The New French Croissant

For over a week now France’s failure to integrate its non-European immigrants has transformed the streets into an eruption of chaos stemming from discontent with life in modern France. This expression of the malcontent is a testament of their displeasure and inquietude caused by the precariousness experienced under the current French system.

Those rioting are overwhelmingly first and second generation immigrants from former French Colonies and areas of influence in Africa and the Middle East. This body of immigrants is overwhelmingly Muslim. In fact, France contains Europe’s most abundant number of Islamic citizens. The French population is composed of nearly six million Muslims, about one tenth of the total sixty million French citizens.

However, this considerable slice of the nation is disproportionately disenfranchised within the French economy. The unemployment and poverty rates for Muslims is categorically higher than it is for those of old Gallic blood or any other immigrant of European Christian descent.

This economic disparity is institutional, the twin creation of prejudice and overbearing government regulation of the economy and job market.

Prejudice makes it hard enough to find employment and mobility within the French economy, but then there is the debilitating effect of the French welfare state. Unemployment is perennially stuck at ten percent in modern France, due to the necessity the French government has placed upon protection of those already employed. French labor protection institutionally deranges the young, unskilled and low wage workers, representative of the demographic out burning Peugots in the streets, from finding employment.

One thing the pseudo socially minded French actually do for their discontented immigrant community is to place them on welfare. However, it is obvious that these largely Muslim immigrants do not value handouts, nor equate welfare with being part of a French identity. This lack of work is fundamental to understanding the plight of the Islamic immigrant in modern Europe.

In a recent synopsis of the causality of Islamic terrorism within Europe, Francis Fukuyama proposed that unrest is inherent when Muslim peoples emigrate to Europe where the societal structures and supports of cultural Islam do not exist. This absence requires a restructuring of life, an adaptation to the systems of the new culture. For the Muslim in the West, this means acceptance into the economy.

Without work these young and impressionable strangers remain just that, strangers. Yet, these strangers become increasingly affected by the opportunities of the indigenous culture/economy that they are denied. This leads to a lashing out at the relatively helpless state one is placed in, manifest through burning vehicles, smashing shop windows, firing at police and firefighters, and, at its most extreme, finding false purpose in sacrificing one’s life and massacring the innocent people in the subway car around you.

The French have begun a new course, attempting to include the large Muslim population in a new vision of French identity through the creation of numerous institutions to better relations of state and mosque.

Yet, as America has shown, albeit not perfectly, a capitalist economy with few limits upon low- wage and unskilled labor employment is the most effective tool for the integration of immigrant communities into a common identity based upon inclusion in the most culturally important system, the capitalist economy.

A restructuring of the French welfare state is needed to end the purposelessness and the consequent terror that results from Muslim structural unemployment. The purpose and integration born of employment opportunities will be the symbolic mixing of the crescent with the pastry, forming the new French croissant which all will be able to relate and enjoy.