CICERO MAGAZINE : Mass production and the mass-media raise kitsch to the level of æsthetic criterion for our society. Politics can’t escape it either. Its kitsch is moralistic. We must simply be in favour of peace and justice. It costs nothing, and makes us feel good.
Pictured: Greens MP and Vice-President of the Bundestag, Claudia Roth (left, in case there were any doubt), at the Berlin Christopher Street Day. Continue reading “Political Kitsch”
Emmanuel Macron, French presidential candidate for the movement En Marche!, former investment banker and Minister for the Economy, professing to be neither of the Left nor the Right, has picked up the stale scent of François Hollande’s winning metaphysical prejudice that France is an ‘idea’, and does not constitute an ‘identity’. Continue reading “Candidate Macron”
FIGAROVOX/INTERVIEW : For the philosopher, Pascal Bruckner, the concept of ‘Islamophobia’ is “a weapon of mass intimidation” whose twin objectives are to gag the West and hobble reformist and liberal muslims. Continue reading “First Control The Vocabulary”
The confrontation between two sensibilities, progressivist and conservative, is replacing the Left-Right cleavage, observes the historian and essayist. Having dissected the mentality of conservatism in our columns at the beginning of January, he now sketches out the idea of progress and of progressivism.
Jacques Julliard is leader-writer for the weekly, Marianne. Continue reading “The Permanent Epiphany”
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”
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”
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.
Continue reading “George Orwell, thou should’st be with us now”
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.
Continue reading “To Theorize Is To Intimidate”
Intellectuals of the French Left are, often on their own admission, beginning to look as silly as the postmodernist clique who preferred arcane formulae to clarity of thought and exposition, and with whom they share a revolving door. In any system of rational thought, a proposition is true if it is supported by repeatable observations or rigorous deduction. In the postmodernist system of thought, a proposition is true if at least one poor wretch can be found to believe it. There has of late been a sharp decline in the supply of poor wretches. The Left has been exhausted as much by systematic lying as by hope long overstaying its welcome. What is this exhausted and enervating lie, essentially? It is the doctrinaire liberal lie of the end of history and the irrelevance of geography, both joyfully ceding the stage to the great Integrated Supply Chain that, given total freedom of action, will bless our race with indefinite economic growth, and the general felicity that must go with it…
In this recent piece for Le Figaro, Eugénie Bastié documents the baffled indignation of the French Left-intelligentsia, as they mourn the loss of their most piquant pleasure: moral blackmail. There is a litany of references to writers, political henchmen, and organizations, most of which will be lost on English readers: but they are not essential to the theme. In the age of Google, the reader can follow any of them up if he or she so wishes. A few of the more obscure are explained in the text…
Continue reading “The Exhausted Lie”
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.
Continue reading “The Game of Values”