There Is Hope


And who would have thought it would come from, of all places, France?

I mock France in all of its caricatures.  The social state, the welfare, the lifestyle and the arrogance.  I do.  I admit it, in fact, I embrace it.  But I have to admit, I took hope in France tonight.

Tonight I saw an ember of that human spirit that I love and admire.  I saw a concept manifest itself in the philosophical and the practical.  And, as is often the case, it was a simple thing:

LYON, France—In a nondescript storefront in a quiet, cobblestoned neighborhood, Brigitte Hautier practices one of the oldest professions in France. She is a public writer.

Now, I’m aware that you can hire out the creation of your resume, but I did not know about the public writer:

This latter-day Cyrano de Bergerac still performs many of the services her professional forebears did: She writes résumés, polishes job applications, composes eulogies and even the occasional love letter. She does this mostly for working-class people with little education, many of them immigrants with a tenuous grasp of French.

But hey.  Good work if you can get it.  And I suspect that if a person can make a living at it, or even supplement one, you CAN get it.  As I read the article, however, another thing did not occur to me:

Public writers like Ms. Hautier, who charge customers directly, have earned the scorn of other public writers, who are paid by local governments to offer free résumé and cover-letter writing, and help filling out bureaucratic paperwork to the underprivileged.

It never occurred to me that a government would provide this service free of charge.  [Of course they justify this by adding “to the underprivileged] as the reason.

By the way, just as an aside, wanna know why the French need public writers?

…public writers are in more demand than ever because of a growing digital divide that further complicates navigating French bureaucracies for unemployment insurance, housing assistance, and immigration paperwork.

Isn’t that awesome?  The government has to provide a service as a cure to its already provided service.  Did I mention that I hate the French?

So, what does Ms. Hautier have to say about the conflict between government provided writers and private ones?

There are people who want only free stuff, and others would rather pay and be free.

God bless the French!  Bless them for their philosophy.  How about their practical?

Kader Bechikh, a production line foreman at a large French agribusiness, had another reason for turning to Ms. Hautier, rather than a public writer employed by one of the local governments in the Lyon region. He was looking for help writing his résumé and cover letter, and time was of the essence. “I didn’t want to stand on line for hours,” he says.

He didn’t want to stand in line for hours.

Any scare resource that has alternate uses will be rationed.  One example is to ration it by money.  Another is time.  Yet another is quality.

Never forget this.  The fact that we haven’t brings me back to a state of harmony.

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