France in the maelstrom of the Age
by Come Carpentier de Gourdon on 28 Apr 2015 3 Comments

A recent month-long stay in Paris brought back to my mind a prophetic book penned in 1947 by the illustrious conservative thinker and author George Bernanos, entitled La France contre les Robots, which predicted many aspects of the present situation, characterized by the growing control of society by global finance served by ever more powerful and sophisticated technologies used to replace human labour and carry out continuous surveillance on all people in the name of protecting their freedom. He forecast the hegemony of Anglo-Saxon high tech capitalism and the revolt of the impoverished French against that increasingly tyrannical and anonymous power.


France is going through a momentous, gradual but seemingly irresistible change in its political system and social ideology at a time when inequality between the rich and the poor increases even though there is an undeniable improvement in the facilities and public amenities made available, through modern technology, to the denizens of large and medium cities, although those services do little to reduce the social isolation and poverty that besets more and more people.


Most of the news coverage is dedicated to the Front National, the 40-year-old rightwing nationalist party of Jean Marie Le Pen whose programme contains a peculiar Gallic mix of Gaullist politics, monarchist attachment to rural traditions and social welfare and liberal “pro-small business” anti-globalisation nationalism. The twin factors behind the now meteoric rise of the National Front under the leadership of Marine Le Pen, the founder’s daughter, are the steadily deteriorating economic situation and the flood of African and Middle Eastern immigration which is tied in most people’s minds to the spread of Islamic radicalism. Faced with those obvious twin challenges, the response of the Establishment parties which have shared power in France for the last half century has been seemingly calculated to increase people’s anger and anxiety.


Both the currently ruling socialists and the Centre-Right parties, equally known for widespread corruption and for their links to the global business circles, have been preaching accommodation and resignation to the long standing plight of the common people, alleging the inevitability of the crisis, the need to reduce social protection and benefits in order to compete with low wage economies and the “positive” character of immigration which according to them should in fact increase the country’s wealth. The “politically correct view” is that immigrants of all origins will inevitably adopt the majority culture’s beliefs and way of life while embracing enthusiastically “democratic, human rights values”.


Average citizens are impervious to those specious reasonings which ignore the fact that the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants are destitute, have low professional skills, require plenty of social assistance and belong to conservative patriarchal societies that are light years away from the permissiveness and staunchly secular attitudes of most contemporary French people. Partly because of their growing numbers, immigrants are ever less likely to integrate into the host population and most find themselves parked in ghettos through the combined effects of the country’s policies and their own backgrounds and preferences.


The ostrich policy of the government towards that reality which partly explains the recent terror attacks against the “Charlie Hebdo” blasphemous satirical paper, is illustrated by the current Prime Minister, Spanish born Manuel Valls, whose Jacobine rigidity and fanatical hostility to any disagreement with his own views smacks of typical “anti-fascist fascism”. Valls’ unpopularity is only exceeded by that of president Hollande, seen as an ineffective, uncharismatic and bumbling politician now overshadowed by his own prime minister who is impatiently vying for the presidency. The traditional Centre Right is deeply divided between various longstanding factional leaders among whom former president Nicolas Sarkozy is desperately trying to reassert himself on the public stage.


There is, however, little to inspire confidence in Sarkozy’s past and present. His own five year stint as head of state is widely disparaged for his failure to bring about any improvement in the major issues facing the country. His foreign policy was as hyperactive and disorderly as his domestic initiatives and his private life. The shadow of suspected corruption and venality follows him wherever his goes. In particular his vindictive and disastrous military foray into Libya after the mysterious souring of his initial honeymoon with Colonel Gadhafi is to be faulted for the collapse of the Libyan state and the resulting anarchy which accounts for the thousands of illegal immigrants marooned on Europe’s shores week after week, while thousands of other hapless refugees drown at sea.


This series of disasters in slow motion is suspected to be engineered by terrorist elements related to ISIS and Al Qaida, who intend to dump as many derelict migrants, including potential terrorist infiltrators, on Europe’s shores in order to create chaos on the continent by flooding it with destitute and uncontrollable elements.


 In Syria, Sarkozy played an equally disruptive role by trying to overthrow the Assad-led government and supporting extremist rebels after conveniently extending to them “democratic moderate” credentials. The one-term former head of state now swears that he is a changed man, but provides no evidence for that alleged transformation and remains possibly the only European politician who admires George W Bush and regrets France’s refusal to join in the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. The latest attempt by the diminutive French firebrand to come closer to his American model is to rebrand his party the “Republicans,” which has infuriated the other political forces, fearing to lose their own republican legitimacy as an effect of that opportunistic move. No day passes without Manuel Valls reiterating his own hard line adhesion to “Republican values” which he defines according his own convictions that include an opposition to all religious influences bolstered by his Free-Masonic sympathies, support for gay marriage and minority rights and a rising authoritarianism, justified by the need to fight terrorism.


There is a widespread feeling that the population of France and of the other western nations is the subject of an experiment in social engineering which intends to change human nature based on unrealistic ideological and technocratic assumptions. Thus rising levels of violence, especially against women, seem to be correlated to the explosion of sexual permissiveness, the loss of traditional restraint and modesty and the objectification of women as sexual objects for commercial ends. Yet the politically correct ideology refuses to make that connection and calls for even greater “sexual freedom” in the name of “deviant” minorities which claim to have been oppressed since centuries and now require special protection and appreciation.


The government, which cannot govern in the true sense by taking care of urgent problems such as a stifling tax burden, bureaucratic overspending and dwindling public safety, prefers to indulge in political crusading by enforcing sexual “education” on very young children and banning “discrimination” between men and women which according to some of the frontline propagandists amounts to eradicating  differences between the genders so that men are not supposed to show any kind of interest in women lest it be seen as discriminatory or condescending. At this rate, only public expressions of homosexual desire seem to be acceptable to the powers-that-be.


Even a casual exposure to the environment of the mostly immigrant ‘banlieues’ (suburbs) whose influence pervades “youth culture” makes one aware of the deeply 'machist' and misogynic attitudes bolstered by the Rap, HipHop and other forms of popular teen age entertainment which trivialize or even glamourise rape and violence against girls. Such “fashions” imported from or inspired by  US trends implausibly clash or combine with an Islamic hard-line revival to produce semi-literate angry young men, sorely neglected by a deficient public education system, who want to take revenge for their socially inferior status by affirming a new heroic identity as Islamic warriors against their decadent western “oppressors”. It is easy to see how some of them are drawn into the ranks of ISIS and of other extremist jihadi outfits promising a glorious redemption in this life and paradise in the next. This evolution stands in stark contradiction to the official creed that the lure of the French way of life must turn all immigrants into model employees and consumers.


Much has been made in recent years of the numerous cases of pedophilia recorded among Catholic priests. Now however it is teachers in the outspokenly secular and predominantly leftist public education system who are under scrutiny since several instances of sexual offenses against pupils have been publicized lately. So it appears that it is not the clerical way of life that is to account for pedophilia since it also occurs among lay, often married men. Could it be that it is the present “culture” based on the rejection of traditional spiritual values and the promotion of pornography and homosexuality on the social media that is behind the alleged explosion in sexual criminality?


Of course, political correctness does not brook such questions, and the only public response to the problem consists in encouraging denunciations while edicting ever more draconian surveillance laws and repressive measures to scare would-be offenders at the cost of breaching everyone’s privacy.


It is no wonder that faced with that rather hopeless alternative between rulers who actually have a lot in common and are steadfast champions of US-led globalization and German-shepherded European homogenisation, a growing percentage of citizens (between  25 and 30 per cent, according to recent estimates and election results) are putting their trust or at least willing to give a chance to the National Front and its promises to control immigration, combat the spread of Islamic radicalisation within the country, encourage moral and spiritual values, reinforce and expand social welfare and the government’s stewardship of the economy, promote and protect domestic manufacturing which is currently hemorrhaging jobs, exit war-mongering NATO, forge strong partnerships with Russia and other BRICS nations and hold a referendum on whether to exit the Euro and the EU. The Party’s mascot is now Marion Marechal Le Pen, Jean-Marie’s attractive 25-year-old granddaughter, the youngest ever member of the French Parliament who stirs memories of Joan of Arc, the NF’s perennial icon, another very young woman who saved France from the corrupt rulers of her age and the marauding British occupiers allied with them.


Compared with that fresh face and a voice that sings the virtues of patriotism, sovereignty and cherished age-old French culture, the bosses of the other parties look and sound like cynical and tired political oligarchs, long past their expiry dates and beset by records of failures and broken promises, who cannot hide their complicity with the cosmopolitan financial elites from all over the world that offer to popular media the invidious spectacle of their decadent lifestyles and extravagant profits.


The mainstream parties seem to have run out of steam in their long-standing policy to condemn and vilify the National Front which they tried to exclude from politics by dubbing it “nazi”, “anti-Semitic” and ‘anti-republican”. That ostracisation conveniently ignored the fact that the NF is a federation of old fashioned conservatives, right and left-wing nationalists, former communists, monarchists, traditional Christians and, indisputably, a minority of fascist sympathisers but that it always proclaimed its attachment to a republican form of government, although that is indeed a very broad tent under which most people can find shelter. The Euro-American establishment has compared it to Putin’s Russian patriotic grand coalition, with which it has cordial relations, and even to the Hindu nationalist galaxy in India.


The frontiers between Left and Right have faded to the point of being insignificant and despite their antipodal political origins there are now significant points of convergence between the National Front and the anti-globalisation revolutionary parties in power in various Latin American countries as well as in Greece. The victory of Narendra Modi and his BJP in the 2014 general elections in India was hailed by many supporters of the National Front as a harbinger of their own future triumphs.


In Europe, like minded parties either in power or strong enough to hope for it, in countries as diverse as Britain, Hungary, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Austria show that the National Front is far from being an isolated French phenomenon but rather embodies the zeitgeist of the new era, characterized by its opposition to the hegemonic Anglo-Saxon neoliberal model and to the bureaucratic and oligarchic EU super-State, perceived as a divided house, simultaneously submissive to and torn between German and Anglo-American influences that are mostly detrimental to the interests of the common man.


 Most members of these neo-nationalist parties are not anti-Semitic (even though they oppose and condemn the ruling oligarchies which happen to include a large percentage of Jews) or anti-Muslim, but simply fear excessive immigration that inevitably evokes the very real and present challenges of lawlessness, terrorism, communal violence, demographic transformation and social breakdown. To avoid facing the issues those parties raise, the establishment has so far treated them with feigned contempt, claiming that their views are beyond the pale of decency and that runaway immigration is only a problem for “racists who refuse to share the assets of society with their poorer foreign brothers”. However, that blanket condemnation is increasingly perceived as a hypocritical diversion practiced by ruling minorities which have nothing to lose from the current situation since they are largely protected from its adverse economic and social effects by their wealth and privileges.


France is in many ways back to its ancestral pre-revolutionary times, when many components of the middle and lower classes rose against the beneficiaries of the ruling system. One wonders how violent and painful this new confrontation will be.


The views expressed by the author are personal

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