Infidel's View of the French Riots
Infidel, who sometimes goes by other cognomens -- e.g., M. Junius Brutus or Joseph Steinberg -- but might consider also calling himself "Kafir" (just a suggestion), has on his website an interesting post about the recent troubles in France: Stupid Politicians.
In it, he takes issue with some of the speculations that I presented on Islam, Islamism, and the French riots in my post "Unrest Easing in France?" -- though he might also have had in mind another article of mine, "Millet System for France?" In both articles, I suggested that identity politics is playing a substantial role and that Islam provides at least a nominal Muslim identity, with radical Islamism offering the promise of a deeper identity that might appeal to the 'youths' alienated from French society.
Here's how Infidel summarizes and critiques my position:
Gypsy Scholar tried to make a case about the Muslim identity of the French rioters, including this nearly-anti-globalization conclusion: "Cellular phones, television, the internet — all of the modern media supposedly globalizing the world and bringing us all together is also transforming local grievances into world-historical forces capable of rocking entire nations, even entire continents."I think that by "last resort," Infidel is referring to "Muslim identity," though he might want correct me on this if I've misunderstood. Assuming that I've understood, then it seems that Infidel is arguing that the potentially Islamist identity that I write about in my article only factors into the political equation at the end, as the result of failed policies on the economy and integration.
. . .
The cultural and religious angle Gypsy Scholar is trying to accentuate doesn’t need emphasis, because the Chirac administration’s inept performance has abandoned marginalized second-generation Muslim French youths with that last resort. Into this condemnation we can also pile France’s role in frustrating trade liberalization talks because of its egregiously bloated farm subsidizations. I think we shouldn’t create another jihadi bogeyman, when there’s a failed political model squarely in our sights to discredit and destroy.
Perhaps Infidel has the right analysis, though the argument distantly echoes the view that poverty lies at the root of terrorism, a problematic view since prominent terrorists like Mohamed Atta and Osama bin Laden come from the middle and upper classes of society.
But read Infidel's post yourself, and see what you think.