Ask Dreher Anything: Conservatives And France

Rod shares why he thinks American conservatives have such a problem with the French:

Even in March 2003, at the onset of the Iraq War, Rod was defending French culture in the pages of National Review:

I think there’s a conservative point to be made here. The French are an old country, and the love they have for their culinary traditions, and its unparalleled excellence, come from a profound respect for tradition and culture, for civilization. When they make fools of themselves beating up the neighborhood McDonald’s, I find it hard to condemn them, because we all live in a world that doesn’t ask What is beautiful? What is delicious? What is worthy; we live in a world that asks only, What is quick and easy? Many of the French resist this modern, very American impulse. They do it in bad, stupid ways sometimes, but their instinct is right. As someone who grew up in a disposable culture, the effort the French put into aesthetic excellence never fails to move me, and makes me want to learn from them. …

… I can’t hate France, and when this ugly time passes, I’ll be back. I’ve got a little boy of my own now, and rather than just tell him about the wonders of France, as Aunt Lois and Aunt Hilda did for me, I’m planning to take him there one day and show him. I want him to see the cathedral at Chartres, the experience of which first stirred me to seek Christian faith (wondering what kind of religion would inspire men to build something so magnificent to the glory of God). I want him to see the castles of the Loire Valley, the vineyards of Bordeaux, and the graveyard at Normandy, where so many of his countrymen died to make France free. I want him to see Paris, the world’s most beautiful city, and the bridge over the Seine where his father kissed his mother one warm spring evening when they were first in love, and to walk over to Berthillon on the Ile St-Louis to taste the best ice cream in the world. France is for him to love too, and not even the perfidious pomposities of Dominique de Villepin can take that from him.

His previous Ask Anything videos are here. Be sure to check out his new book, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good LifeAsk Anything archive here.