Sunday, August 26, 2007


Says George Will.

"FRENCH libraries are said to file their nation's constitutions - there have been more than a dozen since 1789; the current one is a relatively ancient 49 years old - under periodicals. Now Nicolas Sarkozy, France's peripatetic new president, has created a commission on constitutional reform. The commission includes Jack Lang who, as minister of culture in 1983 under President Francois Mitterrand, staged a sublimely unserious conference on the (supposed) world economic crisis, featuring the likes of Sophia Loren, Susan Sontag and Norman Mailer.

France's unemployment rate has not been below 8 percent in 25 years - not since 1982, when Francois Mitterrand inadvertently did what Thatcher intentionally did - killed socialism. Elected president in 1981 promising a "rupture with capitalism," he kept that promise pitilessly. He had the most sweeping program of nationalizations ever proposed for a free economy; he increased pensions, family allowances, housing allowances and the minimum wage. The franc was devalued three times and soon he was forced to adopt "socialist rigor" (austerity).

French leftism is perfectly reactionary. Wielding a word with semi-sacred connotations in France, socialists say they are "the resistance." They are not for anything; they are against surrendering any of their entitlements. They stand against three menaces. One is "neoliberalism" - markets supplanting the state as the primary allocator of wealth and opportunity. The second is the Americanization of culture by imports of American entertainments (see the third). The third is globalization (see the first and second).

In May, in an election with the highest turnout (85 percent) since 1981, Sarkozy's socialist opponent, Segolene Royal, a princess of vagueness, won 47 percent of the vote for, essentially, "resistance." Remarkably, she defeated Sarkozy among voters ages 18 to 59 - the working population. It does not bode well for reform that he won by winning huge majorities among those most dependent on the welfare state - 61 percent among those 60 to 69 and 68 percent among those over 70.

One in four French workers is employed in the public sector, which devours 54 percent of GDP. (The U.S. percentage is about 34.) The fact that for 15 years France's GDP and output per hour worked have been declining relative to those of Britain and the United States surely is related to the fact that 60 percent of the French respond positively to the word "bureaucrat." American conservatives should seek happy harbingers elsewhere."

Lefties are lefties the world over, bonded with the crazy glue that all inept cowards use to cling to one another. Never, ever be pro-anything (pro-choice really means anti-life) because that would mean there's an anything worthy of applauding. Far better to complain and seek victimhood thanks to the irrefutable fact that the human condition is messy and how in all hells should ANYONE be expected to cope. France isn't going anywhere but further down the neverending spiral of decrepitude, not with 20% of the population avowing themselves to be head-choppers at a moments notice.

And seriously now, what else CAN be expected from a country that comes up with a brand spanking new constitution once every 17 years or so.

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