It’s an axiom of American cosmopolitanism that Europe is far advanced over the United States in terms of social democracy, tolerance, openness, and so forth, and at the pinnacle of European sophistication stands France. The French have it over us on everything from existential filmmaking, wine and cheese, anti-semitism, and embrace of gay . . . —wait, what’s this? A major populist uprising against gay marriage in France, with hundreds of thousands of demonstrators taking to the streets? That kind of thing is only supposed to be happening in the deepest red recesses of reactionary Amerika I thought? And why haven’t we heard anything about this in the American media? Oh, that’s right: the media is too busy covering the Gosnell trial, and looking for the Timothy McVeigh behind the Boston bombing.
The London Spectator has a long piece on the anti-gay marriage protests under way in Paris (Paris, France, not Paris, Texas), describing how the French government has resorted to calling out the riot police to disperse some of the protests, and wondering why CNN and other media aren’t all over this spectacle:
Had the mobilisation in Paris taken place in Tahrir Square, the world’s media would be unanimous that a ‘French spring’ was about to sweep away an outdated power structure, especially since the demonstrations (including the daily ones held throughout last week, which culminated in a massive impromptu rally of 270,000 people on Sunday afternoon) are attended by an overwhelming number of people in their late teens and early twenties.
By the same token, had the Moscow security forces tear-gassed children and mothers — as the CRS did on the Champs Elysées on 24 March — or had they dragged away by their necks youngsters who were peacefully sitting on the lawn after the demo — as the riot police did on the night of 18 April — then the worldwide moral policemen on CNN would be frantically firing their rhetorical revolvers. Such repression would be interpreted as a sign that the regime was desperate.
Beyond the immediate issue of gay marriage, the article sees the turmoil as merely a symptom of the failing political fortunes of French President Francois Hollande, which in turn are connected to the broader problem of an insular “ruling class” like our own:
France, like the rest of Europe and much of the industrial world, is governed by one single political superclass which straddles not only nation-states but also left and right. EU politicians spend more time seeing each other than their own voters, while the range of policies actually at stake at any election narrows with each one. This is why voters systematically reject their leaders, and this is why the young have been so massively present in the marches. Such a situation cannot last.
This may turn out to be true here as well. Take it away, Angelo Codevilla: