Here in America we have Civil War re-enactors, and it seems France has 1968 Paris Riot re-enactors. The only thing missing is Charles de Gaulle. Emmanuel Macron isn’t even fit to be de Gaulle’s stand-in poodle. I notice his public approval ratings are around 18 percent. No wonder Trump smiles when they stand together at G-20 meetings.
I’ve been wanting for months to write up a retrospective look at the French crisis of 1968, which most Americans do not much think about because of our own traumas of 1968. But the events in France that year have had a long half-life, the residue of which is still discernible in French intellectual and political life today.
You may be familiar with the story of the first meeting between Henry Kissinger and China’s premier Chou En Lai in advance of Nixon’s historic first visit to China in 1972, when Kissinger asked, “What do you think of the French Revolution?” To which Chou is reported to have replied: “It is too soon to tell.” This remark set off everyone saying the Chinese Take the Long View, and are so far-sighted that they think in terms of centuries rather than decades, let alone election cycles and quarterly profit reports. This is why they’re going to beat us! Except it emerged later that Chou had in mind the French Revolution of 1968. And just so.
I’ll have to put off a more complete consideration of France 68 for another time, but for now let us bask in the warm, fossil-fuel-powered glow of watching the climatistas having a panic attack about what the French protests mean for their beloved dream of a carbon tax here in the U.S. It is said that the French middle and working classes, donning their yellow vests, are protesting an increase in fuel taxes designed to reduce gasoline and diesel consumption to save the planet. France already taxes fuel at a rate of somewhere around $3 a gallon, so what’s another 25 cents a gallon? Well, if you live in a nation that is the highest-taxed among the OECD countries (which means its tax system is much more regressive than ours—heh) at some point maybe you get tired of it and say non).
In a move of impeccable timing, a group of House Democrats and quisling Republicans have introduced a bill to impose a carbon tax here in the U.S., and the climatistas are falling all over themselves to say “Pay no attention to those riots over fuel taxes in France! Our carbon tax is completely different!” Here it is being called “tax and dividend” (or sometimes “revenue recycling,” which sounds even greener, because recycling!), as the tax revenue will supposedly be rebated to everyone. In other words, say the advocates, we merely want to induce fuel conservation by increasing the consumer price tag, but you’ll get your money back! So no harm, no foul air. I’m sure the next thing they’ll say is “Of course I’ll still respect you in the morning!” Why, I imagine the first carbon tax rebate checks are already in the mail.
No one over the age of six believes that a carbon tax would be “revenue neutral,” or that any rebate scheme wouldn’t be tilted into a de facto redistribution scheme. Some advocates are quite open about it. The prize for the most exquisite take on the whole matter comes from Tom Steyer on Twitter:
Oh please, please run for president on this platform, Mr. Steyer!