As any reader of this blog would have realised by now, the French political establishment is viewed with varying levels of disdain. I yield to no-one in my loathing of French President Jacques Chirac, who, let us not forget, would probably be an inmate of a jail for corruption were it not for the immunity from prosecution afforded to the holder of his office.
But as proud individualist and opponent of all attempts to lump people together under a single banner, I regard attempts to attack someone for being ‘French’ no better than doing so for being, say, American. Yet the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto does precisely this regarding Democratic wannabe Commander in Chief John Kerry. His constant snipes at Kerry for being “French-looking” are bigoted nonsense.
Well Mr Taranto, I would like to point out that many of the ideals enshrined in the US Constitution, which presumably is revered by the Wall Street Journal, originated in France. Voltaire, Montesquieu, Bastiat, Condorcet, Benjamin Constant and Alexis de Toqueville, all giants of classical liberalism, were all French.
James Taranto’s “Best of the Web” column used to be a must-read for its snappy and often hilarious takes on the various media comments of the day. Alas, he seems to be little more than a cheerleader for George Bush these days. Maybe Taranto’s talents, which are considerable, could be put to better use.