- The Washington Times - Monday, July 16, 2012

The beauty of democracy is that citizens have a right of self-determination. France has just had a proper election and done exactly that. The result: a stark affirmation that the French are currently an angry, disappointed people.

Having chosen a man of marginal consequence and deep socialist roots as their leader, they confirm their vote of dissent in the form of self-flagellation. The modern-day standard of envy has never been greater.

Newly elected President Francois Hollande insists on imposing greater statism and fallacious and incendiary assaults on capitalism and individual freedom in the name of tarnished socialism. Last week’s “patriotic” call for high taxation, an encroachment on the plane of freedom, is the unyielding insistence of the leftists to impose their utopian egalitarianism on all. It will only add a nail in the coffin of democracy and further dash hope for the youth of France, most of whom are unemployed, work for the state or have marginal prospects of real income growth.

It is often said that former President Francois Mitterrand was ultimately pragmatic and altered his policies in accordance with reality. It was only true relative to the massive permanent destruction he visited upon the French economy and national finances. He created and acted with a perpetual air of envy and operated solely on those rules. He bankrupted the country both financially and morally.

Mr. Hollande’s is not a fight for private-sector development, for as he has stated and now is acting upon, business is “the faceless enemy of France.” Fairness, he proclaims just like his stunted philosophical twin President Obama, must rule the day. The French people have been so inoculated from their own self-interest that they default to the rationalization of their daily survival. Sadly, the cost and imposition of the regulatory and financial burden will be too great. Still buried under the weight of those ideas imposed 30 years ago, the best case for France — apart from massive social unrest — is continued decline and mediocrity.

ROBERT F. AGOSTINELLI

Paris