France’s Populist Revolt Against Green Taxes: Liner Notes

I have a new column up at The Federalist: “Green Taxes Spark A Populist Revolt In France Injuring 750, Killing Two.” Although it’s mostly about how the Macron government’s climate agenda (and the more extreme version being pushed in Paris) has sparked a new type of political unrest in France, it’s also about the way in which the English-language press seems to want to avoid the green roots of the protests. That’s partly a story about media bias, but more about the elitist groupthink on climate change generally.

Indeed, what gets left out of the column for space is perhaps some nuance. I hope it’s still clear that the column is more a cautionary tale in the mold of “How You Got Trump” than an endorsement of populism. But anyone who gets reactions to their writing on social media has to worry about not being completely blunt. Also, if greens want to blame the public for their seeming apathy, I can almost sympathize; they have the same sorts of problems fiscal conservatives have in trying to convince people that the accumulation of debt in the public and private sectors is a problem for which the bill will someday come due. That said, people in the public square have to deal with the public as it is, not as they wish it was.

A further aspect omitted here would have focuses on the American media, which during the post-Thanksgiving period has criticized the Trump administration for releasing a climate report on Black Friday and debated how much more hysterical they should be about climate change. And nowhere in that discussion is a mention that our oldest ally has people setting the streets of Paris ablaze over the hysteria of green bureaucrats. Nor is there any recognition that despite the relative levels of hysteria, it’s France whose emissions won’t meet its commitments under the Paris accord, while the U.S. will probably do a better job of hitting the target under an agreement from which we have withdrawn. The green blob seems to have less self-reflection than a vampire, perhaps suggesting this is more about social signaling than the search for consensus solutions — which the people seem to notice.

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