As our country mourns the loss of a great man and continues the endless battle between crazy liberals and rational thinking, the rest of the world has plenty of its own turmoil. The battle for Brexit is far from over. The EU is still on the brink of collapse. Russia is trying to take over Ukraine. And, at the top of uncertainty, Paris is literally on fire.
This isn’t a wildfire gone out of control. It’s not even similar to the great Chicago fire of years past. No, Paris is on fire because rioters are sick of the government, and they’re finally ready to fight for change, literally.
While it hasn’t been at the level of a cover up, mainstream media has shied away from giving too much attention to the riots in Paris. That’s why you might not be fully up to speed on the situation. The riots have been continuing for several weeks now. The bulk of activity is during the weekend (seems rioters have day jobs), and they have escalated in severity over time. In the most recent weekend, more than 75,000 people participated. Hundreds were injured, hundreds more were arrested, and the total damage was massive.
Cars were flipped. Buildings were burned. Monuments were spray painted. In all it has been a level of protest not seen in the western world since the Irish uprising in the 90s. The French people are frustrated, scared and done with their government’s liberal policies.
The riots began when a new series of fuel taxes were applied. It made gas too expensive for many commuters, and just in time for winter, many French people were suddenly hit with increases in their electricity rates.
What started as standard protests became violent as frustration mounted and the French government refused to back down. The rioters have gathered around the symbol of the motor safety vest. The government requires a safety vest to be stored in every motor vehicle, so protesters have taken to wearing the vests during riots.
This crazy string of events all traces back to a single source: the President of France. You might remember Macron’s election. The news was less about him and more about the right-wing populist who almost defeated him. Well, he won, and for the last year and a half he has been introducing record levels of regulation and taxation to fight carbon emissions.
At least, that’s his claim. One of the ignition points for these riots was when it was revealed that more than 75 percent of the new taxes would be going towards the general budget and not to combat climate change.
Regardless, the taxes have weighed heavily on the wallets of the French. To put this in perspective, tax hikes have increased gasoline prices by 30 cents a gallon so far this year. The next time you go to the pump, imagine the price jumping by 30 cents a gallon. Then, imagine that most of that tax won’t go to where it was promised.
The French People
While it’s certainly big news to hear about 75,000 French citizens violently confronting their government, it’s important to keep perspective. Macron campaigned on climate change. It was his number one issue, and many single-issue voters selected him for that single reason. What he’s doing is in line with that campaign. So far, the French people are getting exactly what they elected.
Furthermore, Macron is considered fairly conservative by French standards. His biggest critics are on the left wing. Think about this for a moment. France narrowly avoided electing a true conservative and picked Macron because he promised to fight climate change. Now that the taxes are here, it’s the far left that can’t take the heat. How’s that for irony.
To be fair, plenty of protesters are on the right, but they should be protesting. They’re fighting against a corrupt government they didn’t choose. It’s the leftists who should be admitting their mistake.
A Bowing Government
These riots aren’t for nothing. So far, they’ve had at least some impact on governance in France. Macron has agreed to suspend further fuel taxes for six months. During that time, they will “reassess” tax impacts on fuel prices. It’s a small concession, but it’s a big turnaround from his original statements.
Despite that concession, the riots haven’t slowed at all. Leaders and organizers say that Macron’s minimal concession means nothing to them. They want permanent tax relief or they will continue torching Paris. In public, Macron can’t take a step without hearing cries for his resignation.
It’s clear that France is undergoing a cultural revolution (that’s very near to becoming a political revolution). What started with a swing to the right during the last election has now become the dominant voice in the country. They finally understand the true meaning of big government, and they’re done with it.
Perhaps the most exciting part of all of this is that France isn’t alone. Half the provinces in Canada are meeting Trudeau’s agenda with similar sentiment. Poland has refused EU demands to curb fuel production, and Italy is near to a complete overhaul of their government. The world still has a long way to go, but the leftist stranglehold on western countries is slipping.
The global Obama effect is finally fading. That will eventually be a good thing, but sometimes the transition to a better way of thinking can be messy. It might be early for real optimism, but France could be ready to push the modern world back towards reason.