Only in France

Wednesday, April 26, AD 2017



The French are in the process of electing a President.  The vagaries of French politics I usually find fairly bewildering, as one might expect from a nation that since 1789 has had a monarchy, three constitutional monarchies, two empires, a fascist state and five republics.  The French use a run off system by which the two top candidates, if no candidate gets above 50%, go up against each other.  The French finished the first round over the weekend.  The two candidates, drum roll, are:


Marine Le Pen of the National Front.  She has been compared to Joan of Arc.  Well perhaps, if one can imagine a pro-abort Joan of Arc who has been twice divorced and is shacked up with a significant other.  The National Front is sort of a Le Pen family business, started by her Daddy Jean-Marie LePen, probably a fascist, who she threw out of the party in 2015 when he made one of the thousands of controversial statements that litter his career.  She is widely assumed to be doomed in the run-off, and that is probably the case, although she does recognize that France is in a war with Jihadists, something that most other sectors of French political opinion do their best to ignore.

Emmanuel Macron is a renegade moderate socialist, if there is such an animal.  The French establishment has rallied around him to save them from dragon lady Le Pen who might, if elected, actually change the way France has done business since the days of the Sun King, whatever the French government of the day calls itself: heavily centralized rule from Paris, with the rest of France being, at best, a suburb of Paris.  He is 39 and his spouse is 64.  They met when he was 15 and she was his teacher at a private Jesuit school, married with three kids.  Private meetings between them ensued where they no doubt had interesting conversations in the Jesuit manner regarding marital fidelity.  They confessed their undying love for each other when he was 16.  When he turned 18 she dumped her husband, although in Gallic fashion they did not get married until 2007 after she finally divorced husband the first.  During the campaign Macron was accused of having a homosexual relationship with the head of Radio France.  He has denied this, and that denial may be correct, because as far as I can ascertain the head of Radio France did not teach at the Jesuit school while he was a student.

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16 Responses to Only in France

  • Sounds like the French are following the Inspector Clouseau model for a leader.

  • I think they were only formally married about 10 years ago. One of his step children is two years his senior. The affair supposedly began in 1994 and his parents sent him out of town to school to keep the two of them separate. Very very peculiar.

    There were one or two candidates more appealing than Marine Le Pen, but one was dogged by corruption scandals and another just never caught on, finishing with 5% of the ballots.

    The use of the term ‘5th Republic’ is a convention, the ordinal made use of when a new constitution is implemented. The institutional discontinuities in French politics have been induced by military invasion. The country has not suffered discontinuities from internal disorders since 1860, and there has been only 1 republic since 1870.

  • Jean-Marie Le Pen entered the National Assembly in 1956 as one of the 56 deputies of Pierre Poujade’s Union de défense des commerçants et artisans [Union for the Defense of Tradesmen and Artisans], a sort of French version of the Tea Party movement – Anti-tax, anti-parliamentary, anti-intellectual and anti-Semitic (much of this directed at the Jewish Prime Minister, Pierre Mendès-France). As a teenager, Poujade had joined the Parti Populaire Français of Jean Doriot, the Communist turned fascist and, from 1940-1942 he supported the Revolution nationale of Philippe Petain until the German occupation of the free zone, when he joined the Free French Forces in North Africa.

    Poujade mellowed in later life and, in 1984, President Mitterrand appointed him to the Conseil économique et social where he was a keen supporter of biofuels.

  • a sort of French version of the Tea Party movement – Anti-tax, anti-parliamentary, anti-intellectual and anti-Semitic (much of this directed at the Jewish Prime Minister, Pierre Mendès-France).

    In discussions of this sort, you’ve grossly mischaracterized first Nigel Farage and now the Tea Party. You really haven’t any aptitude for this sort of thing. At all.

  • Macron (Maybe Chas. Manson should run) reminds of the democrat dork the leftish pond scum are attempting to impose on GA – 6 in the June special, run-off election.

    Britain had its Brexit. America has its President Donald J. Trump. And, France . . . This time maybe the countryside will outvote the Paris elites that are out if touch with the desires and needs of the French people.

  • “The use of the term ‘5th Republic’ is a convention, the ordinal made use of when a new constitution is implemented.”

    The First Republic was killed by Napoleon. The Second Republic was ended by the plebiscite which created the Second Empire. The Third Republic succeeded the Second Empire and was ended by the Nazis. The short lived post war Fourth Republic died in 1958 as a result of a disguised military coup prettied up after the fact to place DeGaulle in power. French constitutional arrangements have all the long term stability of jello. History shall see if the Fifth Republic exceeds in longevity the Third Republic.

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  • So both Le Pen and Macron are sexual deviants. France is doomed, and at its low birth rate, there will be no 6th Republic.

  • Even if Le Pen is “Trumpish”, I just don’t see that France is in quite the same spot as the US. The other issue is that Macron is not a Hildebeast – at least, he does not come across as flat out unlikable as she. I also get the impression that the first round (which seems sort of like a primary) leans more left, opposite of what we had. That is, Clinton had one lousy candidate to beat out; trump had 15 or 16, all on the right of center for the most part. The French “primary” appears to have had more left of center candidates (and likely voters), therefore it is likely they would gravitate more toward Macron than Le Pen. Still, stranger things have happened.

  • The short lived post war Fourth Republic died in 1958 as a result of a disguised military coup prettied up after the fact to place DeGaulle in power.

    That’s a common meme, but it’s false. Ministerial crises were routine in France in the first dozen years after the war. De Gaulle’s appointment as prime minister in June 1958 was perfectly above-board and the peculiar features of his ministry were agreed on by the stakeholders in question. There was a military mutiny in Algeria and Corsica, where all of 3% of the French population lived.

    French constitutional arrangements have all the long term stability of jello. History shall see if the Fifth Republic exceeds in longevity the Third Republic.

    Neither the fall of the 2d Empire or the 3d Republic were attributable to intramural disorders. Unless you’re expecting France to be overrun by the Germans again in the next dozen years, that’s not much of a threat as we speak. The organic laws assembled in 1875, the constitutional drafts in 1945 and 1946, and the current constitution are all legal scaffolding for a parliamentary republic. There are some incremental differences and the seminal conditions which prevailed when each were first in operation differed. However, these constitutions are species of one genus. The notable innovation of the current constitution was the electoral system (which has promoted the consolidation of political factions) and some changes in the mechanics of parliamentary responsibility. Both have allowed longer ministries (2.5 years v. 0.5 years under the previous constitution). There have been some changes in legislative process as well. France’s problems tend to derive from its political culture, not its constitution per se.

  • “That’s a common meme, but it’s false.”

    I think that would come as a vast surprise to Jacques Soustelle. Without the coup, including the occupation of Corsica by the conspirators, and the threat of the Army seizing Paris, DeGaulle would never have been given the powers to reshape France in his own image.

    “Neither the fall of the 2d Empire or the 3d Republic were attributable to intramural disorders.”

    True unless one considers that Napoleon III fell into Bismarck’s trap and declared war on Prussia, and that the Third Republic was a model of instability all through the twenties and thirties, having 32 prime ministers (presidents of the council of ministers) if one does not count Petain at the end. Weakness at the top of any government will invite foreign aggression sooner or later.

  • I think that would come as a vast surprise to Jacques Soustelle. Without the coup, including the occupation of Corsica by the conspirators, and the threat of the Army seizing Paris, DeGaulle would never have been given the powers to reshape France in his own image.

    There’s a difference between ‘anxiety’ and ‘threats’. French politicians had had to put together about two-dozen ministries in the previous dozen years, with none lasting longer than 17 months. They’d failed badly at one enterprise (Indo-China) and were failing at another (Algeria). It’s not surprising most of the politicians and public were at the end of their tether. That’s rather different than Gen. Massu or whomever rolling the tanks into Paris (something fairly routine in Latin America at the time but done only twice in Europe between 1945 and 1989).

  • Oh, I think the Fourth Republic was a disaster Art and the Fifth Republic was an improvement. However, it is hard to overestimate just how suspicious of DeGaulle the political class in France was. There was a reason that after he went off in a huff in 1946 he spent the next twelve years on the outside looking in. I do not think he would have come to power without the politicians knowing that the Army was prepared to act if they did not.

  • Two of the countries (or people) I am always drawn to are Russia and France- probably best to say – my “idea” of Russia and France.
    and I always remember that the people held on to the Faith in France when Germany England Switzerland … all went to protestantism-
    but, heck, now even the pope seems to have gone to protestantism.
    Immigration isn’t new to France- all during their long 19th century they had lots of immigrants from their eastern Europe, middle east and Africa..

    England and Germany and Sweden established national churches in a time of growing nationalism- (even known by a french word – chauvinism–) but french kings pretty much wanted to stay Catholic.
    The Sorbonne. the Crusades. Such a battlefield in the two world wars. I am disappointed they haven’t found some better candidates for leadership. Just like us in the USA their two candidates are pretty much representative of the modern milieu.

  • i should not have said national church in Germany because the various principality went their own way– cujus regio, ejus religio– the political leader chose the religion

  • Anzlyne wrote, “Immigration isn’t new to France…”

    Indeed not. A survey in 1955 showed that one in four French people had one grandparent born outside Metropolitan France.

    One recalls how Charles Maurras used to rail against the « métèques »

France Attempts to Criminalize the Pro-Life Movement

Wednesday, December 7, AD 2016

I am not afraid; I was born to do this.

Saint Joan of Arc



The Socialist government in France, deemed likely to be massacred in the coming elections, are doing what Leftists traditionally do when they are running behind:  wave the bloody fetus and bash pro-lifers:




On Thursday, the French National Assembly passed a bill that makes it a crime to post information online that challenges abortion. Pro-life activists who continue to operate online face up to two years in prison and a fine of more than $30,000. The bill is an expansion of a 1993 law that penalized giving out “false information” or physically blocking those seeking abortion from entering clinics. The bill passed by French lawmakers will punish web operators who post material considered “deliberately misleading, intimidating and/or exerting psychological or moral pressure.”

The French legislation follows a controversy that erupted after the French government blocked an advertisement featuring smiling children with Down syndrome because it could dredge up feelings of guilt from woman who decided to abort babies diagnosed with the genetic condition in-utero. About 96 percent of all babies diagnosed with the condition are aborted in France. The two-minute ad featured testimony from Down syndrome children and adults, as well as their parents explaining that they were capable of living full and happy lives. In November a French court upheld the ban, saying the video would “‘disturb the conscience of women who, in accordance with the law, have made personal life choices.’”

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8 Responses to France Attempts to Criminalize the Pro-Life Movement

  • And we are ‘waiting’ for the persecution, chastisement, punishment to begin? We are waiting for fire to fall from the sky? It’s here. I’m reminded of what we know of the beginnings of Nazism – the first, subtle persecutions of Jews, then many others. The silence was deafening, until it was too late for everyone.

  • The modern French govt was conceived in hatred and founded on tyranny. How have the French people survived in such moral squalor for so long? It is a crime to appeal to the conscience of your countrymen? Such a nation cannot endure.

  • Another indication, in case we needed one, that the mentality of the governing class in western Europe and Canada is about the same as that of the higher education apparat in this country. Because the judiciary (and much of the legal profession) shares this mentality, constitutional guarantees are naught there, and, if the same sorts have their way, will be here as well (through bogus use of variants of consumer protection law and the usual projection about ‘hate speech’). Another prediction: when that happens, the following social segments will prove themselves to be supercilious fair-weather friends: the bulk of the clergy, the Republican establishment, soi-disant libertarians, and the Catholic left.

  • The modern French govt was conceived in hatred and founded on tyranny.

    Get a grip. The current Constitution of France was written in 1958 by Charles de Gaulle (a devoted Catholic) and his assistants. The country had a vigorous Christian Democratic movement as recently as the 1940s.

  • They SHOULD have their consciences disturbed.

  • Sad. We should have let the Jerrys keep France.

  • From the country that invented state terrorism. Sad that Britain did not wipe them out millennia ago. Although, thinning the French herd might be a blessing for the rest of the world.

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Two Nations Under Red, White and Blue

Tuesday, July 14, AD 2015

We will wait for the Americans and the tanks.

General Philippe Petain, 1917


Today is Bastille Day.  Our relationship with our oldest ally has been frequently rocky over the years, in spite of the aid France gave us in winning our independence and the fact that the US was instrumental in saving France in two World Wars.  As we commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the Great War, it is good to recall a time when French and Americans fought so closely together that at times they seemed to be one army.

By 1917 the French Army was in a mutinous state.  Millions of Frenchmen were wounded and dead with little to show for it.  Petain, the victor of Verdun, was made commander in chief of the French army.  He constantly visited units and told them that wasteful, ill-prepared offensives were a thing of the past.  Petain had enjoyed a great deal of success with intensively prepared small scale offensives where he could mass overwhelming force against a small enemy section of the immense line of trenches that stretched from Switzerland to the North Sea.  He had these type of offensives on a grand scale in mind for a rejuvenated French army in 1918.  He also knew two other things:  Allied factories were beginning to produce massive amounts of tanks that could spearhead future offensives and America had entered the War:  the Yanks were coming!  At the conclusion of most of his speeches in 1917 he told his men that they would wait for the Americans and the tanks, a line that never failed to receive thunderous applause from the troops.  The average poilu was a brave man and he was willing to die, if need be, to win the War.  He was no longer willing to die in useless offensives that accomplished nothing, and Petain understood that.

American troops trickled in during 1917 and received a tumultuous reception from the French.  When Colonel Charles E. Stanton, nephew of Lincoln’s Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, said at the tomb of Lafayette on July 4, 1917:  “Lafayette we are here!” both nations were electrified.

America sent over endless amounts of food in 1917 and 1918 that kept the French from starving.  The American Navy helped to master the U-boat threat.

By October 1917 four American divisions were deployed to France.  French combat veterans acted as instructors for the troops and much of the artillery was provided by the French.  This of course was only the first wave of millions of Americans training in the US to be shipped across the Atlantic in 1918.

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10 Responses to Two Nations Under Red, White and Blue

  • “Happy” Reign of Terror Day.
    I will commemorate the day, but not celebrate it.
    Lafayette’s mistake was to see the American Revolution as an actual “revolution” rather than the war for independence that it in fact was.
    He returned to France full of revolutionary zeal, hoping to replicate on the Continent what he had helped achieve in America. Unfortunately, Lafayette — who sought a moderate middle ground in the French Revolution vs. the more radical Jacobin elements led by Robespierre — did not foresee the Reign of Terror that would be loosed by his actions on that fateful July 14, which would all too soon turn its sights on him.

  • The reign of Terror was indeed terrible Jay and in many ways the French Revolution ushered in for a period the first totalitarian state. However, it also began a process that over time transformed France into a Republic, and I share Lafayette’s joy in that. As for our Revolution, it was both a War for independence and a Revolution, perhaps the only true Revolution worthy of the name in the history of Man, and one that is still ongoing.

  • I’ve been listening to the Revolutions podcast, which has so far covered the English and French revolutions and now winding up the French, it’s worth a listen during your morning drive:

    Ironically, King Louis could probably have stayed on the throne if it weren’t for the fiscal crisis caused by sending millions of livres to support the American rebels.

  • French involvement in the American Revolution did not help its fiscal situation, but the real killers were a decline in French agricultural prices, reliance upon the peasantry to pay most of the taxes, an outmoded system of collecting taxes and four years of disastrous winters in 1785-89.

  • I appreciate this post- I always feel the French are so maligned today and I wish for more understanding of how the enlightenment (tool of the Devil) hit France so very hard. Mr McClarey’s favorite E. Burker addressed that somewhere…

    The revolution in France was not the same at the end as it was in the beginning– just as today people are carried along on the currents of time and events and suddenly late begin to recognize that they have gone a “bridge too far” ..
    For me, Jane Fonda made me realize “no-this is not what I meant” when I walked in an anti-war march– learning that I needed to turn around and look again at the issues and my own actions.
    Today I think some gays so eager to march and wave their flag at courthouses, will look around and see the destruction of our (their own) culture and say– “wait no–ALL of that is not what I meant— I have been a useful idiot… my earnest feelings of compassion and etcetera etcetera etcetera have been co-opted… “

  • When French republicans made Bastille day a national holiday, they were making a statement that they are on the right side of history, and French royalists are on the wrong side. When you think of France, what stirs your imagination? Is it King Louis IX, St. Joan of Arc, the University of Paris during St. Thomas Aquinas’s time, Notre Dame and Sainte Chappelle? Or is it Napoleon, the Impressionists, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre pyramid? One nation, two visions of what civilization ought to be – take your pick. (And these two visions can overlap – the French tolerate contradiction.)

  • I’m a cafeteria Francophile, so I’ll select the good and pass on the rotten. As regards the Revolution, it went off the rails when the Jacobins and others turned on the Church and murdered the King. Nothing good could come thereafter, and nothing did until Napoleon imposed his own unique settlement. The sad truth is that if the Bourbons had been somewhat flexible, the monarchy (limited by a constitution) would have returned before the advent of Napoleon. Sure, it might be difficult to be flexible if you’d seen your predecessor beheaded. On the other hand, Charles II made it work in England, so…

    As an aside, I think a comparison of the Declaration of Independence with the Declaration of the Rights of Man probably shows in best measure the difference between the two Republics. The Creator and His natural law is at the forefront of the American statement, but more of an afterthought in the French issuance. That, and the unfortunate concept of “the general will” in the latter document is a source of much mischief.

    Nevertheless, the French still fascinate, and rightly so–the history of the Great Nation is a remarkable tale, and one that should be required reading.

  • The sad truth is that if the Bourbons had been somewhat flexible, the monarchy (limited by a constitution) would have returned before the advent of Napoleon.

    The monarchy might have been restored in 1873 had the idiot Comte de Chambord not insisted the tricouleur be junked.

  • I’m a cafeteria Francophile, so I’ll select the good and pass on the rotten.

    The language, the old architecture, the urban planning, the rail system, the civil service recruitment, the cafes, and the charming young women v. the irreligion, the sexual mores, the reds everywhere, the ineffectual police, the gross elite cynicism, the hyper-centralization, and Parisian manners.

  • Being a cafeteria Francophile is probably the best attitude to adopt. Just an observation. Pre-Revolutionary France gave us King Louis IX, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Joan of Arc. Post-Revolutionary France gave us St. Bernadette and St. Therese. There is a distinction between having a tailwind to lift you up, versus having no choice but to fly against a headwind.

A Warning From History

Tuesday, July 16, AD 2013

We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.

CS Lewis, The Abolition of Man



Too late for Bastille Day, but this reflection by Steven Hayward at Powerline on a book written by French historian Marc Bloch draws my attention.  Bloch was not only a historian but in World War I he had been an infantry combat officer, rising to the rank of Captain and earning a Legion of Honor.  In the wake of the defeat of France in 1940 he asked a simple question:  Why?

Bloch was one of the pre-war founders of the Annales school of historical analysis, which was neither exactly Marxist nor purely “social” history as we know it today, but was an early version of bottom-up meta-history.  (Think of it an the anti-Carlyle/great man school, or history without any dominant figures.  Fernand Braudel is the best-known figure of this school of thought.)

And yet when France succumbed easily to the Nazi invasion in 1940 despite superior forces on paper, a dumbfounded Bloch found he could only explain it by returning to the old fashioned style of thinking about and writing history.  The result was his classic, Strange Defeat: A Statement of Evidence Written in 1940.  His main conclusion is one that no academic historian today would dare to put to paper: France suffered an ignominious moral collapse.  The entire book—it is only 176 pages—is a thrilling read, but I’ll confine myself to just a few selections from the final chapter, “A Frenchman Examines His Conscience,” which, with due adjustments, can serve as a warning for our own intellectual flabbiness in the Age of Terror, as well as a reproach to the dessicated academic history of today:

This timidity of the nation at large was, no doubt, in many cases but the sum of the timidity of individuals. . .  Whatever the reasons, there can be no doubt that our governors, both individually and as a class, did lack something of that ruthless heroism which becomes so necessary when the country is in danger. . .

Bloch is especially hard on the pacifists (and the news media) of the interwar period:

Since the gospel they preached was one of seeming convenience, their sermons found an easy echo in those lazy, selfish instincts which exist in all men’s hearts side by side with nobler potentialities.  These enthusiasts, many of whom were not, as individuals, lacking in courage, worked unconsciously to produce a race of cowards.

And in words that ought perhaps to be emblazoned above the door to every history department in every American university (especially the third sentence), Bloch says:

I do not say that the past entirely governs the present, but I do maintain that we shall never satisfactorily understand the present unless we take the past into account.  But there is still worse to come.  Because our system of historical teaching deliberately cuts itself off from a wide field of vision and comparison, it can no longer impart to those whose minds it claims to form anything like a true sense of difference and change.

Finally (for now), Bloch warns that the consequences of an essentially nihilist culture and education will be the destruction of democracy:

A democracy becomes hopelessly weak, and the general good suffers accordingly, if its higher officials, bred up to despise it, and drawn from those very classes the dominance of which it is pledged to destroy, serve it only half-heartedly.

This is historical reflection when it really counted.  Can it be made to count again?  Not as currently “constructed” (to use the trendy terms against them) in academia today.

Bloch joined the French Resistance in 1942.  The Germans executed him in 1944.

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27 Responses to A Warning From History

  • Donald McClarey you have a gift from God to say (post) the right thing at the right time.

  • Wow – I really want to read that book! Great stuff and I agree with Anzlyne 🙂 I have no idea how in the world you found this…

  • One of Stanley Rothman’s projects was documenting the variation in opinion on social questions among various sectors of the elite (business executives v. journalists v. federal judges, &c). One thing to ponder is the distinction between the military and the police, who are demonstrably better at what they do than was the case a generation ago (if not more ethical); the general business community and the medical profession (of ambiguous direction); and every other sector (who grow more and more appalling).

    Start with our politicians. George McGovern’s political views were wrong, but he was a decent human being who had paid his dues (bomber pilot during the 2d World War). Walter Mondale departed the vice presidency with a net worth of $15,000; Michael Kinsley (among others) found it seedy that he cleared about $500,000 as a lawyer-lobbyist in 1981-83 (or about $1.3 million in today’s currency). Now the newspapers and the public scarcely notice that members of Congress drawing government salaries for decades might have a net worth in seven or eight digits (see Harry Reid, Rahm Emmanuel, and, supposedly, Mitch McConnell). Gerald Ford took considerable flak for post-presidential buckraking, now the press does not bat an eye when Bilge Clinton’s going rate is $189,000 for 46 minutes of oleagenous boiler plate.

  • I’ve had one of his books on feudalism on my to be read list for years. Maybe it’s time to dive in. Thanks for the post.

  • Heck of an article. I never think to read Powerline, but I should.

  • You can find the roots or genesis of this book he wrote most likely began in the French Revolution. Not that the Catholic monarchy was all good and the republican revolution all bad, but the complete and absolute annihilation of the past made France what it is today, at least the secular part, a nation of cowards and nihilists.

  • The Germans, Spanish, Austrians, English, and Russians would be surprised to learn that the French were softies after 1789.

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  • Excellent post and a most accurate description of what’s happening today. It reminds me of how the King and his court treated Jeremiah the Prophet. Sad that history must repeat itself. 🙁

  • Excellent article, Donald

    I believe the religious division of the nation played a greater part than is often recognized.

    Since 1870, the open hostility of most Catholics to the Republic had neatly matched the anti-clericalism of the bouffeurs de curé. Leo XIII had exhorted Catholic to “rally to the Republic,” explaining that a distinction must be drawn between the form of government, which ought to be accepted, and its laws which ought to be improved, only to be accused by the Catholic press of “kissing the feet of their executioners.” This hostility reached its zenith in Action Française and the Catholic atheism of Charles Maurras; this was “civic religion” with a vengeance, a religion well described by the Catholic philosopher, Maurice Blondel: ““A Catholicism without Christianity, submissiveness without thought, an authority without love, a Church that would rejoice at the insulting tributes paid to the virtuosity of her interpretative and repressive system… To accept all from God except God, all from Christ except His Spirit, to preserve in Catholicism only a residue that is aristocratic and soothing for the privileged and beguiling or threatening for the lower classes—is not all this, under the pretext perhaps of thinking only about religion, really a matter of pursuing only politics?”

    “The higher officials, bred up to despise the Republic,” were particularly prominent in the army; a significant segment of the officer corps was composed of members of the ancien noblesse.

    In 1940, alas, too many Catholics rallied, not to the Republic, but to Vichy.

  • Pinky wrote, “The Germans, Spanish, Austrians, English, and Russians would be surprised to learn that the French were softies after 1789.”

    You are right, of course. One has only to look at the “generation of genius,” with the army of Sambre et Meuse, commanded by Kléber, Moreau, Reynier, Marceau, and Ney; better still, the army of the Rhine, commanded by Hoche, Desaix, and St. Cyr; best of all, in the Apennines, Bonaparte and Masséna.

    One recalls Belloc,

    ““You that put down the mighty from their seat,
    And fought to fill the hungry with good things,
    And turned the rich men empty to the street,
    And trailed your scabbards in the halls of kings”

  • The divisions between Catholics and Republicans in the Third Republic did play into how various factions in France reacted to the defeat in 1940, and perhaps even to the defeat itself, but clearly the largest factor in the defeat has to be looked for in the French experience of the Great War as filtered through the subsequent twenty years between the wars.

    In the Great War, France successfully held off the Germans for four and a half years, suffered a higher casualty rate as a percentage of the population than Germany, and nonetheless won the war. Even the mutinies of 1917 are not correctly represented (as they came to be since) as a pacifist disillusion with the war or refusal to fight for France — they were a more a refusal to wage unsuccessful offensive operations. During the 1918 German spring offensive, many of the same units which had refused to attack during the mutinies fought very hard to slow the German advance and eventually turn it back in the final Allied offensive.

    Part of the moral collapse between the wars can be found in a utter disillusion with the fact that France had sacrificed so much in the Great War and yet increasingly appeared not to have gained a final victory.

    There was also an intentional attempt on the part of some factions in French society between the war to remove fighting spirit from the population, in the belief this would prevent another war.

    One can almost hear the murmurs of surprise that filled the hall as Gaston Clemendot addressed his colleagues in the autumn of 1923, five years after the end of the First World War. … when Clemendot stepped to the podium he asked union members to turn their attention to what he felt was a far more urgent matter. “Comrades,” he thundered, “I come before you to demand the total suppression of the teaching of history in primary schools.” Though his argument was multifaceted, one assertion in particular captured his fellow teachers’ attention: Clemendot claimed that the lessons of history, as taught in schools across France, inspired hatred of foreigners, glorified the experience of battle, and laid the moral groundwork for future wars. For peace to flourish, he insisted, the discipline of history would first have to be abolished in the primary schools, where the vast majority of French citizens received their only education.

    From: “History Is the Opposite of Forgetting”: The Limits of
    Memory and the Lessons of History in Interwar France
    by Mona Siegel

  • Two more cents: I’ve heard it argued that the French people picked up the attitude of the soldiers who had been overrun by the German blitzkrieg, and the English picked up the attitude of the flyboys who danced in the skies over Britain.

  • I echo some of what commenter Darwin said.

    I tend to think you could look at the French response in WWII as a rational response to the irrational experience of WW I.

    A decorated, heroic veteran of the U.S. Civil War had this to say late in the war:
    “When I think sometimes what those men all do and endure day after day, with their lives constantly in danger, I can’t but wonder that there should be men who are such fools, I can’t call them anything else. And that is just the trouble we are laboring under now — the fools have all been killed and the rest think it is about played out to stand up and get shot.”

  • “I tend to think you could look at the French response in WWII as a rational response to the irrational experience of WW I.”

    That “rational response” would have caused them to still be a province of the Third Reich but for their being rescued by other nations.

  • Yeah, I would say that far from being the rational response, it was the exact opposite. Significant parts of France experience German occupation during WW1, and that occupation was often as brutal as Nazi occupation during WW2: summary executions of civilians, deportation of civilians, forced labor, etc.

    That’s part of why Clemendot wanted the teaching of history suppressed. The French rightly became more determined to fight for France if they dwelt much on the experience of German occupation in 1871 and in 1914-1918. And the lesson of the Great War should have been that France could in fact stop Germany.

    There was bad military leadership and strategic doctrine which was also key to the 1940 defeat, but one major problem was that too many had suppressed the historical memory of what German occupation meant, and that it was possible for French poilu to hold off the Germans.

  • It’s not as easy as all that. Bloch was right to say that the defeat of France was caused by the collapse of its ruling class, but you have to remember that for twenty years and more that ruling class had suffered from the joint pressure of violent anti-French prejudice among all the “progressive” strata of England and America (and quite a few reactionaries too – JRR Tolkien was quite crass about his contempt for the country) and the immediate and close danger of Germany. The sap had been drained from French spirits by the constant pressure, nagging, and open contempt of all the most influential groups around them. France was treated as Israel has been treated now, and no wonder in the end it broke. Why should it fight for allies that had consistently trashed her and had consistently rubbed into her the idea that her legitimate and terrifying need for security was nothing more than a militaristic, racist delirium of hate against a fundamentally benevolent and pacific Germany? GK Chesterton, as so often, had got it right:

    The World State

    Oh, how I love Humanity,
    With love so pure and pringlish,
    And how I hate the horrid French,
    Who never will be English!

    The International Idea,
    The largest and the clearest,
    Is welding all the nations now,
    Except the one that’s nearest.

    This compromise has long been known,
    This scheme of partial pardons,
    In ethical societies
    And small suburban gardens –

    The villas and the chapels where
    I learned with little labour
    The way to love my fellow-man
    And hate my next-door neighbour.

  • “Why should it fight for allies”

    Because it was their neck on the line, not Great Britain or the US. Their experience in 1870 and World War I should have convinced them that the Germans would be out for blood the next time, as the French were in World War I, until the mammoth losses they sustained cooled their ardor in 1917. Instead of taking the threat seriously France wasted money on the Maginot Line and hoped that things would somehow work out. With the Soviet Union uninterested in a French alliance, not that Stalin would have honored one in any case, France was in a bad strategic position with a Germany that could turn its undivided attention against them. France was infected with the same pacifist lunacy that infected both Great Britain and the US post war, but France could ill afford such illusions.

  • Your reasoning goes backward. France knew from November 11, 1918, that she could not ever fight Germany alone. Clemenceau knew it and said so. Foch knew it and said so. Tardieu knew it and said so. They knew that their only hope was in a permanent alliance with the Anglo-Saxon powers. When the Anglo-Saxon powers turned against France, France was essentially roasted over a slow fire. Your notion that France could have fought Germany alone is nonsense, and would have been laughed at by the most obstinate French patriot of the time; even De Gaulle, in his famous manifesto, gave as his reason to hope for a reverse of fortune the fact that the war would certainly spread to other countries. During World War One, Germany had held back with its own strength the armies of Britain, France, and the British Empire (especially Canada) and a good half of the Russian Army, and still had found the time to inflict a nearly deadly wound to Italy at Caporetto. During the Versailles negotiations, Field-Marshal Smuts, Prime Minister of South Africa and the only Allied leader who had direct and recent experience of military command, made a simple and terrifying remark: for every German soldier killed, he said, the Germans had killed three Allies. And remember that Germany had almost twice the inhabitants of France. If the French had been the idle cowards that ignorant modern Anglo-Americans are pathetically trying to make them, they’d have made their peace and submission with Germany in 1920.

    Instead of which, they built the Maginot Line. Yes: they “wasted money” on a visible and formidable token of their firm belief that they could not have peace with their neighbours, that sooner or later the Boche would come back, and that when they did they would find France still willing to resist in the hope that someone, however stupid, however selfish, would wake up and come to help.

  • “Tardieu knew it and said so. They knew that their only hope was in a permanent alliance with the Anglo-Saxon powers.”

    Then they might as well have surrendered immediately and become slaves of the Germans since a permanent alliance was never going to happen and Clemenceau surely knew that unless he was delusional. Wilson clearly did not want a peace of revenge against Germany and Lloyd George was eager to demobilize the British war time forces.

    “When the Anglo-Saxon powers turned against France,”

    Which didn’t occur. They simply were not going to fight France’s battles for her and it was ridiculous if any French leaders were daft enough to think that was going to occur. Britain of course did join France in 1939 and if the French had fought with the spirit of 1914 I doubt if they would have lost in 1940.

    “Your notion that France could have fought Germany alone is nonsense, and would have been laughed at by the most obstinate French patriot of the time; even De Gaulle, in his famous manifesto, gave as his reason to hope for a reverse of fortune the fact that the war would certainly spread to other countries.”

    France could have fought much better than it did in 1940. France paid the price of rotten military leadership and rotten political leadership and a population that was quite willing to accept defeat if it could be spared the losses of World War I. The Maginot Line was a symbol of a France that simply was unwilling to fight for national survival. In manpower in the field the French were not much inferior to the Germans. Their tanks were superior and they had more of them, along with a heavy superiority in artillery. Their military doctrine stank and French morale was rotten, and that is why they lost. Vichy was probably supported by a majority of the French population until it was clear that the Nazis were going to lose the War. This takes nothing away from the French Resistance, but they were a distinct minority until well into 1944. As for DeGaulle, his Free French movement was a complete waste of Allied resources. He did his best to alienate both the British and the Americans. In his own way he was more of a pain in the rump to the Allies winning the War than Petain and Vichy ever were.

    “During the Versailles negotiations, Field-Marshal Smuts, Prime Minister of South Africa and the only Allied leader who had direct and recent experience of military command, made a simple and terrifying remark: for every German soldier killed, he said, the Germans had killed three Allies.”

    Unsurprising considering it was trench warfare for most of the War and the Germans were usually on the defensive in the West. British and French military deaths were about 2.4 million compared to 2 million Germans, most of the Germans being killed on the Westen Front, so I assume that Smuts was including in his total the 1.8 million Russians, where exchange rates on the Eastern Front of 10-1 in favor of the Germans were not uncommon. This leaves out the 1.1 million Austrians and the 651,000 Italians. Smuts made a hash of the East African campaign against a German force he outnumbered more than 10 to 1 so he was lacking in military accumen himself.

    “Yes: they “wasted money” on a visible and formidable token”

    Actually a monument to the fact that Generals tend to fight the last war and that the French high command had learned precious little from the mobile war of 1918. Some French generals did see the future of armored warfare including DeGaulle, but they were ignored by a France that was ready to submit to a conqueror rather than go through the losses of World War I again.

  • If you are not willing to listen, just say so and I’ll be done. Mobile warfare? To quote Ben Grimm, are you outta your ever-lovin’ gourd? Foch had fought that mobile warfare with the whole armies of France, Britain and Canada, plus massive and increasing American contingents, and even so he had not managed to occupy a square yard of German territory by the time the Italians took Austria out of the war and started the chain of events that led to the ceasefire. The resources of France alone (39 million men) were absolutely not up to the task of facing those of Germany (70 million) without allies. Foch, whose name you take in vain, said that in a future war, an unsupported France would fall to the Germans in weeks – his words, not mine. As for the French fighting “badly” in 1940, you can explain that to the 200,000 Frenchmen who died fighting between May and June that year – as many dead as America had through the whole war. Your statement comes dangerously close to insulting the dead.

    The truth is that the French surrendered – instead of moving their government to Algiers, as Clemenceau had seriously proposed in 1918 – because they did not trust Britain not to stab them behind their back and make peace with Germany on terms favourable to them. Churchill knew that, which is why he made his last-minute proposal to have a political union between the two countries. He knew that, given Britain’s behaviour to France in the previous twenty years, nothing would convince the French that the British would not sell them to their enemies; the French resolved to make their own deal first. Let alone that the French knew that the British had no army worth speaking of, and that they had expected the much larger French army to do the fighting on land for them, at least for the first year or two of war, till the British had organized, trained and equipped the two or three hundred divisions required to meet the Germans on equal terms.

    And for God’s sake be coherent. First, there is no contradiction between the proposition that “generals tend always to fight the previous war” and the proposition that “the Maginot Line was a sign that France would commit all the resources it had to resisting Germany as much as it could.” It might, as backseat drivers everywhere have since said, have been a misconceived effort – although I notice that no tank assault was ever launched against it, which means that it was designed well enough to meet the best military technology of the age, and that German tank commanders feared it – but it was a monumental effort, showing that France as a whole country was committed to a policy of active defence. This when Britain and America wasted – yes – enormous amounts of effort, and more than a little treasure, on useless pacifist demonstrations. What else could France possibly have done? A “policy of mobile defence” against an enemy at least equal in armaments and training and far superior in numbers would have been suicidal madness, as well as opening all French territory to the destruction they had already experienced a couple of decades earlier. Backseat drivers and ex post facto experts should tell us what alternative they had in mind. The alternative was surrender.

    Wilson’s attitude at Versailles was nothing short of criminal. It amounted to treating enemies as friends and friends as enemies. Forgetting in one second that Germany had deliberately stoked and started the war, that it had assaulted Belgium without an excuse, that it had committed innumerable war crimes – the enormity of German behaviour in WWII makes us forget that the Germans in WWI took slave workers from occupied territories, shot civilians for terror effect, destroyed ancient monuments, and looted at will – and that its destruction was the pure and simple result of the hatred it had roused across the world, driving one neutral power after another to fight. Wilson was the effective saviour of Germany, and for that alone – his domestic policy is better left untouched, as vile things should be – he deserves damnation to the ends of time. As for Lloyd George, he was a crook with the reverse of the Midas touch, turning everything he touched to filth. He was the man most responsible for the doom of the Liberal party, and before he had done that he had managed to make Britain the enemy of France and friend of Germany against any sense and interest. (Even the notorious British tradition of “balance of powers” should have led Britain to support France, the weaker power, against Germany, the stronger.)

  • Smuts was lacking in military acumen… the French fought badly…. de Gaulle was a waste of resources… I get it. Nobody who does not have a US passport is worth your admiration. Frankly, the list of enormities in this post is beyond my ability to answer.

  • Donald is right about widespread support for Vichy (and for fascism). Even before the War, and especially after the victory of the Front Populaire in 1936, there were French industrial and banking interests who, according to William Langer of the OSS, “even before the war, had turned to Nazi Germany and had looked to Hitler as the saviour of Europe from Communism. These people were as good fascists as any in Europe. Many of them had extensive and intimate business relations with German interests and were still dreaming of a new system of ‘synarchy’, which meant government of Europe on fascist principles by an international brotherhood of financiers and industrialists.” Notable amongst them was Eugène Schueller, founder of the terrorist group, Le Cagoule (and of the cosmetic firm L’Oréal)

    It is worth recalling that the Maquis was founded by escaped Spanish Republican internees. Eventually some 60,000 of them were active, especially in the South. Many had served in the 26th Division (Durruti Column) and in the Army of the Ebro and they were continuing a war they had begun behind the barricades of Barcelona. On 22 June 1941, they were joined by Pierre Villon’s Francs-Tireurs et Partisans Francais. This included men like Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, who had been political commissar of the famous André Marty Battalion of the International Brigade and had been wounded at the Battle of the Ebro. As Serge Ravanel of the French Resistance in the Toulouse area acknowledged: “During the War of Spain our comrades had acquired the knowledge that we did not possess; they knew how to make bombs; they knew how to set ambushes; they had a profound knowledge of the technique of guerrilla war.” Before that, most working-class movements had advocated a policy of non-resistance; it was the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union that created a mood of protest and revolt among the French working class as a whole. There is a reason that the French Communist Party became known as « le parti des 80 000 fusillés » [The party of the 80,000 shot]

    Allied troops never entered the South. The whole area west of the Rhône and South of the Loire was liberated by the Maquis.

  • “If you are not willing to listen, just say so and I’ll be done.”

    Oh I am always willing to read what you have written Fabio. Your comments are always incisive and interesting. However, automatic agreement does not follow as a result.

    “Foch had fought that mobile warfare with the whole armies of France, Britain and Canada, plus massive and increasing American contingents, and even so he had not managed to occupy a square yard of German territory by the time the Italians took Austria out of the war and started the chain of events that led to the ceasefire.”

    The German Army was in retreat and had already suffered its black day Fabio, August 8, 1918 so designated by Ludendorf, which began the Allied Hundred Days Offensive. The Germans surrendered because they had been decisively beaten in the field by the Allied armies in the West during this offensive. With the advances of air power and armor, not to mention perfection of the stosstruppren offensive doctrine, in the interwar period it should have been obvious to all observers that the next war was not going to be a repeat of the static trench warfare of 1915-1917 but that is precisely what the French military and political leadership counted on.

    “As for the French fighting “badly” in 1940, you can explain that to the 200,000 Frenchmen who died fighting between May and June that year – as many dead as America had through the whole war. Your statement comes dangerously close to insulting the dead.”

    It takes nothing from the dead to say that almost all of the Generals who led them, and their entire political leadership, were incompetents. I would be surprised if not most of them would have agreed with that assessment. Certainly there was enough French commentary at the time and in the years following to support that conclusion. French kia’s during the battle of France were actually 100,000. Total French military deaths for the entire war were 217,000.

    “The truth is that the French surrendered – instead of moving their government to Algiers, as Clemenceau had seriously proposed in 1918 – because they did not trust Britain not to stab them behind their back and make peace with Germany on terms favourable to them.”

    I would say that shows a grave lack of understanding both of Churchill and of Hitler. The truth is that the French government wanted out of the War at almost any price, and if that meant living under the swastika they were willing to accept that price. It is interesting to compare the attitude of the French government with that of Holland and Norway which set up exile governments in England, the Free French movement being a poor substitute.

    “First, there is no contradiction between the proposition that “generals tend always to fight the previous war” and the proposition that “the Maginot Line was a sign that France would commit all the resources it had to resisting Germany as much as it could.””

    The true alternative for France was to build up a modern army with armored divisions and adequate air power as fought for by Reynaud and DeGaulle and others prior to the War. Additionally, it took no Clausewitz to predict that the Germans would go around the Maginot line with the armored divisions they had developed. All the Maginot line accomplished was to have a large portion of the French army sitting idly by while the Germans won the war with their thrust to the Ardennes and their race to the coast. As bad as the Maginot line was as a military concept, the French did not even complete it to guard against such an obvious eventuality as the Germans going through Luxembourg and Belgium, as they had in the Great War.

    “This when Britain and America wasted – yes – enormous amounts of effort, and more than a little treasure, on useless pacifist demonstrations.”

    The cost of pacifist delusions for America was Pearl Harbor and the cost for Great Britain was the battle of Britain in 1940. The cost to France was the loss of its national independence. France had always more at stake, and therefore to point at American and British folly in the postwar years is no defense for French folly. No Frenchman who knew his own history since 1870 could possibly have thought that the Germans were going to rest content with the result of 1918

  • “Wilson was the effective saviour of Germany”

    I have no great love of Wilson, to say the least, but that is incorrect. That Wilson was a soft-headed idealist who confused his 14 points with the Ten Commandments, in Clemenceau’s acerbic comment, is correct, but the actual problem with Versailles was that it was neither one thing nor another. It was neither a generous peace to a defeated Germany nor was it the type of result following World War II where Germany was occupied, dismembered and new regimes imposed by Allied bayonets. A truly Carthaginian peace was going to require huge Allied forces in control of all Germany for decades following the War and that was simply not going to happen. Such an occupation might well have hastened the coming to power of a Hitler, and probably would have been as unpopular throughout most of the Allied countries as the Franco-Belgian occupation of the Ruhr from 1923-1925 was. A truly generous peace to a defeated Germany involving no reparations, no admission of war guilt and no loss of territory other than Alsace-Lorraine might have fared better, although I doubt it. Unlike World War II, the Germans were able to lie to themselves after World War I and claim they were not beaten, and a generous peace would have fostered that delusion, although it might well have forestalled the rise of Hitler.

    As for Lloyd George, once again not one of my heroes, he was not going to have a large permanent British military establishment in an occupied Germany. Such was directly contrary to British practice for centuries and it was foolish if any of the French leadership was counting on that. Britain had effectively bankrupted itself during the War, and any British government was going to follow his policy of rapid demobilization and retrenchment.

  • “Smuts was lacking in military acumen… the French fought badly…. de Gaulle was a waste of resources… I get it. Nobody who does not have a US passport is worth your admiration. Frankly, the list of enormities in this post is beyond my ability to answer.”

    Smuts did mismanage the East African campaign. That is not opinion but a simple statement of historical fact. The French did not fight well in 1940, certainly in comparison to how they fought in World War I. DeGaulle and his Free French posed endless problems for the Allies, as Churchill noted when he said that the heaviest cross that he had to bear during the War was the Cross of Lorraine. In assessing historical events nationality is never foremost in my mind, but the actual historical record is.

Vive la France!

Tuesday, January 15, AD 2013

A million Frenchmen marched on the capital of France, Paris, in defense of Marriage this past weekend.  Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Homosexuals, Heterosexuals, Men and Women all marched to protest François Hollande’s attempt at completing the destruction of the Family and the Church which began in the French Revolution and continued with the May 68ers, has been stalled at the moment.

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23 Responses to Vive la France!

  • It is worth noting that the attempt, in the celebrated Bègles case, to get SSM introduced by the courts on equality grounds was an utter failure. It was rejected by the TGI (court of first instance), by the Court of Appeal in Bordeaux, by the Court of Cassation and by the Constitutional Council.

    The constitutional Council found, “Considering, on the other hand, that Article 6 of the Declaration of 1789 provides that the law “must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes”; that the principle of equality does not prevent the legislator from settling different situations in different ways, or from derogating from equality for the general interest, provided that in either case the difference in treatment that results is in direct relationship with the subject of the law established thereby; that by maintaining the principle according to which marriage is the union of a man and a woman, the legislator has, in exercising its competence under Article 34 of the Constitution [power to legislate], deemed that the difference of situation between couples of the same sex and those composed of a man and a woman can justify a difference in treatment with regard to the rules regarding the right to a family; that it is not for the Constitutional Council to substitute its judgment for that of the legislator regarding the consideration of this difference of situation…” [Décision n° 2010-92 QPC du 28 janvier 2011],

    Every court dealing with the case found “This was differential legal treatment because their situation was not analogous.”

  • I hate to be this guy, but -Vive- la France.

  • Tito,

    Thanks for the clips.
    Hope springs eternal.
    Nice job.

  • Pinky,

    I was so focused on writing “la” instead of “le”, I inadvertantly wrote it incorrcetly, thanks for catching that!

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,


  • Tito,

    I’m afraid Bonapartism equals Jacobinism.

    Try this one instead:

  • Jon,

    That’s a nice tune.

    When the French government is changed to a Catholic state again, that would be a nice alternative. Though the words for La Marseillaise could be changed to more accurately represent the French.

  • This will always be my favorite rendition of La Marseillaise:

  • Tito,

    Have to admit I can’t agree. There’s that old saw about a silk purse and a sow’s ear.

    The Germans in Don’s Casablanca clip are singing Die Wacht am Rhine. It actually wasn’t a Nazi song. The Germans in the scene are singing it to antagonize the French as it originated in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, after the German victory. It became very popular in Germany during WWI, and the French certainly had reason to hate it.

    Even so, word change or not, La Marseillaise isn’t a hymn of freedom. It’s drenched in blood – primarily Catholic blood. It was used as the revolutionary anthem right alongside The Internationale, which can be pretty snappy itself, in 1917 Russia.

    Lazlo and Ilse can belt it all they want. Afraid I would’ve sat behind Sam and hummed The Star-Spangled Banner.

  • “I’m afraid Bonapartism equals Jacobinism.”

    Actually it was more of Bonapartism equals Sun King. Louis XIV and Napoleon had a great deal in common, from their wars of conquest, their desire to control Spain, their centralization of government and their treatment of the Church.

    “L’Etat, c’est moi” could have equally applied to both men.

  • Napoleon : King is ok… But emperor’s better.

    Louis XIV : No, king’s better. See, here’s the Emperor… And here’s the King!

    Napoleon : No way! You must be joking… Emperor’s here and king is around here.

    Louis XIV : Not a chance!

    Louis XIV : Hey you, what are you? A prince? A king?

    Man : No at all. I’m the guy who cut down the price of the Golf by €4,500.

    It’s historical.

    €4,500 saving on the Golf BlueMotion.

  • Pingback: Priest Who Turned a Dilapidated Old Pub Into a Seminary | Big Pulpit
  • What’s truly amazing, to me, about the pro-marriage movement in France is that there are actually well-known entertainers, artists, gays and even gay atheists leading the charge…. with the slogan “The right OF children (to have both a mother and a father) trumps the right (of adults) TO children”. Gays and lesbians already have plenty of individual legal rights in France — they’ve had civil unions for almost 20 years — but even some of them draw the line at letting gay couples claim to be married or to raise children. In the US or the UK, public figures who spoke out this strongly would be branded as bigots and, if they were in the entertainment business, their careers would be ruined.

  • Pingback: Tito Edwards : « Vive la France ! » | Riposte-catholique
  • Elaine Krewer

    You are right that civil unions [Le pacte civil de solidarité (PACS)], introduced in 2000, have proved very popular in France. In 2010, there were approximately 250,000 weddings and 200,000 PACSs in Metropolitan France, as against 300,000 weddings in the year before their introduction. About 93% of PACSs are between opposite-sex couples, so they have definitely not been seen as “marriage-lite for gays.”

    Thus, marriage is seen as child-centred, for the principle difference between marriage on the one hand and PACSs and unregulated cohabitation on the other is Art 312 of the Code Civil, “The child conceived or born in marriage has the husband for father.” By the same token, joint adoption is limited to married couples, assisted fertility is available only to treat a pathological conditions and so is not available to same-sex couples and surrogate gestation is disallowed under Art 1128 of the Code Civil, “Only things in commerce can be the subject of an agreement.” A child cannot be the subject-matter of a contract.

    In 2006, both the National Assembly and large sections of the secular press welcomed Archbishop of Paris André Vingt-Trois’s statement, “Even though it has not taken the modern form familiar in our civil legislation, there has always been a means of handing things down from generation to generation, which is the very basis of continuity and stability in a society. This transmission between generations is primarily effected by the family. It is the legal framework of family life that structures the transmission of life and shapes the future of society.”

  • Elaine Krewer, Michael Paterson-Seymour: The rationale used by the French courts: NO. It is not the same. It is not the same. Gay- unions cannot be equal because they are not the same.

  • Yes. Vive la France!

  • The actor playing the French officer is Gerard Depardieu, tax refugee from the Socialist government of France.

  • Hate to correct you Donald, but that’s Tcheky Karyo, not Depardieu.

  • “Homer nods.” You are correct Dale! I will use Dr. Johnson’s explanation:

    “Pastern: The knee of a horse. (This is wrong. When Johnson was once asked how he came to make such a mistake, Boswell tells us he replied, “Ignorance, Madam, pure ignorance.”)”

The French Are Proof of God’s Sense of Humor

Wednesday, July 25, AD 2012

The French don’t care what they do, actually, as long as they pronounce it properly.

                         Professor Henry Higgins, My Fair Lady

As longtime readers of this blog know, I have a weakness for humorous posts.  However, it is increasingly difficult to come up with imaginative pieces more humorous than reality.

The hooting and catcalls began as soon as the Cabinet minister stood, wearing a blue and white flowered dress. It did not cease for the entire time she spoke before France’s National Assembly. And the heckling came not from an unruly crowd, but from male legislators who later said they were merely showing their appreciation on a warm summer’s day.

Cecile Duflot, the Housing minister, faltered very slightly, and then continued with her prepared remarks about an urban development project in Paris.

“Ladies and gentlemen, but mostly gentlemen, obviously,” she said in a firm voice as hoots rang out. She completed the statement on her ministry and again sat down. None of the men in suits who preceded her got the same treatment from the deputies, and the reaction was extraordinary enough to draw television commentary and headlines for days afterward.

The same French Assembly on Tuesday took up a new law on sexual harassment, more than two months after a court struck down the previous statute, saying it was too vague and failed to protect women. In the meantime, there has been nothing. All cases that were pending when the law was struck down May 4 were thrown out. And, without a law, there can be no new cases.

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20 Responses to The French Are Proof of God’s Sense of Humor

  • As a french catholic I think that you should try not to confuse humor and Francophobia. This is not very catholic to do so.

  • It would take a heart of stone FC not to laugh at this incident. Time for you to loosen your beret and get a sense of humor.

  • Sorry, but your xenophobic stereotypes do not make me laugh at all. I will pray for you.

  • Ah FC, going through life as part of that largest minority, the humor impaired, is totally tragic. I will pray for you that one day you may develop an appreciation for the absurd, especially when you look in the mirror, something I relish each day as I shave.

  • To Donald and FC: I have listened to the entire video and it is not only Mrs Duflot who was heckled but the Prime Minister also. I have to agree with FC that your choice of humour betrays a bit of francophobia. You could have chosen equally humourous and ungentemanly incidents in the British Parliament. Remember Churchill’s “Betty, you’re ugly…”
    Elise – A Catholic FC (French Canadian)

  • Francophobia? A-okay.
    Antisemitism? Bannable offense.

  • I learned in high school that if you wish to be taken seriously in a matter you should prepare yourself to appear serious, which would include dressing appropriately. I am saying that she could have chosen something less casual. If one looks at the first and second row of the gallery there were women who were dressed in a manner which would not attract the kind of response she received. Did she deserve it ? An emphatic “No”. Could she have avoided it. An emphatic “Yes”. If she had dressed in a more business like apparel she “might” not have opened herself for the kind of response she received. If then she did I would agree that the idiots in the gallery cannot be redeemed even with legislation. However it was I admit humourous.

  • “Ladies and gentlemen, but mostly gentlemen, obviously,” she said…

    Madame Duflot was being generous, for it’s obvious that gentlemen are a minority
    in the Assembly. Sadly, that sort of behavior isn’t confined to those over-privileged
    and juvenile legislators. Most Parisian males view it as their prerogative to hiss their
    “appreciation on a warm summer’s day” to any woman.

    Elise Bonnette, I agree that one could find incidents of similar harassment in the
    records of Parliament (or of Congress). But I think that the difference is that these
    days Britons and Americans consider that behavior contemptible (remember
    Senator Packwood?), yet Parisian men still view it as their birthright to act like swine.
    I have mixed feelings about attempting to legislate behavior, but I wish the French
    good luck with these new laws, and I applaud the recognition of their necessity.

  • Correction “humorous”.

  • The last example of Francophobia (by definition, an irrational fear of the French) in England was in the 1860s when volunteer rifle regiments were formed and expensive forts (Palmerston’s follies) constructed to counter a possible invasion by Napoleon III. The Second Empire, however “tried to be Wagner and turned out to be Offenbach”.

    What we Brits admire about the French is their total lack of ‘political correctness’ (their language doesn’t allow it, for a start). Who else would ban Muslim women from wearing the niqab in public and explain disarmingly that it was an anti-discriminationary law? This sexual harrassment nonsense is gesture politics by the new Socialist government. The French only obey the law when it suits them – EU regulations are enforced with bureaucratic zeal this side of the Channel and ignored in France, and quite rightly so. A British government minister said the other day that to pay a tradesman in cash (out of your taxed income, mind) was ‘immoral’. This would have had the French hooting with mirth.

    As for French Canadians, who think that they are more French than the French to the extent of refusing to put ‘stop’ on their road signs, after 250 years they have no excuse for not speaking English. Indeed, if they were really French they would be doing so, since the French set great store by ‘assimilation’. I am happy to speak French in Paris, but I’m b******d if I’m going to do so in Montreal.

  • I see nothing Francophobic about this story. Indeed, there’s something inhuman about a male legislator who didn’t hoot at a pretty woman while the country was temporarily without sexual harrassment laws.

  • John Nolan, I’d agree that this legislation is, as you put it, ‘gesture politics’. So was
    the absurd recent official ban on the use of ‘mademoiselle’. I share your distrust of
    those who would decide for us all what is suddenly no longer acceptable.

    However, I cannot be as nonchalant about this business as Pinky. Imagine for a moment
    that Madame Duflot was your wife, your sister or your daughter. Would you still have a
    soft spot for those swine in the Assembly?

  • Clinton, although Parisians have a reputation in France for rudeness, the French as a race, and this includes those who inhabit the metropolis, are noticeably more polite and courteous than either the Brits or the Americans (unless they are behind the wheel of a car). It is not uncommon to see women dining alone in Paris restaurants and they are always treated with the utmost respect.

  • why so tough on the Quebecois John. what sainted heritage are you?

  • Cecile Duflot has a right to courtesy. As a citizen, Cecile Duflot has a right to courtesy. As an elected offcial, Cecile Duflot’s constituency has a right to courtesy. No, My halo is not on to tight.

  • It is not uncommon to see women dining alone in Paris restaurants and they are always treated with the utmost respect.

    Um… how is this something to brag about? I’ve eaten, alone, at everything from truck stops, bars and Denny’s to mid-level nice restaurants and very nice little coffee cafes. The only time I was treated with less than respect was when the local socialist club (seriously) was having their meeting at a table in the local bar-and-eatery, and at that time I was with two small children.

    About the only thing I do is avoid places where even I notice it’s not safe to walk around. The idea that “I can eat alone without being harassed” is brag-worthy speaks volumes.

  • Women in the political arena are routinely treated on a different level than male counterparts unless they are politically correct of course. I have seen it on all levels of government in the US. I have seen mothers addressing school board members who sat in their chairs above them and actively made faces at them as they spoke, showing clear disdain for these mothers. They would never have done that to a man from the community. They feel they can get away with it with women. The typical feminist who is politically correct often fits right in with the men though, and while they seem to have respect as colleagues I think they are being used and don’t realize it. They enjoy the acceptance in the political arena and often take as a sign that they are performing well but I think it is more that they are part of a view point that does not seek equality of women but rather to make women into the image of their male counterparts. They too will make fun of and downgrade more conservative women.

  • If her male counterparts, who have constituencies, degrade Cecile Duflot, what does this say about their constituencies. Time to get some DECENT people.

  • Quite frankly I don’t give a damn about whether French deputies heckle a Socialist minister regarding her dress sense. The French treat all their elected representatives with a healthy contempt which ‘les Anglo-Saxons’ would do well to emulate. The term ‘sexist’ was coined circa 1968 by the Daily Telegraph (the leading British conservative newspaper) as a joke. American feminists, not noted for their sense of humour – “How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb? One! What’s funny about that!” – took it up and now it is simply a term of abuse, akin to ‘racist’ which means whatever the person using it wants it to mean.

    I have long suspected that they put female sex hormones in beer. After ten pints you talk bollocks and can’t drive.

  • @ anzlyne

    Sainted heritage – Catholic, European, English, Irish. In that order.

9 Responses to A Map Of How Americans View Europe

Lyon Cathedral: Pious Young Catholics Face Down Militant Gays

Tuesday, June 22, AD 2010

From Father Zuhlsdorf:

Prepare to be disgusted and then edified.

This from LifeSite with my emphases and comments:

Catholics Defend French Cathedral de Lyon During Homosexual “Kiss-In”

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

LYONS, June 17, 2010 ( – Approximately 200 young Catholics came to the defense of the Cathedral of Lyons, France, during a “kiss-in” protest held by homosexuals in front of the building last month.

The homosexuals reportedly came on the eve of the “World Day Against Homophobia” in May to kiss each other in front of the cathedral, [vile] presumably in protest against the Catholic Church’s 2,000-year-old condemnation of homosexual sex acts[I believe the condemnation is in the Old Testament as well.  It is also written into our being as images of God.]

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10 Responses to Lyon Cathedral: Pious Young Catholics Face Down Militant Gays

C.S. Lewis on Anscombe, France, and Meritocracy

Saturday, June 5, AD 2010

Perusing the local used bookstore last weekend, I came across a copy of the Third Volume of the Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis. On the whole (or, rather, through the first hundred pages or so), they make an enjoyable light read, at least for Lewis fans. He is always readable and often insightful. Moreover, the letters offer an interesting window into life in mid-twentieth century England. It’s rather striking that six years after the end of the Second World War, common items like envelopes and certain foods were still either rationed or unavailable (many of the letters are expressions of thanks to sympathetic American friends who have sent Lewis one package or another). Here, in no particular order, are a few passages I found either amusing or interesting:

Writing to a U.S. Friend About the Korean War

“Seriously, though, we all sympathize with you in the position into which you have been forced; it’s all very well to call it a UNO war, but so far as I can gather, it is a USA war. Have you noticed the French contribution? One gunboat!”

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose….

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3 Responses to C.S. Lewis on Anscombe, France, and Meritocracy

Alexander Hamilton's Dying Wish, Holy Communion

Sunday, April 18, AD 2010

Like many intellectual men in Revolutionary America and Western Europe, Alexander Hamilton bought into the Deist ideas of a Creator, but certainly not a Creator who needed a Son to rise from the dead or perform miracles, and certainly not the continuous miracle of the Eucharist. Most leaders of the American Revolution were baptized Anglicans who later in life rarely attended Sunday services, the exception being George Washington.  The first President was the rare exception of a Founding Father who often attended Anglican-Episcopal Services, though he occasionally did leave before Holy Communion, which many intellectuals in the colonies (and most of England) decried as “popery.”

Hamilton was a unique man, who unlike many of the Revolution was not born in the colonies, but in the Caribbean and was born into poverty at that. He was practically an orphan as his father left his mother and she subsequently died from an epidemic. At a young age Hamilton showed so much promise that the residents of Christiansted, St Croix (now the American Virgin Islands) took up a collection to send him to school in New England. As a child, Hamilton excelled at informal learning picking up on what he could from passersby and those who took the time to help him. In August of 1772,  a great hurricane hit the Caribbean. Hamilton wrote about it in such vivid detail that it wound up being published in New York.

It was at this point that the residents of Christiansted answered the local Anglican pastor’s request and enough money was raised to send Hamilton to school in the colonies. While in school, Hamilton would excel and wound up in the Revolutionary Army as a young officer. By the time of Yorktown, General Washington thought enough of the 24 year old to have him lead a charge on one of the redoubts of Yorktown. It was here that the “Young Americans” and their French counterparts on land and sea, overwhelmed the British and the world turned upside down.

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12 Responses to Alexander Hamilton's Dying Wish, Holy Communion

  • Thanks for an excellent and engrossing essay, Dave. There’s always something new to be learned from history, especially when written from a Catholic perspective.

  • Very interesting.

    A few minor points:

    Hamilton is the only non-President on US currency

    Franklin, Sacagawea, Susan B. Anthony, and Salmon Chase.

    Hamilton was a self made man.

    The local community paid for his college education then he married into wealth.

    I disagree with your point about money:

    Hamilton was a strong advocate of agriculture and manufacturing subsidies. Of course the vast majority of people don’t like taxes. But Hamilton and others understood that taxes used for the general welfare were necessary. Those who understand it best often come from disadvantaged childhoods. Hamilton, Obama, Clinton. People from relatively more advantaged backgrounds like the Tea Partiers have a more difficult time comprehending the struggles of the poor.

  • As Thomas DiLorenzo in his book Hamilton’s Curse points out:

    “Hamilton complained to George Washington that “we need a government of more energy” and expressed disgust over “an excessive concern for liberty in public men” like Jefferson. Hamilton “had perhaps the highest respect for government of any important American political thinker who ever lived,” wrote Hamilton biographer Clinton Rossiter.

    Hamilton and his political compatriots, the Federalists, understood that a mercantilist empire is a very bad thing if you are on the paying end, as the colonists were. But if you are on the receiving end, that’s altogether different. It’s good to be the king, as Mel Brooks would say.

    Hamilton was neither the inventor of capitalism in America nor “the prophet of the capitalist revolution in America,” as biographer Ron Chernow ludicrously asserts. He was the instigator of “crony capitalism,” or government primarily for the benefit of the well-connected business class. Far from advocating capitalism, Hamilton was “befogged in the mists of mercantilism” according to the great late nineteenth century sociologist William Graham Sumner.”

    Hamilton the first of the “Rockefeller Republicans” or “Big Government Conservatives.”

  • Sorry for the monetary error Restrained Radical, I mede the necessary correction.

  • Sorry for the monetary error Restrained Radical, I made the necessary correction (it is awful early in the morning!)

  • Far better for the world if Hamilton had stayed in it and Burr, a true blackguard, had departed it.

  • Thanks Dave great stuff as always!

  • Speaking of Hamilton and Burr, the Creative Minority Report posted a funny account that mentions them in response to the news that George Washington, Hamilton and others failed to return library books:

    “Dueling for Dummies”: what a hoot!

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  • Given that Obama’s grandmother was a bank president and he attended a prestigious private school in Hawaii, I have a difficult time seeing his upbringing as “disadvantaged,” unless you wish to argue that simply being of mixed race automatically places one in the ranks of the disadvantaged.

    People from relatively more advantaged backgrounds like the Tea Partiers have a more difficult time comprehending the struggles of the poor.

    My, tea party haters really need to get their memes straight. One day we’re being characterized as ignorant trailer trash, and the next we’re folks with all sorts of advantages and no sympathy for the poor. It might behoove you to simply attend one yourself and take a good look at the country instead of mindlessly repeating whatever the media line du jour is about the tea partiers. When I went to one, the great majority of people struck me as utterly ordinary; neither toothless hicks nor BMW-driving swells.

    I did not know the details of Hamilton’s last hours. Thank you for a very interesting and informative post, Dave.

  • Donna, thank you for your kind words. I think you succinctly described the way critics of Big Government are described in the Mainstream Media. It does appear critics are either described as the toothless characters one saw chasing Ned Beatty in Deliverance, or a modern version of Mr Howell, upset that more taxes are being heeped upon Lovie and him.

    In truth the alternative “Coffee Party,” that the mainstream media seems to smitten with is indeed the new elite. Gone are Mr & Mrs Howell and their Polo Club Membership. Instead the new elite holds Cocktail Party fundraisers in cosmopolitian neighborhoods in spring, or a large Cape Code home in Marth’a Vineyard in the summer. For the Heinz-Kerry Yachting crowd, maybe a little gnosh in Monaco for the fall.

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Burke on Marie Antoinette

Sunday, January 31, AD 2010

The French Revolution had the effect of lessening anti-Catholicism in England.  The English admired the courage with which many Catholics fought against the Revolutionaries in France and tolerance was extended to French Catholic refugees in England.  This was a great change as all the French had traditionally been regarded as the mortal enemies of the English.  Edmund Burke began to change this traditional attitude with his Reflections on the Revolution in France.  Here are his comments on Marie Antoinette:

“It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the queen of France, then the dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she had just begun to move in, glittering like the morning star full of life and splendor and joy. 0h, what a revolution! and what a heart must I have, to contemplate without emotion that elevation and that fall! Little did I dream, when she added titles of veneration to those of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in that bosom; little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her, in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honor, and of cavaliers! I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards, to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult.

But the age of chivalry is gone; that of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded, and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never, never more, shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom! The unbought grace of life, the cheap defense of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise is gone. It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honor, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness.”

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3 Responses to Burke on Marie Antoinette

  • The history of the French Revolution is still unfolding. The causes and explanations behind it and the ramifications that are still felt up to today.

    One thing is certain, there is absolutely nothing in common between the French Revolution and the American War for Independence.

  • Tito:

    In high school I had a card carrying communist as a history teacher (he was actually a good teacher) who stated the the American Revolution, despite some abuses, was remarkable for how unbloody it was.

  • Faustina,

    That is one of the startling contrasts between the two.

    The French Revolution was vindictive and evil in who they targeted and the various decrepit methods used to execute people, which were mostly loyal Catholics to Mother Church.

Pat Robertson, Haiti and History

Thursday, January 14, AD 2010


For the benefit of Mr. Robertson.  The Haitians revolted during the French Revolution and the reign of Napoleon I.  The Haitians were never ruled by Napoleon III (1852-1870), having their independence recognized in 1825 by France.  Although Voodoo has been sadly ubiquitous in Haiti, there is no evidence of a pact between Satan and Haitian insurgents, although Robertson is not the only person to propound this myth, which is quite common in some evangelical circles.  A good article debunking this myth is here and here.  This of course is far from the first time that Pat Robertson has said something factually challenged and insulting, although considering the vastness of the tragedy, Robertson expounding his kook theory at this point as Haiti mourns countless dead and lies prostrate is truly beneath contempt.  Certain Catholic religious orders enjoin silence for the good of the souls of their members.  Mr. Robertson could benefit by following their example.

For those wishing to donate to Catholic Relief Services for Haiti, here is a link.

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30 Responses to Pat Robertson, Haiti and History

  • Pat Robertson is a pathetic litlle man. God bless Haiti.

  • I’m not sure which disturbs me more… Robertson’s belief & propagation of this assertion, or the reactions to his comments I’ve read elsewhere which pile non sequiturs on top of one another. e.g. at Politico and The Political Carnival.

  • Some people hear the word “Christian” and think of the nonsense that Robertson spouts. He sets back the cause of the Faith in this country.

  • Perhaps Robertson may have gotten his facts mixed up, but there’s no denying that Haiti seems cursed. A National Geographic article calls the country “possessed by voodoo,” so even if the country did not make a pact with the devil directly, it seems to have done so indirectly by messing around with the occult.

  • At one time (late 70s-early 80s) I watched The 700 Club with some regularity and respected Pat Robertson as a man of God even though I didn’t agree with all his ideas. I still think he means well, but his advancing age combined with his fundamentalist (and from a Catholic point of view, heretical) interpretation of Scripture make him increasingly prone to ill-concieved statements like this.

  • Well at least he’s consistent, because he also blamed the US for 9/11.

    He needs to get a tattoo to remind him not to blame victims for natural disasters. Like one of Job’s self-righteous friends, “this is all your fault you sinner”, its only a tragedy when its personal, but not for someone else.

    Not to mention the fact that something like a pact with the devil is basically impossible to prove, and if anything the french revolution and the likes of Napoleon were far more satanic than whatever happened in Haiti.

  • Rev Robertson may have gotten cause and effect wrong. To wit it is the unfortunate tendency of men living at the mercy of nature, to enter into all sorts of pacts with the devil or even the Devil himself. One can observe this in other countries such as Indonesia and the Phillipines that are particularly prone to earthquakes and storms. In other words the Haitians fear the wrath of Nature and so try to come to some accomodation with Her through misguided and frankly evil rituals. Christians have a role to play in weaning away the Haitians from their voodoo fetishes. And it is a fact that devil worship will turn one’s soul into an ugly mess. But as Jesus Christ taught when the Tower of Siloam fell, all of us have sinned and are under the sign of the hourglass. I pray that God be merciful to the souls of the dead who had no time to prepare for a Confession.

  • I agree about the tower of siloam, a very relevant passage. I think voodoo and Paganism in general are about power and revenge and control, and seeking blessings from the god(s) of this age, as opposed to surrendering oneself to the Lord, essentially demon/Satan worship.

    Listening to Robertson’s comments one more time its as though he’s saying that they are basically victims from a curse of the past. Now we know that there are no curses in Christ, so he is lamenting the fact that they are not Christians, saying that it would not have happened if they were more Christian, and espousing the “generational curse” doctrine. The first one I agree with, but the next two I don’t.

  • “and if anything the french revolution and the likes of Napoleon were far more satanic than whatever happened in Haiti”


  • “the likes of Napoleon were far more satanic than whatever happened in Haiti.” Napoleon sold the Louisiana Territory to the United States after his brother-in-law was defeated in San Domingue. Some think it was the largest peaceful transfer of land from one nation to another. Maybe the Anglophiles here would prefer Louisiana remained in French control than receive a bargain from a “satanic” vendor.

  • I would be cautious about equating Napoleon and the French Revolution. Very different things with very different moral concerns.

  • Just because we tangentially benefited from the chaos and wickedness that took place in the French revolution, doesn’t mean that it was right, just that we as a competitor nation made out because they needed money. Besides, if the people of that territory identified themselves more as Americans than a French colony it was destined to happen.

    As far as I know, Napoleon rose to power out of the chaos and social dissarray that went on for years after the revolution. They got rid of the old and corrupt establishment and eventually got a secular dictator who led them to war. He was a classic “type of AntiChrist”.

  • Also, for some reason I doubt that Robertson would have blamed this on a generational curse if the earthquake had happened in Israel. It would just be an absolute irrational tragedy.

  • Robertson might want to note that Haiti is 95% Christian.

  • Napoleon did sign the 1801 Concordant with Pope Pius VII, thus ending the “official” persecution of the Church in France.

  • One writer thinks the French should pay Haiti reparations:

    Haiti’s chronic impoverishment began at its birth in 1804, when, having overthrown its French rulers in a bloody, 12-year slave revolt, the newborn nation was subjected to crippling blockades and embargoes. This economic strangulation continued until 1825, when France offered to lift embargoes and recognize the Haitian Republic if the latter would pay restitution to France—for loss of property in Haiti, including slaves—of 150 million gold francs. The sum, about five times Haiti’s export revenue for 1825, was brutal, but Haiti had no choice: Pay up or perish over many more years of economic embargo, not to mention face French threats of invasion and reconquest. To pay, Haiti borrowed money at usurious rates from France, and did not finish paying off its debt until 1947, by which time its fate as the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country had been well and truly sealed.

    One is not impressed with the state of former French colonies – Haiti, Benin, Algeria, Cote d’Ivorie, Vietnam, heck, throw in New Orleans,…, compare that dismal list with Hong Kong and Singapore. Former British colonies are certainly not all garden spots (think ME), but India is a rising democracy.

    While the French certainly squeezed Haiti, I think one also has to take into account the fact that Haiti is a very corrupt society. Like Africa, Haiti has received millions in aid money. What happens to it? Where does it go? Certainly not to the people living in shacks. We know Papa Doc certainly helped himself.

    That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help those poor people now. But I’m at a loss to as to how one improves the lot of Haitians in the long run. Even getting them back to their pre-equakequake level of misery is going to be hard, since what little infrastructure there was is gone.

    One sobering thought: the few professionals, physicians, government officals etc. Haiti had were probably more likely to be in office buildings in Port-au-Prince and thus were more likely to die than someone in a shanty out in the country. I’m not saying professionals are more valuable or loved by God than poor farmers – just that it further complicates the question of how Haiti can function. How can you have a functioning society in this day and age if most of the literate people and professionals are dead?

  • The writer I referred to in the post above is Tunku Varadarajan. Here’s the link:

  • And Pinky might want to note that 75 to 90 percent of the Haitians practice voodoo, depending on whom you ask.

  • Donna V you cannot blame the French for this. They got the colonies whose populations have low IQs. The British Empire had a large Anglo component in the white nations. The societies of Hong Kong, Singapore are dominated by the Chinese and they are a major player in Malaysia. In India the British ruled with the help of the Brahmin and other educated castes. In all these cases the British were fortunate to find intelligent and capable races to work with. The French were not as fortunate, they had to do everything by themselves. Twenty or thirty ago I would have hesitated to voice these opinions, but I have come to the regrettable conclusion that quite a lot of the difference in performance between nations can be put down to race.

  • The varied fortunes of the predominantly black nations of the West Indies should be more than enough to argue against a racial explanation for Haiti. The sad truth is that Haiti has been badly governed from the time it was a French colonial possession, and that it lacks much in the way of natural resources.

  • It isn’t just Pat Robertson using the Haiti tragedy to push his own agenda.

    Jon Stewart of The Daily Show provides this excellent fisking of Robertson, Rush Limbaugh and Rachel Maddow for their attempts to use Haiti to promote their own agenda (warning: some questionable language):

    I never thought I’d see the day when Stewart would quote Scripture on the air… and use beautiful and appropriate passages from Isaiah and the Psalms to boot. “Have you read this book? …. You got all this, and you went with an urban legend about a deal with the devil!”

    Also, Rush’s statements and his reaction to a critical caller are perfect examples of what I cannot stand about his show and why I quit listening to it:

    Now it probably is true that Obama will find a way to benefit politically from the Haiti situation — any president would — but that does NOT mean that he really doesn’t care about the victims, or that everything he does will be bad or wrong; nor does it mean people shouldn’t give to help earthquake victims because they “already gave” through taxation.

  • “we tangentially benefited” doesn’t exactly express a high opinion of land and the citizens of 15 states…. “if the people of that territory identified themselves more as Americans than a French colony it was destined to happen”…After seeing three changes of government in a lifetime, the citizens of Louisiana hardly thought of themselves as Americans, especially the free men of color who realized they would lose enfranchisement; the states of New England threatened to secede over what they considered President Jefferson’s unconstitutional act and the incorporation of an “alien” (French, Catholic) culture into the United States. The response to Katrina shows how little the pre-Purchase attitudes have changed.

  • Paul: we “tangentially” benefited because America’s gaining of the land was not a direct result of the revolution, but the revolution did eventually lead to the purchase because they needed money.

    Unlike the situation in Haiti, I don’t particularly feel all that bad about Katrina, they were given ample warning and even told to evacuate, and many refused to listen or even prepare for what was coming. Surrounding areas were hit as hard, but the people heeded the warnings. When you’re told to leave and do nothing, that’s not Bush’s fault, that’s your fault. The loss of life and sufering was tragic, but not comparable to Haiti.

    Pax: Voodoo itself is fundamentally Paganism with some Catholic symbolism blended into it, so I’m not surprised the stats are so varied.

    Ivan: I disagree with your racial explanation, but the sad truth is that our continued financial support of haiti enables the corruption and status quo to continue.

    Bill O’Reilly is right that we need to help them, and that its also time to take a serious look at bringing accountability and an effective government and actual economy to the nation, “teach a man to fish” and so on. I’m not saying we should invade them, but enabling the status quo isn’t the right thing to do either.

  • Ivan: It’s not that easy. Thomas Sowell has pointed out that a disproportionate number of blacks with West Indian roots are among the black elite in this country; in Harlem in the 1920’s, they were nicknamed “black Jews” by other blacks because they were adept at business. Sowell thinks that, ironically, the extremely harsh conditions slaves endured in the West Indies has something to do with the relative success their descendants have enjoyed in the States. In the West Indies, the slaves who labored on the sugar cane plantations were not provided food or in some cases, even clothing, like American slaves were. They had to feed themselves from garden plots they tended after exhausting days chopping sugar cane and engage in trade to get cloth and other staples that were provided for American blacks. Cruel, but they developed a barter economy and a sense of self-sufficiency that American slaves did not. American slaves, who were used to having food, clothing and shelter given to them by their masters, had a tough struggle when freedom came, and not only because of the racial discrimination they faced. They weren’t used to operating in a market economy – something unscrupulous whites were quick to take advantage of. West Indians had more savvy.

    You can’t point to genetics because the slaves of the West Indies came from exactly the same genetic stock as the slaves of the American south.

    And yet, the success of the West Indians in the US has not been replicated in Britain, or indeed, in the West Indies itself.

    But the same is also true of the Chinese – an extremely successful, business-savvy minority in countries throughout the Far East. And yet the vast majority of Chinese were and still are very poor, even before the adoption of Communism.

    I’m not completely dismissive of IQ, but people who rely too heavily on that arugment forget that in most of the 3rd World, you have to be born either very rich or be very lucky to escape dire poverty, because the odds are stacked against you. The form of government one lives under is essential.

    Let’s not forget that Russia, a country far richer in natural resources than Haiti, has been miserably poor for centuries. They’ve produced scads of scientists, artists, and chess grandmasters, so I don’t think it’s because gray matter is lacking.

  • Donna V and others you have the better arguments, as you say IQ differences should not be the first cause for the situation in Haiti. Good governance is far more important. We will have to wait another 10-15 years to see the results.

  • Do any of you realize that 80% of these so called devil whorshipping Haitians consider themselves Roman Catholics? Do any of you realize that Pat Robertson and his followers hate Roman Catholics?

  • Bringing change to Haiti is the kind of thing these Washington crooks ought to be thinking about instead of spending tens of millions of tax payer dollars for a photo op in “Copen-Hoggen”, (as if its incorrect to say names in English).

    All they care about is making political hay, and I’m sure if it was there money they wouldn’t be so quick to throw it down rat-holes.

  • Actually, why don’t we send the current congress over to Haiti to govern them, because it might the one place that they will be an improvement in terms of corruption and incompetence.

  • Bernadette, Who, exactly, are you referring to when you ask if “any of us” know Robertson is anti-Catholic? In reading Donald’s initial posts and the ensuing comments, I’m not getting the impression that this blog is a gathering of the Pat Robertson Fan Club.

    And yes, we are aware that Haitians are Catholics, albeit their Catholicism is laced with a very large dose of paganism, i.e. voodoo. The country has more witchdoctors than it has physicians. Do you think that’s a good thing?

  • Ivan: I don’t discount the importance of IQ, by any means. Obviously, a person with an IQ of 90 is not going to become a nuclear physicist. But back in the 1960’s, the “nuture” arguments held sway and now the reverse seems to have happened, with people falling into biological determinism as a way of explaining why some individuals and countries do better than others.

    It seems to me being born with brains will only benefit you if A. you live in a society where there are ample opportunities to succeed and enough freedom to persue opportunities (ie a democracy) and B. your immediate culture values strong family ties, hard work, study, delaying gratification and so on. The Asian-American medical residents I know had all these advantages. One told me it was simply unacceptable for her to bring home a report card with B’s and C’s on it. If a person with the same potential has the misfortune of being born to a desperately poor family in Haiti, what are his or her chances? If there is no opportunity to go to school because you have to focus on simple survival, your potential will remain unrealized. If you’re an very bright person born to a dyfunctional single mom in the US, and everyone around you is indifferent to education and moral values, instead of becoming a doctor, you might become the leader of a drug cartel. The person with the IQ of 90, born into a loving family with a strong work ethic will contribute more to the well-being of society, even if that means working at a low-status but necessary occupation.

France Tells Obama To Cowboy Up

Friday, October 2, AD 2009

Obama Sarkozy

Never in a million years would I have expected a Frenchman, any Frenchman living today, to chide an American president to be a man.  Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan are rolling over in their graves as French President Nicolas Sarkozy reminds President Obama, our president,that “we live in a real world, not a virtual world“.

This episode between Sarkozy and Obama occurred prior to President Obama’s I have a dream of a world without nuclear weapons disarmament speech as chair of the United Nations Security Council meeting on September 24.  An American holding the chair of the U.N. Security Council was a first, so the foreign media was out in force attracting global attention.  Unbeknownst to the world at the time President Obama, as well as Sarkozy, had intelligence that Iran had an illegal uranium enrichment facility.

So instead of using the bully pulpit as the leader of the free world and his superior oratory skills to admonish Iran at the United Nations Security Council, Obama chose to give his I have a dream of a world without nuclear weapons disarmament speech. The New York Times reported “White House officials,” did not want to “dilute” his disarmament resolution “by diverting to Iran.”

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27 Responses to France Tells Obama To Cowboy Up

  • The emperor has no clothes. The European leaders recognized this including Mr Putin, etal His constant campaigning for his own edification and ego instead of strong deliberate leadership is obvious to most people. His approach is to go to his constituents when he needs help and to have a deaf ear to those who have experience and do not want to repeat history.

  • This sucks becuase that wuss is our president. I know that Rush said he wanted him to fail and I agree to a point. Nationalize health care, kill more babies, rasie taxes – yes, I want him to fail at that.

    As Commander in Chief and Head of State, no, I DO NOT WANT him to fail, I want him to be a huge success.

    Sadly, as expected, he’s failing.

    The parallels with Carter are striking and Iran knows that BHO is more concerned with how he looks than what he does. They are going to use that to their advantage and our detrmient and he might let them.

    I think BHO just launched his campaign for beloved leader of the world with no nukes, no mean talk show hosts and everyone gets a pony. Awww, how sweet.

    Gimme a break. I want my president with big brass ones.

    “I just signed legislation outlawing Russia (China, Iran, N. Korea), bombing begins in ten minutes”

  • Hmm…I would prefer a President with spine when he needs it…and the brains to know how and when to use it. “Big brass ones” often lead to trouble.

  • *Tosses red meat*

    I’d like to build on what c matt says and question whether “putting Iran in her place” is really in the best interest on either America or Iran. What would such a confrontational approach really accomplish? All this would do is provoke Iran into hardening its position and making things much more difficult for the fledgling opposition movement there.

    Words are important, but supposing that strong words are a substitute for prudent action is ridiculous.

  • NauticalMongoose and C Matt,

    Excellent analysis, but isn’t their position already hardenned? What part of “remove Israel from the map” can Iran do more on?

    I’m not advocating a massive shock and awe campaign, just some tough sanctions, inspections, and timetables.

    There are levels of degrees that are attributed to “confrontation”.

    Not to mention funding the Iranian people to overthrow their Mullah overlords with money, intelligence, and possibly weapons (more so if we are already doing this).

    We can also put the squeeze on them by massing troops both from Afghanistan and Iraq with Pakistan following with their troop deployments. In addition we can arm both the Iraqi’s and Afghans to the teeth (more so the Iraqi’s) and really pressure Iran to give it up.

    Just some thought.

  • Tito,

    You are assuming that the Iranian leadership is rational. I don’t think they are technically insane but I think they are looking for a fight and winning it, as far as they are concerned, is simply causing massive damage and chaos. If they are wiped out in the process, then they are martyrs, whoopi. Their goal is the benfit of Dar al Islam, not Iran.

    You cannot reason with a mentality like that. Sadam was actually a megalomaniac but he could be reasoned with, or bought. We picked the wrong target in 2003 and now the right target is in our sites, yet, we aren’t handling it well. This is where regime change makes sense.

    If Iraq was designed as a flanking manuever to Iran then that is fine, although we could have accomplised with much less loss of life (both our soldiers and Iraqi civilians) and much less cost. Any way, would-ah, could-ah, should-ah. We’re here. Iran needs massive pressure and a regime change – not like 1979.

    Boy don’t you miss the Shah. Friendly, checking Russia, selling us oil – we removed him and look what we got. Who was it that did that? Uhm, ah, o yeah Obama’s big daddy Carter. Here we go again.

    Now were’a my 8-track?

  • Today’s Iran is another disaster that the Peanut Farmer, Carter, was actually responsible for.

    It would be all too easy to blame it on a supposed senility on his part; more likely, it was due to his alarmingly incredible incompetence.

  • The more Jimmah’ speaks, the more Billy Carter looks like a genius.

    Anyone has any Billy Beer to spare?

  • AK,

    The Iranian middle class is rational.

    It’s the Islamic extremists, unfortunately who are in power, that are irrational.

    Malaise in America?

  • The middle-class is always rational, which is why we are always the targets of every ISM ideology.

    All ISMs eventually lead to a master oligarchy (minority) and compliant and fearful slaves (majority) — no middle class.

    Tito we could also say, “The American middle class is rational. It’s the leftist extremeists, unfortunately who are in power, that are irrational.

    Who’s in the White House? Barrack Carter-LBJ-Wilson???

    I don’t know about malaise but you could put on a sweater and lower the thermostat, what with all the global cooling, er, no, global warming, er, no, climate change, yeah, that’s the ticket, climate change going on, huh?

    He was right about one thing, we are a bad country, worse than in the 70s, and it is becuase of people just like him.

  • Looks like a case of ” Big hat, no cattle.”

  • Alright, I’ll show my lack of knowledge here, what’s an “ISM”?

    I’m sure it’ll come to me as soon as I press “Submit Comment”.

  • Tito, think of political ideologies: Liberalism, Conservatism, etc.

  • Thanks Donald, I think waaay too much about some things.

  • Exaclty Donald.

    SocialISM, CommunISM, FascISM, CollectivISM, ObjectivISM, CorpratISM, ObamunISM. . .

    Didn’t you ever see Ferris Bueler’s Day Off?

  • Why Abe Froman, aren’t you the sausage king of Chicago?

  • I was, but then we lost the 2016 Olympics becuase of some incompetent named Barracks, or something like that.

  • Here is instance in which Obama failed to show any backbone.

    The Uninted States and other Westen nations show such hypocracy and we wonder why Iran and other Islamic nations tell us to go to hell.

  • Awakaman you’d have a point if Israel was threatening moslems with nuclear annihilation as Iranian leaders have repeatedly threatened Israel. Since they haven’t your comment is as pointless as those in the 30s who pointed to French military spending as justification for German rearmament. Iran is the problem, not Israel.

  • Don,

    Why should Israel bother to threaten? They know when push comes to shove, the U.S. will either take actions themselves or support Israeli action. Hasn’t Israel flirted with the idea of bombing facilities? If they did that, wouldn’t THEY then be the real aggressors?

    In all seriousness…what does ‘cowboy’ing up on Iran exactly look like?

    Iran may indeed be led by people who are a bit unhinged, or have bizarre political positions… but that doesn’t necessarily translate to insanely using nuclear weapons.

    Iran is a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty. They have a right to nuclear power. Have they not also alerted the IAEA of their intent to bring a power plant online months prior? We’ve known they’ve been on that track for awhile now.

    Iran is also surrounded by nations that DO indeed nuclear weapons, and not all of them are models of sanity either. Pakistan. India. And Israel herself, who both refuses to sign the non-proliferation treaty and to acknowledge her possession of weapons.

    Of what interest would it be for Iran to actually USE a nuclear weapon? Nuking Israel wouldn’t just kill Jews, it would kill many Muslims as well in Palestine… supposedly the very Muslims they sympathize with. How would it benefit Iran, who are Persian, do wind up killing Arabs? Iran would be isolated from their own neighbors for such an action!

    This is to say nothing of the international response. The world would attack them and their allies would abandon them. Their would be a great temptation to respond with nukes as well… likely those ‘secret’ Israeli ones.

    Does Iran really want to join the United States as only the second nation in history to use nukes against people?

    And how exactly would sanctions help? IIRC, Iran does not even refine its own fuel. The idea that we’d cut off their gas is only going to hurt their middle class… the people most likely sympathetic to the west’s position. It will easily worsen the conflict.

    Obama put himself in this position because it was HE who talked tough on Iran (and Pakistan/Afghanistan) during the election. My guess is he only did that so that he couldn’t be accused of being a weakling.

    It seems to me that Iran’s biggest detractors here in the states will only accept one course of action: the military kind. Its not enough that Iran is surrounded either by either US troops or nuclear powers. The sense I get is diplomacy is as about meaningful to the hawks here as it was in the run up to Gulf War II.

    If I were Iran I’d put my hands up in the air and let all the inspectors they want into my country. Not because I’d feel compelled to prove I was telling the truth, but because Washington DC has proven to be as insane as any other foreign government. Unfortunately my biggest fear is that, like Iraq’s leader appearing weak in front of their people and the Middle East, letting the west have it’s way is not a pill they can swallow— and the world will end up with yet another tragic mess in the region costing unnecessary blood and treasure.

  • Anthony anyone who doesn’t think the Iranian regime is seeking nuclear weapons to use them just has not been paying attention. Ahmadinejad has made his intentions clear:

    1. “Israel must be wiped off the map … The establishment of a Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world . . . The skirmishes in the occupied land are part of the war of destiny. The outcome of hundreds of years of war will be defined in Palestinian land.”
    October 26, 2005
    (In an address to 4,000 students at a program titled, ‘The World Without Zionism’)

    NB The translation of this quote is debated and has also been read as “Israel must disappear from the page of history”

    2. “The Zionist regime is an injustice and by its very nature a permanent threat. Whether you like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation. The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm.”
    April 14, 2006
    (In a speech at the opening of the “Support for the Palestinian Intifada” conference on April 14-16 hosted in Tehran)

    3. “Today, they [Europeans] have created a myth in the name of Holocaust and consider it to be above God, religion and the prophets … This is our proposal: give a part of your own land in Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to them [Jews] so that the Jews can establish their country.”
    December 14, 2005
    (Speaking to thousands of people in the Iranian city of Zahedan)

    4. “The Zionist regime is the flag bearer of violation and occupation and this regime is the flag of Satan. …It is not unlikely that this regime be on the path to dissolution and deterioration when the philosophy behind its creation and survival is invalid.”
    August 18, 2007
    (Address to an international religious conference in Tehran)

    5. “A new Middle East will prevail without the existence of Israel.”
    August 4, 2006
    (as quoted by Malaysian news agency Bernama website)

    6. “In parallel to the official political war there is a hidden war going on and the Islamic states should benefit from their economic potential to cut off the hands of the enemies.”

    7. “Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces…. Although we don’t accept this claim, if we suppose it is true, our question for the Europeans is: Is the killing of innocent Jewish people by Hitler the reason for their support to the occupiers of Jerusalem? If the Europeans are honest they should give some of their provinces in Europe — like in Germany, Austria or other countries — to the Zionists and the Zionists can establish their state in Europe.”
    December 8, 2005
    (While speaking to journalists at an Islamic summit in Mecca)

    8. “The Zionists are the true manifestation of Satan . . . Many Western governments that claim to be pioneers of democracy and standard bearers of human rights close their eyes over crimes committed by the Zionists and by remaining silent support the Zionists due to their hedonistic and materialistic tendencies.”
    February 28, 2007
    (to a meeting of Sudanese Islamic scholars in Khartoum)

    9. “Thanks to people’s wishes and God’s will the trend for the existence of the Zionist regime is downwards and this is what God has promised and what all nations want…Just as the Soviet Union was wiped out and today does not exist, so will the Zionist regime soon be wiped out”
    December 12, 2006
    (Comments to Iran’s Holocaust Conference)

    10. “Though the enemy had made preparations for not allowing Iran (president) to make his voice heard, but, they could not succeed and thanks to grace of God the world people heard our voice.”
    September 30, 2007

    11. “Zionists are people without any religion. They are lying about being Jewish because religion means brotherhood, friendship and respecting other divine religions…
    They are an organized minority who have infiltrated the world. They are not even a 10,000-strong organization.”
    August 28, 2007
    (At a news conference in Tehran)

    12. “With God’s help, the countdown button for the destruction of the Zionist regime has been pushed by the hands of the children of Lebanon and Palestine . . . By God’s will, we will witness the destruction of this regime in the near future.”
    June 3, 2007
    (Speech, as quoted by the Fars News Agency)

    13. “Although the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime, at this stage an immediate cease-fire must be implemented.”
    August 2, 2006
    (as quoted by Iranian TV)

    14. “[N]o Muslim nation would put up with this entity [i.e. Israel] in Islamic lands, not for one moment … If it’s true that the [Europeans] committed a big crime in World War II, then they must take responsibility for it themselves, and not ask the Palestinian people to pay the price … Those countries that support this regime [Israel] were terrified at the suggestion that [Israel] should be relocated to their neighborhood. So why should the Palestinians and the countries in our region accept this entity?”
    (In a speech before an audience in the Iranian city of Qom, aired on television)

    15. “They [the United States] think they are the absolute rulers of the world.”
    October 29, 2005
    (Marching in a demonstration alongside a crowd of students in Tehran)

    16. “It is not just for a few states to sit and veto global approvals. Should such a privilege continue to exist, the Muslim world with a population of nearly 1.5 billion should be extended the same privilege.”
    June 19, 2005
    (In an interview with state television shortly before his election)

    17. “Iran’s enemies know your courage, faith and commitment to Islam and the land of Iran has created a powerful army that can powerfully defend the political borders and the integrity of the Iranian nation and cut off the hand of any aggressor and place the sign of disgrace on their forehead.”

    18. “Soon Islam will become the dominating force in the world, occupying first place in the number of followers amongst all other religions.”

    19.”What is important is that they have shown the way to martyrdom which we must follow.”
    [President Ahmadinejad’s comments on an aircraft crash in Tehran that killed 108 people in December 2005].

    20. “Is there a craft more beautiful, more sublime, more divine, than the craft of giving yourself to martyrdom and becoming holy? Do not doubt, Allah will prevail, and Islam will conquer mountain tops of the entire world.”

    21. “Our revolution’s main mission is to pave the way for the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam, the Mahdi.”

    22. “The wave of the Islamist revolution will soon reach the entire world.”

    23. “We don’t shy away from declaring that Islam is ready to rule the world.”
    January 21 2006

    24. “Our enemies should know that they are unable to even slightly hurt our nation and they cannot create the tiniest obstacle on its glorious and progressive way.”
    April 28 2006

    25. “By the grace of Allah, we (will be) a nuclear power.”

    26. “If you have burned the Jews, why don’t you give a piece of Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to Israel. Our question is, if you have committed this huge crime, why should the innocent nation of Palestine pay for this crime?”
    April 19, 2006

    27. “The UN structure is one-sided, stacked against the world of Islam.”
    June 8, 2005
    (In an interview on state television)

    28. “Are they human beings?… They (Zionists) are a group of blood-thirsty savages putting all other criminals to shame.”
    (as quoted by Iranian TV)

    29. “The Zionists and their protectors are the most detested people in all of humanity, and the hatred is increasing every day.”
    July 13, 2006
    (as quoted by Iranian state television)

    30. ”We say that this fake regime (Israel) cannot logically continue to live. Open the doors (of Europe) and let the Jews go back to their own countries.”
    April 24, 2006
    (In a news conference held on April 24, 2006)

  • Additionally Anthony do you seriously believe that a regime which butchers its own people would have any qualms about using a nuke on Tel Aviv as the final solution of their Jewish problem?

  • Don,

    I’m certainly not defending the Iranian regime, its attitude towards Jews or Israel or how they treat their own people. What I am trying to do is get a sense of what the political reality is before the Hitler comparisons start flying. Quickly scanning through your litany of quotes, I only see a reference once to ‘nuclear power’ and no references specifically to using nuclear weapons.

    Yes, every couple of months Ahmadinejad says something ridiculous and racists about Jews and it is plastered on every news service… but how are we to know this is not grand standing for his own people? How can we really understand the context his saying these things, a part from our own biases? He mentions that the Soviet Union was wiped off the map…. indeed it was, without a single shot or nuclear weapon for that matter. So like all things politicians say… their meaning can be rather open ended.

    Would the Iranians use a nuke against Tel Aviv? Perhaps. But like I said, the consequences for them would be incalculable. And I’d be willing to bet that the more the rhetoric or sanctions escalate in the U.S., the more likely the Iranians will indeed lash out with a demonstration of WMD capability. Our policy could end up cornering them into doing the very thing we are trying to prevent!

    Don, there has to be some sobriety on these topics before— once again— we march to the tune of pre-emptive war. Iraq was a bungling of an large and ongoing magnitude, and the U.S. really can’t afford the same deal with Iran.

    There has to be a genuinely moral way we can create a path to peaceful relations that do not involve more slaughter. We should be trying to understand the Iranian’s situation and work towards making their goals and our goals the same— namely a self-sustainable Iran that is peaceful.

    I don’t believe that the only way to prevent Iran from making nuclear weapons is by making war. We aren’t there yet. It deeply bothers me to see such a push in that direction.

  • American Night: Everyone gets a pony?

    Geez, I’d flatten a pony! Obama can’t even get THAT right. We don’t even get a grownup-sized horse!

    **France** is laughing at us.

    I just… wow. That’s so wrong in so many ways. I think I’ll start calling myself a Canadian.

  • Don:

    This guy had nukes – a lot more than Iran and we survived.

    Quit your worrying Chicken Little.

  • Hardly reassuring Awakaman since the world came within inches of a nuclear war in October 1962. Additionally Khrushchev was a rational leader. Ahmadinejad is many things, but I supect that rational is not among his attributes, and, in any case, he and other Iranian leaders have given every indication that they will use nuclear weapons once they have them.

  • I agree that Ahmadinejad having nukes is not as bad as Bin Laden having them, (it is generally acknowledged that nation states are not as irresponsible as terrorist groups) but the risk is certainly greater than Khrushchev, and that was pretty bad. Most experts believe that the use of nukes by a bad actor is only a matter of time, unfortunately.

How to Get There from Here

Tuesday, July 28, AD 2009

There’s been much discussion of late about what other country’s health care apparatus the US should consider emulating, and in such discussions France is often mentioned. Now, all cheerful ribbing against the French aside, their health care system is not nearly as “socialized” or nearly as afflicted by treatment denials and waiting lists as those of the UK or Canada. It is also rather more like the system that the US already has, in that it is a hybrid public/private system, though in their case there is a guaranteed base level of coverage everyone has through the government (funded via a hefty payroll tax — not unlike Medicare) which most people supplement with private coverage. Most doctors are in private practice, and 25% do not even accept the public plan, just as some practices in the US do not accept Medicare. However, everyone does have that minimum level of coverage, and the French spend a lower percentage of their GDP on health care than the US (11% versus 16%) which when you take into account that France’s GDP per capita is a good deal smaller than that of the US (which is the polite, economist way of saying it’s a poorer country) works out to the US spending about twice as many dollars per person on health care, while still not having universal coverage.

So what are we waiting for? Why don’t we go enact the French system here right now? Why doesn’t Obama put on a jaunty beret, dangle a cigarette coolly from the corner of his mouth, hoist a glass of wine, and just say, “Oui, nous pouvons.”

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9 Responses to How to Get There from Here

  • Well done Darwin,

    Many factors in health care. One is physician salaries as pointed out in other posts. Many factors in physican salaries as you point out including the high cost of medical school and indirect malpractice costs. If those aren’t addressed while cutting physician salaries, problems will most certainly follow.

  • Dear God… someone finally stopped talking about British and Canadian health care and realized that are quite a number of schemes to reach universal coverage and single-payer systems aside (I don’t feel like having that go-round), France is a pretty good model.

    Moreover, I think if we attacked education (costs) and provided greater assistance to medical students (not just with public funds), we could slightly lessen doctor salaries — as health care costs go down and depending on their specialty.

  • And by ‘lessen’ I don’t mean put caps on it via legislation.

  • Related to this but in a more general sense: I think that dealing with a situation like this (in which it becomes necessary to drive a group of people’s income down for the common good) the impersonal nature of markets is generally more socially acceptable than government action. I don’t think anyone would tolerate reducing doctor pay 30-40% by fiat, even when they generally make a lot of money. But creating the conditions for it to gradually reduce due to market pressure doesn’t have the same antagonistic edge.

    Just had to get the market plug in. 🙂

  • 30 – 40% again seems not to take into account malpractice costs let alone medical school. Maybe your figures take into account malpractice costs. But if not, using your figures, a specialist in the US averages 230k vs 149k in France. Subtract the average 55k for malpractice and you get a difference of 175 vs 149. Excluding medical school costs you’re now talking about a 14% difference, not 30 – 40.

    What’s the average malpractic attorney’s pay?

  • Actually just Googled it. In 2006 it was 100k.

  • I guess, I’m not sure how stuff like malpractice insurance is usually accounted for. Do doctors always have to pay it out of pocket (thus out of their personal pay) or is it often payed by their practice as a business expense?

    Either way, significantly reducing the malpractice lottery would have a salient effect on health care prices — not just in allowing for health care providers to charge less, but also reducing the number of extra procedures which are done for tail covering purposes rather than medical effect.

  • Depends on the practice. Those that are stand alone pay out of their own pocket. Those in large practices or hospital based practices get it paid for. But that will be considered part of compensation and usually salaries are lower to reflect that. Either way, there is a cost to income from malpractice premiums.

  • The cost of malpractice insurance is inflated by insurance companies, just as insurance companies inflate the cost of medical insurance. But the big issue is that usa doctors and hospitals do not like to be held accountable for their bad medical practices and poor outcomes. Their private for profit medicine ranks 37th in outcomes compared to other countries, which rank muych better using national health programs. Malpractice costs would clearly go down if usa outcome rankings improved. The fact that france ranks number one, having the best outcomes, while paying their doctors much less, is all just a further indictment of our private medical system in the usa.

Res & Explicatio for A.D. 3-25-2009

Wednesday, March 25, AD 2009

Salvete AC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the Catholic world:

1. The great Cardinal Pell offered his thoughts on the future of liturgical development by stating that ad orientem will be mandatory so as to move away the priest as the center of worship back to Jesus Himself, ie, both the priest and the congregation should be facing towards God.  In addition, when the priest turns away towards the congregation, there should be a crucifix in between he and the congregation so as to maintain the center of worship God and not the priest.  What a wonderful and great Cardinal that Australia has!  Let us pray for more such strong leaders of the Church worldwide and especially here in America.  Ora pro nobis!

For the article click here.

2. Sister Janet Ferns, a nun who has worked in Nigeria and Zambia, has explained what most condoms are used for by the locals in Africa… to fish with.

For the link click here.

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You've Seen One Frenchman, You've Seen Them All

Sunday, March 22, AD 2009


Apparently, hattip to Gateway Pundit, our President isn’t sure who the President of France is since he sent a note to former French President Chirac, and Sumo I do hope you are fully recovered, with this sentiment in it:   ‘I am certain that we will be able to work together, in the coming four years, in a spirit of peace and friendship to build a safer world.’  The current President of France is not amused.

For the benefit of any Obama staffer who may come across this, the current President of France is Sarkozy.  Your boss has had his picture taken with him.  He has a supermodel new wife.  There are no poodle bite mark scars on him.  There, never let it be said that I am unwilling to help the new administration!

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9 Responses to You've Seen One Frenchman, You've Seen Them All

  • Donald,
    Can you say with certitude that Sarkozy possesses no poodle bite scars? Didn’t think so.


  • You got me there Daledog!

  • You’ve seen one Frenchman, you seen ’em all.

    So the photo is of……… two Frenchmen? 😉

  • “You’ve seen one Frenchman, you’ve seen them all.”

    So your photo is of……….two Frenchmen? 😉

  • Oh my. First hunch is to question the veracity of the story because while I can believe Obama is that inept, I can’t believe that there wasn’t someone along the line who didn’t know better. I mean, even if the presidential staff is sub-par, someone had to know who the president of France is. If they did know and it was a calculated move to snub the sitting president and give props to a fellow traveler, it would not only be a stupid thing to do, but a frightening insight into the “new kind of diplomacy”.

    Hmmm, I’m wondering if it is the latter. There are examples of the far left in this country abusing common sense and violating diplomatic protocol in order to favor their foreign comrades. i.e. Kerry and Harkin coddling Ortega. Teddy Kennedy offering to assist the Soviets by politically opposing the President and essentially being a publicist for them.

    This wouldn’t rise to that level, but it is a huge blunder regardless of the circumstances.

  • “So your photo is of……….two Frenchmen”

    Ah Don, if only it were so!

  • Rick, in regard to your comment I would actually prefer that it be a simple act of incompetence. If not, I hope Obama can find an advisor who can define “diplomacy” for him. A liberal Democrat President who can manage to get a President of France mad at him obviously needs lots of help in this area.

  • I have to admit I’m a bit disappointed. It appears there is another more likely explanation – Obama was writing in response to a letter from Chirac regarding Chirac’s new foundation. This is the supposed word in the French press, but then, given the current state of under reporting throughout the “news” world, who knows what really happened…

    There are more if you simply Google the matter. It might not be a brilliant political move, but it doesn’t seem to have been as completely idiotic as we might prefer to think.

  • I think you are right Cheryl, although the letter does still strike me as odd in its wording. Either the staff work was sloppy, or Obama was trying to get a dig in at Sarkozy, since he and Chirac have hated each other since 1995 when Sarkozy backed a rival of Chirac’s for President of France.

9 Responses to Life Imitates a Simpsons' Episode – A Continuing Series