Think America's COVID Bureaucracy Is Bad? Check Out What's Happening in France

AP Photo/Christophe Ena

If the law is an ass, as Charles Dickens noted almost two centuries ago, then the bureaucracy is an ass***, as anyone living in our absurdly postmodern age would be forced to admit.

The Wuhan Flu pandemic has merely brought this painful truth into sharp relief,

Maybe nowhere is this more true than in France, where the only thing more advanced than the cheese- and winemaking is the country’s ever-increasing bureausclerosis.

How bad is it, really? So bad that even the New York Times — the one-stop-shop for all your COVID-related panic needs — just published a snarky piece on how bad things are in France.

That’s right: The city of Bill de Blasio in the state governed by Granny Killer Cuomo feels superior enough to lord it over the French.

Roger Cohen reports from Paris, the City of Plights:

I recently rented an apartment and needed to furnish it. As a result, I found myself at Castorama, a sort of D.I.Y. emporium with a few Gallic flourishes, that was open only because its surface area did not exceed the 10,000-square-meter limit (a little over 100,000 square feet) set by the government for such stores.

In truth, the store was only kind of open. Red-and-white tape, as if strung up around a crime scene, surrounded some sections, including the one for lamps, sconces and other wall light fixtures.

This was how I learned more about essential vs. nonessential items under the lockdown. I could buy electric cheese-heating raclette makers in a dozen different models. I could buy toasters galore, pans in all shapes, any form of home stereo equipment — but not a desk lamp.

You’re allowed to walk your dog, of course—provided you don’t exceed the mandated walking ration of one kilometer. There’s a 7 pm curfew—a one-hour improvement from the old 6 pm shut-in time—and under President Macron’s relaxed new regime, you only need proof of residence to travel anywhere within 10 kilometers of home.

Just don’t you dare walk that far with your dog. Because raisons.

Cohen writes that he’s “overwhelmed” by the “sheer intricacy of the bureaucratic obtuseness.”

I have to admit that the first time I read that line I thought he was complaining about the “sheer intimacy,” which when you consider the screwing over the French have received, might have been more apropos.

It isn’t just France, though.

Here in Colorado, our increasingly out-of-touch governor, Jared Polis, introduced “relaxed” new mask requirements on Sunday. Among the places I and my fellow Coloradans won’t be required to mask up is “alone in a room in a public indoor space.”

If you’re wondering how much of some bureaucrat’s time and how many tax dollars it took to come up with that bit of wisdom, trust me when I tell you that you aren’t alone.

Two other “relaxed” times when you won’t have to wear the mask:

  • Receiving a personal service where the temporary removal of the mask is necessary to perform the service. (Good to see you looking out for the working girls, guv.)
  • Giving a speech for broadcast or an audience, if the audience is at least 25 feet away from the speaker. The audience members must wear masks. (Next time just gently remind people to “Say it, don’t spray it.”)

Please understand that when I pick on the government of France, I do it with complete empathy for the people of France.

Despite some similarities in the absurdities of our Wuhan Flu lockdown regimes, there does remain one différence vitale between Colorado and France.

France has a presidential election this year. Macron has a dismal 38% approval (thanks in no small part to Lockdown Madness), and a potential rival in Marine Le Pen, who is finally figuring out how to distance herself from le wackos and broaden her appeal.

So Macron might finally be on his way out.

Colorado has a gubernatorial election this year. Polis enjoys a 46% approval rating (despite his fickle and hamfisted COVID controls), and barely any serious rivals, thanks to a state GOP that’s spent the last two decades in a circular firing squad.

Polis, we’re probably stuck with.

Oh, merde.


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