Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

French anti-Americanism

Walter Russell Mead has a short review of two recently published French volumes that try to explain and understand why the French dislike America. The review is a good read and essentially makes the point that as the French disliked Britain in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for the many wounds that that liberal and dynamic country inflicted upon them, so they dislike America for its economic dynamism and its political power. The root cause of the French dislike of America is not our shortcomings and failures. The roots cause of their dislike is rather American power and American success. This dislike "is likely to flourish as as its causes exist." And may that be a very long time. 

Discussions - 3 Comments

This guy is right, he hits the nail on the head. One thing he doesn’t do is declare that the real war is between france and america. In my opinion all the talk of "liberal-democracy" in terms of Iraq becomes rather pointless unless we talk of the substance of liberal democracy, and really that is what the battle between France and America is all about. The french did win the french revolution, Bismark in Germany extended universal suffrage and social welfare programs, England did the same. The French conquered Europe. The Statesman was tammed, forced to become the servant. But America was founded on its own version of the "Rights of Man", and our version of liberal-democracy has always been more capitalistic. Our version of liberal-democracy is the only one that preserves the "liberal" part, in the Classical Liberal sense of the word. Thus it appears that we ignore the Europe crafted by the french and germans, we ignore and present a challenge to the victory of a certain type of liberal democracy. The United States is viewed as a land of harsh and brutal "absolute capitalism". In the opinion of the frogs out society is "shaped by the impersonal requirements of an unearing market to the exclusion of all human concerns." Our markets and goods cause economic problems for the welfare programs of Europe. The United States represents a rejection of and limit to complete equality and isothymia. Our Capitalism creates winners and losers. We do not optimize equality, that is the charge. We emphasize the "liberal" in liberal-democracy, the french optimize the "democracy" half. The french crave a certain vision of democracy, we crave subjective liberty, we love the challenges and risks of capitalism, and the ability to distinguish ourselves and earn a more meaningfull praise. To polarize the picture beyond the limits of the facts, one can think of this as a struggle between Rawls(the french) and Ayn Rand(americans)In any case the french are not going to back down. Anti-americanism is here to stay, because in the larger scheme of things it represents a crucial half of the last battle, to establish the ultimate meaning of liberal-democracy.

Dear John:
You mean "The United States represents a rejection of and limit to complete equality and isothymia (and we don’t even know what that word means, but it sure sounds intimidating)."

We Surrender,
France

Not knowing what certain words mean is no excuse nowadays.

A while ago no one knew what the word google meant - and we are still not sure but appareantly we have a working understanding.

Allez! Cherchez! (isothymia)

You’ll end up with Plato - but some of us will have to take Fukuyama’s word for it.

AFAIK Fukuyama proclaimed that real wars between liberal democracies were outdated and impossible.

So France isn’t realy surrendering, I guess...
;-)

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