France’s Foolish Idea

by Mario Rizzo  

After having written about “Germany’s Foolish Idea,” I see that the French are not immune either.  

First, I apologize to the many French (and Germans) who do not share their governments’ ideas or agree with their policies. It has, unfortunately, become a habit in journalism and even in the professional writing of historians to refer to actions by states as if “France or Germany did this or that.” More correctly, we should say the “French or German government did this or said that.”  

This is not just a semantic issue. It goes to the root of a major ideological problem: the confusion between society and the state. 

The Financial Times reports that many French politicians are upset about a private restaurant chain, “Quick,” deciding to serve exclusively halal beef-burgers in a few of its stores to attract Muslim customers. (Halal refers to food that is “lawful” according to Islamic law. There are restrictions on the kind of food, the method of slaughtering the animals, and the processes of food preparation.)   Continue reading