From Within and Potential Consequences from Without

This was interesting read about French society from within (Hat Tip to No Parasan and thanks for the translation from Elvatoloko). The original French is here.
I also consider that the world of ideas is suffering advanced sclerosis in France, that the intellectual circles is controlled by a small group of editors, media figures and network personalities, on the one hand, uninteresting ideas, no to say appallingly stupid, and not shared by people in general, enjoy disproportionate exposure, until the people itself adopts them, and on the other hand, a whole sector of thought is blocked by the same individuals. There is a refusal to debate in France, it’s the “Pensee Unique” [Single Train of Thought] phenomenon which we can’t shake off. If you add the “politically correct” phenomenon… The slightest deviation from causes the independent thinker to be slaughtered by the intelligentsia and media. To gain access to the Parisian intellectual circles, where everything originates, you have to accept all sorts of compromises. In the end, a limited number of “intellectuals” all harboring similar ideas, exert a monopoly on the quasi totality of media and enjoy a certain power in the political, economic and media world. (BHL, Minc, Attali, Sollers, Adler, Rufin, Beigbeder…), and those who express opposing ideas are often considered mortal enemies and are prohibited from appearing on TV, the radio and from publishing. Etc. etc, etc.

Talking about uniformity of media voice from the WSJ (subscription required).
The cliché is that journalism is the first draft of history. Yet a historian searching for clues about the origins of many of the great stories of recent decades -- the collapse of the Soviet empire; the rise of Osama bin Laden; the declining American crime rate; the economic eclipse of Japan and Germany -- would find most contemporary journalism useless. Perhaps a story here or there might, in retrospect, seem illuminating. But chances are it would have been nearly invisible at the time of publication: eight column inches, page A12.

The problem is not that journalists can't get their facts straight: They can and usually do. Nor is it that the facts are obscure: Often, the most essential facts are also the most obvious ones. The problem is that journalists have a difficult time distinguishing significant facts -- facts with consequences -- from insignificant ones. That, in turn, comes from not thinking very hard about just which stories are most worth telling.

And also from the WSJ a few words from Senator George Allen (a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee)
China must be brought into the freedom fold, where human dignity and individual rights are established and protected. China must also take its place in an enforceable World Trade Organization regime. Achieving this will require China to embrace freedom of markets, freedom for individuals and the cessation of the proliferation of dangerous weapons into the hands of belligerent enemies of the free world.

Europe will not hasten the achievement of these objectives by lifting the arms embargo. The price Europe pays for ending its arm embargo against China will be high, and our friends there should have no doubts about America's resolve to respond. Europe is at a crossroads. It must choose between pursuing policies that aggravate complex and deadly challenges, or policies that, in common with the U.S., foster democracy for the Chinese people and security for their neighbors. In keeping with its own democratic foundations and interests, let Europe choose wisely and not sell arms or military technology to a Chinese government that does not share our values and has shown itself to proliferate such weapons to unsavory regimes.

No comments: