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October 24, 2004
Language Is Highest French Priority

For an example of why the French have made themselves irrelevant in the modern world, the London Telegraph reports on what the French see as their highest national priority -- forcing everyone in Europe to speak French:

A campaign to make French the official language of European law has been launched in an attempt to show the world that France will not bow to the ascendancy of English without a fight. ...

Teaching unions and politicians have reacted with indignation to a report calling for English to be obligatory in the school curriculum, while one of President Jacques Chirac's objections to Peter Mandelson as an EU commissioner was that his French was not up to scratch.

The foreign ministry has called for a spirited campaign for the language in Brussels while the Acadmie Franaise, which campaigns relentlessly for pure French, says defence of the language should be "the major national cause of the 21st century".

English became the primary language of international trade and diplomacy not because governments imposed it but because of the ascendancy of American and British diplomatic and economic power. French influence has steadily declined since the collapse of the Republic in 1940. Instead of freeing the French to create an economic dynamo by abandoning socialism and embracing capitalism, the French have decided to just use Gallic arrogance and insist that everyone speak French because ... well, because they don't want to have to speak English.

The fact that France thinks that a popularity contest of languages is their most pressing national issue while Islamic terrorism threatens the West and their own exponentially-growing Muslim population causes increasing conflict at home demonstrates the essential irrelevancy of Paris. How can anyone take them seriously as a leader in the war on terror while they focus on their language obsession?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 24, 2004 9:29 PM

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