For centuries France has claimed a monopoly on political virtue by glomming all the credit for the Enlightenment and by pretending to be its anointed protector throughout historywrites Jonah Goldberg as the NRO editor-at-large discusses "two great new books" that attack the French from France's "most vulnerable sides: facts and logic."
… let's also not gloss over the fact that more than a few French intellectuals have been known to look at dictators and mass-murderers the way Michael Jackson gazes at posters of Macaulay Culkin.
… France's opposition to the Iraq war had a soupçon of principle in a kettle of cynicism burbling with Iraqi oil and blood. Indeed, we forget that the phrase "millions for defense, not a penny for tribute" stemmed from [early] America's  refusal to acquiesce to French shakedowns during the XYZ affair.
… But the most annoying irony is that while they ribbit a big game about bringing liberty and civilization to the world, France's record is one of sowing the seeds of tyranny and corruption almost everywhere they've planted their flag.
… The British valued virtue more than liberty; the Americans had it the other way around. But where the French differed is that they sought to replace the religion of old Europe with a new cult of reason. … By making a religion out of politics, with the state at its center, the French never embraced liberty the way Anglo-Americans did. It was this legacy that lent intellectual heft to all the great dictators — Napoleon, Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin. …
(Merci à GS)