Sunday, April 5, 2009


In France, four executives have been kidnapped in the last month by union workers demanding jobs, better severance packages, or that old chestnut of the labor movement, justice.

The New York Times reports, "So far, no one has been hurt in the “séquestrations,” as the French refer to the hostage-taking. The unions, and most French people, have refused to condemn the actions, saying it is understandable, if not defensible, that people faced with the loss of their livelihoods would take such risks."

What justice is there in violence directed at innocent people? What would the French people say of a boss who kidnapped his workers, even if he treated his hostages to meals of "mussels and French Fries" while in captivity? Has justice in France become two different sets of laws for two different sets of people?

The conclusion is obvious. The French are playing a new variation on an old and unhealthy theme. It is the same theme played against the Jews in Europe, the Chinese in Southeast Asia, or African-Americans in the Deep South during the Jim Crow Era: violence is acceptable -- even laudable -- so long as it is limited to unpopular members of society. 

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