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What Bastille Day is all about

A few days ago I wrote an article pointing to information indicating that the French government had not only agreed to not arrest General Ratko Mladic, the man who supervised the murder of 7,000 men and young boys in Srebrenica under the orders from Chetnik leader Radovan Karadzic, but were also giving the former Bosnian Serb leadership a safe haven from arrest to this day in sector of Bosnia under their military control.

So when a French serial commenter who leaves his remarks on Samizdata.net left a comments under that post saying:

VIVE LA FRANCE !
VIVE LA REPUBLIQUE !
VIVE L’EUROPE !
VIVE LA PLANETE !
VIVE LA LIBERTE !

I whish you all the merriest July 14 ever.

My first reaction was pure fury. This guy might as well have just pissed on the graves of these people, murdered just eight short years ago. In fact to remind us all of his horror which happened under the nose of humane and oh so moral ‘Europe’, and with the complicity of government officials who are still in office today in Paris, London and the UN in New York, just last Friday it was reported that more bodies had been found in Srebrenica, bringing the total up to about 8,000 murdered in cold blood.

I was on the verge of banning this guy and leaving an extremely hostile remark of my own. But then I thought about those remarks a bit longer and calmed down. In fact it started to dawn on me that those comments were a perfect adjunct to the article.

The storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 was an event more important in the mythology of the French Revolution than in the actually history of it (far from freeing imprisioned patriots, the inmates were four forgers, two lunatics, and the Marquis de Sade), but it was indeed a portent of the blood soaked egalitarian horror that was to follow.

So yes, that was the perfect comment to remind us that not only is France, like most countries, rooted in slaughter and horror in the distant historical past… but that recent outrages (giving aid and comfort to mass murderers) will just be forgotten in France and millions of French people will sing the national anthem and feel good about the people who lead them. The same people who gave Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic a free pass for slaughtering thousands in Srebrenica and tens of thousands elsewhere in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Vive la France.

And yet this same commenter, like so many French people, decries the overthrow of Ba’athist Socialism in Iraq. Vive La Liberte? Not for the people of Iraq it would seem and certainly not for the slaughtered people of Srebrenica.

There are hypocrites and then there are French hypocrites. Do not let anyone ever tell you that there is nothing at which the French are truly world class.

90 comments to What Bastille Day is all about

  • What makes it even more galling (scuse pun) is the amount of insufferably self-righteous finger-wagging that French politicians do to the rest of the world. Obviously they are trying to overcompensate.

  • Arjuna

    They do make a mean stinky cheese. I think the story of French history is glorious failure. From the 4th crusade on, they pretty much go down hard, but don’t look half bad while doing it. Observe recent history. They act like stubborn mules about “the logic of war”, and every dictator in the middle east and Africa now loves the French.

    The second thing that occurs to me is that the best part of France ended up in England and the new world. Anyone with testicles eventualy leaves. I am the descendant of French Hugenots, so that is how I see it.

  • Kodiak

    Your spontaneous & selective “pure fury” is interesting.

    You’re implying not everyone is terrified by what occurred in Srebrenica. Hat off! I’m not accustomed to “piss on the graves” of anybody but you’re obviously customary of pissing on the minds of others.

    Again, I repeat for you: French intelligence were seriously contemplating the killing of Mladic and Karadic (December 1995). Asserting that ethnical cleansing & mass murders were perpetrated “with the complicity of government officials who are still in office today in Paris” is sheer libel, slander or calumny. Look at the work French troops performed to help Croatians, Bosnians & Serbs alike, Catholics, Orthodoxes & Muslims alike, rebuild their countries & sustain long-lasting peace.

    You may not like the French Revolution. Fine. You may not understand that wishing a merry July 14 is a friendly tradition in France. Fine too. But identifying France with all kind of evil on Earth is ridiculous. Your case against France is as pathetic as the non casus belli agaisnt Iraq. How can you happily write that the French are all hypocrites?

    As I previously told you in an another thread, your patronising attitude is just incredible. Were you as diligent to shout out your “pure fury” as your government was financing the Iraq-Iran war as you are now? Aren’t the millions dead Iraqi “men and young boys” that your country help fly up to the paradise worth “leaving an extremely hostile remark of (your) own” ?

    Your impartial, disinterested indignation is going nowhere.

    Happy July 14 anyway.

  • Johnathan

    Robspierre would have loved Uncle Saddam, wouldn’t he, Monsieur Kodiak?

    On that jolly note, I wish you a happy Bastille Day!

  • NC3

    World class hypocrisy!!! Yes indeed, that and so much more. A natural consequence of removing the heads of the best and leaving the rest.

  • Dave O'Neill

    All rhetoric aside, it should be noted that France technically can claim to be a more effective economy than the UK can over the last few decades. With the exception of unemployment the economic indicators for the French economy as generally better than ours, not to mention they have retained a wide range of commercially sucessful industries which the UK either sold off or allowed to whither. They have the worlds largest civil nuclear programme, an independant nuclear deterent, their own jet fighter programme as well as missile and rocket programmes.

    To describe them as I think the story of French history is glorious failure is ignoring just how badly the wheels have come off the UK’s cart in the last 50 years.

    I think it could be argued that the French as less prone to worry about external perception than other nations and to chart a course of self interest, but, then again, who doesn’t?

  • Kodiak

    Jonathan,

    I’m not too sure…

    Did you mention Uncle Saddam or Uncle Sam ?

    Joyeux quatorze juillet !

  • The first post on my blog http://ironies.blogspot.com was a quotation from Michael Rivero, which seems appropriate here with regard to the French:-

    “Most people prefer to believe that their leaders are just and fair, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because once a citizen acknowledges that the government under which they live is lying and corrupt, the citizen has to choose what he or she will do about it. To take action in the face of a corrupt Government risks harm to life and loved ones. To choose to do nothing is to surrender one’s self image of standing for principles. Most people do not have the courage to face that choice. Hence, most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker, but only to give the moral cowards an excuse to think nothing at all.”

    The French indeed have a lot about which their leaders need to lie, and as a nation that lives with their emotions nearer to the surface than we, confronting their truths will appear to bring even greater pain.

    We are all the victims of our own governments which is why I chose to send the French people greetings from my blog today.

    (By the way Perry, if you now have your template problems resolved… I really would appreciate a link for Ironies. Also why not check out http://ukipuncovered.blogspot.com sometime soon, it could do with a plug as it could be the blogosphere might soon be able to claim credit for sweeping reforms at the top of Britain’s fourth largest party! Any help would be gratefully received).

    If the links are deleted (which they have been before even when using your links code), then the two blogs are now listed on blogsearch.

  • T. Hartin

    “All rhetoric aside, it should be noted that France technically can claim to be a more effective economy than the UK can over the last few decades.”

    A thread a few weeks ago looked at the admittedly crude GDP and growth numbers and found that the UK had closed the gap wioth the French on GDP due to UK growth exceeding French growth over the last few years. What economic indicators do you have in mind?

  • Eamon Brennan

    Well thank god I live in a country where the powers that be are paragons of honour and honesty.

    Martin: name a country for me where your quote does not apply.

    Eamon

  • Kodiak

    Martin Cole,

    Be sure of one thing: 150% of the French DO know Chirac & his circus are corrupt, liars etc. We haven’t got something like The Sun here to make us swallow that everything’s fine and that evil is in this or that country, but not at home of course.

  • Dave O'Neill

    From a GDP perspective, there isn’t much to choose between the UK and France, the following figures were used in a thread here earlier:

    % Growth France/UK
    4,2/3,1 (2000)
    1,8/2,1 (2001)
    1,2/1,8 (2002)
    1,2/2,1 (2003) (NB: that 2.1 is looking “optimistic” at the moment…

    That France has unemployment of around 9% and still has a similar sized economy and low working hours suggests that they do have excellent productivity compared to the UK.

    Looking beyond these figures, French inflation is lower, productivity higher and the French economy enjoys a reasonable but not unhealthy trade surplus supported by a large and effective manufacturing base.

    I’ve lived and worked in Paris, its certainly a mistake to think somehow that people there take a long lunch and are out of the office door at 5. There might be a 35 hour week in the manufacturing sector, but most of the people I worked with were in the office way past 8pm in the evening.

  • A_t

    I’d laugh at the sheer predictability of everyone on this board if the sheer force of hate behind these comments wasn’t so startling.

    a) this is the French national day… can you not be happy for a moment? Most French people are free, and what’s more, they feel that this freedom was achieved through the actions of the people. A noble idea, if nothing else. Certainly, there were some shaky stages en route, but there ain’t no executions in France now, and individuals are as free (give or take) as in most other western countries. Did you poke holes in American ideals on the 4th? Suggest that a bunch of slaveowners came up with the constitution? no… in fact you would’ve shouted down as “irationally anti-american” anyone who even mentioned this on these boards.

    b) you’re such a bunch of anglo fools. Isn’t it strangely coincidental that the anglo-saxon culture you promote as the finest in the world just *happens* to be your own? But no, it’s rational because it’s just the best… whereas when the French promote their own culture, it’s arrogance, chauvinism or worse. Take a long hard look at yourselves first.

    & where the hell has this level of hatred come from? Hate the Burmese government… hate the people of Saudi, or the people of Pakistan if you really need an enemy… believe me, far far more of them want you dead (and even then you’d be a f**ing fool to write great missives dismissing pakistani culture as inherently inferior)

    A few dodgy episodes in a country’s past can easily be dredged up to cast aspertions on it’s national character. The question is, what are the motivations of those who do the dredging.

  • Dave O’Neill: You must be joking. The French economy is sclerotic and its aerospace industry is mostly second rate (certainly the military sector is).

    Also… how does a country such a country such as Britain “…either sold off or allowed to whither” parts of its economy? Do you mean nationalised industries? If not, what do you mean? Or are you suggesting certain sectors of the UK economy which were going broke should have been kept alive with money looted from net productive sectors? Please explain.

  • Kodiak

    DAVE

    “That France has unemployment of around 9% and still has a similar sized economy and low working hours suggests that they do have excellent productivity compared to the UK”

    That’s right. In fact French productivity ranks among the highest among similar countries.

    ——

    MARTIN COLE

    “The French indeed have a lot about which their leaders need to lie, and as a nation that lives with their emotions nearer to the surface than we, confronting their truths will appear to bring even greater pain”

    Rubbish. You’re wallowing in ethnocentrism.

    You have no idea about the fierce opposition Chirac is facing everyday & how much humiliated he is in his own country.

    The world literature about France isn’t even 2% of what the French themselves are slapping in the face of any arrogant home authority.

    Wake up or come to France.

  • Dave O'Neill

    Perry,

    The French economy is sclorotic and its aerospace industry is mostly second rate (certainly the military sector is).

    Having worked in the Aerospace sector in France, I don’t really think you can back up that statement.

    Likewise, you make the claim that the “French economy is scloritic” and yet, unemployment aside the base figures are not all that different from ours.

    Or are you suggesting certain sectors of the UK economy which were going broke should have been kept alive with money looted from net productive sectors? Please explain.

    You need an explanation?

    There is no need. Our manufacturing industries were uncompetative and underperforming, we now don’t have much in the way of a manufacturing base, the French do.

    The results are plain in our balance of trade of visable goods.

    You certainly shouldn’t support uncompetative businesses with private money, however, the wholesale disregard of our own strategic interests to buy stuff, for example, from the US was virtually criminal. Rather than dealing with the rot, we sold off and shut down the industries.

    France isn’t perfect, far from it, but it is nonsense unsupported by data to make all these claims about the “mess” it is in. It simply isn’t true and people should stop reporting canards like that just because it fits their own personal viewpoint.

  • Kodiak

    Perry,

    Do you know there’s a cure for Francophobia?

    Unfortunaltely there’s no cure for blindness & insincerity.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Kodiak, why don’t you break with usual practice and actually comment on the substance of Perry’s original post, specifically, the issue of the Mladic decision.

    “Bring em on!”

    A_T. I don’t feel hate for France, just hate at large chunks of their political establishment. For what it is worth, I have previously stated my opposition to bashing ordinary French men and women economically for the antics of Chirac, as many Americans have done.

  • Scott Cattanach

    And yet this same commenter, like so many French people, decries the overthrow of Ba’athist Socialism in Iraq. Vive La Liberte? Not for the people of Iraq it would seem and certainly not for the slaughtered people of Srebrenica.

    You are backing an admitted policy of states collectively propping each other up, considering sovereignty the right of a state:

    Blair ‘will back policy of armed invasion’
    By Andrew Sparrow, Political Correspondent
    (Filed: 14/07/2003)

    Tony Blair is expected to put his name today to a declaration justifying armed intervention against failing states.

    …Another section justifies this stance on the grounds that, just as individuals have rights and responsibilities, nations do too.

    “The right to sovereignty brings associated responsibilities to protect citizens,” the draft said….

  • A_t: A few dodgy episodes in a country’s past can easily be dredged up to cast aspertions on it’s national character. The question is, what are the motivations of those who do the dredging.

    So the fact the perpetrators of a massacre just eight years ago (and that was just one of many) are being given a safe haven under French protection RIGHT NOW is ‘a few dodgy episodes in a country’s past’ eh?

    Riiight.

    The fact is I have written have far more articles excoriating states with Islamic governments and places like Myanmar than I have attacking the dismal French state. Hell, if you actually read my articles you would see I write far more excoriating the British state than the French.

    I saw far too much of the shit that happened in the Balkans first hand to ever forgive the people who aided and abetted it. Most of those in Britain are not in power any more. Most of those in France still are.

    If Kodiak had chosen to put his ‘vive la france’ remarks in the comments of some other article on Samizdata.net, I doubt I would have felt the need to write my latest diatribe… but he did. And as he did not choose to qualify his patriotic flag waving comments under that particular article, I view his remark as saying he does not really care what happened in Srebrenica because La Gloire de France and the French dominated EU is simply more important than the lives of some shitty little Slavs in a place most people do not know how to spell. I rather doubt he put his remarks there by accident so what else am I to think?

    I also suspect he does indeed represent a fair rendering of the views of a significant proportion of French people… I hear similar things from other French people I know (and The Dissident Frogman, currently my houseguest, agrees with me on this point). Thus I do not feel the need to be any nicer to him or any other section of French public opinion who thinks the French state is an admirable thing, or Bastille Day or any other day, any more than I feel constrained about heaping scorn on those who take a similar view of the British state or who are willing to gloss over the role of Douglas Hurd and his ilk in what happened in the Balkans.

    Feel free to praise French culture or society if you like… I am unlikely to make much fuss about that even if I do not agree (though on some point I might indeed agree)… but if you praise the French STATE and attach that praise to an article I wrote about how the French State is protecting Europe’s vilest living mass murderers in Bosnia, do not expect to get a free ride from me on this blog. No f**king way.

  • Arjuna

    Dave, Dicelator had a great post with in depth figures for GDP. France has major economic problems when you take government spending out of the mix. It has actually been shrinking for the last decade, but with gov spending, it appears healthy. As far as its aero industry, even with gov subsidies, it lags behind Boeing.

  • Kodiak

    Perry,

    First it’s not “La Gloire de France” but “la gloire de la France” (no capital letters for common names please).

    Your views are fine if you think they’re OK. No problems.

    But please leave my head or my heart alone. You don’t what I feel & you don’t know my motivations. Unless you’re not a true libertarian.

    Quting you: ” (…) I view his remark as saying he does not really care what happened in Srebrenica (..)”.
    Yes, you’re indeed merely viewing.

  • Dave: The results are plain in our balance of trade of visable goods.

    So what? The balance of invisibles compensates. ‘Things’ are not more important than services. As for French fighters… the French aircraft comparable to the F-22 is…??????

    Also, you seem to have mistaken me for someone who thinks the UK’s economy is something wonderful. For sure it is a vastly easier place to do business in than France but if you had read many of my articles you surely were not left with the impression I was happy with New Labour Britain?

    I am a laissez faire capitalist. For my own business I out-source almost everything off-shore and waaaaay out of the EU to avoid the deadening hand of both the British state and EU superstate. I do as little of my business in places which seek to tax and regulate me as possible.

  • Kodiak

    Arjuna,

    “France has major economic problems when you take government spending out of the mix”

    That is absurd.

    You don’t like State activity so you’d prefer it to be removed from the figures?

    France HAS a State. The State IS doing something. That it dosen’t fit to your personal opinion is not exactly a very valid reason why State activity should be deemed inexisting or low-rated.

  • Kodiak: Frankly (no pun intended) you have only yourself to blame if I took your tasteless remarks under an article about a disgraceful chapter in very recent French history as endorsing those actions by the French state.

    Otherwise, why did you place those comments there? What else am I to think? I do not know you personally so I can only judge what you think by what you write and the context within which you write it.

    I write about Chirac and Ratko Mladic… and your reply to that is ‘Vive la France’? This is a blog, not a forum or a board… the comments generally pertain to the article under which they are found unless they are a direct and specific answer to another comment.

    Sorry, but I retract not a single word I wrote.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    It is difficult for me to fathom what the heck Kodiak meant when he wrote those words next to the Mladic story. I am genuinely puzzled.

    Perry’s fury is 100 pct justified, particularly given his experience in the Balkans. And remember Kodiak, think before you write. Saves a lot of trouble.

    Sorry to rain on France’s parade, but there it is.

  • Dave O'Neill

    Well, if we’re talking about state spending, I suggest people look at the state of the UK in that regard.

    Even taking into account the invisable trade account, the UK is still in the red by a signficant degree. It does not “make up” for anything, it just offsets the imbalance.

    No Mirage is comparable with a US fighter, hell, the Typhoon probably isn’t. For a variety of reasons I don’t think that really matters. What was the last UK designed and built fighrter aircraft?

    Boeing just leads Airbus and the subsidy issue is something of a red herring. 20 years ago McDonald Douglas and Boeing controlled over 80% of the global aircraft market. Today, they control about 55-50% depending on where you take the figures from.

    I have real personal problems working with the French but ignoring that, a lot of the charges being made here are not sustainable.

    Perry,

    I work in outsourcing so I’m sort of constrained to doing things in the EU – depending on the work you want done, it can still be a false economy, especially going to places like Banglalore.

  • A_t

    Perry, apologies.. my response was partly due to not reading the original post as carefully as i should have, and mainly referring to the comments which regularly spring up from other posters, and the general anti-French tone that’s been bandied around here of late; I think you’re justified in being outraged at the involvement in the massacre, and the lack of consequences for those involved, & I happily concede that you are not a cultural absolutist, & spend much of your time criticising the UK government, for which even-handedness i greatly respect you.

  • Jonathan: Yes, indeed. If he had posted it somewhere else, then it would have bothered me essentially not at all, but on that article the best possible interpretation is that it was in extremely poor taste, and the worst that it was extremely offensive.

    One little point on productivity statistics. High productivity is normally good. (In the long term, it is just about everything, in fact). However, when you go into a recession and unemployment increases, poeople with lower productivity are more likely to lose their jobs than those with higher productivity. Statistics only measure productivity of people working, so one effect of an increase in unemployment is that productivity figures tend to increase. Similarly, comparing productivity levels for the economy as a whole between countries with substantially different levels of unemployment (or substantially different workforce participation rates for other reasons) is not always comparing like with like, and can be a misleading indicator.

  • Shaun Bourke

    I thought Froggieland was the new home for “International Anti-Semetism”. And the Froggies have set the new benchmark standards for “Foreign Aid”…..The more you butcher, the more Euros you get from Froggieland. And yet officialdom in Froggieland will tell us that Capital Punishment is wrong……..Hypocritical Bastards !!!

    Kodiak…..Have you ever bothered to read Le Monde ?? I know they actually demand you PAY to read their toilet rolls…..errr…broadsheets, but maybe you could just steal it from your local library…..yes yes I know it is in Froggie, just try to stumble through it…..and after each issue just throw your diapers in the trash……try a weeks worth first, much more interesting than “The Nation” versions….pictures and cartoons too…what value !!

    Dave…..

    Airbus survives ONLY because of DIRECT support from Paris. Airbus routinelysells its production up to 15% below Boeing…..and yet Airbus still cannot beat Boeing. Boeing purchased McD for the military contracts and production facilities owned by Mcd. Concord got into the air because of the British. Britian CARRIED OUT all the prelim flight flight testing of the design on testbeds built by the British. The engines are completely British….coming from the previously cancelled TSR.2 aircraft.

    F*** THE FROGGIES !!

  • Dave O'Neill

    Shaun,

    Its a bit misleading to quote figures like “Airbus routinelysells its production up to 15% below Boeing” because there isn’t really a list price that any player will stick to to get a deal. Boeing, for example, has been known to *give* an entire fleet to an airline in exchange for their Airbus aircraft in order to remain dominant in a market.

    It is interesting that you point out the McD military projects, it is, opf course, thanks to heavy pork filled contracts that Boeing can afford to run the civil aviation arm of the business without a direct subsidy. Cost plus contracts make for a profitable company.

    I wasn’t aware I’d mentioned Concorde – a great triumph of British aerospace engineering, of course, sadly, from an economic perspective we should never have built her. Still, it won’t stop me enjoying every minute of the flight I’ve booked for myself to NYC the week after next.

  • Scott Cattanach

    Today’s two minute hate seems to be going into overtime.

  • Dave O'Neill

    Michael,

    I agree with your caveats regarding productivity. With relation to France the 9% unemployment rate has been with them a long time, even when they’ve been able to grow at comparable rates to the UK.

    Frankly, I don’t know how they do it. Working with or for French companies can be frustrating for a Brit, however, the fact is, that at the end of the day, they do actually manage to work.

  • Kodiak

    Perry,

    OK for your point of view. I understand it.

    But rest assured neither I do retract anything I’ve done or said.

    My post wasn’t “tasteless remarks”. And please drop the “disgraceful chapter in very recent French history”.

    Face it: you’re prejudiced (everybody is).

    I don’t know how your construct your own views about things & it’s none of my business.

    Your French monomany isn’t going to help you get your ideas where you’d like them to be.

    And please stop your sordid amalgams: you’re just being rude to yourself.

  • Johnathan

    Scott, you have a point. Take a chill-pill, folks.

    Perhaps we should take this opportunity to raise a glass of claret to the hope of a libertarian republic in France, one day.

  • Scott Cattanach

    Perhaps we should take this opportunity to raise a glass of claret to the hope of a libertarian republic in France, one day.

    Its 9am here, but hey, any excuse to raise a glass of claret. :-) :-)

  • Kodiak

    Shaun Bourke,

    First bunch >>> call a psychiatrist; urgently !

    Second bunch >>> there has been no US government money ever in the pockets of Boeing ?

    As for your gently phrased leave, I confirm the suggestion made in FIRST BUNCH.

  • Phil Bradley

    Shaun

    Good parody, but you rather spoiled it towards the end, by including relevant facts and comprehensible arguments.

  • T. Hartin

    I’ll second that, Johnathon. The odds seem incredibly remote, but hey, a fella can dream.

  • Kodiak

    Jonathan Pearce,

    What do you want me to comment on? It’s rather obvious that Mladic & Co are criminals.

    As for the absolution you generously granted me, thank you but I don’t need any.

    Even if Perry has good reasons to be sensitive about the matter, this doesn’t allow him to judge who’s right or wrong, what’s acceptable or not, especially when indignation is systematically targeted to more than convenient topics.

    No one is dupe.

  • Phil Jackson

    David

    “with the exception of unemployment the economic indicators for the French economy”

    surely a pretty significant “exception” – especially when we remember that one of the main platforms for europhiles (and the anti-Thatcherites of 20 years ago) is that “at least the Continental model is more socially compassionate than ours”.

    “….UK either sold off or allowed to whither” –

    “allowed to whither” – seems to imply that the state stood idly by. But the most dramatic meltdown of key UK manufacturing occurred in the days of heaviest state intervention. In 1955 we still (just) had the world’s largest shipbuilding industry and were second only to the US in cars, civil aviation, household electronics, computers and many other areas. The fate of those British industries over the following 20 years is surely the most depressing period of our economic history, and yet, whenever the gentlemen in Whitehall saw an opportunity to stop the rot, they went right ahead and stepped in. It would surely have been better if they hadn’t.

    I’d concede that if anyone can make state intervention work it’s probably the French. But I don’t believe that you cannot graft their peculiar statist culture onto ours. At least I’d like to hear someone explain how.

    On the other hand some of the anti-French stuff on this site does go way over the top……

    They’re not evil. Just a little strange.

  • Jonathan P

    Yes, Kodiak, it is obvious these men were criminals. Why then did you write “Vive la Republique” etc, after the original post Perry mentioned?

    To repeat, it is difficult to know what you were thinking, so you should not be surprised that Perry got so angry.

    Also, what do you mean by “more than convenient topics?”. Huh?

  • MayDay72

    “Perhaps we should take this opportunity to raise a glass of claret to the hope of a libertarian republic in France, one day.” -Johnathan

    “Its 9am here, but hey, any excuse to raise a glass of claret. :-) :-)” -Scott Cattanach

    “I’ll second that, Johnathon. The odds seem incredibly remote, but hey, a fella can dream.” -T.Hartin

    Count me in! I’ve never been a big fan of this “My Government/State is Slighly-Less-Oppressive/Slightly-More-Free than Your Government/State” game…

  • Johnathan

    MayDay72, you are probably right. To quote some American, never get into a pissing contest with a skunk.

  • Russ Goble

    Jonathan Pearce Said:

    “It is difficult for me to fathom what the heck Kodiak meant when he wrote those words next to the Mladic story. I am genuinely puzzled.

    Perry’s fury is 100 pct justified, particularly given his experience in the Balkans. And remember Kodiak, think before you write. Saves a lot of trouble.”

    I reprinted this so that Kodiak might reread it so as to understand the confusion and anger put forth Perry, Jonathan’s and many of the posters hear.

    Look, it’s really simple. Simply answer the question. Why did you post your remarks (which you say you won’t retract) in the post regarding Mladic? What is the context? What were you trying to say? You say Perry can’t read your heart and mind. That’s absolutely correct IF you bothered to give us any idea of what you actually think on the subject at hand.

    OK, so it’s obvious they are criminals. You also say it’s obvious that Chirac is corrupt. But, neither of those actually matter unless you respond to the matter at hand. Yes, Chirac is corrupt but you guys do actually keep electing him, correct?

    And yes, Mladic is a criminal, but that doesn’t change the fact that the corrupt official you guys elected appears to have offered aid & confort to these war criminals? (and don’t get me started on Chirac’s relationship with the obvious murderer Saddam Hussein).

    I’ve read several of your posts over the last couple of weeks and I swear they are quite devoid of actual substantive argument. Simply answer the question. You know, actually RESPOND to Perry’s original post.

  • A_t

    Russ,

    “I’ve read several of your posts over the last couple of weeks and I swear they are quite devoid of actual substantive argument.”

    let’s not exaggerate here… yes, he gets irrational at times, & sometimes over-posts, but he’s raised some valid points, and has acted as a counterpoint to the stupid frog-bashing that goes on here on a seemingly daily basis.

  • Dave O'Neill

    Phil,

    surely a pretty significant “exception” – especially when we remember that one of the main platforms for europhiles (and the anti-Thatcherites of 20 years ago) is that “at least the Continental model is more socially compassionate than ours”.

    Well, we have to remember that compared to pretty much anywhere else British unemployment payments are pretty dire.

    The French system is quite good to the unemployed, which leads to the lack of mobility in the labour market which we observe. Why go looking for work when you get 2/3’s salary for a year sitting at home. Even the US is better than the UK until you run out of welfare.

    Looking at the history of British “intervention” it doesn’t make pretty reading and our unions did not help the rot. However, even taking that into account our neighbours fared better than we did. There was also the ideological ping pong of the 60’s and 70’s which didn’t help matters.

    I don’t want people to get the idea that I hold France up as a paragon, however, the idea that they are this 3rd world failing nation flies in the face of the facts. At least the facts when not observed through tinted glasses.

  • Russ Goble

    On the subject on the French vs. the British economy:

    The fact that a significant portion of the “positive” economic figures are from the state sector is extremely important. I remember how communist sympathizers used to marvel over how the Soviet union “outperformed” the U.S. economy strictly based on GDP figures.

    Kodiak responded by saying that just because “you” (meaning Arjuna, and probably most of the people who post on this site) don’t like state spending doesn’t mean it shouldn’t count. The problem is not that it counts. The problem is that it is counted as “equal” to private sector economic figures when calculated by most every government on the planet.

    With very few exceptions over the last 100, 200, 300 years (take your pick) the private sector has been more productive, more effecient, more timely, and MUCH more cost effective when it comes economic activity than most any government or state mandated entity. If you can dispute that by showing that State sponsored output is on par with the private sector output in terms of quality & quantity then feel free to get in the ring and say so and say WHY.

    And a point about trade surpluses that Dave and a few others have mentioned. Trade surpluses and trade deficits are two of the most overrated statistics that are widely used. I put forth Japan as exhibit A as to why that is. I put forth the U.S. as Exhibit B. The U.S. economy has been doing just fine in general health and in unemployment despite maintaining record trade deficits over most of the last 25 years. In fact, the U.S. trade deficit usually SHRANK during recessions, which is a good indicator of how unrelated deficits are to the general health of the economy.

    Japan, on the other hand regularly runs surpluses yet have been on the brink depression for the better part of 13 years now.

    I have never understood why the numerical difference between exports and imports actually matters. THey are largely unrelated in the context of the private sector. They tend to be different producers and different customers. Why does it matter how they stack up? Seriously. I haven’t seen a good argument as to why this matters.

    In the U.S. anyway, as long as both imports and exports were going up, that meant the economy was performing well, regardless of the percentage difference between the two. Also, both trade surpluses and deficits are extremely sensitive to currency swings, which can often be caused by totally different factors (usually by government tinkering with the money supply). Trade deficits and surpluses are simply a statist way of keeping score in nationalist pissing contests but have little bearing on the actual quantification of an economy’s health.

    Lastly, to the person who said Boeing has been known to give away fleets just to take Aribus’ off the market. I’m not disputing this, but I would like to see a link to prove it. The reason I’m skeptical is that that is a VERY expensive thing to do for what is essentially a marketing expense. Planes are extremely expensive and are not what I would call a volume business. To give away some of your stock just for market share in a very mature industry seems half baked to me. Did the U.S. government subsidize such actions (which would be plausible I suppose)? Just curiuos. That seems really out there to me.

  • Lorenzo

    My we do take ourselves seriously.

    Perry, Kodiak’s post was in bad taste but does it not occur to you that his righteous anger may stem from your failure to distinguish the French people and their rulers. You list atrocities committed by French officials in the name of the French people under the cloak of secrecy and then somehow conclude that the French people are hypocrites. As far as I’m concerned the French people are the victims of their politicians and the system that maintain them.

    I know you relentlessly criticise British society but what you don’t do is make statements like the Brits are world class hypocrites because Prince Charles is one i.e. condemn the many because of the faults of the few. This however you alway do when discussing the French.

  • Russ Goble

    A_t said: “let’s not exaggerate here… yes, he [Kodiak] gets irrational at times, & sometimes over-posts, but he’s raised some valid points and has acted as a counterpoint to the stupid frog-bashing that goes on here on a seemingly daily basis.”

    What I mean is that he’s all counterpoint and no argument. Actually, I wouldn’t call “most” of what he says as counterpoint so much as just throwing out missives without backing up what he is saying with an argument. When he has made valid points, they have rarely been topical. Perhaps, I’m being judgemental, and perhaps I’m getting down in the mud too much by commenting on how he says something rather than arguing against what he says. That’s probably a fair point, so I guess I shouldn’t have wrote the statement you quoted.

    As for serving as a counterweight to the frog bashing, that’s certainly not a bad thing AS LONG AS the person in question is responding to the frog bashing by saying why the instance of frog bashing is wrong. But, there have been plenty of France defenders on these boards, ones who are much more even handed and rational. I think the most important point here is that the recent frog bashing is usually directed at the government. Granted the government is elected, but it goes without saying that most every democracy will have significant portions that don’t tow the party/nationalist line. I do think the French “seem” to be more….uh…different than the folks who populate the anglosphere, but I’m willing to accept that that’s an unfair generalization.

    And believe me, I think it’s fair to say that if France turned into a libertarian republic that saw the EU for the travesty that it is, then I think all frog bashers throughout the world and certainly on this site would be happy to recant any comments that were made towards our French counterparts. “Raise a glass of claret”, indeed.

  • Kodiak

    Russ & Jonathan,

    Please refer to post n° 3.

    I think it’s very clear.

  • Kodiak

    Russ,

    1/ “The fact that a significant portion of the “positive” economic figures are from the state sector is extremely important. I remember how communist sympathizers used to marvel over how the Soviet union “outperformed” the U.S. economy strictly based on GDP figures”

    That assertion isn’t just stupid. It’s also vicious. Amalgam again.

    ——

    2/ ” (…) over the last 100, 200, 300 years (…) the private sector has been more productive, more effecient, more timely, and MUCH more cost effective when it comes economic activity than most any government or state mandated entity”

    If you think so: no problem. State activity is not intended to outperform the private sector. It’s designed to deliver unsurpassed services individuals >>> see French health system (ranking n° 1 among 195 countries) & French longevity ranking n° 3 (after Japan & Australia I think).

    ——

    3/ “In fact, the U.S. trade deficit usually SHRANK during recessions, which is a good indicator of how unrelated deficits are to the general health of the economy”

    The US owes 500 billion dollars to the rest of the World. Is it shrinking? I don’t know. But it’s huge.

  • Kodiak

    Russ,

    1/ “What I mean is that he’s (KODIAK) all counterpoint and no argument”

    Do you call your privatisation bias & your aversion to France arguments?

    ——

    2/ “When he (KODIAK) has made valid points, they have rarely been topical”

    Thanx. I’m flattered.

    ——

    3/ “Perhaps, I’m being judgemental (…)”

    Oh no! Not even one minute! Don’t worry… You’re very rational every time.

    ——

    4/ “As for serving as a counterweight to the frog bashing, that’s certainly not a bad thing AS LONG AS the person in question is responding to the frog bashing by saying why the instance of frog bashing is wrong (…)”

    Listen: I certainly feel no obligation to reply upon request to people of your sort.

    The fact is people indulging in offensive or systematical Frog-bashing are not worth anything.

    Don’t expect me to answer to you “au premier coup de sifflet” (I don’t know the English translation) nor to raise my glass of Diet Coke to you.

  • Russ Goble

    Kodiak: Post number 3 says the following regarding Mladic and Co.:

    “You’re implying not everyone is terrified by what occurred in Srebrenica. Hat off! I’m not accustomed to “piss on the graves” of anybody but you’re obviously customary of pissing on the minds of others.”

    You say you don’t piss on the graves of anybody and that Perry is noting that some people may not be terrified by what occured at Srebrenica. This doesn’t answer the why you put your post that set Perry off in response to THAT post regarding French negotiation and offering of immunity to mass murderers.

    “Again, I repeat for you: French intelligence were seriously contemplating the killing of Mladic and Karadic (December 1995). Asserting that ethnical cleansing & mass murders were perpetrated “with the complicity of government officials who are still in office today in Paris” is sheer libel, slander or calumny. Look at the work French troops performed to help Croatians, Bosnians & Serbs alike, Catholics, Orthodoxes & Muslims alike, rebuild their countries & sustain long-lasting peace.”

    A) Then why did they go from wanting to assissinate them to wanting to give them a free pass? For the sake of 2 French pilots? If the answer is yes, then fine, but say so.

    B) The assertion you speak of as slander is simply restating evidence that has apparently come out. Evidence that points to Chirac who most definately still is in power, unlike the British ones Perry also spoke about in the original “orignal” post.

    Here’s Perry’s beef as I see it. He doesn’t understand how you got to your comments about vive la France and wishing everyone a happy July 14th. Here’s the conversation from the original post regarding French officials offering immunity to the men we all agree are war criminals:

    “As of 14 December 1995 (tête-à-tête in Paris), Jacques The Crook of France mentioned to Bill The (What?) of the USA that French intelligence were seriously contemplating the assassination of both Radovan Karadzic & Ratko Mladic as Dayton agreements were being signed.

    The consideration surely wasn’t very moral, or was it?

    Posted by: Kodiak on July 12, 2003 02:30 PM”

    “Kodiak: Well they didn’t contemplate it hard enough, obviously, as instead they decided to give them a safe haven in Bosnia.

    It is never wrong to kill tyrants.

    Posted by: Perry de Havilland on July 13, 2003 01:44 AM ”

    To which Kodiak responded:

    “VIVE LA FRANCE ! VIVE LA REPUBLIQUE ! VIVE L’EUROPE ! VIVE LA PLANETE ! VIVE LA LIBERTE !

    I whish you all the merriest July 14 ever.

    Posted by: Kodiak on July 14, 2003 07:44 AM”

    The question I ask you is how is Perry supposed to take that? Perry notes that France offered immunity to mass murderers. You note that they were considering assasinating them. Then Perry notes that they didn’t consider it hard enough and that murdering tyrants is never immoral. You respond with your French celebratory post. Again, what’s the context? What were you trying to say? Did you just feel that right then was the time to say happy 14th (which you note is a cordial expression)? Perry didn’t take it that way.

    Taking all that into consideration, your 3rd post here is most definately not as clear as you say it is. At least not to me.

  • Snide

    see French health system (ranking n° 1 among 195 countries) & French longevity ranking n° 3 (after Japan & Australia I think).

    Yes, it is often the case that slaves are well looked after by their masters. They are valuable assets, after all.

    Mussolini also made the trains in Italy run on time.

  • Kodiak

    Russ,

    Please drop you laborious and nauseating stance.

    I assume everything I said or did.

    Quoting you: “The question I ask you is how is Perry supposed to take that?”
    Perry does what he wants. What I said is his remarks are fundamentally biased and often purposedly intended for targets really easy to get.

    I suppose you’re Perry’s nanny or spokesman. So here’s what you can tell him. It’s not the first time we have a verbal fight & that he tries (or thinks he does) either to crush me with pompous pseudo-intellectual artillery or to instillate acerb remarks or dive in blatant Frog-bashing. I really don’t care. It’s not my life.

    I don’t want to perform the same pathetic witch-hunting you’re doing. Just have it said no one is dupe. You’re not fair.

    I won’t be that cruel & repost all the posts you’ve sent. People here can do it at their best convenience.

  • Geo

    Gentlemen!!!

    Common courtesy seems to be waning! It is bad form to engage in this kind of critical badinage on the French national day of celebration! Most unseemly.

    Kind of like taking the opportunity of a wedding ceremony to tell everyone why you never liked the bride. You may have legitimate points, but it’s just not the appropriate moment to discuss them.

    So today, please join me in a heartfelt toast:

    “To my kind and generous hosts, the French!

    Vive La Republique, vive La France!”

  • Russ Goble

    Kodiak said in response to my comment about trade surpluses/deficits: “The US owes 500 billion dollars to the rest of the World. Is it shrinking? I don’t know. But it’s huge.” I think you are thinking of budget deficit’s instead of trade deficits. The U.S. is indeed a debtor nation in that we take out loans ( in the form of treasury bonds) in order to finance our bloated government. THat’s unrelated to trade surpluses and deficits. The U.S. trade deficit merely means we import more (in dollars) than we export. No one “owes” anyone anything in this equation. It’s considered a “deficit” because that’s the lingo government stats geeks use. I think it’s an incorrect and inaccurate description and highly irrelevant (see my post on the topic above).

    As for referring to communist sympathizers who thought USSR performed well because of it’s GDP figures, that’s a fact. It’s not vicious or stupid. THere’s even been evidence that the USSR cooked the books in order to make the economy look more productive than it actually was. The USSR was in an idealogical battle after all. If you feel I hit a little too close to home on that comment, I’m sorry. THAT comment wasn’t aimed at you.

    Your example of the French health care system is merely one example. I did say there may be few examples of government activitiy being as productive as the private sector (I’m not a strict libertarian after all. I think the U.S. interstate system is a good example as well, though it certainly isn’t more efficient or cheaper in terms of overall costs). But, what you fail to point out is whether or not that state financed & controlled health care system would be WORSE if it was left up to the private sector. I would contend it would not be. But, that is certainly a hypothetical. But, my point still stands. Government economic output should not be graded as equal to private sector output. If it is, then why not use the communist model? That way equality can be supposedly guaranteed and you won’t have to worry about all the ugliness of capitalism? Seriously, if you want to view government activity as being just as useful to the private sector, why not go all the way. Of course, one wonders if this isn’t in the EU’s future given the rhetoric.

    As for French living a long time, I think there is something in that good wine.

  • Kodiak

    Russ,

    “But, what you fail to point out is whether or not that state financed & controlled health care system would be WORSE if it was left up to the private sector”

    What do you call worse or better?

    The immense majority of the French DON’T want the Sécurité Sociale to be privatised whether it would be worse (to which extent?), equal (to which extent?), or better (to which extent?) than State management.

    It’s a question of choice. It’s just about what kind of society we want for our people. The answer is quite clear (from right up to left): State management.

    Your question is science-fiction even if it is legitimate on a conceptual point of view.
    But the answer is: FRANCE DOESN’T WANT HEALTH PRIVATISATION.

    Final dot.

  • Kodiak

    As Geo pointed out, today is a day of happiness.

    So to you all:

    VIVE LA FRANCE !
    VIVE LA REPUBLIQUE !
    VIVE L’EUROPE !
    VIVE LA PLANETE !
    VIVE LA LIBERTE !

    I wish you all the merriest July 14 ever.

  • Russ Goble

    Kodiak, fair enough. I’ll put closure on my “nauseating stance”. I wasn’t trying to do anything for Perry, as I don’t know the guy, but I simply go by what he says here. He started this post because he thought what you said was truly inappropriate given the subject matter. I guess by assuming everything you’ve said you may recognize that, but I still can’t tell (I guess comprehension isn’t my strong point).

    As for the comment I made on you and what I thought was a lack of substance in your arguments. I apologize as that was a personal attack and shouldn not have been made. Also, I went overboard on reposting the other posts. That was probably a bad use of 0’s & 1’s. But, I thought it provided context as to what Perry was posting about in the very first place.

    You say you don’t feel required to respond to the “frog bashing”, well that’s fine, but that does seem to be your goal from what I’ve read.

    BTW, your last post on the French Health care system is one I actually appreciate everyting you said:

    “It’s a question of choice. It’s just about what kind of society we want for our people. The answer is quite clear (from right up to left): State management.”

    The French favor state management (and note you didn’t seem to separate SOME French. You seem to be speaking for the whole French society). For all I know you are probably right. Of course, it does lead one to question then what would be the expected perception of the French on a libertarian site like this one? In this light is it really just mindless frog bashing to point out that the French are wrong with their love of the State? Hmmm…

    Anyway, I do genuinely hope Kodiak & the rest France has a pleasant July 14th and that they won’t spend too many more Bastille Day’s under the Chirac regime.

  • Eamon Brennan

    I agree with Lorenzo

    Certain contributors to this site have been at pains to point out that they are not responsible for the doings of their political classes. They are quite right to do so.

    However, it smacks of hypocrisy not to extend the same courtesy to the people of France.

    Eamon

  • Jay

    Actually, de Sade wasn’t there. He’d been moved a few weeks before. But, the point is still valid. And, even though the Bastille was surrendered under a ceasefire with the mob, the commander was brutally murdered afterwards.

  • MayDay72

    …Just for your information…

    …This post has been…

    “…I-N-S-T-A-P-U-N-D-I-T-E-D…! ! !”

  • Merrijane

    From what I’ve read here, Kodiak reminds me of my brother-in-law. He’s a generally good, personable fellow but he often says highly inappropriate things. Then when he offends half the room, his excuse is: “It’s not my fault that people misinterpret what I say.” Perhaps technically accurate, but graceless anyway.

    If everyone misinterprets what you say, it’s probably time to examine how you are saying it.

  • Stacy

    I apologize in advance for the following comment. I realize it is not germane to the thread.

    To the French folks upset or dismayed at the hostile comments left by some Brits and or Americans;

    Now you know what 50 years of anti-“anglo” intellectual perfidy get you.

    Now lets quote Monty Python’s Flying Circus, “Go away or we will taunt you again for a second time! Run away Run away”.

  • Finnish-American

    Russ and Kodiak,

    Another way to look at the massive trade deficit the US has with Europe is this: it is ultimately the average American worker-consumer that sustains the welfare states of Europe. As the European worker is taxed so heavily, the European consumer doesn’t have the significant buying power necessary to sustain the welfare state economy. The much-maligned American worker-consumer, taxed at a lower rate, – yet not enjoying the same social protections as the European worker – winds up being an economic necessity if the European social welfare state model is to succeed.

    As if Americans don’t have enough to carry on their shoulders…

    Long live America! Death to France!

  • François G.

    You are wasting your time treating that pretentious, irretrievable cretin “Kodiak”. He cannot understand rational argument, and unlike his beloved Institutional Parasites, he can’t even steal from you. What business do you have arguing with an intellectual thug? You have no rational reason to treat a Socialist like a human being, on the contrary. A Socialist only pretends to argue, since every Socialist argument is self-contradictory, and he, and his accomplices, think nothing of forcing you to obey their whims anyway — that’s how you define them. A Socialist is a criminal, and a criminal behaves like a beast: keep the Socialist off if it merely bothers you, put it down if it threatens you.

    This site is private property. Keeping moral parasites away from it is the mere implementation of a property right, and a duty as well: they need to feel that normal people will turn their backs on them. You are not even sure that you will enjoy that right forever: those scoundrels are also plotting to take it away from you. Just keep the morons off this site, and devote your energies to fighting the moral cannibals who really are dangerous. And like Saddam, by force, if that is the best possible way.

    Such efforts will also be wasted for real production, of course. But they may yield some results, and such inevitable waste is precisely the reason why Socialist slavery is not only criminal but massively, stupidly destructive: for every pound, or franc, or euro, stolen by the state has its match in the pounds, francs or euros wasted in:

    — Pure socialist destruction due to the fact that “public services” have no incentive to economize on resources, and cannot serve the public — even if they wished to, since their institutions are DESIGNED to insulate their management from the wishes of said public. Their real purpose is to steal from the weak on behalf of the powerful, and it is what they do.

    — Trying to avoid such slavery — including foregone investment opportunities to evade tax slavery, agitation and propaganda efforts against socialist plots, and bribes to government officials to get them off your back.

    — Trying to get part of the loot: it is a common fallacy among statists to believe that legal plunder should bring pure gain, since it is done with impunity. But this is an illusion: if you don’t have to fight or avoid your VICTIMS in order to steal, you will have to fight off COMPETITORS to pocket the booty. So that if you decide to live as an institutional parasite, you will have to “invest” in fighting them. Indeed, every “investor” in legal plunder will similarly do so until he perceives the expected booty to be smaller than the expenses made. All such “investment” is of course lost for real production, and tends to be equal to the booty distributed.

    This is necessary true as a tendency, since such a conclusion is a simple application of  equilibrium analysis, a consequence of the universal fact that profit can only result from uncertainty. Government criminals may benefit some, while they ruins others. But as a whole, all the sums they steal are necessarily wasted, and should be treated as such by honest statisticians.

  • mojo

    >I wish you all the merriest July 14 ever.
    >Posted by: Kodiak on July 14, 2003 06:15 PM

    Vive le Republique!

    Which one is it, again?

  • Kodiak,

    No one has to judge France. It’s bringing it’s own judgement on itself. In 1801, shortly after Bastille Day, France was the greatest power in the world, able to shut the entire continent of Europe against England. The French flag flew from the South Pacific to India, to Africa and even in what is now Louisiana. Today is probably rates no higher than fifth in any major category of achievement.

    I wouldn’t care much about the judgement of France by Samizdata. It’s the trend of history that is a bitch.

  • T. Hartin

    I find it particularly amusing that the neocons at the National Review Online blog have elected to celebrate Bastille Day with a selection of quotes by the Duke Wellington. Check it out.

  • I am happy to wish people a Happy anything Day really, though I do view Napoleon as Europe’s first fascist leader. There were many evil and vicious kings & emperors of course, but I think Napoleon counts as our first major fascist – at least post-Renaissance. We should give credit where it is due to Kodiak by the way – the French are fully aware of the failings of their leaders. In fact, perhaps they are too cynical….?

    But in any case – there is some detailed discussion above of strengths and weaknesses of the French economy. I’d like to ask two questions. First, shouldn’t we be interested in freedom even if it does not always put the cream on the cake? Can’t we see freedom somewhat independently of wealth?

    And secondly, do defenders of French economic success see the repeated French state rescues of Credit Lyonnais, an ongoing scandal which has cost far more than the quick British state abandonment of Barings Bank cost – do they see Credit Lyonnais as an isolated exception?

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    Stacy wrote:
    I apologize in advance for the following comment. I realize it is not germane to the thread.

    To the French folks upset or dismayed at the hostile comments left by some Brits and or Americans;

    Now you know what 50 years of anti-“anglo” intellectual perfidy get you.

    I’ve found myself thinking about this comment all evening. It seems offensive on the face of it, yet I find it very reminiscent of what happened after September 11.

    People of a certain political stripe expressed their horror at the attacks, but insisted we had to look at the so-called “root causes” behind the attacks.

    (I shudder every time I hear that phrase “root causes”, because I realize a political diatribe of a certain persuasion is about to follow. If you ever hear somebody say we have to look at the “root causes” of crime, you’ll be certain to hear calls for an ever more intrusive welfare state of the sort which has already given our underclass a woeful education and ghettoized them in horrendous cinderblock government housing. But that’s another topic altogether.)

    We had to look, they said, at why people hated America — and the only reasons people would hate America were America’s fault. The US (specifically the Bush administration) opposed Kyoto. Yet, the terrorists of September 11 were clearly not enviroterrorists. (We have some of those, but they’re more direct in their attacks, generally attacking animal research facilities and the like.) Alternatively, they said people resented us because of the “increasing” gap in wealth between the rich and poor, especially in places like Africa. Yet the terrorists of September 11 weren’t, say, Zimbabwean (a country whose leaders would have ample motivation to engage in terrorism against Britain and the US), or any other African country for that matter. They were almost all from a wealthy oil-producing kingdom.

    So, the “root causes” types say, it has to do with America’s unbending support for Israel. At least this time, the moral tut-tutters are correct in that the terrorists have a hatred for Israel. We saw how on September 11 the not-so-good people of the West Bank danced in the streets when they saw the twin towers of the World Trade Center fall. And yet, the blame goes only one way, towards the US for supporting a (relatively) free country. Why shouldn’t we support a free country in the teeth of a bunch of brutally repressive dictatorships, especially when those dictatorships support the annihilation of the free country?

    The terrorists were Islamofascists who did what they did because of their hatred of the enlightened and more successful culture of individual liberty that the West has fostered, and would wish to impose their inferior, stagnant culture upon the rest of the world. And we ought to be blatantly honest about this, even if the usual suspects will take offence at it.

    And here we get back to France. The French opinion elites, as well as those in many other Western nations, insist on engaging in this moralistic tut-tutting about “root causes”, and then have an apoplectic fit when it’s rightly pointed out to them that this is just a case of “blame America”. The French have also been much more strident in their opposition to American culture than other Western nations, as far as I can tell. (German, and I believe other languages, don’t have an official academy like the Académie Française trying to keep American English terms out of the language, a practice no different from renaming ‘French fries’ into ‘freedom fries’.) So if it’s acceptable for French elites to rail against American culture for decades on end, it’s only natural for Americans to get angry and decry the French.

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    Apologies for not making Stacy’s comments clearer in my previous post. Stacy’s full comments, to which I was replying were:

    I apologize in advance for the following comment. I realize it is not germane to the thread.

    To the French folks upset or dismayed at the hostile comments left by some Brits and or Americans;

    Now you know what 50 years of anti-“anglo” intellectual perfidy get you.

  • Kodiak

    Hi you all (and happy July 15 even if it’s nothing particular),

    Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying France is great or mean, fascinating or boring, right or wrong. Neither am I saying that all Anglo-Saxons are bashing the poor defenceless France etc. Hopefully things are a bit more complicated & you all know that.

    Russ: of course there are some people favouring health privatisation. But they are very small in numbers, and except within a tiny circle of private insurers or liberals (as we name them), their ideas or wishes are not shared by the common people although they’re trying hard to move their philosophy a step further anytime they can. They are very determined & they need to be: see Alain Madelin’s (a kind of Thatcherite or Reaganomaniac with froggish flavour) electoral credentials: 0. They’re more successful with think-tanks where liberal ideas burst forth yet without getting mainstream.

    Merrijane: I won’t be so rude & tell you remind me my sister-in-law. ;-)

    François G: “You have no rational reason to treat a Socialist like a human being, on the contrary” >>> as I said a million times here, I am not a socialist, a communist, a trotskyst, a green, a Muslim, a Nazi, Joan of Arc or a US hater (although I feel ashamed to vindicate what I am to have a chance you could consider me a “human being”). The terms of your excellent prose surely indicate a well-balanced way of thinking, not to mention an exceedingly exquisite touch of birdbrained libertarianism of your own.

    Ted Schuerzinger: l’Académie française (the stuff which is officially designed to define what the French should be) is funny & fine etc. Nonetheless be sure 50% of the words we all use are not in their dictionary. I don’t find it contradictory to simultaneously have a living dusty norm standing side by side with thriving, vigorous reality. it’s just showing two powerful trends at work in different ways.

    What I would like to say here: Nazi cross painters* or Stalin portraitists* will NEVER give me lessons in dignity. NEVER.

    (* please see ridiculed European flag displayed on old threads about Europe issued this month)

  • David Mercer

    Well Kodiak, you sure do a damned good impression of a socialist!

  • Dave O'Neill

    Ah well, everything has moved on.

    For Russ, I think, regarding the Boeing/Airbus buy back. It was for Singapore Airlines – you should have no trouble goggling for information.

    Boeing sold it to the press as a “trade in”, they bought, I think 11, Airbus from Air Singapore in exchange for Boeing aircraft and a really attractive spares and parts deal.

  • Stacy

    Ted,

    I found your comments thoughtful. You went to great lengths to justify my “knee jerk” post.

    It has become accepted wisdom in much of academia throughout the world that “America” is the monsterous hegemon. Intellectuals from Cairo to Paris to San Paolo write about the destructive force of “Americanization”. The only group of people on earth that it is internationally exceptable to call “obese, banal, deadening” are americans. I think we need to really stop and examine the claims of this class and engage in a real debate about them.

    I could go on endlessly on this topic but someone else has already written on it more intelligently than I ever could. Please check out a book called “Reconstructing America” by U of Virginia Prof. James Ceaser(written in ’97). It’s available on Amazon.com.

    The real reason for my original post was an excuse to quote Monthy Python and the Holy Grail!

    Stacy

  • T. Hartin

    As a followup to Susan’s post, here is A Genealogy of Anti-Americaism. He does a nice of illustrating that anti-Americaism has become a dogma, and one with some very unpleasant roots in racialism and Marxism.

  • I realize I’m late to the party, but I have a question:

    Kodiak, where did you get the “millions” number in post 3?

    Aren’t the millions dead Iraqi “men and young boys” that your country help fly up to the paradise worth “leaving an extremely hostile remark of (your) own” ?

    Isn’t that a bit of an exaggeration?

  • Russ Goble

    Stacy said:

    “The real reason for my original post was an excuse to quote Monthy Python and the Holy Grail!”

    And isn’t that what we all want? An excuse to quote Monty Python and the Holy Grail? Of course, anymore comments on this particular post could lead samizdata’s readership to think of “Life of Brian” and something to do with a bucket.

  • T. Hartin

    shell, lets also not forget that a significant fraction of the dead combatants in Iraq were not Iraqi at all, but imported Islamic nutballs.

    I also find it interesting that Kodiak apparently regards dead combatants as being no different, morally, than dead civilians.

  • Dave

    With respect to the moral question: that’s a complex one.

    If your country is invaded, are you morally wrong to defend it?

    THen there is the question of how many were willingly in the armed forces and would have been killed by their own officers if they ran.

  • T. Hartin

    “If your country is invaded, are you morally wrong to defend it?”

    Yes, if you are defending an immoral regime. By any definition, I think the Baathists qualify as immoral. Further, anyone actively defending the regime is a combatant, whether formally inducted into the military or not, and so I count them as a legitimate target and not collateral damage.

    “THen there is the question of how many were willingly in the armed forces and would have been killed by their own officers if they ran.”

    From the perspective of an American soldier, it makes no difference what the motivations of the guy trying to kill him really are. Surely the moral responsibility for their deaths lies with one who coerced them into the situation where it was the American soldier’s duty to kill them.

  • Russ Goble

    T. Harten, I don’t think those coerced to fight for Saddam were “immoral.” That’s a bit of a stretch. But, you are absolutely right that they were legitimate targets and the responsibility of their deaths lies with the baathists.

  • Kodiak

    SHELL

    Please forgive me: it was indeed a cheap exaggeration.

    ——

    T. HARTIN

    The Iran/Iraq war was unfortunately not accomplished by “imported Islamic nutballs” only. A lot of teenagers were disgustingly sacrified too, weren’t they?

    You’re right: the Saddamite régime was cynically exploiting genuine feelings of the Iraqi people to wage his terrible war in the 80s. Exactly what Hitler was doing with is pre-1941 military “feat”.

  • Stacy

    Russ,

    “And isn’t that what we all want? An excuse to quote Monty Python…”

    Yes.

    Most people I know tend to look for levity in the most tense discussions.

    I think our thread about anti-anglo/americanism eventually went to the heart of Perry’s original post on French political perfidity and disrespectful comments left by kodiak. Apparently you disagree.

    I guess ones man’s “Life of Brian” bucket is another man’s discussion on the French health care system.

    “I guess comprehension isn’t your strong point”.

    Stacy

  • Russ Goble

    Stacy, in case you actually venture back to this thread….

    I’m not totally sure, but I think you may have misunderstood my comment regarding quoting Monty Python. You said:

    ” “And isn’t that what we all want? An excuse to quote Monty Python…”

    Yes.

    Most people I know tend to look for levity in the most tense discussions.

    I think our thread about anti-anglo/americanism eventually went to the heart of Perry’s original post on French political perfidity and disrespectful comments left by kodiak. Apparently you disagree.

    I guess ones man’s “Life of Brian” bucket is another man’s discussion on the French health care system.

    “I guess comprehension isn’t your strong point”.

    Stacy”

    I wasn’t meaning to demean what you said or gripe about adding levity to the posts. I actually was being serious AND funny. I try to quote the Holy Grail whenever possible (which, BTW, drives my wife nuts). I was trying to add some levity as well, but maybe I failed miserably.

    Perhaps my comment: “Of course, anymore comments on this particular post could lead samizdata’s readership to think of “Life of Brian” and something to do with a bucket” should have actually read: “….anymore comments BY ME on this particular….”. I was actually trying to make light of the fact that the thread had probably run it’s course and that I had certainly beaten a dead horse with my longwinded comments. And I liked your remark that you just wanted to quote Monty Python. I was trying to be cute and humble, not to mention brief, but maybe I failed. I geniunely apologize if you were offended. Like e-mail and instant messages, comment boards have a hard time getting the tone across. My bad.

    P.S. – And yes, comprehension really isn’t my strongpoint; for all I know I may have misunderstood YOUR comment.

  • Stacy

    Russ,

    You’re right on two points; I did misunderstand you and the thread has been exhausted.

    No harm done I hope!

  • Dave

    Yes, if you are defending an immoral regime. By any definition, I think the Baathists qualify as immoral. Further, anyone actively defending the regime is a combatant, whether formally inducted into the military or not, and so I count them as a legitimate target and not collateral damage

    Well, I’m suggesting they weren’t a legimate target, but I’m not sure that the soliders defending their country saw it that way.

    This distinction is, I suspect, at the base of the current problems.