Why is North America mimicking Western Europe?
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Spending a few weeks away from Europe over the summer, it’s impossible not to notice the ways in which the U.S. and Canada insist on copycatting various aspects of Western European life.
First up: the summer ritual called “Diner en Blanc.” Launched in Paris in 1988, it’s an annual event in which large groups of people eat a meal in a public space and attendees must wear white. In its city of origin, the dinner takes place at various historic sites such as the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Invalides war museum, the Chateau de Versailles and the Champs-Elysees. A high-end caterer to the French presidential palace provided this year’s fare.
The concept has been adapted by various North American cities. A walk along the local seawall earlier this month revealed a gathering of duck-lipped, cleavage-popping women, many of them dressed like fairies or princesses, and men who looked like they rummaged through their closets for off-white golf shorts and a polo shirt. Beside a little wicker Eiffel Tower sat what looked like a giant pan of taco meat. An “Instagrammable” corner was set up with white chairs and flower bouquets for scenic selfies. Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Paris anymore.
Then we have the “car-free” days that now plague select North America cities. (Quick, there’s still time to nip this one in the bud before it spreads.) A concept originally launched in Europe, it gained significant traction in 2018, when Paris and Brussels decided to block traffic to “celebrate” other means of transportation.
In Paris, where the city shuts down the Champs-Elysees, the event has become associated with the Socialist mayor’s obsession with making motorists’ lives as difficult as possible. It’s an opportunity for drivers to idle in gridlock or take time-wasting and gas-guzzling detours to avoid it. Pedestrians can celebrate car-free day by getting run down by high-speed electric scooters that treat sidewalks like the Autobahn and whose drivers ignore normal rules of the road. Alternatively, these poor pedestrians could rejoice in taking overcrowded public transit plagued by the delays and detours caused by the roadblocks.
Western Europe doesn’t have the vast natural resources of North America, which is why European politicians preach conservation of resources (such as fuel and water) like it’s a religion. You can’t use a shower at a public swimming pool in Paris without having to activate it every three seconds. The U.S. and Canada don’t have the same concerns. The showers at the local swimming pool here in suburban Vancouver have the proper water pressure — that of a firehose.
Western Europe is never going to be energy-independent when it comes to car fuel. It’s already expensive — over $6 a gallon — so it’s not hard to understand why an additional “environmental” tax on gas was what sparked the Yellow Vest protests in France, which are now in their 40th week. It’s a scam that North America has a virtually endless supply of fuel and is nonetheless mimicking Europe’s handwringing over resource scarcity. There’s no need for any days to be “car-free” in North America. It’s nothing but an imported gimmick that adds a senseless layer of annoyance to the already challenging daily obstacle course faced by working people.
Next up: climate change. Yes, Europe had some hot days this summer — the operative word here being “summer.” Paris even broke a heat record from 1947. For professional climate alarmists and profiteers, this 72-year gap between heat records apparently proves that climate change is accelerating. They’re peddling a strained narrative that’s good for their own bottom line. European politicians are signing onto it because it’s profitable for government: You can be taxed for your sins of resource consumption.
Here in Vancouver, however (and across much of Canada), the summer has been quite mild. Apparently the cure for summertime “climate change” is to get on an airplane and go somewhere temperate. Who knew?
No politician in North America should be paying any attention to the Paris accord on climate change, yet politicians in both the U.S. and Canada are obsessing over it in the run-up to national elections. Let the Europeans preach to their already overtaxed populations, which are starting to see through their governments’ attempts to squeeze more cash out of citizens for the environmentalism collection plate.
The next time you see a strange trend that looks out of place in North America, check the label. It probably reads “Made in Europe” and should be sent back, pronto.
Rachel Marsden is a Creators Syndicate columnist.