Law & Liberty: “Revisiting France’s Strange Defeat”
By Daniel Mahoney
“France today is a middle-sized power, resigned, perhaps too resigned, to play a diminished role in global, and even European, affairs. If the new Europe has a secret ruler it is undoubtedly Germany, a nation and political community that combines undoubted self-confidence with the trauma and guilt induced by the memory of the demonic crimes of the Third Reich. France, too, is riven by conflicting memories: She is at once the ‘eldest daughter of the Church;’ the home of the ‘forty kings who made France;’ a great modern nation inspired, energized, and repulsed by the glory and crimes of the French Revolution; and a people torn apart for the two centuries after 1789 by contentious divisions between believers and unbelievers, Left and Right, the party of Revolution and those committed to the search for ordered liberty and civic reconciliation. Today, the dominant ethos of its governing class, like the European political class as a whole, is committed to leaving behind the legacy of the old nation and the old religion, too, even if the present resident of the Elysée Palace puts on Gaullist airs at the service of something that falls dramatically short of an intransigent Gaullist defense of the liberty and independence of France…”
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Daniel Mahoney is a Professor and Chair of Political Science at Assumption College, where he teaches on political economy, political ideologies, and international relations. Professor Mahoney is the author of over one hundred twenty introductions, books, articles, and book reviews that have appeared in a wide range of scholarly and public journals. His writings have appeared in French, Italian, Russian, Hungarian, Norwegian and Portuguese translation. He is also an Associate Editor of Perspectives on Political Science and Book Review Editor of Society.
Professor Mahoney is a JMC fellow.
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