Sunday, July 22, 2007

France's Anti-Intellectual Government

Nicolas Sarkozy doesn't mince words: “I am not a theoretician. I am not an ideologue. Oh, I am not an intellectual! I am someone concrete!”

Sarkozy's message extends to his cabinet. The nation of Descartes and Jean Paul Sartre thinks way too much. His Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde, recently advised the French to abandon their "old national habit." From the New York Times:

“France is a country that thinks,” she told the National Assembly. “There is hardly an ideology that we haven’t turned into a theory. We have in our libraries enough to talk about for centuries to come. This is why I would like to tell you: Enough thinking, already. Roll up your sleeves.”

Bernard-Henri Lévy, the much more splashy philosopher-journalist who wrote a book retracing Tocqueville’s 19th-century travels throughout the United States, is similarly appalled by Ms. Lagarde’s comments.

“This is the sort of thing you can hear in cafe conversations from morons who drink too much,” said Mr. Lévy, who is so well-known in French that he is known simply by his initials B.H.L. “To my knowledge this is the first time in modern French history that a minister dares to utter such phrases."
I'm just trying to remember. Haven't we all had to deal with another anti-intellectual government over the past seven years? Apeople who stopped thinking and questioning and focused on "doing" especially doing what they were told. That leader - something to do with cowboys and polyps, eh? How well has that country fared since it went anti-intellectual?

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