Asked recently whether he thought Brexit was a pivotal moment in European history, the writer Alain Finkielkraut responded: “In order to put an end to the distinction — judged potentially genocidal — between an ‘us’ and a ‘them’, the European Union has sedulously drained Europe of all content. It has replaced civilization with values, it has dissolved identity in rights, norms and procedures. The English have said “no” to these developments: we [the French] don’t need to emulate them, but seize the occasion of Brexit to reconstruct the European Union.” Continue reading “Europe’s Auto-Immunity”
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.
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”
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.
Multiculturalism as Performance Art : Le Figaro has published brief excerpts from Le Multiculturalisme Comme Religion Politique (Multiculturalism as a Political Religion) by the Canadian sociologist Mathieu Bock-Côté, who wonderfully evokes the contemporary West as a collection of fictional performances, each with its own multicultural channel-surfing sociology. Continue reading “Rootless in Canada”
This interview appeared originally in Le Monde on 23rd October, 2013, on the publication of Alain Finkielkraut’s book, L’Identité malheureuse — The Unhappy Identity. It typifies the then attitude of much of the official French media to the breaking of received taboos. Now, two years later, and under the weight of subsequent catastrophic events such as Charlie Hebdo and the migration crisis, the first hairline cracks in the media front are coming into view. However, to all appearances, Le Monde remains today as staunchly bien-pensant as before.
The tone of the article appears ironic more or less throughout; and the final paragraph is characteristically moralizing. Le Figaro, on the other hand, seems to be taking a more balanced view of political and social issues as Europe enters what many observers regard as some kind of endgame.