A family member who has lived in France for decades summarized the source of the gilets jaunes protests in one sentence: “The government stopped listening to the people 20 years ago. It would be difficult to deny the generalization of this: many if not most governments stopped listening to their people decades ago, preferring instead to listen to financial and political elites and entrenched cultural elites who view commoners with disdain.
Legions of commentators are weighing in on the economic and cultural sources of France’s distemper. Many have characterized the protests as working class, broadly speaking, the multitudes who have seen an erosion in the purchasing power of their wages or pensions while France’s financial, political and cultural elites have feasted on whatever meager gains the French economy has registered in the past 20 years.
The protesters rightly perceive that they are politically invisible: the ruling class, regardless of its ideological flavor, doesn’t believe it needs the support of the I>politically invisible to rule as it sees fit. The ruling class has counted on the cultural elites to marginalize and suppress the politically invisible by dismissing any working-class dissent as racist, fascist, nationalistic and other words expressly intended to push dissent into the political wilderness.
The cultural elites reckoned their ceaseless depiction of working-class dissent as racist-fascist populism would continue marginalizing the commoners, but the worm has turned: the financially, politically and culturally marginalized classes are fed up.
Despite the usual squabbles between factions, the ruling class has long been united behind a simple tool of control: buy complicity with government benefits. Should dissent boil up in a broad-based movement, the solution is buy the protesters off with some new state subsidy or benefit.
This is one of the essential dynamics of Neofeudalism which are:
1. Debt penury and wage-slave loyalty to the New Nobility that owns the debt.
2. The financial-political nobility maximize their skim and justify this exploitation with airy assurances to the politically impotent debt-serfs that this systemic predation magically offers up the best possible outcome for the peasantry.
3. State benefits are used as bribes to buy the complicity and passivity of the wage-slave debt-serfs.
4. The New Nobility offer politically correct cover stories for their exploitation and predation.
Now that this strategy has failed to silence gilets jaunes, France’s ruling class realizes the situation is serious. And as we all know, the ruling class everywhere follows this dictum: when it gets serious, you have to lie.
The lies are now continuous, hence the explosion of elite concern over fake news. The spark that lit the fuse of the current protests was a lie, of course; the fuel tax wasn’t intended to “save the planet”, it was intended to raise revenue so the elites could continue to extract their skim without endangering the economic order.
The elites’ clever exploitation of politically correct cover stories has enthralled the comatose, uncritical Left, but not those who see their living standards in a free-fall.
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