A bit of self-aggrandizement, maybe, or some more obscure idea, like the notion that the French revolution was “overcome” by the American revolution. But what is striking is the kind of hyper-nationalism with which the young were taking for granted.
“In France, for example, it was the bourgeoisie who came into power and overthrew Napoleon, just as we are in America,” said Robert P. Jones, the former senior director of the French Studies Program at the University of California-Berkeley and the author of “The New Class, Revolution and Political Theory in American Culture.”
The United States has only slightly more class in terms of income and income inequality than France since the 1950s, but these disparities have widened dramatically since the end of the Cold War. In 1955, just before the end of World War II, less than one-quarter of French people had a college degree and just one-third had a high-school diploma, Jones testified in a 2010 lawsuit against the federal government. (A quarter had a high-school diploma.) Today, the share of highly educated people in France is twice that of the United States, and the share of people below the national median income was nearly 11 percentage points lower in France in 1950 than it is in the United States today.
The French revolutionaries were not alone with their disdain for the French bourgeoisie — the Nazis viewed them, too — but this view of the bourgeoisie is now generally considered a reactionary one. The left seems to see things much the same way — except perhaps to the extent that, in the aftermath of the November 2015 terrorist attacks, that view has been reversed.
In part, this is because the United States is a modern, industrial society of much greater diversity. But it also is because this nation can be a very difficult place to come up against cultural enemies. As Pizzagate makes clear, American culture now functions as a kind of national guard against all forms of deviant behavior. On the left, the same phenomenon was manifest in the 1990s, when left-wing activists in academia threatened to expose and punish the academic and scientific elites they accused of liberalism in their own country. Now, American liberals are being similarly threatened by those who dare to challenge their supposed liberalism in this country.
It all sounds absurd — and not just from the standpoint of how strange it is, in the absence of any obvious cause. In recent weeks, President Trump has been besieged by a series of revelations about the Russian hacking of
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