“The school teacher will never be able to replace the priest or the pastor in the teaching of the difference between good and evil.”
-French President Nicholas Sarkozy
And so we learn it has been precisely this sort of “controversial” statement from pro-American, Bush ally, Nicholas Sarkozy, that has regularly landed “old Sarko” in hot water with Europe’s intellectual, journalistic, and political Left. In fact, a consortium of leading French philosophers, professors, teachers and outspoken atheists went so far as to condemn their president’s comments as “false” and “obscene.” Sounds like the teachers’ unions are just as concerned about what’s best for their students on that side of the pond as they are here, huh?
Coincidentally, this also happens to be the very type of rhetoric and line of thinking that won the most conservative candidate in France’s modern history (Sarkozy) a landslide victory last Spring. He easily triumphed over an anti-American, pro-collectivism, Bush-hating Socialist named Ségolène Royal (who happens to be a total babe as well). But to be fair, liberals around the globe are still trying to figure out who it was exactly that voted for Bush twice so we can’t expect them to have discovered the secret to Sarkozy’s successes among previously dis-enfranchised French voters just yet.
Sarkozy’s rise to power flies in the face of the electoral narrative currently being written by sympathetic prObama journalists in the United States. While both Sarkozy and Barack Obama are handsome, articulate, engaging personalities, this is where the similarities end. In France, the liberal press has a problem with Sarko the American: he’s got too many ideas that contradict the secular-progressive worldview of most in the media, and (gasp!) he is actually serious about implementing them. Meanwhile in America, the liberal press has what appears to be an even bigger problem: finding a thesaurus big enough so as to not run out of interchangeable adjectives for “hope” and “change” before November’s election. Obama is to say the least, long on frosting, but short on cake.
In order to conceal the self-indulgent, surface-deep oratory of Senator Barack Obama during his continuing meteoric rise to “front-runner” status, the American press and political experts on CNN and MSNBC are all-too-happy to gush over the “refreshing” and “inspiring” style of Obama. Meanwhile the average American Joe Six-Pack forgets if he’s channel-surged to a presidential debate or American Idol’s newest talent search show for the World's Next Top Most Attractive Marxist?
Sarkozy, at this very same time last year, had much of the same style and excitement of Obama, but took the path less traveled. He ran and won in the true Mecca of nanny-state Socialism (France) on a platform that would be somewhere to the “Right” of even Senator John McCain, let alone Senators Obama or Clinton.
His agenda included: cutting crippling tax rates, cutting federal government spending on entitlements, a re-focusing on French military strength, a renewal of the importance of French Judeo-Christian heritage and religious life in the public square, and the desperate need for immigration reform. He pledged to impede the flood-stage flow of North African and Middle Eastern Muslims who typically run to Western countries to escape the horrors of their Sharia Law dominated homelands…and then promptly demand Sharia Law be implemented in their new host nation.
In order to make this difficult break from social collectivism, Sarkozy implored the French citizens of his beloved nation to deny their liberally-conditioned impulses in order that they may cast off the shackles of cradle-to-grave entitlements. These, he rightly argues, only benefit the oligarchy (top dogs) and entrenched bureaucracy (fat cats) that lord over them.
So in a twist of historical irony Sarkozy was the victorious conservative candidate of real “change” and “hope” just one short year ago. This in a country that had for more than 50 years adopted the same economically crippling, dead-end brand of Socialism presently being peddled by the “Yes We Can!” man from Illinois in the 2008 presidential campaign. Essentially Obama is asking the American people to run headlong and open-armed toward the very same form of socialist government and economy that caused even the lethargic French to decide it was a bad idea.
The only thing more discouraging than the possibility of dead-end Socialism taking over our society is that millions of Americans cheer wildly for it merely because the person espousing it has a nice smile and cool demeanor. Obama also offers many guilt-ridden white voters their supposed chance to make amends for centuries of institutional racism with the casting of one ballot for a black guy who doesn’t look or sound at all like either Jesse Jackson or DMX. Do we really believe in Obama, or merely what he potentially represents?
I say that before we surrender our judgment and reasoning capabilities and vote for Obama's federal government expansionary platform, we should consider some hard economic facts. These are the identical truths that Sarkozy and millions of voters in France chose to realize in 2007: China’s economy (increasingly capitalist driven) grows at a rate of more than 10% a year, India at 8% (capitalist driven), the United States at (captialist driven) 3%, and European countries (Socialist driven) on average around 1%. Here's the deal…the French are trying to be like us, and Obama wants us to be more like Europe. Who else feels like this Kool-Aid we're being served might be spiked with economic cionide?
Alexis de Tocqueville, an intellectual French forefather to Sarkozy’s political and cultural worldview, visited the United States in the 1830's to discover the secrets of its unparalleled economic and social success. He then wrote: “There is a manly and lawful passion for equality which incites men to wish to be powerful and honored. This passion tends to elevate the humble to the rank of the great; but there exists also in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to attempt to lower the powerful to their own level, and reduces men to prefer equality in slavery to inequality with freedom.”For my money, nothing explains better the difference between the intellectual/political Right of conservatism (of which Sarkozy is a modern day prophet) and the intellecutal/political Left of liberalism (of which Obama is undeniably the new high priest). Tocqueville's masterfully written commentary reveals the potentially uncomfortable and difficult truth we must begin to grapple with: conservatism seeks to empower and elevate worthy persons, liberalism seeks to dethrone and punish successful individuals. That's the essence of Right vs. Left, Conservative vs. Liberal, Capitalist vs. Socialist.
The political divide is a divide for a reason. It is at its core a fundamental divergence in worldview, and not simply surface-deep, peripheral disagreements about which political party or campaign headquarters posted the latest photo on the Internet of Obama sporting Muslim garb in Kenya. Just because Bill O'Reilly does a "Body Language" segment on something doesn't mean it has any bearing on who is better suited to run the Free World. (Sorry, Bill.)
President Sarkozy is a hero to me not simply because he’s got charisma and an engaging media personality. I like Sarko because of his unwillingness to flinch in the face of antagonistic secular-progressivism that has infected the collective bloodstream of his country’s politics, culture, and religion (or lack thereof). I admire him because of his “no retreat” mentality in advancing the conservative platform of “change” he ran on. His intent is clearly not just to reform French government, but to revitalize a society that has been suffocating from self-induced malaise. It's the same apathy which invariably follows the implementation of Socialism, nanny-state controls, and whatever it was Jimmy Carter thought he was doing well between 1977-1981. (BTW, to approximate how an Obama presidency would likely turn out I encourage you to read the history of the Carter administration's four years of on-the-job training -- I'll give you a hint: bad) .
In keeping with his vow to holistically reinvigorate not only France’s government, but its national identity, Sarko is re-introducing such antiquated notions as “patriotism” and “the accurate teaching of French history to school children.” He is trying to reattach the sections of France’s cultural and historical patchwork quilt that has for decades been systematically removed by Leftist revisionists (who value their own brand of diversity over truth, and humanistic relativism over the moral standards of theism). An example can be found in his most recent decision to instill in French students an appreciation for the dangers of totalitarianism and the bravery of those courageous and compassionate Frenchmen who came before them.
In a speech last week, Sarkozy announced a revision to the national school curriculum in France. Beginning next Fall, he said, every 5th grade student in the country will be given the assignment to learn the name and story of one specific French child who was a part of the 11,000 Jewish children slaughtered in the Holocaust. Sarkozy went on to stress the indispensable role religion, specifically Christianity, has played in successful democratic societies. His own theory for why such a terrible event as the Holocaust was allowed to happen in France’s backyard was due to the fact that in Europe, “Too many people gave up on their faith in God.”
These sentiments were met with a hail-fire of condemnations from incensed liberals and Muslim "civil rights" groups in France who labeled the plan as "culturally insensitive." Say what?
Because Nicholas Sarkozy has enough political guts, intellectual honesty, and a comprehensive understanding of history to say such things, is exactly why he is the true agent of "change" who offers the French people an attainable “hope” that their beloved nation will once again become a legitimate, vibrant, and productive superpower.