Serres Decapitates France

I just landed in France with the elegance of the death star among minnows. A contributor to this site, Kevin Berger, attracted my attention to an editorial of Roger Cohen, “France Decapitated”, amplifying moaning from Michel Serres, a philosopher.

Probably to set the tune of fundamental idiocy that was going to overshadow his entire editorial, Cohen complained, to start with, that the Tour De France started in Yorkshire. In his crass ignorance, the connection between France and England eludes him totally (although Cohen is now a USA citizen, he originated as a South African Jew).

French Light Speed Communications, 18th Century

French Light Speed Communications, 18th Century

Cohen whined that having the Tour in England showed that “nothing was sacred anymore, and pigs will fly”. Well, since pigs already write for the New York Times, they may as well fly. As this essay will show, given enough ignorance, anything flies handsomely.

Mark Cavendish, the (ex) number one sprinter in the world, tried to force his way in the first sprint of the Tour, in Yorkshire (he himself recognized). He fell, dragging others in his fall, injured himself and then had to abandon the Tour, on day one. On day four and five, Christopher Froome, who won the Tour last year, fell three times on Northern France’s cobblestones, and also had to abandon. Cavendish, Froome, are British. At one point they owned the Tour. It’s only natural the Tour comes by where they are from. The roads were packed along the Tour in Britain, driving many a rider furious from too many cameras in their faces.

Ah, lest Cohen did not get the news, the Franks conquered England in 1066 CE, and stayed permanently after making an alliance with the people and freeing the 20%-25% or so, of the population who were slaves. English democracy was definitively launched by a number of Frankish rebels.

The Franks ruled what they called “Renovated Rome”. Indeed they spoke Latin, used Roman Law, and originated as the Roman army.

The original Roman army had evacuated Britain in 406 CE, for budgetary reasons caused by plutocratic will. (On the continent, the Franks had officially replaced the legions in 400 CE.)

Knowing there was no more highly trained, superiorly armed legions facing them, but only local soldiers, the unconquered savages of Northern Germany and Scandinavia attacked in the following six centuries and overran Britannia, including the Roman successor states (Northumberland, etc.), in a succession of complex invasions.

For centuries Britannia and Gallia had been part of the same Roman state. Earlier both were part of the same Celtic civilization, for more than a millennium. After 1066 CE, they were again part of the same polity, itself officially the “Renovated Roman Empire” explicitly proclaimed under Charlemagne… But effective for more than three centuries.

However, the rulers of Western Francia, gained by Gallic arrogance, proclaimed that the Paris/French king was “emperor in his own kingdom”, sometimes around 1000 CE. This brought a mess of little leaders, all over Europe, with no central authority until the European Union.

The mess of too many little great leaders after 1066 CE, all over Western Europe, led to no less than 50 major wars.

This is the fundamental reason to make a united Europe that Europhobes do not know about, in their crass ignorance, and immanent treacherousness.

Cohen, by refusing the Tour in Britain, on the ground that makes pigs fly, rejects history, plays dumb, and embraces hatred for European unity. In the garbage, please.

Cohen: “That the French are unhappy has become a commonplace. A nation that loves ideas is living in an ideological void. If that void is filled by anyone it is the rightist leader Marine Le Pen with her cleverly dosed venom about Europe, immigrants, crime, globalization and the other supposed culprits behind French national decline.”

That is roughly correct. Except that rumors of a French decline have been much exaggerated. And the solution is thriving next door in an independently managed part of Francia: Switzerland. (Let alone Germania, also independently managed Francia.)

Cohen: “France is a modern country as well as a beautiful one. Its attributes, from its health system to its rail system (when not on strike), are well known.”

I had a very personal demonstration of the superiority of French health care this week: my four year old daughter was cured within hours, from French antibiotics, after a harrowing flight. Californian doctors were apparently firmly set to leave her fate to the will of God. In the USA, antibiotics are for plutocrats and their animals, much dying keeps We The People in check.

French rail has held the world speed record for rail for seventy years or so (but for a few months of German domination). In the late 1950s, the Japanese bought and deconstructed French electric engines for building their own high speed trains.

The French health care system is not just good, it’s innovative, and the world profits from it. In the 1950s an observant French surgeon discovered the modern psychiatric drugs. Meanwhile a French woman discovered that Down syndrome was caused by an added chromosome. More recently deep brain stimulation was discovered in the Grenoble CHU as a method to cure Parkinson’s and other diseases.

A serious French effort has been underway for years to make a permanent artificial heart (a patient died mysteriously, so it’s not easy).

Cohen: ”But the French dislike modernity. They mistrust modernity. That is the nub of the problem. They dislike and mistrust it for two reasons. Modernity has redefined space and relegated the state. This is intolerable.”

A “modern” country that dislikes “modernity”, while inventing all sorts of “modern art”, and “art deco”, and “nouveaux philosophes”? And the number one inventor of “Relativity” was Henri Poincaré, who even named it, not Einstein. France, as the country that brought E= mcc (Poincare’ 1900, Einstein, 1905)? Intolerable. Quick let’s attribute that to a German Jew.

Lest you ask, Poincaré also invented topology. Among other things. Unfortunately he died while middle aged. If Einstein was turkey size, Poincaré was T Rex.

Modern, modernity and modernism are French attributes, thus are absolutely not the nub of the problem. Cohen, parroting three pence philosopher Michel Serres, is wrong as wrong can be.

Cohen is off the deep end here.

France is not just modern. France’s fundamental tradition is modernity. France’s Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, rests on modernism.

And so it shows. France invented the first cars (Eighteenth Century), hot air balloons and planes. All the preceding were private efforts under government (military) contracts. But the first submarines or helicopters were also made in France. And also cameras (both black and white, and color). Also the first (and, so far, only, ever) ram jet plane. The Concorde, by the way, still holds many speed records (the ones without air refueling).

The nuclear chain reaction and how to extract energy from nuclei, was so discovered in France, that the French government yanked all the patents out in January 1938, lest the Nazis read and understand them (fortunately, that understanding dawned on the dumb Nazi physicists led by Heisenberg only August 7, 1945).

More recently, the Minitel was a highly successful precursor of the internet. Astoundingly, and little known, the transistor, the integrated circuits and the PC were all invented in France (and quickly stolen by Silicon Valley and other USA propagandists). Optical pumping, a necessary precursor to the maser and laser, was also discovered in France.

On Mars the Curiosity Rover is mostly Americano-French. Besides scientific instrumentation, a French company made its supersonic parachute, another, Thales, made its laser.

Thales makes the world’s most powerful lasers, when it’s not building the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. The most advanced American material science labs purchase Thales lasers. French laser physicists are scared that, if they do not stay financed enough, they will lose their edge on the rest of the World. In ten years. (The NSA is supposed to fix that.)

The major advance of the Franks beyond Antique Rome, freeing Europe of slavery, was made possible by more advanced technology where it really made a difference (mechanical advantage, hydraulic hammers, super-horses, more advanced agriculture, including the new genetically engineered beans of the Tenth Century).

That was also necessary. The moral advance of “Equality, Fraternity” occurred only because more advanced technology allowed to get rid of slavery, in the 7th century. Just as, someday, it will allow to get rid of work.

Let’s not forget that the Franks replaced the Romans, first of all, because they had better, and that means more modern, weapons. Similarly, four centuries later, the steel of the Franks proved superior even to the superb Damascus steel of the Islamists.

So modernism is the essence of France: no modernism, no Francia. One does not change essence overnight. Cohen does not know what he is talking about in the matter of French culture: it is centered, in the fullness of time, around modernity. To put it mildly.

Cohen: The redefinition of space has involved the technology-driven elimination of distance. As Michel Serres, a prominent French philosopher, put it in a lecture last year at the Sorbonne on the digital world, “Boeing shortens distances; new technologies annul them.”

Philosophers are like blades of grass in the French prairie. Yet, I like Michel Serres. Once a mariner, his feet are firmly planted in the waves, essence of the universe. However, why did Serres use the sentence: “Boeing shortens distances…”. This is a deliberate lie, a sophisticated lie, but still, a lie: it is construed to give a misleading impression. Serres could have said: ”Jets shorten distances…” Jet engines were not invented by Boeing, but by Messerschmitt, a European company. The Brits were the second to realize jets. Even several years later, captured Me 262 operated by American test pilots were much better than the best jets made in the USA.

Boeing, indeed, is an American company. Airbus is European, French dominated, and makes as many planes. So Serres wants to depict France as under aggression from the USA, rather than from Toulouse (where Airbus churns out more than 50 jets a month; arguably the world historical capital of aviation).

To deliberately inflict on the naïve a misleading impression, that’s behavior unbecoming a philosopher.

All the more as the French were big time pioneer of aviation to the point many parts of planes wear French names. French military aviation was huge as early as 1914. The Aeropostale in the 1920s and 1930s, inaugurated long range airmail, all the way to Chili (as readers of the Petit Prince may know).

Besides the French invented the proto-Internet with Minitel, and it was a massive success. A French government program, as early as 1945, enlisted top German scientists, to make fast signalization for very high speed trains.

Hard for me to take seriously philosophers who make such stupid mistakes.

Cohen: “Humanity has also changed its relationship to the state. The French place deep faith in the state. It is the righter of wrongs, the mediator of human affairs, the source of social justice, the object of duty, and the repository of power. The very word deregulation is odious to the French.”

Humanity is changing its relationship to the state in Switzerland. Elsewhere, not as much, if at all. Actually the argument is common in Europe that the state, in the guise of the European Union, is taking too much importance, and that the EU is regulating too much.

Cohen, aping Serres: “A revolution in communication is underway, not seen since the invention of the printing press, but it is not a French revolution. It is in fact an anti-French revolution. It challenges fundamental French values, the French sense of self, and the French attachment to the state.”

Whatever. The French state, centuries ago, had set-up a semaphore signalization system. France was covered with 556 stations. In tall towers placed upon hilltops, 10 to 35 kilometers away, a two armed device depicted symbols read through a telescope. That was retransmitted, just the same. This signalling system could transmit a signal 250 kilometers (150 miles) in two minutes.

According to Serres and his parrot Cohen, that’s supposed to be anti-French? On January 7 1785, a Frenchman, Blanchard, having thrown his pants out to lighten the ship, succeeded to cross the Channel in a Montgolfiere. A few weeks earlier Pilatre de Rozier, who had flown over Paris 15 months earlier, died, when his hot air balloon caught fire during the crossing. Were all these attempts at modernism, anti-French?

Articulating one’s logic around idiocies, amplifies idiocy. Let’s heap spite on such critters, in Quranic style.

The question still arises: what ails France? As France, clearly, is ailing. If not Serres’ dumb hypothesis that France hates modernity, then what? I will answer this in another essay. Interestingly, while presently the greatest fuel for the right wing Front National, it is easy to fix.

Patrice Aymé

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40 Responses to “Serres Decapitates France”

  1. Paul Pieter Kruijmer Says:

    “Vive le duc de Normandie.”


  2. pshakkottai Says:

    “Well, since pigs already write for the New York Times, they may as well fly.” Very amusing and very true. I like that.


  3. Chris Snuggs Says:

    “The Franks conquered England in 1066, staying permanently after freeing the 25% of the population who were slaves. Frankish democracy @ work.”

    Chris Snuggs Yes, but the land the Normans stole from the Anglo-Saxons still resides in the pocket of the remaining Lords and associated toffs.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      What was progress in 1066, does not look so progressive now. The result of the misleadingly named “Glorious Revolution” was that, de facto, British people, differently from the Americans, or even the French, don’t own their land. So when American firms frack, they have to pay the landlord, but in the UK, that’s the so called “Crown


  4. Chris Snuggs Says:

    France is not just modern. France’s fundamental tradition is modernity. France’s Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, rests on modernism.”

    Chris Snuggs In political terms, France is a dinosaur: eternal nonsensical swings from left to right and neither being really able to change anything. However, the economic (and thus eventually social) situation is so dire that change will happen despite the idiocy of the political establishment.

    As for Sarko, he did (apparently) no more than any of the other political leaders, including the thief Chirac, who never did a day’s jail for his corruption as Mayor of Paris and later.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Patrice Ayme Once again, this is a question of geographical and time scales. I was talking in secular terms (120 years). Recent “nonsensical swings from left to right” are even more senseless because the same policy has been actually pursued, a sort of petty tyranny. But so it is in say Britain or the USA.

      Whatever the corruption is in France, it’s dwarfed by what’s going on perfectly legally in the USA. In Britain, corruption, be it the red carpet for Putin plutocrats, or subjugating Britain to the titanic corruption of the F35 program, is arguably even more worldly than that in France.


  5. Chris Snuggs Says:

    Britain of course is useless and never invented anything. As for Germany, what a second-rate country compared to France.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Once again, one does not want to stay a prisoner of recent petty maps. I am thinking in terms of systems of thought. Britain, certainly by 1066 CE, became part of the Frankish system: the Franks came in, and freed the slaves.

      That’s what the Franks do: free the slaves, replace them by advanced tech. Same as they had done in the rest of Europe, including liberated Spain.

      You may want to consult maps from some of my preceding essays about Germany. You will realize that the Franks, who were Germans, did conquer Germany. One of the successor regimes of this Francia is presently headed by Ms Merkel, and won the world cup.

      Francia broke up de facto by 1000 CE, precisely because Western Francia thought the East was “second-rate country”. That brought endless, very severe wars, and thus the reign of plutocrats. I would suggest you reject the idea.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Britain is a monarchy with subjects. By 1940 Germany had become not just a third rate country, but the lowest type of a country ever devised, worse than the worst. Truth be told.


  6. Andrej Dekleva Says:

    Vive Le Tour de France!


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Ah, yes, did not think of it that way. The Tour de France starting in Yorkshire (North England) thus implicitly demonstrates that Yorkshire is part of France, as big time history says, and I was telling Chris, all along…


  7. Dominique Deux Says:

    Britain was excellent and in fact unparalleled in implementing the industrial revolution. Happy, Chris?

    Patrice, the “first submarine” did sail in France (yes she did have a sail) but the inventor was American (Fulton) and French authorities completely failed to grasp her potential.

    You mention the telegraph; a simple enough concept, and not an entirely new one. Chappe’s innovation (besides a scientific design of the optical arms) was coming up with data compression/decompression algorithms to expedite its use: “malgré sa grande simplicité, donne assez de signaux primitifs pour faire de ces signes une application exacte aux idées, application telle, qu’elle n’exige ordinairement qu’un signe par idée, et jamais plus de deux, ce qui est très remarquable (dit le rapport décennal fait par la classe des sciences physiques), comme ayant donné naissance à une langue nouvelle, simple et exacte, qui rend l’expression d’un mot et d’une phrase par un seul signe.”


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thanks Dominique, I had forgotten the Fulton’s story details. Curious dictator Napoleon had failed to grasp the submarine, as he intended to conduct an invasion of England combining sea, earth, and air. (Caesar did very well with ships, although it was tricky. Annihilating the enemy’s vast and massive fleet of all too towering ships was a pre-requisite: Caesar was much smarter than Napoleon!)

      The semaphoric (?) system was no telegraph. The first telegraph was made experimentally by the famous Gauss around 1830.
      Thanks for the details about Chappe. Did he re-invent Chinese? (Ideograms often are condensed pictures, either of objects, or emotions…)


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Chris is not happy, whatever, and all related to the intense Franco-European plot to constitute the Evil Galactic Empire (EGE).
      Having lots of ready use, high quality coal helped Britain to launch the industrial revolution. There was so much pollution in London by 1330 CE, that Edward III passed laws diminishing the usage of coal burning.

      It’s French professor Papin who invented the spectacular steam engine. I have that on my site.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:



  8. John Michael Garland Says:

    “If it is construed to give a misleading impression, it is a deliberate lie, a sophisticated lie, but still, a lie.”

    John Michael Gartland likes this: I never cease to be amazed at how a sweet sounding speech can win over the masses. In America, people can’t understand how anyone could fall for Hitler’s rants. The same people are hypnotized by President Obama and actually believe him and deify him.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      By 1945, Hitler was, clearly an absolute failure, a monstrosity, the greatest destroyer of Germany ever imaginable. However, his popularity, inside bombed out Germany, brutally penetrated by the armies of two dozen countries, destroying everything within their reach, was the highest, ever. By now, it’s clear Obama was, at best, a sort of Tea Party President, yet his supporters check their skin colors, look at their own, and love him. Errare humanum est, perseverare diabolicum, atque humanum.


  9. Roy Carol Candy Says:

    They are all dreamers looking for something in NOTHING!


  10. Aaron Greenbird Says:

    good morning Patrice….whenever you speak of the Franks, my ears pick up. 384 CE Lake Bala, Wales…..the Cymru.There was a massive gathering around that lake, whose purpose has been ‘lost’ to history. many ‘things” began at this major point in history. i feel this was the genesis of ‘the Franks’…… can you comment ? thank you. aaron


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hmmm, Aaron, I’m afraid I am out of my depth here. The Franks were actually Celto-Germans, and that world was one, thanks to a great mastery of rivers and seas (later duplicated by the Viking, with much less sophisticated ships).

      There were indeed many festivals, all of them extinguished by the Romans. The last redoubt of the Celtic elite was in that large island off Wales. As the Romans landed there, to exterminate all, the Boudicca revolt started, back east. The legion involved, by itself, was able to crush, later, the rebellious Britons’ 200,000 large host.


  11. Chris Snuggs Says:

    Let’s keep it simple. France is in a horrendous shambles because of its arrogant, cronyist, elitist, venal and totally incompetent political class. If these idiots do not sort themselves out soon they will end up under a National Front government. But dinosaurs are not great at reinventing themselves, are they?


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Patrice Ayme OK, Chris, if you add “in part because”. Problems are not restricted to the political bandits. The national debate is devoid of the ideas necessary to make a difference. The first thing to do is to augment the direct democracy. Marine Le Pen says stuff similar to this, BTW (they are dishonest idiots, we need to restore democracy, etc.), and just as you and me agree, so does Le Peuple.

      However to believe European problems are restricted to a few bandits in France is wishful thinking. Merkel and Al. know this well, and are doing deep, expensive reforms in matter of education.

      I have two essays on this coming: 1) How the USA and the like gets ahead (think exploitation max). 2) How Europe shoots itself in the head.

      An example of 1) is that GE bought French Alsthom, but Obama made a 60 billion dollars gift to GE, just a few years prior. And GE, the oldest NYSE company, has paid no taxes for at least a decade. Free market in the USA means free to serve the USA masters.


    • Dominique Deux Says:

      Of course Chris I share your poor view of the current French political class. An all-time low. Oh and Ms Le Pen perfectly fits in. Not to mention the Leftists – being a Lefty myself I feel safe saying the Leftists are the pits.

      Yet I’m very happy that, at least, we are spared the Camerons, Johnsons and Farages who disgrace your political landscape. Arrogant, class-conscious boors who belong in a museum, as Indiana Jones would have it. They make John Major look good!!!


      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        John Major made big time at the Carlyle group after being PM. Just like Blair. Many dozens of millions each… Then Chris complains about 10,000 EU officials with take home pay of more than 83,000…

        The EU has repeatedly refused to publish information of the net income of its 47,000 staff, making it impossible for taxpayers to know the true pay levels of European civil servants. But leaked staff documents have revealed the net pay received by EU officials thanks to generous allowances and deductions for tax, pensions and sickness insurance. Mr Cameron is paid a gross salary of £142,500. After paying his taxes, National Insurance and pension contribution, Mr Cameron takes home about £81,350.

        The Coalition has set the Prime Minister’s salary as the upper limit for Whitehall pay, with only a small number of senior officials getting more.

        But in Brussels, even mid-ranking administrators can take home more cash than the Prime Minister. The leaked papers show that EU officials in the “AD 11” grade, a middle management group, have gross earnings of £112,090, including expatriation and household allowances. But because they pay just 13.4 per cent in tax, they take home £83,357 in net pay.

        Those with children will earn substantially more with allowances totalling £7,000 per child each year, meaning many officials with families on lower grades will also earn more than Mr Cameron.


        • EugenR Says:

          You corrupt them, you pacify them.
          Better paying them than, letting them to play their war games. The Chinese knew it long time ago, so they used to send delegations with presents to the Mongol tribesmen, to make the feel rich and corrupt. It worked until Genghis Khan came. Probably he was to angry or was not satisfied with the bribery presents.


      • Chris Snuggs Says:

        Farage says what he means and means what he says. The rest are lying, venal, hypocritical dinosaurs.

        The UK MUST leave the disgusting, corrupt, arrogant, wasteful and quasi-fascist EU, which has just elected a self-confessed LIAR as its leader. You hate oligarchs and plutocrats. These people are among the WORTS. TEN THOUSAND of them earn more than the British PM.

        You ONLY have to read what these scum SAID. These people disgust me:

        1952 – “Europe’s nations should be led towards a superstate, without their people understanding what is happening.” – Jean Monnet (President ECSC 52-55)

        1976 – “Public opinion will be led to adopt, without knowing it, the proposals we dare not present to them directly. All the earlier proposals will be in the new text, but will be hidden and diguised.” (on the Lisbon treaty) – Valery Giscard D’Estang (French President 74-81)

        1996 – “The Europe of Maastricht could only have been created in the absence of democracy” – Claud Cheysson (French Foreign Minister & member of European Commission)

        2010 – “[Bailouts are] expressly forbidden in the treaties by the famous no-bailout clause. De facto, we have changed the treaty.” – Pierre Lelouche (French Europe minister 09-10)2010 – “Decisions taken by the most democratic institutions in the world are very often wrong.” – Jose-Manuel Barrosso (President of European Commission 2004->)

        2011 – “We need to build a United States of Europe with the Commission as government and two chambers the European Parliament and a “Senate” of Member States.” – Viviane Reding (Vice President of the European Commission) (my comment: NOT ONE SINGLE EUROPEAN CITIZEN HAS EVER, AT ANY TIME, ANWHERE VOTED FOR THIS.)

        Juncker: “‘We decide on something, leave it lying around and wait and see what happens. If no one kicks up a fuss, because most people don’t understand what has been decided, we continue step by step until there is no turning back,’ he said of the euro.”
        “In May 2011, he told a meeting of the federalist European Movement that he often ‘had to lie’ and that eurozone monetary policy should be discussed in ‘secret, dark debates’.”


  12. EugenR Says:

    Dear Patrice, to start with, your historical interpretation about history of Franks, English etc. i would say is slightly misleading. The Roman British citizens, left unprotected, after the Roman garrisons left Brittany at begging of the fifth century, afraid from the Scottish “Barbarians”, invited the Saxons, a other German tribe, to protect them. They pretty soon took over the kingdom. Then from 8 century as the Saxons get cultured, the Viking invasions started, and in the nine century they almost took over the whole country, if not Alfred the Great, who lived in the tenth century, the first Saxon king who knew not only to read but also to write, drew them out. But the Saxon success did not last for very long time and in the early 11 century the Viking Canute added Britain to his wast kingdom. When at 1066 the Norman William II, (descendant of vikings himself) invaded Britain and killed Herold II, he started a long line of Norman English kings. Since the Norman kings claimed sovereignty not only upon England but also big parts of France, this ignited the 100 years war, which lasted actually for more than 800 years, and ended with the treaty of Entente Cordiale signed at 1904. In all this description i don’t see any Franks, whose empire actually fall apart after the treaty of Verdun at 843 that created all the problems Europe had to face for the next 1200 years. So not everything what the Franks had done was perfect.

    As to the French achievements in science, modernity etc. i don’t think any educated person would underestimate their achievements and contribution to the modernity. Yet the French screwed for themselves that they did not become the leading nation and culture in Europe, and subsequently in the whole world. When they made Revolution, they created the first political modern terror state. Then to end with the turmoil, the French came up with Napoleon, who created the very first fascistic state. Then instead of investing his talent and the opportunity the history gave him, to unite politically and modernize whole Europe under French enlightened leadership, he continued the French tradition of war against the English, (the pretext for the Russian invasion was Russian commercial ties with England). If instead he would dismantle the Hapsburg Empire and together with the other German mini-states, and probably even with Prussia, he would create a whole European entity, we would probably exchange our opinions in French and not in English, language i don’t speak, yet just by its sound it seems to me superior to English. Maybe even the tragic twenty century, wouldn’t had to be so tragic, etc. So if you look for the cause of whole European decadence, that started 100 years ago with outbreak of 80 years war, its roots go back to France and the French revolution, that couldn’t copy the American revolution. Because Jean-Paul Marat was not Thomas Paine, Maximilien Robespierre was not Thomas Jefferson, Fouche was not Hamilton and Napoleon was not Washington. I know you don’t like Jefferson, as he was one of the causes of American slavery, and i agree that not forbidding slavery in the territories he bought from Napoleon he committed a historical crime and evil, but i like to judge Jefferson during his years before his presidency.

    To end my comment, i have one personal question. You often mention many important French scientists and intellectuals, and i don’t remember you ever mentioning Rene Descartes. Did i miss something?


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Eugen: I fail to see how my “slightly misleading” history differs from yours. You present facts that are completely compatible with mine. In general, I deliberately present facts that seem deeper, and from a different angle, in all of history.

      For example, Caesar crossed the Rubicon. All books have that one. Why? Natural to attribute it, to raw ambition. But in truth, the Senate was out to get Caesar, he had little choice (my angle).

      Guillaume (William) of Normandy was French (descending more or less from Viking, partly so). A very big guy. His mother was a French tenturiere. She was not noble, and owned a firm that cleaned and prepared animal skins, among other things. That’s why he was called “The Bastard”. He was touchy about it, even executing famously 35 prisoners who had taunted him with skins in a siege.

      You described lightly the mess Britain became after the legions left. In the Seventh Century, the Franks even intervened: that’s how Bathilde, a high society British girl became a slave of the Franks (and, a few years later, after at least one evasion, their queen and leader!!!!!!)

      Fact is until the Normands/Franks/French established a sturdy government making a direct alliance of Crown and People, with a strong parliament, Britain was a mess. Brittany is named after the British army had to flee there in the Sixth Century, creating a Duchy that served as a model to Normandy. (Before that it was Armorica.)

      I did mention Descartes MANY times. Including in the very latest essay.


      • EugenR Says:

        Dear Patrice, what we are doing here in your blog, is trying to understand the Human animal as a creature, being aware and acting in the flow of human history. As we see many times the human history is a result of a particular act of a unique person. Let us take the act of crossing the Rubicon by Julius Cesar. He could as well turn back and create a new kingdom in Gaul, probably then France wouldn’t be France now, and everything would be different. I could imagine that he would try to conquer Spain, and maybe even Germany, and would marginalize Rome to Italy and Greece. But all this is just speculation, and it could be otherwise too. The historical fact is that he crossed the Rubicon.

        History in one hand is influenced by particular acts of individuals, like J.Cesar, but also many times it creates predictable deterministic situations, when the trends and developments are given and decided by the circumstances. If we stay with the Roman history as an example, it seems to me, that after Rome adopted the highly sophisticated Greek culture, philosophy, ideas and scientific thinking, that nothing similar was in the surroundings, and combined it with Roman stubbornness, ruthlessness (as seen with the Carthaginians) adaptability and political organization skills (Republic and Roman law), it was inevitable that they created an empire, that ruled at the time almost all the civilized world between the Atlantic and Middle East, (except Persia). Yet a civil war could end all this, but haven’t. Why? Probably exactly because of limited sophistication of other potential empires, like the Persian empire, whose leaders were hardly aware of the historical trends, and for this reason couldn’t grasp the opportunity, opened to them during the civil war between Augustus and Antony, which happened few years after they destroyed the Roman army of Marcus Crassus.

        What killed Rom is the civilization itself, that had no more the ruthlessness needed to fight back the barbarians, who at the end dismantled the whole empire, even without to be aware of it.
        You are now in France now, i wonder if you can feel there the bit of the history.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      The “Normans” kings did NOT claim sovereignty over France. It’s not what happened. What happened is that the French monarchy got total direct control of England, for a number of reasons and in various ways, and that led to a Franco-French fight, misrepresented as a Franco-English war. I wrote many times on that, including in:

      Henry V of England, descendant from Philippe IV Le Bel of France, was the legitimate king of France. Joan of Arc was bin Laden, just worst.


      • EugenR Says:

        Agree, but all this claims of legitimacy of kings and kinsman look to us from the modern perspective, very folly. Politics then and now is about how to pacify all this alpha males, who subdue others, many times with extraordinary cruelty and usually devastate what other people built. (Built i mean not only physically but also socially and culturally). Why are this “Alpha Males” needed, because the ignorant masses are sometimes even more devastating than them, as it can be seen in front of us in Egypt, Syria and some other Arab countries.


        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          The 480 years civil war between France and England started with an alpha FEmale, Isabelle de France, La Louve de France. Yet, she was right. If her rights had been accepted that giant civil war would not have happened.

          This was more a division as the “Euroskeptics” and Europhobes want now: division because more people wanted war and thus power. “Ignorant masses”: I don’t know. They are generally manipulated into insurrection. The Islamists have been clearly financed by various exterior forces since the 1930s.


  13. Chris Snuggs Says:

    Merkel said: “If the euro fails, Europe fails.”

    These people launched the euro as part of a deliberate policy to force federalisation.

    I don’t care what Juncker was talking about. HE LIED, and BILLIONS of OUR money have been spent on their LIES.

    Have a good evening.



    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Merkel spoke well. She was laughing a lot, and deserved to, in Rio. People such as me who live next to a border (Italy), love the Euro. People like me, who has lived longer overseas than in Europe, and who love Europe, having lived so long among savages, love the Euro, and love Europe.

      People like me, who have been subjected to the force of other empires, and their terror, their police and armies, love a strong, federal Europe.

      Yes, I want me and my family to be protected by an empire reflecting my values, rather than that of Putin, or the Carlyle Group (ex PM Major, Sarkozy brother both headed it).

      Just too bad that traitors in the UK decided to equip the Queen Elizabeth class carriers (built by French Thales) not with Rafales (as they were supposed to be), but with the F35, which is extremely expensive, and absolutely does not work in all ways. Can’t even cross the pond with an army of tankers.
      These are the real traitors, Chris.

      I have lived decades in the USA. You could never live in the USA. So just reflect why you want us to do so. And, as you head towards the Internet today, please reflect why you have been colonized, and did not even notice.


  14. Franks, Romans and Europe | EugenR Lowy עוגן רודן Says:

    […] […]


  15. Multibrain: Republic, Democracy | Patrice Ayme's Thoughts Says:

    […] such as the philosopher Michel Serres (of “France decapitated”), make a big deal that France is a “Republic”, and the USA a “Democracy”. It’s the […]


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