Vive La France!
Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Vive La France!

I confess I rather like France. I like her arrogance, her elitism, her dirigism, her fondness for artists & intellectuals, her ideological politics, her ruthlessness, her deviousness, her fastidiousness about food, her pretentious films, her beautiful women, & her cultural & civic pride - everything about her, in fact, that neo-conservatives, libertarians, Anglo-Saxon supremacists, & other weirdos hate. I like the way she has kept her capital city beautiful, the way she does what she likes, the way she honours those whose achievements will be remembered when those of generals & presidents have crumbled to dust, the way she despises America, the Land of the Ephemeral. I even liked the hypocrisy with which she opposed Bush's crazy war, taking the moral high ground while all the while seeking to protect an odious regime for the sake of her own commercial interests - & the way she brilliantly pulled it off, running rings round the cowboys as Sherlock Holmes used to run rings round Scotland Yard. Why can't Britain be like that?

She's not all good, of course. Guillotining aristocrats is inverted snobbery at its worst. Liberty, equality, & fraternity are distasteful ideas even when they are only paid lip-service. Voluntarily surrendering your sovereignty in the hope of never having to surrender it involuntarily makes no sense even to an intellectual, even if it may save a few lives. Paper constitutions are a poor substitute for real ones, especially when they have to be continually replaced. Post-modernism & deconstruction, though certainly carried off with more elegance & panache in France than in the dismal groves of Anglo-Saxon academe, are ripe for post-modernisation & de-con-struction. Peasant farmers don't need to be taken that seriously. But any country that puts proper holidays above money-grubbing has to be doing something right.

What, after all, are the alternatives? To be like America? A warmongering Philistine bully who works her people ever harder to pay for ever more pointless wars & ever more flagrant subversion of the Constitution that is supposed to be the guiding principle of her being? Germany, guilt-ridden, hollowed-out vestige of a great nation? Japan, torn between corporatism & tradition, taking the most conformist features of both, hoping thereby to achieve wealth & retain character, failing in both? Russia, chaotic & sprawling, crippled by poverty, overrun by gangsters? China, gerontocratic tyranny? Or Britain, America's poodle & Europe's lapdog, so consumed by self-hatred she elects with a massive majority a government committed to eradicating everything distinctively British, so disfigured by egalitarian dogma she can no longer educate her children, so deluded by libertarian fantasies that her top businessmen get richer & richer as fewer & fewer things work?

Vive La France!


Post a Comment

Blog Archive