World: Involution

"We are chained, humiliated, sick with fear; we are at our lowest ebb." With these words, France's existentialist philosopher and left-wing propagandist, Jean-Paul Sartre, donned the mantle of doom for his countrymen.* Describing the much-discussed crisis of conscience confronting France as a result of the Algerian war, Sartre coined a new expression, "involution" —a tragic process by which the former colonizers adopt the savagery of the native lands they once colonized.

Tossing aside the vast services to mankind that enlightened colonialism has performed, Sartre suggested that France had sown the wind and...

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