Coming Apart: The French Version

 

The French situation is described here in terms that make America’s situation look mild and reconciled by comparison. I have seldom gained so much insight from an article, anytime.

The French: coming apart, by Christopher Caldwell

 

Guilluy {a French social scientist} has tried to clarify French politics with an original theory of political correctness. The dominance of metropolitan elites has made it hard even to describe the most important conflicts in France, except in terms that conform to their way of viewing the world. In the last decade of the twentieth century, Western statesmen sang the praises of the free market. In our own time, they defend the “open society”—a wider concept that embraces not just the free market but also the welcoming and promotion of people of different races, religions, and sexualities. The result, in terms of policy, is a number of what Guilluy calls “top-down social movements.”

In France, political correctness is more than a ridiculous set of opinions; it’s also—and primarily—a tool of government coercion. Not only does it tilt any political discussion in favor of one set of arguments; it also gives the ruling class a doubt-expelling myth that provides a constant boost to morale and esprit de corps, much as class systems did in the days before democracy. People tend to snicker when the question of political correctness is raised: its practitioners because no one wants to be thought politically correct; and its targets because no one wants to admit to being coerced. But it determines the current polarity in French politics. Where you stand depends largely on whether you believe that antiracism is a sincere response to a genuine upsurge of public hatred or an opportunistic posture for elites seeking to justify their rule.

 

In a French context, he would be seen as among those in left-wing circles on whom certain civilizational truths once considered “conservative” have dawned. These include the novelist Michel Houellebecq, the philosopher Michel Onfray, and the political philosopher Jean-Claude Michéa, who has been heavily influenced by American historian Christopher Lasch. Guilluy, too, acknowledges Lasch’s influence, and one hears it when he writes, in La France périphérique, of family and community as constituting “the capital of the poor.”

Since Tocqueville, we have understood that our democratic societies are emulative. Nobody wants to be thought a bigot if the membership board of the country club takes pride in its multiculturalism. But as the prospect of rising in the world is hampered or extinguished, the inducements to ideological conformism weaken. Dissent appears. Political correctness grows more draconian. Finally the ruling class reaches a dangerous stage, in which it begins to lose not only its legitimacy but also a sense of what its legitimacy rested on in the first place.

The inducements to ideological conformity are weakening, even in mellow comfortable Canada. Nowhere is rebellion more required than in respect of the supposed benefits of racial and cultural diversity.

Who says “multiculturalism” and “diversity” is the enemy of the nation-state. Those who oppose nationalism of any kind, even the mildest, hold the whip hand, and are not shy about flogging the natives to make them comply with our Brave New Order. The natives are beginning to rebel.

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