Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Riots in France, Hopelessness, and the Fruit of French Socialism

Speaking in political terms for me is quite rare as I prefer to only speak regarding spiritual issues and the church BUT ..I break my normal rule to write on the riots in France. In all earnestness, I think this situation speaks concerning a proper use of compassion and a clear understanding of the human psyche. We must be compassionate and also wise. Such insights into the human condition are something quite valuable that Christians can give to the world.

Riots in France, Hopelessness, and the Fruit of French Socialism
The News from France is quite alarming:
“Nationwide, vandals burned 1,173 cars overnight Monday to Tuesday, compared with 1,408 vehicles the night before, police said. A total of 330 people were arrested, down from 395 the previous night.”

Rioting was reported in 226 towns across France, compared with nearly 300 the night before.”

But more alarming still is the French analysis of the problem. The French Prime Minister, Villepin stated today that “The Republic is at a moment of truth, The effectiveness of our integration model is in question”. Is integration into French society the real root of the problem? Does not the problem lie at a still deeper level? Why are immigrants in France not being integrated into French culture, especially the French economy?

The reality is not that these riots are a result of a failed “integration” policy but a failed government welfare policy. The French have built subsidized government housing for their unemployed immigrant population. In such a scenario, the draw to live in France is not a draw from the French economy or a demand for immigrant labor. In fact, the French economy is incapable of supporting with valid employment the immigrant population which they have artificially supported with Government housing. Therefore, the draw into France of African immigrants is created or maintained by subsidized housing. These ghettoized housing projects become disconnected with the French economy creating not a lack of social integration but a lack of economic vitality and hope. After two or three generations of support without actual job creation, the subsidized housing projects become essentially urban reservations which breed discontent and hopelessness instead of entrepreneurship, home ownership and small business growth.

So how did the French create this problem? The answer is by interfering with the powers of the economy and artificially creating a non-productive class through socialist welfare programs. Remember it is entirely different to have an emergency, temporary, program to alleviate unforeseen economic crisis like the New Deal during the great depression. It is altogether another thing to create a permanent underclass through long-term subsidized housing and welfare programs. Such programs create ghettos not due to a lack of social integration but due to a lack of economic activity to support a community’s vision for an economic future.

Here is the solution.
Assure that immigrant communities are working communities.
Support capitalism in immigrant populations.
Grant small business loans to promote immigrant businesses.
Instill worker sponsorship programs like the Bush plan while minimizing welfare dependence.
Create incentives for work

It is not money that makes people happy. It is the self-respect created by working hard to make a better future for yourself and your family. In today's situation in Paris, money is actually the fuel of the discontent that created the quagmire of hopelessness which is now exploding throughout France. If governments create an economic house of cards, they should not be so alarmed when the whole project goes up in flames.

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