Posted on January 22, 2005
Le Pig And Le Pen
Why Michael Moore doesn't live in France
Do you ever wonder why Michael Moore doesn't just pack up and move to France? I don't, and here's why.
French authorities are getting ready to prosecute National Front Party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen for recent comments he made about the Second World War. Le Pen's alleged crime is that he said, "in France, at least, the German occupation was not especially inhumane." For this, he may soon charged with "apology for war crimes" or "denial of crimes against humanity."
Apparently, this is what it takes to rally the French against German occupation. All you have to do is remove General Rommel and his 7th Panzer Division from the equation, and replace them with a demented 76 year-old member of Parliament, and the French will fight like mad ferrets.
France's reaction to Le Pen is only consistent with the way that country has responded to Islamofascism. That nation did everything it could to protect an Iraqi dictator who trained hijackers, funded suicide bombers, and harbored terrorist masterminds like Abu Nidal and Abu Abbas. However, in its domestic anti-religious zeal, it has had considerably less tolerance for Muslim schoolgirls who commit the offense of wearing headscarves.
Likewise, the French government criminalizes speech that belittles the atrocities committed against the Jewish people decades ago. But only after becoming an object of international derision did it begin to address the recent wave of violent anti-Semitic acts being committed in its own country.
This is not Le Pen's first run-in with the Parisian speech police. In 1987, he was convicted and fined the equivalent of $200,000 for saying that the Nazi gas chambers were "a minor point in the history of the Second World War." When asked about it ten years later, he clumsily tried to clarify that remark, and was again charged and fined an additional $50,000.
That ought to be enough to make an impression on the portly anti-American filmmaker. I mean, a quarter of a million dollars would buy a lot of Funyuns. And that's only the combined penalty for two of Le Pen's three "crimes," committed over a span of 17 years. Moore commits offenses at least equivalent to those on an almost daily basis. If we had laws like those under which Le Pen has been convicted, Moore's legal tab would have run into the tens of millions by now. He'd no longer have to pose as the downtrodden mascot of Marxism. He'd be the real thing.
In an October 12, 2003 speech at the University of Michigan, Moore said, "There is no terrorist threat in this country. This is a lie. This is the biggest lie we've been told." Is that a "denial of crimes against humanity"? Luckily for him, that's not a question that will have to be answered in court.
Last June, Moore dismissed the horror of the 9-11 attacks by telling 60 Minutes, "Three thousand Americans were killed. There's 290 million Americans, all right? The chance of any of us dying in a terrorist incident is very, very, very small." He might as well have called it "a minor point in the history" of the War on Terror.
It's not that there's little chance that somebody in America will be killed by terrorists; it's just that it's unlikely to happen to any one particular person, e.g., Michael Moore. Three thousand innocent people being blown up, consumed by flames, crushed under falling buildings, and forced to jump to their deaths is no skin off Moore's nose, just as long as he is not among them. Since he's using the number killed at the World Trade Center to downplay the threat of future acts of terrorism, what he's implying is that, even if thousands more innocent Americans die in another attack, they are expendable. That's infinitely more atrocious than Le Pen's suggestion that the German occupiers, while inhumane, were not "especially" so.
Not only does Moore deny that our terrorist enemies in Iraq are terrorists, but he wrote last April that they're not even "The Enemy." Instead, he says, "They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow, and they will win." If the French have any laws against likening terrorists to your nation's founders, and openly rooting for them to kill your countrymen, we don't know it yet, because not even Le Pen has ever given them reason to file the charge.
In France -- one of the many places where Moore goes to complain about how fascistic he thinks America is -- people can become criminals just by voicing opinions like his own. Here in the U.S., not only is Moore tolerated, but in some corners he's even hailed as a defender of free speech.
That kind of praise cannot be more grossly misplaced. The credit for Moore's freedom of speech belongs not to him, but to the country he betrays. Belching out streams of irresponsible statements doesn't make him a champion of the First Amendment, any more than randomly firing shots into the air would make one a champion of the Second.
Contrary to popular belief, a French Michael Moore could never exist. Moore can only succeed in becoming the toast of the toffee-noses in Cannes by insulting America, not France. If he lived in France, and he offered a forbidden opinion, not only could he be convicted and fined, but he'd also become a social outcast like Le Pen. That means no more late night TV appearances, no more easy money on the lecture circuit, no more serenades from Linda Ronstadt.
Moore cannot simply move to France and continue to impugn America, either, because that would destroy his celebrity as well. Then, he'd be nearly indistinguishable from most French politicians and diplomats. Another prominent Frenchman railing against America would be about as noticeable as another Cubs hat in the bleachers at Wrigley Field. It is only in his role as the America-hating American that Moore has any value to Euro-elitists who wish to have their own anti-Americanism confirmed.
Say what you will about Mr. Le Pen, but he has been persecuted by his government for speaking his mind, and he has stood his ground, despite having a world of critics and very few defenders. Michael Moore, by contrast, slanders his own country with impunity, knowing that his ability to do so is facilitated by the very falsity of the charges. If America were really the oppressive police state he describes, he wouldn't dare face the consequences of saying so.
Undoubtedly, the French government believes its persecution of Le Pen and other speech offenders is a positive demonstration of its strength. In reality, the fact that the French would not tolerate a Michael Moore of their own is just another indication of their country's weakness. But at least they can have the satisfaction of telling us that their apologist for crimes against humanity is tougher than ours.
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