French Prime Minister Manuel Valls. (AFP/Getty Images)
The French Model
Can the Left Govern?

After his Socialist Party took a drubbing at the polls, French President François Hollande has appointed Manuel Valls as Prime Minister, a man despised by the French “Left-of-the-Left.” His success or failure in the coming months and years will tell us a lot about the vexed question of welfare state reform in France (and perhaps elsewhere as well).

Published on: April 18, 2014
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  • Corlyss

    It may be an interesting question regarding Europe. It would be critical question if the left hadn’t squandered the patrimony of the nations where it has ruled more or less for the last 70 years, leaving Europe in a funk of state-supported clients unable to function in the economy as anything other than retail consumers. The question really merits all the analytical ability of the author applied to the American condition because America is the indispensable nation. If we go down the same drain that Europe is now circling, Sir Edward Grey’s remark about the lamps going out will be applicable to the world.

    • johngbarker

      Perhaps, it is time for someone to begin writing the “Autopsy of Europe” mentioned by Aldous Huxley somewhere.

      • Corlyss

        Several conservative European authors have done that. Gimme a minute and I’ll come up with some titles.

      • Jim__L

        Socialism, feminism, and secularism come to mind as primary culprits.

  • Jim__L

    Can France cut its Welfare State, both to keep itself from going bankrupt, and to free up resources for a defense that can counter the likes of Putin?

    I’m not sure it can accomplish either one. Au revoir.

    • inthisdimension

      Nor can any other W European nation. This is what happens when, instead of building strong philosophical defenses of your culture and hard defenses for your country, you spend 69 years building entitlements, and then refuse to populate the generations that will pay for them. This is called “Darwinism” and works at the nation-state level as well as at the species level.

  • free_agent

    It seems like the core political problem is that the politicians can’t fix the economic problems without doing things that will make them even less popular. It does seem that the French establishment has been remarkably good at avoiding a crisis (which is probably the only thing that would force reform).

  • inthisdimension

    The Left never “governs;” the Left only RULES.

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