Thank you Obélix!
SOPHİE QUİNTİN ADALIAs the French economy grinds to a disastrous halt and faces the prospect of a 0.1 percent growth rate in the next quarter, the fight against fiscal dissidents has been upped a notch.
“Hollandism,” like other “isms” before it, will not venture down the path of serious state reform.
Austerity may be imposed on Club Med states but in France public spending continues to rise; while the élite stigmatizes tax dissidents the government continues to plan new confiscatory fiscal policies.
Their latest victim is Gérard Depardieu, aka Obélix the Gaul. The towering figure of French cinema is the latest to flee the collectivization spearheaded by politicians who have ironically lived well off his contribution (145 million euros) and are partly responsible for the economic mess. Taxed at 85 percent in 2012, the actor-businessman has had enough. In a letter to Prime Minister Ayrault who had called him “pathetic” he said: “I am going [to Belgium] because you think success, creation and talent - in other words, difference - should be sanctioned.”
The state-subsidized press run by Leftist eco-friendly “bobos” (Bohemian Bourgeois) is having a field day accusing him of being “unpatriotic,” and a Socialist deputy asked that his assets be seized. After the damaging blackmail to nationalize the Indian-owned ArcelorMittal steel operation, many are wondering where so much intolerance and incompetence might lead.
Although portrayed as a moral crusade in the name of “solidarity” the fact is that the policies are becoming increasingly authoritarian. To understand this phenomenon, the insights of Friedrich Hayek in the “Road to Serfdom” (1944) are particularly useful. In the chapter titled, “The Totalitarians in our Midst,” Hayek explains the key role played by socialist-minded economic and intellectual élites in curtailing individual freedoms and fostering undemocratic regimes. Attempts to plan the economy, he argues, can only lead to totalitarianism.
France wants “competition” on its own terms. Countries with more advantageous corporate tax regimes are stigmatized and pressured into submission. The EU plays a prominent part in its strategy against free trade. Thanks to its clout within the multi-headed multi-layered and increasingly unaccountable governance system it will most certainly succeed. Fiscal “harmonization” offers a new area of competence that eurocrats - led by Commission president Barosso, a former Maoist - will no doubt eventually make “exclusive” with the help of a pro-integration activist judiciary at the European Court of Justice.
Until this happens, the fiscal Guillotine is metaphorically falling on French citizens. The 1958 Constitution and EU treaties guarantee basic fundamental freedoms (property, movement, opinion) yet the government is pressing on with its liberticidal folly, regardless. Dissent will not be tolerated.
In the early 1980s the “common program” fruit of the alliance between the Communists and Socialists was implemented. Everything became “social,” companies were nationalized, and capital fled. The economy faltered. The collectivist legacy of the Mitterrand decade continues to burden the country, not least because the statist Right perpetuated a welfare culture and the cult of the omnipotent State.
Now allied to the ecologists, a motley bunch led by former extreme left militants, the ruling Socialist Party is once again putting the collective (sometimes disguised as Mother Earth) above individual freedoms. By taking a stance to remain a free man, the much loved exuberant Gaul has demonstrated true patriotism.