by Pascal Bruckner
March 04, 2014
Michael Schellenberger, environmentalist think tank Breakthrough’s president, recently commented that the United States’ “greatest hope lies in shale gas” and in the “11 million brains” of soon to be legal immigrants that will “stimulate and renew our country.” Such a comment, whether or not one agrees with the policies it implies, exhibits a hopefulness absent in today’s France, which has outlawed even the exploration of possible reserves of natural and shale gas, and which sees every immigrant as a potential enemy. A striking indicator of France’s defeatist attitude is the last decade’s massive emigration, with nearly 2 million French citizens choosing to leave their country for economic reasons. Young and enterprising French realize that obstacles to success are fewer and opportunities greater elsewhere. If France is not to become Europe’s new sick man, it must rise to the challenge of competing with its neighbors and the world’s emerging economic powers.