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  • benwerd - 2 months ago
    God, I hated this piece.

    First, let’s be clear: rather than simply a representative French perspective, this is a French conservative perspective. You can glean this from his reference to Christianity as being inherently moral (give me a break), and to the EU as being an empire (ditto).

    The hope is that Trump will be less militaristic. And yes: America has used its military for both messianic and imperial ends, and that has to stop if we want a more peaceful world (I do; some capitalists, like the people who run the companies whose private military contractors will be doing the jobs of American soldiers, maybe not so much). But if that’s really true, why did he hire John Bolton? Why did he refuse to stop dealing arms to Saudi Arabia? Why did he withdraw from an important treaty with Iran? I call bullshit.

    Nationalism is nationalism. If you care more about the human lives of your own country than others, then you’re a nationalist. But I’d argue that this stance is antithetical to either morality or human decency. We’re increasingly in a post-patriotism world, and I believe that’s the correct direction for us all to be moving in. The internet has made it easier to talk to, and form relationships with, someone on the other side of the world. Calling them is as easy as calling my neighbor. That’s a wonderful thing. It’s a global world, and erecting higher borders (and walls) will bring us further from peace.

    The EU, lest we forget, was erected in part to create peace in Europe. It has been an overwhelming success. Brexit, meanwhile, has been a tragedy that will leave Britain economically devastated, at the hands of a few petty xenophobes - nationalists - who really just wanted to keep their tax havens. A breakup of the EU will lead to war, not least because Europe currently provides an important balance against the other superpowers, who are all less democratic and more militaristic.

    Overall, I’m glad to have read this piece, mostly to reaffirm that nationalist ideologies don’t have a leg to stand on. Global peace has to be the goal. Not through military strength, as Trump has repeatedly said (unwittingly quoting Orwell in the process), but through empathy, understanding, and global togetherness. This dude is on the wrong side of history, and the wrong side of peace.
    • benwerd - 2 months ago
      For a little context on the author: via Wikipedia, “he has been accused of obscenity, racism, misogyny and islamophobia.” Always useful to know more about the perspective you’re reading.
      • bill - 2 months ago
        I'm nodding in agreement, and shaking my head in disagreement. At the same time. I'm making big, big circles with my head.

        OK, here's an entry point:

        >> "If you care more about the human lives of your own country than others, then you’re a nationalist. But I’d argue that this stance is antithetical to either morality or human decency."

        First, we should put "Nationalism" on a spectrum. Right? I'm talking about a concept, not a label, and not something that you can or can't be. In other words, everyone adheres to some Nationalist ideas and tendencies (except Anarchists maybe?) and, at the same time, none of us would want to live in a world where free travel and trade isn't possible. We're all somewhere in between.

        I genuinely believe that I don't value American lives over, say, Guatemalan lives. Or Syrian lives. But I do believe in community. And culture. And local civic engagement. I hate borders. I like to imagine the world without them. It's a truly challenging thought experiment. One of my favorites. (For the record, my second favorite thought experiment is imagining America without a two-party system. And my third favorite thought experiment is imagining that all of the world's largest countries suddenly broke up into bunches of tinier countries.)

        "obscenity, racism, misogyny and islamophobia" are horrible words. Did you experience any of those things in the actual article itself?! I definitely didn't.

        (benwerd thank you, as always, for the thoughtfulness and eloquence!!)
  • jamie - 2 months ago
    To respond to Joanne's assertion that 'we are constantly being fed lies from the press' is inaccurate and dangerous. It continues the narrative of 'Fake News'. I do not believe the press is feeding us constant lies, unfortunetaly there is a more slanted view of certain story lines and there is agenda based reporting. For example, the Caravan. Horrible news coverage solely intended to drum up votes prior to the midterms. But referring to these news reports as lies undermines the confidence in all the free press. As partisan and gross as it seems, these politically motivated talking points should not be classified as lies.
  • joanne - 2 months ago
    A different perspective, although I did not feel he had strong evidence supporting his opinions. He mentioned that he can't remember us having a free press. What is happening with our press today is unprecedented, the killing of a journalist, the constant lies fed thru our TV's and of course the President tweeting pure shit is unlike anything we've seen in our lifetime. I agree about getting out of wars that can never be won, yet Trump has no desire to slow down the military machine. He wants to extend it into space. It's a well written piece and I always love hearing the French perspective, I just feel like he was trying to be contentious. And I agree with you Erica, I got the feeling that he did equate Christianity with morality....crazy.
  • erica - 2 months ago
    This is a refreshing perspective.

    I do question the assertion that, had the US not intervened in WWII, the outcome would have been the same as it is today, it just would have taken 40 more years.

    Interesting that this writer is hoping for the dissolution of the EU. I agree that the idea of continents is ridiculous, just a random combination of countries with different languages and histories and cultures.

    I couldn't tell if this guy actually assumes being Christian = having strong morals. If so, that feels off brand, and I totally disagree.

    I've never thought about Trump as reducing our military presence, and I need to think more deeply about global free trade. I've always assumed free trade was right, but this article is making me question that belief.
    • bill - 2 months ago
      Yeah! “off brand” is a much nicer way of saying exactly what I was thinking! Glad you brought that up.
  • jamie - 2 months ago
    Good stuff, did anyone notice every time there is any mention of not remembering certain facts how it kinda challenges you to respond?
  • bill - 2 months ago
    I’m so thankful that a member of this community sent this piece to me last week. Upon reading (just now) I immediately, deeply regretted that I didn’t get to it sooner. This French perspective is full of surprises (and some cliches) and ultimately amounts to something that might advance our overall dialogue from not happening to happening.

    And so I’ll tell you that I’m suddenly overwhelmed with this new idea that came on like a bolt of lightening: Good lord, what if I too am a Nationalist!? Or am I just getting had by an excellent writer (and a writer of writers, who with clever deft invites Hugo and Dostoyevsky into the conversation!) who found some way to say what almost none of us are capable of hearing just yet: that this despicable, shameful piece of orange shit who somehow rose up through every crack in our “democratic” systems (again and again, I can’t say or think this clearly enough: fuck you Republicans) — and not to mention the dark energy that pushed him up through those cracks, racism and genocide, those things that *really* make us American, although of course we’d never admit it, even to ourselves, and beyond that, a despicable obsession with entertainment that amounts to little more than gossip on a global scale, thank you Twitter, thank you Facebook, thank you cable “news”. Now die. — that this is definitely the president we *deserve* right now, and, beyond that, he might even be the one we *need*.

    In the time since this article was published, Trump has (remarkably!) announced the complete and partial withdrawal of US troops from Syria and Afghanistan respectively. This is big, undeniably good news. On the other hand, the partial shutdown (capital S? really?) may or may not be newsworthy. Such things seem to happen every few years at least. And, yet, this morning, over coffee at some greasy breakfast spot, I watched cable news (Does the station matter? It does not) on a muted TV (from safe distance and hiding, of course, behind a book) for 1.5 hours and saw NOT ONE single mention of this crucial (and exciting! for some of us at least!) Middle East development, one that hampered my personal golden god (Obama) for the full duration of his two-term presidency. Absurd.

    Since the candidates for 2020 are already beginning to emerge, we must make the most of this final opportunity to think about who we are (actually) and who we want to be. And, quite desperately it seems, we need more time in the dunce chair. Conveniently, that’s exactly where our spoiled brat of a president actually prefers to exist, proudly whining and deferring all forms of blame with increasingly bizarre, borderline eerie, level of self-delusion.

    Note: I could have done without the reference to Antichrist Ted Cruz.

    Anyway, here’s to reckless commenting. We need more fuel for a hotter burn.