From the Other Side

An liberal American blogger looks at the French riots:

As Keelin McDonell put it last week in The New Republic, these protests expose “a French progressive movement on the brink of collapse,” a movement that is astoundingly conservative in its opposition to any and all change to the status quo of the French welfare state, a movement that “has become intellectually arid and xenophobic”. After all, just to take this case, neither students nor workers (nor their political representatives) have “put forward an alternate plan to boost employment and secure a place for France in the international economy”. I understand their concerns about globalization and the free market, and I share some of them myself, but I’m not sure how opposition to the new employment law and, indeed, opposition to all market-oriented reforms can be in any way productive. It seems to me that these protesters would rather the international economy didn’t exist, that they are living in some halcyon past that exists only in their imagination, in their own personal and political self-romanticization.

I’d quibble with one little word. The rioters aren’t conservative in their opposition to any kind of employment reform – they’re downright reactionary. Brown shirts with long hair.