The Burden of Responsibility: Blum, Camus, Aron, and the French Twentieth Century. Tony Judt (2007)
“From the end of World War I until the middle of the 1970s, French public life was shaped and misshaped by three overlapping and intersecting forms of collective and individual irresponsibility. The first of these was political. Reading the history of interwar France, one is struck again and again by the incompetence, the insouciance and the culpable negligence of the men who governed the country and represented its citizens. This is not a political observation, in the partisan sense, but rather a cultural one. The députés and senators of all parties, the presidents, prime ministers, ministers, generals, civil servants, mayors, and party managers, from Communists to monarchists, displayed a striking lack of understanding of their times and their place. The policies they advocated—when they had something to advocate—were partisan in the narrowest sense, which is to say that they drew only upon the traditions and interests of a narrow segment of the community and made no serious effort to appeal beyond that segment when presenting themselves for election or appointment.”
[op. cit., p. 12]
Something that echoes quite strongly today, in the middle of an economic crisis that is taking Europe by storm, and that makes politicians show their true face, sometimes very different from the image they try so hard to build.
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