French Lesson For New Orleans

November 7, 2005

The US should learn from the French riots that segregating poor people is a terrible idea, and make sure that doesn’t happen when New Orleans is rebuilt.

This argues that the lawless New Orleans projects destroyed by Katrina were built for the same reason the French built their ghettos:

Like their French cousins in Paris, the government of New Orleans tried to do it’s best to house and supply the basic needs of the poorest of the poor. New Orleans acted on a basic impulse to “do something” while ignoring the needs of human dignity, and failing to providing a sense of hope and opportunity for a better future. Instead, state centered socialist solutions were favored over all other considerations.

In an effort to be all things to all people in need, the do-gooders with a socialist plan warehoused human beings on a massive scale and left them little hope for a future as bright as the one they could see all around them demonstrated by those who were free of the state’s smothering embrace.

In 2002 Theodore Dalrymple wrote this prescient description of the French ghettos:

The state, while concerning itself with the details of their housing, their education, their medical care, and the payment of subsidies for them to do nothing, abrogates its responsibility completely in the one area in which the state’s responsibility is absolutely inalienable: law and order. In order to placate, or at least not to inflame, disaffected youth, the ministry of the interior has instructed the police to tread softly (that is to say, virtually not at all, except by occasional raiding parties when inaction is impossible) in the more than 800 zones sensibles—sensitive areas—that surround French cities and that are known collectively as la Zone.

A terrible chasm has opened up in French society, dramatically exemplified by a story that an acquaintance told me. He was driving along a six-lane highway with housing projects on both sides, when a man tried to dash across the road. My acquaintance hit him at high speed and killed him instantly.

According to French law, the participants in a fatal accident must stay as near as possible to the scene, until officials have elucidated all the circumstances. The police therefore took my informant to a kind of hotel nearby, where there was no staff, and the door could be opened only by inserting a credit card into an automatic billing terminal. Reaching his room, he discovered that all the furniture was of concrete, including the bed and washbasin, and attached either to the floor or walls.

The following morning, the police came to collect him, and he asked them what kind of place this was. Why was everything made of concrete?

“But don’t you know where you are, monsieur?” they asked. “C’est la Zone, c’est la Zone.”

This is a classic feedback loop, where lawless communities are cordoned off and so become more lawless. The solution for New Orleans is to subsidize the poor, let them live where they may and police them like everybody else.


Choosing Your Charity

November 7, 2005

Not quite what I had in mind for my donation to the Red Cross Katrina fund.

Via Independent Conservative, hat tip Michelle Malkin:

Three New Orleans men arrested on drug charges at a Gwinnett County hotel told officers that they supported their drug habit with money from the American Red Cross and FEMA, police said.

(One) suspect…told authorities he had two hotel rooms and one home in Stone Mountain. He said he supported his $20-a-day drug habit with money from FEMA and the Red Cross but that he needed the money to “start over.” (He) stated that he and others like him deserved the money because they are from New Orleans.

The Red Cross is a big outfit and can’t track what people do with money it gives them.

If it happens again (I hope not), I’ll donate to a smaller charity that provides goods and direct support rather than cash.

Shock Revelation

November 7, 2005

France is a strongly centralized state while the US is a federation. So I guess these statistics tell us the French are useless.

Days to send in troops:

New Orleans/Katrina 4
France/Riots 11 and counting


All States/Katrina 1,277
France/Heat wave 2003 11,000 – 13,000

Cleaning Up The Internet

November 7, 2005

Norm Coleman warns the US not to transfer ICAAN to a UN egged on by the EU and other dictatorships. Hopefully the US won’t, so the dictatorships will have to put up their own Internets. We can firewall them off, making it really hard for them to launch cyberattacks. What’s not to like?

Here’s Norm Coleman (WSJ, subscription, my ellipsis):

The threat is posed by the U.N.-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society taking place later this month in Tunisia.

The low point of that planning session (for the Tunisia meeting) was the European Union’s shameful endorsement of a plan favored by China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Cuba that would terminate the historic U.S. role in Internet government oversight, relegate both private enterprise and non-governmental organizations to the sidelines, and place a U.N.-dominated group in charge of the Internet’s operation and future.

If you believe the lefty Guardian, there are 4 options on the table (my ellipsis):

1. US
In June George Bush’s principal adviser on telecoms and information policy, the NTIA, said that to preserve the security and stability of the system, the US should “maintain its historic role” in authorizing changes to the root zone file, but work with “the international community” on country codes. It stood by ICAAN as technical manager of domain names, and said dialog on internet governance should be in a number of forums rather than one central council.

2. Europe (Statist block)
The EU, led by the UK, proposes an independent ICAAN overseen only by a regular meeting of states to discuss technical issues. At the same time there would be a forum open to all “stakeholders” – essentially a talking shop, probably linked to the UN and meeting alongside other UN events. It would have no power over ICAAN.

3. Iran and Pakistan (Dictatorship block)
Apparently supported by Brazil, China, Russia and Saudi Arabia, propose an Intergovernmental Council for Global Public Policy and Oversight (their wording), based in the UN. It would oversee ICAAN and control allocation of internet addresses. Pakistan also proposes an internet governance forum to debate a wide range of internet topics.

4. Argentina (Anti-American whiner block – shame on the Japanese)
Supported by African states, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Ecuador, it calls for an “evolutionary process” of international debate in a forum that would not be involved in day-to-day operations. It also proposes reform of ICAAN to reinforce the role of governments in its decision-making.

What will the control-grabbers do when the US tells them to take a hike? Here’s the Guardian prediction (my emphasis and !):

A battle has erupted over who governs the internet, with America demanding to maintain a key role in the network it helped create (!) and other countries demanding more control.

The European commission is warning that if a deal cannot be reached at a meeting in Tunisia next month the internet will split apart.

Viviane Reding, European IT commissioner, says that if a multilateral approach cannot be agreed, countries such as China, Russia, Brazil and some Arab states could start operating their own versions of the internet and the ubiquity that has made it such a success will disappear.

“We have to have a platform where leaders of the world can express their thoughts about the internet,” she said. “If they have the impression that the internet is dominated by one nation and it does not belong to all the nations then the result could be that the internet falls apart.”

Viviane is confused (I guess he, she, or it is French & has other more incendiary matters to worry about).

China’s leaders already restrict their citizens’ access to the Internet and censors it with the help of Google and Yahoo. If they set up their own domains and servers, who cares – makes it easier for us to block them and reduces our vulnerability to their cyberattcaks. In fact walling of the dictatorships would be a positively good thing.

Bring it on Viviane!