How's That Socialism Workin' Out for Ya?

October 12, 2010 marks a historic day in France, one of the most socialist nations in the world.  Open ended, rolling strikes have overtaken the country, with as many as a million workers, most of them unionized, protesting in the streets of Paris and other cities.  This is hardly the first protest from the French unions.  In fact, it has become quite the time honored tradition to have organized protests in the street whenever some measure is implemented by the government that is unpopular with the workers.  They even have a catchy name for it: manif (short for manifestations).    While this is definitely not the first strike, it is different.  This one is much larger and may last much longer than the traditional twenty four hours, and is intended to halt many necessary functions such as communication and transportation. 

What are they protesting, you ask?  Could it be dangerous work conditions?  Exploitation by evil Capitalists?  Failure of fair compensation?  Nope.  The government is raising the extremely low retirement age from sixty years old to (GASP!) sixty two!   They are doing this to bring down ballooning pension costs and restore some fiscal sanity to out of control government debt.  They realize that their current course of government subsidized pensions is unsustainable, and that drastic measures are necessary to correct this.  

The other interesting phenomenon with this strike is its demographic.  Accompanying the union workers are many high school and college age students.  Their rationale?  As one nineteen year old student so eloquently states, "We are here for our future as well.  Unemployment is already bad enough in France. If we make people work past sixty that will make it that much harder for young people to get work."

So let me get this straight:  current workers are protesting having to work, and prospective workers are protesting the fact that they might not get to work.  On one hand you have a group that feels entitled to an early, fully compensated retirement from a job, and on the other you have a group that feels entitled to a job.  In both cases they have now turned to the government for solutions.  This self-serving mentality assumes no personal responsibility for the detrimental, out of control debt accrued, but rather expects complete compliance with its demand for more subjective ‘fairness.'  

This demonstrates not only the failure of socialist policy, but also of socialist morals.  By encouraging the idea that a job is a ‘right' and that the government will provide you with this ‘right,' socialists have brought about the very cycle of entitlement that assures conflict and collapse of any civil society.   This is now manifest in the conflict between the workers, children, and government of France.   They all see their own interests as supreme, expect full compliance with their demands, and the government is now in the untenable position to have to meet unrealistic goals or face significant social unrest.  It is the hallmark result of Anthropogenic Global Rights (AGR's):  that which the government provides, the government taketh away.  

As concerning as this is, it was not unforeseeable and it was preventable.   We in American are getting a glimpse of the ‘utopian' future that awaits us if we continue down our current path.  We should heed the lessons of these current events, and act to prevent them while we still have the chance.  

Dr. Ryan Hata is an Emergency Physician in Tennessee
October 12, 2010 marks a historic day in France, one of the most socialist nations in the world.  Open ended, rolling strikes have overtaken the country, with as many as a million workers, most of them unionized, protesting in the streets of Paris and other cities.  This is hardly the first protest from the French unions.  In fact, it has become quite the time honored tradition to have organized protests in the street whenever some measure is implemented by the government that is unpopular with the workers.  They even have a catchy name for it: manif (short for manifestations).    While this is definitely not the first strike, it is different.  This one is much larger and may last much longer than the traditional twenty four hours, and is intended to halt many necessary functions such as communication and transportation. 

What are they protesting, you ask?  Could it be dangerous work conditions?  Exploitation by evil Capitalists?  Failure of fair compensation?  Nope.  The government is raising the extremely low retirement age from sixty years old to (GASP!) sixty two!   They are doing this to bring down ballooning pension costs and restore some fiscal sanity to out of control government debt.  They realize that their current course of government subsidized pensions is unsustainable, and that drastic measures are necessary to correct this.  

The other interesting phenomenon with this strike is its demographic.  Accompanying the union workers are many high school and college age students.  Their rationale?  As one nineteen year old student so eloquently states, "We are here for our future as well.  Unemployment is already bad enough in France. If we make people work past sixty that will make it that much harder for young people to get work."

So let me get this straight:  current workers are protesting having to work, and prospective workers are protesting the fact that they might not get to work.  On one hand you have a group that feels entitled to an early, fully compensated retirement from a job, and on the other you have a group that feels entitled to a job.  In both cases they have now turned to the government for solutions.  This self-serving mentality assumes no personal responsibility for the detrimental, out of control debt accrued, but rather expects complete compliance with its demand for more subjective ‘fairness.'  

This demonstrates not only the failure of socialist policy, but also of socialist morals.  By encouraging the idea that a job is a ‘right' and that the government will provide you with this ‘right,' socialists have brought about the very cycle of entitlement that assures conflict and collapse of any civil society.   This is now manifest in the conflict between the workers, children, and government of France.   They all see their own interests as supreme, expect full compliance with their demands, and the government is now in the untenable position to have to meet unrealistic goals or face significant social unrest.  It is the hallmark result of Anthropogenic Global Rights (AGR's):  that which the government provides, the government taketh away.  

As concerning as this is, it was not unforeseeable and it was preventable.   We in American are getting a glimpse of the ‘utopian' future that awaits us if we continue down our current path.  We should heed the lessons of these current events, and act to prevent them while we still have the chance.  

Dr. Ryan Hata is an Emergency Physician in Tennessee

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