As the vehicle and carbon shaming movement sweeps across the European continent with the relentless opportunistic fervency of a swarm of Yellowjackets descending upon a late Summer family barbecue, US residents embrace for the inevitable importation of yet another twelve rounds of grueling and deplorable liberal policy. The adoption of stringent stipulations to current rights has led to a complete gamut of freedoms marked by ambiguity and subsequent legal headaches which include in no particular order, incessant taxation, damaging immigration reform, legal marijuana use, religious persecution, and now vehicles usage.
The telling phrase of, “They are coming for your cars,” completely encapsulates the hyperbole and shortsightedness of left leaning politicians talking in Al Gore translucent green glowing morse code, as the automobile industry generates a veritable cash cow of public monies, but now competes with the onerous and felonious stigma attached to the eloquent and crucial molecule of CO2. The glare of florescent yellow reaches across the Atlantic like an eerie sunrise, as the protests of vests and those fighting to preserve the precious few tendrils of individual freedoms threatened by an overwhelming tide of bureaucracy in France, rival a sunrise and the hope that a new day brings in furthering the battle against an invisible and implacable force. French president Emmanuel Macron and other socialist politicians face a justifiable backlash, as taxes have raised fuel prices to Amazon.com share levels, and the overall heavy regulatory infrastructure of the country detrimentally effects individuals on all economic levels. Enter the Yellow Vest movement, where brutal acts of violence are commonplace and subtlety is left for students, as the proportion of the population has been exploited by government for too long.
The simple act of driving in France entails a decadently involved process shrouded in inefficiencies and the underlying tone of experiencing a kidney stone while listening to the guttural passionate grunts of Rosie O’Donnell engaged in a steamy love scene in a feminist remake of the James Bond classic Goldfinger. The lukewarm idea of editing out all of the microaggression rapist tendencies of the silver screen super spy was originally spawned from the banishment of the swimsuit competition in the Miss America pageant. But seriously, the requirements for legally operating a motor vehicle in the wine capital of the world are egregiously preposterous, and the government is fortunate to have made it to this juncture without major uprisings of civil unrest. According to the official French government electronic resource site, one must be at least 18 years of age, possess a current drivers license, and have a minimum insurance liability policy to negotiate the roadways. That seems reasonable, right? But is doesn’t stop there. In addition to the trio of obvious requirements, the surreal transcends into the ridiculous.
-Warning triangle and (yellow) Safety vest- French transportation law that every vehicle equipped these safety devices in the case of an unfortunate breakdown or accident. Upon exiting the vehicle on the side of road or a shoulder, drivers are required to wear the vest and place the warning triangle behind the vehicle to warn others. Failure to carry these two objects equates to fines.
-Breathalyzers- A law approved in 2012 requires all drivers to carry a portable breathalyzer when operating a vehicle. Failure to comply equates to an immediate 11 Euro fine. The government recommends that drivers carry two devices, in case one breaks down.
– Driving eligibility based off a points system- French motorists are awarded points for each calendar year without being cited for a moving violation. The more points, the better. Drivers who reach zero, have their driving privileges permanently revoked.
Add to this insanity that fuel costs have skyrocketed to nearly $7 per gallon, and the Macron administration proposing an additional 4% carbon tax to the total, and every citizen has the god given right to be incensed to the point of belligerence. Multiple sources note that nearly half of the per gallon price (converted from the European measurement of liters for perspective), go to taxes. Have the government think tanks calculated the hypothetical carbon footprint of producing the yellow vests and supposedly petrol based warning triangles to accommodate the 32 million vehicles within the country? But if just one life can be saved, the endorphins kick in and the bleeding heart weeps.
The disturbing notion out of this out of galaxy wacky narrative, is that similar policies will be adopted in liberal states within the next decade. Just don’t tell politicians with dreams of grandeur kickbacks about awarding a vest contract to a preferred manufacturer, or the innovative wisdom of enforceable portable breathalyzer laws adding a layer to the DUI cottage industry spurred by Mother’s Against Drunk Driving. This entire seemingly implausible scenario achieves rarified air, where fiction and reality reach an improbable intersection, and the logical impasse is rather insufferable, considering the energy crises and the immigration nightmare that the country faces. And working class drivers bear the financial and inconvenient burden of visceral bureaucracy, a familiar theme in the majority of US urban settings.
Tediously, the carbon footprint dissenters and environmentalists are noticeably absent when the subject of the French power grid enters into impolite and heated conversation. A staggering 75% of the electricity supplied to the country is harnessed through nuclear energy, a process that is feasible, clean and efficient within the confines of a laboratory, yet the bi-products of irradiated carbon fuel rods defy even the most noble engineering efforts. As the government and scientists search for solutions in the safe and effective disposal of toxic nuclear waste, the tawdry narrative of the press and vocal pundits fail to grasp the simple concept of half-life and the ingrained and permanent environmental impacts associated with a reliance on atom smashing for the foundation of an economy. Lost in the ideological shuffle are the staggering achievements of Madame Curie and hubby in ushering in the nuclear age, an irony that haunts contemporary culture and the proclivity towards micromanaging proven infrastructure with overbearing and ineffective policy, rather than addressing crucial issues. The reprehensible phenomenon maintains a steady trickle of capital into civic coffers and the broken system of impossible pension funds, but jeopardizes the near future of a once industrious and prosperous first world nation that struggles to satisfy the annual energy requirements of its residents and businesses. France imports nearly 1.2 million barrels of oil per year, a figure that insinuates a delicate approach to the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East, and signifies a precarious position in the hampering government to recommend sanctions on such totalitarian regimes as Saudi Arabia.
In remedial economic dogma, placing the intricacies of an overburden on motor vehicle operators is the most viable means duct taping a solution to appeasing the liberal vote, the environment, and the fiscal fortunes of the republic is the most obvious and detrimental methodology to achieving temporary stability, but with the nation floundering as a voracious consumer of fossil fuels, the effort is pathetically futile at best. At the very least, the arduous pathway to gaining proper compliance on the roadways should provide a suitable distraction against the resounding pratfalls of refugees escaping into the undocumented vacuum of asylum without consequences, however with over half of the French population a two step fox trot away from a full-scale riot, the socialized tendencies of the licensing process are literally backfiring. Add to the unstable mix the pressing issues of a fleeting electrical and societal turmoil, and the swarm of the Yellow Vest movement is the last thing that Paris needs in averting a pending of crises that could have global ramifications. Fellow Americans, brace yourselves, as various politicians are taking notes on how to reform the DMV, where everyone loses.
Just remember to carry a backup portable breathalyzer unit, and the rest will take care of itself.