Jonah Goldberg

Ah, Christmastime. Joy to the world. God bless us, everyone. Through the rapturous din of carols and chimes, a stray condemnatory note can be heard, chastising the yuletide revelers for being too materialistic, too concerned with gifts that come wrapped in pretty paper and shiny bows.

Who can help but sympathize with such concerns, as the groaning hordes of shoppers appear like Huns outside the doors of Wal-Mart? That is why I am so grateful for a special Christmas present - holiday present, if you must - for the whole world. No mere thing or shiny bauble, this present is an idea, glowing with an ecumenism that fires the mind and illuminates the heart, uniting nearly all mankind in fellowship.

What idea is that? Why, the total destruction of France, of course.

No, no, I don't mean - or want - to kill the French people and salt the earth where they live. That would be wrong.

I mean the destruction of France as an idea, as a shining fromagerie on a hill, serving as a beacon of asininity to left-wing radicals and a siren to kleptocratic Third World dictators, who, after a career of mass murder, want decent medical care, a good lawyer and a fresh croissant. Two new books are out that attack the cheese-eating surrender monkeys from two of France's three most vulnerable sides, facts and logic (the third vulnerability, duh, is its border with Germany).

For centuries France has claimed a monopoly on political virtue by glomming all the credit for the Enlightenment, and by pretending to be its anointed protector throughout history. Gertrude Himmelfarb demolishes the first part of this myth in her scintillating intellectual history "The Roads to Modernity: The British, French and American Enlightenments." The enlightenment was that moment when mankind allegedly first threw off the shackles of superstition, tribalism and tyranny, and embraced reason, universal human rights and democracy.

Personally, my own view on debates over the Enlightenment can be summarized by Mike Myers' Scottish crank character from "So I Married an Axe Murderer": "If it's not Scottish, it's crap."

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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