Today’s world of deracinated monoculture is from time to time punctuated by some good old-fashioned internecine bickering. It provides a welcome relief from mannered niceties and suppressed animus. Moreover, it offers an insight into the psyche of parties, or at the very least, the opportunity for an imperfect autodidact – such as this author – to ruminate on what we may infer therefrom.
Recent events triggered the recollection of a 2017 essay(ish) entitled “Les anglo-saxons” (Emile Chabol), which I read with some amusement at the time. It roughly dealt with the usage of the term “Anglo-Saxon” in French political, philosophical and media commentariat circles and the way in which, in that country, it has transcended its ethnonymic properties and has been expanded to describe economic, political and cultural modes in contrast to, presumably, the French equivalents. “Le modèle anglo-saxon” would not be misplaced as part of a French debate on economics, for instance, or an exercise in comparison between the French and English models of integration and multiculturalism.
We need not travel far for a definition of “Anglo-Saxon” from the horse’s mouth. A quoi tient la supériorité des Anglo-Saxons? (1897) was the question posed in literary form by Edmond Demolins, which neatly demonstrates the attributes of “Anglo-Saxonism” as viewed from across the Channel. Therein, the author demonstrates the Anglo-Saxon race’s ascendency to imperial world-domination, its proclivity for industriousness and economic growth, and the reasons for these successes. Demonlins wrote that the Anglo-Saxon was particularly suited to the economic and social conditions of modernity because of his ‘particularist social structure’ of close-knit family units – derived from, according to Monsieur Edmond, the historic dominance of the Anglo-Saxons over the Celts – which is well-suited to modern capitalism. The book quite accurately placed the Anglo-Saxon’s individualistic nature within the framework of biological essentialism, while also “crediting” to a degree the Anglosphere’s education system.
I belabour the point because its essentially true. And this, broadly speaking, can be surmised as the meaning behind “Idées anglo-saxonnes” when spoken with derisory magniloquence by one of France’s many pompous political commentariat.
As a person of Anglo-Saxon heritage, it’s rather more flattering than insulting to live rent-free in the collective consciousness of our friends from across the Channel. But, nevertheless, it is somewhat frustrating that a nation’s most pressing national prejudice is imperceptible to itself.
After all, the Anglo-Saxon/protestant attributes of industriousness and imperial conquest are rather noble. But, presumably, the French are rather more phobic towards the predatory capitalism and degenerative cultural imperialism they see emanating from Washington and London, than they are towards basic positive tenets of European civilisation. Yet, they needn’t look further than the Champs-Élysées to discern whence these ideas come.
Perhaps it soothes the collective consciousness of particular nations to deride what they consider to be corrosive ideas as imports, as opposed to the work of autochthonic foreigners, so to speak. One sympathises, given the almost certain contravention of some obscure Gayssot Act provisions for simply asking the question.
But really; who decided that 21st century France was to accurately mirror Jean Raspail’s prophetic novel? Who dictates what the French man can or cannot criticise? Who foists immorality and antinatalism upon Catholic France? L’anglo-saxon? Surely not! Alors, qui?
Fundamentally, mainstream French opinion recognises the manifold ailments of modernity that afflict not only France, but all of Europe and the West beyond. The predation of multinationals, the usurious impulse of the banks, the bastardisation of culture and the total inversion of all values; it takes more than blindness to not recognise these issues, but it takes no more than average wit to manipulate the narrative one tells about themselves and their own culture in order to place the diagnoses within comfortable terrain upon which no transgressions are required.
But if the French really wish to know the source of cultural imperialism in their society, perhaps I could refer them to General Dominique Delawarde’s ability to infuriate Trotsky Doppelgängers.