Millennials Are Dumb, International Edition: Nuit Debout and the El Khomri Law

I was still trying to get my head around French millennials’ anger at the proposed Loi El Khomri labor reform bill when said sullenness erupted (well, more “slouched” than “erupted”) into Nuit Debout, the French version of Occupy Wall Street.

Apparently, Paris was never Occupied because back when that was a thing, the millennial Frogs were too busy gloating over the impending election of a Socialist, Francois Hollande (not to be confused with the cute lesbians in Mulholland Drive,) as their president to sit out in the street wailing for more free stuff. But lo and behold, under Hollande’s crypto-capitalist reign, along comes a horrible fascist plot to (dutt-durr-duuuut!) GIVE THEM JOBS.

Yes, this is what they’re so mad about: the Loi El Khomri is supposed to allow millennials into the work force by making French employees easier to fire; it’s a tiny dose of the free market, designed to evilly pry them from the warm, mushy arms of the welfare state.

At present, the entire French economy works like the US Post Office: firing anyone basically requires the employer to prove that the employee has tried to set the office on fire at least 7.5 times this year. The Loi El Khomri proposes to make it possible for companies to get rid of the useless Baby Boomers who have been sitting on the good jobs since 1973 so they can hire some millennials. At present, due to the restrictive firing laws, a disproportionate number of the millennials and gen-Xers who DO have a job are working under CDDs, or temporary work contracts, because employers are afraid to give them a more stable deal under a CDI (an “indefinite” work contract, i.e. a real job). If the economy contracts or the employee is a lemon, it’s harder to get rid of the CDIs. So it’s much less risky to give young people (who aren’t well-known for their work ethic these days) crappy temp employment. By eliminating a few disincentives to hiring them, the Loi El Khomri might improve their job prospects.

You would think they would love this, right?


I can’t help but suspect they sort of like having an excuse to be on welfare.

Granted, the Nuit Debout list of complaints is broader than one law; in fact it’s no less amorphous than the Occupy movement’s list To paraphrase what a friend said of Black Lives Matter, it more or less amounts to LARPing the 1960s.

Oddly, none of their demands include closing the borders of the EU or ceasing to fund jihad.


  1. Three Stars

    A friend of mine spent a semester as an exchange student in Spain. She told me that the locals where in the habit of getting shitty jobs for a couple of months, enough to qualify for the 600 euros a month unemployment benefit, and then quitting just to get on the dole. Rince and repeat throughout their twenties.

    Nevertheless, I don’t believe this to be the reason.

    I don’t put it to young people in the west to give any thought to what they’re protesting about. Let’s not forget that today’s college students are yesterday’s plumbers and hairdressers. The difference is that plumbers and hairdressers don’t see themselves as opinion having “intellectuals”. But the two digit IQ masses elevated to college student status do protest. They do so as a matter of fashion. Because “that’s what all cool college students do nowadays, you know?” Especially against the rich and for the poor working classes.

    This might not be as palpable in the West, where “higher education” became accessible to just about anyone after WWII, but in Eastern Europe the quality shift between a student body that only comprised the smarter 10% of the population and what we have now, meaning everyone with the will to go to college, is recent enough to have made itself felt to early millennials like myself. “We’re getting swamped by troglodytes and peasant girls!” — I’m just old enough to have seen it on the wall at Uni. Hell, I’m too triggered right now for some anecdotes of academic decline.

    1. asterzinger

      As Jarvis Cocker put it going in the other directions (actual intellectuals with an unfortunate working-class background who are buried under moron culture): “We grew up on the space race/Now they expect us to clean toilets/When you’ve seen how big the world is/How can we make do with this?” Actually, it cuts back the other way as well. Once you tell a dumbshit he’s an intellectual, he wants the good feeling that gives him to keep a-coming.

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