Returning to the economist Thomas Piketty’s blog entry for 30th June, 2016, in Le Monde, he begins thus: ❝Let’s be honest: until dawn on 24 June 2016 nobody really believed that the British were going to vote for Brexit. Now that the disaster has struck, it is tempting to feel discouraged and to abandon any dream of a democratic and progressive re-foundation of Europe. However, we must persevere and live in hope, for we have no other choice: the rise of national self-seeking and xenophobia in Europe leads straight to disaster.❞ [The Europeans’ italics]. And then: ❝[…] there is something profoundly nihilist and irrational in this attitude of reverting to xenophobia, […]❞
Here is a law to chill the bones. A law that comes close to tacitly criminalizing any opposition to its own passage, or having been passed, any voice raised against its operation. To criticize a law could be construed as insulting to its clientele, in this case, of minorities. It cannot be long before such a perfect legal seal will be achieved somewhere in Europe.
Observe how far we have come down this road in so few years. The French law on “Equality and Citizenship” has been adopted by the Senate, but certain of its more outrageous provisions are held up in the Constitutional Council, to which a group of conservative senators has appealed.
While railing against communautarisme and ghettoization, western European pedlars of statecraft know perfectly well, as do the people, that nothing can halt them. The evidence is already there, to be officially acknowledged and denied by turns. This law, far from attempting to deal effectively with the toxic ramifications of multiculturalism, is yet another weary example of the Left’s obsession with government by social signalling. Gauchiste governments everywhere, who pride themselves on “keeping well out of citizens’ bedrooms”, think nothing of leaping into their minds in order to form a permanent bridgehead there. A mature nation submits to the rule, not the tutelage, of law. When a political culture regresses under the din of its own accumulating blunders, it re-enters a state of infancy. A government that enacts the kind of monstrous proposals described in the following article from Le Figaro, cannot sensibly be regarded as mature, but merely effete and pusillanimous. Not to say desperate.
Attempts to understand the phenomenon of political correctness now form a respectable corpus of work. Although often mocked as “moral vanity”, political correctness nevertheless deserves serious sociological study, not least because of the enormous impact it has had on the fate of the West. Perhaps only those with long enough teeth to remember an earlier time can assess this impact. There was indeed a time before political correctness took the Occident in its icicle-fingers, and subjected it to the slow, nightmarish drip of cant that we have lived with, or for, ever since. But while ever exasperation remains a faculty of Man, practitioners of PC run the risk one day of sending it critical.
Political sagacity is not cumulative. A great civilization, such as classico-Christian Europe, is safe only insofar as its incumbent leaders are both educated in history and free from the narcissistic desire to imagine their bronze avatars lolling in public squares. European leaders of our era appear to have inherited nothing from their Continent’s vast historical experience: instead, they invented the European Commission, and talked to it as they might to an imaginary friend.
What does accumulate and constantly re-synthesize itself through the passage of time is the high culture of a civilization. The Colombian writer Nicolás Gómez Dávila says somewhere that soul “emerges” in things that endure. Political correctness is inimical to high culture because of the former’s “normative frenzy” in pursuit of “equality”, to quote Lecourt. Egalitarianism attacks high culture — notably through the schools, mocking it with its own “pop” travesty. (Witness the loss of classical languages from the curriculum in France.) The hoisting of one travesty after another is seeing to it that when the neoliberal mist rises, little recognizable will be left of European civilization. The loss of Palmyra and Nimrud is both visceral and symbolic for Europe. The forces that destroyed them are exaggerated only in degree and modality, not in kind, relative to the western intelligentsia’s and nomenklatura’s much paler destructive enterprise. Ultimately, the result will be much the same.
Dominique Lecourt is a French philosopher. Here, he talks with Alexis Feertchak about the mercurial menace of PC, in an extended interview for Le Figaro.