Thursday, March 03, 2005


I was listening to a conservative babble on about how our boycott of French wines and that horrible liberal Chirac are taking root. Apparently French wine sales in the US are down 20%, and this is a cause for celebration.

I find such things quite amusing. First, Chirac is a conservative. The reason we are at odds with Chirac is that he is one of those icky neocons who worship Machiavelli. Chirac's gig is that either the EU must dominate the US or the US will dominate the EU. The reason the French find fault with every breath taken by an American is that a modern conservative France is playing the age old game of punishing thine enemies and rewarding thine friends.

The sad thing is that Rumsfeld and Bush play that same game.

American conservativism is actually a strange game. Like all labels, the term applies to a broad spectrum of beliefs. A large portion of the conservative population holds libertarian ideals of limited government, personal responsibility and so forth. These people are conservative in that they are trying to preserve the liberties at the foundation of the US. I've heard this group called "Classical Liberal."

In this regard, the hostility between US and France could be labeled as a conflict between a liberal US and conservative France.

Perhaps the real reason that US Conservatives so thoroughly despise Chirac is that Chirac is a reflection of their own conservatism. Hegel presents a world where nations hate other nations in their quest to dominate the world spirit. I suspect that many in the EU see a game where the EU and UN must either be dominated by the US. Straussians in the US would see a world where the US must dominate the EU and Mid East or the US will be dominated.

Anyway, the supposed boycott of French wines is a really silly thing. The French wine industries is one of those few remaining industries that still has a large number of small family owned businesses. The only result of such a boycott is to consolidate the small businesses out of the traditional french wine market. A more successful tack in the war between American and French conservative would be to support small French businesses which are more in tune with the classical liberal version of conservativism held by most Republicans.


mungojelly said...

Not to burst your bubble, but the decline in French wine sales is probably just due to the weak dollar.


y-intercept said...

The weak dollar doesn't seem to be doing that much to curb US appetite for other imported goods. I agree 100%, though, that any supposed boycott of French wine is as silly as the people who wanted to change the name of French fries to freedom fries.

I dropped the blog post after hearing a conservative talk show host trying to claim that normal economic activity was some type of conservative v. evil liberals-type victory.

I do believe that the legacy of boycotts is horrible and that boycotts generally accomplish the opposite of the goal of the boycott. The boycotts of Iraq and Cuba both seemed to have the effect of further entrenching the country's dictators. Boycotts generally have the effect of hurting independent third parties, and magnifying the rift that first inspired the boycott. If there really was an effective boycott of all thing French in the US, the effect would be greater hatred of the US.