France: “The New Reactionaries”

The Spectator has a piece on ‘Les nouveaux réactionnaires’ — e.g., Michel Houellebecq, Eric Zemmour, Alain Finkielkraut (“Meet the intellectuals leading France to the right“). What they share in common is the belief that:

… ‘Anglo-Saxon’ political correctness (‘la bien-pensance’) has poisoned teacher-training courses, which have become ‘gulags of knowledge’. The new reactionaries are convinced that one of the cornerstones of French culture, ‘freedom of expression’, is dying. They reject ‘post-colonial guilt’ and are appalled by ‘cultural relativism’. To get down to the nitty-gritty, they take the view that France’s sovereignty is under threat from Arab immigration. Europe’s migration crisis has highlighted their fears…

The most telling and depressing quote from the piece is the necessity on the national stage of having to spell out (to knee jerk leftists and their media sycophants) the basic concepts of the ad hominem fallacy:

For the new movement, political issues defined by the term ‘souverainisme’ — national sovereignty, migration, border controls, security, the constitution and cultural identity — are no longer extreme-right territory, they are also of legitimate concern to the left. For the traditional left, the opponents of the new reactionaries, the very term ‘national sovereignty’ is an insult. They look on ‘souverainisme’ in Europe as the mirror image of jihadism in the Muslim world. They denounce ‘populism’ and ‘xenophobia’ and any argument that might seem to support the Front National. But the violence of their counter-attack has led to accusations of ‘neo-Stalinism’ and ‘smear tactics’. A defence of the reactionaries is being led by the veteran political journalist Jean-François Kahn, founder of the down-market weekly news review Marianne. Kahn pointed out the illogicality in arguing that because the Front National highlights problems caused by mass immigration, anyone who accepts the existence of these problems is a supporter of the Front National. If the left continues to abandon causes adopted by the FN, he adds, all it will do is to give the extreme right an ever larger space in which to operate.

Writing in the left-wing daily Libération, Kahn went further and suggested that the left’s disastrous tactics were the main reason for the FN’s progress — a rise in support from 10 per cent in 2007 to 27 per cent today. Kahn is 77, and his reward for this insolence was ‘death by trolls’; a fake obituary posted on the internet just after his article appeared.

A glimmer of hope, and perhaps a sign of things to come here in the States, as more and more Lefties begin to see Political Correctness, upon its own inertia, as becoming more and more a circular firing squad:

Another member of the band is the leftist Michel Onfray, a freelance philosopher. He is the son of Normandy peasant farmers who describes himself as an atheist and an anarchist and he would seem to have little in common with members of the Académie Française. But Onfray has recently entered the lists in defence of Finkielkraut in the name of ‘freedom of expression’ which he considers almost nonexistent in France. As a result of this intervention — which won him national media coverage — Onfray was savagely attacked by former comrades for ‘supporting the ideas of the National Front’. One even suggested he should be sent to a mental asylum — rather proving Onfray’s point.

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