More Ironies of the Left


As Gary Jason recently noted in his Reflection "Galt’s Gulch: Somewhere Near Moscow?", some high profile people are leaving France after the latest round of tax increases. In particular, the new 75% income tax rate created by President Hollande hit a nerve. Well-known actor Gerard Depardieu settled in Belgium, publicly denouncing this tax, which kicks in at about $1.2 million a year. He was offered a passport from Russia, and he expressed admiration for that country, which, incidentally, also offers a 13% flat tax rate.

But ironically, Depardieu has firmly rooted leftist opinions.

In the ’80s, he campaigned for François Mitterrand, the head of the French Socialist Party, who became president in 1981. In 1993, he publicly supported the French Communist Party, which was disintegrating after the end of Soviet Union. In 2002, he made a large donation to a fund created for rebuilding the Party — with little success, fortunately. Later, he supported president Sarkozy, a "conservative" who picked many socialists for key positions of his government and continued the statist policies of the Left.*

Depardieu more or less willingly cultivates an image of an uncouth, rustic drunkard, and is prone to excess that raises some eyebrows even in France. Especially in 2011, when he got kicked off a plane, charged with pissing on the carpet. Needless to say, this doesn't make him less popular; au contraire, the paparazzi love him.

However, the man isn't a simple-minded boor. A highly paid actor, Depardieu invested wisely and has enjoyed for years a sizable income outside of the movie industry. He owns vineyards, restaurants, a media production company, and other profitable assets.

It is therefore obvious that his sudden interest in low-tax countries is entirely because of his personal financial interests. Sadly, I didn't find any article pointing out Depardieu's hypocrisy. When they criticized the actor, journalists merely deployed a tired class warfare rhetoric.

Depardieu is not an exception. Other left-leaning French showbiz celebs have said adieu to France, which was a taxpayer abattoir even before Hollande took over. Their favorite destination is Great Britain, where PM Cameron has announced he will roll out the red carpet for this exile of French notables. Many of the French nouveaux riches already live in Switzerland or Monaco, where streets are safe and taxes are low — two things that are now a memory to Parisians. However, the discreet exile of all this French talent and money never really caught the attention of the media.

Depardieu is not a role model. But his noisy, cantankerous escape from overtaxed France had the merit of drawing attention on the disgusting duplicity of rich leftists who cannot stomach the policies they wished for. High taxes for thee, but not for me.

*See this report from the French desk of the Huffington Post, and also this from the newsmagazine L'Humanité.

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Jon Harrison

I sent in a comment several days ago that complimented you, Fred, on both the substance and style of this brief essay. Of course it got lost, apparently in a blizzard of spam.

So, to repeat: nice work here, Fred.

Charles Goines

In my life people all around me have created things that under a microscope of good sense don't exist--images, political positions, even pseudo facts. All the nonsense in France is a good example. I had my career decimated by people of worldwide acclaim telling obvious lies about me. When I was sure there was someone I could appeal to, someone with sound logic and good sense, the reality was much different. Being a leftist is done for a public image and simultaneously migrating to make a profit are consistent. Both are purpose driven. But through the application of a confusion of words a controversy is created where none exists. I don't believe any of it. A man's image and his true beliefs may differ, but his true beliefs are to be trusted. No irony! No issue here.


Looking after their self interest - how evil!


Looking after their self-interest is fine. Looking after their self-interest while doing the exact opposite of what they are noisily campaigning for is an unforgivable sin. It means that everything they profess in that matter is a lie, and they know it.

And since, in that case, the lying celebs are not paid for these lies (as they would be if they were just, say, PR agencies), they are lying for no other reason but making themselves feel good. Spreading Socialism for a fake feel-good sensation is no different than torturing animals because you enjoy the sight of blood -- other people's blood, of course.

So, yes, that's evil, thank you for noticing.

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