Michel Houellebecq (whose excellent novel “Submission” I’ve just finished, and whose previous novel “The Elementary Particles” I’m halfway through) has a NYT op-ed titled “How France’s Leaders Failed Its People”:
Which political leaders committed France to ridiculous and costly operations whose main result has been to plunge Iraq, and then Libya, into chaos? And which political leaders were, until recently, on the verge of doing the same thing in Syria?
Houellebecq, whom I suspect is a closet conservative who skillfully veils his true beliefs vis-a-vis his novels and Trickster persona, addresses the widening gulf between the (indigenous?) people of France and that country’s government – what we in the States refer to as the ‘Silent Majority’ – with an appeal to direct democracy:
As for the population, it hasn’t failed at all. It’s unclear, at bottom, exactly what the population thinks, since our successive governments have taken great care not to hold referendums (except for one, in 2005, on a proposed European constitution, whose result they then preferred to ignore). But opinion polls are allowed, and for what they’re worth, they more or less reveal the following: that the French population has always maintained its trust in and solidarity with its police officers and its armed forces. That it has largely been repelled by the sermonizing airs of the so-called moral left (moral?) concerning how migrants and refugees are to be treated. That it has never viewed without suspicion the foreign military adventures its governments have seen fit to join.
One could cite many more examples of the gap, now an abyss, between the population and those supposed to represent it. The discredit that applies to all political parties today isn’t just huge; it is legitimate. And it seems to me, it really seems to me, that the only solution still available to us now is to move gently toward the only form of real democracy: I mean, direct democracy.