MU Cerebellum

"Writers, especially when they act in a body and with one direction, have great influence on the public mind." -Edmund Burke

Monday, March 06, 2006

Keep your eye on France

Today the Wall Street Journal ran a lengthy article regarding the increasing animosity between the French and their Muslim counterparts. In a little French alpine town, a group of Muslims fervently protested against and demanded the cancellation of the town's reading of "Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet," because it "constitutes an insult to the entire Muslim community." Their demands comprised of of a "small" riot and a burned car and garbage can.

It isn't the magnitude of the riot that matters, but the fact the riot took place. The chaos in Paris last October and the Danish cartoons are huge indicators of the dire situation in France, and what happened in this small town should be another. For years, there has been mutual antagonism and growing paranoia between the native French people and the Muslim immigrants, mostly in Paris. Muslims live in the outskirts of urban areas with staggering poverty and unemployment rates. Not only do the French don't care, they contribute to the situation. The French don't want Muslims there, but at the same time, the Muslims want nothing to do with the French.

I think the root of the problem is that France has a system of government that fuels these antagonisms. France, along with the rest of Western Europe, is becoming increasingly secularized due to the concentration of power to the national government. France has a terrible trading policy and a high fiscal burden. Their socialist policies are the reason for the high poverty and unemployment rates among the Muslim population. Though these policies are mainly economic, their foundational principles have transferred to the political climate and social outlook of the country.

Look at America. While American is not free of racism or religious discrimination, we are a heck of a lot better off than France. The American system allows for pluralism, gives opportunity for growth regardless of religion, race, etc., and celebrates the diversity of its peoples. America is not completely secular (yet), has a satisfactory trade policy, and a relatively low fiscal burden.

The more concentrated government power is, the more discrimination and intolerance amongst the people.

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