This Washington Post editorial on the riots in France is perhaps the most mindless piece I’ve read on the subject. The Post begins by informing us that “Islamic ideology and leaders play no role in the disturbances.” The Post provides no evidence for this statement which, on its face, is so sweeping as to almost surely be false. The first-hand reports I receive from my wife’s family persuade me that Islamic ideology (admittedly in a crude form) is never far from the surface even in ethnically mixed lower-middle class neighborhoods, so it’s difficult to imagine how it could be completely missing in action when violence erupts in the predominantly Muslim slums. The emails we receive at Power Line from Europeans support the same conclusion. What is the Post relying on, other than its a priori, politically correct world view?
Folks who are minimizing the role of Islam (I don’t think anyone other than the Post has claimed Islam plays “no” role) often point to “thugs and drugs” as the driving force. But over-reliance on these factors would also run contrary to the Post’s liberal ideology, so the Post minimizes this factor too, and focuses on racism and unemployment. But it would be impolitic to blame the French government which, the Post reminds us, has spent billions of dollars on urban renewal. When the Bush administration is out of the picture, and the French government and Muslims are the only possible culprits, it becomes difficult for the Post to assign responsibility. The whole thing must be a big misunderstanding.
The Post does have a solution, though — “affirmative action policies.” There’s an idea. In the context of roughly 10 percent unemployment and some of the most strident labor unions in the world, let’s award jobs to immigrants and their children, at the expense of “native” French, because of their ethnicity and religion.
It seems that the Post is willing to promote any idea, even one that might well bring the far-right Jean-Marie Le Pen into power, as long as it doesn’t involve moving towards a free market economy.