In the democratic West, ‘open-society’ liberalism has become the default political position. It has proved to be remarkably robust, seeing off one challenge after another, and now framing Brexit and Trump as vulgar anomalies that can in time, in the words of former American Secretary of State, John Kerry, be “walked back”. The election of Emmanuel Macron as President of France, albeit aided by the political assassination of François Fillon, is only the latest illustration of its strength. But by general consent, Europe has become deeply divided, politically and socially, by a tectonic front where progressivism and conservatism collide. Paradoxically perhaps, it is only conservative values that are considered controversial. Ordinary, apolitical scepticism has come to be seen as a reactionary ideology in itself. Liberal orthodoxy insinuates that its programme must by historical necessity converge on the capitalist nirvana of the Integrated Supply Chain and the Two Degree Economy. Celsius, that is. It is a form of Manifest Destiny, received truth. At the same time, and in the official cant-mantra, more must be done for those who feel that they have been left behind by globalization. Read, impoverished, dispossessed.
Theory of Mind states that others see the world differently. The infant understands this in its most primitive form; the dramatist in its most complex and radical. Commentators generally make no attempt to inhabit or understand both of the great antithetical frames of reference, the Progressive and the Conservative, whose opposition to each other generates in large part the daily news from Europe. Any attempt to escape the Manichæan vice would be considered treachery and anti-journalism.
President Emmanuel Macron’s victory is, among other things, an expression of the French people’s contempt for the old political establishment. The question now is what this most geopolitically correct and therefore ideologically hamstrung of all candidates will be able to do for social stability in a France that is threatened by Islamization and economic decline.◼︎