As they honor George H.W. Bush and take note of the latest implausible speculation about Robert Mueller’s inquiry and related matters, Americans should be aware of the deterioration of the political institutions and governments of Europe.
France only a few months ago was widely looked to as a likely source of political renovation that could incite and encourage modernization in other Western countries. Today, the place is in a state of widespread disorder. Masses of people associated initially because they dislike the hypocrisy of raising gasoline taxes in the name of preserving the world from the threat of climate change, connected by social media, and wearing yellow safety vests as a uniform, have arisen to demonstrate and riot around the country—as only the French know how to do. The Arc de Triomphe, among the world’s most admired monuments, was liberally daubed with graffiti (where were the police?) over the weekend, and on Sunday France awoke to the disagreeable fragrance of arson and scorched automobiles.
In one sense, these malcontents—“gilets jaunes” as they are called for their yellow vests—are doing the world a favor. They are telling the immense coalition of Marxists, eco-alarmists, camp-followers, dupes, and garden variety political cowards that they will not put up with this bunk about climate change requiring drastic reductions in carbon emissions and therefore justifying absurdly high fuel prices as the world oil price declines. This was too easily accessible an escape hatch for political leaders who have no idea how to square the circle of bloated public expenditures, sorely irritated taxpayers, bourgeois insistence on retention of some value for our currencies which have no value other than in relation to each other, and the irresistible temptation to promise to spend more.
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