Tim Blair on the “Peaceful Presbyterian Peugeot Pyre:”
By French standards, it was a peaceful New Year’s Eve.
Only 1,067 cars and vans were destroyed by arson, a “significant” reduction of more than 10 per cent compared to the number of vehicles set ablaze last year, according to Manuel Valls, the Interior Minister.
All things considered, it was a “positive result”, Mr Valls told a press conference on Wednesday.
Responding to the above quote — the very definition of a Pyrrhic victory — Theodore Dalrymple writes:
Another optimistic way of looking at the figures is to compare the number of cars burned with the number of cars not burned. This will put the figure into better perspective. About 19,999,000 cars in France were not burned on New Year’s Eve; that is to say, 99.995% of them. Surely this is the way the figures should be presented to improve the population’s morale? Instead of the murder rate, then, we should have the non-murder rate. The result is even better for most European countries: About 99.999% of people are not murdered in any given year.
We should always remember the story of the Soviet commissar who, when asked by a soldier in the audience he was addressing whether it was true that there were more cars in the United States than in the Soviet Union, thought for a moment and then replied, “Yes, comrade, but we in the Soviet Union have more parking spaces.”
Is Harry Reid moonlighting as the French Interior Minister? That would explain volumes:
The Good Dr. Dalrymple wonders if the French Car-B-Q isn’t example of Keynesian economics in action:
This view of the French, however, is in complete contradiction with the initiative shown by youth in the banlieues. Having read Mr. Krugman in The New York Times, they have been persuaded that there is a chronic lack of demand in the French economy that they have decided to stimulate by burning cars. What better stimulation, indeed, could be imagined? The roughly 40,000 cars burned a year (as I have said, no one knows the precise figures) provide employment for thousands of people. The cars have to be replaced, so manufacturing is encouraged; service industries such as sales and insurance are likewise given a fillip. When M. (soon to be president) Sarkozy called the rabble who rioted in 2005 “scum,” he should really have thanked them for their presciently Keynesian conduct.
Well, it’s sort of Broken Window Theory of economics, Dresden or Manhattan Project style…
…Which the former Enron advisor would no doubt describe as the economic “Miracle of the 1940s” – and already has.
(And yes, for the record, I do believe that despite all of his denials, the president is a closeted crypto-Keynesian himself.)
(Via Kathy Shaidle.)