What has happened to France, the nation to whom the world has looked for rational thought and which gave us Descartes, who declared: “I think, therefore I am”?
But what are the French thinking these days?
Recent dispatches suggest that all is not as it should be in the republic of reason.
A survey of the country’s angry Yellow Vesters found that, when asked about conspiracy theories floating around on websites, more than half of them believed that Britain’s Princess Diana was the victim of an assassination plot, while almost a quarter go along with the claim that the terrorist attack in Strasbourg in December was organised by the French government.
The country’s thinking classes, meanwhile, have been electrified by “la collapsolgie”, a philosophy — if that is what it can be called — premised on the assumption that civilisation will be destroyed sooner rather than later by climate change, species extinction, rampant capitalism and political upheaval.
France’s prime minister is among those said to be caught up in this feverish fear.
General de Gaulle would not have tolerated this New Age nonsense.
“When I want to know what France thinks,” he offered, “I ask myself.”