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The “boss of the becosses” Receive the latest alerts from Le Devoir

Let it be said. Since Tuesday at midnight, it is now allowed to have a drink while standing in a Parisian bar. Yes, standing leaning on the bar reading your newspaper or simply watching the spectacle of the street.

Wednesday morning, the news was in all the newspapers. She also surprised all those who had never known that, since January 3, it was only allowed to sip a drink with the posterior placed warm on a chair. Daring to feel the dive bottle camped on both legs could earn you a fine of 135 euros. It's expensive to sip!

The waiters were flabbergasted. Customers too. That is to say if, in high places, we watched over our well-being! No need to be a great cleric, let alone a "conspirator", to have thought for a moment that these nitpicks had little to do with our health. Perhaps it should even be seen as a form of technocratic relentlessness.

Crisis situations do not always bring out the most virtuous in man. There is obviously no question of denying the importance of the health measures that protected us during this epidemic. But we should not hide either the obvious propensity of health technocrats to want to mother us by regulating even the smallest details of our lives.

It was against this “sanitary tyranny” that most of the demonstrators I met this week in the “freedom convoys” between Paris and Brussels were against. I had been told of violent conspirators, I discovered rather ordinary and peaceful people, many of whom were also vaccinated.


Like the Marxists of the day before yesterday, some were obviously convinced that they were victims of a vast capitalist plot orchestrated by Big Pharma. But most of them were above all against the vaccine passport. A passport that many countries now consider obsolete, but that the French government has chosen to strengthen even as the peak of the epidemic was reached and the vaccine was proving less and less effective in stopping contamination. From there to seeing it as a political instrument intended to "annoy" the French, in the words of the president himself, there was only one step that the demonstrators did not hesitate to take.

It is no coincidence that the "freedom convoys" were born in Canada, the chosen land of hygiene. I know few countries where the medical lobby is more influential. The fabulous fines that are going on in Canada would be hard to imagine in France. Those who have been able to travel during this pandemic do not hesitate to rank Canada among the most fussy, not to say rigorous, democratic countries. The French authorities have generally shown more tolerance, especially for family reunifications. It wouldn't occur to them to invoke the old War Measures Act in order to simply move heavy goods vehicles off the streets of a city centre.

We are surprised by this desire to do battle with the non-vaccinated when in most of our countries, vaccination reaches almost 90%. This shows, let us emphasize, the extraordinary civic sense of our compatriots. We can certainly deplore the individualism of some. But in what society, if not a totalitarian society, would it be realistic to reach 100%? Democracies are judged by their pragmatism and the proportionality of the measures they take. Was it very wise to go after the 10% of refractory people (whose motivations are various) by rotting their lives to the point of denying them access to the SAQ? It makes you think of those little old people who are forced with consummate sadism, in the name of sacrosanct health, to smoke outside at twenty degrees below zero in the parking lot of their CHSLD. Big Mother when you hold us!

As the epidemic wanes, it is as if some of us feel the desire to prolong the pleasure. Because, the other great lesson of this epidemic is that it will have confirmed the return of a certain form of class struggle.

On the one hand, part of the population has not suffered too much from this epidemic, and has sometimes even benefited from it. Thanks to aid from the French State, some artists had a better year than the previous ones. How many employees were happy to telecommute, thus avoiding traffic jams in big cities? Evidenced by the explosion of sales of second homes and the difficulty of some bosses to bring their employees back to the fold. There is no doubt that for these favored populations, the “precautionary principle” has become the mother of all virtues.

But the same is not true of restaurant owners who have risked everything or students who have obviously fallen behind. It will be understood that the civil servant who telecommutes in pajamas and slippers does not cultivate the same taste for risk as the entrepreneur who is close to bankruptcy. How not to see in these independent truckers who camp with their families the symbol of a population less inclined to take refuge at the slightest opportunity under the umbrella of the State. It is this image that has made the “freedom convoys” a symbol throughout the world.

That doesn't necessarily prove them right, but should at least inspire us to try to understand them.