FRANCE VOTES – AT 11:01 A.M. ET: As France votes today, in an election that will probably see a Socialist elected president, reader Joseph J. Gallick alerts us to a remarkable statement signed by 21 French economists, issued before the vote. There is still sanity left in France. The statement was reported in The Wall Street Journal:
François Hollande and his Socialist friends are a particularly mendacious and destructive sort of demagogue: They are purporting to help us by increasing our minimum wages rather than liberating our energies; they will punish the rich rather than encourage all of us to engage in productive efforts; they say they will spend more to stimulate "growth"—effectively, to buy more consumers—instead of letting us choose the best uses for our own resources.
Socialism has never succeeded in its extreme form, communism. As the past several years in Europe have shown, it does not work in its milder form of social democracy either. If European history teaches us anything, it is that prosperity is closely correlated to economic freedom.
Growth can not be decreed: It is the result of unpredictable decisions and actions by countless individuals, all capable of effort and imagination. And growth can only come if these countless individuals' impulses are not paralyzed by regulations, taxes, or dependence on the state. That is the path down which Mr. Hollande's socialist policies would lead us, with the support of his inevitable Communist and environmentalist allies: A France that can produce nothing but economic stagnation and ever-higher unemployment and poverty, as the debt burden becomes unbearable.
Sadly, whatever happens on Sunday seems unlikely to deliver France from socialism—our choices range from the status quo of a statist right, to the grand visions of a more-statist left. There is only one solution to restore hope to France: Abandon socialism entirely. To let it grip us even more tightly, as Mr. Hollande promises, would be a fatal error.
COMMENT: Someone should take that statement and nail it to the White House door. The problem is that the nails would probably be declared environmentally dangerous by the EPA.
May 6, 2012