The Contradictions of Populism

Arthur Goldhammer
30 April 2019

Since November 17 of last year, we have been regaled every Saturday with the lament of the Gilets Jaunes, those salt-of-the-earth French men and women who join together to protest the bloated state of pampered civil servants who batten themselves at taxpayer expense while good people in the provinces struggle to make ends meet. But at least one of those pampered civil servants turns out to be one of the more telegenic Gilets Jaunes, Un fonctionnaire territorial, Jean-François Barnaba. Barnaba has been collection 2600 euros a month for the past ten years for doing nothing. And now he has joined the ex-Front National no. 2 Florian Philippot, now leader of Les Patriotes and advocated of “Frexit,” on the ticket for the European parliamentary elections. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, said Ralph Waldo Emerson, so perhaps a little inconsistency is to be expected of such great patriots as these.

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3 Comments

  • Eastrock says:

    No one is surprised that the leadership of such a movement includes corruption and shady people. People aren’t stupid.

    But this post (and often this blog) illustrate your thoughts about the people of France with little lives: they are complainers, entitled, cynical and pathetic. It’s you I find rather cynical sometimes, Art. And the upper middle classers who occasionally comment on this blog. If I worked at a grocery store my whole life, couldn’t save, couldn’t go on vacation, couldn’t see a way out, I’d probably feel an urge to lash out in anger too. I think you’d do the same.

  • Massilian says:

    This is a fascinating post but not quite as this one below , which I find more relevant, more consistent & overall more informative :
    https://www.slate.fr/story/176586/raton-laveur-zoo-berlin-union-europeenne

  • Lichanos says:

    @Eastrock

    “…It’s you I find rather cynical sometimes, Art. And the upper middle classers…”

    Bravo! Love that term, “middle classers!” 👍🤓

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