avoid such strife because of its generous social programs.
Where to start with this tripe? Let's see - thousands of cars torched, hundreds of businesses damaged or destroyed, and more than a dozen churches damaged by rioters. More than 300 communities were affected, and they're still counting up the economic toll.

But that's not a riot. That word, riot, doesn't quite mean what you think it means. Sure, France wasn't burning, it was simply trying to keep warm and find new ways to avoid rising energy prices. This was French creativity and ingenuity at its best. Right.

And let's not forget that the French have invented the new normal of 100 cars torched nightly, if only to get the rioting out of the media glare (the former normal was 20-40 a night, which was on par with rates in the US).

Then, there's the comparisons to the Rodney King riots of 1992. Back then, the French said that the French could avoid the problems because of its generous social programs. Let's see how that worked out: an entire underclass of recent immigrants who either don't want to assimilate into French life or are rejected by other French as not being French enough. They rioted for three weeks straight, torching France's image of tranquility and serenity.

And did I mention that the French economy is still in the dumps. That's not changing anytime soon, no matter what economic programs they concoct. The record of French unemployment, poor economic growth, and poor economic outlook suggests that the old programs didn't work so throwing more money at the problem wont fix things either. It just buys time.

Others covering the story: Michelle Malkin, Astute Blogger, and Atlas Shrugged all note Levitte's audience and revisionism in talking about the rioting before a favorable crowd.

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