Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Pacifism, Militarism, Brutalism, Concern…

This old but interesting item is from the Wall Street Journal, and it shows us another aspect of the French internally unreconciliable paradox. It’s a complex worthy of a sick society:

«No other Western democracy puts so much military hardware on show as the French. While those hyperpuissant Americans and their army may now rule the world, the heavy stuff tends to stay out of public view in the post-draft and even post-9/11 era. On the Fourth of July, the U.S. Marine Corps Band marks the extent of most Americans' contact with their soldiers.
The Gallic taste for militarism, even if only for show, may be compensation for their current weakness or nostalgia for the imagined past. Considering the string of French military losses in the 20th century, it's almost quaint, except that the images of Bastille Day don't exactly square with the efforts of France's leaders to present their country as leading a pacifist vanguard in the world. Few people will forget then-Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin's lectures to America about avoiding war at any cost a few years back.»
But it’s a costly paradox. Picture a room full of people wearing t-shirts that say “I’m with stupid”, and not having a way to rest a conclusion. It is one of socialist democracy’s great problems – good intentions run headlong into the fact that a society does not have the means to do what it intends precisely because of that very same democratic socialism.

The recent fires in Paris display some of that problem. This blog’s good friend, Hervé comments on the fact that the activism of government bodies may have a had a direct influence on this issue.

«The building owner (a Lyon citizen named Joseph O'Dru) lost his property to squatters, while there was an court action the end result was that because squatters illegally took possession of his property, and when the owner appealed to have them removed, the local administration defended the squatters.

Then, the building belonged to nobody
And from Le Figaro we hear a confirmation that the ownership of property is confused. Therefore how long will it be when the principal of property ownership becomes questionable… you know, in the ”interest of the people(s)”?!?
«Pendant des mois, des huissiers se sont rendus rue du Roi-Doré pour faire exécuter la décision. En vain. Ils ont demandé l'intervention du commissaire de police en 2001 et 2002 qui n'a jamais répondu. Le 1er juillet 2004, le préfet a prononcé une interdiction d'habiter. Il m'informait que je ne devais plus percevoir de loyers. Un comble ! La situation de l'immeuble a continué à se dégrader. En avril 2004, le préfet a rendu cette fois un arrêté de péril. Tout le monde savait que cet immeuble était dangereux.»
What it comes down to is the enforcement of BASIC building maintenance practices and not messing around with laws because the ‘feel so harsh’. The building was a death trap because of the unclear concept authorities have of property rights. Then what is often called ‘the tragedy of the commons’ sets in and stays in.

Regardless of the circumstances perceived by northerners living in their comfort, people will live wherever they can afford to and will choose a lesser risk over a greater one to them. In fact these are people to be admired for doing something about their own fate, and not depending on the cold anonymity of a government to substitute for the self, family, and society.
«"If the living conditions were better in Africa, Africans wouldn't be leaving to live in Europe," said Idrissi Sow, a businessman in the main market in Guinea's capital, Conakry. "But there, at least each person has his chance. They went to live a better life and make money, they died. May their souls rest in peace."

In Cameroon's capital, Yaounde, 36-year-old Joseph Nana, agreed.

"These are Africans who are struggling to survive in another country, but misfortune has befallen them," Nana said.»
May their souls indeed rest in peace. They lost their lives to a fire, but first had to survive the confusion and ethical turpitude of the nation they found themselves in.

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