France's dirigiste president, Nicolas Sarkozy, is just back from a state visit to China, where he unscrupulously traded French opposition to Taiwanese independence for billions of euros in lucrative contracts for thankful French “national champions”. He may also, for all we know, have obsequiously thanked his hosts for giving the world ling chi -- although it is doubtful whether even the totalitarian Chinese leaders enjoy being reminded of that barbaric form of execution which we know in English as the death by a thousand cuts, a practice not abolished by the country until 1905.
If they ever feel the need to take a refresher course in the technique, though -- in order to, say, subdue Taiwanese aspirations -- Mr. Sarkozy is the right teacher for them. After all, he has already had Hugo Chavez for lunch at the Elysee Palace, and Muhamar Khadafi is popping round to Paris in a few days’ time.
Why do I speak ling chi? Well, ever since his election as President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy has actually been mercilessly wielding his knives, and democratic rule in France has been bleeding to death.
Can't the world see the blood flowing as transit workers, students, civil servants, hospital interns, police officers, magistrates, tobacconists and thugs in the Paris suburbs successively take to the streets, go on the rampage and pillage the French Department of Treasury with impunity.
See the gashes on France’s body politic as mindless tribalism and mob rule trump democratic institutions like opposition parties, and democratic mechanisms like free and fair elections, as conduits for problem solving?
See the lacerations as President Sarkozy himself deliberately hollows out the Socialist Party by co-opting some of its more responsible leaders into pointless blue-ribbon commissions -- while dispatching others like Dominique Strauss-Kahn to international agencies like the IMF, creating in the process a vacuum which retarded Marxist outfits are only too happy to fill in order to plunder the nation’s hated wealth-creating bourgeoisie?
See the slits as the French President mangles the mandate trustingly given to him by a solid majority of supposedly reform-minded French voters, by rewarding vile behavior with sugary sweeteners that will only feed demands for more, and counterproductively fatten Leviathan as well?
See the wounds as students get solemn pledges from the government that anemic tuition fees will not rise, that slumbering universities will be soothingly shielded from any kind of invigorating competition, that an extra budget-busting 15 billion euros over five years will be poured into buildings and state-of-the-art equipment that future generations of students will eagerly smash to get what they want, as they take a leaf out of their predecessors’ Little Red Books?
But then, having seen all this, please look away as some of us, French conservatives, humiliatingly tear up our voter cards. Because, you see, our hearts are being skewered by this president's lamentably weak leadership. We feel less and less hope of ever seeing, here in France, "a city shining upon a hill."
Note: “Paoli” is the pen name, er, nom de plume, of our French correspondent. Monsieur is a close student of European politics, a onetime exchange student in Colorado and a well-wisher to us Americans. He informs us the original Pasquale Paoli, 1725-1807, was the George Washington of Corsica.