Few academics have been driven to excoriate the craven French as they lovingly embraced Marxism, the incubus of revolutionary fever that cradled the genocide in South East Asia. Even fewer have quarried how Solzhenitsyn’s ‘Gulag’ was the text that finished the intellectual clerics of Paris. This western ally was the incubator for many Marxian revolutionary savants that bestrode the Congo, the Caribbean, the Mekong Delta and much that is of South and Central America. France’s love for unhistorical titanic strivings and their destructive failure have never really been brought to account, although the Algerians did try to manage an eventful response to the policy for French Colonial life. Other regions were exhausted and defeated to rival either an account or eviction. So much for fraternity, equality and liberty.
Jean Francois Revel’s ‘The Last Exit To Utopia’ & Richard Wolin’s ‘The Wind From The East’ provide a telling account of how French love for utopian politics was cover for intellectual treason.
Throughout the history of Paris beginning with 1789 French liberation, peace, equality remained the elan of adolescent protest masking a subservience to a more efficient brutal reality is ignored by historians as they maintain a posture of innocent inquiry as academic freedom. This academic slight of hand was not amiss to the rigors of Raymond Aron, Revel, Mauriac or even Andre Gide, Malraux or the late great Maurice Merleau Ponty. For those men were immune to the juvenile antics of French intellectual life. They were committed to far more stern thought. Such men understood the underbelly of political camouflage masking the rigors of intellectual life. It was easy for such men to acknowledge a disastrous collapse of standards, culture, civility and reason that was France 1968. Nevertheless, France was rocked to its core in the creation of a mythic heritage of justified political rage. In reality, French national life was incubating the immediate terrors that would engulf South East Asia under Pol Pot and the murderous regimes along the Mekong Delta from Burma to Bangkok.
So much ink has been spilled on the life, the antecedents that propelled the French love of Marxism it remains difficult to discover a new angle uncovering a new synthesis. It remained for Revel and Richard Wolin to uncover a new synthesis. Both are intellectual historians that have uncovered a new angle for our understanding.
Both men discovered that the French embrace of Marxism revealed a need to find a way out of an intellectual impasse fathered in the enlightenment under the rubric of absolute autonomy. For those that have read this blog continually have recognized that the Church, beginning with the Second Vatican Council began to take up the philosophical impasse created by both the Reformation and the Enlightenment.
Intellectual responsibility reveals that the cultural, political French implosion during and immediately after the French Revolution created an impasse stalling contemporary French cultural and political life. How else to explain the blind fervent embrace of Marxism.
Only realist critics (mentioned above) maintained independence of thought to recognize that Mao’s ‘Cultural Revolution’ and ‘Great Leap Forward’ was a militant autocratic grasp of dictatorial power in mobilizing hordes of ignorant and barbarous youth against fellow citizens. By instituting anarchy he began to strengthen his grasp of responses. Their is a sick demonic logic to Sinic political economy, and it was beautifully on display throughout the reign of Mao.
The embrace and pursuit of Marxism throughout French Life culminating in 1968 reveals an indigenous Parisian rally in forestalling imminent cultural decline. Evoking the ghost of Rousseau or Robespierre as Sartre cannot induce the birth of a contemporary Tocqueville.
Only Julien Benda’s ‘Treason of Clerics’ ranks the highest acclaim in pursuit of an ugly truth intrinsic to France and endemic throughout western Europe: namely the embrace and acclaim of murderous foreign ideologies dressed as fonts of human liberation.