French Presiden Emmanuel Macron and other French leaders are repudiating so-called “woke” political ideology that has made its way from the United States amid a deteriorating relationship between the two countries ahead of a visit from Secretary of State Tony Blinken.
The rejection is embodied in a cover story by one of France’s largest and most influential magazines, Le Spectacle Du Monde, headlined “The Suicide of America,” which blames the chaotic and deadly evacuation from Afghanistan on a “woke dictatorship.” The article goes on to suggest that the American “empire was collapsing,” according to a report by Zenger News.
The same issue also contained an article critical of American universities, describing them as dens of left-wing extremism where even Halloween costumes are shunned and punished by culture police. The story referenced an incident at Yale University where students wearing “offensive” costumes were punished.
“A few miles from where U.S. soldiers landed on the beaches of Normandy, a conference of leading politicians, journalists and intellectuals devoted a panel to ‘America’s woke ideology,'” the Zenger News report noted. “Some panelists seemed alarmed by the trends they saw in American society, including alleged ‘woke’ censorship by Twitter, Facebook and other U.S. tech giants.”
Over the summer Macron, who has been shunned by leftists in his own country, said in an interview with Elle Magazine that wokeness is permeating and disrupting French society. “I see that our society is becoming progressively radicalized,” he told the publication.
In addition, several members of his government have voiced similar displeasure with woke culture, including — interestingly — Elisabeth Moreno, who is black and serves as France’s delegate minister for gender equality and diversity.
“The ‘woke’ culture is something very dangerous, and we shouldn’t bring it to France,” Moreno told Bloomberg News in May.
At the “Tocqueville Conversations” conference near Normandy, participants discussed the decline in free expression and speech in the U.S. over objections by leftists to certain views.
“Our mantra is that we should talk even if we strongly disagree. Nothing prevents you from talking and exchanging and dialoguing,” Jean-Guillaume de Tocqueville, a descendant of 19th-century French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville, author of “Democracy in America,” said in an interview with Zenger News.
“The French Revolution was an event that led to a bloody civil war because the people who were not in agreement with the new ideas, the really revolutionary ideas, were just killed and beheaded. It was not a good way to debate,” he quipped.
France’s criticism of U.S. cultural shifts comes amid a burgeoning rift between Washington and Paris after the U.S. entered a tripartite agreement with the UK and Australia to build a half-dozen nuclear submarines for Canberra. Earlier, France and Australia had agreed in principle that Canberra would purchase 12 diesel-powered subs from Paris, but that deal was shunned in favor of a new Indo-Pacific security pact aimed at countering China. The cancellation and new agreement angered French leaders and led to the first-ever recall of the French ambassador to the U.S. Blinken is scheduled to travel to Paris next week where he will attempt to patch up relations.
Other panelists at the Tocqueville conference used the forum to lash out at so-called speech codes that have emerged at American universities and in other parts of society.
“If speech opposes that preferred narrative, we are told it is itself an act of violence. So speech is violence,” former U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Janice Rogers Brown said, Zenger News reported.
“And responding to such speech with actual violence is an act of self-defense. I think that this is at the core of what is happening to us,” Brown added.
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