The New York Times

The Best Hope for France’s Young? Get Out
The New York Times

THE French aren’t used to the idea that their country, like so many others in Europe, might be one of emigration — that people might actually want to leave. To many French people, it’s a completely foreign notion that, around the world and throughout history, voting with one’s feet has been the most widely available means to vote at all.

Leave that kind of voting to others, they think, to the Portuguese, the Italians, the Spaniards and the Africans — to all those waves of immigrants who came to France over the course of the last century. France has always been a land to which people dream of coming. Not leaving.

When the journalist Mouloud Achour, the rapper Mokless and I published a column in the French daily Libération last September, arguing that France was a decrepit, overcentralized gerontocracy and that French youths should pack their bags and go find better opportunities elsewhere in the world, it caused an uproar.

The dramatic cultural and economic changes currently shaking the globe are still often met in France with parochial, irrelevant conversations, a symptom of the insular intellectual bubble in which the country has been trapped for far too long.

Le Québec n’est pas différent avec ses baby-boomers qui pratiquent la politique de la terre brulée.