The Europeans : The Ideal & The Real

The Europeans : The Ideal & The Real

raffaelloWas it accident or prescience, that in his celebrated fresco Raffaello Sanzio drapes Plato in red, Aristotle in blue? The lofty but malleable Ideal in disputation with the mysterious Real, always economical with the Truth. Flexible theology versus rigid natural law. Sentiment versus observation. The Up There contra The Here, Now & Then. Left versus Right. To borrow a cosmological principle, Raffaello seems to capture the Greek singularity from which European life and culture have flowed ever since in their prodigal variety, building breadth and depth with every century’s turn. The Europeans, to cut the matter short, identifies with Aristotle — while of course remaining in charmed and quizzical contact with the contemporary descendants of his mentor. — Ed.

1968 En Marche !

1968 En Marche !

logo_caesar_35pxBe partial… Hold a prejudice in favour of the wife against the husband; the child against the father; the debtor against the creditor; the worker against the employer; the injured against the offender’s insurance company; the sick against the Social Security; the thief against the police; the plaintiff against the judiciary.❞ Thus the “harangue of Oswald Baudot”, one of the youthful soixante-huitard “red judges” of the Syndicat de la magistrature [Judges’ Union], whose ideology, distributed as common currency during the upheaval of 1968, still drives the alliance between media and judiciary in contemporary France. The case of François Fillon, former prime minister and candidate for Les Républicains at the presidential election of 2017, provides the most egregious recent confirmation of the alliance’s ability to strike decisively. As in chess, there are configurations in which white wins against any defence. Fillon was of course playing black: too conservative, too catholic. Then came the torpedo from Le Canard enchaîné

Continue reading “1968 En Marche !”

The Ethnology of Postmodern Tribes

The Ethnology of Postmodern Tribes

There is no such thing as the non-tribal condition. When postmodern Man boasts of having gone through the process of ‘de-tribalisation’ to become a ‘citizen of the world’, he fails to notice that induction into a different type of tribe is unavoidable: the alternative being cultural statelessness. The new allegiances are drawn along axes other than ethnicity or dependence on one cultural  patrimony or another. The willing, de-tribalised outcast immediately becomes an ‘antifascist’, a ‘feminist’, a radical free-marketeer, a ‘gender-bender’, a no-borders anarchist, a human rights advocate, an inner-city cosmopolitan, or a ‘chardonnay socialist’. Or any or all of them. These are the sirens that drown out any concept of home, culture, or civilisation. But the new abstract categories are no less tribes than the pseudo-religious cults that shore-up membership by vilifying outsiders and freezing all relations with them. Dialogue between xenophiles of this or that exotic culture is endlessly fascinating. But de-tribalised, Occidental, Postmodern Man — Hommo Nullius — has no conversation at all.

The American writer, Tom Wolfe, is described in today’s article from Le Figaro as an ethnologist of postmodern tribes — a profession that began in earnest in 1970 with the publication of Radical Chic. Continue reading “The Ethnology of Postmodern Tribes”

The Simmering Civil War in France

The Simmering Civil War in France

FIGAROVOX/INTERVIEW : For Damien Le Guay, it is futile to speak of “murderous folly” or “acts of barbarism” when describing terrorist crimes committed on our soil. It is time to name the reality of the situation unambiguously, without being afraid of “playing into the hands” of the Front national.

Damien Le Guay is a philosopher, essayist, literary critic, and public speaker. He has published La guerre civile qui vient est déjà là (éditions du Cerf), “The coming civil war is already here”. Continue reading “The Simmering Civil War in France”

Indulging the French Extreme Left

Indulging the French Extreme Left

FIGAROVOX INTERVIEW : The trial of the accused in the case of the torched police car [18th May 2016, Paris] has been interrupted by militants of the extreme Left. Laurent Bouvet, Professor of Political Science at the University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, analyses the motivation and ideology behind these radical groups. Continue reading “Indulging the French Extreme Left”

Macron in Athens

Macron in Athens

logo_caesar_35pxWhat can one make of this speech of President Macron’s in Athens, on the 7th September? Clearing the bar of abject banality by no more than a whisker, it threatens to set a criterion for the next five years. One thing at least is clear: Macron is perfectly happy to make enemies of presidents Juncker and Tajani, of the European Commission and Parliament respectively, by threatening their prestige. And what should Mutti think? Had the speech been given on the floor of the Bundestag instead of al fresco in Athens, its Teutonic length would have been called into question even by the Empress of Europe.

Macron and Merkel appear to suffer from different strains of utopian delusion. Although at opposite ends of their political careers, both have had apotheosis cast upon them. We are in for a bruising time, then, as matriarch and upstart negotiate the paths of their respective, improbable, and dissonant agendas. Macron is for the siphoning of power from the member-nations into the super-nation, that is, from Berlin to Brussels. No can do. His proposals, as outlined in the speech, sound academic and corny at best: not the best marks of statesmanship.

The speech from the Pnyx is best taken, if taken at all, at a gallop. It is turgid and repetitive, rambling and at times incoherent, although by no means devoid of content. It has been translated by The Europeans from LREM’s transcript, with a clenched-teeth determination that far exceeds the call of duty. Why? Because a ‘Macron baseline’ would be useful, if only to judge the development of his rhetoric over the next five years. Continue reading “Macron in Athens”

Where are they now?

Where are they now?

CICERO MAGAZINE : A study examines the role of the media during the migrant crisis. The alarming conclusion: the media appointed themselves as the mouthpiece of the political elite and ignored the people’s concerns. The consequences are disastrous, and not only for journalism.

Pictures from autumn 2015: happy people at Munich’s central station holding “Refugees Welcome” placards high, teddybears flying through the air, colourful balloons rising into the sky, the columns of refugees rapturously applauded. Germany, so it seemed, was in the grip of collective welcome-hysteria. Particularly affected by this feeling were the leading media, who virtually rolled over to declare a Willkommenskultur public holiday — if not yet actually in force, then to be demanded. Continue reading “Where are they now?”

The Curation of National Memory

The Curation of National Memory

Key concept: the gradual morphing of high culture into entertainment. To that could be added the descent of entertainment into gibberish — the fate of popular culture. Nowhere in the article on the reformation of the French Ministry of Culture that follows, is there any mention that theoretical science — natural philosophy — is also high culture and therefore to be preserved and transmitted; or that scientists and mathematicians such as Poincaré and Pasteur were as much intellectuals as, say, Sartre or Mallarmé. But that would be to return to the lost battles of the early ’60s, in which the novelist-scientist C. P. Snow endured the contempt of the Cambridge literary critic, F. R. Leavis, for his suggestion that ignorance of the Second Law of Thermodynamics was just that: ignorance.

Another key concept is that of the “curation of national memory”. How quaint this must sound to the modern European mind, pickled as it is in progressivist theorising and its louche festivals. Finally, the interviewed authors seem tacitly to approve of France’s first place in the global league-table of tourist destinations. Mass tourism has become a problem of hydraulics: how to pump an average of 35,000 “visitors” a day through Notre Dame de Paris without so many insolent boots destroying the fabric of history. Conversely, how to make available to the earnest student such treasures as those of the Louvre, without the risk of his being crushed. Mass tourism is the dynamic form of static multiculturalism, and numerically far the greater. Continue reading “The Curation of National Memory”

The Man In The Mirror

The Man In The Mirror

Emmanuel Macron is likely to be the winner by default in the second round of the French presidential elections on May 7th. When the Paris bourgeois-bohèmes look into the mirror, they see him — and vote accordingly. Promises to remember The Great Forgotten of globalisation are casual humbug…

FIGAROVOX : Populism is driven by the Forgotten. Their interests are a thousand miles from the pan-European and globalist project of Emmanuel Macron. Continue reading “The Man In The Mirror”