The prevalence of our ill-behaving Semitic brethren amongst Left-wing organizations has encouraged some to make the following argument: Jews are over-represented among Left-wing hordes, and that can be explained biologically – Judaism is a group evolutionary strategy of weakening the surrounding non-Jewish nations. All Jews carry the dark spore, the argument goes, no Jews are compatible with life in the West.
This website has already dealt rather extensively with that argument, which we find to be non-persuasive. However, if taken seriously, can the group-evolutionary-strategy argument be turned towards the French? We believe so. But first, the facts.
France the Brilliant
France has by far the most fascinating history of any European country. American students learn very little French history (or any history at all), which is a shame. I recommend this oldie but goodie for a highly readable review of France’s tales. A very quick outline: France emerged out of the highly romanized and well-cultivated provinces of Trans-Alpine Gaul, as the Kingdom of the Franks (late fifth century). By the time of Charlemagne, that kingdom had expanded to include parts of Italy and Germany but was divided again after Charlemagne’s death (814), with the Western part remaining ever since more or less what we now know as France.
Meaning, France is one of the oldest examples in world history of a nation-state, of a people settled in a specific territory developing a unique local culture. And what a culture! It feels silly to attempt to enumerate France’s cultural achievements because they are so profound and so plentiful and so absolutely brilliant. For centuries (and perhaps even to this day) France has been THE cultural hegemon of Europe: The amazing music of Charpentier and Lully, the writing of Racine, Chateaubriand and Hugo, the brilliant math of Cauchy and Fourier, not to mention the most exquisite food in the world, superb achievements in painting and sculpture, and an elegant style that lifted a whole continent from barbarism to good manners.
France the Avenger
Alas, this cultural exuberance has always been accompanied by deep political instability and a history of almost continuous violence. Exposed on three sides (Germany, Spain and the sea), French foreign policy always suffered from paranoia and employed continuous attempts to splinter and subvert potential threats, and especially the Germanic space to its East. Catholic France even sided with the Protestant princes of Germany during the 30 Years’ War (1618-1648), clervely calculating that a fractured German space, although heretical, would better serve French interests. France’s early modern European meddling, extending to Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, and even Scotland, was such a strategic priority, that Louis XIV, France’s most illustrious monarch, refused to assist the Austrians and Poles in their defense of Christendom against the invading Turks. (1683). Divide and conquer.
Internally, despite enjoying what Winston Churchill described as the best territory on earth, France’s history is one of perpetual neurosis and instability. From the 100 Years’ War fought on its land involving rival factions, through the wars of religion, through the civil wars of the Fronde (mid 17th century), the bloody French Revolution (more on that in a bit), and the experimentation with every government form known to mankind through the 19th century. And then of course the disasters of the 20th century.
The climax of France’s instability was indeed the Revolution, spreading frenzy and death throughout Europe, including France’s own self-genocidal war in the Vendee where traditional Catholic peasants clinging to their ancient ways had been annihilated. Intellectually, the Revolution was a product of the Enlightenment, the project described by Burke as the work of a French “literary cabal.” It was a cognitive attack in the name of “reason” by the likes of Voltaire, Rousseau, and Diderot, targeting traditional institutions: The Church, the monarchy, “superstition,” and all old forms of piety.
Indeed the very term “Left,” as in a political movement pushing for the dismantlement of old things, was coined during the French Revolution. The Jacobins sat on the left side of the National Assembly, their opposition on the right.
The ideas of the Enlightenment, a perpetual zeal to dismantle ancient traditions, were advanced both by the French revolutionary armies and by ever-gesticulating French intellectuals, who already in the 18th century had adopted an obscure style of writing, almost unbearable to the Anglophonic mind which is humbly trained in the simple common sense of the English.
Given the death and destruction they had wrought, one would expect the intellectuals of France to take a vow of silence. But no, the 19th century gave birth to French sociology with Comte and Durkheim and their mechanistic views of human society heralding the advent of Marxism. And then the biggest harm since the revolution was unleashed upon the world in the 20th century. Raped and devastated by two world wars, France, like the ever fecund she-snake Echidna, gave birth to a bitter, vindictive and nihilistic form of thinking – “Critical Theory,” or “French Theory.” Through Sartre, Foucault, Derrida, Lacan and Althusser the charge against traditional authority and institutions continued on with a vengeance. Everything, we learned, like the S&M bathhouses frequented by Foucault, was about power and oppression and therefore everything should be dismantled.
The Real Jews?
Let’s now put on our “Culture of Critique” hat. The French had destroyed our traditional societies with the zeal of their Revolution, and then added insult to injury by dumping on us what is known today as “wokeness.” By comparison, the accusations against Jewish involvement as a minority in “Boasian Anthropology” and Progressivism in America seem paltry.
So are the French the real Jews, “Culture of Critique” style? Can we apply the ideas of CofC to the French? I believe so: A nation suffering from existential paranoia due to its exposed territory, developing a group survival strategy of weakening its neighbors and destroying their traditions. Like an imploding star on its way to becoming a white dwarf, French theory and influence expand to scorch and corrode all within reach.
It’s Pierre, not Shlomo!
Note: I highly recommend “Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left” by Roger Scruton. Six out of the 18 leading figures of the New Left reviewed by Sir Roger are of the French variety. Quel dommage.