“The defining feature of modernity is its inability to reproduce itself within the limits of resemblance”. Such is the economy of expression employed by the German writer, Peter Sloterdijk. Perhaps the sense of the aperçu could even be enhanced by substituting “within the limits of recognition”. Be that as it may, in this interview with Le Figaro, Sloterdijk, as social pathologist, continues his mauling of modern progressivism’s high priesthood, as it quits the House of History in jocular procession, bound for Angela Merkel’s uplands of future-funded compassion. The word might still be mightier than the sword — the experiment is best avoided, but alas it is no match for the pulverizing faith of those who ride the war-horse of modernity. It never will be.
Roger Scruton’s little book of lucid prose, How To Be A Conservative, is his first work to have been translated into French. Extracts from De l’urgence d’être conservateur were recently published in Le Figaro under the introduction, Our heritage is also the property of those who have not yet been born. “Although Roger Scruton is a prominent figure in the intellectual life of Britain, he is little known in France. None of his books had been translated into French until Les Éditions de l’Artilleur repaired the omission. Rich, nourishing, stimulating, like the most captivating of conversations, this essay offers a rare pleasure: to explore the sharpness and depth of an intellectual position.”
In How To Be A Conservative, Scruton leaves a coherent intellectual trail. But the scent crosses a river and gets lost when he appears to genuflect before one of the great shibboleths of Leftist orthodoxy: the independence of race and culture.
La Manif(estation) pour tous is a conservative movement dedicated to the protection of family life in France. Its name is an ironic play on Marriage pour tous, slogan of the successful push for gay marriage, and as such is only awkwardly translatable: perhaps as ❛Demo for All❜. The organization is currently led by Ludovine de la Rochère, one of its founders. It is implacably opposed to gay marriage, surrogacy, and the bringing up of children in the homosexual demi-monde.
La loi Taubira, named for the generally despised and now departed Garde des Sceaux [Minister of Justice], established gay marriage as a legal right in France in 2013. The groundswell of failed opposition to the law immediately transformed itself into a campaign for its repeal, which continues to be prosecuted despite the now lengthening shadow of the fait accompli. Some politicians of the Right, notably the once and perhaps future president of the Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, think aloud about the outside possibility of repeal, only to shrug it off as yet another unwanted opportunity for social bloodletting. The supporters of La Manif pour tous are determined to weigh heavily in the coming political turmoil of the 2017 presidential election campaign.
La Manif is adamant that homosexual marriage is wrong in principle, and that its long-term effect is incalculable. Far from being the matter-of-fact non-event of gauchiste mythology, soon to be forgotten or accommodated by conservatives, gay marriage is denounced by La Manif as a worming-out of the institution of the family; a militant’s travesty, hiding the sadness and resentment of the clown.
The following article from Le Figaro runs through La Manif‘s flagship issues.
The important thing about Michel Houellebecq is his part in liberating French intellectuals from the New Terror of the socialist media and, since 2012, the governing Parti socialiste: that is, those intellectuals who wished to be freed. What they can practically do with their new freedom remains to be seen, as demographic change in Europe continues to bulldoze nice philosophical categories, precisely as outlined in Houellebecq’s novel, Soumission [Submission].
Houellebecq was recently in Berlin to receive a literary prize. His acceptance speech was delivered in French, but The Europeans, having been unable to locate a transcript, has provided here a translation from the Neue Zürcher Zeitung‘s German version. In other words, the text — an abridged version of the speech — has been laundered twice: with what result, the reader will judge. We learn most, of course, when authors speak for themselves, outside of their writerly personæ, and that is why the present labour has been undertaken.
Submission was, and is, important because it was not to much launched, as detonated. It still reverberates throughout French intellectual and media circles, with little fumaroles of outrage appearing here and there in the landscape. What fun it must have been, to crack so many heads.