While conflagrations in France continue alongside that country’s more customary baseline of Muslim mass murderers, I continue to reflect on the yellow vest movement there. Of course I am completely in support of highly visible popular disdain in high visibility clothing. Though I enjoy less clarity on why it was all even necessary.
One of civilization’s longest serving truisms is that you never have to defenestrate the tyrants you don’t install. That’s apparently not intuitive, though lots of tears and teargas would be spared by internalizing it. The French public is now livid at Emmanuel Macron, and it seems to be for reasons beyond him marrying his grandmother’s babysitter.
So why does Macron have a 23 percent approval rating? One answer is that he despises the French people, is committed to replacing them with Africans, and demands they pay confiscatory taxes to subsidize the transition. That’s probably sufficient cause for you or I, but what’s bugging the French? Isn’t this precisely what they wanted?
It was a mere 19 months ago that Macron decisively trounced Le Pen 66 to 34 in what is analogously the French general election. Normally a 32 point margin is taken as a fairly unequivocal mandate, and it certainly was taken as such by their new leader.
So what was the Macron mandate the French people threw themselves behind by two to one? Reports of his platform included the following featured elements:
🇫🇷 Full EU integration/submersion of French sovereignty.
🇫🇷 Mass muslim/african migration. Actually pledged to accelerate asylum requests, and entrench discrimination against native French by granting tax breaks to businesses for hiring migrants.
🇫🇷 Tax cuts for the rich.
🇫🇷 Large cuts to civil service employment.
🇫🇷 Full institutionalization of climate supremacy, with its massive attendant costs.
More knowledgeable Francophiles are encouraged to correct this impression in the combox, but it is not apparent to me precisely which of these promises Macron betrayed. In no sense did he ever suggest a loyalty to or even vague affection for the French people. This being a sentiment the electorate roundly rejected in the person of Ms. Le Pen.
The ostensible irritant for the Yellow Vests was a gas tax used to incentivize the French toward ethical cave dwelling. Because that’s in a sense what sustainable non-nuclear power requires. Either dramatic reductions in the average person’s electrical usage, or an equally punitive increase in their costs. Saving the Environment as a slogan produces an exhilarating moral thrill, but practically no commensurate appetite to pay for the pleasure. And that strikes me as the the more fundamental spark behind the Yellow Vest explosion.
To explain, consider Maslow’s hoary hierarchy.
Forgetting physiological needs, think of the other four in two related bands: 1) the foundations of belonging and safety, and 2) the aspirations of esteem and self-actualization. I believe the source of consternation in France, and the West as a whole, is the broad conviction to have 2 while rejecting 1. It is the futile and excruciating attempt to achieve our exquisite societal aspirations while simultaneously eroding our foundations. The result is a vast, typically misdiagnosed dissatisfaction that consistently gives birth to intense division and upheaval. For malign pols like Macron, it must be flummoxing.
To such leaders, promises have been kept. They have performed as pristine anti-racists in opening their habitats to mass colonization. They have been devout climate congregationalists by crushing their people under fossil taxes. They have been been true brothers-of-man by relinquishing their nation’s authority to globalist institutions. And they have lubricated international commerce by cutting plutocrat tax bills and outsourcing the costs of their labor units. Under more gauzy platitudes, these are all aspirations that millions throughout the West have been coaxed to covet.
But what if aspirations are not only put before social foundations, but actively erode them? In such a situation, the more you give people what they believe they want, the worse you make their lives, and thus the angrier you make them. That’s precisely what I see in France. The French don’t want to be economically immiserated and demographically replaced. So they hate the globalist elites. But they desperately aspire to urbane liberal cosmopolitanism. So they elect the globalist elites. The conflict between self interests and self image is as much within the public as between it and its leaders. Though in both the conflict is turning vicious.
It’s remarkable how much misery can be avoided by aligning foundations with aspirations. Presumptively saving the ecosystem provides a wonderful rush of dopamine. But being ground under by merciless taxation is a deppressing offset. Similarly, being open, compassionate, and anti-racist to the world’s seven billion minorities feels deliciously smug. Though being shot dead over Christmas in Toulouse certainly causes one to reevaluate the downside. As Mr. Maslow hypothesized, people really do want to feel safe in their own countries. They really do want a sense of belonging, community, heritage, and continuity. Not having them really does foster intense dissatisfaction.
Western populations have been conditioned to strive exclusively for liberal aspirations, while ignoring or denouncing conservative foundations. It should be of little flummox when this combination results in tennis matches with tear gas.