According to media reports French President Nicolas Sarkozy and other conservative politicians have received bribes from L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt. The affair is seriously jeopardising Sarkozy’s re-election prospects and disabling the already crisis-ridden Europe, commentators write.
Back in the days ? let?s say 1932 just to pick a moment ? when European politics were really polarized, the spectrum ran from Moscow-faithful communists at one extreme all the way to monarchists and fascists. During the same time, the US political spectrum spanned all the way from Republicans to Democrats, which is to say from what Europeans would call center right liberals to center left liberals. Neither extreme questioned the premises of democracy, neither sought the embrace of the state in a socialist fashion, or even ? on the far left of American politics ? in more than a very moderate quasi-social democratic manner. The answer to Sombart?s classic query, why is there no socialism in America, also served largely as the answer to its necessary pendant: why is there no fascism in America? American politics in the twentieth century was a model of consensus compared to the ideological extremes found across the Atlantic.