It is striking that while one of the persistent clichés attached to the French seems to be their perceived individualism, the country itself is often nicknamed the “Land of the Human Rights.” This paradox is worth examining: on the one hand, a heavily loaded signifier pointing to an index of qualifiers such as self-centered, egoistic, navel-gazing, independent, proud, nationalist, and arrogant; and on the other, a phrase that denotes universalism, the search for the common good and the collective self, the pursuit of global justice and equality, no doubt in reference to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, a famous document compiled by the revolutionaries in 1789, invoking Man in his all-inclusive entity, across countries and continents, across time and space. Would this tension between individualism and universalism, which could easily amount to a form of acute hysteria, be a useful idea for discussing French identity?