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News from France

 

UNFORTUNATELY, due to unusual circumstances, I have not had the time to follow developments in France regarding “Taubira’s Law,” which would legalize homosexual “marriage” and adoption. Tiberge at Galliawatch has been providing regular updates following the passage of the law in the National Assembly. She wrote on Saturday:

Taubira’s Law, having passed in the National Assembly, is now being debated in the Senate. It is easy to forget that the law is still not entirely a fait accompli. More steps are needed, and there is the Ethics Council that will examine the issue as a result of a massive response to a petition that is still being signed by opponents of the law. And another Manif pour Tous demonstration is set for March 24.

I said before that the recent Manif Pour Tous demonstration in Paris doomed homosexual “marriage” and adoption in France. I still believe that this prediction will prove true even if the law passes. There is no turning back, in my opinion, from the mass resistance that has emerged in France. Opponents of homosexual marriage, including Frigide Barjot, have succeeded in broadcasting the message that homosexual unions will detrimentally affect the lives of children. There is a competing script to the claims of radical equality. The resistance is likely to grow and to become highly offended if marriage laws are changed despite it.

Why have the French shown superior understanding of this issue? I believe the answer lies in their vestigial consciousness of everyday civility, an awareness that has survived the onslaughts of modernity. Think of a traditional French meal. It is not just delicious; it is civilized. Now think of a French table with two women, playing the role of husband and wife, and their faux family seated around it. Such a thing seems much more possible in America.

—- Comments —-

Winnie writes:

You write:

Why have the French shown superior understanding of this issue? I believe the answer lies in their vestigial consciousness of everyday civility, an awareness that has survived the onslaughts of modernity. Think of a traditional French meal. It is not just delicious; it is civilized. Now think of a French table with two women, playing the role of husband and wife, and their faux family seated around it. Such a thing seems much more possible in America.

I am encouraged by your assessment of the implications of Manif Pour Tous, and I hope you’re proven right.  I also think you make a wonderful insight into the civilized nature of French dining, cuisine, and manners as a cultural DNA, so to speak, that tells them truths we Americans do not have access to in the same way.

I’ll venture to take it one step further:  the masculine/feminine articles which designate nouns in the French language embeds, fundamentally, a conceptual framework in the French mind which has (arguably) preserved the subconscious, constant and pervasive understanding among the French that sex differences are elemental truths.  To name even an inanimate object is to make reference to sex, “le” ou (or) “la”, but not ” it.”

Feminine:  la table, la fleur, la maison, la rue… Masculine: le jardin, le bâtiment… 

Basic language (and therefore cognition) is, for the French, an inescapable reminder that androgyny is anathema to creation.

Not so in English, wherein (even in describing living, male or female human beings!) we slip ever further into vague, neutered articles: the ubiquitous and lazy they/their now used erroneously in the singular (so avoiding he or she / his or hers) mark just two grating examples.

Laura writes:

Basic language (and therefore cognition) is, for the French, an inescapable reminder that androgyny is anathema to creation.

 A very good point.

Alissa writes:

I have to add something as well concerning the Latin-derived languages. My native mother tongue is Portuguese and until this day, even with liberalism everywhere, there are striking elements about the language: for example there is no difference between gender and sex as a rule. Gender and sex are seen as intertwined, as one and the same, and sex is used even in the place of gender. For example, you have the “sexo masculino” (meaning masculine sex) and not “male sex,” you also have “sexo feminino” (meaning feminine sex) and not “female sex.” Male and masculine are used interchangeably, as well as female and feminine being used interchangeably. “Sexo” is also typically used to refer to the sexual act between men and women, implicitly suggesting procreation. So you have a linguistic habit that connects gender to sex and vice-versa, plus sex being used to display the common nature of heterosexuality. Gender/sex is also used when referring to objects (yes, objects can be a she or a he) and “it” by its own is a noun (yes, a noun). The culture is liberal, but a couple of vestiges remain. It may explain why modern liberals are so eager to change the language though. They have tried since 1990 to sign a treaty for “diversity unification” reasons and to make Portuguese a united global language. I think they succeeded with one during 2010. Technically I’m the last generation that grew up with the “old Portuguese.” And I’m only finished adolescence last year, so I’m pretty young. Most young teenagers these days still didn’t grow up with the “new Portuguese.”

Perfesser Plum writes:

May I suggest another gene in the French cultural DNA. The Resistance. Those guys, men and women, many conservative Catholics, were merciless adversaries at the risk of torture, imprisonment, and death. They fought to preserve their nationhood as much as to get rid of the nazis and collaborators.

Acknowledging the limits of an anecdote, a dear old friend of mine in sociology at Boston University–Paule Verdet—was in the Resistance. She was and remains one of those thin, intense women with a braid all the way down her back, brilliant blue eyes, and a manner that says “No nonsense from you!” No enemy of France would have enjoyed facing her. I suspect that some of the leaders of the new Resistance are such women. Different times. Same guts.

Theodore Harvey writes:

I was disappointed to see one of your contributors regurgitate, without being challenged by anyone, the standard simplistic liberal “Resistance Good/Collaborators Bad” line.  In France during World War II there were no easy answers and probably no spotless “good guys.”  But “conservative Catholics” would have had valid reasons for regarding the “collaborationist” Vichy regime as the lesser evil, and indeed many conservative Catholics were to be found among the ranks of real or alleged “collaborators.”  The Resistance may have included some conservative Catholics, but it was a predominantly left-wing movement and became increasingly so towards the end of and after the war, ruthlessly purging France of rightists, who were often shot without trial.  Who were the “enemies of France” in the 1940s?  (For that matter, who were the “enemies of France” during the Revolutionary wars of the 1790s?  I would say that at that time loyalty to Catholic & Royal France required “treason” to the regicidal Republic.)  The question is not as simple as it sounds.  From an authentically French traditionalist, i.e. royalist, point of view, the Third Republic (1870-1940) was not really a legitimate entity to begin with and once defeated was not automatically entitled to the loyalty of right-wing Frenchmen.  I think you would find that in some ways the social policies of the “collaborationist” Vichy regime (whose traditionalist motto “Work, Family, Fatherland” replaced the Jacobin “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”) were closer to the worldview espoused by “The Thinking Housewife” than those of the various French Republics before or since.  I say this as a person of partially Jewish ancestry totally opposed to Nazism, but also totally opposed to Communism and French republicanism.

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