The French are rebelling in large numbers. They wear red wool hats as a signal of rebellion (elegant, this!) and to rally one another. I am told by French connections I trust much of the time that the rebellion is not along political lines, that it includes left, right and center.
There seems to be two main targets. First, on the surface, it began as a manifestation of opposition against an “ecotax,” a tax on big trucks intended to fight global warming. (Good for the French! See my many essays on this blog on the myth of global warming. More coming.)
Second, but this is an interpretation, there seems to be a widespread feeling that the French nanny state is finally coming to an inglorious end. This is an interpretation because the French media do not articulate clearly this link:
generous free social services→ high taxes→ stagnant economic life, high unemployment, poor everything, sense of doom, low fertility, etc.
Many ordinary French people are simply disgusted with the poor quality of everyday life in their country, and, especially, with low employment with no end in sight. Many envision no future for their children. Many of their children say they want to emigrate, leave France for good.
It does not mean that the French are poor, overall. They are much richer than say, Mexicans. Yet, impressionistically, subjectively, urban Mexicans are much merrier than urban French people. It seems to me that it’s because the ones, living with reasonable economic growth, have hope, while the others, living at a higher level but with no growth, despair.
You can’t fool all the people all the time. And the people can’t even fool themselves forever, not the French, not anyone!