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Transatlantic Blog

Emmanuel Macron and the problem of 'European values'

Last week French President Emmanuel Macron came to the United States for a two-day summit with President Trump and an address before Congress. As Acton senior editor Rev. Ben Johnson notes at The American Spectator, "Macron’s speech before Congress reveals a deep fissure within the West about its most fundamental values—a fracture that comes as the West faces powerful challenges from outside its borders":

Macron’s speech to Congress represents one set of values: the statist orientation of the bureaucratic EU elite. Leaving aside the incongruities any sweeping address may have — saluting “the #MeToo movement” in one breath and praising Simone de Beauvoir, a Marxist atheist who serially seduced her underage female students, the next — such a vapid moral basis renders even a well-delivered speech hopelessly self-contradictory.

 

He dubbed the U.S. and France the defenders of “universal values,” which have somehow, despite their purported universality, fallen under attack. He then offered his own Credo, significantly longer and less compelling than the one drawn up by the Nicene Council.

 

In brief, it consisted of his proposal for judges to censor “fake news” shortly after extolling Thomas Jefferson, who opposed all efforts “to silence by force & not by reason” the “complaints or criticisms” of the press — even if the headlines were “unjust.” Macron expressed support for both the Paris climate agreement and “the middle classes,” although Green energy policies have separated families from larger slice of their income and, sometimes, from one another. And he opposed deregulation, which has been President Trump’s greatest accomplishment not surnamed Gorsuch.

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Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the co-author of "How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator" (Crossway) and editor of the "NIV Lifehacks Bible" (Zondervan).