On the Cardus Blog Josh Reinders was much kinder than I am about to be regarding the Quebec student protests. I have heard a lot of things said about this matter, a lot of things critical. But in my estimation they neither go far enough nor actually hit upon the fact of the matter.
Commentators have called the protesters selfish, lazy, unrealistic - and all those descriptions are true, but there is one thing they have not said: they are true Quebecois.
True French, true children of 1789, true socialists, true Europeans, etc. - whatever appellation works best for you. They are not anomalous, they are what their culture designed them to be. You'll know that I am right by noting two quick facts: the first minister of education couldn't cope with the situation; Premier Charest is almost as impotent.
Aren't politicians like Charest time-tested fighters, who have clobbered political opponents in a milieu of such ferocity and incivility as to make mere bloggers like me quiver in fear? Don't they daily have to fight as equally well-attuned rhetorical machines in the National Assembly? Grilled by irate tax-payers, special interest groups, lobbyists, wealthy donors, journalists...? I mean, I'm a pretty good debater in the classroom setting, but these people would mince me.
So why are they altogether unable to confront a student protest, a protest which probably fewer than 10% of the rest of the country supports?
It's kind of like a JP II Generation Catholic having to dealing with an unholy pope. Luckily they have not had to cross that road. God is merciful.
Twilight of the Idols. (A wonderful work by F. Nietzsche)
Opposing a protest! But protests are holy movements of the people, according to that culture.
Now, things are about to get a little stinging.
Culture. No, they are culture-less morons. If they had culture they would not have blindly imported the decadent European extravagant opposition to every practical thing. Like industry, like education, like money, like family, like objective norms, like work. It's easy and lazy to tear down, and that's all their protest is.
What do they want? What do they believe?
It's ironic how some critics are saying that these students don't realize the economical implications of their wants. Oh, they do. They want a socialist system, thus, they are unresponsive to observations based on actual fiscal concerns. But the bigger problem isn't that they are like the Greeks - that they want something for nothing. The bigger problem is that the adults who should be teaching them - "No, Jacques, stuff costs money, and money comes from hard work" - are not teaching them this, because they only taught them one thing: that all that matters is wish-fulfillment. French culture - European culture - increasingly so since 1789, has been built around the fantasy that everything that is is bad and that new things should replace them, and that there will be no negative consequences. It is a culture against culture. Culture is about cherishing the way of a people. French culture is about deriding the ways of the people.
It's not that the parents of these children are lazy - any lazier than the rest of the country. It's that their ideas are lazy.
How do deriders protect a system of education against deriders?
Who cares. Vive le Quebec libre. And let the rest of the country move on,calling upon a bit of old fashioned Protestant work ethic, as they sink into the St. Lawrence.
And I have a right to these observations. As things go, I have the student debt of about 400 average Montreal students combined. Of course, I went to the same number of classes as 400 average Montreal students combined. So that's seems fair, I guess.
These protesters are exactly what their parents made them to be.
While the rest of the country meanders toward a state more like these Europeans-amongst-us, Quebec is feeling a fuller fury from moral bankrupcy.