Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Book of Interest

Are the French, as some would have it, a particularly radical people, drawn to political extremes, prone to violence, and apt to erupt unpredictably? Aurelian Craiutu offers a different reading of the French political culture as one informed by a strong current of moderation running through several centuries. His new book should be of considerable interest. He describes his argument as follows:

Moderation, I argue, resembles a "lost archipelago" that has curiously been undertheorized or even overlooked by political theorists. I end the book with an immoderate "decalogue" of moderation in which I try to defend this virtue and highlight its limitations. The book uses an eclectic methodology, that draws from the Begriffsgeschichte school (Koselleck), the Cambridge School (Skinner), and the approach to intellectual history used by Francois Furet and his disciples in France. The book contains chapters on Montesquieu, Mounier and the French monarchiens, Necker, Mme de Stael and Constant.

DSK en garde à vue

Affaire du Carlton : DSK mis en garde à vue

Dominique Strauss-Kahn a été placé en garde à vue mardi 21 février pour complicité de proxénétisme et recel d'abus de biens sociaux. Il était arrivé ce matin à la caserne de gendarmerie de Lille pour être entendu par la police judiciaire dans le cadre de l'affaire du Carlton. (AFP)

So now the French, whose press has been filled for days with lurid accounts of leaked testimony by prostitutes, johns, and pimps, will be able to test the view of Pascal Bruckner and others that sexual crimes are judged with unseemly haste and ferocity in the United States because we remain a "Puritanical" society. Will putatively libertine France be any less titillated and scandalized and more forbearing in its treatment of the man who might have been president? Asked and answered. Will his friends BHL, Badinter, and Cambadélis insist that French justice has run amok? Will DSK publicly repeat his reported statement that, while he is a libertine, prostitution "horrifies" him? On verra.

As Hollande plods tranquilly toward the Élysée, DSK must now drain his bitter cup.