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European Tribune - LQD: French Intellectual Melancholia
If the French are life's critics, they are at the same time idealists, and these two make unhappy bedfellows. Thanks to the philosophers of the Enlightenment and the 1789 revolution, the concept of progress towards an ideal society has, despite periodic turmoil and bloodshed, been a powerful narrative in the French mind....

There's some truth in this. The French may be epicureans, but they don't go in for the gemütlich, the cosy, or the starry-eyed. And they like to grumble. Give them a set of poll questions and they'll rather go for the cynical or disenchanted posture. (This is imo not true of intellectuals alone.)

At the same time the notion of progress, even by disruptive leaps forward, has indeed been a powerful French narrative since the Revolution. And, right now, it looks about as alive as a doornail. A few years ago, plenty of people would have said that France had reserves of resistance against globalising neoliberalism. Not any more. There's a TINA feeling about that would depress anyone.

In fact, I think I'll go and lie down for a while.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 27th, 2013 at 08:22:06 AM EST

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