What can one make of this speech of President Macron’s in Athens, on the 7th September? Clearing the bar of abject banality by no more than a whisker, it threatens to set a criterion for the next five years. One thing at least is clear: Macron is perfectly happy to make enemies of presidents Juncker and Tajani, of the European Commission and Parliament respectively, by threatening their prestige. And what should Mutti think? Had the speech been given on the floor of the Bundestag instead of al fresco in Athens, its Teutonic length would have been called into question even by the Empress of Europe.
Macron and Merkel appear to suffer from different strains of utopian delusion. Although at opposite ends of their political careers, both have had apotheosis cast upon them. We are in for a bruising time, then, as matriarch and upstart negotiate the paths of their respective, improbable, and dissonant agendas. Macron is for the siphoning of power from the member-nations into the super-nation, that is, from Berlin to Brussels. No can do. His proposals, as outlined in the speech, sound academic and corny at best: not the best marks of statesmanship.
The speech from the Pnyx is best taken, if taken at all, at a gallop. It is turgid and repetitive, rambling and at times incoherent, although by no means devoid of content. It has been translated by The Europeans from LREM’s transcript, with a clenched-teeth determination that far exceeds the call of duty. Why? Because a ‘Macron baseline’ would be useful, if only to judge the development of his rhetoric over the next five years. Continue reading “Macron in Athens”
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, […]❞
Continue reading “Thomas Piketty, Optimist”
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.
Continue reading “Michel Houellebecq in Berlin”
The fate of Europe is now fully engaged, as on so many occasions throughout its thirty or so centuries of prodigious cultural and economic development. Driven to a moral fervour in September 2015 by President Erdoğan’s migratory ‘push’ and Angela Merkel’s complementary ‘pull’, the neoliberals of Germany and Sweden briefly demonstrated their enormous capacity for humanitarian concern. The over-confidence necessary to carry off the first few weeks of mayhem seemed to be induced spontaneously by the enormity of the challenge itself: it could hardly have existed beforehand. Neoliberals have always insisted on diversity they can see; but this was on an altogether new and overwhelming scale.
Continue reading “The Other Inconvenient Truth”
Human Rights legalism already meets all the criteria of a religion, and the institutions of global capitalism are well on their way to meeting all the criteria of the superstate that the European Union sought unsuccessfully to become. Further, the Church of Human Rights, with its clergy of lawyers and its vast supporting laity both inside and outside national governments, is the established church and jesuitical instrument of the emerging global superstate. Continue reading “Bosnia-on-Rhine”
Götterdämmerung : Brexit, Blair, and the Hungarian referendum. There were parts of Tony Blair’s public response to the Chilcot report that seemed to put the modern observer in visceral contact with the mediæval sense of the damned soul. There was no joy in this for anyone, only vindication. Watching, sickened, Don Antonio’s descent into what must surely now be his personal, inescapable hell, one should remember — as pointed out by Brendan O’Neill in Spiked — that Blair takes with him in spirit the sycophants and lazy thinkers everywhere who in 2003 let him fall in with Bush’s fraudulent, catastrophic, and — like Hitler’s — personal war, on Iraq. Continue reading “The Turning Of The Tide”
Five days after the narrow vote for Brexit, the alternatives seem to be: General Election, palace revolution, or both. Outraged globalizers, champagne Leftists, the bourgeois bohème, the young: all are frothing with demands for a second referendum. This last, in the unlikely event it took place, would be felt as a direct insult by the millions of Brexiteers who have just voted to leave the European Union. It would confirm their worst fears, if confirmation were needed, that they are the objects of contempt in the minds of their betters. No; it would be preferable for Parliament to deliver the same insult, but in its own more sophisticated way, by taking any one of the legal paths open to it. A do-nothing-dominated Westminster could simply ignore the referendum result, or cost the exchequer millions by calling an irrelevant General Election. Either way, the jilted Brexiteers would be left fuming and impotent; their only recourse the spray-can and the remaining blank walls. A General Election, for which all major parties would campaign to stay inside the European Union, would leave the incandescent Brexiteers with nobody to vote for except UKIP. The turn-out for such an election would be hard to predict: high on one assumption, low-to-vanishing on another.
Continue reading “Winning Back The People”
INTERVIEW – In the opinion of the expert on Islam, Gilles Kepel, if further bloody attacks are perpetrated, it is not impossible that the situation will explode.
Continue reading “The Gathering Storm”
The Stations of the Shining Path that are leading Europe into the fog of nihilism, are set out here by Éric Zemmour in a book review for Le Figaro.
Continue reading “Europe’s Nihilistic Vision”
Dark pages that seem to have been torn from some postmodernist catalogue of verities are nowadays thick in the political wind, as threatening as Hitchcock’s birds. But this leaf‡ from the Bishop of Rome is distinguished by its authenticity. Un pape pour tous? If so, his distance from the pre-November convictions — now unceremoniously dumped — of the French gauchiste state, must be thin indeed.
To be wilfully blind, even now, to the risks of attempted vivre-ensemble on which the pope is cheerfully insisting, would require the sort of political hubris of which only Frau Merkel is capable to be maintained indefinitely and throughout Europe. This clearly cannot happen. Europe will never again be able to relax as it did in the decades of its stable prosperity.
One is left with the distinct impression that the pontiff has aligned himself politically with Frau Merkel and the Archduke of Brussels, M. Jean-Claude Juncker. Mere mortals perhaps ought not to guess at the pope’s personal frame of reference: nevertheless, some of the furniture is clearly recognisable — South America and the Vatican. Neither of these bearings is particularly useful in making policy for Europe.
Has the Bishop of Rome joined the Coalition of the Blind, whose individual instincts are first and foremost self-referential? But let the pope opine: freedom of speech belongs to him too, even though in stopping little short of a public endorsement of the Merkel-Juncker line on immigration, he himself menaces that very same freedom.
‡The article, translated from the catholic daily, La Croix, is an extract from the Pope’s interview of 16th May.
Continue reading “The Pope: Secularism is Essential”