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"France will not abandon the women who are condemned to the burqa"

President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy's first speech to the French nation concluded with a wonderful endorsement of human rights. (Video here.)

Sarkozy spoke from a prepared text , which appears on his official campaign websites. If you read the text while listening to the speech, you will find various minor ways in which he deviated from the text, such as by inserting an extra word. The text of the speech as actually delivered is on Le Figaro's website.

In the prepared text, the penultimate paragraph is:

Je veux lancer un appel à tous ceux qui dans le monde croient aux valeurs de tolérance, de liberté, de démocratie et d’humanisme, à tous ceux qui sont persécutés par les tyrannies et par les dictatures, à tous les enfants et à toutes les femmes martyrisés dans le monde pour leur dire que la France sera à leurs côtés, qu’ils peuvent compter sur elle.
In English: "I want to launch a call to all those in the world who believe in the values of tolerance, of liberty, of democacy and of humanism, to all those who are persecuted by the tyrannies and by the dictators, to all the children and to all the martyrized women in the world to say to them that the pride, the duty of France will at their sides, that they can count on her."

(The italicized words were in the speech as delivered, but not in the prepared text.) Pretty good so far. Then, Sarkozy delivered a paragraph which did not appear in the prepared text, and his rising passion matched that of the audience:
La France sera aux côtés des infirmières libyennes enfermées depuis huit ans, la France n'abandonnera pas Ingrid Betancourt, la France n'abandonnera pas les femmes qu'on condamne à la burqa, la France n'abandonnera pas les femmes qui n'ont pas la liberté. La France sera du côté des opprimés du monde. C'est le message de la France, c'est l'identité de la France, c'est l'histoire de la France.
In English: "France will be at the sides of the Libyan nurses locked up for eight years; France will not abandon Ingrid Betancourt; France will not abandon the women who are condemned to the burqa; France will not abandon the women who do not have liberty. France will be by the side of the oppressed of the world. This is the message of France; this is the identity of France; this is the history of France."

The speech concludes:
Mes chers compatriotes, nous allons écrire ensemble une nouvelle page de notre histoire. Cette page de notre histoire, mes chers compatriotes, je suis sûr qu'elle sera grande, qu'elle sera belle. Et du fond du coeur, je veux vous le dire, avec la sincérité la plus totale qui est la mienne au moment où je vous parle: Vive la République et vive la France.
"My dear compatriots, together we will write a new page of our history. This page of our history, my dear compatriots, I am sure that it will be grand, that it will be beautiful. And from the bottom of the heart, I want to say to you, with the most total sincerity which is mine at the time when I speak to you: Long live the Republic and long live France."

If Sarkozy can govern as he spoke, if he can lead France in leading the worldwide fight for human rights, if he can energize 21st century France with the eternal truths of liberty that are the best elements of France's tradition, then Nicolas Sarkozy--like Charles de Gaulle and Ronald Reagan--will earn a place in the pantheon of the most important democratic leaders, who took a tired and timid nation in decline, and led it to a new era of greatness.

French political rallies often conclude with La Marseillaise. It is inspiring to listen to the Marseillaise among the huge crowd at Sarkozy's victory speech at La Place de la Concorde.

Allons enfants de la Patrie
Le jour de gloire est arrivé.
Contre nous, de la tyrannie,
L'étandard sanglant est levé...
Liberté, Liberté chérie,
Combats avec tes défenseurs !

Arise children of the nation
The day of glory has arrived.
Against us, tyranny's
Bloody banner is raised...
Liberty, dear Liberty,
fight alongside your defenders!

Aux armes citoyens!

Tom R (mail):
"La" burqa? I thought the rule in French is that all nouns ending in -a are masculine, you know, la banane but le banana. Very illogical, but we are talking about a mutilated creole of Latin here. "The gender grammatical, he is very important! - Except in the plurals!"

Oh, yeah: great speech, Sarcaux. Now deliver.
5.9.2007 5:23am
Freddy Hill:
Ah la Marsellaise! It almost makes you want to be French, doesn't it? Look at the frame 38 seconds into that video. If it does not give you goose bumps you are not alive.

I hope that Sarco can deliver... It is France's last chance, and possibly Europe's as well.


[DK: I'm so glad you noticed the picture at 38 seconds! I wish I knew how to capture that picture, and edit it so it were suitable for publication. Vive l'esprit de Marianne!]
5.9.2007 5:43am
PEG (mail) (www):
Amen to that!

Interesting that this part was improvised.

Yes, like all others, I am now quaking in my boots, hoping he can deliver on all those great-sounding promises.
5.9.2007 7:07am
Grant Gould (mail):
Now women who wear the burqa by choice, those France will happily abandon -- or ban outright. This is just another tired old run of the "people only make choices that the authorities don't like because they are forced/coerced/condemned to do so" trope. Choice, culture, and freedom are reduced to false consciousness. It is unbecoming of us to fall for it merely because it is uttered in French rather than in Marxist lingo.
5.9.2007 8:07am
Beau (mail) (www):
Since he says "condemned to the burqa", I think it'd safe to assume he is referring only to those who are forced to wear one against their will. Otherwise, he wouldn't have said "condemned".

Nice troll, though.
5.9.2007 8:13am
rlb:
It doesn't matter what you say you want under the nanny state-- it knows best. You can be "condemned" to your wrong choices by your upbringing or by pressure from "bad" influences like religious conviction or social customs.

But don't worry, the government'll fix 'ya right up-- or else!
5.9.2007 8:21am
martinned (mail) (www):
L.S.,

- Those nurses are, of course, Bulgarian, as Le Figaro has correctly corrected the president elect, but they are being held, and possibly executed, in Libya.
- As far as burqas go, I think US readers would be surprised about the French approach to laïcité. This is not the time or the place to go into that, but at times it can seem quite extreme:

Wikipedia: Status of Religious Freedom in France

Wikipedia: Laïcité in English

Wikipedia: Laïcité in French
5.9.2007 8:22am
Lively:
Most women do not wear the burqa out of desire but out of fear.

I have worn a burqa. It obstructs your hearing (my personal reason against it) and it obstructs vision. Women who wear burqas are more susceptible to certain diseases because the sunlight never reaches their skin. There are also studies that show wearing burqas may lead to depression because the women is constantly covered.
5.9.2007 9:20am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO:
RE: I've Heard THIS Before!


"I want to launch a call to all those in the world who believe in the values of tolerance, of liberty, of democacy and of humanism, to all those who are persecuted by the tyrannies and by the dictators, to all the children and to all the martyrized women in the world to say to them that the pride, the duty of France will at their sides, that they can count on her." -- Sarkozy (2007)


Somewhere around 46 years ago in Washington DC....


Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans--born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage--and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. -- Kennedy (1961)


Good on the French for coming to see the truth of this matter. Let us pray they can maintain.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Somewhere along the way, the Democrats seem to have lost that spirit. Interesting that the French have picked it up, like Napoleon said of the Crown in 1814...


I did not steal the crown. I found it. In the gutter. And I picked it up, with my sword.



[DK: I too felt the speech was very Kennedyesque. He even looks like JFK Jr., my fraternity brother.]
5.9.2007 9:52am
Justin (mail):
Yes, great human rights leaders like Ronald Reagan, yes.

Didn't he, you know, annouce his 1980 bid for presidency at the hometown of the Mississippi Burning fiasco, with an impassioned (and with such perfect context!) speech in favor of that greatest human right of all, "state's rights?"

Excuse me while I take a laugh or two.

Sarkosy's speech was fine. I just hope he doesn't listen to the geniuses who think Iraq is a human rights success.
5.9.2007 9:53am
TaxLawyer:
Not that I disagree with anything DK writes in this post-- I'm a francophile, and see all that is best about the French in this speech -- but I'm curious about the lyrics he quotes for the Marseillaise. They are not the traditional lyrics, and it's the traditional version that was sung this week on the Place de la Concorde:

After "the bloody banner is raised," the hymn continues:

Do you hear in our countryside
The roar of the ferocious soldiers
They come almost almost into your arms
To slit the throats of your sons and lovers

To arms, citizens!
Form your battalions
Let's march! Let's march!
So that [their] impure blood
May soak our furrows.

Why the very loose translation in the post? Impolitic as the words are, the Marseillaise still stirs the soul.
5.9.2007 10:04am
Truth Seeker:
I too was reminded of Kennedy. Hope he has good security. Sounds like someone the redical Islamists prefer not to be around.
5.9.2007 10:12am
Fred Thompson (mail):
Do you have something against federalism, Justin? Perhaps your among those who believe that monolithic authoritarian systems such as those that killed, oh, I think it was 100 million plus in China and Russia, are the best guarantee of human freedom? Those who forget history (or, like most libs, never bothered to learn it in the first place) are bound to repeat it....
5.9.2007 10:20am
Lively:
Justin

Didn't he, you know, annouce his 1980 bid for presidency at the hometown of the Mississippi Burning fiasco, with an impassioned (and with such perfect context!) speech in favor of that greatest human right of all, "state's rights?"

The man who committed the crime in 1964 was prosecuted by the state. He is in prison today.

It was an individual who committed the murders and not the state, no?
5.9.2007 10:36am
John (mail):
Oh, for god's sake. Just how is he not going to abandon these people? By stern finger wagging? By a few well chosen mots? Hasn't history taught us that the only way to protect people from tyranny is to overthrow the tyrants? And the French way won't do that.
5.9.2007 10:46am
SR (mail):
Do you have something against federalism, Justin? Perhaps your among those who believe that monolithic authoritarian systems such as those that killed, oh, I think it was 100 million plus in China and Russia, are the best guarantee of human freedom?

Because that was the problem with Stalin and Mao, not enough federalism.
5.9.2007 10:52am
Justin (mail):
My problem isn't with federalism - federalism is a tactic, and it will consistently be supported by those who think the state actor will be kinder to their interests than the federal actor. Liberals have found their inner federalism when it comes to gay marriage, no?

My problem is simply with Kopel trying to nonchalantly place the mantle of "human rights" on the political philosophy that is offended by the very existence of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Center for Consitutional Rights. That in the last 40 years has taken up the cause of homophobia, torture, "marriage protection", bombing campaigns, "tactical nuclear weapons", african apartheid, american apartheid, domestic spying and surveilance, and has fought welfare and universal health care with every bone in their body. By labeling Ronald Reagan a champion of "human rights," you are destroying the very meaning of the word. And that itself is damaging to human rights, and demeaning to the people who have actually fought for them.
5.9.2007 10:55am
Stacy (mail) (www):
"It was an individual who committed the murders and not the state, no?"

Remember, it's fine to blame a whole group of people for the evil actions of one of them as long as the group is in power. Only the powerless have a get-out-of-group-punishment card.
5.9.2007 10:56am
Abandon:
Just bringing minor corrections to the first paragraph of the suggested translated text. Altough minor mistakes, I thought they deserved to be brought up...

The original:

Je veux lancer un appel à tous ceux qui dans le monde croient aux valeurs de tolérance, de liberté, de démocratie et d’humanisme, à tous ceux qui sont persécutés par les tyrannies et par les dictatures, à tous les enfants et à toutes les femmes martyrisés dans le monde pour leur dire que la France sera à leurs côtés, qu’ils peuvent compter sur elle.

Corrections appear in bold:

"I want to launch a call to all those in the world who believe in the values of tolerance, of liberty, of democacy and of humanism, to all those who are persecuted by the tyrannies and by the dictatorships, to all the martyrized children and women in the world to say to them that France will be at their sides, that they can count on her."
5.9.2007 10:57am
TaxLawyer:
Re: translation of Sarko's speech, I'm not dure I'd translate "lancer un appel" as "launch a call." While that is literally correct, no native English speaker would ever say that. We'd say something like "I call out to all those" or, if we had JFK's muse "Let the word go forth."

Also, re my previous post on the Marseillaise, DK's translation is accurate. The "liberty, dear liberty" lines after DK's ellipsis are from the second stanza -- but it's not an accurate statement of what was sung on the PLace de la Concorde. (No one ever sings second stanzas of national anthems).
5.9.2007 11:10am
oldtimeconservative (mail):
"...Ronald Reagan...in the pantheon of the most important democratic leaders"

Funny that his "democratic leadership" helped to sustain the South African apartheid state, sought to destabilize a democratically elected government in Nicaragua, and actively supported dictatorships in the Philipines, Latin America.

Conservatives in the US have got to get over the infatuation with Reagan, an executive who never balanced a budget, a champion of "family values" whose own family was a model of disfunction, someone who confused his military career with his film roles, and a "great cold warrier" who almost threw every US military advantage away in Rekjavik.

The myth of Reagan's (or John Paul II's, for that matter) role in the downfall of the East Block countries needs serious corrections, and conservatives should have less faith in a great man view of history and more faith in the market forces that did the real work, especially the inability of the East Block states to set a working price system in their command economies. (Arguably, the decisive advantage of the west was simply better data processing!).
5.9.2007 11:11am
SR (mail):
"It was an individual who committed the murders and not the state, no?"

Well actually, it was a group of individuals. The group was able to murder the three civil rights workers after the workers had been arrested for no good reason. The sheriff then released the workers into the custody of a group of klansmen. The murders were not investigated by the state of Mississippi, which claimed at the time that the civil rights workers disappeared to make Mississippi look bad, and that they would eventually turn up. It was the FBI that investigated the murders. Although some civil rights charges were brought, there were no charges for murder brought until 2005. So, I don't think that your snark is appropriate.
5.9.2007 11:18am
vepxistqaosani (mail) (www):
My French is practically non-existent, but Sarkozy's speech does remind me of Ronald Reagan. Simple words, simple rhetorical tropes, simple ideas that resonant profoundly among his hearers and can readily be understood even by those for whom French is not a first (or second or third) language.

Clear and simple as the truth is the Classical French ideal, yes?
5.9.2007 11:20am
Montie (mail):

By labeling Ronald Reagan a champion of "human rights," you are destroying the very meaning of the word. And that itself is damaging to human rights, and demeaning to the people who have actually fought for them.


Justin, you are behaving foolishly. Ronald Reagan was not perfect obviously, but many of the things for which you condemn him are not human rights nor any of his doing nor the modern conservative movement.

For example, "american apartheid" was opposed by modern conservatives. "homophobia" has been around for a long, long time. "tactical nuclear weapons" were being developed by 1950.

In addition, human rights organizations have their place. However, they should be viewed realistically. For example, Amnesty Internaional has openly admitted that they follow "Moynihan's Law" for strategic reasons. In addition, human rights groups are often populated with people with broader aims. Many predecessors to HRW and AI were discredited for their inability to bring themselves to condemn atrocities in Communist nations.
5.9.2007 11:30am
Felix Sulla (mail):

[F]ederalism is a tactic, and it will consistently be supported by those who think the state actor will be kinder to their interests than the federal actor.

Amen. I would at least respect someone who mouthed off "federalism, federalism!" all day if they were consistent about it, but by and large almost no one in politics is consistent about it. (And damn few in the pundit/blogosphere for that matter...George Will and Andrew Sullivan are the only active voices I can think of off the top of my head.)

And does anyone here feel a queasy kind of cognitive dissonance reading all of this francophilia here? Not that I ever have had anything against the French, but this reads like a love parade...and from a lot of people who I suspect were using "French" as a byword for "all that is wrong and evil in the world" mere weeks ago.

Those who forget history (or, like most libs, never bothered to learn it in the first place) are bound to repeat it....

Yes, Fred, and those who quote trite truisms in tandem with silly canards (Libs never bothered to learn history? You really live in your own world, don't you?) are doomed to a neverending series of non-sequiturs.

And speaking of never having learned history...

The man who committed the crime in 1964 was prosecuted by the state. He is in prison today.

It was an individual who committed the murders and not the state, no?

You live in your own universe. SR responded to this more than adequately, but I'd just like to make the point that going to the site where those crimes happened and announcing your candidacy by praising "states rights" (which, like federalism, exists mostly as a code word in national politics) is similar to announcing your candidacy at Auschwitz by priasing the genius of the German people. It's in exceedingly bad taste and everyone knows what you really mean.
5.9.2007 11:39am
WHOI Jacket:
I'm sure Reagan would have wanted a list of where you felt he should and should have not appeared......
5.9.2007 12:21pm
SirGawain:
"It's in exceedingly bad taste and everyone knows what you really mean."

Actually it's quite apparent that you don't have the first clue about federalism.
5.9.2007 12:25pm
SirGawain:
"and has fought welfare and universal health care with every bone in their body."

Sorry buddy, but socialism does not equal human rights.
5.9.2007 12:28pm
Angry Overeducated Catholic (mail) (www):

By labeling Ronald Reagan a champion of "human rights," you are destroying the very meaning of the word. And that itself is damaging to human rights, and demeaning to the people who have actually fought for them.

Okay, so during which period of the post-WWII 20th century were the human rights abuses committed by the United States comparable with those committed by the Soviet Union and its allies?

Of course, I'm being far too generous. I should really ask you to demonstrate when during the 1970s and 1980s (the heyday of the "human rights movement") the United States had "moral equivalency" with the Communist World.

As for "old-time conservative" (clearly nothing of the sort):

Funny that his "democratic leadership" helped to sustain the South African apartheid state, sought to destabilize a democratically elected government in Nicaragua, and actively supported dictatorships in the Philipines, Latin America.

Heh, that's the first time I've heard a murderous cabal that came to power in a bloody revolution then turned and purged its revolutionary allies in a vicious and bloody purge called "democratically elected." Of course, it's easy to receive massive support when you disappear the people who vote "improperly" and I guess if that's your standard for democracy...

As for the Philippines, let's see: Aquino is murdered in 1983, in 1986 Enrile and Ramos defect and the Reagan administration calls for Marcos to step down, ensuring that the non-violent coup stays that way. Well, I realize that when your gold standard for democratic revolution is the Sandanistas, this all seems too tame, too slow, and with not nearly enough dead children to show for the effort.

Sorry it wasn't "democratic" enough for you.
5.9.2007 12:32pm
Felix Sulla (mail):
Sir Gawain:

Actually it's quite apparent that you don't have the first clue about federalism.

No, the only clear thing is that you intentionally misunderstood what I wrote. I was not arguing the merits of federalist theory one way or the other. I was asserting that in national politics federalism is not applied consistently, and often not in good faith or else as cover for a different agenda altogether. You may agree with that proposition or you may not, but kindly respond to what I actually wrote instead of your fantasy version.
5.9.2007 12:34pm
TaxLawyer:
The "Great Communicator," (which always had vaguely Orwellian sound to me, until the current Bozo was "elected," and I got a feel for true Orwellian leadership) had habit of choosing locations poorly. Philadelphia, MS and Bitburg spring readily to mind. These places sent -- without a word -- messages that, at the very least, were in poor taste.

I am less willing than my fellow lefties above to ascribe to President Reagan awareness of, much less endorsement of, the semiotics of his backdrops. My guess is that history will be kinder to him than I was during his Presidency, but not nearly so fawning as Norquist and the crowd of would-be canonizers must hope.

But we're straying rather far from what I take to be the topic of DK's post, are we not?
5.9.2007 12:36pm
Felix Sulla (mail):

I am less willing than my fellow lefties above to ascribe to President Reagan awareness of, much less endorsement of, the semiotics of his backdrops.

Oh, I don't think Reagan fully appreciated the messages he sent by using those places...but someone on his campaigns (someone very high up) certainly did.

Beyond this, I would not take much issue with a lot of what DK wrote, except he tried very clearly to tie the events in France and their meaning for liberty in general into the apotheosis and canonization of Ronald Reagan, which neither I nor a number of the other commentors feel to be correct or particularly appropriate.
5.9.2007 12:46pm
SirGawain:
"I was not arguing the merits of federalist theory one way or the other."

Yeah, you were just attempting to redefine the term and pass your opinion off as fact in your last paragraph:

"I'd just like to make the point that going to the site where those crimes happened and announcing your candidacy by praising "states rights" is similar to announcing your candidacy at Auschwitz by priasing the genius of the German people."

Nice try.
5.9.2007 12:46pm
Felix Sulla (mail):
SirGawain: I am now quite certain you are intentionally misapprehending my statements. Enjoy your Kool-Aid! (LOVED your work with the Green Knight.)
5.9.2007 12:49pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):

the martyrized children and women

I think you're both wrong on this one. There is no English word "martyrized". In English this should be "martyred".
5.9.2007 1:01pm
byomtov (mail):
For example, "american apartheid" was opposed by modern conservatives.

False.

It was vigorously defended by conservatives. Many later renounced their segregationist views, some sincerely, no doubt, others for political advantage. But it is quite clear that conservatives in general supported segregation when it mattered. Even Newt Gingrich has admitted that.
5.9.2007 1:02pm
ronbo:
I think it's martyred, not martyrized.

Re Libyan nurses: putting infirmieres and enfermees in the same sentence is great writing and genuine oratory.


[DK: I think you're technically correct, but reading Maurice Dantec has made me a little looser about semi-invented words. One of the major Brit newspapers, reporting on the speech, did use the word, although they spelled it "martyrised."


I'm glad you noticed Sarko's clever language about the imprisoned nurses.]
5.9.2007 1:04pm
SirGawain:
Felix, you're the one that used Auschwitz for a states' rights analogy. Maybe you should read some of the writings from the Founding Fathers and also Democracy in America to get a better understanding of how federalism works.
5.9.2007 1:04pm
DemocracyRules (mail):
Standing at only a slight distance, it's obvious that the debate here is really between Modern Liberals versus Socialists. Socialists hate Reagan because he destroyed their dream, the vision. They hate Sarkozy because he is not a Socialist, he defeated a Socialist. They like Ortega, and Castro, and Chavez because they are Socialists. They hate Kennedy, because his speech, just quoted, was about the war with Communism, and he fought Communism with all his might. They hate Reagan's appeal to Southern voters because Reagan usurped the power of the Democratic party there and got them voting Republican. They hate tactical nukes because Eisenhower's 'demonstration' of nuclear artillery shells in Korea stopped the Communists, and concluded the armistice. Socialism has not gone away! It has made major inroads into US politics, capturing a large part of the Democrat party, and now transparently charades around as "Progressivism". Socialism is rife in Europe, and that seems to be the main cause of the European malaise. A Socialist Presidential candidate in France just got 46% of the vote!
5.9.2007 1:30pm
Justin (mail):
DemocracyRules,

I hope you don't smoke, because it's going to take a big giant puff to blow that straw man down!
5.9.2007 1:40pm
K Parker (mail):
Felix,
And does anyone here feel a queasy kind of cognitive dissonance reading all of this francophilia here? Not that I ever have had anything against the French, but this reads like a love parade...and from a lot of people who I suspect were using "French" as a byword for "all that is wrong and evil in the world" mere weeks ago
I see it as a demonstration of how fair-minded all these folks are (and I place myself among them.) It's not that we are somehow against the French qua French, it's about what they as a nation do and stand for. If they're taking a turn in a better direction, why shouldn't we congratulate them?
5.9.2007 1:41pm
bigchris1313 (mail):

I hope you don't smoke, because it's going to take a big giant puff to blow that straw man down!


I've heard better quips in Disney movies.
5.9.2007 1:44pm
Justin (mail):
"I see it as a demonstration of how fair-minded all these folks are (and I place myself among them.) It's not that we are somehow against the French qua French, it's about what they as a nation do and stand for."

Can you relate how you were against them for the following reasons:

1) Eating cheese
2) Enjoying the act of surrender
3) Being monkeys

And how Sarkozky proves they are now less-cheese eating, less surrendery, and not as monkeylike?

This is only the tip of a silly discussion that one would have to have in order to validate your point.
5.9.2007 1:58pm
DemocracyRules (mail):
TO: JUSTIN
I fear that you know not what you do. I suggest you read "THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO", Marx-Engels, 1848.
http://www.box.net/shared/7dnvimtb5z

I am certain that if you read that document, just a few pages, and very clearly and well written, you will find yourself agreeing with most of it. Honestly, I'm certain you would. But then where does that leave us?

Pro Patria
DemocracyRules
5.9.2007 2:09pm
Montie (mail):

It was vigorously defended by conservatives. Many later renounced their segregationist views, some sincerely, no doubt, others for political advantage. But it is quite clear that conservatives in general supported segregation when it mattered. Even Newt Gingrich has admitted that.


Oh come now. Barry Goldwater opposed segregation within the state of Arizona. He claimed federalism when it came to the federal civil rights acts. Now, you might be able to accuse him of political opportunism here, but that is not the same thing.

Of course, since Reagan was a New Deal Democrat until the early 1960s, I am not certain if he would qualify as a Conservative that changed his views (if he ever did).
5.9.2007 2:26pm
Felix Sulla (mail):

I see it as a demonstration of how fair-minded all these folks are (and I place myself among them.) It's not that we are somehow against the French qua French, it's about what they as a nation do and stand for. If they're taking a turn in a better direction, why shouldn't we congratulate them?

As Justin alluded though, I find it disturbing when I see people making grotesque, generally unsupported, and sometimes offensive caricatures of an entire group/nation/faction on one day, and then on another day (when they come into line with "our" way of thinking) making misty eyed paeans to their inherent nobility. This is the big problem with our level of discourse now: it is insufficient to disagree with someone, the act of disagreement becomes the predicate for an all out assault on the motives, intelligence, appearance, moral character, culinary taste, and even the hygiene of the party with whom you disagree.

I am not actually accusing anyone here of this behavior vis a vis the French, though a look at just about any comment thread on this site reveals the overall trend in other matters. Furthermore, all over the blogosphere I have seen right wingers reveling in the election of Sarkozy (and leaving aside for the moment that Sarkozy, whatever he is, is nothing near a libertarian or conservative as we have them in the United States), and yet these are the same people whose only stock in trade in regard to the French people and their culture were disgusting libels.

And let me nip something in the bud hopefully before it starts....I am nowhere arguing that the election of Sarkozy was a bad thing. In fact, I see many potentially positive aspects to it, and I think that Chirac was pretty much an unmitigated buffoon. On the other hand, remember that France has a number of very viable political parties, that they represent a far more legitimate range of political viewpoints than we get with our two parties, and that they did it in a two-tier system that basically did not penalize whole swaths of the population for voting for a minority candidate in the first place. Also, really nice to see a modern industrialized democracy reach 85 percent voter turnout, n'est pas?
5.9.2007 2:35pm
Bienvenu:
The words from the Marseillaise printed above were not exactly the ones used in the video link and sung by the crowd. As Tax Lawyer points out, the crowd didn't shy away from the sanguinary refrain, "Qu' sang impur abreuve nos sillons," probably the most problematical phrase in the anthem--and it's in the refrain--thus repeated after every new verse.

On the other hand, as one can see in the text given in the linked Wiki article, the words "Liberte, Liberte cherie," are "traditional," but probably seldom sung spontaneously. They are to be found in the 6th verse and were aptly chosen, up to a point. The final two lines bring us back to the ferocity of "impure blood watering our fields:"

"So that your enemies, in their last breath,
See your triumph and our glory!"
5.9.2007 2:36pm
Felix Sulla (mail):
DemocracyRules: Oh, you so BUSTED Justin by ham-handedly implying he would like The Communist Manifesto! Even more so, like, because I bet he had never even heard of it, it has little or nothing to do with what we are actually talking about, and he would be totally PSYCHED OUT by the fact that you just proved he is an EVIL SOCIALIST! That's so rad.

Grow up.
5.9.2007 2:44pm
Mark F. (mail):
So, France is going to "liberate" the women of the entire world? How? Just like the United States liberated Iraq? Heaven help us!
5.9.2007 2:52pm
A.C.:
Did anyone ever take "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" as a substantive insult? It was a pop culture quote, with only slightly more content than "you stink." Surely people remove metaphorical stink by changing behavior, not by bathing physically. "Monkey" as an insult goes away the same way, and "cheese-eating" may not need to go away at all. (Anyone here have pizza for lunch? There's some cheese.)

Insults regarding the alleged French tendency to submit to vile dictators are the only complicated ones. I mean, there really was something highly questionable about French involvement with Saddam Hussein. Whether it makes sense to link this to collaboration with the Nazis is another matter, but I do think it was fair to take a few digs at the French government when it decided to get on a high horse about international law. I think the term for that sort of thing is "disingenuous," but I can think of some other words.
5.9.2007 3:02pm
Felix Sulla (mail):

I mean, there really was something highly questionable about French involvement with Saddam Hussein.

You mean they sent Rumsfeld out to coddle him too? My god, what a bunch of cheese-eating surrender monkeys!

By the by, the "cheese eating" thing was never meant to imply the French are fond of ordering the 3 for $5 each special at Pizza Hut. It was rather clearly meant to imply that they ate a bunch of runny, dirty, smelly cheeses (brie, camembert, etc.), and make an argument by analogy that the French are disgusting. This is an entirely different (and much more vicious) method of argument than simply straightforwardly arguing against Chirac's foreign policy or else makeing a case for our own foreign policy as opposed to theirs.

You are correct: the term for these sorts of things is indeed "disingenuous."
5.9.2007 3:09pm
Jordan (mail):
You mean they sent Rumsfeld out to coddle him too? My god, what a bunch of cheese-eating surrender monkeys!


We kinda made up for that by, you know, hanging him and stuff. According to your twisted logic, we should have let Japan do whatever they wanted during WWII. The French euros kept flowing even while Baghdad Bob was yelling "Nothing to see here!"
5.9.2007 3:33pm
TaxLawyer:

Insults regarding the alleged French tendency to submit to vile dictators are the only complicated ones. I mean, there really was something highly questionable about French involvement with Saddam Hussein.


Really? And what of our coddling him ca. 25-30 years ago? and Pinochet? and the Shah? I could go on, but the point is a simple one: Nations consort with all manner of unsavoury leaders when it's in their national interest to do so. So it has always been; so it is likely always to be. There's really nothing to criticize, except to say that in the case of the Iraq war, France's interests did not align with ours, as perceived by our ruling cabal.

If one is idealistic (naive?) enough to think this amoral calculation of the national interest is wrong ("Imagine there's no countries"), then we're in no position whatever to cast stones, as we live the glassiest house on the block.
5.9.2007 3:34pm
SirGawain:
"You mean they sent Rumsfeld out to coddle him too? My god, what a bunch of cheese-eating surrender monkeys!"

Not quite. Look up "Oil for Food kickbacks".
5.9.2007 3:36pm
TaxLawyer:
Now, to return to pure francophilia, unadorned by polemics, here's a link to a clip of Mireille Mathieu It is she whose voice dominates the clip to which DK points), singing several stanzas of the Marseillaise, including the one from which DK quotes.


[DK: What a thrilling performance! Thanks for the link. I looked through her CD catalogue, and didn't find any versions of La Marseillaise. Do you know if there's any high-quality recording of her singing the Marseillaise? Any tips on a good first album of hers to buy?]

The footage is B &W, a little grainy, and the audio is not great at the beginning, though it improves after a few seconds.
5.9.2007 3:44pm
SirGawain:
"as we live the glassiest house on the block."

Pure BS of course, but nice to know the context in which you make your posts, that being the context of "No matter what, America has done worse."
5.9.2007 3:47pm
Tatterdemalian (mail):
"Heh, that's the first time I've heard a murderous cabal that came to power in a bloody revolution then turned and purged its revolutionary allies in a vicious and bloody purge called "democratically elected.""

You must be new to this internet thing. I remember the folks at Daily Kos joking that "The only difference between Bush and Saddam is that Saddam was democratically elected" as far back as January of 2003.

Any lie to satisfy the ol' Bush Derrangement Syndrome, you know.
5.9.2007 3:48pm
Felix Sulla (mail):

According to your twisted logic, we should have let Japan do whatever they wanted during WWII. The French euros kept flowing even while Baghdad Bob was yelling "Nothing to see here!"

Huh?
5.9.2007 3:50pm
Taltos:

("Imagine there's no countries")


That song has to be the biggest pile of nonsense ever put to music.
5.9.2007 3:52pm
Felix Sulla (mail):
And by the way:

We kinda made up for that by, you know, hanging him and stuff.

Riiiiight. Hanging Saddam made everything we ever did (or subsequently have done) magically better or at least ok. You realize that's crazy, right?
5.9.2007 3:58pm
byomtov (mail):
Barry Goldwater opposed segregation within the state of Arizona. He claimed federalism when it came to the federal civil rights acts. Now, you might be able to accuse him of political opportunism here, but that is not the same thing.

Excuse me, but I said that conservativesin general supported segregation when it mattered. They did. Try going back and reading the National Review of the time, among other things. The Great Conservative Thinker William Buckley was writing some pretty vile stuff, and not getting much pushback.

Did Goldwater oppose the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on non-racist grounds?
Probably. But that's one example. Federalism was a pretty common excuse for opposing civil rights legislation, but I don't recall too many others who made that excuse working to eliminate segregation at the state level, so I tend not to take it seriously.
5.9.2007 3:58pm
Jordan (mail):
Huh?

Lefties love to trot out the ole Rumsfeld picture, because apparently if you've had dealings with a tyrant in the past, you can't attempt to make amends for that in the future.

Riiiiight. Hanging Saddam made everything we ever did (or subsequently have done) magically better or at least ok. You realize that's crazy, right?

It is crazy. That's why I didn't say or imply it. It's a step in the right direction though. (Yeah yeah, "Life was better under Saddam, No blood for oil!, Halliburton!, Gollum!").
5.9.2007 4:15pm
Felix Sulla (mail):

Lefties love to trot out the ole Rumsfeld picture[...]

Because it speaks a thousand words? (Ten-thousand comment thread words, I'll warrant.) Who said never try to redress wrongs? I'm all for it. And no one said life was "better" under Saddam here, though it may look a whole lot better when the country becomes a wall-to-wall sectarian charnel pit the second we pull out. As to the rest of your point(s), TaxLawyer addressed them, supra, far better than I can.
5.9.2007 4:21pm
Mark Field (mail):

Not quite. Look up "Oil for Food kickbacks".


You mean the ones Chevron pleaded guilty to? Chevron with Condi Rice on the Board of Directors?
5.9.2007 4:25pm
Malvolio:
The myth of Reagan's (or John Paul II's, for that matter) role in the downfall of the East Block countries needs serious corrections
People like to say that, but it isn't true. I am generally wary of post hoc fallacies, but the level of proof of causality being demanded here would allow Richard Hinkley to claim that Reagan's health problems in 1981 merely happened to coincide with the assassination attempt.

conservatives should have less faith in a great man view of history and more faith in the market forces that did the real work, especially the inability of the East Block states to set a working price system in their command economies.
Communism sucks. It sucks in Cuba and Venezuela, where it remains in force; it sucks in China and Vietnam, where it is withering away; and it sucked in the Soviet Union, where it destroyed the country.

Why is that last example different? Why in that case was the economic inadequacy of Communism sufficient to demolish the largest country in human history -- but only in that case? Everyone else seems to limp along.

The obvious suggestion is that it wasn't sufficient, that it took that will and sacrifice of the United States, led by a resourceful and determined president.
5.9.2007 4:28pm
Gordo:
We'll see if Nicholas Sarkozy can live up to the promise contained within his stirring speech. From the reaction in the banlieus and among "disaffected youth," I'd say a lot of people think he will match his words with deeds.
5.9.2007 4:28pm
DemocracyRules (mail):
TO: Felix Sulla
Well, given your tone, and proneness to make ad hominem attacks, may a suggest a better Latin handle? How about <i>Gluteus Maximus</i>?

I would not normally respond to such a rude comment.

However, it's good to note that 'Progressives' are much more prone to use rude, defamatory, abusive, racist, or violent language than 'non-Progressives'. (I know that you may respond to this with more abuse.) Rawstory.com is a river of hate.

Why do they do this? Well, Marx would have understood. He thought morality and ethics of any kind were a tool of the Bourgeoisie, designed to suppress dissent and promote conformity. In a sense, Marx invented Moral Relativism.

pg 11: "<i>But Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis; it therefore acts in contradiction to all past historical experience.</i>"
5.9.2007 4:33pm
SirGawain:
"You mean the ones Chevron pleaded guilty to? Chevron with Condi Rice on the Board of Directors?"

Feel free to produce evidence that Condi was involved in the Oil for Food scam. The paper trails are easy enough to trace to Kofi Annan and Chirac. You shouldn't have any trouble impressing us with this up-to-now-unseen-evidence. You'll be the hero of the lefty blogs if you bring down Condi! Serves her right for being so uppity and leaving the Democrat plantation.
5.9.2007 4:38pm
Felix Sulla (mail):

[T]he level of proof of causality being demanded here would allow Richard Hinkley to claim that Reagan's health problems in 1981 merely happened to coincide with the assassination attempt.

It's obviously straw man day here. Bold statement, care to explain why it is the case or are you just going to assert it and assume that makes it true? Whatever else happened, the Soviet Union was overextended by decades of overspending and overextension on a global scale. The notion that Reagan became president...or JPII the pope...and this made them weak in the knees and led directlly to their downfall is not only incorrect, but frankly insulting to the memory of a lot of people who had just as much (or even more) to do with it than Ronnie and Johnnie.

By the by, one interesting thing is why Cuba has managed to survive. On your (admittedly sketchy) reasoning, one would think the actions of Saint Reagan would have ground the whole island down into the Caribbean, particularly once they stopped receiving the cash infusions from the Soviet regime that everyone said for many years was the only thing proppping Castro up. And yet it didn't happen.
5.9.2007 4:39pm
Felix Sulla (mail):
DemocracyRules: Oh my god, you BUSTED me too! And once again, merely by referring to Marx and a website I've never even heard of in a discussion thread that had nothing to do with those things! That's right, just tar your opponent with a label and you'll win every time. Pace, Imperator! Tum podex carmen extulit horridulum.
5.9.2007 5:02pm
Jordan (mail):
By the by, one interesting thing is why Cuba has managed to survive. On your (admittedly sketchy) reasoning, one would think the actions of Saint Reagan would have ground the whole island down into the Caribbean, particularly once they stopped receiving the cash infusions from the Soviet regime that everyone said for many years was the only thing proppping Castro up. And yet it didn't happen.


I hear North Korea survived too. Saint Reagan, you've failed me for the last time!
5.9.2007 5:06pm
DemocracyRules (mail):
I'm sorry, that argument about Cuba is absurd. I'm Canadian, and we can visit Cuba, so I did, and I traveled all over, and asked a lot of irritating questions. The people there are desperately poor (eg.$20 a month). Doctors drive cabs, work as prostitutes for visiting Canadians or Germans, anything to stay alive. Health care is almost non-existent. I visited a hospital near the University of Havana. In Canada, we would close it that day. Staff there work desperately with almost no medication, even soap and light bulbs are in short supply. People beg for aspirin on the street. Cuba is huge, and lush, and tropical, a farmer's paradise. Cubans are thin, undernourished, with chronic food shortages. The collectivized farms (the only kind) produce very little, 11,000,000 people starving in paradise. Cuba has large oil reserves, undeveloped. Canadians do a lot there, to help keep them alive. Eg., the Cuban goes to the Canadian-run mine, gets paid $45/hr (approx), as negotiated with the Cuban government, but the government then takes back almost all of it for themselves. Very serious gasoline shortages, horses used everywhere. In private many told me they wanted some way to get out, or just talked about how to kill Fidel.
5.9.2007 5:08pm
Mark F. (mail):
DemocracyRules:

Do you honestly expect the communist Cuban regime to fall soon? I suppose it will eventually, but I could see it going another 20 years.
5.9.2007 5:14pm
chris c:

the old line about Rumsfeld and Saddam ignores the fact that we stopped aiding Saddam. France didn't.

no nation is perfect obviously and no doubt we have backed odious regimes, but France's track record on this is esp abysmal. Think Rwanda in the 1990s.

maybe Sarko represents a shift in this. I hope so. realism doesn't have to be outright evil.
5.9.2007 5:17pm
Felix Sulla (mail):
DemocracyRules: So Castro didn't hang on in Cuba, despite Reagan knocking down the Soviet Union with one breath (with the pope's blessing)?

As to your travels in Cuba, all I can say is that I know other people who have been and didn't see it the way you did. Which is not to say it is a paradise, or all is well there, or even (drumroll!) that I support Castro. If you read back over the discussion thread, you will find these topics were brought up by you and (to continue the Latin theme) are utter non-sequiturs. Age quod agis.
5.9.2007 5:17pm
TJIT (mail):
This should have been an interesting comment thread on how the election of a new french president might impact french politics, international politics and human rights.

However, thanks to Justin and few other trolls what we ended up with was a thread that wandered between federalism, segregation, and inevitably circled the drain around Iraq. All topics not really relevant to the original post.

Justin once again showed his stunning ability to be less focused and on topic then cocaine addled ferret.
5.9.2007 5:18pm
SirGawain:

didn't see it the way you did.


In other words, they didn't see the real Cuba, and got the "guided tour" instead.
5.9.2007 5:23pm
DemocracyRules (mail):
Mark F:
Thank your for your civil comment! I don't know when it will fall, but it will fall eventually. When Fidel dies, I was kind of hoping that Canada would just BUY the country, and set the people free. I know they hate Raoul. He's not very bright, he's an alcoholic, no charisma whatever. There are no other leaders of significance. Of course, the people have been pacified, by oppression, purges, emigration. Emigration has actually helped, because many Cubans get remittances from expat family members. They are absolutely wonderful people, open, friendly and warm, no wonder Americans used to love going there! But George Orwell, '1984'? He had no idea, no idea what it would really be like.
5.9.2007 5:26pm
DemocracyRules (mail):
Sir Gawain:
I have no problem with discussing Cuba on a thread about France. Both have a lot to do with Socialism (which, by the way, Canadians have never regarded as 'The Red Menace').

Yes you're right about 'guided tours'. Almost all visitors to Cuba (and tourism is their biggest single source of income), travel via package tour. They're really cheap as Caribbean packages go, but you arrive at Havana Airport, they bus you to a lush, Canadian-built hotel, you spend a week there, and then take a bus and flight home. Nice holiday, and maybe they're right, because me slogging around the country for weeks, staying with locals, was a lot harder work! Beautiful though. Imagine, near the town of 'Trinidad' (Holy Trinity), where Cortez set out to conquer Mexico, is 'Sancti Spiritus' (Holy Ghost). Neat names.
5.9.2007 5:41pm
Michael in Seattle (mail):
Whatever else happened, the Soviet Union was overextended by decades of overspending and overextension on a global scale. The notion that Reagan became president...or JPII the pope...and this made them weak in the knees and led directlly to their downfall is not only incorrect, but frankly insulting to the memory of a lot of people who had just as much (or even more) to do with it than Ronnie and Johnnie.

No. The assertions are that JPII provided a moral voice of authority condemning communism undermining the 'moral authority' of the Marxist model within the captive populations of the East Block. Regan recognized that the Soviet Union was teetering due to overspending and overextension and challenged them to spend even more with our military buildup and grandiose PR schemes like Star Wars. Thereby pushing the USSR over the brink.

So, in many ways you are fundamentally correct in that the two did not make anyone inherently 'weak in the knees' by their mere presence. But you then attempt to formulate a straw man expressly to recast the events in a manner that minimizes the role of those you find ideologically unpalatable.

How very Progressive / Orwellian of you.
5.9.2007 6:00pm
Felix Sulla (mail):
Michael in Seattle: Boiled down then, your argument is, "Reagan and JP II did too bring the Soviets down!" I understand you believe that, though you belie your own point with the "over the brink" language. (Who brought them to the "brink" then?) Reagan's supposed decisive role in all of this is pure revisionist propaganda, and I do not think it is a stretch to say that 40 plus years of economic competition with the west, as well as the contributions of many other presidents and other political figures and people, had demonstrably more effect on it all than Ronald Reagan...who incidentally was not a great theorist, economic or otherwise. You can assume what you want to prove all day long, and there is a satisfying circularity in doing so, but in the end that does not reality make.
5.9.2007 6:13pm
DemocracyRules (mail):
To: Felix
It's like this. You remember the Greek myth of Pandora's Box. She was the first woman, and she wasn't supposed to open the box, but she was curious, and she did. Out flew all the horrors that devour the human soul: greed, vanity, slander, envy, hate. The only good thing was hope. In Cuba, and East Germany before the fall, I saw the people as if they had opened the box, but HOPE DID NOT COME OUT! HOPE DID NOT COME OUT! How could they live that way, what would be the point of tomorrow, if there was no hope? Decade, upon decade of that, the same thing, the same ocean of hypocrisy, the same patent untruths. No wonder Soviet dissidents behaved as if they didn't care if they lived or died--they didn't!

Please, I don't hate Socialism in the way that you think. Canadians have lived with lots of Socialists in our midst for more than 60 years. One of my best friends is much further left that any of you will ever be, and that's OK with me. I enjoy talking to him, and he's very patient with me.

Socialism is just not a good idea, that's all. In the grouping of political philosophies now in use, it's not a good one. It's dangerous, like trimming your toenails while you're driving. It's not a 'Red Menace', it's just not a good idea.
5.9.2007 6:38pm
chris c:
Felix, John Lewis Gaddis would disagree with you. I suspect he knows more about the matter than anyone posting here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lewis_Gaddis

don't tell me - Gaddis is a hack, right?
5.9.2007 6:43pm
Felix Sulla (mail):
DemocracyRules: Yes, I am familiar with Pandora's Box, and I admire your zeal here, but this has now gone a bit too far afield even for my taste, and another forum would be much more appropriate for all of that. Cheers.

chris c: Oh, well if one guy disagrees with me it means either: (a) you're absolutely right and I'm absolutely wrong; or (b) he must be a hack if he disagrees with me.

False dichotomy. We have established what I think of the revisions to Reagan's legacy, and we have established what you think of them. Obviously, we disagree. I can find a number of academic that will take my side just as you have produced one who takes yours. I'm sure his arguments are well written, researched, and thought provoking, and furthermore, that he's a delightful human being with a knowledge of fine wine and cheeses. Let's just leave it at that, eh? We have definitely gone a long way from France now.
5.9.2007 6:54pm
chris c:
Felix, at last we (at least) agree. That is a false dichotomy, though it's seldom seen as such on the net. And I agree further debate is futile - as the line goes, a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. Have a good evening.
5.9.2007 7:09pm
Felix Sulla (mail):
chris c: Perhaps, or perhaps it is merely a matter of realizing he has had his fill before the argument makes him ill. ;-) Same to you.
5.9.2007 7:21pm
Poulette:
Felix S.--


On the other hand, remember that France has a number of very viable political parties, that they represent a far more legitimate range of political viewpoints than we get with our two parties, and that they did it in a two-tier system that basically did not penalize whole swaths of the population for voting for a minority candidate in the first place.



Trust me, in France, we do not have a "far more legitimate range of political viewpoints" unless you consider that 3 Trotskyites, a protectionist xenophobe, an unrequited and unreformed Socialist, a "Hunt, Fish, Nature and Tradition" party, along with a rabid centrist who stands for nothing, and a new Democrat (Sarkozy) all together are more legitimate than what is in the American primaries? Oh, please. The first round in France is akin to American primaries, but due to public financing, everyone gets an equal voice... ergo the Hunt &Fish party get equal time in debates with the ones who have an actual shot. It's ridiculous.

France is the only country in Western Europe whose entire range of political parties is on the left. Sarko as right-wing crazy? Hardly. In an article in a last year's issue of "Enjeux les Echos" magazine, they put a grid of British, German, Italian, and French political parties. The axes were more/less government and more/less regulation. Only France had all of its parties in the more/more quadrant.

I, too, hate the needless and ridiculous French-bashing, but fawning over an imperial presidency and a broken political system with failed statists at the helm won't help.
5.9.2007 7:21pm
Felix Sulla (mail):
Poulette:

Sarko as right-wing crazy?

I did note above that Sarkozy is nothing close to a libertarian or conservative as we have them in the United States, and frankly, I am somewhat mystified by a large number of conservative Americans embracing Sarkozy as if "one of them" had suddenly come to the helm in France. So I take and agree with your point there.

I must diagree with the range issue though. While left-wing parties perhaps predominate more in France than they do in Europe as a whole, there is still a larger range of viewpoint both in number of parties and in views expressed across them. The Democratic and Republican parties, truth be told, differ much much less than is commonly supposed even by people in this country. Indeed, a lot (not all) but a lot of their disagreement is in smoke-and-mirrors type wedge issues that have little real bearing on the everyday lives of most Americans. At any rate, both procedurally and substantively, I think French democracy gives individuals a lot more "choice" than we get here. Particularly in national candidates. And American primaries are controlled by a very small fraction of voters, are not open to everyone, are within one party only, are local in nature, and trend toward being more "radical" than the population at large. So I do not buy the similarity to American primaries and the first round of French national elections, I think they are very different creatures.

As for the overall health of the French system, that I feel I am not qualified to discuss at the moment, particularly with a native. ;-) As I said earlier, I will be very interested to see what Sarkozy does.
5.9.2007 8:02pm
ScottS (mail):
It is good to see Sark stand up for classic liberalism; sounds better than the British multicultural apologies for radicalism (Islamaphobia? WTF?????) What little I know about Sarkozy suggests he should be a far more dynamic leader than Chirac.

The Reagan and Kennedy references remind me that morale matters and that freedom isn't free. Quite a contrast to our current US president, who seems to believe that freedom can be defended with tax cuts, no lifestyle changes, no sacrifices during war, and multiple tours of duty from a volunteer military disproportionately drawn from lower socioeconomic strata i.e. freedom is to be defended by the people whose life circumstances entail fewer choices on behalf of those whose success has enabled them to buy their way out of anything unpleasant.

France's quasi-Socialist model is dysfunctional and structurally unsound, but maybe Sark can pull together the political muscle and reform the system to provide more growth and dynamism without reorienting the culture to promote selfish consumption and arrogant triumphalism in the economic sphere, as we got with US "conservatism."

Does anyone else see a connection between our economic priorities and values and our militaristic hubris?

Here's to Sarkozy getting it together and articulating a vision where people are expected to be responsible individuals in a system that does not constantly reinforce the notion that successful people are morally superior. The moral superiority complex has gotten both France and the US on the wrong track.
5.9.2007 8:34pm
F. Wells (mail):
Freddy Hill, send a note to my email (wellfutz@yahoo.com) and I'll send you a JPG of that frame - such as it is. Not sure you can improve it much.

Cheers,
F

P.S. the jpg probably won't come from the same email address, I'll put "frame 39" in the subject.
5.9.2007 10:09pm
Bruce Lagasse (mail):
Another example of the inspirational power of la Marsellaise occurs in the movie "Casablanca," when Victor Laszlo gets the nightclub band to strike up the anthem. Suddenly, all the doxies, barflies, lowlifes and scum of the earth leap to their feet, tears in their eyes, as they sing out. Sure, in reality, one can wonder if Vichyites would behave that way, and perhaps it was just WW2 jingoism, but my god, what a thrilling and dramatic moment!
5.9.2007 10:11pm
DemocracyRules (mail):
Felix, I’m sorry, but you STILL DO NOT GET IT.

You don’t understand the essence of living under Socialism. Let me show you: You live in Cuba, in a small town, and you have a young daughter. One day, she asks you, “Dad, what’s a modem?” You say to her that it connects a computer to the telephone line. She walks away. Two weeks later, your bicycle is broken, so you take it to be fixed. The repairman is your neighbour, your friend, and he takes it from you, and says he will fix it. You ask when, he says a while, because he has to order the part. You will never see the bicycle again, and it’s all you had for transport. Why? Well, you are a party member, so you can travel a bit, and you went to Havana recently, to look for books.

When you were there, you talked to a German engineer, who happened to be in a bookshop, and he gave you his old laptop. It was old, he needed to replace it when he got back to Germany, so he thought he would give it to someone who needed it. He gave it to you because you looked intelligent, and you were in the same book shop. It’s illegal to have a computer, but you are a smart person, curious, you took it, hid it, used it when no one could catch you. Once, you tried to hook up the modem. Later your daughter heard a dirty word in the playground and asked you what it meant: 'modem'.

It’s warm in Cuba, everyone’s windows are always open, and your neighbor, Mrs Gonzales heard you tell your daughter what modem meant. “Felix has a modem, he has a computer”, Mrs Gonzales told her friends. You joined the party to get ahead. That’s how you got a bicycle, that’s how you intend to get your daughter into university, and to get a better place to live. Your wife married you because you belonged to the party. You are important, you sit on the block committee, and you help the mayor. She hopes that soon, the family might get a TV. Then everyone will be jealous.

But now you know that they know. It was the way your friend, the bicycle repairman looked at you –- cold and distant, almost on purpose, to warn you. He will not return the bicycle, because he was told not to by the block committee leader. That’s right, every city block in Cuba has a block committee, to look after problems, to watch things. These are Lenin’s ideas in action, and they work very, very well, far better than what the Nazi’s achieved. It wasn’t just Marx, Lenin was also a genius. The Nazis killed about 6 million dissidents, in addition to the Jews. Castro now kills very few, because his system is more efficient. The block leader found out from Mrs. Gonzales that you have computer. Now the committee is worried, because a higher party official said he would ensure that the streetlight on your block would be fixed. But Mrs. Gonzales is a busybody, and now they won’t get their light fixed, because the party will find out that on block 54 (your block), someone has a computer.

Seeing your bicycle repairman friends’ eyes, and his manner, you know what to do. Your future, your daughter’s future, your marriage, depend on it. You take an old bag, and ‘go for a hike’ along the sea. You take out the computer, and throw it in the sea. You go home, but Mrs. Gonzales noticed you go, and notices the bag now seems empty. Most people sit outside at night, because the electricity is off, and the night is warm. Everyone in town sees you walking. “Where’s Felix’s bike?” “Maybe Felix is the one who has a computer”, they speculate. Someone saw your bike at the repair shop, but it’s not being fixed. That must be it. Later, your friend, the repairman, sends the bike to Havana, to be given to someone else who has been chosen to have a bike. When you stop by the shop, he says he could not get the part, so he sent the bike to Havana for repairs. You now know you will never see the bike again, and since he knows, the block committee must know. Now that you are walking, everyone will soon know. You could be expelled from the party. Next evening, you attend the block committee meeting, as usual. You have a plan to make amends....

Do you see, Felix, how it goes? Do you see, why this is worse than ‘1984'? In 1984, the novel ends, it’s just a novel. Orwell could not really write accurately, he had not lived it, not gotten down with the minutiae of things, to truly grasp what it’s like, how small it is, how insidious it is. After we read 1984, we go do something else, but the Felix in Cuba lives this, it is his life, it will not stop, it will never stop. There are no fancy, metaphorical ‘TV screens’ here that monitor everyone. They’re not real, but Mrs Gonzales is real, the bicycle repairman is real, the block committee is real. You, Felix, can hope for Castro’s death, but you know those are seditious thoughts that could be found out. It’s also a waste of time to wish for Castro’s death, many people do it, but it gets them nowhere. It’s hard io join the party and keep your standing with hate in your heart. Sooner or later you will be found out, you will say the wrong thing, or not say the right thing, or do something, to be found out. What meagre life you have will be gone, and you will be alone, on a work gang, cutting sugar cane.

While I write this, there are 11,000,000 people in Cuba right now, living this, right now.
5.9.2007 10:20pm
RainerK:
Most interesting post, interesting comments.
As a European, I wish Mr. Sarkozy well and success.
My concern is that he will have to spend most of his energy getting past the European Union bureaucracy, so that none will be left to solve peoples' problems.
5.9.2007 10:54pm
Felix Sulla (mail):
DemocracyRules:

Do you see, Felix, how it goes? Do you see, why this is worse than ‘1984'? . . .

While I write this, there are 11,000,000 people in Cuba right now, living this, right now.

Um....because only ten million people bought '1984'? (Not Van Halen's best album despite its commercial success, though I do not claim to be a Van Halen connoisseur.)
5.10.2007 12:06am
David M. Nieporent (www):
You live in your own universe. SR responded to this more than adequately, but I'd just like to make the point that going to the site where those crimes happened and announcing your candidacy by praising "states rights" (which, like federalism, exists mostly as a code word in national politics) is similar to announcing your candidacy at Auschwitz by priasing the genius of the German people. It's in exceedingly bad taste and everyone knows what you really mean.
He did not go "to the site where those crimes happened." He went to the Neshoba County Fair, a traditional place for politicians in Mississippi to appear, just like the Iowa State Fair is in Iowa.

It would be odd for a German politician to appear at Auschwitz, since it's in Poland. It's more like a German politician appearing in Berlin and then someone complaining that it's near where the Wannsee Conference took place, and so it's code for Naziism.
5.10.2007 8:53am
Felix Sulla (mail):
David M. Nieporent: Indeed, it would be odd for a German politician to announce anything at Auschwitz. I'm sure the Polish government among many others would have a few things to say about it, particularly since Poland has not been a part of Germany since the early-to-mide 1940's, and that only relatively briefly. (I remember reading about that somewhere.)

It's called an analogy. I was not comparing Reagan to the Nazis either in ideology or severity. And I did not say Reagan stood right on the spot where the civil rights workers were murdered. (Had he done that I really don't think there would be room for any apology for what he did, though certain people would no doubt try.) But what he actually did was quite suspicious, and some like myself would argue, coded behavior to let certain folks in this country know where his priorities were whilst maintaining plausible deniability. But I think you understood me.

And, continuing disingenuity day, you can't seriously believe any of that is comparable to appearing in Berlin. I think all politicians in German appear in Berlin from time to time (for some reason its very fashionable in Germany) whereas not too many American national political candidates launch their campaigns from semi-notorious hamlets in Mississippi whilst publicly serenading the concept of states rights.

But why don't we just agree to disagree on this?
5.10.2007 9:59am
Gerg:
Now women who wear the burqa by choice, those France will happily abandon -- or ban outright. This is just another tired old run of the "people only make choices that the authorities don't like because they are forced/coerced/condemned to do so" trope. Choice, culture, and freedom are reduced to false consciousness. It is unbecoming of us to fall for it merely because it is uttered in French rather than in Marxist lingo.


Sure, just as the nanny state should never have intervened to end slavery -- after all some southern Blacks were perfectly happy as slaves...
5.11.2007 8:07am
Justin (mail):
If Philadelphia, Mississippi was the capital of our country in 1980, David Nierpoint might be on to something.
5.12.2007 1:21am