4 thoughts on “Some Thoughts from France”

  1. OK, I have tried several times to read the La Republique’s Last, Best Hope. piece and as I get less than half-way through it jumps back to the top of the piece no matter what I do. Which may be why after most of the day I am the only commenter so far.

    First, let us look at the list of things gone wrong presented in that first half. They are absolutely true. Then it goes on to posit a non-aligned movement that will rise up to defend La Republique without depending on any of the leadership elites who would co-opt it. I am not an expert on France. But I know more about French history from Charlemagne to date than the average American. With all due respect, Social Contracts vary from culture to culture and nation to nation based on what has been done in the past. That norm may not be the most successful, but it is what has kinda-sorta worked in the past and it is how the people instinctively turn. As conditions change and the Social Contract comes under pressure, it may not be able to endure and triumph. As I have noted elsewhere, I have my doubts as to whether our own Social Contract can survive for very much longer.

    France is very different from us. They do not depend on a reservoir of civic feeling in the general population. There is no equivalent of Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms paintings in their culture. Their civic feeling is expressed by following a “man on horseback”. With all the things wrong there, as with all the things now wrong here; the odds are that things will go FUBAR when the crisis comes.

    Either country may “win”, may survive in some form or another. But what that form will or will not be or what will have to be undergone to get there may well be the classic definition of “interesting times”. Human history does not give good odds as to the outcome.

    Subotai Bahadur

  2. I didn’t have any mechanical problems with the article, one thing I do in Firefox to fix things like the light gray text is to hit F9, that displays in my choice of comfortably large BLACK type with simplified formatting that also often defeats some of the more annoying dodahs and crap that get in the way. Might try it in other browsers, I think it’s part of the accessibility options.

    On topic: One of the things that I think differentiates us from France is that much of our welfare state has been put in place by people intending to help the recipients rather than intending to be the recipients themselves. That is probably changing as I write this. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. At least we haven’t tried to solve high unemployment by voting a 35 hour maximum work week. Yet.

  3. as mark steyn and douglas murray and bruce bawer, the latter two coming at it from the non binary side, have pointed out the demographic wedge works against a revival of the one you counsel,

  4. Yes, the dispossessed are unhappy and grumbling a lot. But what actual levers do they have to effect change, especially in France when all the technocrats are graduates of the same university? Someone like Marine Le Pen might surf that discontent into power by harnessing votes, but what actually will change if the bureaucracy remains? This is the problem across most of Europe. See: Britain. See: Ireland.

    Here in the US, unlike in Europe, the citizens possess weapons, which seems to have forestalled (so far, anyway) the worst excesses of tyranny. But in reality, can that really translate into some concrete form of action by the citizens? That hasn’t really been tested yet.

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