The children of polygamy

Friday, November 18, 2005
It seems that in France, people are increasingly saying that the riots were caused by a combination of race and polygamy, rather more than any directly Islamic rabble rousing. This on the news that a lot of the rioters were Black (and, presumably, often from Muslim, sub-Saharan African families) rather than Arab. I don't know exactly how this finger pointing is playing out in the French media, but the accusation is apparently that Blacks participated out of proportion to their numbers in the French immigrant communities where North Africans are the large majority.

I've argued that we should be careful when attributing causes to irrational violent outbursts, and that our attributions are usually much more about attempting to shape the order that comes after chaotic violence than about explaining its initiation. Resentment and violence are anything but rational, straightforward, "root cause" and effect phenomena. Having said this, I have to add that if the French welfare state has been subsidizing large-scale polygamy in France, it has only been begging for trouble.


Anonymous said...

I understand it has been subsidizing polygamy though I do not know to what extent. Apparently many of the wives and children never even reside in France and the extra supplement is used my the male resident. When the overseas family needs medical care they are brought to France for it where it is provided free, and when the children--particularly male children--reach adulthood, they then move to France to take advantage of the other generous benefits.

This is also a problem in Norway where I read that they have just passed a law refusing to recognize marriages entered into abroad by minor girls who have been taken there to marry relatives to provide them with a means of immigrating. Stupid, huh?

ambisinistral said...

Well, it depends on how much you trust the media's narrative. Focusing on the youth gangs to the exclusion of everything else about the "suburbs" of Paris may not give the clearest picture of what's going on below the surface.

The Christian Science monitor article Not all Muslims want to integrate paints a rather disturbing picture that isn't being discussed at all regarding events in Europe.

From the article: What they've reaped, alas, is a generation of Muslims, many of whom view their neighborhoods as colonies amid enemy territory - and who demand this autonomy be recognized. In Britain, imams have pressed the government to designate part of Bradford as being under Muslim law. In Belgium, Muslims in the Brussels neighborhood of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek consider it to be under Islamic jurisdiction. In Denmark, Muslim leaders have sought similar control over parts of Copenhagen. In France, an official met with an imam at the edge of Roubaix's Muslim district out of respect for his declaration that it was Islamic territory. In many cities, police have stopped patrolling certain enclaves, the authorities having effectively ceded control to local religious leaders.

It isn't neither just polygamy -- or street gangs -- it is the whole ball of wax being tolerated that ultimately at the root of this. Rationiling it away won't solve things, only by enforcing our values unabashedly will we find a way out of this insanity.

ambisinistral said...

Err... rewrite my last paragraph to read...

It is neither polygamy -- nor street gangs -- it is the whole ball of wax being tolerated that ultimately is the root of this problem. Wishing it was just punks running amuck won't solve things. Only by enforcing our values unabashedly will we find a way out of this insanity.

truepeers said...

Yes we have to enforce values unabashedly. Yet if there is one thing that is at the root of our value system, and everything else, it is our family structure. And there is no way that polygamy, especially in the context of a western world with nuclear families, can provide the freedom, equality, or personhood necessary to any kind of successful integration into modernity. Here in Canada, we have a few polygamists; it is illegal, but the provincial governments don't want the publicity or trouble of prosecuting it. They are afraid to enforce our values because they see no upside and fear a downside. They don't care about the downside of quietly living with it. So, since the numbers are relatively small, and the people naturally isolated from most of society, they just let the children, unmarried men, and wives suffer. But if polygamy is as widespread in France as this article suggests, it is pretty much a guarantee of social disorder in some shape or form.

Buddy Larsen said...

Maybe these 'free Islam' enclaves should be allowed to go on the open market to purchase the easements necessary to build their own colonial utilities systems.

This would recycle some of those devilishly idle petrodollars flowing in thru that underground money-transfer system, AntiWestern-Union.

And why not negotiate their own trade deals with the parent country? Those continually-strapped French farmers could do great biz scalping veggies one street over from Al-Shabbyville. It's not as if Islam is ever going to manufacture an airfleet to airdrop any vittles.

"Vous le voulez? Il est à vous!"