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Bad France

April 24, 2018

Former Vice President Dan Quayle, boning up on leadership, came to admire Napoleon. We sometimes forget the destructive force of the French Revolution, the utopian ideas of the philosophes that so entranced intellectuals in the West that were carried into Europe by the invading French armies by Napoleon.

At least Dan Quayle read about great “leaders.” President Trump’s reading ability is limited and what he remembers about France and the United States is wrapped in Independence Day oratory that extolled the French during our War of Independence and the victory at Yorktown made possible by the French Navy that blocked the British fleet under Cornwallis from escaping.

That was 1781, but we forget the Terror of the French Revolution and execution of Louis XVI in 1793, Napoleon’s capture of the Revolutionary government of France, such as it was, and the Napoleonic wars that disrupted Europe in the 19th century. But, especially, we forget the corruption of the intellectual culture of America by revolutionary ideologies.

With that “bad France” we have nothing in common.

President Macron of France knows that and is aware that President Trump hasn’t a clue. So this French politician will attempt to “con” one of the great con artists of American history. We’ll have to wait until President Macron is wished “Bon voyage” to find out whether the France of 1793 or 1781 dominates.

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