Advancing a Free Society

A Teachable Moment on American-European Faultlines

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The full story is not out on Dominique Strauss-Kahn and he is innocent of forcible sexual battery until proven guilty, but already the case has exposed an ancient abyss between European elite and American popular cultures — accentuated by the differences between New York’s rough-and-tumble media and legal worlds on one hand and IMF technocracy and French privilege on the other. There are also questions of race and asymmetrical power in play, as well as the notion that an IMF head should adopt at least a façade of probity and sacrifice, given that his organization lectures tens of millions on fiscal sobriety and belt-tightening.

So far what confuses Americans the most, superficially at least, is that a man of the Left like socialist Strauss-Kahn should seem so comfortable with the elite tastes of the damnable aristocracy — the astronomically priced suits, the $3,000-a-night suite, the Air France privileges, and the medieval Norman baron’s sense of entitlement regarding an immigrant housecleaner — while the supposedly neanderthal, right-wing Americans and their primitive “accusatory” legal system (read the French press on all that) so far are treating the rights of a maid as equal to a Eurocrat’s.

Continue reading Victor Davis Hanson at National Review Online