If France Can Reject Wokeness, So Can We | PA Pundits – International


By Jarrett Stepman ~ An interesting piece in The New York Times highlights a ferocious blowback against woke ideas in France. Yes, France. 

French President Emmanuel Macron vows that not a single piece of French history will be torn down. “The threat is said to be existential,” foreign correspondent Norimitsu Onishi writes, adding:

It fuels secessionism. Gnaws at national unity. Abets Islamism. Attacks France’s intellectual and cultural heritage. The threat? ‘Certain social science theories entirely imported from the United States,’ said President Emmanuel Macron.

French historian Pierre-André Taguieff, quoted in The New York Times piece, said the French people are exasperated by phrases such as “systemic racism’’ and “white privilege,” which he says are an “artificial importation” from America. For those paying attention, it’s hard to deny that these phrases haven’t become nearly as common as the word “the” in modern American left-wing social commentary. It may be a bit rich for France to blame wokeness on America. After all, a whole host of French postmodern thinkers from Michel Foucault to Jacques Derrida have had extensive influence in American academia, the locus of the wokeness. Nevertheless, it’s a positive development that even left-leaning French leaders such as Macron see the woke ideology—once loosed from ivory towers and unleashed on society—as a monumentally destructive force. When mobs began taking down statues and defacing monuments throughout the United States and the rest of the West last summer, Macron was adamantly opposed to giving in to the war on history. Macron said in a televised address in June that “the [French] republic will not erase any trace, or any name, from its history … it will not take down any statue.” He said that it was important to look at history with an eye toward finding the truth rather than denying what occurred. The French blaming America for these ills is predictably French. Still, there’s no question that large swaths of elite institutions in America have swallowed up and adopted the most radical and extreme ideas that would have at one time been unthinkable…

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