Friday, April 20, 2007

Has M. Sarkozy Lost His Nerve?

Denis Boyles, usually known for his bitterly sarcastic and therefore enjoyable tours through the European press, has an interesting survey of the closing days of the French presidential election campaign. In it, he argues that Nicholas Sarkozy, the man who once seemed capable of bringing radical economic and geopolitical change to a France desperately in need of it, has moved back into the dreary, a-little-bit-to-the-left, a-little-bit-to-the-right politics that is slowly strangling the French nation:

Left-leaning analysts thought people might be afraid of the kind of profound changes Sarkozy might bring. Royal’s early efforts to discover the depth of that fear were fruitless. But when Sarkozy began backing away from the big stuff and chasing trivial issues around the edges, it appeared he was afraid of serious change. Soon, Sarko was trying to out-promise Ségo, and ultimately, both candidates were offering more and more of the one thing the French didn’t want: more of the same. This week, l’Express reports, Sarko is suicidally campaigning with Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the champion of the failed constitutional effort and perhaps the one politician in France who could rival the low esteem that voters have for Chirac.

Sad if true. Love it or hate it, France is for all its irritating qualities one of the most compelling historical narratives around. More importantly, its fate, at a time when it is increasingly drowning in hostile immigrants and economically dysfunctional, matters to Western civilization. It would be a disaster if the first candidate in years who understands that demand curves really are negatively sloped, that resentment-based economic policies have consequences, were himself drawn into the disastrous French postwar consensus. The whole article is worth a read.


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