Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gerard Depardieu goes John Galt on the French government

In Ayn Rand's seminal novel Atlas Shrugged, a major part of the storyline is that the one group that has never gone on strike decides to do so.  That one group is the top producers of society - the "men of the mind" whose talent and intellect for innovation and production has led them to be at the top of the income earners.

In the novel, such producers include people from all sorts of industries, including music and acting, artistic endeavors that have the power to renew and uplift man's spirit and show him in concrete form the potential for man.  In Objectivist philosophy, aesthetics is one of the five branches of philosophy and plays a vital role in man's life.

France's most famous actor, Gerard Depardieu, has just fled the 75% income tax recently imposed by the new socialist President Francois Hollande on the wealthy.  Naturally, ths socialists have criticized his departure, calling him unpatriotic and pathetic.  Good for Depardieu, who has actually taken a moral stand against government confiscation of his personal earnings and assets in saying: “I’m leaving because you think success, creation, talent and anything different should be punished. I am sending you back my passport and social security, which I have never used.” The French actor claims to have “paid 85 percent taxes on his revenues this year [2012] and estimated that he had paid €145m ($189m) in total since he started work as a printer at the age of 14.”

Depardieu the real life hero
Obelix the fictional hero

Interesting that Depardieu played the famous comic book character Obelix, one of the small village of Gauls who resisted being conquered by the Roman empire and in real life has refused to be taken over by the Frech collectivist elites. In a quote that could have been ripped from the pages of Atlas Shrugged, French Culture and Communication Minister Aurelie Filippetti complained about Depardieu’s choice in stating: “We shouldn’t be receiving moral lessons from people who abandon the battlefield when we need everyone to be mobilized.”  In his world, it is immoral for a producer who finds himself attacked by his own government to flee from the attack.  The government wants him to sit quietly, not complain and take his punishment with unquestioning obedience.This is a feature common to all collectivist thinkers and the societies they attempt to control.  What does it mean for "everyone to be mobilized"? It means those who produce will be forced to pay for the mistakes of those who wish to control producers and to have their whims made real at the expense of others.

I don't know what the tax regime in Belgium looks like, but surmise it is at least slightly less punitive than in France.  Good for Gerard Depardieu for fleeing the socialists and for stating part of his reasons for doing so.  If more top producers would speak out then sthere may be hope for the future of civilisation.

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