The Corner

French Perceptions

When it comes to energy use, Americans should be more like the French — so says an article in today’s New York Times. The author believes France was incredibly wise to impose huge taxes on gas. (The tax on a gallon of gas in France is about $3.75 — think of that the next time you fill up your tank.) But that’s not what really irritated me about the article. What really irritated me was a line in the third paragraph about France’s “perceived diplomatic obstructionism,” with respect to Iraq. Perceived? What exactly must the French government do for the perception of obstructionism to become a reality in the eyes of NYT writers and editors? Just last week, the French prime minister declared: “The Iraqi insurgents are our best allies.” My perceptions tell me that this is not the rhetoric of a friend.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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