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Thursday, May 04, 2006


Jean Francois-Revel is dead.

Revel was one of those most unlikely of characters; a rational frenchman.

Rather than becoming obsessed with the raw power or cultural dominance of the United States, Revel, a philosopher by training, was more interested in how America continues to be a revolutionary force for freedom in the world and how, together, America and Europe should be standing together to ensure the triumph of Liberty.

In 1970, after the first of many visits to America, Revel published Without Marx or Jesus: The New American Revolution, in which he predicted that the great revolution of the 20th century would turn out to be the "liberal revolution" of multi-party democracy and market economics, rather than the "Socialist revolution" of Left-wing theory. This revolution would take place not in Cuba, but in California.

On his visit to the States, Revel had been "astonished by evidence that everything Europeans were saying about the US was false"; and most of his book consisted of a heavily sarcastic point-by-point rebuttal of the knee-jerk, anti-American prejudices of the day. Europe's loss of leadership during the post-war era, in his opinion, had led to an irrational envy and resentment.

Kid Various read his book "Anti-Americanism" some years ago, which is required reading for anyone interested in current U.S.-European relations. The interesting nature of that book prompted The Kid to pick up "Without Marx or Jesus," where Revel, in de Tocqueville fashion, travelled the United States talking to ordinary people. What he found was something highly different form the American caricatures proffered in urbane Europe, specifically a resilience and dynamism which convinced him that the U.S. would continue to be the dominant power on the planet.

We need more like him.

Au revoir, mon frere!


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