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Hillbillies Of France

This was once a working French factory (Ppictures / Shutterstock.com)

A reader writes from France:

Thanks for the very interesting interview with J.D. Vance. I just bought to book after reading your interview and it seems refreshing.

What strikes me is the cultural issues described seems so close to what we experience in Europe (and at least in France). You could almost write the same about the “Nord Pas de Calais” Region in France : White people completely hopeless, destroyed both by their own destructive culture and external factors.

If you can read French, there is an amazing book on the same subject : “En finir avec Eddy Bellegeule”. JD Vance may be interested in it. The guy, Edouard Louis grew up in a very poor family in Picardie (a derelict region in the north of France), yet he managed to graduate from Ecole Normale Superieure, a prestigious French university. More about him here. I’m sure that both authors might be interested in talking each other. Even if the two books seem really different.

As we have seen in the past, growth won’t restore things; it may even worsen then up. During the last high growth period in France in late nineties and early 2000, our liberal prime minister lost the presidential election big time and finished third behind far-right Jean-Marie Le Pen. Everybody was surprised. But this growth added jobs and money in Paris and the big cities. Meanwhile, the countryside continued to collapse.

The growth period in the mid 2000 was more of the same. And the crisis was total economic destruction in rural regions while life went on normally in Paris. In fact, we understand more the minorities who work with us than poor white people from our own country. It has become easier for many of the French elite to understand a Chinese from Shanghai or someone from the Tunisian upper class than it is to understand poor white people from France. We do have more contact with the upper class from all over the world than we have with the poor people of our own country.

What I read about Brexit tells the same story and the next presidential election in France is smelling bad. Neither French conservatives nor our liberals really understand what is going on in the country. More and more people from the big cities (where the elite live) are disconnected with poor people (who can’t afford to live in the cities anyway). We just don’t live in the same world. We don’t know, we can’t understand.

Like many of your readers I’m more liberal than conservative but deeply appreciated to read thought provoking stuff that may benefit the whole political spectrum.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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