❝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…
There is no such thing as the non-tribal condition. When postmodern Man boasts of having gone through the process of ‘de-tribalisation’ to become a ‘citizen of the world’, he fails to notice that induction into a different type of tribe is unavoidable: the alternative being cultural statelessness. The new allegiances are drawn along axes other than ethnicity or dependence on one cultural patrimony or another. The willing, de-tribalised outcast immediately becomes an ‘antifascist’, a ‘feminist’, a radical free-marketeer, a ‘gender-bender’, a no-borders anarchist, a human rights advocate, an inner-city cosmopolitan, or a ‘chardonnay socialist’. Or any or all of them. These are the sirens that drown out any concept of home, culture, or civilisation. But the new abstract categories are no less tribes than the pseudo-religious cults that shore-up membership by vilifying outsiders and freezing all relations with them. Dialogue between xenophiles of this or that exotic culture is endlessly fascinating. But de-tribalised, Occidental, Postmodern Man — Hommo Nullius — has no conversation at all.
The American writer, Tom Wolfe, is described in today’s article from Le Figaro as an ethnologist of postmodern tribes — a profession that began in earnest in 1970 with the publication of Radical Chic. Continue reading “The Ethnology of Postmodern Tribes”
FIGAROVOX/INTERVIEW : For Damien Le Guay, it is futile to speak of “murderous folly” or “acts of barbarism” when describing terrorist crimes committed on our soil. It is time to name the reality of the situation unambiguously, without being afraid of “playing into the hands” of the Front national.
Damien Le Guay is a philosopher, essayist, literary critic, and public speaker. He has published La guerre civile qui vient est déjà là (éditions du Cerf), “The coming civil war is already here”. Continue reading “The Simmering Civil War in France”
FIGAROVOX INTERVIEW : The trial of the accused in the case of the torched police car [18th May 2016, Paris] has been interrupted by militants of the extreme Left. Laurent Bouvet, Professor of Political Science at the University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, analyses the motivation and ideology behind these radical groups. Continue reading “Indulging the French Extreme Left”
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”
Emmanuel Macron is likely to be the winner by default in the second round of the French presidential elections on May 7th. When the Paris bourgeois-bohèmes look into the mirror, they see him — and vote accordingly. Promises to remember The Great Forgotten of globalisation are casual humbug…
FIGAROVOX : Populism is driven by the Forgotten. Their interests are a thousand miles from the pan-European and globalist project of Emmanuel Macron. Continue reading “The Man In The Mirror”
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”
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.