Thursday, November 03, 2005

Riots in Paris: Vive le Revolucióne 

Gateway Pundit offers a fine assortment of information on the Paris Riots that seems to have be pushed off the front page by vital breaking news like month-old e-mails from an ex-FEMA official. He appears to take a hard-line "law and order" position, agreeing with La Shawn Barber's sentiment that:
Those Muslim rioters in Paris, angry about being unemployed or whatever their excuse, need to be crushed...
While my natural instinct is to say "you go, girl," something I read at Instapundit from Aussie SF writer Joel Shepherd gives me cause to pause and think deeper:
[I]t's not an intefada.(sic)

There's just no damn jobs. ... [T]here's people there who want the French 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.
I seem to remember some very smart people once saying:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government
(emphasis added)
Now, I see no evidence of a shadow government being formed (a defining part of a classic revolution), but neither was there any such body at the time of the Boston Tea Party. But I have also seen nothing, other than in the punditocracy, explicitly connecting the riots to Islam. We need to not let the predominant religious makeup of the rioters drive us to conclusions as to why they are rioting. Just because a group who takes up arms is mostly Muslim, it does not automatically make their action a part of the Islamist movement. Separating the motive from the actor is in my eyes an essential thought process for any who sincerely believe the GWOT is not a war on Islam, but rather a war on a radical and violent Islamist movement.

I'm no anarchist, and neither do I believe in the LA riot "throw a bone to the rabble to quiet them down" mindset, as that just rewards illegal behavior. But I do think it is a legitimate question to ask at what point and to what degree can mob violence serve as legitimate revolutionary action against an oppressive state? How much different is what we are seeing in Paris to the quickly crushed protests in Côte d'Ivoire almost exactly a year ago, except that the troops haven't (yet) been called in to spray the crowd with automatic weapon fire. Can or will the unrest currently evidenced coalesce into a focused takedown of the French government in favor of one more respective of individual (economic) liberties? This may be the question we should be asking, rather than automatically pushing for the crushing hand of the State to maintain the status quo.

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