“What French universalism really covers”

Tribune. Since the opening of the trial of the January 2015 attacks, the French debate on “separatism” and “secularism” has provoked, in the United States, a succession of articles and comments marked by the lack of information, the almost historical and the outright invention of false information. These reactions, emanating from journalists installed in the heart of the most famous press (The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker), say less about France than about the (provisional?) collapse of entire sections of American journalism which was for a long time the gold standard of the world press. This dilapidation, which is the other side of Trumpism, feeds just as much the deleterious atmosphere of American public life.

The tribune of James McAuley: “We Americans are afraid for the future of the French universal ideal”

The tribune of the correspondent of Washington post in Paris, James McAuley, published in The world dated 5 December, fits into this context, but it also differs from it by several important points, which oblige him to respond, starting with the good faith of its author, which takes him much further than he don’t believe it. Believing he is praising what he calls “French universalism,” McAuley reveals more than his own contradictions. Without realizing it, he raises, for once, a central French problem, almost never addressed behind the question of secularism.

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Mr. McAuley intends to respond to the reflections in the New York Times by Emmanuel Macron according to which there would be “A form of misunderstanding of what (…) the French model “. He takes care, from the first paragraph, to dissociate himself from the worst aberrations that the New Yorker, or the editor of the opinion pages of her own newspaper.

a deep question

We can only be grateful to him, even if this initial criticism is somewhat contradicted by the use of the collective “we” in the following sentence and gives the article its title: “We (American journalists) we are afraid for the future of the French universal ideal. “ After a few paragraphs on which we can quickly pass (reiteration of the attacks against Jean-Michel Blanquer and Gérald Darmanin already read elsewhere), Mr. McAuley however claims to want to develop a point of view on the subject that would be his – that, he writes. , ” of an American of Jewish culture passionate about the history of the universal emancipation of the Jews at the time of the Revolution ”, and this is where the article really begins, where it touches a deep question, but without grasping its scope.

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