Sweeping Strike or Endless European Vacation?

Like most liberals, I believe that Europe is some kind of European paradise. They actually pass laws to force people to do things that we liberals only dream about. Like the Netherlands bike riding act of 1952 that forces every home in the Netherlands to maintain one bicycle per home. When someone comes from America they are to lend them their bicycle to show them how cool they are. They also have a mobile health care van…for prostitutes. And they get about a year’s vacation for every year of work. Except for Austria.

So when the oil companies finally did something nice for the common bicyclist in America, and they raised petrol (that’s gas for Americans—for non-Americans, by “gas” we mean the stuff we put into our vehicles and not farts), the European oil companies did one better. See petrol was all ready over four dollars a gallon, that is it comes out to over four dollars a gallon when you do the math to convert from their more enlightened usage of the half soda bottle (litre) for volume and the more enlightened Euro for currency. So in order to show their solidarity with bicyclists, they raised the price to about twenty dollars a gallon.

What did the good people of Europe do? Take a vacation. While they were on vacation they asked for extra everything. Bus drivers in the Netherlands want better payment, milk farmers in Germany want more money for their milk. Finally consumers in Athens didn’t want to pay so much for a Nintendo Wii. I guess things have changed since the days of Socrates where people would just sit around drinking and making up philosophical systems for American students to major in.

I’m not sure whether they’ll get all their demands. Protesting is a dicey affair that seldom leads the fruit that’s expected. In the Netherlands, a judge said that the milk factory strike was illegal so the kindly farmers stopped striking. I found that surprising, but also incredibly easy going.

Despite the limited success so far, there have been some great benefits for bicyclists. In the city of Lisbon, there’s no fuel. No fuel means limited driving which means the entire frikin’ city is a bike paradise. I’d fly there immediately if the airport weren’t shut down due to a fuel shortage as well as a general strike for the guys who wave the fluorescent cones around on the runway.

Also, there in Lisbon, there is no milk, fruit, vegetables, meat, pastries, nor twinkies. They never did have twinkies, actually, which is another good thing about Europe. The bad thing is that the list of stuff they don’t have is so long, it would be easier to print what they do have lots of pissed off consumers. I predict that one day, they will join their Athenian bretheren in the strike that is giving all of Europe an even longer vacation than they all ready have. Long live Europe.


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