"We have to defend the rights that were won by our ancestors and which the current government is trying to take away," said Maxime Ourly, a literature student who joined the protesters on Paris' Left Bank.
Normally, I would accompany a picture such as this with a pithy comment about the hygiene habits of Frenchmen. Instead, I'll try for irony.
Ironic, to say the least. This pic shows a French protestor, I assume a student based on his dress, being hosed off by riot police in France yesterday. Why are the students rioting? What kind of issue would be so intensely felt that protestors would invoke the French Revolution in their justification? Are these the ideological brethren of the Sans-Culotte?
The protestors are against proposed labor reforms that would allow employers to (gasp!) fire employees under 26. In the current French workplace, workers are protected from all but the most extreme consequences of inattention and sloth. To fire an employee would take literally years, for it is a legal proceeding, not just filling out a form and notifying the employee. No "fixing the glitch" here.
And what about these "rights" the governed is taking away? The ones "won by our ancestors?"
(From Article VI) Â "All the citizens, being equal in [the eyes of the law], are equally admissible to all public dignities, places, and employments, according to their capacity and without distinction other than that of their virtues and of their talents."
-taken from the Declaration of the Rights of Man
From their own version of the Declaration ofindependencee/Bill of Rights, I wonder if the French student is as ignorant of the founding documents as the American Student is. It appears to me that the protectionism and entitlement that has become a way of life to the European worker is actually counter to the above document. That the ability to release from employment a young, and highly mobile, employee forderelictionn of duty or incompetence would actually adhere to this document. "According to their capacity and without distinction other than that of their virtues and talents," and I believe they don't mean "virtue" in the sense of the Bill Bennet book.
This article from Reuters News Agency illustrates the current climate of French labor.
So the next time self-righteous students start leaving class(that they don't even have to pay for, the taxpayer foots the bill) to protest an infringement of some perceived right never even mentioned in founding documents, follow the French. If not "a whiff of grapeshot," maybe just hose 'em down?