❝Be 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…
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 historian and essayist, Jacques Julliard, analyzes the conservative push to which François Fillon’s victory in the conservative primaries testifies. He shows how anthropological issues (principally transhumanism) are now feeding a debate that recalls that between Parmenides and Heraclitus. Continue reading “Trial By Irony”
It seems self-evident that culture teaches values: not values culture, as might be implied by the political discourse of the West, bereft as it is of all historical perspective. There, human rights recast as universal values have overshadowed any notion of Occidental culture or civilization as anything worth curating, much less preserving intact. Indeed, the word culture barely rates a mention, even as a footnote: except of course as the nullity, multiculturalism, which is dinned daily into every ear. Where national culture comes into conflict with arbitrarily chosen human rights, the latter prevail: except of course when it appears necessary to bomb both of them simultaneously.
The relentless harping on unexplained ‘values’ hides a political vacancy that is yet to be filled. It is a marker for political hypocrisy and Europe’s strategic void. Where there is no strategy (goal), the void is filled by tactics and technocracy (The European Commission). Tactics (“more Europe!”) cannot be passed off indefinitely as strategy. In this interview with Le Figaro, the French writer Robert Redeker sets the record straight on the purpose of politics and education. Needless to say, he mentions no role for the Commission in either.
Here, from the official website of the socialist deputy (Loire-Atlantique), Monique Rabin, is the conscience and negotiating position of the French extreme Left in its purest form. Unless The Europeans has been gulled mercilessly by an online hoax, it preserves intact the holy writ of French revolutionary sentiment: that the Empire perish, but that its values endure… No country on earth, as it now seems, is more deeply mired in its own humanitarian ‘values’ than France.
Unless it is Germany. The common governing sentiment of these two exceptional countries has finally led Europe over the brink into full view of ultimate demographic extinction. Self-extinguishing values are no values at all, but this black irony is forever lost on the European Left. In France, during the present politically consanguineous tenure of president François Hollande and prime ministers Jean-Marc Ayrault, then Manuel Valls, the Parti socialiste has become crazed by fissures both deep and delicate, and paralyzed…..well, by paralysis. The general mood in the country now runs bitterly counter to the high moral sentiments of Mme Rabin, as expressed in her atavistic appeal to socialist purity: an appeal whose echo from government grows weaker by the hour, and must inevitably disappear altogether.
Mme Rabin’s open and unlimited invitation to migrants to come to France is larded in the original with intimate thou-thines, while she dismisses the French taxpayers who must shoulder the huge burden without complaint as the ugly face of France. French SDF, the sans domicile fixe, receive no mention at all, although it is certain that pressure from immigration is acting to slow or perhaps even stall their own migration from the streets into social housing. Such, in France, is the Left’s haine de soi [self-contempt], not to mention its sweet companion, self-satisfaction, so lovingly dissected in this remarkable contribution to national suicide.
“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.”
The Europeans Book Review. 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.
Nothing if not hard-hitting, this interview in Le Figaro with the French social scientist Pierre-André Taguieff brings out the degree to which Anglo-Saxon — worse, Swedish — puritanism has invaded French political life under the mentorship of the Parti socialiste, where it has coalesced with the ever-raging war over “islamophobia”. The now modest “dead white poets” theme of the kaftan-covered Sixties, is followed downwards to the ideological limits of moral vanity. Continue reading “Moral Vanity & The Puritan Spirit”