As any visitor to Cuba will tell you, slogans like "Hasta la victoria siempre" (towards victory always) or "Socialismo or muerte" (socialism or death) are dotted here and there all over the Caribbean island for fear that the long-suffering local population might lose sight of the ill-fated goals of the communist revolution that took place there under the leadership of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in 1959. The way things are going in France right now, pockets of little Cubas are very likely to sprout up all over the country as the summit on climate change in Copenhagen next month looms larger and larger. I personally know of one such Cuban-like ideological treadmill: the High School in Lyon, France’s second-largest city, where I am completing my third year as a teacher of Anglo-American Studies.
About two months ago, straight from the French Department of Education came a diktat to the effect that all public schools in the country had to organize teaching activities aimed at promoting so-called environmentally-friendly sustainable development, i.e. socialism. I have been asked to participate. Needless to say that I have sustainably declined.
One of the ideas some of my colleagues have come up with, though, is to translate the speeches President Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown are expected to make in Denmark next month, and to flash up bits of the speeches on large TV screens dotted here and there all over the school for fear that the students might lose sight of the ill-fated goals of the green revolution that is currently taking place in France under the leadership of President Nicolas Sarkozy. With so much hot air coming out of the screens, I guess temperatures will rise exponentially all over the school and melt what little critical thinking is left in the French education system.
As the episode illustrates, descriptions of President Sarkozy as a conservative are misleading. On global warming, as in many other policy areas, Sarkozy is just about as conservative as Newt Gingrich sitting on a couch with Speaker Pelosi touting misguided bipartisan efforts to save the planet.
The green revolution currently going on in France is being every bit as destructive of individual freedom and responsibility as the ominous events of 1789 there, or, for that matter, those in Cuba more than 150 years later. In other words, welcome to the new land of scorching propaganda, brainwashing, intellectual goose-stepping and, I almost forgot, youth duly decked out in Guevara accessories and apparel as the latest fashion dictates.
Are you sure you want to be next, America?