Skip to comments.Would you hire this man? (rioting French layabouts)
Posted on 04/03/2006 7:39:33 AM PDT by Neville72
Let's see if we have this right: French kids are rioting because they can't have jobs for life?
Am I the only one who thinks France is nuttier than frangipane?
Here is how I understand last week's wave of marches, riots and blockades in the land of loitering existentially in smoky cafés while making meaningful hand gestures:
Lots of over-educated youths with too much black in their wardrobes are desperate to dress up in balaclavas and bandannas and torch things because (now let me word this correctly) they are disillusioned that their government wants to help them get jobs, because when you get a job there is a big danger you might one day lose it, especially if you are crap at it.
I could have sworn that not long ago French youths were rioting because, thanks to workplace-protection laws so rigid you could dry your pantalons on them, no one under the age of 65 can break into the job market (unless their grand-père is head of the Union of Permanently Picketing Fonctionnaires, in which case there is always room for one more shop steward).
France's youth unemployment rate is consequently a staggering 23 per cent. The government's solution is this: In order to ease employers' worries about hiring graduates and then being stuck with them, regardless of their competency, for life, a new law will allow them to fire anyone under the age of 26 with fewer than two years on the job.
It is this law, designed to help students find work after university, that has them aux barricades. One minute French students are rioting for jobs, the next they are rioting because they might actually get a job but be required to perform well to keep it. How swiftly indignation adapts to circumstance.
Any anthropological textbook will tell you (using longer words) that France is a strange land with weird traditions. A few years ago, French prostitutes went on strike and took to the streets against plans to limit their soliciting. This protest was followed by a full-scale walkout by France's stilt-walkers (I'm serious!).
So perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that France's students are rioting before they have even got the jobs they are rioting about. Only the French could come up with the pre-emptive riot. Call it French Exceptionalism. Where else would you see a 12-metre banner demanding Regularisation?
The networks are loving the "romance" of "the heady scent of revolution, black coffee and Gauloises."
"French student power has an impressive record," the BBC drooled, gushing on about "the delicious sense of people power" as McDonald's gets trashed.
One young revolutionary was quoted as saying, "[This new fascist law the government is proposing] means that when I do get a job I will basically have to work as hard as I can to keep it!" (My emphasis, his accent).
What was that thing Francis Fukuyama said about the "Last Man," who so cannot bear having nothing to revolt against that he revolts against his own liberty? Well, I'm no Fukuyama (I never change my mind about something and sell books about it), but I've got two big things to say, and here they are:
First, it's impossible to ignore the fact (though everyone seems to be doing it but me) that it's cool to protest, and that's why a lot of people, especially young people, do it (about anything). Every teenager knows how "It's not fair!" What they don't know is that, as Derek Jeter once wrote, "The World Is Not Always Fair." C'est la vie.
Staging sit-ins or building blockades in university canteens doesn't have to have any more meaning than the fact kids are dyeing their hair blue and sitting cross-legged in snack shops big deal.
As for the violence part, well, let's face it, it's fun to lob flaming things at people you don't know, especially if your country refuses to go to war with anyone ever (even when it gets invaded) and, unlike, say, the United States, you rarely get the opportunity to formally lob flaming things at people you don't know. "I had nowhere to go but the streets!"
But the thing that really irks me is how, as my friend (who edits a magazine) put it, "It's like '68 all over again, only this time the French students are demanding a decently paying middle-management job and mid-range Citroën for all! What gives?"
One report quoted Marion, a girl full of that ever-present "indignation," saying, "I haven't studied hard to get nothing at the end of it. I've earned the right to a secure job."
The French are so wedded to the public sector that the Fifth Republic is, in essence, nothing more than a prenup. If the government breaks the terms of the deal, the rioters can construct a Sixth Republic and the government gets nothing. Zéro.
Has everyone forgotten what La France is all about? A couple of years back a book appeared on France's bestseller lists called Bonjour Paresse: De l'art et la nécessité d'en faire le moins possible en entreprise (Hello Laziness: The Art and Importance of Doing the Least Possible in the Workplace).
"Finally," ran a review in The New York Times, "instead of dissembling behind ambiguous notions of Gallic joie de vivre, someone in this leisurely land has declared outright that the French should eschew the Anglo-Saxon work ethic and openly embrace sloth."
Author Corinne Maier "worked" for years at the state-owned Electricité de France. Here are some excerpts from her manifesto:
"What you do is pointless. You can be replaced from one day to the next by any cretin sitting next to you. So work as little as possible and spend time (not too much, if you can help it) cultivating your personal network so that you're untouchable when the next restructuring comes around."
"You're not judged on merit, but on whether you look and sound the part. Speak lots of leaden jargon: People will suspect you have an inside track."
"Make a beeline for the most useless positions (research, strategy and business development), where it is impossible to assess your `contribution to the wealth of the firm.' Avoid `on the ground' operational roles like the plague."
"Tell yourself that the absurd ideology underpinning this corporate bullshit cannot last forever. It will go the same way as the dialectical materialism of the communist system."
France's latest "revolution" is its most embarrassing yet. Not even a strike by stilt-walking prostitutes could rival this effort. Expect to read about it next week.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dominic Hilton is a British freelance writer based in Philadelphia. He has just completed his first book, This Is The World.
I wonder if the STUPID French government is rethinking the "merits" of Socialism??? (chuckle)
Openly embrace sloth. I like that. Sounds like our governments.
The one that died at Verdun and the Somme.
The French model really seems to incense Anglo-Saxons.
France will keep her model, because her people want it.
America will keep her model.
And over time we will see the differences.
While loitering is a simple misdemeanor, loitering with existential intent is felonious. And possession of angst with intent to distribute is a capital offense.
well... for starters... Napoleon was a Corsican, and most Corsicans do not consider themselves to be French!
That sounds worse than 'Mopery with intent to creep'.
The solution for these people is to just go on welfare until they're 26. Man, how hard is it to think of that?
Incense? Not really. It amuses us that, even though contadicted by reams of historical evidence, the French think they can still make IT work. France will keep her model, because her people want it.
And we'll continue to watch France commit slow motion suicide
You think you are seeing France commit suicide.
The French think the Americans are in a frenzied debt-driven bubble that will burst and spread around a lot of misery.
France as a whole does not want to embrace that model, and won't. The lack of leverage means that French business and industry grows at a slower rate on the upside. It also means that it does not fall nearly as far on the downside.
Peugeot, Citroen, Renault are not exciting industries rolling up the massive profits like Ford and GM once were. On the other hand, they have not posted the knee-buckling losses or careened towards bankruptcy either. They are boring, profitable industries. A comparison between GM and Peugeot, or between United Airlines and Air France, or between Alcatel and Lucent, gives a good idea of the difference between the French and the American model. The French would not care to swap in any of those sectors.
All of the companies you mention have been kept alive by Govt funding. To say that the French economic model creates more prosperity than the U.S free enterprise system is ludicrous. France is a has been dying cultur and country with a bleak future ahead. You are obviously a socialist to make the inane comment you did, all the economic indicators point against a socialist economy long term, the evidnce against socialism is irrefutable.
Do you really think we get angry about seeing France go down the tubes? Try "bewilder". France was once a great nation at the forefront of western civilization, soon to become an islamic colony. No self-respecting sassonax would waste time getting upset about it.
A little AllBran every morning should help with that REGULARIZATION issue.
"All of the companies you mention have been kept alive by Govt funding. To say that the French economic model creates more prosperity than the U.S free enterprise system is ludicrous. France is a has been dying cultur and country with a bleak future ahead. You are obviously a socialist to make the inane comment you did, all the economic indicators point against a socialist economy long term, the evidnce against socialism is irrefutable."
Let's bookmark this and save it, and press it in a scrapbook, and then return to it five years hence, and ten, and fifteen, and twenty, and thirty, and fifty.
France isn't going to adopt the American model.
The Americans are confident in their own model.
So the two systems will co-exist and compete, side by side,
and at each step along the way, we will be able to make comparisons between the two.
Although I suppose that in 50 years in American perhaps the comparisons will need to be made en Espagnol, because the US government, driven by business interests who want cheap labor, relentlessly ignores some 75% of the American people's opinion about how the country should be governed. With the current labor law protests in France, and the impending government cave-in to the protestors, clearly no French government can govern against the will of 75% of the people the way that an American government can.
You have already written the obituary for France, so we will save the obituary, and we will keep dusting it off as the time progresses.
In Napoleon's day, it was practically sinful behavior to speak French on his native island.
The French were as incompetent then as they are today.
Their military success was brought about by a FOREIGNER, not one of their own.
Demographics indicate that the model of future France will lie in the hands of those who rioted a few months ago, not the spoiled university students who are demanding sinecures today. The islamic model is quite different than the gallic.
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