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If a op ed writer in the US says stop talking so much about US problems with civil liberties and rule of law - look at other countries. Stop talking so much about the US budget deficit - look at other countries. Stop talking so much about problems with Katrina - look at France and the heatwave. When you talk about problems with racial discrimination and marginalization don't forget too mention that it isn't a uniquely US problem. Hmmh, I guess talking about Jim Crow and slavery is ok, we do after all have a usable national past of anti-segregation politics.  Why aren't we properly honouring the settling of the West or whatever other not so black and white historical event.  All this criticism is just those sneaky purveyors of the European welfare state model taking advantage of our willingness to self-criticize.

How would you read that - as a 'remember, both the past and present are grey, not black'? I wouldn't.

The reference to Chevenement may have been cheap, but I meant it as a symbol of a certain political tradition on the French left that is suffused with a blind, nationalist worship of a constructed Republican memory and allergic to any criticism which cannot be located firmly within that tradition.  

I wouldn't have said that if the article had confined itself to merely attacking the neo-liberal attack on France's socio-economic model, but the author's choice to begin with Austerlitz and then to mention the equally irrelevant debate over colonization show that he is driven by something much more than that.

by MarekNYC on Thu Dec 29th, 2005 at 12:12:23 PM EST
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