“I’ve heard of après-ski but this is a complete and utter bordel de merde,” fumed Manny, as he packed his skis, boots and France’s First Foster Mother (Première mère adoptive) Brigitte.
The quasi-royal couple had to cut short their skiing holiday and rush back to Paris because the city was burning yet again, eighteenth weekend in a row.
Any Parisian street turning into a riot zone would be some cause for concern, but, in Manny’s view, when such bordel happens in the Champs-Elysées, concern doesn’t begin to describe the situation.
For Manny currently lives just down the road, if by the looks of it not for much longer. However, he’s ready to do all it takes to protect his residency at the presidential palace and the palace itself – hence the aborted holiday.
Rather than abating, violence is intensifying. This time the mob torched cars, trashed shops, vandalised the Arc de Triomphe immortalising Napoleonic aggression and created blazing pyres out of stacks of restaurant furniture.
As they found, there’s a big difference between building such pyres and torching cars. Wood acts as its own kindling and conflagrates quickly, with tongues of flame shooting skywards. However, this fire is vulnerable to extinguishers and water hoses – what can be easily started can be easily put down.
Cars, on the other hand, especially those with diesel engines that, according to Manny, are destroying not just our planet but the whole galaxy, take longer to set alight, but then, being much more resistant to the best efforts of firemen and police, they burn for a satisfyingly long time. (Remind me not to park in the area next time I’m in Paris.)
The trashed and looted shops weren’t ordinary establishments: not a single Mickey D or even Marks & Sparks among them. Instead the mob chose for its attentions places like the extortionate Fouquet’s brasserie and Longchamp, the place that sells expensive handbags.
The rioters accessorised their outfits with the newly popular fashion item, the yellow vest, while the police came equipped with tear gas canisters, shields and batons. Great fun was had by all, except the innocent bystanders caught up in the proceedings, local residents, owners of trashed businesses and, of course, Manny.
He was particularly distressed by the shouts and posters calling for him to resign. One poster announced that “Macron is crippling the country”, a process to which the poster bearers themselves are making a sizeable contribution.
Across the ocean, President Trump was gloating with unrestrained glee. “How are the Paris accords working out for France?” he tweeted facetiously.
The yankee was referring to the original cause of the protests, Manny’s stated intent to save the planet, nay the whole galaxy, by imposing crippling green taxes.
French people, especially those living from hand to mouth, took to the streets to communicate the point that Manny’s remit was much more modest than he seemed to think: it was to improve the lot of the French people, not to save ‘our planet’.
In case of a conflict between the two desiderata, the first must take priority, a fine point that Manny seems to have missed. Yet Trump’s Schadenfreude was only partly justified.
For all revolutions, noble or ignoble, large or small, permanent or intermittent, have one thing in common. What may start out as the reason becomes the pretext.
However legitimate the original grievance, once crowds spill out into the open, they are instantly joined by rather illegitimate thugs. The formative idea falls by the wayside, and mayhem becomes its own sustenance.
Just as the only true purpose of mass murder is the murder of masses, so is mass rioting the only real purpose of mass rioting.
Thus even such an unquestionably noble cause as the First Crusade was brought into disrepute by gangs of murderers, rapists and looters who came in the wake of the Crusaders’ hosts to perpetrate unspeakable crimes, such as a series of Jewish pogroms in the Rhineland and elsewhere.
Here too, the rioters are compromising the good cause of taking Manny’s ideology down a peg or two. For, just as the reason for a revolution becomes its pretext, so does the original idea end up turning into an ideology – and these are all pernicious by definition.
Thus I’m not going to discuss the issue of global warming and the lethal damage it’s supposed to do to ‘our planet’, even though, having read reams of arguments pro and con, I’m convinced it’s bunkum.
Nor shall I ponder the face value of febrile conservationism, be that of flora or fauna. On general principle, since we’ve managed to survive the extinction of some 98 per cent of all the species that have ever inhabited the Earth, something tells me we’ll somehow muddle through even if a few more disappear.
I am, however, going to discuss the fact that the green idea, rather dubious to begin with, has become a destructive ideology, bringing to its banners a motley coalition of leftie loveys like Manny, former communists of every hue and imbeciles who simply must have a cause, the louder the better. And of course the usual rent-a-mob is never too far in the shadows.
It’s not for nothing that green demonstrators throughout Europe unfurl the red flags of history’s most evil ideology. Unlike the loveys, they do understand what this is all about. The civic concern for the environment masks the urge to destroy everything worthy that the environment contains.
Thus the gilets jaunes are screaming slogans that go far beyond protesting against tax increases and the putative reason for them. They want to punish the rich (loosely defined), ideally to kill them all or, barring that, to drive them out of the country.
They want to put an end to what they call capitalism and what has in fact proved to be the only reliable way of ending mass poverty. They want the factories to be run by the workers – and so on, all the way to a blood-soaked chaos.
The longer one looks at their green symbols, the more clearly one discerns the underlayer of red – and that has a tropistic effect for leftie pseuds with intellectual pretensions, such as Manny.
With their eagle eye they spot the political potential of ideology in general, and the green ideology in particular. They know that, though things like unvarnished Trotskyism or Stalinism have fallen out of fashion, they left a nice, warm whiff of nostalgia behind.
Those who catch it in their nostrils and like the smell are happy to inhale it, while exhaling idiotic green slogans (if you want to know how idiotic they get, Google Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, aka AOC). If red has so far failed to bring down social order, green just might do it.
But before it does, nonentities like Manny can continue to drive the green bandwagon to more electoral victories, more power, longer stays at presidential palaces.
I can’t really offer a solution that could work, but I can offer one that could satisfy. Next time someone uses the expression ‘our planet’ in your presence, punch him in the face. And don’t forget to clench your fist only at the moment of impact, to enhance its effect.