France’s youthful status quo rioters are really demonstrating against reality-sadly, it is a reality many on the left in this country and in England also do not want to face.
What will happen if we continue to mandate an ever-increasing but unaffordable list of “rights”? The riots in France show us this future. As Theodore Dalrymple writes in the London Times:
“The ultimate cause of the demonstrations and strikes in the two countries is the same: the State has made promises that it is increasingly unable to keep. It has pursued policies that were bound in the end to produce not just cracks but fissures that could no longer be papered over. The main difference is that while Dominque de Villepin is tentatively dragging France, albeit kicking and screaming, and with every likelihood of failure, in the right direction, Mr Brown is still stuck on the royal road to disaster, for which the British people, but not of course Mr Brown, will ultimately pay very dearly. When the crash comes, the social dislocation in Britain will make French disaffection seem positively genteel.
“Whether they know it or not, the people on the streets in France were demonstrating to keep the youth of the banlieues – who recently so amused the world for an entire fortnight with their arsonist antics – exactly where they are, namely hopeless, unemployed and feeling betrayed. For unless the French labour market is liberalised, they will never find employment and therefore integration into French society. You have only to speak to a few small businessmen or artisans in France – the petits bourgeois so vehemently despised by the snobbish intellectuals – to find out why this should be so. The French labour regulations make employment of untried persons completely uneconomic for them.”