France Hangs Up Its No-Vacancy Sign

David Acevedo

CounterCurrent: Week of 2/14

In the hustle and bustle of the modern American news cycle, it can be easy to lose sight of this simple fact: current events in the U.S. do not only affect us domestically—they also have profound effects abroad. In other words, America still has tremendous cultural influence, a soft power that we ought to use consciously and wisely but that we more often than not take for granted and, in many cases, misuse.

The latest reminder of this comes from France, where politicians, intellectuals, and journalists are warning of the nefarious, radical-left ideologies originating on American campuses, emanating across the pond, and causing divisions in their home country. French president Emmanuel Macron himself has expressed concern about the “out-of-control woke leftism of US campuses and its attendant cancel culture.” Other prominent figures in France have said much of the same.

Now, you’re likely thinking: Wait a minute … France? Yes, that France. The nation that, along with most of Europe at this point, is one of the most ideologically progressive in the world (despite whatever definition of “moderate” or “conservative” may be in use). But now, America is apparently too far left for France’s taste. Or at least our campuses are.

Here at the National Association of Scholars, concern about “out-of-control woke leftism” and cancel culture in American higher education is nothing new and our response to these issues has been an ever-increasing part of our work in recent months. That a nation such as France is also alarmed about this has rightly turned heads and, we hope, has demonstrated to skeptics that American campuses really have become that radical.

In this week’s featured article, Hans Bader further breaks down France’s reaction to the  leftward shift of American academia, linking it to the ways in which President Biden is helping enshrine said “woke leftism” in his administration and, by extension, in the nation as a whole. Click here to read more.

The New York Times quotes President Macron’s education minister as saying, “There’s a battle to wage against an intellectual matrix from American universities.’’ We couldn’t agree more, especially as this matrix is no longer limited to ivory-tower radicals but also extends into the White House, Congress, and beyond. There is indeed a battle to wage, a battle that seems to grow each day, and we’re standing here for it.

CounterCurrent is the National Association of Scholars’ weekly newsletter, written by Communications & Research Associate David Acevedo. To subscribe, update your email preferences here.

Image: KEEM IBARRA, Public Domain

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