Yesterday in my Under the Fedora non-tweet I mentioned that ¡No Pasaran! post deserved a bigger excerpt to let people understand the context of his declaration: WE ARE NOT MILCH COWS!
The context comes from an understanding that a bureaucratic state that says much and does little needs money and if they don’t want to chase away the rich by taxes it has to come from elsewhere:
What has been most irksome for les Français since the turn of the century has been the ubiquitous radars, which, like red-light cameras in the United States, are accused of having (far) more to do with bringing revenue to the state than with road safety.
And just like the arms industry in the Soviet Union, if there was one area of France where the technology was always moving forward, it was the radar business.
Over the years, the radars have become evermore stealthy and insidious. …/… What has happened since shows the Deep State at work in Europe just as much as, if not more than, in North America — and this leftist statism is the kind of news that has been ignored by the mainstream media, in France itself as much as abroad. …/…
The argument for these cameras is always safety but the purpose of these cameras is always revenue. However what happens when you squeeze a fruit to the dregs.
On July 1, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe did what no other country in Europe or in the West (or, as far as I know, on the planet) has done: go against the march of progress and lower the slowness limit (sorry, the speed limit) on secondary (country) roads by 10 km/h, decreasing the limit from 90 km/h (56 mph) to 80 km/h (50 mph).
Apparently it was necessary for the safety of drivers to make sure nobody in France drives above 50 mph.
• At about the same time came the contracts that the government decided to write with private corporations, handing the business of the state’s (plainclothes) gendarmes over to their company employees, to take over the business of the mobile radars in their shiny new fleets of vehicles. (Meanwhile, other private companies have been getting similar contracts from city governments, meaning wage earners doing mostly nothing but driving up and down the city streets, while a license plate reader decides which cars’ owners will be getting automatically-generated fines.).
That’s what petty tyrants do, they assign power to others who become petty tyrants of their own accord.
This is actually the point at which the first protests started. During the summer, the country saw a huge increase in instances of destruction (or incapacitation) of radars on the roadside. Many were defaced with paint, others were set on fire, while still others were simply covered with something like a garbage bag (one man arrested while covering a radar was let free by a judge who decided that since the garbage bag hadn’t actually brought any physical harm to the machine in any way, the defendant could not be accused of destroying it).
Shades of the Tea Party, but not the one referenced by Vodkapundit at Instapundit talked of but the actual Boston Tea Party, but apparently even this measure wasn’t bringing in enough revenue to keep these folks happy
• More recently, the government added more gratuitous sanctions to the driver’s license point system, which is already far more punitive than that of most European countries, not least neighboring Germany’s.
And remember all of this was BEFORE the fuel tax hike.
If this kind of incrementalism looks familiar it because we have seen stories like this out of California:
The CPUC is already taxing the phone call part of cell phone service. Fortune Magazine explains the reason the CPUC is looking at squeezing revenue out of text messaging that PPP revenue is down because people have changed their manner of communication from voice calls to texting.
Fortunately for Americans, if California decides its citizens are milk cows they can go to Texas, or Tennessee, or Pennsylvania or even Massachusetts which hasn’t gone that far yet, but there is only one France.
The bottom line is there is still a “nobility” in France that believes in the Feudal system only that nobility is one of elites and bureaucrats who didn’t get their titles and power bravery in combat and deeds of valor by themselves or their ancestors but by going to the right schools and having the right connections and like their Lordly ancestors of centuries past, they DO believe the people are milk cows to serve their betters, just as the media elites here do but they don’t work under the disadvantage of an armed populace.
Oddly enough the mainstream media never bothered to tell us any of this background about what’s going on in France, I had to find it on the site of a reliable blogging friend of mine.
I wonder why (actually no I don’t).