Saturday, June 07, 2003

Boiling a Frog Slowly-Den Beste has a number of good posts on the current unrest in France, where the pattern of governance by mob rule continues. The pattern has been: (1) Government proposes trimming generous retirement and pension benefits, or refuses requested increase of same. (2) Unions strike, blockade the highways and bring Paris and other cities to a standstill. (3) Government gives in to unions. We were in retro mode earlier today when talking about Prop 13 and Carter's malaise speech; let's do another retro moment. Remember the air traffic controllers strike? Federal employees aren't allowed to strike, and Reagan fired the whole lot, using military controllers, a minority that didn't walk out and a cut-back flight schedule at first, then bringing the system back to normal with newly trained controllers and a few "scabs" who came back to their well paid (but stressful) jobs. As Den Beste's contributor notes, French political culture doesn't allow for such hardball by the government. Many countries have been taken over by mob rule; Mussolini comes to mind. If the French aren't careful, they might be turning into some sort of dystopic anarchy where nothing works for long, kinda like some of the black African ex-colonies of France.

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