Hate, Hate, Hating the French

This is being posted from the south of France, and the annoyance some of you feel for that nation only underlines my point: that we have become a nation that hates instead of thinking, and shoots before it thinks. The knee jerks up before the doctor has even tapped his hammer. “The sleep of Reason produces monsters”, Goya said, and we’d best remember— but no, that’s already way too much metaphor for most.

We might tell our children that hatred is immoral, and yet the hatred of foreigners, and the hatred of Americans who happen to agree with those foreigners, that hatred is now a source of strength for the political Right. Witness the career of Ann Coulter, who has almost nothing to say without her hatred. The political world has always been full of men who hate, but when we make best selling authors out of women who hate, it might be time to look for cover.

This is no puff piece for the French, though I’m having a wonderful time. They have their national quirks and flaws as do all human beings, and if I were French I would probably be hollering about those. As an American my primary concern is with my own country being turned to garbage by its appetite for hate.

People like being given an excuse for hating, especially when Hatred masks itself as Virtue. How else explain the rise of Falwell, Dobson, Robertson and now Ratzinger, all of whom spend more time talking about what they hate than what they love.

Another fine hater is the representative who so hated “the French” that he changed the name of pomme frites to “freedom fries”. (They seem to keep electing these folks in the South, where they admire men who play at soldiering and shoot off their mouths as carelessly as their granddaddies shot off their guns. When Northerners starts to catch the same disease…)

This extraordinary fellow has become one of the first right wingers to call for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. This puts me in the uncomfortable position of someone who demonstrated against the invasion of Iraq, but who now objects to withdrawing the troops. If you break it, you bought it—and what kind of monsters are we, to bomb hell out of a country and then say “Gee, we’re sorry we trashed your house, but those insurgency guys keep trying to blow us up, and if you’re still pissed off ‘cause we shot your grandma, so I guess we better go now. You clean it up.”

George W. Bush gave Al Quaeda a second front in Iraq, but he won’t be the one accused of treason, of aiding and abetting our enemies. And why isn’t the beetled brow of Bob Novak in jail?

How about we all Shut the Fuck Up about things like fighting for “freedom’? Those who hate are calling for a world of "freedom" in which people will be free only to agree with them.


Anonymous said...

Well said. Hope you are enjoying your vacation. If more people would learn to look at other viewpoints, sigh. Why are there so many people walking around with blinders on and thinking my way or no way? Smile, Dee Ann

Ormondroyd's Encyclopedia Esoterica said...

from an NY Times column by Paul Krugman HERE

".... It's true that France's G.D.P. per person is well below that of the United States. But that's because French workers spend more time with their families.

"O.K., I'm oversimplifying a bit. There are several reasons why the French put in fewer hours of work per capita than we do. One is that some of the French would like to work, but can't: France's unemployment rate, which tends to run about four percentage points higher than the U.S. rate, is a real problem. Another is that many French citizens retire early. But the main story is that full-time French workers work shorter weeks and take more vacations than full-time American workers.

"The point is that to the extent that the French have less income than we do, it's mainly a matter of choice. And to see the consequences of that choice, let's ask how the situation of a typical middle-class family in France compares with that of its American counterpart.

"The French family, without question, has lower disposable income. This translates into lower personal consumption: a smaller car, a smaller house, less eating out.

"But there are compensations for this lower level of consumption. Because French schools are good across the country, the French family doesn't have to worry as much about getting its children into a good school district. Nor does the French family, with guaranteed access to excellent health care, have to worry about losing health insurance or being driven into bankruptcy by medical bills.

"Perhaps even more important, however, the members of that French family are compensated for their lower income with much more time together. Fully employed French workers average about seven weeks of paid vacation a year. In America, that figure is less than four.

"So which society has made the better choice?"

Read the rest HERE