"The revolt of" yellow vests "is part of the slow decay of the state"


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Tribune. The eighth symptom of a breathless system, the revolt of "yellow vests" is part of the slow decay of the state announced by Michel Foucault in 1978 (Birth of biopolitics. Course at the College de France. 1978-1979, Seuil, 2004). Although not sufficient to define it, the expression of Max Weber, who, in The Scholar and the Politician, qualified the State of "Monopoly of legitimate physical violence"remains valid, as is evidenced by the opposition between CRS and demonstrators, each of them noting the violence of the adversary as much as he rejects its legitimacy. On what basis is the legitimacy of government action questionable, and the general mistrust of its institutions and agents justifiable?

According to political theory, the state is justified by its necessary nature to guarantee certain rights, trust in its agents and the effectiveness of their action. The legitimacy of the political authority results then from the popular consent, expressed when it comes to fund the action (consent of the tax) or to choose the person in charge (elections).

"With the withholding tax, the tax is no longer a gift (more or less) voluntary, but a debt due"

First, what about consent? The repeated refusal to count white votes as votes cast, as well as the theoretical possibility for a single voter to impose a democratically legitimate president on 67 million French citizens, poses a clear problem. Moreover, although the principal right to refuse tax has always been difficult to apply in reality, it has nonetheless continued to weaken.

Having already eradicated any possibility of refusing the tax by authorizing the seizure on bank account and on salary, thus revoking the fundamental principle of its free consent, the legislator carries today the coup de grace with the deduction at source, which modifies the very nature of the tax: it is no longer a donation (more or less) voluntary, but a due debt. The citizen is then no longer a shareholder of a State producing public services, but a debtor of a State which requires the payment of a debt necessary for its survival.

On the other hand, while the repeated scandals - from Claude Gueant to Alexandre Benalla to Jerome Cahuzac - have gradually eroded the confidence of citizens towards state agents, its necessary nature is now questioned. The blockchain even opens new potentials to assume its function of "trusted third party" in the application of contracts.

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