Hamstrung in Paris

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François Hollande and Manuel Valls

europeans_opinion

What we see are two men broken by their ‘values’. After the Bataclan, and infinitely more so after Nice, even they must know the needful thing. When ‘values’ chase out reason, the ‘other cheek’ of the nation must brace itself for repeated blows, ad infinitum. Rigid ‘values’ seem to be lodged in the collective, atavistic brain-stem of the Left; not in the cortex, where they might be parleyed into a course of remedial action. When career politicians preach ‘values’, the intelligent citizen takes cover. What, in the present security and social context of France, can the motto of the Republic possibly mean? Liberty curtailed, selective, random, persecuted. Equality, no more or less abstract than ever. Fraternity, and its desperate contemporary derivative, vivre-ensemble, no more than a distant memory. Pas d’amalgame! On pain of the charge of criminal “islamophobia”, do not conflate or in any way connect jihadist perpetrators with the docile muslim masses resident in France! The degree to which this manipulative injunction is perverse, is not entirely clear. Much more obvious is the indirect link between recent atrocities and European policy blunders over the decades: catastrophic miscalculations whose effects are only amplified by the hegemony of ‘values’.

There is a refractory, ceramic character to political ‘values’, as though one chip would craze the entire humanitarian edifice.

For all the petrified avoidance-sustaining mantras of the French Left, there is no particular reason to believe that the current existential crisis would look much different had Nicolas Sarkozy won a second five-year term in 2012. Despite France’s constitutional secularism, laïcité, the Church of Human Rights is just as influential with the Right as with the Left. Therefore nothing can be done that violates its rigid protocols, at least not while the pendulum of traditional alternance continues to swing between governments huddled together at the centre of politics. And alternance will be safe forever, unless the French, in desperation, refrain from voting tactically against the Front national in the second round of their elections.

There is a refractory, ceramic character to political ‘values’, as though one chip would craze the entire humanitarian edifice. The very rigidity of ‘values’ — and ask any politician to explain but one — renders them useless, contraceptives for the avoidance of action. What is needful, is values rendered workable by intelligence. The following editorial from Le Figaro makes this point, amongst others.

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2016-07-17
Le Figaro EditorialPaul-Henri du Limbert
❝ The Shadow of Doubt ❞

Since the immense tragedy of Nice, the executive has been busy instructing public opinion, and keeping for the most part to the language of truth. Yes, we are only at the beginning of a merciless war, yes, for the foreseeable future we may dread further victims being added to the toll of the devils of the Islamic State: anywhere, at any hour, a 14th of July or a 25th of December. A jihadist, whether from abroad or home-grown, radicalized over a period of years or just a few days, will strike by whatever chosen means and flood the country with terror.

François Hollande and Manuel Valls are right not to hide the truth. But their clear confession is also their weakness. For the French consider that neither of them is capable of meeting such a challenge. When they give assurances that every measure will be taken in the attempt to avoid future dramas, they lie to themselves. Why? Because their partisans will never accept measures that, one way or another, would resemble in their eyes emergency legislation.

The magnitude of the crimes committed in France since January, 2015, would clearly call for a hardening of the penal code to an extent unimaginable for the Left.

But it is necessary. The magnitude of the crimes committed in France since January, 2015, would clearly call for a hardening of the penal code to an extent unimaginable for the Left. The majority [of the ruling Parti socialiste in the National Assembly] voted last June — with mixed feelings — for measures that were allegedly “liberticidal”: a text, aimed at expanding the judicial arsenal, that already appears to be insufficient and almost lax, notably in relation to searches and house arrests.

On security, the French have taken the view for very many years, and particularly since the arrival of Christiane Taubira at the Ministry of Justice, that the Left is of such naivety that they can no longer have any confidence in it. Prosecuting a pitiless war? Yes. With the means granted to François Hollande by a fractious, stratified Left, where, helped along by presidential back-flips, the opinion of Cécile Duflot [The Greens] could be worth as much as that of Manuel Valls [Prime Minister]? No.

The French are quite coherent. They receive favourably the bellicose declarations of the head of state and the prime minister. But when they observe their team, they have their doubts. They are right to do so.

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