Skip to comments.Can France Be Saved?
Posted on 05/06/2007 5:56:02 PM PDT by shrinkermd
....The main contributing factor is probably the disintegration of the family. The divorce rate has grown from 12 percent in 1970 to almost 40 percent in 2005; 20 percent of all French couples are unwed; one third of all mothers are living alone; 40 percent of all children are born to unmarried parents. Indeed, the recombined family has become the French sociological and ethical norm, the result of successive unions and separations in which children wander from home to home under arrangements of shared parental authority and must learn to get along with a host of similarly forlorn children produced by the companions of their biological parents. In order to keep up with the trend, the civil code itself has been revisedthus accelerating the process. Full equality has been introduced between fathers and mothers, between legitimate and natural children, between married and unmarried couples; although same-sex marriages are still not legal, same-sex civil unions are.
A series of other, analogous disruptions has affected every aspect of the French way of life. While the state has grown inordinately, most of its rule-making functions have all but disappeared. Everybody knows that the ultimate seat of power, in terms of laws and regulations as well as in terms of judicial recourse, is now the EU rather than the French Republic, the Europarliament and the European Commission rather than the French parliament and the French government. State schools, once excellent, have been crippled by the combined effects of the feminization of the teacher corps and immigration. In most urban areas, school premises have been effectively consigned to teenage thugs who make a point of constantly challenging and humiliating female teachers and principals. State universities, once outstanding, have steadily deteriorated since 1968, and the super-universities or Grandes Ecoles have faced fierce competition in the global learning market. (According to a March 2007 report, not a single French academic institution is listed among the worlds 100 best universities.) Since the abolition of the draft in 1995, the states armed might has been reduced to a largely symbolic nuclear capacity and a rather small rapid-deployment force for peace-keeping missions only. And the franc has been replaced by the euro.
As far as religion is concerned, the Catholic Church collapsed in the late 1960s and has never recovered: according to one recent poll, only 51 percent of the French own to being Catholic, and only 17 percent of these observe Catholic rituals. Evangelical Protestants are trying to fill the Christian voidthere may now be twice as many evangelicals as mainstream Protestantsand the Catholic Church itself, or at least the laity, is attempting to fight back, so far without discernible success. As for the French secular religions (the free-thinkers, the so-called humanistic schools of thought, the old socialist and Communist sub-cultures), these are faring even worse.
Agriculture, industrialized and now EU-sponsored, still plays a sizable role in the French economy, but farmers have virtually vanished as a class...
...But what really undermines France as a democracy is the constitution behind the constitution: that is, the role played by the non-elected state bureaucracy. As Chauvel puts it:
What used to be said of Prussiaother states have armies, but Prussia is an army that owns a stateapplies to France today, with a slight difference. Other countries may have a state bureaucracy, but France is a state bureaucracy that owns a country. Statism in France is hardly a new issue. Tocqueville devoted a book, The Old Regime and the Revolution, to the subject. He contended that the 1789 revolution, for all its upheavals and radicalism, had ended by reinforcing rather than destroying the monarchical nature of the French state; everything still revolved around the central power and its hierarchically organized agencies. And bureaucratic statism was to play an even more pervasive role in the late 19th and especially in the 20th century.
In 1940, the Vichy regime set up some 60 leadership schools. After the liberation of France, one of them, located in the southern Alps, became the model for the Ecole nationale dadministration, founded in 1945 by de Gaulle. Better known by its initialsENAthe new institution was the epitome of meritocracy. Entry was subject to a competitive examination and in practice highly restricted. The curriculum was very broad: it included economics and management as well as public or administrative law. ENA students traveled a great deal, both in France and elsewhere. What was deemed essential, however, was the schools spirit: a fierce resolve to make the country great again, and a feeling that ENA graduates were not so much civil servants as the nations mentors and guardians.
It took the ENA a decade to mature from a mere project into a full-fledged operation. By the time its graduates, soon renamed enarchs, became numerous enough to fill up most senior positions in public administration, France seemed mired in disaster again. The Fourth Republic was a weak all-parliamentary regime, riddled with ministerial chaos and corruption and reeling from defeat in Indochina and the outbreak of war in Algeria. On the other hand, the French miracle was under way, thanks to developments like the baby boom, postwar economic growth, the Marshall Plan, and European integration. The question was whether France could seize the moment.
De Gaulle saw to it. Living in apparent seclusion since the early 1950s at Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, a hamlet in rural eastern France, he still had many loyaleven fanaticalsupporters. In 1958, when part of the French military rebelled in Algeria, a frightened political class called on the old general to rescue the republic. He obliged, but in doing so insisted on remodeling the constitution in his own way and on having it approved by referendum. The Fifth Republic was born, de Gaulle was elected president, and he stayed in charge for ten years.
The 1958 constitution was drafted by Michel Debré, a fervent Gaullist who had also been the main architect of the ENA. No French constitution since the Second Empire so drastically enhanced the executive branch or downgraded the legislature. Even more pertinent, however, was its preferential treatment of civil servants and enarchs over elected politicians. In a complete break with the Westminster model, members of parliament had to resign before joining the executive, but administrators could be elected to parliament or be appointed as cabinet ministers without resigning from the civil service. Moreover, the moment they quit politics, they were allowed to resume their former jobs, with full social benefits.
So it’s liberalism that has ruined France. The people have cried out for a rollback from liberalism. They do like all their social benefits, however.
The thinking was that after the west defeated morally, it would be easy to subdue militarily. It's just that the commie's never figured on the Islamists.
The leadoff alone sounds much like the US, with only some variation in the numbers that time will probably correct.
The classic illustration of Chesterton's axiom, that those who stand for nothing will fall for anything. Whether Sarkozy can roll back the tide is an open question. In the absence of a Great Awakening, I'm doubtful. Culture trumps politics, and French culture as elucidated above, is nearly defunct.
Can France be saved? I believe that now it can.
It’s wrong to b French
It begins by ending one of the great social lies of the second half of the 20th Century.
That lie is "If women work, as well as their husbands, productivity and their family income will be doubled, and women will become 'self-actualized' instead of being 'mere housewives'."
In truth, this was just a cruel trick to create more labor for the national economy of western nations, at low cost. How low cost? By raising taxes so much that the wife essentially works for free.
And once both people are working, the wife cannot stop, or the couple will be savaged by the high taxes.
The terrible downside of this governmental trick to boost "productivity", is that people only have a finite supply of energy. They can either use that energy to increase national "productivity", OR they can use that energy to reproduce and raise children.
Biologically, once a husband has provided sperm, his role in the family becomes being a "provider". However, the wife must both carry the child to term, and optimally provide it with the nurturing the child needs for more than five years. With the minimum two children, most likely seven or eight years.
So what would happen if France officially dissuades women from the workplace?
1) Taxes would need to be greatly reduced for married couples, which in turn would be a "marriage incentive".
2) Unemployment would strongly drop among men, and welfare roles would be reduced, needing less government largesse. Employees could work longer hours, and earn more money that way as well.
3) Women would be able to have and care for larger families, so the birthrate would increase. Women would have both the energy and resources to raise these families.
Of course this would not be universal, not all women want to get married, have a family, or give up working. But by encouraging this as the norm, not just the French birthrate, but also their economy will prosper.
There can be many variables to this system, as well. For example, home based employment can provide some 'actualization', extra income, and maybe a financial cushion for the wife. Many jobs can now be done by telecommuting, with someone to watch the children for a day or two each week, and their mother there the rest of the time.
But in the final analysis, it is up to France and other western nations to identify their national prerogatives: is it more important that we have high national productivity; or that we not die out as a people?
What sets it apart is the laziness and entitlement involved. They pass a few tests and it does not mean merit for the rest of their lives. Instead is means a simple job they can finish by 2 PM after coming in at 10 or 11 AM. Then they can spend the rest of the day talking politics with friends or reading or hanging out at a cafe. They don't want to really work, they don't need to actually rule. They just take the state's money as what they are entitled to as an intellectual elite, as though it is their birthright as the modern "nobles of the robe".
This is true of every Western country, including America. That's why the elite support multiculturalism and mass immigration - they don't care who they rule as long as they rule. In fact, in multicultural societies the central government, the bureaucracy, is the only place the population comes together, another benefit for the rulers.