Friday, November 11, 2005

France France Revolution

Sales of the Pontiac Firebird have been hot in France

As the flames turn to embers in the outskirts of Paris, the overanalysis is already beginning as to how such civil unrest can occur in an otherwise civilized country. Conservatives, wanting to avoid discussions about ethics and CIA leaks and torture, have turned to blaming "liberal French politics" for the riots. Mona Charen tries to make the case that: "American liberals are equivalent to European socialists. And French socialists have set the table for the current crisis."

A pretty huge conceptual jump, in my opinion, but I'll bite. The assertion that liberal philsophies and policies are to blame for France's economic situation is a highly simplistic viewpoint of the situation. It's akin to blaming United Airlines for one of their planes flying into the World Trade Center on 9/11, which is similarly asinine. The economic situation in France has no doubt been affected by some ridiculous government policies, including one which is designed to protect employment by making it incredibly difficult to fire people, but has only decreased utilization of temporary labor.

To say that such policies are the only factor at work in the situation ignores France's long-term issues with their economy, which stretch from long before the age of Jacques Chirac. Unemployment in France has ranged between 15 - 25% over the past 10 years. Anyone trying to link such trends to liberal philsophies should only look as far as our own recent recession during the Bush Presidency and with Republicans at the helm in Congress. Obviously conservative philosophies aren't exactly a solution for unemployment as emperically proven here in the US since 2000.

Sadly, instead of making an effort to understand what happened in France so that perhaps we can help to prevent future rioting, pundits want to place blame across political lines as if their gross oversimplification somehow justifies their viewpoint. And we wonder why there isn't a contstructive political dialogue in this country...

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