French society is deep in a serious crisis, economic as well as moral and political. A general distrust engulfs the political world, as the European election showed all too clearly, our institutions, and also the economic players, suspected of conniving with high power. This crisis feeds on a sense of being downgraded, of slipping into poverty, and on a lack of perspective for the future. No society can resist such a dark climate, where the younger generations are requested to finance the abysmal debt accumulated by their elders over four decades. Only by re-establishing the clear and simple basis of a “fair society” will trust be restored, and the nation be enabled to rise again from this collective depression. The stakes are not that simple though. Leaders from the right as well as the left have been using the notion of “social justice” ad nauseam. Instead of searching for the right way to reduce poverty, they ceaselessly fought the enrichment of a French minority in the name of a just fight against inequalities. The failure of such policy is not limited to bad results in terms of growth and employment. It mostly results in the weakening of the enterprising spirit, and of the sense of effort and innovation in our country. The warping of the principle of precaution has turned risk taking into an unacceptable transgression. But these policies did not prevent the development of a sense of injustice. A fair society brings together citizens of all beliefs and opinions without political authorities forcing social norms on them. It allows individuals to make choices and act freely, provided that they respect other people’s fundamental rights and take responsibility for their own choices. In such context, the possibility of failure goes along with the legitimate right to harvest the deserved winnings of one’s talents, efforts, and also of one’s little share of luck. Such context open to success requires moderate and stable taxation, as well as limited restrictions on our decisions and actions. The second pillar of a fair society, after liberty, is equity. It starts with equal chances, and this justifies one of very few true missions of the State: to allow all children access to quality teaching. School partly balances birth inequalities and is therefore the first tool of social improvement, together with that of free enterprising. It is not about imposing the global formatting of minds, as is done today, without providing useful and necessary knowledge. Education must be financed by taxes, and give families the power to choose the schools they see fit for their children. Equity also means equality of rights. But we still live under a semi-aristocratic regime. Nobility has changed, today it comes from the State. Parallel to common law exceptions bloom: status, acquired rights in definite professional areas, protected jobs, and myriads of privileges from the good old times. Each citizen suspects his neighbour of enjoying more advantages, and fears to lose his own. Election rules favor Government and Administration employees, detrimentally to those working in the private sector, and this insidiously warps national and regional representation. Equity requires the total and final abolition of all those unjustifiable privileges, and the opening of free competition in all the fields presently kept out of reach of the consumer. The extent of the changes awaiting us is almost frightening. After so many decades of lethargy, our moribund Welfare State will have to be replaced by a social and economic system very different from the one we know. The Netherlands, Germany and now Italy have successfully taken the turn, with the acquiescence of their people. In order to succeed, their leaders have set a clear and definite program. In France, whoever will solicit the responsibility for opening this courageous program will have one major priority: to convince the French that the new model meets the requirements for a fair society.
Aurélien Veron President, Parti Libéral Démocrate