Imagine posting a mild, anonymous negative comment about a cabinet official. Then imagine that that cabinet official issues a subpoena, learns your IP address and then your real identity. Imagine the police come to interrogate you and charge you with insulting an official, an offense punishable by a fine of $18, 000.
Welcome to La France.
Imagine still, if possible, the head of the Democratic or Republican party saying in a radio interview that "the internet is a danger for democracy."
The internet is exposing the mandarin class of politicians in France and they do not like it much, non! One French commenator stated that "[t]he internet is 'desanctifying' a once untouchable political class. . . 'We now have politicians who are scared.'"
Well that's a start, non?
Alas, one of President Sarkozy's closest advisors was histrionic enough to say: "We can no longer say anything, we can no longer do anything. It's absolute transparency--it's the beginning of totalitarianism."
No it is not. It's the beginning of citizens (remember them, French revolution types?) taking back their government from the high priests of the École Normale Supérieure or Sciences Po.
Click on the title of this post to read the NYTimes story.
*Apologies to Robert Gildea, author of the book by the same name: Marianne In Chains: Daily Life In The Heart Of France During The German Occupation. Purchase it here.