Wednesday, November 09, 2005

France Not on the Verge of 'Ruin'


John Hinderaker of http://Powerlineblog.com quotes from Ralph Peters "who predicted the French riots, and now he diagnoses them; his perspective is so hostile to the French that he almost seems pro-rioter":

"As I wrote in my last book, this violence was inevitable. Continental Europe has no model for integrating immigrants into the social and economic mainstream. Instead of creating tomorrow's jobs, Europe protects yesterday's. Talented young Europeans struggle to come to the United States to work (but they'll settle for Britain). And "Old Europe's" prejudices go deeper than those in our Deep South of 50 years ago. "

Read the rest of this most insightful piece.

John Hinderaker adds:

"I think it was Adam Smith who said that there is a lot of ruin in a country. It's hard to say how close France has come to using up its allotment."

Yes, Smith did write that there was a 'great deal of ruin in a Nation' (Ross, Ian, The Life of Adam Smith, 1995, page 327). The gist of Smith's point was to caution Sir John Sinclair, who appeared somewhat panicky about the course of the war in the American colonies going badly for Britain and had exclaimed that more of thse reverse would 'ruin Britain'. Smith did not think the loss of the colonies would 'ruin Britain'.

I would caution that the 'disturbances in France' are nowehere near 'ruining' France. Aimless discontent is unlikely to bring down French society, which has great depths of solidarity within it. Sometimes the media gives prominence to events that look more frightening than they really are. Note that the French state has not yet begun to react, the CRS are in their barracks, the police are hardly stretched and the army is not yet deployed.

The underlying problems remain, however. These will take time to address. France has time.

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