03 Apr 2006

Revolt of the Over-Privileged

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Pat Buchanan (even a stopped clock is right twice a day) argues that the British strikes and French student riots represent a futile effort to preserve a Welfare State, doomed by world economic competition, which European demographics in any case could not sustain.

Like the U.S. campus riots of the 1960s, the French protests appear to some of us as the Revolt of the Over-Privileged. For what these pampered young people are demanding seems to be some kind of student deferment from the Global Economy.

The striking public employees in Britain and the young in Paris are protesting something unavoidable, like middle age. For what they see slipping away is something they are never going to see again.

What is happening in Britain and France is happening across Europe: the unwinding of the social welfare state. “Are the good times really over for good?” wailed Merle Haggard, decades ago. In Europe, the answer to Merle’s question is, “Yes, they are.”

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