Socialist Climate Policies Drive France's Riots
French protesters want what all socialists want: Lavish benefits paid for by someone else.
In recent weeks, images of “Yellow Jackets” (a reference to the reflective yellow vests, required to be carried by all French drivers, worn by protesters) have dominated media — angry French citizens rioting in the streets, vandalizing monuments, and setting Paris aflame. To be fair, only a small percentage of the nearly 300,000 Frenchmen who have taken to the streets have engaged in violence.
And fewer still seem to appreciate the irony of these protests because, despite the anger, the French are getting exactly what they voted for: socialism.
Last year the French elected socialist Emmanuel Macron in a 66-34 blowout over the nationalist Marine Le Pen, following that up months later by giving Macron’s La République en Marche! (LRM) party complete control of France’s government with 377 of the French National Assembly’s 577 seats.
Today Macron’s approval rating stands at an abysmal 26%, far below that of U.S. President Donald Trump. Yet Macron has repeatedly rebuked Trump for his pro-American “nationalism.” Trump’s nationalism certainly stands in stark contrast to the globalism of world leaders like Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel, who responded to criticism of migration and climate change policies by declaring, “Countries must give up their sovereignty … in an orderly fashion of course.”
The catalyst for the recent protests and riots — the worst in France since the 1968 uprising that led to the downfall of President Charles de Gaulle — was an increase in the gas tax. Why the tax? To force French citizens off of diesel and gas-powered cars and into electric cars so as to combat the ecofascist hobgoblin of “climate change,” which, we’re incessantly told, is a cataclysmic problem that supposedly justifies extreme policies.
For the French, who drive more diesel vehicles than any other European nation, this meant a tax hike that resulted in fuel prices of nearly $7 a gallon. This is extremely painful for the average French citizen struggling to get by in a sluggish French economy.
In an attempt to quell the anger driving the riots, French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced this week that the government will suspend the tax for six months.
Of course, it’s an open secret that the war to end “climate change” is really a proxy war to destroy free-market capitalism and replace it with globalist socialism while curtailing individual rights.
In 2015, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of UNIPCC (the global governing body on climate change), declared that the real goal of the “global warming” agenda is not avoiding ecological disaster but destroying capitalism. Figueres said, “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”
If the goal was to reduce CO2 emissions, France and the world would emulate America, which has reduced CO2 output more than any other country in the last 30 years, and by a wide margin (a 14% reduction in U.S. emissions from 2005-2017 alone, versus a 21% increase for the rest of the world), despite rejecting both the Kyoto and Paris climate treaties.
But much like socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders — who owns three houses and a high-end sports car — the French people want to enjoy the feeling of moral superiority of embracing socialism (who can be against equality for all?) without actually having to deal with the consequences of socialism, which is, and always has been, government oppression and widespread poverty.
Even as the French protest and riot over the increase in the gas tax, they reject proposals to cut spending in social services and welfare. As reported in The Washington Post, “A key priority for Macron’s administration has been to honor France’s European commitment to keep its budget deficit below 3 percent of gross domestic product. Suspending the carbon tax will mean that billions of euros will have to be saved elsewhere, possibly in the form of spending cuts that could affect the social services that many yellow-vest protesters also cherish. … But Macron’s political opponents rejected out of hand the suggestion that social services might be cut in any way.”
The Washington Times further reports, “The demonstrations have unexpectedly morphed into a general expression of discontent over living conditions in France. … Specifically, many of the protesters want higher salaries and pensions, jobs, better services and tax cuts.” In other words, more generous wages and benefits at someone else’s expense.
The French do not seem to grasp cause and effect. France is already the second-most heavily taxed of all Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, and while Macron has implemented some pro-business policies, the economy continues to be bogged down by high taxes, burdensome regulations, and massive welfare costs, all of which drives France’s 8.9% unemployment rate (21.5% for youth) and sluggish, sub-2% GDP growth.
It’s not just France, though. These same types of violent protests have spread to Belgium and the Netherlands and continue to build throughout Europe. We saw this occur in Greece when austerity measures were implemented to stave off complete bankruptcy.
American socialists and global-warming hysterics — free to preach their secular gospel while living free of its consequences — take note. America’s commitment to individual rights and the free market have made it the undisputed global leader. Tamper at your own peril.