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French and Germans Publish Yank-bashing History Text

by Christopher Chantrill
May 03, 2006 at 9:26 pm

FOR SOME TIME the French and the Germans have felt that they needed to get together to smooth over the differences they have had over the years. What better way than to write a high-school textbook together?

And what better way to cement Franco-German friendship than to fill the book with anti-American bile?

The textbook, published today, “was ordered in 2003 by President Chirac of France and Gerhard Schröder,” then Chancellor in Germany, according to Adam Sage in the London Times. Starting in 1945, the history soon gets to work on

the Cold War, where the US and the USSR are presented as broadly equivalent in moral terms.

Both were engaged in an arms race described as “the balance of terror” and both sought to “impose themselves by an omnipresent propaganda” that involved “gross exaggerations and simplifications”.

Actually the Germans, bless their hearts, didn’t really like all this Yank-bashing. They tried to tone things down a bit.

German historians had insisted upon softening the message with sentences such as: “Some people, notably in Germany, consider the US to be a power which defends democracy in a world where the UN is not always able or willing to do it.”

But not those those blood-curdling Gaulish warriors! They wouldn’t write a mamby-pamby sentence like that.

Still there’s a bright side to all the America-bashing. The next volume in the book deals with the 18th century up to 1945, during which the French spent a lot of time marching their armies through Germany—French-occupied Germany, as they call it in The Brothers Grimm. And they can end Volume II with the lovely spectacle of the French settling down contentedly to Nazi occupation after the shameful defeat of quarante.

Hey, it could have happened to anyone.

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Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.


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Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990


Mutual Aid

In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


Living Under Law

Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures


German Philosophy

The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since 1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be inadequate. 
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West


Knowledge

Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then, once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities


Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


Action

The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


Churches

[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


Conversion

“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


Living Law

The recognition and integration of extralegal property rights [in the Homestead Act] was a key element in the United States becoming the most important market economy and producer of capital in the world.
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital


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©2007 Christopher Chantrill