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mercredi, 10 octobre 2012

A Concepção Sagrada dos Espaços

A Concepção Sagrada dos Espaços

por Orazio M. Gnerre

Ex: http://legio-victrix.blogspot.be/ 



Texto da palestra de Orazio Gnerre, do Instituto Millenium, no IIIº Encontro Nacional Evoliano em João Pessoa.

Boa noite à todos,

Com a permissão do público e do professor Dugin, começarei.

Nós definimos o tema que escolhemos para a nossa discussão, "a concepção do espaço sagrado." Como você bem sabe, a escola de pensamento do tradicionalismo integrante baseia-se sobre um determinado assunto: os conceitos polares opostos subjacentes à abordagem dialética da realidade humana são dois simetricamente opostos - Tradição e Modernidade. Por Tradição compreendemos de modo geral a abordagem do "sagrado" ao real, uma leitura simbólica da mesma que, trabalhando com o que Carl Schmitt chamou de "catolicismo romano e forma política" princípio da representação, consideraremos o plano como um reflexo do mundo imanente transcendente, como expresso sistematicamente pela filosofia platônica. É um erro, porém definir o conservadorismo como um ramo da filosofia derivada do idealismo platônico porque, em sua visão ortodoxa, é considerada a ciência que estuda a manifestação do Uno pré-existente imanente - uma revelação eterna - e as estradas a fim de acessar sua experiência direta. A abordagem tradicional também pode ser definida cosmologicamente. A modernidade é a ruptura drástica com a concepção de existência simbólica e espiritual: a chave para o que não é mais cosmológico, como é na concepção tradicional, e sim mecânico. Se o pensamento tradicional é generalizante, representante, universalizante e essencialmente metafísico, o pensamento moderno, como seu oposto radical, manifesta-se como fragmentado, mecanicista e potencialmente niilista. Digo "basicamente" niilista porque, no desenrolar do fenômeno moderno, não esgota as possibilidades (ou pelo menos, não tivemos a oportunidade de conhecer este evento), mas aprofunda-se, expandindo sua influência e aumentando o grau de entropia que contém, provando ser o tempo da grande confusão prevista por René Guénon. Mais do que um sociólogo, incluindo Jedlowsky, advertiu-nos o fato de que a suposta pós-modernidade não é outra coisa senão o fenômeno moderno que é o apenas aparentemente negar a si mesmo, ele se quebra e se expande, criando uma nuvem de "modernidade diversas", e, aparentemente contrário ao contrário, de fato, todos os participantes do mesmo projeto e relativista perspectivista que, em aparente oposição ao primeiro evento universalista e racionalista da modernidade, na verdade, partes da natureza e cartesiana subjetivista. O professor Dugin, em seu discurso na conferência internacional de Moscou "Contra o mundo pós-moderno", tem bem definida a pós-modernidade como a queda da modernidade, então a expansão, a hipertrofia do princípio da quantidade que caracteriza a própria modernidade. Também o professor Dugin tem repetidamente salientou a necessidade de uma restauração da categoria filosófica do objetivismo, em oposição à natureza subjetivista da modernidade: na verdade ele não é o único que viu no universalismo marxista e no objetivismo (assim como na derrubada da manifestação idealista tripartite do Espírito) a continuação de categorias clássicas e tradicionais de pensamento. Cito neste caso o filósofo italiano Costanzo Preve que, em conjunto com Domenico Losurdo, representam a aresta de corte efectivo da Europa neomarxista. 

 

Se, como já dissemos, Tradição e Modernidade se opõem totalmente (e não dialeticamente), aqui é que ambos se projetam de cada fenômeno, porque, na verdade, são duas chaves reais para a leitura totalizante. É evidente, portanto, que deve haver um "sagrado" (tradicional e religioso) e "profano" (moderno e niilista), mesmo com o conceito de espaço, a importância de lugares, a interpretação providencial de áreas geográficas. O principal trabalho a que deve ser feita referência quando se trata desta diferença de abordagem é "O sagrado e o profano", texto esclarecedor do historiador romeno de religiões, famoso por ser ligado ao movimento da Legião do Miguel Arcanjo, professor, então, University, em Chicago, Mircea Eliade. Em seu texto explicativo, ele salienta as diferenças irreprimíveis que existem entre um homem religioso e secular, entre um homem e um homem da tradição da modernidade, na consideração do tempo, da vida, e lugares. Especialmente este último tema é que nos interessa em particular.

 

 

Eliade parte de um pressuposto geral, que é a base da consideração do fator espaço do homem religioso, o homem da Tradição: o mundo não é real. Neste sentido, a única coisa que o homem tradicional via como real, no entanto, era o Sagrado. A objetividade hegemônica do sagrado era aquele pelo qual o homem pudesse fazer o mundo real. O homem tradicional foi o vencedor real do mundo, o verdadeiro governante dos elementos (como ele era, interiorizados no pentagrama, que milênios mais tarde tornou-se o símbolo do Império Soviético sacral), como o filho dos deuses. O antropocentrismo tradicional, longe de ser semelhante ao do Iluminismo, ao contrário do último reconheceu a primazia do sagrado, como a única verdade incontestável. Como para os seres humanos, também criados devem ser realizados, "tornar-se o que você é", afirmando que o neoplatônico Santo Agostinho chamou "o poder" - estar no poder. E ele foi o homem, na verdade, o "Subcreator" (nas palavras de John Ronald Reuel Tolkien) que consagrou lugares, fez-se sagrado, tornando o domínio do Ser brilhante, e participando da criação de Deus também na concepção agostiniana, na verdade, a única coisa que se possa imaginar está sendo a adesão (que é a revelação do Santo), onde o mal é profundo como forte é a sua separação. Mesmo hoje, arar a terra perpetuamente consagrada ao Divino de nossos pais, cujos espíritos, anjos e santos padroeiros intercedem porque não afundam no abismo da não-existência. A perene conquista do Mundo do homem tradicional, então passou através da socialização do próprio mundo. O desenvolvimento desta verdade metafísica foi implementada após a revelação de Cristo, no ideal de evangelização ou Jihad. Útil a este respeito é lembrar que, para o homem tradicional, sendo o mundo espiritual mais importante e mais "real" do que o material, a primeira batalha era travada arduamente para conquistar a nível interno, uma luta até a morte pelo assassinato de seu Ego: esse foi o simbolismo de que também tratava o Barão Julius Evola, a que esta reunião é dedicada, a Grande Guerra Santa (para São Bernardo de Claraval, um dos grandes mestres do monasticismo ocidental, que são inspirados pelos cistercienses e trapistas) ou o Grande Jihad (o profeta Maomé). A corrida espacial foi qualitativamente inferior à horizontal para vertical, a conquista de seu microcosmo, a sua transferência sobre o domínio de si mesmo do indivíduo: a sacralização de si mesmo. Como o Buda disse: ". Entre aquele que vence na batalha mil vezes mil inimigos, e apenas aquele que vence a si mesmo, este é o melhor dos vencedores de cada batalha" . Qualitativamente inferior, mas não menos importante, a conquista horizontal, que Eliade identifica com o landname da tradição germânica, foi o processo pelo qual o homem subtraíu lugares no domínio da água, sem forma, do escuro, para render-se ao domínio da forma, da terra, e da luz. Igualmente Eliade considerava que estes dois princípios arquetípicos existem não apenas no plano horizontal, mas também sobre o eixo vertical. O nível horizontal é expresso pelo conceito axis mundi, o eixo do mundo, o centro radical da realidade. É importante que o eixo do mundo é único para si mesmo, ou localizado em um lugar (poderia realmente existir ...) que pode ser verdadeiramente chamado de centro de todo o mundo. No Mundo da Tradição tudo é relativo e tudo é absoluto, porque é o completo domínio do símbolo. É no templo que o homem tradicional no centro de seu mundo, que é o templo axis mundi. Não poderia ser de outra forma, para todos aqueles que vivem na orientação ao Sagrado: O templo é o seu ponto de referência, como um lugar de encontro entre a terra e os céus. Mas o templo, sendo o eixo do mundo, não só tem o valor de Scala Coeli, a Escada aos Céus: ele também ligou o homem à polaridade oposta, o mundo do informe, as águas primordiais. Esta é a ambivalência simbólica entre os pináculos das igrejas e suas criptas. O templo é de forma que, ao mesmo tempo, permite que você suba ao céu e retenha a água. É uma função mística e exorcista.

É interessante ver que todos estes arquétipos tradicionais nós podemos encontrar também em um pensador substancialmente “laico”, embora pessoalmente muito religioso. Falamos do já mencionado católico alemão Carl Schmitt, uma das mentes mais agudas do século passado, a quem o estudo do direito e mesmo da geopolítica devem muito. Ele abordou o problema espacial/territorial em duas obras suas, que lembramos serem “O Nomos da Terra” e “Terra e Mar”, este último escrito na forma de conto. Ele identificava duas fases da história da Civilização, que chamava respectivamente terrestre e marítima, e que nós podemos associar facilmente ao Mundo da Tradição e o da Modernidade. Segundo Schmitt estas duas concepções não estão ligadas somente a limites históricos, mas também a vínculos territoriais. Este é o motivo pelo qual a concepção terrestre está estritamente ligada ao bloco continental europeu e asiático, enquanto a marítima remete à Grande Ilha, a anglosfera que define o bloco anglo-americano. A primeira concepção, a terrestre, é ligada substancialmente aos princípios tradicionais do Sagrado (que em sentido político, se transpõem na comunidade orgânica, na hierarquia, na legitimidade, e no domínio da Forma e da Política), a segunda ao invés prova ser a manifestação do profano (nas suas expressões sociais de individualismo, igualitarismo, no domínio do informe e na ausência da norma). É aqui que se demonstra claramente o quanto a contraposição da Terra consagrada e da Água está presente também no pensamento de Schmitt. Não é casual que a manifestação da modernidade ocorra gradualmente, por meio da descoberta progressiva do novo mundo. Este é um argumento que tem sido aprofundado, partindo da geografia sagrada, pelo professor Dugin, e disso falaremos mais tarde. A Norma se demonstra em Schmitt com a legítima apropriação do território por parte de uma comunidade humana, que acaba sendo precisamente a consagração da mesma: é aqui que retorna o conceito já citado de landname. O landname é válido, porém somente na estabilidade: é a estabilidade que garante a legitimidade da norma (pelo mesmo motivo pelo qual o não se ater ao ordenamento jurídico pré-existente durante uma revolução política não é considerado ilegítimo). É assim que o landname só possui sentido na perspectiva terrestre. Um dos personagens pelos quaiso pensador alemão foi mais influenciados foi o nobre espanhol Donoso Cortés, herdeiro do que foi o último baluarte contra o avanço do poder marítimo anglo-saxão, a Santa Espanha Católica. Cortés, diplomata europeu de imenso calibre, homem político sem igual e agudo pensador, conhecia bem a realidade das revoluções igualitárias de 1848 e os ambientes da Restauração, considerando que entreteve também uma correspondência com o chanceler Metternich. Nele, feroz opositor da deriva anárquica europeia, Schmitt vê o defensor por excelência da Norma, da Lei. Como Schmitt, também Cortés também estava a procura daqueles que poderiam deter o avanço do anticristo, o processo de decadência total, o kat-echon, um papel que na tradição russa é preenchido pelo Imperador, e ele o identificou (com ou sem razão) em Napoleão III. O próprio Cortés define a Inglaterra como “a Grande Meretriz” (ou seja, Babilônia), que, como é sabido, na simbologia apocalíptica indica a mãe do Anticristo. Schmitt destaca várias vezes, em “Terra e Mar”, a natureza genealógica que liga o Império Britânico aos Estados Unidos da América. A conexão resulta então muito simples, em pleno acordo com todos os movimentos de resistência à Nova Ordem Mundial, que veem nos EUA “o Grande Satã”. Na Itália há dois livros dedicados ao ensinamento antimundialista que se pode tirar do Barão Evola, um de Carlo Terracciano, conhecido e amigo do Professor Dugin, e o outro de Pietro Carini. A lição de Cortés, entre outras coisas, está ligada profundamente à obra majestosa do primeiro opositor da Revolução Francesa (etapa central do processo subversivo na Europa), Joseph de Maistre, embaixador da Savóia junto ao czar. Ele e seu irmão Xavier se comprometeram firmemente ao lado da Rússia na luta contra o jacobinismo, um no sentido político, o outro no sentido militar.

 

 

Na abordagem sacra ao estudo dos espaços, não é possível deixar de recordar o papel desempenhado pelo presente professor Aleksandr Dugin, uma importante mente de nosso século, que abarca da geopolítica à filosofia, da sociologia à metafísica. Ele, como bem explica em muitos dos seus textos, está profundamente empenhado em difundir através de suas obras o elo estreito e direto que existe entre a geopolítica e a geografia sagrada, partindo especialmente das teorias do geopolítico alemão Karl Haushofer, que, sob a guarda do alpinista e estrategista britânico Mackinder, teorizava a integração política e militar do bloco continental europeu e asiático (que ele chamou de Heartland – Coração da Terra), contra a integração igual e oposta da World-Island (a Ilha-Mundo anglo-americana). Não definindo com o termo guenoniano de “ciência sagrada” a geopolítica, o professor Dugin a enquadra no âmbito daquelas pseudo-ciências que, por não terem sido completamente racionalizadas, e preservando ainda um alto nível de generalizações, manteve vivos, ainda que inconscientemente, aqueles arquétipos tradicionais dos quais estamos tratando. Em seu texto “Da Geografia Sagrada à Geopolítica”, cujas teses confluíram sucessivamente no “Paradigma do Fim”, o professor indaga antes de tudo o significado simbólico dos pontos cardeais na contraposição geopolítica “leste-oeste” e sociológica “norte-sul”. Leste e Oeste, na dialética geopolítica do mundo bipolar, constituía claramente o binômio da contraposição mundial da guerra Fria, bem como dois modelos diferentes de abordagem da vida. Se de um lado o Leste representava a “geométrica ordem prussiana” socialista, o Oeste simbolizava ao contrário o modelo hedonista do capitalismo desenfreado. Com a queda da contraposição dos blocos, e a transição pouco estável ao mundo unipolar, essa diferença não tem sido aplacada, de fato, ela foi radicalizada. Se bem que aparentemente também o Leste do mundo tem sido influenciado pelos dogmas modernos do progresso e do crescimento econômico exponencial, não podemos deixar de notar como nele estão ressurgindo (acima de tudo graças à parcial independência geopolítica de que pode desfrutar) os modelos culturais fundamentais para uma restauração integral. A oposição Leste-Oeste, no pensamento duginiano, se revela como a manifestação da contraposição do Oriente e do Ocidente metafísicos, ou melhor, simbólicos: a eterna ambivalência do apolíneo nascer do Sol e de sua descida nas Águas ocidentais. Os termos do desafio entre os dois pólos se tornam a Ascensão e a Queda, o Nascimento e a Morte, Criação e Dissolução. Em vários textos o professor se ocupou também do significado simbólico do centro geográfico que animam este desafio titânico dos continentes. Em dois de seus trabalhos, publicados na Itália no volume “Continente Rússia”, editado em 1991, ele diz limpidamente como, em uma perspectiva sacral e simbólica, a Sibéria – centro do Continente – coincide em realidade com a Hiperbórea, e a América do Norte se corresponde ao invés com a mitológica Ilha dos Mortos, a “terra verde”, da mitologia egípcia, a segunda Atlântida, o local das práticas obscenas de cultos orgiásticos. A segunda contraposição polar se identifica ao invés com Norte e Sul que, em uma concepção profana de sublevação, representam a parte rica e a pobre do globo, Primeiro e Terceiro Mundo. Nós todos conhecemos o simbolismo que na vasta literatura tradicional permeia os Pólos, especialmente o Norte. O Norte, ponto superior do Eixo do Mundo, nada mais é que o ápice solar. O Norte representa a superabundância de riqueza espiritual, o estágio último da Ascese. O Sul (de um ponto de vista simbólico e não meramente geográfico representa o contrário. A mentalidade profana, que em tudo opera a derrubada satânica dos significados, imanentizando esta contraposição em um sentido puramente geográfico, a preencheu com o significado de riqueza e pobreza materiais. Na concepção tradicional o nórdico é aquele que retorna ao gelo, aquele que perde o elemento passional e egoístico “demasiado humano” e que transcende a dimensão humana pela heroica. Já o racismo branco anglo-saxão ou pan-germanista, levado ao ápice político pelo Império Britânico em sua escana colonial global, e pelo hitlerismo ideológico ao nível europeu, demonstrava os elementos fundamentais dessa inversão demoníaca, ainda que preservando, no segundo caso, alguns elementos simbólicos da Tradição. O próprio Barão Evola escreveu muito sobre a necessidade de formar e criar uma raça do espírito, uma elite de aristocratas do espírito. O neopaganismo hitlerista, ao qual o orientalista, historiador das religiões e ex-tenente da SS italiana Pio Filippani Ronconi deu a alcunha de “contra-iniciático”, transpôs tudo a um plano biológico, invertendo o problema.

 

Em nossa opinião, também a cessão do Alasca polar por parte da Rússia aos Estados Unidos, no século XIX, representa um passo em direção à queda do Oriente do Norte espiritual. Não se há de duvidar do fato de que, se o Alasca tivesse permanecido nas mãos do Império Russo, o movimento bolchevique, fortificado no Gelo Eterno, teria empurrados suas hordas aos próprios portões da Pátria do Capitalismo. A sorte histórica seguramente teria sido diversa. No entanto, “os caminhos do Senhor são infinitos”, e Ele opera de maneiras misteriosas.

A ideologia eurasiática revivida pelo professor Dugin, e adaptada ao contexto pós-soviético, representa um destes modelos culturais alternativos, radicalmente verdadeiros, com os quais combater arduamente a Decadência iminente, para ataca-la em seu coração, nas suas contradições mais profundas, e superá-la gloriosamente. Não há dúvida de que as ações do antimoderno atingirão o seu objetivo porque, como dito pelo Para Urbano II durante o Concílio de Clermont: “Deus vult!” – Deus o quer. A Eurásia-Rússia, perfeito centro do Continente, da Heartland, representa hoje um farol de esperança para o Oriente e para o Sul do Mundo, para os europeus orgulhosos de suas próprias tradições e não alinhados ao unipolarismo estadounidense, não só geopolítico, mas também cultural, e para todos os Povos livres que sofreram o martírio por parte dos emissários da Decadência. Penso, neste momento, no heroico povo sírio, uma cidadela de Luz, onde os filhos de Deus xiitas, católicos e ortodoxos estão lutando tenazmente contra as hordas inimigas. A Eurásia, núcleo de reconciliação dos polos, porta do templo de Jano, que se abre para gerar a Unidade do real, se mostra como o Eixo do Mundo global, o templo geográfico, o ponto de partida para o landname total, a sacralização completa do Mundo, a Era do Espírito de Joaquim de Fiore, o Reino do Ar de Carl Schmitt, a terceira concepção espacial.

AMEN.

Tradução por Raphael Machado e Álvaro Hauschild

mardi, 09 octobre 2012

Democratie, mét oogkleppen en zonder

Democratie, mét oogkleppen en zonder

Edi Clijsters

Ex: http://www.uitpers.be/

 
Democratie, mét oogkleppen en zonder
 

Robert Senelle, Emile Clement, Edgard Van De Velde, The Road to Politicial Democracy. From Plato to the Fundamental rights of the European Union, Brussel, Academic & Scientific Publishers (APS), 2012; 1072 pp.
Ludo Abicht, Gewoon volk eerst. Waarom populistisch en gemeen geen scheldwoorden zijn, Antwerpen, Houtekiet, 2012; 166 pp.

Over de lange weg naar democratie werd en wordt veel geschreven en gediscussieerd. Een goed idee dus om drie kenners een indrukwekkende  bundeling van klassieke teksten te laten samenstellen. Helaas blijft de selectie beperkt tot de burgerlijke interpretatie van politieke democratie. Een recent verschenen polemisch essay bewijst dat het ook anders kan.

Democratie is, zoals bekend, de slechtst denkbare staatsvorm, op alle nadere na. Hoe een democratie er moet uitzien, hoever ze mag of moet reiken, hoe je überhaupt zover geraakt, en hoe ze kan en moet verdedigd worden … daarover zijn al ontelbare boeken en artikels geschreven en discussies gevoerd.
Gelukkig maar. Want meningsverschillen en discussies zijn juist een uitmuntend  bewijs voor de levenskracht van een bestaande democratie en/of voor de aantrekkelijkheid van een idee.

Het is dan ook slechts een schijnbare tegenstelling dat - tenminste: in de landen die als 'liberale democratieën' gelden - over inhoud en draagwijdte van democratie wellicht nog nooit zo heftige controverse bestond als nu, nu ze toch (althans volgens ene heer Fukuyama) als enig wervend concept de twintigste eeuw heeft overleefd. Al was het maar omdat – niet voor het eerst overigens – pijnlijk duidelijk blijkt dat politieke democratie slechts een beperkt aspect uitmaakt van hoe een werkelijk democratische samenleving zou moeten functioneren.

Tegen de achtergrond van die controverse, van de democratische revoltes in ettelijke islamistische staten en van de pogingen om in voormalige sovjetstaten prille democratische ontwikkelingen zoveel mogelijk terug te dringen, verscheen bij APS een kanjer van een referentiewerk over de 'weg naar politieke democratie'. Twee auteurs zijn voormalige hoogleraren grondwettelijk recht, de derde was jarenlang directeur bij de federale Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers. Alle drie waren en zijn ze gefascineerd door hun onderwerp. Dat kon je opmaken uit de toelichtingen bij de presentatie van het boek; dat moet je ook afleiden uit de talloze uren lectuur, selectie, en discussie die aan de publicatie ongetwijfeld zijn voorafgegaan.

Over de funderingen van de lange weg naar politieke democratie, over de aard van de bestrating, over de valkuilen en zijstraatjes én de bakens langsheen die weg, hebben Senelle, Clément en Van de Velde 34 richtinggevende teksten bij elkaar gebracht. Door die teksten beknopt te situeren en becommentariëren (kruisverwijzingen incluis) hebben ze meteen het huiswerk al gemaakt voor vele studenten. Bovendien hebben de auteurs zich niet beperkt tot een bloemlezing, maar hebben ze die lange weg van reflectie over politieke democratie ook nog 's opnieuw bewandeld, en de belangrijkste gedachtengang(en) samengevat en verduidelijkt. Dat is allemaal heel verdienstelijk en ongetwijfeld zeer leerrrijk. En lezenswaardig, zeker. Maar...

Lege planken

Uiteraard valt over een selectie van teksten altijd wel te discussiëren. Hoe duidelijker de samenstellers van een bloemlezing hun criteria vooraf expliciteren, hoe beter. Daarna verwacht de lezer dan wel dat zij zich bij hun tekst-selectie ook aan die criteria houden. En op dat punt vallen er bij deze kanjer wel serieuze vragen te stellen. De enigszins geïnformeerde lezer/gebruiker moet namelijk vaststellen dat hij voor een indrukwekkende bibliotheek staat, waarin echter ettelijke planken opvallend leeg blijven.

Want laten wij wel wezen: denken over democratie is altijd en onvermijdelijk ook  denken over de taken, de inrichting en het functioneren van de staat. Het is altijd en onvermijdelijk ook denken over de samenleving.

Alleen: als je nu een bloemlezing uit de klassiekers van het denken over staat en samenleving iets of wat binnen de perken wil houden, is het zeker legitiem het veld waaruit je 'bloemleest' te beperken. Lees: duidelijk te omschrijven waarom bepaalde thema's en/of auteurs buiten beschouwing worden gelaten.
Een eerste en wel héél ver reikende beperking is dat alvast het zoveel grotere veld van economische en sociale democratie niet wordt bestreken. Dat is wellicht (vanwege de omvang) begrijpelijk, maar toch ook bevreemdend. Want je kàn nu eenmaal onmogelijk diepgaand en coherent nadenken over de staat – en a fortiori niet over democratie – zonder sociale en economische dimensies van de samenleving aan bod te laten komen. Dat blijkt trouwens meer dan eens uit de klassieke teksten, terwijl bijvoorbeeld Plato, Tocqueville (of Hayek of Huntington, for that matter) niet van marxistische sympathieën kunnen worden verdacht.

Daarmee is een betekenisvolle naam gevallen, die een tweede opvallende beperking moet verklaren. In hun summiere voorwoord poneren de samenstellers namelijk dat geen auteurs werden opgenomen die “pleiten voor een autocratische of politiek monolithische staat” - Karl Marx bijvoorbeeld, en Carl Schmitt, wellicht bien étonnés de se trouver ensemble.

Die motivering mag dan al een bijzonder flauw en zwak excuus zijn, ze is tenminste duidelijk. Geen woord dus van (of zelfs maar over...) bijvoorbeeld Marx, Gorz, Gramsci, e.a. Maar (alweer: bijvoorbeeld) Bakoenin duikt evenmin op, al kan die toch bezwaarlijk worden beschouwd als voorstander van een sterke staat, en al heeft hij over staat en democratie dingen geschreven die niet méér utopisch zijn dan Plato, of niet minder zinnig of controversieel dan de ideeën van Hayek of Nozick (die wél uitvoerig aan bod komen).

Ook Roberto Michels blijkt geen genade te vinden in de ogen van de samenstellers, hoewel hij met zijn (inmiddels honderd jaar oude maar hoegenaamd niet verouderde !) studie over de “ijzeren wet van de oligarchie” een werkelijk fundamentele bijdrage heeft geleverd tot het denken over democratie. Correctie: tot het kritisch nadenken over 'politieke democratie'.

Burgerlijk versus democratisch ?

Je kan je inderdaad bij het doornemen van deze bloemlezing niet van de indruk ontdoen dat de auteurs ook nog een ander criterium hebben gehanteerd, maar dan zónder het te expliciteren. Niet alleen werden economische en sociale democratie buiten beschouwing gelaten, en werd binnen de  'politieke democratie'  het blikveld ook nog eens vernauwd tot niet-marxistische opvattingen, maar bovendien wordt ook geen greintje aandacht besteed aan belangwekkende auteurs, indien die het waagden té kritisch te schrijven over de burgerlijke invulling van 'politieke democratie'.

In die zin is de selectie dubbel-zinnig klassiek: het gaat om fundamentele bijdragen, maar alleen voorzover die binnen de 'klassieke' burgerlijke opvatting over politieke democratie werken.

Wie de “weg naar democratie” met die oogkleppen bekijkt heeft aan deze bloemlezing ongetwijfeld een stevige en leerrijke brok. Maar hij (m/v) mag dan zijn oogkleppen niét afzetten, en zich niet van de burgerlijke wijs laten brengen door wat zich momenteel afspeelt bij indignados en occupiers.

Die bewegingen brengen in elk geval aan het licht dat ook – en zelfs vooral – bij hoger opgeleide jongeren de klassieke politieke democratie veel moreel krediet is kwijtgespeeld. Niet zonder reden trouwens. Over een van de fundamentele redenen buigt zich Ludo Abicht, filosoof en/maar allesbehalve een ivoren-torenbewoner.

In zijn jongste essay verstout hij zich het gangbare politiek-correcte denken over “populisme versus democratie” onderuit te halen. 'Demos' en 'populus' betekenen immers hetzelfde: volk. En wat is democratie anders dan het besef dat (en een maatschappelijke ordening waarin) de macht vanuit het volk komt én naar het volk moet terugkeren ?

Maar precies die tweede beweging is er een waar volksverlakkers van gruwen. Zij beweren wel graag dat zij “zeggen wat het volk denkt” maar hun handelen wordt hoegenaamd niet gestuurd door het belang van het volk. Zij zijn niet meer dan demagogen, waarschuwt Abicht. Edoch: door die volksverlakkers als 'populisten' te betitelen, bezondigen toonaangevende commentatoren zich aan gemakzuchtig en slordig taalgebruik, dat politiek ronduit gevaarlijk is.

Want, aldus Abicht, wie 'populisme' aanvaardt als legitieme definitie van het volksbedrog, kweekt daarmee tegelijk een ongezond elitegevoel bij de tegenstanders van de demagogen. En zo wordt de bevolking, om wie het toch zou moeten gaan, twee maal in de kou gezet: “schaamteloos misbruikt door de demagogen en daarenboven misprezen door de progressieve elite die in haar antipopulistische ijver steeds meer vervreemd geraakt van de mensen die zij beweert te verdedigen”.

De auteur zal de eerste zijn om de eretitel 'nieuwe bijbel' af te wijzen, maar … als de linkse intelligentia eindelijk tot de long overdue conclusie zou komen dat haar maatschappelijke praktijk én een aantal hardnekkige clichés aan ernstige herziening toe zijn, dan is dit boek een uitmuntende inspiratiebron.
Cruciaal in dit uitdagend onbevooroordeelde betoog (dat tegelijk getuigt van indrukwekkende belezenheid én kennis van historische en hedendaagse realiteit) is het onderscheid tussen formele gelijkheid en inhoudelijke gelijkwaardigheid.

Hetzelfde slordige taalgebruik (als symptoom van slordig denken) heeft beide termen te lang als synoniem gezien. Het failliet van de gelijkheids-ideologie is inmiddels voldoende aangetoond. Maar met de verwezenlijking van de gelijkwaardigheid is het niet veel beter gesteld.

Op tal van openbare gebouwen prijkt wel de trotse leuze Liberté – Egalité – Fraternité, en dat betekent “dat we reeds de kans gekregen en gegrepen hebben deze theoretisdhe eisen ook in de praktijk om te zetten”. Maar: “de verovering van machtscentra door voorstanders van de gelijkwaardigheid die dan niet in staat zijn gebleken hun programma uit te voeren, toont aan dat de verwijdering van externe obstakels blijkbaar niet volstaat, zolang men dit streefdoel niet tevens geïnternaliseerd heeft”

Wie – zonder oogkleppen - verder wil denken dan de paradox (ofte schijnbare tegenstelling) 'democratie-populisme' vindt bij Abicht een rijkdom aan ideeën. Waarmee andermaal is bewezen dat een boek niet dik hoeft te zijn om leerrijk te wezen.

lundi, 08 octobre 2012

Völkerrecht oder Gesinnungsjustiz?

Völkerrecht oder Gesinnungsjustiz?

Wie die Justiz in der EU Erinnerungen dekretiert und ihrem Neo-Kolonialismus Flankenschutz gibt – zum neuen Buch von Hannes Hofbauer

von Tobias Salander

Ex: http://www.zeit-fragen.ch/

100862~1.JPGWem würde die geneigte Leserschaft die Beantwortung von Fragen zur Einschätzung historischer Abläufe gerne anvertrauen? Poli­tikern? Solchen rechter Ausrichtung? Oder linker? Oder Geistlichen? Christlicher, muslimischer, jüdischer, hinduistischer oder anderer Herkunft? Oder Europäern? Oder lieber Asiaten oder Afrikanern? Deutschen oder Franzosen, Rumänen oder Portugiesen? Senegalesen oder Kongolesen, Marokkanern oder Südafrikanern? Palästinensern oder Israeli? Wahabbiten, Schiiten oder der Nato? China oder Russ­land? – Oder? Vielleicht doch eher der Sache und nur der Sache, also den Quellen verpflichteten Historikern, die offen sind für neue Befunde, polyperspektivisch und quellen- und ideologiekritisch vorgehen, also Interessen hinter Sachverhalten aufspüren und offenlegen – dem humanistischen und aufklärerischen Ethos verbundenen Wissenschaftern?


Nun die Fragen: Waren die Kreuzzüge ein Völkermord? Die Ausrottung der amerikanischen Urbevölkerung und die Verschleppung von Millionen von Afrikanern als Sklaven in die Neue Welt – der grösste Genozid aller Zeiten? Wie ist der Aufstand in der Vendée während der Französischen Revolution einzuschätzen? Was hat sich 1898 wirklich auf dem US-Schlachtschiff «Maine» ereignet? Welches sind die Hintergründe des Schusses von Sarajewo 1914? Und des Massenmordes an den Armeniern im Ersten Weltkrieg? Wer verhalf Lenin zu seiner komfortablen Zugsreise nach St. Petersburg? Wer zündete den Reichstag an? Was geschah in Katyn? Warum bombardierten die Alliierten die Schienenwege nach Auschwitz nicht? Warum wurden die Atombomben auf Hiroshima und Nagasaki abgeworfen? Was geschah 1956 in Ungarn wirklich? Und was im Golf von Tongking? Was, wenn Operation Northwoods von Präsident John F. Kennedy nicht als unmoralisch zurückgewiesen worden wäre? Wer griff die USS «Enterprise» an? Was bedeuten die Stasi-Verbindungen des Mörders von Benno Ohnesorg? Wodurch unterschieden sich die RAF-Terroristen der ersten und der vierten Generation? Wer steckte hinter den Terroranschlägen in Italien in den 70er und 80er Jahren? War Gladio eine Widerstandsgruppe oder eine Terrororganisation? Der Blutsonntag von Vilnius vom 13. Januar 1991 – ein neues Auschwitz? Wer steckt hinter dem «Brotschlangen»-Massaker in Sarajewo? Und hinter dem Massaker in Srebrenica? Was spielte sich in Darfur ab? Sind die Verbrechen im kommunistischen Europa gleichbedeutend mit den Verbrechen der Nazi-Diktatur? War Miloševic der neue Hitler? Wie sind die Ungereimtheiten beim Einsturz von WTC 7 am Abend des 11. Septembers 2001 zu erklären? Hatte Saddam die Atombombe?

Wozu braucht die EU das Orwellsche «Richtig-Denk»?

Fragen über Fragen, mit denen sich jeder Schüler im Laufe seiner Schulzeit auseinandersetzen muss. Und woher erhält er die Antworten oder zumindest Ansätze von Antworten oder gar das Eingeständnis, die Frage könne derzeit nicht beantwortet werden? Durch den Geschichtslehrer, der bemüht ist, den Stand der Forschung zusammenzutragen und oft darauf hinweisen muss, diese oder jene Frage sei noch nicht zu klären, da die Archive noch nicht offen seien, die Dokumente einer Sperrfrist unterliegen oder nicht mehr vorhanden sind?

Wer dies denkt, dass die Klärung von historischen Fragen ein offener Prozess sei, dass in einer Demokratie Wahrheit stets errungen werden und strenger wissenschaftlicher Prüfung standhalten muss, immer offen für Korrekturen bei neu auftauchenden Quellen und Sachverhalten, sieht sich durch gewisse Abläufe der letzten Jahre innerhalb der EU eines besseren belehrt. Was in den USA (derzeit noch?) undenkbar wäre und die gross­artige Arbeit zum Beispiel eines investigativen Journalisten wie Seymour Hersh verunmöglichen würde (Aufdeckung der wahren Hintergründe des Massakers von My Lay, der Skandale um Abu Ghraib und US-Soldaten in Afghanistan etc. etc.), nimmt in der EU immer krassere Formen an: Immer häufiger ersetzen dort nämlich seit einem entsprechenden EU-Rahmenbeschluss aus dem Jahre 2008 Gerichtsurteile die Forschung und halten unter Strafandrohung fest, wie gewisse Ereignisse zu sehen seien. Wer diese Richtersprüche nicht zur Kenntnis nimmt, weiter forscht, sie auf Grund einschlägiger Erfahrungen mit bereits aufgedeckten False-Flag-Operations, Kriegslügen und Propaganda anzweifelt und Gegenhypothesen aufstellen will, sieht sich unvermittelt vor dem Kadi und zu Gefängnis oder einer hohen Geldstrafe verurteilt. Ob dieses obrigkeitlich verordnete Orwellsche «Richtig-Denk» die enormen Demokratiedefizite der EU kaschieren soll oder ob der juristische Griff auf laufende Auseinandersetzungen wie im Balkan der 90er Jahre, wo die EU und die Nato einen völkerrechtswidrigen Angriffskrieg führten, als Flankenschutz diente – oder ob die EU gar Grosskonzernen, welche die EU-Kommission nach Belieben dirigieren, bei der Übernahme neuer Märkte Schützenhilfe leistet, mithin also neokolonialistisches Gebaren juristisch absegnet – all diesen Fragen geht das kürzlich erschienene, sorgfältig recherchierte Bändchen von Hannes Hofbauer nach. Es trägt den Titel «Verordnete Wahrheit, bestrafte Gesinnung – Rechtsprechung als politisches Instrument». Hofbauer ist Wirtschaftshistoriker und Publizist und Kenner der EU, insbesondere von deren Ost-Erweiterung, die er schon in früheren Arbeiten als «Rückkehr des Kolonialismus» bezeichnete – man denke nur an das absolutistisch anmutende Gebaren der «Hohen Repräsentanten» in Bosnien-Herzegowina, die zwar von der Uno eingesetzt sind, aber zugleich als EU-Sonderbeauftragte fungieren.

Was in der Uno-Konvention zum Völkermord steht

Völkermord ist wohl das schlimmste Verbrechen, welches die Menschheitsgeschichte kennt. Wie viele Dutzend Millionen Menschen solchen Verbrechen zum Opfer gefallen sind, darüber streiten sich die Historiker. Doch was versteht man genau unter Völkermord? Gemäss der Konvention der Uno vom 9. Dezember 1948 mit dem Titel «Verhütung und Bestrafung von Völkermord» fallen alle Handlungen darunter, die in der Absicht begangen wurden, «eine nationale, ethnische oder religiöse Gruppe als solche ganz oder teilweise zu vernichten: a) die Tötung von Mitgliedern einer Gruppe, b) die Verursachung von schwerem körperlichem oder geistigem Schaden an Mitgliedern der Gruppe, c) die vorsätzliche Auferlegung von Lebensbedingungen, die geeignet sind, ihre körperliche Vernichtung ganz oder teilweise herbeizuführen, d) die Verhängung von Mass­nahmen, die auf Geburtenverhinderung innerhalb der Gruppe gerichtet sind, e) die gewaltsame Überführung von Kindern der Gruppe in eine andere Gruppe.» (zit. nach Hofbauer, S. 27)
Entscheidend für die Tat ist nicht die Zahl der dem Morden zum Opfer gefallenen Menschen, sondern der politisch oder religiös motivierte Wille, diese Menschen zu ermorden bzw. ihre Lebensgrundlage zu zerstören.

Zwei Strafgesetze – zwei historische Wahrheiten?

Doch wer definiert nun, wann ein Verbrechen als Völkermord eingestuft werden muss? Welche Gerichte sind dafür zuständig, und welche Rolle spielen bei den Entscheiden zeitgeschichtliche oder gar geopolitische Hintergründe? Hofbauer: «Wer masst sich den Richterspruch über historische Ereignisse an, der zu einem Leugnungsverbot mit Aussicht auf Gefängnisstrafe führt? Nationale Gerichte? Der Internationale Gerichtshof in Den Haag?» Um in die Problematik einzuführen, schreibt Hofbauer im Vorwort: «Leugnung und Verharmlosung von per Gerichtsbeschluss als Völkermord, Verbrechen gegen die Menschheit oder Kriegsverbrechen dekretierten Untaten werden in immer mehr Fällen und in immer mehr Ländern strafbar. So ist ein laut geäusserter Zweifel am Völkermord in Srebrenica seit einem entsprechenden EU-Rahmenbeschluss aus dem Jahr 2008 in der gesamten Europäischen Union ein Fall für den Staatsanwalt. Das Bestreiten des armenischen Völkermordes kann einen vor ein schweizerisches Gericht bringen. Umgekehrt landet jemand, der die Vertreibung der Armenier aus Anatolien im Jahr 1915 als Völkermord bezeichnet, in der Türkei (auch im europäischen Teil) vor dem Kadi. In vier osteuropäischen EU-Ländern ist die Leugnung kommunistischer Verbrechen – wer immer diese als solche festlegt – strafwürdig. Der ‹Holodomor› wiederum muss zwischen Lwiw, Odessa und Donezk ein Verbrechen gegen die ukrainische Nation genannt werden, sonst droht ein Gerichtsverfahren.» (S. 10)

Missliebige kollektive Erinnerungen EU-weit verfolgen

Mit grosser Sorge verfolgt Hofbauer die zunehmende Verrechtlichung der Meinungsbildung und die Verfolgung «falscher» Meinungen in der EU. Ausgehend von Antirassismus-Paragraphen und Paragraphen gegen die Leugnung nationalsozialistischer Verbrechen, die in den europäischen Staaten schon lange installiert sind und ihre Funktion durchaus erfüllen, sieht Hofbauer eine Tendenz, missliebige kollektive Erinnerungen EU-weit zu verfolgen. Dass dabei die Singularität des Holocaust stillschweigend über Bord geworfen wird, nehmen die Akteure offensichtlich ohne Probleme in Kauf. «Mit der Strafbarkeit der Leugnung aller möglichen Kriegsverbrechen und Völkermorde, sobald sie nur von einem internationalen Gericht als solche identifiziert wurden, hat eine Inflation von zu bestrafender Gesinnung eingesetzt, die der ursprünglichen Sonderstellung des Holocaust (bzw. seine Verharmlosung oder Leugnung) entgegensteht und diese in gewisser Weise verhöhnt.» (S. 10)

Erinnerungsgesetze als Flankenschutz geopolitischer und wirtschaftlicher Interessen

Dass der Auschwitz-Vergleich nun für alle möglichen Untaten herhalten muss, die Hofbauer durchaus als solche anerkennt, aber in der Gewichtung als unverhältnismässig einstuft und vor allem als weiterhin der forschenden Fragestellung zugänglich einfordert – Srebrenica als neues Auschwitz, der Blutsonntag von Vilnius mit 14 Toten als neues Auschwitz, die Konflikte in Darfur als neues Auschwitz, die kommunistische Herrschaft in Polen, Tschechien, Ungarn und anderen von 1949 bis 1989 gleichrangig dem Hitler-Faschismus –, dieser Sachverhalt lässt den Historiker aus Österreich zu folgender These kommen: «Die neuen Meinungsdelikte und Erinnerungsgesetze dienen als Flankenschutz geopolitischer und wirtschaftlicher Interessen. Diese Erkenntnis war die Motivation dafür, das vorliegende Buch zu schreiben. Dies fiel mir erstmals bei der Beobachtung des jugoslawischen Zerfallsprozesses der 90er Jahre und insbesondere der vom Westen daran anschliessend betriebenen ‹Erinnerungspolitik› auf. Schon die inneren Faktoren der südslawischen Desintegration wurden von aussen dynamisiert. Zur Rechtfertigung mehrfacher poli­tischer und militärischer Interventionen vor allem in Bosnien-Herzegowina und im Kosovo muss­ten vage und unterschiedlich interpretierbare Menschrechtsargumente herhalten, während das international kodifizierte Völkerrecht gebrochen wurde. Nato und westliche Medien arbeiteten dabei Hand in Hand. Externe Interessen am Zerfall des Vielvölkerstaates wurden kleingeredet oder gänzlich verschwiegen.» (S. 10f.) Dies, so Hofbauer weiter, sei zu Unrecht geschehen: «Denn ein Blick auf die Landkarte im Jahr 2011 zeigt, wie sich die auswärtigen Interessen durchgesetzt haben: US-Soldaten betreiben den grössten Militärstützpunkt in Europa im kosovarischen Camp Bondsteel; sogenannte Hohe Repräsentanten (der EU und der Uno) verwalten Bosnien-Herzegowina und das Kosovo im längst überwunden geglaubten Kolonialstil; und die ökonomischen Herzstücke Ex-Jugoslawiens, Slowenien und Kroatien, sind bzw. werden Teil der Europäischen Union. Darum, um grösstmöglichen Nutzen aus der südslawischen Desintegration ziehen zu können, führten die westlichen Institutionen, allen voran die Nato, Krieg.» (S. 11)

Wahrheitsverordnung macht Schule

Noch während des Krieges wurde der serbische Präsident vor einem ad hoc eingerichteten Tribunal angeklagt: «Die Anklage­erhebung des Jugoslawien-Tribunals erweiterte die politischen, wirtschaftlichen und militärischen Mittel um eine rechtliche Dimension.» (S. 11)
Um die neokoloniale Eroberung abzusichern und den «richtigen» Verlauf des Konfliktes in die Gehirne der Europäer einzubrennen, hat die EU gerichtlich festgelegt, welches die Wahrheit darüber sei – und bestraft jene, welche einer Siegergeschichtsschreibung noch nie über den Weg getraut haben.


Dass diese Form von Wahrheitsverordnung Schule gemacht hat, zeigen die Haftbefehle des Internationalen Strafgerichtshofes ICC gegen Staatschefs von Ländern, gegen die der Westen Krieg führt oder führte, so gegen al-Baschir im Sudan und Gaddafi in Libyen. Hofbauer betont, dass die Bestrafung der beiden genannten Männer sicher gerechtfertigt sei, nur agiere der Gerichtshof zu einseitig. Was ist mit den Greueltaten der Gegenseite? Gehen die vom Westen als «Gute» Titulierten straffrei aus? Und mit welcher Begründung? Und die Ironie der Geschichte? Sie bestehe darin, «dass die USA als eine der hauptsächlichen Betreiberinnen dieser Verfahren den Internationalen Strafgerichtshof selbst nicht anerkennen». (S. 12) Wie bekannt, müsste Den Haag mit einer schnellen Eingreiftruppe US-amerikanischer Spezialeinheiten rechnen, welche US-Kriegsverbrecher «befreien» würden, die auf Grund von Enthüllungen wie jenen von zum Beispiel Seymour Hersh in Den Haag auf ihren Prozess warteten.

Italienische Historiker wehrten sich erfolgreich

Hofbauers Kritik an der heraufziehenden Gesinnungsjustiz im Westen kommt, wie er selber sagt, zwar von links, doch könne sich jeder liberal Denkende anschliessen, denn: «Die Empörung beginnt bei der Beschneidung der Meinungsfreiheit, die ein zutiefst bürgerliches Gut darstellt.» (S. 263) Aufrufe von italienischen und französischen Historikern aus allen politischen Lagern gegen die Gesinnungsparagraphen und die Pönalisierung von Forschung bestätigen Hofbauer in seiner Auffassung – in Italien konnte die Erinnerungsdiktatur bisher abgewendet werden, während Frankreich munter voranschreitet und absurde Diktate verhängt, beispielsweise die Loi Taubira und die Loi Mékachéra, wobei erstere gewisse Aspekte des französischen Sklavenhandels verurteilt, während das zweite Gesetz als Reaktion der Kolonialisten darauf die Reinwaschung der eigenen Kolonialgeschichte in Nordafrika und Indochina per Gericht und unter Strafandrohung verordnet. (vgl. Hofbauer, S. 57ff.). Ein Ablauf, der zeigt, wie situationsbezogen und enorm instrumentalisiert und einer Demokratie und der freien Forschung Hohn sprechend solche Erinnerungsgesetze sind.

Gesinnungsparagraphen als Folge der 9/11-Antiterror-Hysterie

Da die Gesetzesgrundlagen in Europa schon längst ausreichten, um extremistische Gruppen in Schranken zu weisen, geht es nach Hofbauer hier um etwas anderes, was nur im Kontext der neokonservativen und neoliberalen Kriegsallianz seit 9/11 zu verstehen ist: «Die in Leugnungsverbote verpackten Gesinnungsparagraphen wären ohne die politisch und medial verbreitete Anti­terror-Hysterie nicht denkbar. Über den dabei entstandenen Verlust von Bürgerrechten ist viel geschrieben worden. Die Kriminalisierung von Meinung, mit der sich das vorliegende Buch beschäftigt, geht einen Schritt weiter: Sie bedroht politische Debatten und wissenschaftliche Forschung, hegemonisiert kollektive Erinnerung, verrechtlicht historische Ereignisse und tabuisiert Begrifflichkeiten (zum Beispiel ‹Völkermord›). Die hier analysierte Gesinnungsjustiz ist Teil einer umfassender betriebenen repressiven Politik, mit der die poli­tischen Eliten der Europäischen Union ihre Verluste an gesellschaftlicher Akzeptanz kompensieren wollen. Dass dies mit Verboten und Reglementierungen gelingt, darf bezweifelt werden. Der Strafandrohung bei ‹falscher› Gesinnung kommt in diesem System die Funktion eines kleinen, aber wichtigen Rädchens zu, zielt sie doch auf den intellektuellen Diskurs.» (S. 264)

Schutz der Meinungsfreiheit als erste Bürgerpflicht

Hofbauers Buch ist eine breite Leserschaft zu wünschen. Wenn daraus eine lebhafte und ernsthafte Diskussion entsteht, auf ehrlicher und an der Würde des Menschen orientierter Grundlage, so würde das den Millionen von Opfern kriegerischer Auseinandersetzungen sicher eher gerecht als die Errichtung einer leicht durchschaubaren Gesinnungsdiktatur in Europa und im übrigen Westen. Vielleicht lassen sich einige Europäer durch die Propagandawalze noch beeindrucken und sehen den Unterschied zwischen angeblichen Werten und effektiven Interessen nicht, die hinter schönfärberischen Worten wie «humanitäre Intervention», «Schutzverantwortung», «Bombenkampagne für die Menschenrechte» der Welt verkauft werden sollen. Ganz sicher ist aber der Rest der Welt, und das sind immerhin 88 Prozent, nicht so naiv und durchschaut die Heuchelei und die Doppelbödigkeit des Westens – dies jedenfalls betont der grosse Diplomat aus Singapur, Kishore Mahbubani, wieder und wieder. Wenn also Hofbauers exakte Studie ausserhalb der westlichen Hemisphäre mit ihren 12 Prozent der Weltbevölkerung offene Türen einrennen mag, so ist ihr im Westen eine ernsthafte Rezeption nur zu wünschen. Der stolze Westen der Renaissance, des Humanismus und der Aufklärung sollte nicht in der
Lage sein, würdig ins 21. Jahrhundert zu schreiten und eines der Grundprinzipien der Demokratie, die Meinungsfreiheit, zu schützen?     •

Hannes Hofbauer, «Verordnete Wahrheit, bestrafte Gesinnung – Rechtsprechung als politisches Instrument». Wien 2011, ISBN 978-3-85371-329-7

Tous les Etats doivent avoir le droit de participer, sur un pied d’égalité, à la politique mondiale

Tous les Etats doivent avoir le droit de participer, sur un pied d’égalité, à la politique mondiale

Le Conseil des droits de l’homme de l’ONU crée le mandat pour un expert indépendant pour la promotion d’un ordre international démocratique et équitable

Interview d’Alfred de Zayas, docteur en droit et philosophie

Ex: http://www.horizons-et-debats.ch/

De-Zayas.jpgthk. Le 23 mars, Alfred de Zayas a été désigné, par le Conseil des droits de l’homme, comme expert indépendant auprès de l’ONU pour la promotion d’un ordre international démocratique et équitable. Il est le premier à avoir le droit d’assumer ce mandat créé en septembre 2011, pour pouvoir agir dans le domaine de la démocratisation de l’ONU et au sein des Etats nationaux unis en elle. Il est entré en fonction le 1er mai 2012. Déjà lors de la session d’automne 2012 du Conseil des droits de l’homme, Alfred de Zayas a présenté son premier rapport et a obtenu une large approbation. L’expert indépendant, qui présente une longue carrière à l’ONU, n’était pas venu tout à fait de manière inattendue à cette fonction, comme il le dit lui-même, car il s’est occupé depuis très longtemps de la question de l’organisation d’une vraie démocratie, c’est-à-dire de la démocratie directe, comme elle existe en Suisse. Avec son mandat, Alfred de Zayas souhaite s’engager pour la paix et l’égalité des peuples. «Horizons et débats» a interviewé Alfred de Zayas à l’ONU à Genève.

Horizons et débats: Monsieur de Zayas, comment doit-on comprendre la mission de votre mandat?

Alfred de Zayas: La mission comporte une synthèse des droits civiques, politiques, économiques, culturels et sociaux. C’est un mandat de réconciliation qui vise la coopération et la solidarité. Les Etats du Nord, du Sud, de l’Est et de l’Ouest doivent se retrouver dans ce mandat et reconnaître dans celui-ci un lien. C’est un mandat constructif qui repose sur les objectifs et les principes de la Charte des Nations Unies. Ce n’est donc pas un mandat qui se dirige contre un Etat, une région, une philosophie ou une idéologie spécifique.
Ici, il s’agit de deux choses: d’abord d’une démocratisation au niveau national, mais aussi au niveau des relations internationales entre Etats; ensuite d’un processus pour avancer dans la direction de l’équité nationale et internationale.

Que doit-on s’imaginer par une démocratisation à un niveau international?

Nous avons besoin d’un ordre mondial qui soit réellement démocratique, qui s’oriente vers les besoins des êtres humains. Cela signifie que tous les Etats doivent y participer. Lors de décisions qui touchent la vie communautaire de notre monde, tous les Etats en tant que représentants de leurs peuples doivent pouvoir s’exprimer. Cette égalité en droits, ce traitement égalitaire de tous est central dans le texte de la Résolution 18/6 qui fonde le mandat. Je me tiendrais exactement aux termes de la résolution, comme je l’ai déjà montré dans mon premier rapport.

A quoi veut-on parvenir avec cela?

Les Etats du soi-disant tiers-monde, les Etats du Sud, voudraient un ordre mondial qui soit basé sur la justice. Aussi bien le commerce que la distribution des ressources doit se dérouler équitablement. Le clivage entre pauvre et riche ne doit pas s’agrandir, mais diminuer. Sans que je doive désigner des Etats particuliers, je peux traiter le sujet à partir des connaissances théoriques si bien que je puisse remplir d’un contenu les termes comme démocratie, justice, équité, égalité, autodétermination et identité nationale. Mais on veut aussi formuler des recommandations pratiques et pragmatiques. Il y a déjà assez de livres sur la théorie des relations internationales.

Comment procédez-vous?

On trouve un grand nombre de sources aux Nations Unies. Je m’appuierai sur les rapports d’anciens rapporteurs, sur des études de la sous-commission de l’ancienne Commission des droits de l’homme et du Conseil des droits de l’homme même, ainsi que sur des études de l’Assemblée générale. Certes, je n’ai pas l’intention de répéter ce qui a déjà été fait. Cependant, je me baserai là-dessus. Comme vous le savez, j’étais secrétaire du Comité des droits de l’homme et chef du Département de requêtes à l’Office du Haut Commissaire aux droits de l’homme. La riche jurisprudence du Comité des droits de l’homme me soutient aussi.

Comment estimez-vous le degré d’efficacité de ce mandat?

Je suis très optimiste en ce qui concerne ce mandat, parce que beaucoup de réactions positives me sont parvenues depuis ma nomination et que mon adresse courriel a été publiée au sein de l’ONU, à savoir l’adresse ie-internationalorder@ohchr.org. Les ONG, les organisations intergouvernementales, les Etats, les organisations civiles et les individus m’ont contacté en apportant des propositions concrètes – par exemple comment ils comprennent mon mandat, où ils voient les priorités etc. Je prends au sérieux ces demandes et ces propositions. J’étudierai tout cela minutieusement. Déjà dans mon rapport au Conseil des droits de l’homme, j’ai cité dans le paragraphe 11, une liste de propositions sur des sujets que j’ai reçus de personnes intéressées. Je traiterai bien sûr ces propositions en priorité.

Que se passe-t-il avec toutes ces suggestions et demandes?

J’écrirai certainement un rapport sur le terme de participation de l’être humain à l’organisation politique de la démocratie, mais au niveau national et international, sur les questions de manipulation de l’opinion publique etc. Je présenterai ces études au Conseil des droits de l’homme l’année prochaine. Si je parle de démocratie, je pense à une véritable participation. Là, il ne s’agit pas seulement du droit de vote à l’intérieur d’un Etat, mais du droit de choisir la politique concrète. Cela comporte aussi le droit de participer à l’organisation des règles politiques. Des élections démocratiques tous les quatre ans, c’est une bonne chose, mais on doit avoir de véritables options et pas seulement voter pour la forme. La population doit également avoir la possibilité d’influencer la politique extérieure authentiquement, de sorte que les gouvernements ne puissent plus pratiquer une politique extérieure contre la volonté de la population.
Du point de vue international, les Nations Unies, respectivement le Conseil de sécurité, devraient être réformés afin de garantir une participation internationale plus representative, plus authentique, autrement dit, réaliser la démocratie.

En octobre, vous parlerez devant l’Assemblée générale. De quoi s’agira-t-il?

Oui, je dois présenter un autre rapport, plus détaillé, à l’Assemblée générale. Dans ce rapport, j’identifie une série d’obstacles et je tente de nommer les bonnes pratiques et je soumettrai mes recommandations à l’Assemblée générale. Cela se passera le 30 octobre 2012 à New York – Deo volente. Je verrai comment réagissent les Etats à mon rapport lors de l’Assemblée générale et ce qu’ils me proposeront.

Comment peut-on transmettre les fondements d’une vie communautaire démocratique à d’autres pays? Un «printemps arabe» ou des interventions militaires de l’OTAN n’aident certainement pas.

Je ne conçois pas mon mandat comme un mandat de «naming and shaming». Mon mandat, comme je l’ai dit, est constructif et il doit aider à comprendre ces termes partout de la même manière. Quand je parle de démocratie, cela devrait être plus ou moins semblable à ce qu’une personne entend par là en Amérique du Nord, en Amérique du Sud, en Australie, en Europe de l’Est, en Chine, en Inde ou en Afrique. Il n’est pas possible que chacun comprenne la démocratie à sa façon, et il n’est pas acceptable non plus que chacun applique le droit international à sa guise. Un des obstacles principaux à la paix mondiale et à la création d’un «ordre mondial» démocratique et juste est que de nombreux Etats n’appliquent pas le droit international de la même façon, ici ils disent oui et là ils disent non. Sans vouloir critiquer certains Etats, je voudrais attirer l’attention sur cette problématique fondamentale. Finalement, pour utiliser une expression anglaise, je crois que «The bottomline is participation.»

Cela veut dire?

Cela veut dire que les citoyens doivent pouvoir prendre part et participer à l’organisation de la politique et ceci directement. Le modèle de la démocratie directe offre ici beaucoup d’éléments. On doit avoir la possibilité d’initier une loi. La possibilité de contrôler des lois par des référendums, mais aussi la possibilité de demander des comptes aux fonctionnaires gouvernementaux, respectivement aux hommes politiques quand ils font une toute autre politique que celle qu’ils ont promise – cela doit être l’essence de la démocratie. Les politiques élus doivent pouvoir être poursuivis, quand ils n’ont pas tenu leur promesse qu’ils ont faite aux citoyens et ainsi abusé de leur confiance. C’est pourquoi on doit pouvoir éloigner ces personnes de leurs fonctions. Chez nous aux Etats-Unis, il existe le terme de «recall» ou d’«impeachment».
J’étudierai donc exactement le modèle de la démocratie directe. Il s’agit de la question de savoir comment on pourrait appliquer ce modèle avec certaines modifications dans d’autres pays. Toutefois, on doit tenir compte pour chaque pays de son histoire, de sa culture, de sa tradition et de ses représentations individuelles de la vie communautaire.

D’après vous, quel rôle l’Etat national jouera-t-il ici?

Comme dans la Grèce antique, un Etat est né avec la Polis, où les citoyens pouvaient prendre part à la politique, cela doit valoir aussi pour les différents pays. Donc, l’Etat national est décisif dans ce processus. Du point de vue international, nous voudrions que tous les Etats aient le droit d’organiser la politique mondiale sur un pied d’égalité. Mais aussi à l’intérieur, donc au niveau national, les citoyens d’un certain Etat doivent accepter les véritables lois pour eux, pour leur propre identité, pour leur propre culture et choisir une politique garantissant les droits de l’homme et la dignité de tous les citoyens.

Monsieur De Zayas, nous vous souhaitons beaucoup de succès dans l’accomplissement de votre mandat et vous remercions de cet entretien.    •

Monsieur de Zayas invite les lecteurs à partager leurs idées en envoyant leurs propositions à l’adresse suivante: ie-internationalorder@ohchr.org
(Traduction Horizons et débats)

Gemeenteraadsverkiezingen als volksverlakkerij

Gemeenteraadsverkiezingen als volksverlakkerij

Edi CLIJSTERS

Ex: http://www.uitpers.be/  

 
Gemeenteraadsverkiezingen als volksverlakkerij
 

Fanny Wille & Kris Deschouwer, Over mensen en macht. Coalitievorming in de Belgische gemeenten, Brussel, ASP, 2012; 192 pp.

Je kan natuurlijk, een oud anarchistisch motto indachtig, van oordeel zijn dat verkiezingen in een burgerlijke democratie eigenlijk altijd en hoe dan ook volksverlakkerij zijn, want “als verkiezingen écht iets zouden veranderen, waren ze al lang afgeschaft”.

Je kan ook geloven dat die burgerlijke democratie vooralsnog het minst slechte van de reëel bestaande systemen is om het volk enige inspraak  te geven in de beleidsvorming. En dat in gemeenten – bakermat bij uitstek van democratische rechten en vrijheden – verkiezingen de mensen meer aanspreken, juist omdat ze nauwer aansluiten bij wat die mensen dag-in, dag-uit rond zich zien.

Helaas: zoals dat wel vaker het geval is, houdt dit beate wensdenken geen stand wanneer het aan ernstig onderzoek wordt onderworpen. Wat betreft de motivatie van de kiezer, spreken de cijfers voor zich : ondanks de (theoretische) opkomstplicht, laten ook bij verkiezingen voor gemeente- of provincieraden ongeveer enkele honderdduizenden kiesgerechtigde burgers het afweten (dat is zo'n 5 à 7 procent, ongeveer hetzelfde percentage als bij regionale of nationale verkiezingen).
De grotere nabijheid van kandidaten en thema's blijkt dus niet van aard om kiezers sterker te motiveren. Je kan dus met recht en reden de vraag stellen wat er zou gebeuren indien de opkomstplicht werd afgeschaft. Met name dan op gemeentelijk vlak. Want een recent boek van twee VUB-politologen heeft wel verrassende dingen – en zelfs een ronduit schokkend feit - aan het licht gebracht over het allesbehalve democratische karakter van die verkiezingen-onder-de-kerktoren.

Nu ja ...aan het licht gebracht ? Het onderzoek bevestigt een dubieus verschijnsel dat op lokaal vlak vaak werd vermoed of zelfs aangetoond, maar toch een bijzondere relevantie krijgt nu blijkt dat het schering en inslag is. In tal van gemeenten wordt namelijk al (lang) voor de gemeenteraadsverkiezingen via geheime voor-akkoorden uitgemaakt hoe de toekomstige bestuurscoalitie er zal uitzien. Het kiezerspubliek in het algemeen en de eigen achterban in het bijzonder wordt daarover geheel in het ongewisse gelaten. En tenzij de kiezers een (lokale...) politieke aardverschuiving teweegbrengen, tellen ze dus alleen maar mee “voor spek en bonen”.
Verrassend ? Schokkend ? Leerrijk in elk geval. En daarom een element in het boek dat helaas te weinig in de verf wordt gezet door de auteurs zelf, én – driewerf helaas – ook door de commentatoren die de praktijken (zouden moeten) kennen.

Maar eerst iets meer over het boek. Dat is gebaseerd op het onderzoek waarop Wille aan de VUB promoveerde, en wil zo diep mogelijk “doordringen in de zwarte doos” van de coalitievorming op lokaal niveau. Daartoe worden diverse theorieën m.b.t. coalitievorming besproken en getoetst aan de lokale realiteit – die er doorgaans heel anders uitziet. Vervolgens worden systematisch de opeenvolgende stappen ontleed die leiden tot de vorming van deze of gene coalitie, en uitvoerig aandacht besteed aan de onderlinge krachtverhoudingen, onderscheiden spelers, uiteenlopende dan wel convergerende beleidsopties, en omgevingsfactoren. Dat is een mondvol, en zelfs meer dan dat.

Want het boek lijdt aan wat ik beleefd zal omschrijven als “didactische overkill”. U herinnert zich misschien wel die prehistorische stelregel die voorschreef hoe een goede les of redevoering moest worden opgebouwd: eerst zeg je wat je gaat vertellen, dan vertel je dat, en vervolgens besluit je door samen te vatten wat je verteld hebt. De regel mag dan uit het pre-electronische steentijdperk dateren, in dit boek wordt hij grondig, zéér grondig toegepast. Kortom: als er pakweg 30 van de 180 bladzijden tekst waren geschrapt, had dit de duidelijkheid niet geschaad, en de lezer toenemende ergernis bespaard. De bekommernis om dingen duidelijk uit te leggen kan ik alleen maar toejuichen; maar je mag de lezer die een boek als dit überhaupt ter hand neemt ook niet behandelen als een nitwit aan wie je vijf keer hetzelfde moet uitleggen.

Daarmee heb ik meteen het eerste aspect aangeduid dat mij heeft geërgerd, en kan ik terugkeren tot wat dit boek wél leerrijk en vaak zelfs boeiend maakt.

Een goed overzicht van de diverse theorieën over coalitievorming, om te beginnen. Daar is niets mis mee; alleen dienen de auteurs er – zeer terecht – herhaaldelijk op te wijzen dat die theorieën vooral slaan op 'echte' regeringsvorming, maar nauwelijks een rol spelen wanneer op lokaal vlak coalities moeten worden gesloten. Wat daar telt is: in de bestuursmeerderheid geraken, tot ongeveer elke prijs. Macht dus.

Maar ook : mensen. Ook in dat opzicht verschilt kleinschalige coalitievorming duidelijk van die op een hoger niveau. In de gemeente telt, veel meer dan in regionale of nationale regeringen, of individuen “met elkaar kunnen” of niet.

Dat zijn alvast twee betekenisvolle verschillen, en ze worden uitvoerig uit de doeken gedaan.
Er is nog een derde verschil : in België is het op nationaal of zelfs regionaal niveau zo goed als ondenkbaar dat één enkele partij een absolute meerderheid verovert en dus alleen zou kunnen regeren. Terwijl in Vlaanderen in ruim een derde van de gemeenten - en in Wallonië zelfs in meer dan de helft ! - één enkele partij alleen 'regeert'.Omgekeerd kan het spel van de coalitievorming er toe leiden dat de grootste partij uit de boot valt; dat blijkt in ongeveer 10 procent van de gemeenten het geval, en dat is dan weer een verschijnsel dat men op een hoger bestuursniveau evengoed aantreft.

Het boek ontleedt minutieus alle stappen in het onderhandelingsproces dat moet uitmonden in een nieuw college van burgemeester en schepenen; ook de waarde van belangrijke posities in OCMW en intercommunales worden niet uit het oog verloren. Zo krijgt de lezer een gedetailleerd beeld van wat zich zo al allemaal afspeelt voor, tijdens en na de verkiezingsslag, voor en achter de schermen.
Veel daarvan is voor de geïnteresseerde waaarnemer niet echt nieuw, en in die zin vormt het boek een zoveelste illustratie van de vaak gehoorde misprijzende bedenking dat nogal wat sociaal- of politiek-wetenschappelijk onderzoek weinig méér doet dan bevestigen “wat iedereen al wist”.

Alleen wordt dat dan nu als 'bewezen' beschouwd...
Tegenover dit soort goedkope kritiek is het bijzonder jammer dat de écht nieuwe, ophefmakende onthulling van dit onderzoek niet duidelijker in de verf wordt gezet: dat er namelijk al zoveel wordt beslist, lang vóór de verkiezingen en ver àchter de schermen. Dat voor-akkoorden om in dezelfde of in een nieuwe coalitie samen te besturen al zijn afgesloten (en soms zelfs bij een notaris gedeponeerd) lang vóór de kiezer zijn zeg heeft gehad.

Dàt zoiets gebeurt is al kras. Nog krasser is de vaststelling dat die praktijk schering en inslag is. Want daarover laten de auteurs geen twijfel: “waar men gaat langs Vlaamse of Waalse wegen komt men voorakkoorden tegen” !

Hier situeert zich dan ook mijn tweede essentiële kritiek. Er valt zeker iets te zeggen voor de stelling dat een wetenschappelijk onderzoek zich moet of mag beperken tot het aan het licht brengen van bepaalde mechanismen, maar zich dient te onthouden van een waarde-oordeel daarover. Maar wanneer je achteraf op basis van dat onderzoek een boek op de markt brengt dat toch duidelijk bedoeld is voor een breder publiek … moet je wellicht wél je nek uitsteken en duidelijk een standpunt innemen tegenover een uitgesproken ondemocratisch verschijnsel. Dat mag zeker worden verwacht van wetenschappers die er doorgaans niét voor terugschrikken het politieke wereldje de les te lezen...

Zo'n duidelijk standpunt ontbreekt in dit boek. Met een “iedereen doet het” is de kous m.i. niet af, wanneer je vaststelt dat de wil van de kiezer op zo'n flagrante manier buiten spel wordt gezet – zelfs al is dat dan slechts op lokaal niveau. En dat verkiezingen de politiek nu eenmaal tot een “hoogst onzekere omgeving” maken, tja … dat geldt tenslotte niet alleen voor het gemeentelijke niveau. Het is precies een wezenskenmerk van democratie dat machthebbers die macht ook kunnen verliezen. Dat zij zich aan die onzekerheid willen onttrekken is ongetwijfeld begrijpelijk vanuit hùn standpunt, maar niet vanuit dat van iemand die begaan is met de kwaliteit van onze democratie.

Dat een partij nog voor de verkiezingen een bondgenootschap aangaat met een of meer andere partij(en) kan alleen maar worden gerechtvaardigd indien dat ook open en eerlijk gebeurt, zodat de kiezers weten waar ze aan toe zijn. Dan kunnen ze nog altijd soeverein uitmaken of ze dat spel meespelen of niet.

Het zou dus bijvoorbeeld leerrijk zijn geweest enkele gevallen – of tenminste één geval – nader te onderzoeken waarin een bestaand voor-akkoord niet kon worden uitgevoerd omdat uiteindelijk de kiezer de kaarten beduidend anders deelde dan verwacht. Want misschien gebeurde dat juist omdat men een of andere afspraak vermoedde, en die wou doorkruisen. Wie wil, mag dat als een suggestie voor een volgend proefschrift beschouwen.

Méér dan een suggestie is mijn laatste punt van kritiek: over het feit dat allerlei belangrijke posities in intercommunales helemààl niet aan het oordeel van de kiezer worden onderworpen, wordt in dit boek ook ergerlijk licht heengegaan. Je kan natuurlijk aanvoeren dat dit tenslotte de 'prijs' is die de winnaars in de wacht slepen. Maar recente gebeurtenissen hebben, dacht ik, toch voldoende aangetoond dat ook – of zelfs met name – op dat niveau wat meer democratische controle en inspraak zeker geen kwaad kan. Kortom: ook hier schieten de kritische wetenschappers tekort.

Slotsom: een leerrijk en zelfs onthullend, maar uiteindelijk onbevredigend boek, omdat het te braaf blijft.

dimanche, 07 octobre 2012

Interview with Alexander Dugin

 

Interview with Alexander Dugin http://www.wermodandwermod.com/

Introduction

In February 2012, Professor Alexander Dugin traveled to New Delhi, India to attend the 40th World Congress of the International Institute of Sociology, the theme of which was “After Western Hegemony: Social Science and its Publics.” Professor Dugin was kind enough to take some time away from the conference to answer a few questions by representatives of Arktos who attended the event. 

In this interview, we attempted to have Professor Dugin clarify some of his basic beliefs in order to dispel the confusion and misrepresentations that exist about him and his movement, the Eurasian Movement, and its offshoot, the Global Revolutionary Alliance, in the English-speaking world. The interview was conducted by Daniel Friberg, CEO of Arktos, and John B. Morgan, Editor-in-Chief.

This interview is being released in conjunction with Prof. Dugin’s appearance at Identitarian Ideas 2012, being held by the Swedish organization Motpol in Stockholm on July 28, 2012, and the simultaneous release of Prof. Dugin’s book The Fourth Political Theory by Arktos (http://www.arktos.com/alexander-dugin-the-fourth-political-theory.html). This is the first book by Prof. Dugin to appear in the English language.

There is a perception in the West that you are a Russian nationalist. Do you identify with that description?

The concept of the nation is a capitalist, Western one. On the other hand, Eurasianism appeals to cultural and ethnic differences, and not unification on the basis of the individual, as nationalism presumes. Ours differs from nationalism because we defend a pluralism of values. We are defending ideas, not our community; ideas, not our society. We are challenging postmodernity, but not on behalf of the Russian nation alone. Postmodernity is a yawning abyss. Russia is only one part of this global struggle. It is certainly an important part, but not the ultimate goal. For those of us in Russia, we can’t save it without saving the world at the same time. And likewise, we can’t save the world without saving Russia.

It is not only a struggle against Western universalism. It is a struggle against all universalisms, even Islamic ones. We cannot accept any desire to impose any universalism upon others – neither Western, Islamic, socialist, liberal, or Russian. We defend not Russian imperialism or revanchism, but rather a global vision and multipolarity based on the dialectic of civilization. Those we oppose say that the multiplicity of civilizations necessarily implies a clash. This is a false assertion. Globalization and American hegemony bring about a bloody intrusion and trigger violence between civilizations where there could be peace, dialogue, or conflict, depending on historical circumstances. But imposing a hidden hegemony implies conflict and, inevitably, worse in the future. So they say peace but they make war. We defend justice – not peace or war, but justice and dialogue and the natural right of any culture to maintain its identity and to pursue what it wants to be. Not only historically, as in multiculturalism, but also in the future. We must free ourselves from these pretend universalisms.

What do you think Russia’s role will be in organizing the anti-modern forces?

There are different levels involved in the creation of anti-globalist, or rather anti-Western, movements and currents around the world. The basic idea is to unite the people who are fighting against the status quo. So, what is the status quo? It is a series of connected phenomena bringing about an important shift from modernity to post-modernity. It is shaped by a shift from the unipolar world, represented primarily by the influence of the United States and Western Europe, to so-called non-polarity as exemplified by today’s implicit hegemony and those revolutions that have been orchestrated by it through proxy, as for example the various Orange revolutions. The basic intent behind this strategy is for the West to eventually control the planet, not only through direct intervention, but also via the universalization of its set of values, norms, and ethics.

The status quo of the West’s liberal hegemony has become global. It is a Westernization of all of humanity. This means that its norms, such as the free market, free trade, liberalism, parliamentarian democracy, human rights, and absolute individualism have become universal. This set of norms is interpreted differently in the various regions of the world, but the West regards its specific interpretation as being both self-evident and its universalization as inevitable. This is nothing less than a colonization of the spirit and of the mind. It is a new kind of colonialism, a new kind of power, and a new kind of control that is put into effect through a network. Everyone who is connected to the global network becomes subjected to its code. It is part of the postmodern West, and is rapidly becoming global. The price a nation or a people has to pay to become connected to the West’s globalization network is acceptance of these norms. It is the West’s new hegemony. It is a migration from the open hegemony of the West, as represented by the colonialism and outright imperialism of the past, to an implicit, more subtle version.

To fight this global threat to humanity, it is important to unite all the various forces that would, in earlier times, have been called anti-imperialist. In this age, we should better understand our enemy. The enemy of today is hidden. It acts by exploiting the norms and values of the Western path of development and ignoring the plurality represented by other cultures and civilizations. Today, we invite all who insist on the worth of the specific values of non-Western civilizations, and where there other forms of values exist, to challenge this attempt at a global universalization and hidden hegemony.

This is a cultural, philosophical, ontological, and eschatological struggle, because in the status quo we identify the essence of the Dark Age, or the great paradigm. But we should also move from a purely theoretical stance to a practical, geopolitical level. And at this geopolitical level, Russia preserves the potential, resources and inclination to confront this challenge, because Russian history has long been intuitively oriented against the same horizon. Russia is a great power where there is an acute awareness of what is going on in the world, historically speaking, and a deep consciousness of its own eschatological mission. Therefore it is only natural that Russia should play a central part in this anti-status quo coalition. Russia defended its identity against Catholicism, Protestantism and the modern West during Tsarist times, and then against liberal capitalism during Soviet times. Now there is a third wave of this struggle – the struggle against postmodernity, ultra-liberalism, and globalization. But this time, Russia is no longer able to rely on its own resources. It cannot fight solely under the banner of Orthodox Christianity. Nor is reintroducing or relying on Marxist doctrine a viable option, since Marxism is in itself a major root of the destructive ideas constituting postmodernity.

Russia is now one of many participants in this global struggle, and cannot fight this fight alone. We need to unite all the forces that are opposed to Western norms and its economic system. So we need to make alliances with all the Leftist social and political movements that challenge the status quo of liberal capitalism. We should likewise ally ourselves with all identitarian forces in any culture that refuse globalism for cultural reasons. From this perspective, Islamic movements, Hindu movements, or nationalist movements from all over the world should also be regarded as allies. Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, and pagan identitarians in Europe, America, or Latin America, or other types of cultures, should all form a common front. The idea is to unite all of them, against the single enemy and the singular evil for a multiplicity of concepts of what is good.

What we are against will unite us, while what we are for divides us. Therefore, we should emphasize what we oppose. The common enemy unites us, while the positive values each of us are defending actually divides us.  Therefore, we must create strategic alliances to overthrow the present order of things, of which the core could be described as human rights, anti-hierarchy, and political correctness – everything that is the face of the Beast, the anti-Christ or, in other terms, Kali-Yuga.

Where does traditionalist spirituality fit into the Eurasian agenda?

There are secularized cultures, but at the core of all of them, the spirit of Tradition remains, religious or otherwise. By defending the multiplicity, plurality, and polycentrism of cultures, we are making an appeal to the principles of their essences, which we can only find in the spiritual traditions. But we try to link this attitude to the necessity for social justice and the freedom of differing societies in the hope for better political regimes. The idea is to join the spirit of Tradition with the desire for social justice. And we don’t want to oppose them, because that is the main strategy of hegemonic power: to divide Left and Right, to divide cultures, to divide ethnic groups, East and West, Muslims and Christians. We invite Right and Left to unite, and not to oppose traditionalism and spirituality, social justice, and social dynamism. So we are not on the Right or on the Left. We are against liberal postmodernity. Our idea is to join all the fronts and not let them divide us. When we stay divided, they can rule us safely. If we are united, their rule will immediately end. That is our global strategy. And when we try to join the spiritual tradition with social justice, there is an immediate panic among liberals. They fear this very much.

Which spiritual tradition should someone who wishes to participate in the Eurasianist struggle adopt, and is this a necessary component?

One should seek to become a concrete part of the society in which one lives, and follow the tradition that prevails there. For example, I am Russian Orthodox. This is my tradition. Under different conditions, however, some individuals might choose a different spiritual path. What is important is to have roots. There is no universal answer. If someone neglects this spiritual basis, but is willing to take part in our struggle, during the struggle he may well find some deeper spiritual meaning. Our idea is that our enemy is deeper than the merely human. Evil is deeper than humanity, greed, or exploitation. Those who fight on behalf of evil are those who have no spiritual faith. Those who oppose it may encounter it.  Or, perhaps not. It is an open question – it is not obligatory. It is advisable, but not necessary.

What do you think of the European New Right and Julius Evola? And in particular, their respective opposition to Christianity?

It is up to the Europeans to decide which kind of spirituality to revive. For us Russians, it is Orthodox Christianity. We regard our tradition as being authentic.  We see our tradition as being a continuation of the earlier, pre-Christian traditions of Russia, as is reflected in our veneration of the saints and icons, among other aspects. Therefore, there is no opposition between our earlier and later traditions. Evola opposes the Christian tradition of the West. What is interesting is his critique of the desacralization of Western Christianity. This fits well with the Orthodox critique of Western Christianity. It is easy to see that the secularization of Western Christianity gives us liberalism. The secularization of the Orthodox religion gives us Communism. It is individualism versus collectivism. For us, the problem is not with Christianity itself, as it is in the West. Evola made an attempt to restore Tradition. The New Right also tries to restore the Western tradition, which is very good. But being Russian Orthodox, I cannot decide which is the right path for Europe to take, since we have a different set of values. We don’t want to tell the Europeans what to do, nor do we want to be told what to do by the Europeans. As Eurasianists, we’ll accept any solution. Since Evola was European, he could discuss and propose the proper solution for Europe. Each of us can only state our personal opinion. But I have found that we have more in common with the New Right than with the Catholics. I share many of the same views as Alain de Benoist. I consider him to be the foremost intellectual in Europe today. That it is not the case with modern Catholics. They wish to convert Russia, and that is not compatible with our plans. The New Right does not want to impose European paganism upon others. I also consider Evola to be a master and a symbolic figure of the final revolt and the great revival, as well as Guénon. For me, these two individuals are the essence of the Western tradition in this dark age.

In our earlier conversation, you mentioned that Eurasianists should work with some jihadist groups. However, they tend to be universalist, and their stated goal is the imposition of Islamic rule over the entire world. What are the prospects for making such a coalition work?

Jihadis are universalists, just as secular Westerners who seek globalization are. But they are not the same, because the Western project seeks to dominate all the others and impose its hegemony everywhere. It attacks us directly every day through the global media, fashions, by setting examples for youth, and so on. We are submerged in this global cultural hegemony. Salafist universalism is a kind of marginal alternative. They should not be thought of in the same way as those who seek globalization. They also fight against our enemy. We don’t like any universalists, but there are universalists who attack us today and win, and there are also non-conformist universalists who are fighting against the hegemony of the Western, liberal universalists, and therefore they are tactical friends for the time being. Before their project of a global Islamic state can be realized, we will have many battles and conflicts. And global liberal domination is a fact. We therefore invite everybody to fight alongside us against this hegemony, this status quo. I prefer to discuss what is the reality at present, rather than what may exist in the future. All those who oppose liberal hegemony are our friends for the moment. This is not morality, it is strategy. Carl Schmitt said that politics begins by distinguishing between friends and enemies. There are no eternal friends and no eternal enemies. We are struggling against the existing universal hegemony. Everyone fights against it for their own particular set of values.

For the sake of coherence we should also prolong, widen, and create a broader alliance. I don’t like Salafists. It would be much better to align with traditionalist Sufis, for example. But I prefer working with the Salafists against the common enemy than to waste energy in fighting against them while ignoring the greater threat.

If you are in favor of global liberal hegemony, you are the enemy. If you are against it, you are a friend. The first is inclined to accept this hegemony; the other is in revolt.

In light of recent events in Libya, what are your personal views on Gaddafi?

President Medvedev committed a real crime against Gaddafi and helped to initiate a chain of interventions in the Arab world. It was a real crime committed by our President. His hands are bloodied. He is a collaborator with the West. The crime of murdering Gaddafi was partly his responsibility. We Eurasianists defended Gaddafi, not because we were fans or supporters of him or his Green Book, but because it was a matter of principles. Behind the insurgency in Libya was Western hegemony, and it imposed bloody chaos. When Gaddafi fell, Western hegemony grew stronger. It was our defeat. But not the final one. This war has many episodes. We lost the battle, but not the war. And perhaps something different will emerge in Libya, because the situation is quite unstable. For example, the Iraq War actually strengthened Iran’s influence in the region, contrary to the designs of the Western hegemonists.

Given the situation in Syria at present, the scenario is repeating itself. However, the situation, with Putin returning to power, is much better. At least he is consistent in his support for President al-Assad. Perhaps this will not be enough to stop Western intervention in Syria. I suggest that Russia assist our ally more effectively by supplying weapons, financing, and so forth. The fall of Libya was a defeat for Russia. The fall of Syria will be yet another failure.

What is your opinion of, and relationship to Vladimir Putin?

He was much better than Yeltsin. He saved Russia from a complete crash in the 1990s. Russia was on the verge of disaster. Before Putin, Western-style liberals were in a position to dictate politics in Russia. Putin restored the sovereignty of the Russian state. That is the reason why I became his supporter. However, after 2003, Putin stopped his patriotic, Eurasianist reforms, putting aside the development of a genuine national strategy, and began to accommodate the economic liberals who wanted Russia to become a part of the project of globalization. As a result, he began to lose legitimacy, and so I became more and more critical of him. In some circumstances I worked with people around him to support him in some of his policies, while I opposed him in others. When Medvedev was chosen as his heir, it was a catastrophe, since the people positioned around him were all liberals. I was against Medvedev. I opposed him, in part, from the Eurasianist point-of-view. Now Putin will return. All the liberals are against him, and all the pro-Western forces are against him. But he himself has not yet made his attitude toward this clear. However, he is obliged to win the support of the Russian people anew. It is impossible to continue otherwise. He is in a critical situation, although he doesn’t seem to understand this. He is hesitating to choose the patriotic side. He thinks he can find support among some of the liberals, which is completely false. Nowadays, I am not so critical of him as I was before, but I think he is in a critical situation. If he continues to hesitate, he will fail. I recently published a book, Putin Versus Putin, because his greatest enemy is himself. Because he is hesitating, he is losing more and more popular support. The Russian people feel deceived by him. He may be a kind of authoritarian leader without authoritarian charisma. I’ve cooperated with him in some cases, and opposed him on others. I am in contact with him. But there are so many forces around him. The liberals and the Russian patriots around him are not so brilliant, intellectually speaking. Therefore, he is obliged to rely only upon himself and his intuition. But intuition cannot be the only source of political decision-making and strategy. When he returns to power, he will be pushed to return to his earlier anti-Western policies, because our society is anti-Western in nature. Russia has a long tradition of rebellion against foreign invaders, and of helping others who resist injustice, and the Russian people view the world through this lens. They will not be satisfied with a ruler who does not govern in keeping with this tradition.

vendredi, 05 octobre 2012

L’État providence dépend largement de la cohésion ethnique

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L’État providence dépend largement de la cohésion ethnique

Ex: http://fortune.fdesouche.com/

 

Dans un ouvrage traduit en français sous le  titre « Combattre les inégalités et la pauvreté : Les États-Unis face à l’Europe » (Flammarion, 2006) (1), deux économistes de renom international, professeurs à Harvard,  Alberto Alesina et Edward L. Glaeser, ont  cherché à comprendre pour quelles raisons l’État providence est plus présent en Europe occidentale qu’aux États-Unis, alors que les pays concernés ont des racines culturelles et religieuses comparables. (…)

L’ambition du livre est d’aller aux sources des différences entre les deux modèles. Il n’a pas pour propos d’analyser les impacts des politiques de redistribution sur le dynamisme économique et sur la croissance. Il ne s’agit donc pas d’évaluer les coûts et les avantages de l’État providence.

Après des observations liminaires sur les faits et les chiffres, Alesina et Glaeser montrent que la théorie économique pure explique très peu les écarts entre les politiques de redistribution aux USA et en Europe. Par contre, et ceci constitue l’essentiel de leur apport, ils montrent que la faiblesse de l’État providence en Amérique a deux causes fondamentales et de poids égal : la spécificité des institutions américaines et l’hétérogénéité de la population Outre-Atlantique. Ce deuxième aspect est largement traité à travers la question raciale et ethnique aux États-Unis. (…)

1. Les faits et les chiffres

L’état providence se façonne à partir de quatre grands types de politiques publiques : les mécanismes de redistribution (santé, revenus, famille, chômage, invalidité…) ; la progressivité du système fiscal ; les réglementations du marché du travail ; la disponibilité des services publics.

Des écarts importants

Dans ces domaines, un ensemble de données, présentées dans le chapitre I (pp. 29-82), attestent des écarts importants entre les États-Unis et l’Europe. Nous traduisons l’essentiel en quelques lignes.

En Europe, les dépenses des administrations publiques sont en moyenne 50 % plus élevées et les dépenses sociales publiques (vieillesse, famille, chômage, santé) sont presque deux fois plus fortes.

Les réglementations du marché du travail favorisent les travailleurs européens (salaires minimum, horaires, congés, licenciements et retraites).

La présence de services publics, plus forts en Europe, a plutôt pour vocation d’améliorer la situation des moins bien dotés.

La charité privée, forme privée de la redistribution, est nettement plus importante aux USA.

Des explications traditionnelles

Face à ces différences, somme toute bien connues, on est habitué à des explications traditionnelles du faible rôle de l’État providence aux États-Unis. Nous pouvons retenir les principales :

Le rôle actif du protestantisme dans l’idéologie de la réussite, analysé par le sociologue allemand Max Weber au tout début du 20e siècle.

La culture du goût du risque individuel qui poussa les premiers immigrants à choisir le nouveau monde.

Le rôle de la forte mobilité géographique Outre-Atlantique qui réduit les demandes de redistribution.

La mobilité sociale, déjà soulignée par Tocqueville en 1835, qui favorise un processus naturel d’égalité des chances.

Pauvreté et redistribution

Mais il convient de noter que la réalité ne correspond pas nécessairement aux idées reçues. En particulier, la célèbre fluidité sociale américaine est désormais entamée.

Pour les auteurs, les chiffres et les faits attestent que les Américains les plus pauvres semblent plus susceptibles de rester pauvres que leurs homologues Européens.

Le World Value Survey effectué sur la période 1983-1997 permet à Alesina et Glaeser de compléter le tableau grâce à des analyses sur l’image de la pauvreté selon les pays (pp. 271-318). Nous retenons ici quelques appréciations saillantes qui sont, par nature, des généralisations à manier avec précaution.

Aux USA on admet plutôt que les pauvres sont paresseux et peu dynamiques. A contrario on pense, en Europe, qu’ils sont malchanceux et englués dans une situation défavorable au départ.

Aux USA existe une forme de darwinisme social où les millionnaires sont la fine fleur d’une civilisation concurrentielle. En Europe, les pauvres sont plutôt les laissés pour compte d’un système capitaliste qui se caractérise par des antagonismes de classe.

Le tableau suivant, établi par les auteurs (p. 278) à partir du World Value Survey, permet de contraster les visions américaines et européennes.

Si on explique assez largement la pauvreté par un refus de l’effort, il semble normal qu’on sympathise moins avec l’idée de redistribution. On constate d’ailleurs, en prenant plusieurs pays, des corrélations statistiques positives fortes entre, d’une part, l’opinion dominante « le revenu est déterminé par la chance » et, d’autre part, le niveau élevé de redistribution. De même, on retrouve une relation positive forte lorsque les auteurs corrèlent l’opinion dominante « la pauvreté est la faute de la société » et l’importance de la redistribution.

Au total, on observe des idéologies différentes sur la redistribution et la pauvreté de part et d’autre de l’Atlantique. Il s’agit maintenant de s’écarter des idées générales et d’identifier les sources profondes de ces différences.

2. La faible pertinence des explications économiques

Nous résumons ci-dessous les conclusions des deux auteurs documentées dans le chapitre II « les explications économiques » (pp. 83-116).

Deux hypothèses sont souvent avancées par les économistes pour justifier une demande forte de redistribution dans une société : une répartition avant impôt inégalitaire et des faibles perspectives d’ascension sociale. En se fondant sur des modèles économiques élaborés par Romer, Meltzer et Richards, Alesina et Glaeser considèrent que ces deux explications ne sont pas pertinentes.

Une autre approche s’appuie sur l’idée que la redistribution permet d’amortir l’instabilité des revenus lorsque des chocs externes frappent une économie. Mais cet argument de protection face aux chocs doit être écarté à l’épreuve des faits. On observe des volatilités de l’activité économique comparables aux États-Unis et en Europe, et pourtant la redistribution est plus forte en Europe.

La rationalité économique suggère également que des coûts élevés de mise en œuvre des programmes de redistribution devraient être un frein au développement de l’État providence. Or ces coûts sont plus bas aux États-Unis qu’en Europe, et néanmoins l’Europe redistribue plus.

Enfin, la mobilité géographique peut s’analyser comme une forme de substitution rationnelle à la demande de redistribution. Selon cette logique, puisque les Américains sont plus mobiles, ils ont moins besoin de redistribution que les Européens. Cet argument semble pertinent. Mais, pour Alesina et Glaeser, ce choix de la mobilité relève bien plus de la mentalité américaine que d’un arbitrage économique rationnel entre déplacement physique et redistribution. Là encore la logique purement économique ne fournirait pas l’explication de fond : on doit plutôt être renvoyé aux problèmes des mentalités.

3. Le rôle des institutions politiques

En 80 pages, et sur deux chapitres, sont abordées ce que les auteurs appellent les explications « politiques » des contenus de l‘État providence. Tous les thèmes mis en avant privilégient la spécificité américaine par rapport à l’Europe.

Le système électoral

La représentation proportionnelle tend à prendre en compte l’ensemble des opinions et les minorités trouvent plus aisément une place. Appliqué au niveau d’un pays, ce système facilite la mise en place des programmes politiques axés sur les transferts sociaux. Inversement, la représentation majoritaire par circonscription géographique favorise l’opinion dominante et actionne le clientélisme local qui se défie des politiques de redistribution. Au total, puisque la représentation proportionnelle n’est pas dans la culture américaine, les États-Unis sont moins distributifs.

Les auteurs approfondissent ce point en remarquant que le basculement vers un système proportionnel résulte de moments de rupture (guerres, grèves ou révolutions) que les États-Unis ont moins connus que les États européens. A la faveur de ces ruptures, les minorités et les mouvements socialistes peuvent exiger des changements profonds du système électoral.

Le système fédéral

Depuis leur constitution en 1787, les États-Unis veulent éviter le poids des impôts et la présence d’un Léviathan « surtaxeur ». Ils souhaitent un État central léger accompagné d’une vraie décentralisation vers les États fédérés. Ce type d’architecture ne favorise pas un État providence fort pour plusieurs raisons. D’abord, on considère que les préférences collectives d’une juridiction politico-administrative décentralisée sont assez homogènes et ne poussent pas à la redistribution. Ensuite, la concurrence fiscale entre les juridictions décentralisées induit un nivellement par le bas en matière de redistribution. Enfin, les marges de manœuvre, notamment dans le domaine social, des juridictions décentralisées sont limitées dès lors que le système fédéral leur impose des règles d’équilibre budgétaire.

En suivant ces analyses, on en déduit que le garant de l’État providence devrait être un État central puissant en matière sociale. Or, précisément, les États-Unis limitent traditionnellement l’aptitude de l’État central à taxer pour redistribuer.

La séparation des pouvoirs

Aux États-Unis, la Chambre des représentants et le Sénat sont souvent de couleur politique différente. On a ainsi un contrepoids qui favorise le juste milieu. De plus, le Sénat a historiquement le rôle de préserver les droits des riches propriétaires. Il fut d’ailleurs décrit comme un « club des millionnaires », surtout jusqu’au début du 20e siècle, quand il était élu au suffrage indirect. Ce type de séparation des pouvoirs à l’américaine ne favorise pas une forte volonté de redistribution.

Le rôle de la Cour suprême

Le système judiciaire américain, et particulièrement la Cour suprême, prennent en charge la défense de la propriété privée contre toutes les forces qui tendent à collectiviser les risques. Il s’agit de combattre les distorsions de la concurrence, y compris quand elles proviennent des mouvements ouvriers ou syndicaux.

La Cour suprême est ainsi devenue un frein aux politiques de redistribution. Elle examine la législation au regard des principes constitutionnels qui sanctuarisent la propriété et les principes de la libre concurrence. Elle traduit la défiance vis-à-vis des prélèvements obligatoires en vue de redistribuer une richesse légitimement fondée sur la propriété privée.

La place des partis socialistes

Il existe une relation dialectique puissante entre la présence des partis socialistes et le poids de l’État providence. De plus, la forte proximité entre les syndicats ouvriers et les partis de gauche alimente la pression en faveur des politiques de redistribution. L’Europe, où les partis de gauche ont été les moteurs des avancées sociales et où les syndicats sont souvent politisés, est exemplaire à cet égard. Les États-Unis sont dans une situation inverse. Les partis socialistes y sont peu présents et les syndicats ouvriers se sont développés à l’extérieur de la sphère politique. Alesina et Glaeser avancent trois raisons majeures au faible rôle de la gauche américaine.

1. L’immensité, la diversité et l’isolement du territoire n’ont pas favorisé l’unification du mouvement ouvrier. A contrario, en Europe les mouvements ouvriers sont nés de la révolution industrielle et de l’exode rural vers des villes très densifiées.

2. L’hétérogénéité ethnique n’a pas favorisé un mouvement de gauche unitaire. Les syndicats américains pratiquaient eux même la ségrégation et les entrepreneurs ont joué sur les rivalités ethniques pour briser les grèves.

3. L’absence de guerre sur le sol américain, depuis la Guerre de sécession en 1865, a conduit à empêcher la formation d’une solidarité entre les militaires et le mouvement ouvrier. L’armée a même pu, dans certaines circonstances, jouer le rôle de la police contre les ouvriers.

Pour compléter les explications sur la faiblesse des partis socialistes américains, les auteurs ajoutent, pour le 20e siècle, la rivalité et la défiance envers le système soviétique.

L’ancienneté des institutions du nouveau monde

Dans les années 1890, la plupart des pays européens avaient une monarchie héréditaire et un droit de suffrage restreint, tandis que le « nouveau monde » connaissait la  démocratie et la plus moderne des Constitutions. Les institutions américaines ont vieilli quand on les compare aux constitutions européennes de l’ancien monde. Les auteurs mettent en avant ce paradoxe pour souligner qu’il doit exister un lien entre des institutions américaines, âgées de plus de deux siècles, et la faible appétence des États-Unis pour l’État providence. Ce sont ces institutions anciennes, élaborées par des possédants bien décidés à limiter le rôle de l’État, qui ont combattu les mouvements des citoyens américains réclamant plus de redistribution.

4. Le poids de l’hétérogénéité raciale et ethnique

Le poids de l’hétérogénéité raciale et ethnique sur la redistribution aux États-Unis compte autant que le rôle des institutions. Ce thème est traité dans un long chapitre V « La question raciale et la redistribution » (pp. 199-270 ». Alesina et Glaeser prennent d’abord appui sur une vaste littérature attestant l’existence des antipathies raciales et ethniques. Ils se réfèrent ensuite à une littérature démontrant le lien entre ces sentiments et l’hostilité aux dépenses sociales (principales références p. 200).

Fragmentation ethnique et dépenses sociales

Les auteurs construisent des indicateurs de fragmentation ethnique ; ils calculent en particulier des indices de fragmentation raciale, ethnique, linguistique et religieuse. On observe alors une différence nette entre les États-Unis et l’Europe. Dans certains pays européens l’homogénéité ethnique et doublée d’une homogénéité religieuse. Ainsi, 92 % des Suédois et 95 % des Danois sont luthériens.

Une régression, appliquée à un grand nombre de pays dans le monde, montre une relation inverse entre la fragmentation ethnique et les dépenses sociales (p.210). On retrouve la même corrélation négative entre la fragmentation linguistique et les dépenses sociales (p. 212).

Données internes aux États-Unis

L’impact de l’hétérogénéité ethnique sur l’ampleur des dépenses sociales se retrouve également à l’intérieur des États-Unis. Les auteurs appréhendent cette question par trois voies d’entrée : les chiffres, les enquêtes d’opinion et l’histoire.

Les chiffres - Les États du Sud, ethniquement plus diversifiés, sont moins généreux dans la répartition que leurs homologues plus homogènes du Nord. L’indicateur chiffré choisi pour le démontrer (p. 219) est un critère d’aide sociale aux familles : l’AFDC (Aid to families with dependent children).

Les enquêtes d’opinion - Les données des enquêtes d’opinion montrent que les stéréotypes racistes jouent un rôle central dans l’opposition à l’État providence aux USA. Le General Social Survey (GSS) du National Opinion Research Center fait des enquêtes depuis 1972 qui vont toutes dans ce sens. On note une animosité particulière vis-à-vis des Afro-américains qui recevraient trop de l’État providence. Cela se traduit par une relation inverse entre le pourcentage de la population noire et le soutien aux dépenses sociales dans les États fédérés (p. 226).

Toujours sur le terrain des enquêtes d’opinion, les auteurs reprennent, pour justifier leurs analyses, les travaux de Gilsen et Luttner (2). On note en particulier que « vivre à proximité de récipiendaires de prestations sociales accroît le soutien à la redistribution quand ils appartiennent à la race de la personne interrogée, mais il le réduit quand ils appartiennent à une autre race » (p. 227). De plus, les Noirs pauvres sont plus favorables à la redistribution que les Blancs pauvres. « En résumé, les données des sondages d’opinion sont claires et fortes. Les relations interraciales constituent un élément crucial des préférences individuelles sur les dépenses sociales, la redistribution et la lutte contre la pauvreté. » (p. 228).

L’histoire - L’histoire des États-Unis apporte d’autres éléments à la démonstration. Deux exemples précis attestent le recours à une politique raciale pour détourner les américains d’un intérêt positif pour les questions de redistribution. Dans les années 1890, les élites du Sud ont instrumentalisé la haine des Noirs pour éviter toute avancée sociale. Dans le milieu des années 1960, après que le New Deal, lancé en 1932, ait diffusé ses impacts positifs sur l’État providence, on observe une montée de la contestation de l’État  providence. Ce mouvement a été incarné par l’ascension du républicain Barry Goldwater. L’élément déterminant de ce virement à droite était le poids des partisans de la ségrégation raciale dans les États du Sud. Cette évolution a d’ailleurs été accentuée par l’ampleur de la vague anticommuniste de l’époque.

Le cas des États providences européens

En Europe, contrairement aux États-Unis, les États ont œuvré pour construire une collectivité homogène, parfois de manière violente. De ce fait, les adversaires de l’État providence ont eu du mal à diaboliser les pauvres en tant que membres d’une minorité. Certes, les histoires nationales sont différentes, mais elles ont toutes contribué à faciliter l’adhésion aux mécanismes de redistribution. Plusieurs vecteurs ont été à l’œuvre pour appuyer la constitution des identités nationales : obéir au gouvernement, accomplir le service militaire et payer des impôts. Les auteurs soulignent également le rôle actif des systèmes scolaires centralisés des pays européens, alors qu’ils sont décentralisés aux États-Unis. Naturellement, les relations fortes, en Europe, entre les mouvements socialistes et la construction d’un État providence doivent être ici rappelées.

Mais toute cette dynamique n’a pas empêché les « politiciens à thème ethnique » (p. 247) de cultiver les méfiances et les haines. « Les démagogues européens, écrivent Alesina et Glaeser, se sont montrés aussi ardents à exploiter le racisme que leurs homologues américains. Mais, avec l’homogénéité européenne, ils ont généralement trouvé beaucoup moins de matière première. » (p. 246).

L’antisémitisme n’a pas été absent des freins à l’État providence. Il a particulièrement joué lorsque les intellectuels juifs aux tendances socialisantes ont servi de repoussoir pour la droite afin de contrer les volontés distributives de la gauche.

L’exploitation de l’hostilité envers les immigrés est un thème récurrent dans les attaques contre l’État providence. L’argument est connu : souvent très pauvres, ils bénéficieraient d’une redistribution trop généreuse.

La présence en Europe des partis d’extrême droite et des partis populistes « montre bien que le racisme n’est pas une spécificité aberrante des Américains mais le résultat naturel d’une situation où des minorités sont exagérément pauvres et où des politiciens peuvent répandre la haine contre elles pour se faire élire sur un programme antisocial » (p. 264).

Alésina et Glaeser concluent sur ce thème en mettant en garde les Européens. « L’Europe s’étant diversifiée davantage, les Européens se sont montrés de plus en plus réceptifs à la même forme de démagogie raciste et antisociale qui a si bien fonctionné aux États-Unis. Nous verrons si le généreux État providence européen pourra réellement survivre dans une société hétérogène. » (p. 270)

Conclusion

Les analyses des professeurs Alesina et Glaeser sur les visions différentes de l’Etat providence aux États-Unis et en Europe occidentale interpellent et, pourquoi le nier, dérangent un peu. La large palette des explications offertes par les auteurs est un enrichissement par rapport à certaines idées toutes faites. Mais la place donnée aux idéologies de la pauvreté des deux côtés de l’Atlantique et le poids accordé aux hétérogénéités raciales et ethniques nous font entrer sur des terrains inconfortables. En effet, la mesure des différences raciales et ethniques posent de très sérieux problèmes scientifiques et moraux.

De plus, si l’hétérogénéité ethnique explique la faiblesse de l’État providence, c’est la faiblesse de l’État providence qui produit de l’hétérogénéité sociale.

Enfin, la frontière peut devenir floue entre deux visions a priori antagonistes : la diversité comme richesse et l’hétérogénéité comme problème. Tout cela rappelé, les questions liées à l’hétérogénéité des populations sont incontournables quand on aborde les problèmes de répartition et de solidarité collective. (…)

———————

Notes :

(1) La version originale est “Fighting Poverty in the US and Europe – A world of difference” (Oxford University Press, 2004).

(2) M. Gilens « Why American Hate Welfare : Race, Media and Policitics of Antipoverty » (University of Chicago Press, 1999) et de E. Luttner « Group loyalty and the taste for redistribution » (Journal of Political Economy, 2001).

OPEE (Observatoire des Politiques Economiques en Europe), Bulletin n° 18, été 2008

jeudi, 04 octobre 2012

IMPERIO: ORDEN ESPACIAL Y ESPIRITUAL

ELEMENTOS Nº 32.

IMPERIO: ORDEN ESPACIAL Y ESPIRITUAL

 

Enlace Revista electrónica

Enlace Revista formato pdf


SUMARIO.-

Translatio Imperii: del Imperio a la Unión,
por Peter Sloterdijk

¿Hacia un modelo neoimperialista?
Gran espacio e Imperio en Carl Schmitt, 
por Alessandro Campi

¿Europa imperial?, 
por Rodrigo Agulló

Imperialismo pagano, 
por Julius Evola

El concepto de Imperio en el Derecho internacional,
por Carl Schmitt

Nación e Imperio, 
por Giorgio Locchi

El Imperium a la luz de la Tradición, 
por Eduard Alcántara

Imperio sin Imperator, 
por Celso Sánchez Capdequí

Imperio: Constitución y Autoridad imperial, por Michael Hardt y Antonio Negri

La teoría posmoderna del Imperio, 
por Alan Rush

El Imperium espiritual de Europa: de Ortega a Sloterdijk, 
por Sebastian J. Lorenz
 
 

mercredi, 03 octobre 2012

Aujourd'hui, gouverner, c'est se faire voir...

Ex: http://zentropa.info/

La mise en scène de la vie privée des hommes publics est-elle un avatar de la personnalisation du pouvoir sous la Ve République ou traduit-elle une évolution plus profonde ?

Le pouvoir, royal ou républicain, a toujours été une représentation faite de signes, de symboles, d’images. Mais jamais il ne s’est résumé à cela. Il est verbe, mais aussi action, projet, décision. Aujourd’hui, la parole politique se croit performative. On s’imagine que dire, c’est faire ou que se montrer, c’est exister. Parfois oui, mais il y a toujours un réel qui ne se laisse pas faire.

Le renoncement à l’action patiente au profit de l’immédiateté de la parole et de la visibilité obscène de la posture a commencé dans les années 1980, quand Mitterrand a laissé le journaliste Yves Mourousi poser ses fesses sur son bureau de présentateur de TF1 lors d’un entretien en parler « chébran ». Avant lui, Giscard avait convoqué les médias pour jouer de l’accordéon.

Derrière cette volonté d’être « comme tout le monde » se cache mal la certitude de ne pas être n’importe qui. Les politiques, qui autrefois visaient à rassembler les Français, ne pensent plus qu’à leur ressembler. Au prix d’une coupure avec ce qu’Orwell appelait la « décence commune ». J’aime ce mot : commun, même s’il a été dévalué et sali par le communisme. Commun, cela évoque le bien commun, qui reste en principe la visée ultime de l’action politique ; et aussi le sens commun, qui n’est pas le bon sens auquel Sarkozy faisait appel à répétition, mais le sens partagé dans ce qu’on appelait autrefois une société.

Il y a donc une sorte de vulgarisation de la parole publique ?

Une mutation profonde, oui. Les politiques s’adressent à ceux qu’on ne peut plus vraiment appeler des citoyens ni des sujets, mais des individus de masse. Quelle honte qu’un Berlusconi dans un pays de haute culture, qu’un Sarkozy dans un pays de littérature revendiquent le parler vulgaire pour parler au « vulgaire », c’est-à-dire au peuple tel que le voient ceux qui se croient appelés à le séduire pour le dominer ! Les dirigeants parlent au peuple ? Non, les « people » parlent à ceux qui n’en seront jamais ; « people » désignant justement ceux que les gens du peuple à la fois envient parce qu’ils ont mieux réussi qu’eux, et méprisent parce qu’ils les devinent enfermés dans le peu d’être que leur laisse leur appétit d’avoir.

De même qu’il n’y a plus de différence entre vie privée et vie publique, la langue publique, autrefois proche du français écrit (Blum, de Gaulle), est non seulement une langue parlée, mais mal parlée. Une langue privée, pleine de sous-entendus égrillards, de dérapages « caillera », de mots empruntés au vocabulaire de l’économie ou du sport que l’on croit seuls compréhensibles par le public.

Est-ce la conséquence de l’hypermédiatisation de la démocratie ?

Au stade actuel, l’on ne médiatise plus seulement une politique mais l’homme politique lui-même, son image rectifiée parfois par la chirurgie esthétique et toujours par des conseillers en look. Au bout de cette double dégradation du pouvoir et de la parole, on voit aujourd’hui le ridicule des hommes politiques poussant la chansonnette dans les émissions de variétés, comme Copé ou Jospin. Vulgarité des puissants que résume la détestable expression répétée par les médias : « première dame de France ». A quand son inscription dans ce fourre-tout qu’est notre Constitution ?

La médiatisation a tué l’action publique. Gouverner, c’est prévoir, disait l’adage. Aujourd’hui, gouverner, c’est se faire voir. Un point, c’est tout. La politique était naguère une scène : meetings, estrades, arène du Parlement. Elle est devenue écran, miroir où gouvernants et gouvernés se regardent en reflets pixellisés.

La sphère politique n’obéit-elle pas à une forme banale d’individualisme contemporain ?

Les politiciens souffrent d’une dépendance qui ne leur est pas propre mais qui atteint chez eux la dimension d’une véritable addiction à l’image : ne se sentir être que si une caméra le confirme. La télévision est pour eux ce qu’est devenu le portable pour chacun de nous : un objet transitionnel rassurant. Culte du moi, narcissisme des petites différences, perte de tout trait singulier : la même dérive frappe les hommes politiques comme les hommes ordinaires. Le dévoilement - par eux-mêmes d’abord - de la vie privée des hommes publics est l’un des traits de cette culture de la perversion narcissique qui nous surprit sans nous faire rire lorsque naguère, devant les caméras, un premier ministre montra son vélo, un autre accepta de parler de fellation, et un président de la République, un été à Brégançon, n’hésita pas à exposer son pénis vigoureux à l’objectif des photographes.

Sans doute la psychopathologie des dirigeants a-t-elle changé comme celle de l’ensemble des individus dans nos sociétés postmodernes : de moins en moins de névrosés et de plus en plus de personnalités narcissiques, parfois de pervers. L’homme politique est sans doute « normal » (non au sens d’une règle morale, mais d’une norme statistique), lorsqu’il devient fou. Fou de lui-même comme tant d’individus aujourd’hui. « L’homme qui n’aime que soi, disait Pascal, quand il se voit ne se voit pas tel qu’il est mais tel qu’il se désire. » Le moi n’est pas toujours haïssable, mais lorsque, en politique, il prend la place du « je », il verse dans l’autopromotion du vide. Qui ne se souvient du « Moi président », anaphore quinze fois répétée par François Hollande, dans son débat avec Nicolas Sarkozy…

Le narcissisme est-il incompatible avec la démocratie ?

Dans les sociétés de narcissisme, les électeurs comme leurs élus sont centrés sur la réalisation persistante d’eux-mêmes au détriment de la relation aux autres, figés sur le présent et incapables de différer leur satisfaction. Peut-être les Français n’ont-ils que la classe politique qu’ils méritent.

Le « moi-isme » règne sur les écrans postmodernes. De Facebook à Twitter en passant par les reality-shows, tout le monde parle et personne ne dit rien. Comme le règne de l’autofiction dans la littérature exhibe l’auteur plus que son oeuvre, la vie intime de nos contemporains devient virtuelle. Il n’y a plus d’images privées, de significations privées. Il y a la même différence entre la démocratie représentative et la démocratie directe qu’entre un portrait et un instantané rectifié par Photoshop.

Je tiens à ce mot de représentation, essentiel à la démocratie. On disait autrefois : « faire des représentations » aux princes, pour désigner des critiques ou des demandes d’une société divisée et contradictoire. Cela fait place aujourd’hui, dans la démocratie participative et interactive, à la « présentation » de soi par soi. L’ère des médias désigne justement un état de fait où les médias ne médiatisent plus rien, mais transmettent vers le haut les résultats des sondages et vers le bas les « éléments de langage ». Les sondages, multipliés avant même de prendre une décision, et souvent dictant une décision, ne datent pas non plus de Sarkozy et de son conseiller, Patrick Buisson. Gérard Colé, conseiller de Mitterrand, avalisait déjà toutes les mesures gouvernementales, et cette emprise de la communication sur l’action permit aux Pilhan et Séguéla de servir la droite puis la gauche, ou inversement.

La politique n’a-t-elle pas besoin de récits, et le pouvoir, d’incarnation ?

Les grands récits sont morts avec le siècle passé : révolution, Etat, nation… Mais les politiques croient que les électeurs attendent toujours qu’on leur raconte non plus l’Histoire mais des histoires, comme aux enfants pour qu’ils s’endorment. De Gaulle ne disait pas aux Français ce qu’ils voulaient entendre, ni ce qu’il croyait qu’ils voulaient entendre, mais ce qu’il voulait leur faire entendre. L’image ment, mais elle fait rêver.

La démocratie a un pilier, disait Hannah Arendt, la séparation entre vie privée et vie publique. Or, on assiste aujourd’hui à un double mouvement : d’une part la publicisation de la vie privée, y compris amoureuse (inaugurée par Sarkozy, poursuivie par Hollande) ; de l’autre, la privatisation de la sphère publique sous l’effet à la fois du rétrécissement du domaine d’intervention de l’Etat et de la multiplication d’ « affaires » relevant, pour le moins, du conflit d’intérêts. Ce mouvement se double d’un autre, qui brouille plus encore les repères : d’une part la sexualisation de la vie des responsables politiques, alors que la sexualité est au plus intime de la vie privée ; d’autre part la politisation des questions sexuelles, comme en témoignent les projets de l’actuel gouvernement sur le harcèlement sexuel, le mariage gay, voire la suppression de la prostitution…

La démocratie commence par la reconnaissance de la nécessité d’un pouvoir légitime et, comme le dit le grand psychanalyste anglais Donald Winnicott, par « l’acceptation qu’il ne soit pas fait selon nos désirs mais selon ceux de la majorité ». Elle s’arrête quand le pouvoir ne se contente pas d’être obéi mais veut être aimé. Français, encore un effort pour être démocrates !

Michel Schneider

lundi, 01 octobre 2012

Alle Staaten sollen das Recht haben, gleichwertig und gleichberechtigt die Weltpolitik zu gestalten

Alle Staaten sollen das Recht haben, gleichwertig und gleichberechtigt die Weltpolitik zu gestalten

UN-Menschenrechtsrat schafft das Mandat des Unabhängigen Experten zur Förderung einer demokratischen und gleichberechtigten Weltordnung

Interview mit Professor Dr. iur. et phil. Alfred de Zayas

Ex: http://www.zeit-fragen.ch/

zayas.jpgthk. Professor Dr. iur. et phil. Alfred de Zayas wurde am 23. März zum Unabhängigen Experten bei der Uno zur Förderung einer demokratischen und gleichberechtigten Weltordnung vom Menschenrechtsrat ernannt. Er ist der erste, der dieses neu geschaffene Mandat übernehmen durfte, um so im Bereich der Demokratisierung der Uno und der in ihr vereinten Nationalstaaten wirken zu können. Bereits in der Herbstsession des Uno-Menschenrechtsrates hat Alfred de Zayas seinen ersten Bericht vorgelegt und ist dabei auf grosse Zustimmung gestossen. Der Unabhängige Experte, der eine lange Karriere an der Uno aufweist, war, wie er selbst sagte, nicht ganz unerwartet zu diesem Amt gekommen, da er sich schon sehr lange mit der Frage der Ausgestaltung echter, das heisst direkter Demokratie, wie sie in der Schweiz existiert, beschäftigt hat. Mit seinem Mandat möchte sich Alfred de Zayas für den Frieden und die Gleichwertigkeit der Völker einsetzen. Zeit-Fragen hat Professor de Zayas an der Uno in Genf getroffen.

Zeit-Fragen: Herr Professor de Zayas, wie muss man die Aufgabe Ihres Mandats verstehen?

Prof. Dr. de Zayas: Die Aufgabe bedeutet eine Synthese von bürgerlichen, politischen, wirtschaftlichen, kulturellen und sozialen Rechten. Es ist ein versöhnliches Mandat, das auf Zusammenarbeit bzw. Solidarität abzielt. Die Staaten des Nordens, des Südens, des Ostens und des Westens sollen sich in diesem Mandat finden und darin etwas Verbindendes sehen. Es ist ein konstruktives Mandat, das auf den Zielen und Grundsätzen der Uno-Charta aufbaut. Es ist also kein Mandat, das gegen einen bestimmten Staat, gegen eine bestimmte Region, gegen eine bestimmte Philosophie oder Ideologie zielt.
Hier geht es um zweierlei: um eine Demokratisierung auf der nationalen Ebene, aber auch auf der zwischenstaatlichen, internationalen Ebene.

Was muss man sich unter einer Demokratisierung auf internationaler Ebene vorstellen?

Wir brauchen eine Weltordnung, die wirklich demokratisch ist, die sich an den Bedürfnissen der Menschen orientiert. Das bedeutet, dass alle Staaten daran beteiligt werden müssen. Bei Entscheidungen, die das Zusammenleben auf unserer Welt betreffen, müssen alle Staaten als Vertreter ihrer Völker etwas zu sagen haben. Diese Gleichberechtigung, die Gleichwertigkeit aller, ist zentral im Text der Resolution 18/6, die das Mandat begründet hat. Ich werde mich sehr genau an den Wortlaut der Resolution halten, wie ich bereits in meinem ersten Bericht gezeigt habe.

Was soll damit erreicht werden?

Die Staaten der sogenannten dritten Welt, die Staaten des Südens, möchten eine Weltordnung, die auf Gerechtigkeit basiert. Sowohl der Handel als auch die Verteilung der Ressourcen muss gerecht geschehen. Die Kluft zwischen Arm und Reich darf nicht weiter vergrössert, sondern muss verkleinert werden. Ohne dass ich bestimmte Staaten nennen muss, kann ich die Thematik erkenntnistheoretisch so behandeln, dass ich Begriffe wie Demokratie, Gerechtigkeit, Gleichwertigkeit, Gleichberechtigung, Selbstbestimmung und nationale Identität mit Leben füllen kann.

Wie ist hier Ihre Vorgehensweise?

Es finden sich bei den Vereinten Nationen enorme Quellen dazu. Ich werde mich dabei auf die Berichte von ehemaligen Rapporteuren stützen, auf Studien der Unterkommission der ehemaligen Menschenrechtskommission, des Menschenrechtsrates selbst oder auf Studien der Generalversammlung. Gewiss beabsichtige ich keine Wiederholung dessen, was bereits gemacht worden ist. Ich werde aber darauf aufbauen. Wie Sie wissen, war ich Sekretär des Menschenrechtsausschusses und Chef der Beschwerdeabteilung. Auch die Jurisprudenz des Ausschusses steht mir zur Seite.

Wie schätzen Sie den Wirkungsgrad dieses Mandats ein?

Ich bin sehr optimistisch, was das Mandat anbetrifft, weil bereits viele positive Reaktionen bei mir angekommen sind, seitdem ich ernannt und meine E-Mail-Adresse an der Uno für alle bekannt wurde, nämlich ie-internationalorder(at)ohchr.org. NGO, Intergouvernamentale Organisationen, Staaten, zivile Organisationen und einzelne Personen haben sich mit konkreten Vorschlägen bei mir gemeldet – zum Beispiel, wie sie mein Mandat verstehen, wo sie die Prioritäten sehen usw. Diese Anliegen und Vorschläge nehme ich ernst. Ich werde alles genauestens studieren. Bereits in meinem Bericht an den Menschenrechtsrat habe ich unter Absatz 11 eine Liste von Themenvorschlägen, die ich von Interessierten erhalten habe, zitiert. Ich werde diese Vorschläge natürlich bevorzugt behandeln.

Was entsteht aus all diesen Anregungen und Anfragen?

Ich werde mit hoher Wahrscheinlichkeit einen Bericht über den Begriff der Partizipation bzw. der Teilnahme der Menschen an der politischen Gestaltung in der Demokratie schreiben, aber über die Mitbestimmung auf der nationalen und internationalen Ebene, über Fragen der Manipulierung der öffentlichen Meinung usw. schreiben. Diese Studien werde ich dann nächstes Jahr dem Menschenrechtsrat vorlegen. Dabei geht es innerstaatlich nicht nur um das Wahlrecht, sondern auch um das Recht, politische Regeln mitzugestalten. Demokratische Wahlen alle vier Jahre sind eine gute Sache, aber man muss wirkliche Optionen haben und nicht nur pro forma stimmen. Die Bevölkerung muss auch die Gelegenheit haben, die Aussenpolitik authentisch mitzugestalten, so dass Regierungen nicht mehr gegen den Willen der Bevölkerung Aussenpolitik betreiben können.
International gesehen, sollten die UN bzw. der Sicherheitsrat insofern reformiert werden, dass mehr internationale Teilnahme bzw. Demokratie verwirklicht wird.

Im Oktober sprechen Sie vor der Generalversammlung. Worum geht es dort?

Ja, ich muss einen anderen ausführlicheren Bericht der Generalversammlung präsentieren. In diesem Bericht identifiziere ich eine Reihe von Hindernissen und versuche, gute Praktiken zu nennen und der Generalversammlung Empfehlungen zu unterbreiten. Das wird am 30. Oktober 2012 in New York – deo volente – geschehen. Ich werde sehen, welche Reaktionen die Staaten in der Generalversammlung auf meinen Bericht zeigen, was sie mir vorschlagen werden.

Wie kann man die Grundlagen des demokratischen Zusammenlebens anderen Ländern vermitteln? Ein «arabischer Frühling» oder militärische Interventionen der Nato helfen hier sicher nicht weiter.

Ich verstehe mein Mandat nicht als ein Mandat des Naming and Shaming. Mein Mandat ist, wie bereits gesagt, ein konstruktives, das helfen soll, diese Begriffe überall gleich zu verstehen. Wenn ich Demokratie sage, sollte das mehr oder weniger dasselbe sein, was auch eine Person in Nordamerika, Südamerika, Australien, Osteuropa, China, Indien oder Afrika darunter versteht. Es darf nicht sein, dass Demokratie à la carte verstanden wird, genauso wenig, wie es inakzeptabel ist, dass das Völkerrecht nach Belieben angewandt wird. Eines der Haupthindernisse für den Weltfrieden und das Erreichen einer demokratischen und gerechten «Weltordnung» ist nämlich, dass viele Staaten das Völkerrecht nicht gleichmässig anwenden, hier sagen sie ja und dort nein. Ohne bestimmte Staaten kritisieren zu wollen, möchte ich auf diese fundamentale Problematik hinweisen. Letztlich glaube ich, um ein englisches Wort zu verwenden: «The bottomline is participation.»

Das bedeutet?

Das heisst, die Bürger müssen an der Politik teilhaben und mitgestalten können, und zwar direkt. Das Modell der direkten Demokratie bietet hier enorm viel. Man muss die Möglichkeit haben, eine Gesetzgebung zu initiieren. Die Möglichkeit zur Prüfung von Gesetzen durch Referenden, aber auch die Möglichkeit, Regierungsbeamte bzw. Politiker zur Rechenschaft zu ziehen, wenn sie eine ganz andere Politik führen, als sie versprochen haben – das muss das Wesen der Demokratie sein. Die gewählten Politiker müssen belangt werden können, wenn sie das Versprechen, das sie dem Bürger gegeben haben, gebrochen und somit das Vertrauen missbraucht haben. Darum muss es eine Möglichkeit geben, diese Personen aus dem Amt zu entfernen. Bei uns in den USA gibt es dafür den Begriff des Recall oder Impeachment.
Ich werde also das Modell der direkten Demokratie genau studieren. Es geht um die Frage, wie man dieses Modell mit gewissen Abänderungen in anderen Ländern anwenden könnte. Allerdings muss man bei jedem Land seine Historie, seine Kultur, seine Tradition und seine individuellen Vorstellungen des Zusammenlebens berücksichtigen.

Welche Rolle hat für Sie dabei der Nationalstaat?

Genauso wie im antiken Griechenland mit der Polis ein Staat entstanden ist, in dem die Bürger an der Politik teilnehmen konnten, so soll es für die einzelnen Länder auch gelten. Also der Nationalstaat ist bei diesem Vorgang entscheidend. International gesehen möchten wir, dass alle Staaten das Recht haben, gleichwertig und gleichberechtigt die Welt­politik zu gestalten. Aber auch intern, also national gesehen, müssen die Bürger eines bestimmten Staates für die eigene Identität, für die eigene Kultur die für sie richtigen Gesetze annehmen und eine Politik wählen, die die Menschenrechte und die Würde von allen Bürgern gewährt.

Herr Professor de Zayas, wir wünschen Ihnen viel Erfolg bei der Ausgestaltung Ihres Mandats und danken Ihnen herzlich für das Gespräch.    •

Leser werden von Professor de Zayas herzlich gebeten, Ihre Vorstellungen an ie-internationalorder(at)ohchr.org zu verschicken.

mardi, 25 septembre 2012

Aux sources du parti conservateur

Jean-Gilles MALLIARAKIS:

Aux sources du parti conservateur

Ex: http://www.insolent.fr/

120919Comme dans bien d'autres pays, la droite en Angleterre a été amenée, plusieurs fois dans son Histoire, à devoir renaître de ses cendres. Particularité de la vie politique d'outre Manche, depuis le XVIIIe siècle ce fut le même parti, les "tories" étant devenus officiellement "parti conservateur", qui sut opérer en son sein le renouvellement nécessaire.

Cette droite avait su se maintenir face aux "whigs", organisateurs de la Glorieuse Révolution de 1688, puis de l'arrivée de la dynastie de Hanovre en 1714. Elle avait su faire face à ces adversaires "de gauche", qui dominèrent le parlement et le gouvernement tout au long du XVIIIe siècle. Et elle les a aujourd'hui encore surclassés.

Agréablement traduit, et réédité par les peines et soins des Éditions du Trident, le roman de Disraëli "Coningsby" nous en livre le secret.

Le rejet des horreurs de ce que nous appelons jacobinisme a toujours joué, à cet égard, le rôle central.

Cependant on doit mesurer d'abord, que les forces qui, en Grande Bretagne se sont opposées à la Révolution française, ne venaient pas toutes du conservatisme "officiel" et "historique".

Deux exemples l'illustrent. Leurs noms sont relativement connus, de ce côté-ci de la Manche, leur histoire l'est un peu moins.

Ainsi Edmund Burke (1729-1797) avait-il pris conscience, dès les journées d'octobre 1789, de la nature inacceptable de ce qui s'installait à Paris. Dans ses "Réflexions sur la révolution de France", publiées en 1790 (1)⇓ il dénonce avec lucidité la logique implacable des événements.

Or, il avait siégé aux Communes depuis 1765 en tant que "whig". Il avait soutenu les "insurgents" américains, etc. Il ne rompra officiellement avec son parti, dont il refuse les subsides, qu'en juin 1791. Dès lors, ce "vieux-whig" sera considéré plus tard comme le doctrinaire par excellence du conservatisme.

De même William Pitt "le Jeune", est présenté aujourd'hui, jusque sur le site officiel du 10 Downing Street, sous l'étiquette "tory". Mais celui qu'en France nous l'appelons "le second Pitt" était lui-même le fils d'un chef de gouvernement whig, William Pitt dit "l'Ancien". À son tour il devint Premier ministre sous le règne de George III, de 1782 à 1801, puis de 1804 à 1806. La mémoire républicaine l'exècre comme l'ennemi par excellence. La propagande des hommes de la Terreur désignait tous ses adversaires comme agents de "Pitt et Cobourg". (2)⇓

En fait il n'entra dans le conflit que contraint et forcé. Au départ, au cours des années 1780, cet adepte d'Adam Smith (3)⇓ poursuivait le but d'assainir les finances et de développer l'économie du pays. Quand il rompit avec la France révolutionnaire, le cabinet de Londres pensait que le conflit serait rapidement liquidé. On n'imaginait pas qu'il durerait plus de 20 ans.

Ainsi Pitt fut contraint à la guerre à partir de 1793 et la mena jusqu'à sa mort. Une partie de l'opinion anglaise, et particulièrement les "whigs" avaient applaudi aux événements de 1789. Mais c'est au lendemain de la mort du Roi que l'ensemble de l'opinion comprit que les accords resteraient impossibles avec les forces barbares qui s'étaient emparées du royaume des Lys. Dès le 24 janvier 1793, l'ambassadeur officieux (4)⇓ de la République est expulsé.

Voici donc un adversaire irréductible (5)⇓ de la Révolution française : doit-on le considérer comme un conservateur ? Le terme peut paraître encore prématuré. Et Jacques Chastenet souligne même que jamais au cours de sa carrière William Pitt ne s'est déclaré "tory". (6)⇓

Après 1815 les forces de droite s'étaient agrégées autour du vainqueur militaire de Napoléon (7)⇓ à Waterloo, Arthur de Wellesley devenu duc de Wellington. Son nom rassembleur tient lieu de programme. (8)⇓

Or, à partir des années 1830 tout change. Wellington ne reviendra plus, que d'une manière très brève, qui se traduira par un échec. Car quand, laminés en 1832 les tories tentent en 1834 un nouveau "manifeste" [Disraëli qualifie celui-ci de "Manifeste sans principes"], ils vont certes réapparaître techniquement, du seul fait de l'incompétence des whigs. Robert Peel pourra former un gouvernement minoritaire avec l'appui du roi. Mais la "Nouvelle Génération", [c'est le thème de "Coningsby"] cette "Jeune Angleterre" dont Disraëli et son ami Georges Smythe apparaîtront alors comme les figures de proue, considère, et le programme de 1834, et Robert Peele, lui-même comme dénués de principes et voués à l'échec.

Voici comment il les décrit :

"Cet homme politique éminent [Robert Peel] s’était malheureusement identifié, au début de sa carrière, avec un groupe qui, s’affublant du nom de tory, poursuivait une politique sans principes ou dont les principes s’opposaient radicalement à ceux qui guidèrent toujours les grands chefs de cet illustre et historique mouvement. Les principaux membres de cette confédération officielle ne se distinguaient par aucune des qualités propres à un homme d’État, par aucun des dons divins qui gouvernent les assemblées et mènent les conseils. Ils ne possédaient ni les qualités de l’orateur, ni les pensées profondes, ni l’aptitude aux trouvailles heureuses, ni la pénétration et la sagacité de l’esprit. Leurs vues politiques étaient pauvres et limitées. Toute leur énergie, ils la consacraient à s’efforcer d’acquérir une connaissance des affaires étrangères qui demeura pourtant inexacte et confuse ; ils étaient aussi mal documentés sur l’état réel de leur propre pays que les sauvages le sont sur la probabilité d’une éclipse." (9)⇓

[Il s'agit de la droite anglaise d'alors, qu'alliez-vous croire ?]

Jusque-là les deux partis dominants avaient représenté des factions parlementaires, elles-mêmes issues des forces sociales qui contrôlaient les sièges, en particulier ceux des "bourgs pourris. Au total 300 000 électeurs désignaient le parlement. Les Lords dominaient les Communes. Sans évoluer immédiatement vers le suffrage universel la réforme avait supprimé les circonscriptions fictives. Multipliant par trois le nombre des votants, elle allait permettre aux représentants des villes de submerger les défenseurs traditionnels de la propriété foncière et de la campagne anglaise.

Ceux-ci allient donc devoir combattre sous de nouvelles couleurs, en s'alliant avec de nouvelles forces. On peut dire qu'en grande partie Disraëli les ré-inventa. Exprimant ses idées dans des romans, ce vrai fondateur de la droite anglaise conte cette aventure dans ce "Coningsby".

Beaucoup de traits de cette société peuvent paraître désuets. On les découvre dès lors avec une pointe de nostalgie. Mais, une fois dégagé de cet aspect pittoresque et charmant, tout le reste s'en révèle furieusement actuel. Nous laissons à nos lecteurs le soin de le découvrir.

JG Malliarakis
        
Apostilles

  1. Traduites en France ses "Réflexions sur la révolution de France" sont disponibles en collection Pluriel.
  2. Cobourg : il s'agissait du prince Frédéric de Saxe-Cobourg-Saalfeld (1737-1815), général au service du Saint-Empire.
  3. Écrite dans les années 1760, son "Enquête sur la nature et les causes de la Richesse des nations" fut publiée en Angleterre en 1776.
  4. Le roi ne voulait pas reconnaître le régime institué à Paris par le coup de force républicain de septembre 1792. Mais les dirigeants révolutionnaires n'étaient en guerre, au départ, qu'avec l'Empire, "le roi de Bohème et de Hongrie". À Londres se trouvait un ambassadeur, assez maladroit, le jeune François-Bernard de Chauvelin (1766-1832) qui venait d'être nommé par le gouvernement de Louis XVI.
  5. Il la combattra en effet jusqu'à sa mort en 1806. La Paix d'Amiens de 1802 ne fut qu'un intermède (mal négocié) sous le gouvernement Addington (1801-1804) quand Pitt, partisan du droit de vote des catholiques irlandais fut contraint de donner sa démission au roi George III.
  6. cf. Jacques Chastenet "William Pitt" Fayard 1942. On lira avec plaisir de cet auteur oublié mais de qualité son "Wellington" et son "Siècle de Victoria".
  7. Le vrai vainqueur politique de Napoléon avait été lord Castlereagh, ministre des Affaires étrangères, organisateur et financier de la sixième coalition, puis personnage central du congrès de Vienne de 1814-1815.
  8. À la gloire militaire près, le parallèle avec le gaullisme ne manque pas de pertinence. "Le Duc"... "Le Général"...
  9. cf. "Coningsby ou la Nouvelle Génération" page 89. Les lecteurs de L'Insolent peuvent se le procurer, en le commandant
    - directement sur le site des Éditions du Trident
    - ou par correspondance en adressant un chèque de 29 euros aux Éditions du Trident 39 rue du Cherche Midi 75006 Paris
    - votre libraire peut le commander par fax au 01 47 63 32 04. - téléphone :06 72 87 31 59- courriel  : ed.trident @ europelibre.com

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samedi, 22 septembre 2012

Alain Soral: Political Incorrectness Ideology of Resistance

Alain Soral: Political Incorrectness Ideology of Resistance

Ex: http://openrevolt.info/

(An address pronounced in Villepreux the 2nd of November 2008)

This title implies to answer two prior questions :
1) What is Mondialism ?
2) What is political correctness ?

Let’s start with Mondialism.

Mondialism is not globalization.

Globalization is an inevitable process of material and immaterial exchange due to technological progress. We cannot go against it, and it is not desirable to do so. The rejection of globalization is not a desire of civilizationnal flashback. Not more that degrowth is a desire of recession… It is quite convenient to be able to get to Six-Fours in few hours by TGV and it is joyful to notice that a great number of active members of the Populist Party had the financial means to get there ! No ! What is at issue is Mondialism.

Mondialism is an ideological project, a sort of Laic religion that works to set up a world government through the dissolution of all the Nations of the world into a new humanity. It works to the dissolution of the Nations under the pretence of Universal Peace. The diversity of Nations and people being considered the reasons for wars that have brought bloodshed on Earth since the dawn of humanity…

This process was logically very involved after World War One through the League of Nations. It logically ebbed after the rising dangers that led to World War Two. It came back very strongly on the ruins of Nations after 1945, with NATO and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Short parenthesis : This declaration should not be confused with the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which thought those rights in the concrete context of a rooted Nation : The French Nation, on behalf of a civilizationnal model, that J.C Martinez often talk about : The French Universalism. A civilisation with a planetary destiny, alternative to both the Islamic Ummah and the Anglo-Saxon Liberalism…

We then had after World War II two ideological systems, fighting against Nations and people who were considered as intrinsically bellicose : The Russian Socialism, now dead (I will not hammer at it uselessly !) and the American Liberalism, winner until today of the cold war.

The existing Mondialism is therefore twofold : At the same time a depraved ideological project from Enlightnment : A project where Universal Peace and reconciled Humanity through Kantian reason, meant to transcend scholastic obscurantism that came out of Europe’s religious War, finally turned to the obscurantism of Human Rights… Obscurantism of Human Rights… Or, banning the use of reason to criticize all the concrete wrongdoings of this totalitarian process on concrete Humanity, on behalf of blasphemy and heresy…

A Mondialism that is also, at the same time, the ineluctable slope of mercantile society : going from the free entrepreneur’s free entreprise to the Orwellian financial capitalism, where every man is from now on reduced to the role of wage-earner/consumer, enslaved to what Marxism calls : The law of concentration of Capital imposed by the falling rate of profit…

There is then, the convergence of two unifying processes : one that is ideological and thought : the Universal Human Rights, the other one that is economical and undergone : The commodification under the religion of profit. Two processes that blend today in the same project : The project of a World government under the aegis of the Anglo-Saxon Capitalism, on behalf of the ideology of abstract Human Rights…

In shorts : Therefore, Human rights are now the catechism of the dissolution of rooted people and Nations, dedicated to the generalized abstraction of global financial capitalism with a view to its complete World domination.

Domination over our wallets as well as our souls…

Political incorrectness :

This rapid presentation finished, it is quite easy to come to the second definition : What is political correctness ? And then, what is political incorrectness ? The political correctness is everything that accepts to submit, consciously or inconsciously, to the catechism of Human Rights. Political incorrectness is everything that opposes and resists to it !

Human Rightism has nothing to do anymore with the real rights of real people, attached to their local cultures and their Nations (As the passion for Olympic games or Football championship keep showing, since those contests between Nations and between Cities are the ones which are acclaimed). Nowadays, Human Rightism is the ideological armed wing of Mondialism, the smooth talk that comes with all subdues, all oppressions of movements that resist to the economico-ideological Mondialism, whether those are military, political or cultural resistances… Thereby, it is on behalf of Human Rights, leading, of course, to the right of humanitatian intervention and then to Kouchner’s responsibility to protect, that is now bombed the small Serbian Nation, because they resist to the Mondialist steamroller under American control, on behalf of their culture and history… It is on behalf of the totalitarian and bellicose Human Right ideology that is flouted the real rights of the real people everywhere on the planet. Whether the right for Serbians to remain Serbs, but also the right for Muslims to remain Muslims in Iran or Afghanistan…

But it is also on behalf of Human Rights that are dismantled social solidarities within the Nations and their people – the traditionnal social solidarities against Mondialist Capitalism – by substituting workers and middle classes’ social benefits for the social interest of “oppressed” pseudo-minorities (In reality vocal minorities…) : Gay rights, woman’s rights, youth rights, black people rights… Minorities that are just market segments serving the ideological merchant Mondialism, as the Italian ex-trotskyist and now publicist, Mister Toscani, had well illustrated in his excellent adverts “United Colors of Benetton”…

From then on, all resistance to this carving up : Refusal to see the Serbians as ennemies of humanity, whereas they only try to preserve their lifestyle, refusal to see gays as a social class, since the diversity of homosexuals cannot be reduced to a self-proclaimed gay lobby, and since the sodomy remains anyway a private leisure activity… Bref, any refusal to submit to the false pretence of those pseudo-Human Rights, which in reality consist in submitting people to the mondialist domination, is considered by the very same power as crime against humanity ! Here we are ! Sentence for “crime against humanity” that allows evicting from humanity the ones accused of it, reducing them to the level of subhumans and who, then, does not receive anymore those famous rights : The Germans and the Japanese after the war, the Palestinians today, the Iranians tomorrow, the activist and electors from the Front National for the past 30 years… Let’s now talk about the FN.

This implacable mechanic rapidly dismantled ; let’s have a closer look at France and its national movement… This national movement that i joined out of spirit of resistance to Mondialism and which was embodied those past 30 years in the FN, this united movement of national resistance, thanks to Jean Marie Le Pen’s political genius. I take this opportunity to warmly salute him… First remark, understood like this and i would say “well-understood” ! The FN is neither a right nor left-wing movement, since the right refers to the market, so to Mondialism, as much as the left refers to Internationalism, which amount to the same thing… The FN well-understood is therefore essentially a movement of resistance to Mondialism, both at the same time opposed to its right-wing liberal economy and its left-wing Human rightist ideology, the left-wing catechism being the humanist alibi of the economical proces of concentration of Capital and the process of domination by the “masters of the market”…

From this analysis we can logically deduct that if the FN, as a national opposition movement, wants to be coherent, it needs to fight both against the mercantile Mondialism and the political correctness, which is its ideology…

But, this is where i would allow myself a critique on both yesterday’s imprecisions and today’s temptations…

For many years, the FN was politically incorrect in terms of ideas (i am refering to the delightful and useful provocations of our president…) but was unfortunately economicaly way too liberal, which means that the FN was only partly disobedient… Let’s point out that National-Liberalism is an oxymoron, since liberal means “privatized” and when everything is privatized (central banks, public services, army…), the politics loses control of the Nation, even the FN ! Nowadays in the FN, the line between political correctness and Liberalism is rather reversed : Rigorous criticism of economic Mondialism, but renunciation of political incorrectness on behalf of de-demonization, which amount to the same incoherence and the same political impotence : Since submitting to the dictatorship of Human Rights and the blackmail of the crime against humanity is eventually a way to land up naked in the countryside at the hands of Mondialist ideology ! The slogan summarizing best what i want to say, slogan that is permanently thrown and on which we must not give up is the famous “never again” ! Suggesting : “Mondialism or Auschwitz”, and for the recalcitrants, the no less famous reductio ad Hitlerum ! In summary : Political incorrectness is by no means a useless game of provocations. Even if it is not always understood this way, it is the doctrine of resistance to Mondialism. Doctrine of disobedience whitout which the criticism restricted to economic Mondialism is unsufficient, powerless and even incoherent, just as political incorrectness unextended to the criticism of the liberal doctrine… Yesterday’s economic incoherence which is now outdated within the FN, thanks to Marine Le Pen excellent work !

Therefore, not only politically incorrect thoughts must not be abandoned, but at a time when the left, which used to lead the field with Marxism, has abandoned all thoughts, abandoning themselves to the obscurantism of Human Rights… At a time when no one thinks, neither left or right, since the right-wing wheeler-dealers have long ago settled for doing business… We, the nationalists, can regain control in terms of ideas as we are the only efficient critics of the system and we can become, in this desert, the thought leaders of tomorrow and embody the renewal of French genius!
Long live disobedience then!
And long live disobedient France!

Alain Soral

 

——————————————

Alain Soral has contributed the introduction to Alexander Dugin’s monumental new work The Fourth Political Theory’s English edition.  Order here and show support for our work at Open Revolt!

 

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jeudi, 20 septembre 2012

Unthinking Liberalism: A. Dugin’s The Fourth Political Theory

Unthinking Liberalism:
Alexander Dugin’s The Fourth Political Theory

by Alex KURTAGIC

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

Alexander Dugin
The Fourth Political Theory, London: Arktos, 2012

Arktos recently published what we can only hope will be the first of many more English translations of Alexander Dugin’s work. Head of the sociology department in Moscow State University, and a leading Eurasianist with ties to the Russian military, this man is, today, influencing official Kremlin policy.

The Fourth Political Theory is a thoroughly refreshing monograph, combining clarity of analysis, philosophical rigor, and intellectual creativity. It is Dugin’s attempt to sort through the confusion of modern political theory and establish the foundations for a political philosophy that will decisively challenge the dominant liberal paradigm. It is not, however, a new complete political theory, but rather the beginning of a project. The name is provisional, the theory under construction. Dugin sees this not as the work of one man, but, because difficult, a collective heroic effort.

The book first sets out the historical topology of modern political theories. In Dugin’s account, liberalism, the oldest and most stable ideology, was in modernity the first political theory. Marxism, a critique of liberalism via capitalism, was the second. Fascism/National Socialism, a critique of both liberalism and Marxism, was the third. Dugin says that Fascism/National Socialism was defeated by Marxism (1945), that Marxism was defeated by liberalism (1989), leaving liberalism triumphant and therefore free to expand around the globe.

According to Dugin, the triumph of liberalism has been so definitive, in fact, that in the West it has ceased to be political, or ideological, and become a taken-for-granted practice. Westerners think in liberal terms by default, assuming that no sane, rational, educated person could think differently, accusing dissenters of being ideological, without realizing that their own assumptions have ideological origins.

The definitive triumph of liberalism has also meant that it is now so fully identified with modernity that it is difficult to separate the two, whereas control of modernity was once contested by political theory number one against political theories two and three. The advent of postmodernity, however, has marked the complete exhaustion of liberalism. It has nothing new to say, so it is reduced endlessly to recycle and reiterate itself.

Looking to identify what may be useful to salvage, Dugin proceeds to break down each of the three ideologies into its component parts. In the process of doing so, he detoxifies the two discredited critiques of liberalism, which is necessary to be able to cannibalize them. His analysis of liberalism follows Alain de Benoist. Because it is crucial, I will avail myself of de Benoist’s insights and infuse some of my own in Dugin’s explication of liberalism.

Dugin says that liberalism’s historical subject is the individual. The idea behind liberalism was to “liberate” the individual from everything that was external to him (faith, tradition, authority). Out of this springs the rest: when you get rid of the transcendent, you end up with a world that is entirely rational and material. Happiness then becomes a question of material increase. This leads to productivism and economism, which, when the individual is paramount, demands capitalism. When you get rid of the transcendent, you also eliminate hierarchy: all men become equal. If all men are equal, then what applies to one must apply to all, which means universalism. Similarly, if all men are equal, then all deserve an equal slice of the pie, so full democracy, with universal suffrage, becomes the ideal form of government. Liberalism has since developed flavors, and the idea of liberation acquires two competing meanings: “freedom from,” which in America is embodied by libertarians and the Tea Party; and “freedom to,” embodied by Democrats.

Marxism’s historical subject is class. Marxism is concerned chiefly with critiquing the inequities arising from capitalism. Otherwise, it shares with liberalism an ethos of liberation, a materialist worldview, and an egalitarian morality.

Fascism’s historical subject is the state, and National Socialism’s race. Both critique Marxism’s and liberalism’s materialist worldview and egalitarian morality. Hence, the simultaneous application of hierarchy and socialism.

With all the parts laid out on the table, Dugin then selects what he finds useful and discards the rest. Unsurprisingly, Dugin finds nothing useful in liberalism. The idea is to unthink it, after all.

Spread out across several chapters, Dugin provides a typology of the different factions in the modern political landscape—e.g., fundamental conservatism (traditionalism), Left-wing conservatism (Strasserism, National Bolshevism, Niekisch), conservative revolution (Spengler, Jünger, Schmitt, Niekisch), New Left, National Communism, etc. It is essential that readers understand these so that they may easily recognize them, because doing so will clarify much and help them avoid the errors arising from opaque, confused, contradictory, or misleading labels.

Liberal conservatism is a key category in this typology. It may sound contradictory on the surface, because in colloquial discourse mainstream politics is about the opposition of liberals vs. conservatives. Yet, and as I have repeatedly stated, when one examines their fundamentals, so-called “conservatives” (a misleading label), even palaeoconservatives (another misleading label), are all ideologically liberals, only they wish to conserve liberalism, or go a little slower, or take a few steps back. Hence, the alternative designation for this type: “status-quo conservative.”

Another key category is National Communism. This is, according to Dugin, a unique phenomenon, and enjoys a healthy life in Latin America, suggesting it will be around for some time to come. Evo Morales and Hugo Chavez are contemporary practitioners of National Communism.

Setting out the suggested foundations of a fourth political ideology takes up the rest of Dugin’s book. Besides elements salvaged from earlier critiques of liberalism, Dugin also looks at the debris that in the philosophical contest for modernity was left in the periphery. These are the ideas for which none of the ideologies of modernity have had any use. For Dugin this is essential to an outsider, counter-propositional political theory. He does not state this in as many words, but it should be obvious that if we are to unthink liberalism, then liberalism should find its nemesis unthinkable.

But the process of construction begins, of course, with ontology. Dugin refers to Heidegger’s Dasein. Working from this concept he would like the fourth political theory to conceptualize the world as a pluriverse, with different peoples who have different moralities and even different conceptions of time. In other words, in the fourth political theory the idea of a universal history would be absurd, because time is conceived differently in different cultures—nothing is ahistorical or universal; everything is bound and specific. This would imply a morality of difference, something I have proposed as counter-propositional to the liberal morality of equality. In the last consequence, for Dugin there needs to be also a peculiar ontology of the future. The parts of The Fourth Political Theory dealing with these topics are the most challenging, requiring some grounding in philosophy, but, unsurprisingly, they are also where the pioneering work is being done.

Also pioneering, and presumably more difficult still, is Dugin’s call to “attack the individual.” By this he means, obviously, destabilizing the taken-for-granted construct that comprises the minimum social unit in liberalism—the discrete social atom that acts on the basis of rational self-interest, a construct that should be distinguished from “a man” or “a woman” or “a human.” Dugin makes some suggestions, but these seem nebulous and not very persuasive at this stage. Also, this seems quite a logical necessity within the framework of this project, but Dugin’s seeds will find barren soil in the West, where the individual is almost sacrosanct and where individualism results from what is possibly an evolved bias in Northern European societies, where this trait may have been more adaptive than elsewhere. A cataclysmic event may be required to open up the way for a redefinition of what it is to be a person. Evidently the idea is that the fourth political theory conceptualizes a man not as an “individual” but as something else, presumably as part of a collectivity. This is probably a very Russian way of looking at things.

The foregoing may all seem highly abstract, and I suspect practically minded readers will not take to it. It is hard to see how the abstract theorizing will satisfy the pragmatic Anglo-Saxon, who is suspicious of philosophy generally. (Jonathan Bowden was an oddity in this regard.) Yet there are real-world implications to the theory, and in Dugin’s work the geopolitical dimension must never be kept out of sight.

For Dugin, triumphant liberalism is embodied by Americanism; the United States, through its origins as an Enlightenment project, and through its superpower status in the twentieth and twenty-first century, is the global driver of liberal practice. As such, with the defeat of Marxism, it has created, and sought to perpetuate, a unipolar world defined by American, or Atlanticist, liberal hegemony. Russia has a long anti-Western, anti-liberal tradition, and for Dugin this planetary liberal hegemony is the enemy. Dugin would like the world to be multipolar, with Atlanticism counterbalanced by Eurasianism, and maybe other “isms.” In geopolitics, the need for a fourth political theory arises from a need to keep liberalism permanently challenged, confined to its native hemisphere, and, in a word, out of Russia.

While this dimension exists, and while there may be a certain anti-Americanism in Dugin’s work, Americans should not dismiss this book out of hand, because it is not anti-America. As Michael O’Meara has pointed out in relation to Yockey’s anti-Americanism, Americanism and America, or Americans, are different things and stand often in opposition. Engaging with this kind of oppositional thinking is, then, necessary for Americans. And the reason is this: liberalism served America well for two hundred years, but ideologies have a life-cycle like everything else, and liberalism has by now become hypertrophic and hypertelic; it is, in other words, killing America and, in particular, the European-descended presence in America.

If European-descended Americans are to save themselves, and to continue having a presence in the North American continent, rather than being subsumed by liberal egalitarianism and the consequent economic bankruptcy, Hispanization, and Africanization, the American identity, so tied up with liberalism because of the philosophical bases of its founding documents, would need to be re-imagined. Though admittedly difficult, the modern American identity must be understood as one that is possible out of many. Sources for a re-imagined identity may be found in the archaic substratum permeating the parts of American heritage that preceded systematic liberalism (the early colonial period) as well as in the parts that were, at least for a time, beyond it (the frontier and the Wild West). In other words, the most mystical and also the least “civilized” parts of American history. Yet even this may be problematic, since they were products of late “Faustian” civilization. A descent into barbarism may be in the cards. Only time will tell.

For Westerners in general, Dugin’s project may well prove too radical, even at this late stage in the game—contemplating it would seem first to necessitate a decisive rupture. Unless/until that happens, conservative prescriptions calling for a return to a previous state of affairs (in the West), or a closer reading of the founding documents (in America), will remain a feature of Western dissidence. In other words, even the dissidents will remain conservative restorationists of the classical ideas of the center, or the ideas that led to the center. Truly revolutionary thinking—the re-imagining and reinvention of ourselves—will, however, ultimately come from the periphery rather than the center.

 


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/09/unthinking-liberalism/

mercredi, 19 septembre 2012

G. Faye: The Transitional Program

The Transitional Program

By Michael O'Meara

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

A propos of . . .

Guillaume Faye
Mon Programme: Un programme révolutionnaire ne vise pas à changer les règles du jeu mais à changer de jeu,
Chevaigné: Les Éditions du Lore, 2012

Following quickly on the heels of Sexe et dévoiement [3] (2011), which examined the social-sexual roots of the present European demographic crisis, Faye’s latest is a much different kind of work, addressing quite another, though not entirely unrelated problem.

Theory and Practice

When dealing with political ideas in the largest sense (i.e., as they bear on the life or death of the polis), there comes a time, he argues, when critical and analytical thought, with its commentaries and opinions, has to pass from the abstract to the concrete. The most brilliant medical diagnosis, to give an analogy, is worth little if it does not eventually lead to a curative therapy.

In this vein, his Programme represents an effort to pass from the theoretical to the practical, as it proposes certain concrete policies (political therapies) to treat the ills presently afflicting the French state – and by extension, other European states. The details of this program make little reference to the American situation, but its general principles speak to the malignancy infecting all states of the Americanosphere.

Reform and Revolution

Faye’s program is not, ostensibly, about reforming the existing state. That would only “improve” a political system, whose corruptions, vices, and totalitarian powers are increasing immune to correction. The state’s lack of authority and democratic legitimacy, combined with the entrenchment of the New Class interests controlling it, means that such a system cannot actually be changed in any significant way. Hence the claim of Faye’s subtitle: A revolutionary program (i.e., one that attacks the existing disorder at its roots) “does not aim at changing the rules of the game but at changing the game itself.” The “game” here is the existing political system, which has become an obvious catastrophe for European peoples. For every patriot, this system needs not to be changed, but to be razed and rebuilt – from the ground up and according to an entirely different paradigm.

There is, though, a certain terminological confusion in the way Faye describes his program. He realizes it is something of a pipe dream. No state or party is likely to embrace it — though, of course, this does not lessen the value of its exercise nor does it mean it will not fertilize future projects of a similar sort. We also do not know what is coming and perhaps there will be a moment of breakdown — Joseph Tainter’s “Collapse” — making possible a revolutionary transition. If “we” should ever, then, have the occasion to assume power and restructure the state: how would we go about it?

Faye’s Programme is an effort to start thinking about such an alternative in a situation where a regime-threatening crisis of one sort or another brings a “new majority” to power. He doesn’t specifically spell out what such a crisis might entail, but it is easily imaginable. In 2017, for example, if the present society-destroying problems of unemployment, deindustrialization, massive indebtedness, uncontrolled Third World immigration, etc., are not fixed, and nothing suggests that they will, an anti-system party, like the National Front, could conceivably be voted into power. (Think of what is happening in Greece today.) In such a situation a new majority might submit something like his Programme to a referendum, calling on the “people” to authorize a radical re-structurization of the political system.

I can think of at least two national revolutions that came to power in a similar institutional (legal) way: the Sinn Féin MPs of December 1918 who refused to sit at Westminster and the NSDAP coalition that got a chance to form a government in January 1933.

The Programme anticipates a less catastrophic situation than foreseen in his Convergence des castastrophes (2004) or implied in Avant-Guerre (2002). Perhaps he is suggesting that this scenario is more realistic or likely now; I’m not certain. But it is strange to see so little of his convergence theory — what Tainter calls the ever mounting costliness of complexity — in his program, especially while positing a crisis as the program’s premise.

In any case, his Programme assumes its political remediation is to be administered before the present system collapses, at a moment when a new majority gets a chance to form a government from the debris of the old. For this reason, I think it is better characterized as “transitional” (in the Trotskyist sense).

Unlike a revolutionary program that outlines a strategy for overturning the existing order and seizing state power, a transitional program addresses a crisis in terms of the existing institutional parameters, but does so in ways that reach beyond their limits and are unacceptable to the ruling powers — challenging the system’s logic and thus posing a threat to its “order.” (See Leon Trotsky, The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International [1938].)

The State

In The Politics, Aristotle conceives of the state almost organically: the head of a body (the polis) — the political system that rules the City and ensures order within its measured boundaries.

In his self-consciously Aristotelian approach — which favors individual liberty, responsibility, hierarchy, and ethno-cultural homogeneity — Faye’s program aims at lessening the state’s costly, inefficient administrative functions, enhancing its sovereign powers, and abandoning its appropriation of functions that properly belong to the family and society.

This entails freeing the French state from the present European Union (whose Orwellian stranglehold on continental life is objectively anti-European). He does not actually advocate withdrawing from it, but rather refusing to cooperate with it until its rules are redesigned and national sovereignty is restored. Given that France is the most politically significant of the European states and is pivotal the EU’s existence, it has the power to force a major revamping of its policies and restore the European Idea that inspired the Treaty of Rome (1958).

If achieved, this restoration of national sovereignty would give the French state the freedom to remodel its institutions — not for the sake of undermining the primacy of the state, as our libertarians would have it, but of excising its cancers and enhancing its “regalian” will to “re-establish, preserve, and develop the identity, the prosperity, the security, and the power of France and Europe.”

Faye is not a traditional French nationalist, but a Europeanist favoring continental unity (an imperial family of nations rather than a global marketplace). He believes both the French state and the EU have a liberal-socialist concept of the political, which makes them unable to distinguish between their friends and enemies — given that the individualist, universalistic, and pluralist postulates of their ideology views the world in market and moralist terms, holding that only individualistic matters of ethics and economics are primary. (In traditional, organic civilizations it is the Holy that is primary.)

A restoration of sovereignty would give the French state the freedom to restructure and rebuild itself.

Globally, he proposes measures that would control the nation’s borders, re-vitalize its national economy, improve its efficiency, reduce its costs, amputate its nomenclature, streamline its functions, and concentrate on the national interest, and not, like now, on the special interests. But there is nothing in the Programme that would mobilize the French themselves for the transition. It is strictly a top-down project that ignores what Patrick Pearse called “the sovereign people,” who are vital to the success of every revolutionary movement.

The state, in any case, is too large — which is true almost everywhere. At its top and bottom: its functions and personnel need to be greatly reduced — cabinet positions should fall to six (Defense, Justice, Foreign Affairs, Interior, Economy, and Instruction/Patrimony) and the number of state functionaries cut by at least 50 percent. Faye’s proposals would remove cumbersome, over-regulating, and counter-productive state agencies for the sake of freeing up funds for more worthwhile investments in the private economy.

Toward these ends, he proposes overturning the anti-democratic role of judges, who in the name of the Constitution thwart the popular will (constitutional questions would be left to the Senate); introducing referendums that give the electorate a greater say in major policy decisions; restoring popular liberties, like the right to free speech; introducing “positive” law that judges the crime and not the criminal; abolishing the privileges of higher state functionaries (now greater than those of the 18th-century aristocracy); and eliminating the present confusion of state powers.

The Economy

In the modern world, the power (in a material sense) of a nation-state is in its economy. (The health and longevity of the nation — in the spiritual sense — is another thing, dependent on its demography, the preservation of it genetic heritage, the quality of its culture, and the culture’s transmission.)

Though conscious of the dangers posed by economism, Faye believes “prosperity” is necessary (though not sufficient) for social harmony and national defense. State and economy for him are different realms, operating according to different logics. But he rejects both the Marxist contention that the state’s political economy can do anything it wishes in the market and the liberal-conservative position that it can do nothing. Straddling the two, he advocates a political economy whose guiding principles are non-ideological and pragmatic. “What counts is what works — not what conforms to a dogma.” Sound economic practice is based on experience, not theory.

The great financial crisis of 2008, whose ravages are still evident, was not, he claims, a crisis of capitalism, but a crisis of the welfare-state — and thus a crisis of “statism” (étatisme). The crippling state debt allegedly at the root of this crisis stems, he argues, from the state’s profligate spending, its ever-growing number of functionaries, its bureaucratic mismanagement and cronyism, and its unsupportable social charges, like the Afro-Arab hordes occupying its banlieues. Left-wing talk of ultra-liberalism is delusional in economic systems as regulated as those of Europe. In living beyond its means, the state has acquired debts it cannot afford and now blames it on others.

Faye dismisses those who claim the crisis was created by a conspiracy of banksters and vampire capitalists. Targeting solely the failures of the present political system, he does not see or think it is important that there is something of a revolving door (perhaps greater in the US than France) between the state and the corporations, that the crimes of the money powers are intricately linked to state policies, and thus that the economic interests have a corrupting and distorting effect on the state.

In his anti-Marxism, Faye is wont to stress the primacy of the “superstructure,” rather than the economic “base” (which, most of the time, is probably a reliable rule of thumb). Similarly, he does not relate the current crisis to globalization, which has everywhere undermined the existing models of governance, nor does he consider the often nefarious role played by the IMF, the WTO, and the new global oligarchs.

He blames the crisis solely on the state’s incompetent and spendthrift policies, leaving blameless the money-lenders and criminals, whose bail-out caused the national debt to escalate beyond any imaginable repayment. The state may be primary to a people’s existence, but in the neo-liberal regimes of the West, it is clearly attentive, if not subordinated to the dominant economic interests. The two (state and economy) seem hardly understandable today except in relation to one another — though he wants us to believe the cause of the crisis was purely political. (In my mind, it is civilizational.)

In any case, the French state is over-administrated, “socialist” in effect; it has too many workers (almost 25 percent of the workforce); it pursues social-engineering domestically and economy-destroying free-trade policies internationally, the most self-destroying policies conceivable. Given capitalism’s quantitative logic, its globalist free-trade policies are also destroying Europe’s ability to compete with low-wage Third World economies, like China, and are thus devastating the productive capacity of its economies.

France and Europe, Faye argues, need to protect themselves from the ravages of global free trade by creating a Eurasian autarkic economic zone, from Galway to Vladivostok (what he once called “Eurosiberia,” though there’s no mention of it), and at the same time by liberalizing the domestic economy, throwing off excessive regulations and social charges for the sake of unleashing European initiative and enterprise. He calls thus for changes in the EU that focus on stimulating the European market rather than allowing it to succumb to America’s global market, which is turning the continent’s advanced economies into financialized and tertiarized economies, unable to provide decent paying jobs. The emphasis of his program is thus on national economic growth.

The present policy of budget austerity, he argues, is compounding the crisis, causing state revenues to decline and forcing the economy into depression. Growth alone will generate the wealth needed to get out of debt. To this end, the state needs to radically cut costs, but do so without imposing austerity measures. This entails not just simplifying and rationalizing public functions, but changing the paradigm. The state should not, therefore, indiscriminately reduce public expenses, but rather suppress useless, unproductive charges, while augmenting wealth-creating ones.

Basically, he wants the state to withdraw from the economy, but without abandoning its role in protecting the public and national interests. For those key sectors vital to the nation’s economy and security — energy, armaments, aerospace, and high tech — the state should exercise a certain strategic control over them, but without interfering in their management.

He also calls for a tax revolution that will unburden the middle class, while expanding the tax base. Similarly, he wants the state to encourage enterprise by relieving business of costly social charges, especially on small and middle-size enterprises that create employment; he wants the French to work more — increasing the workweek from 35 hours to 40, and decreasing annual vacations from five weeks to four; he wants a liberalization of the labor market, with a system of national preferences favoring French workers over immigrants; he wants a different system of unemployment benefits that encourages work and rationalizes job placements; he wants a cap on executive salaries and an end to golden parachutes; and he wants state subventions of public worker unions discontinued, along with their right to strike.

As a general principle, he claims the state should not grant rights it cannot afford, that those who can work should, that foreigners have no right to public services (including education), that quotas imposing artificial forms of sexual and racial equality are intolerable, and that only natives unable to work should be entitled to assistance. Social justice, he observes, is not a matter of socialist redistribution, but of a system whose pragmatic efficiencies and competitive industries are able to provide for the nation’s needs. There are, however, no proposals in his program for re-industrialization, state economic planning, or an alternative form of economy based on something other than capitalism’s incessant need to grow and consume.

Closely related to the country’s economic problems is that of the state’s failed politique familiale. The state needs to adopt measures to offset the social problems created by explosive divorce rates and non-reproducing birthrates. The aging of the population is also going to require increased medical services, which need to be expanded and improved.

As for the rising generation, he calls for a revamping of the national education system, which has become a “cretin-producing factory.” France’s Third Republic had one of the finest educational systems in the world, that of the Fifth Republic has been an utter disaster, due largely to Left-wing egalitarian policies catering to the lowest common denominator (the Barbarians at the Gates). The state, moreover, has no right to ‘educate’ youth — that is the role of the family (and, I would add, the Church). The state should instead provide schools that instruct — that convey knowledge and its methods — not inculcate the reigning Left ideologies. Discipline must also be restored; all violence and disorder in schools must be severely punished. Immigrants and non-natives ought to be excluded. Obligatory schooling should end at age 14, and a system of apprenticeship (like in Germany) should be made available to those who do not pursue academic degrees.

The universities also need to be revamped, with more rigorous forms of instruction, dress codes, tracking, and the elimination of such frivolous disciplines as psychology, sociology, communications, business, etc.

There are, though, no proposed measures in his program to strengthen the nation’s ethno-cultural identity, resist the audio-visual imperialism of America’s entertainment industry, or outlaw the NGOs funded by the CIA.

Immigration

The present soft-totalitarian ideology of the French state, like states throughout the Americanosphere, portrays immigration as an “enrichment,” though obviously it is everywhere and in all ways a disaster, threatening the nation’s ethnic fundament, its way of life, and its cultural integrity. Immigration is also code for Third World colonization and Islamization.

Against those claiming it is impossible to stem the immigrant tide, Faye contends that what is needed is a will to do so — a will to eliminate the “pull” factors (like welfare) that attract the immigrant invaders. He proposes zero immigration, the deportation of illegals, the expulsion of unemployed legal ones, the end to family regroupments, the strict policing of student and tourist visas, the abolition of exile rights, visa controls on international transportation links, the elimination of state-funded social assistance to foreigners, national preference in employment, and the replacement of jus soli by jus sanguinis.

Given that Muslims are a special threat, Faye proposes abolishing all state-supported Muslim associations, prohibiting mosque building and halal practices, imposing heavy fines on veiled women, eliminating Muslim chaplains from the military and the prison system, and implementing a general policy of restrictive legislation toward Islam. Surprisingly, he proposes no measures to break up the non-European ghettos presently sponging off French tax-payers and constituting a highly destabilizing factor within the body politic (perhaps because the above measures would prevent these ghettos from continuing to exist).

Even these relatively moderate measures, he realizes, are likely to stir up trouble, for every positive action inevitably comes with its negative effects. But unless measures aimed at stopping the “pull” factors promoting the immigrant invasion are taken, Faye warns, it may be too late for France, in which case more drastic measures will have to be taken later — and Plan B will have no pity.

The World

The state’s defense of the nation and its relationship with other states are two of its defining functions.

To those familiar with Faye’s earlier thoughts on these subjects, they will find the same general orientation — a rejection of Atlanticism, a realignment with Russia, neutrality to the US, withdrawal from the Third World, and an armed vigilance toward Islam. His stance on NATO, the US, and Russia, though, is more “moderate” than those taken in the past.

The Programme depicts the present EU as objectively anti-European, but does not call for an outright withdrawal from it. It similarly recognizes that NATO subordinates Europe to America’s destructive crusades and alliances (impinging on the basic principle of sovereignty: the right to declare war) and again does not call for a withdrawal, only a strategy to diminish its significance. And, finally, though he thinks Russia should be the axis of French policy (which is indeed her only viable geopolitical option), there is little in his program that would advance the prospects of such a realignment or re-align France against the surreptitious war of encirclement presently being waged by the US against Russia. There is also nothing on the present “unipolar-to-multipolar phase” of international politics, brought on by America’s imperial decline — as it goes about threatening war and international havoc, all the while supremely indifferent to the collapse of its own economic fundamentals. On these key policies related to France’s position in the world, he stands to the “right” of Marine Le Pen.

Faye’s program aims at restoring French sovereignty, but, as suggested, on issues relevant to its restoration, his position would greatly modify France’s submission to the anti-sovereign powers, not break with them. At the root of this apparent irresolution, I suspect, is his understanding of Islam. Faye has long designated it as Europe’s principal enemy. And there is no question that Islam, as a civilization, is objectively and threateningly anti-European, and that Muslim immigrants pose a dire threat to France’s future.

But his half-right position has taken him down a wayward path: to an alliance with Islam’s great enemy, Israel, and to an accommodation with Israel’s Guardian Angel, the United States, the world’s foremost anti-white power. For it is the American system (in arming and abetting jihadists to destabilize regimes it seeks to control) that has made Islam such a world threat and it is the American system (in the blight of its leveling commercialism and the poisonous vapors of its human rights ideology) that poses the greatest, most profound threat to European existence.

Faye’s questionable position on these issues seems, more generally, to come from ignoring the nature of the post-1945 nomos imposed by New York-Washington on defeated Europe and the rest of the non-Communist world after the Second World War. America has always had an ambivalent relationship to Europe — being both an offshoot of European Christian civilization and a Puritan (in effect, Bolshevik) opponent of it. Since the end of the last world war — when it formally threw off the Christian moral foundations of the last thousand years of European civilization by morally sanctioning “the destruction of residential areas and the mass killing of civilians as a routine method of warfare” — a new counter-civilization, an empire of liberty and chaos, has come to rule the world (even if during the 45 years of the Cold War the US encouraged the illusion that it was a bastion of Western values and Christianity). (See Desmond Fennell, The Postwestern Condition: Between Chaos and Civilization [1999]; Carl Schmitt, The Nomos of the Earth [1950/2003].)

Not just the devastated Germans and Italians, but all Europeans were subsequently integrated into the predatory empire of this counter-civilization — and subjected to its transvaluation of values (consumerism, permissiveness, abortion, the elimination of sex differences, the death of God, the end of art, anti-racism, and the “newspeak” whose inversions hold that “war is peace,” “dictatorship is democracy,” “ignorance is culture,” etc.). European elites have since become not just a comprador bourgeoisie, but home-grown exemplars of the moral and cultural void (the Thanatos principles) animating the American system. It is this system and its poisons that have made Europeans indifferent to their survival as a people and accounts for the increasing dysfunctionality of their established institutions — not the mass influx of Third World immigrants, who are a (prominent and very unpleasant) symptom, though not the source, of the reigning inversions.

Without acknowledging this, Faye can argue that America is only an adversary of Europe — a power that might exploit Europeans, but not one posing a life and death threat to their existence, like a true enemy. He forgets, accordingly, that America and America’s special friend, Britain, rather consciously destroyed historic Europe — that civilization born from the “medieval” alliance of Charlemagne and the Papacy. In the course of its anti-fascist crusade, the imperial leviathan headquartered in New York-Washington threw off the values and forms of Europe’s ancient and venerable Christian civilization for ones based on the sanctioning of mass murder.

Such premises have since inspired on-going campaigns “to abolish and demolish and derange” the world. It is this system that endangers white people today — for it wars on everything refusing to bend to its “liberal democratic” (i.e., money-driven) colonization, standardization, and demeaning of private and social life — as it breaks up traditional communities, isolates the individual within an increasingly indifferent “global world” dismissive of history, culture, and nature, rejects historically and religiously established sources of meaning, and leaves in their stead innumerable worthless consumer items and a whorl of fabricated electronic simulacra that situate all life within its hyperreal bubble. Even in an indirect or transitional way, Faye does not address this most eminent of the anti-European forces, offering no real alternative to the US/EU consumer paradise, whose present breakdown will be recuperated only by a resistance whose political vision transcends the underlying tenets of the existing one.

Conclusion

As an exercise, Faye’s Programme displays much of its author’s characteristic intelligence and creativity, and it stands as a respectable complement to the numerous interpretative and analytical works he has written on various aspects of European life over the last decade and a half — works written with verve and an imagination rich in imagery, lucidity, and urgency. As a brief programmatic redefinition of the French state system, his program is, admittedly, impressive. It is not, however, revolutionary. In some respects, it is not transitional. Above all, it does not get at the roots of the existing disorder: the satanic system that is presently destroying both Europe and the remnants of European civilization in America.

If Faye continues to speak for the rising forces of European identitarianism and populism, he will need to invent a better “game” than his program — for what seems most needed in this period of transition is a worldview premised on the overthrow of the existing nomos.

 


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/08/the-transitional-program/

samedi, 15 septembre 2012

Aleksandr Dugin: Liberalism, Communism, Fascism, and the Fourth Political Theory

Aleksandr Dugin: Liberalism, Communism, Fascism, and the Fourth Political Theory

jeudi, 12 juillet 2012

Modernità totalitaria

Modernità totalitaria

Ex: http://www.centrostudilaruna.it/

Augusto Del Noce individuò precocemente la diversità dei regimi a partito unico del Novecento, rispetto al liberalismo, nella loro natura “religiosa” e fortemente comunitaria. Vere religioni apocalittiche, ideologie fideistiche della redenzione popolare, neo-gnosticismi basati sulla realizzazione in terra del Millennio. Questa la sostanza più interna di quei movimenti, che in tempi e modi diversi lanciarono la sfida all’individualismo laico e borghese. Fascismo, nazionalsocialismo e comunismo furono uniti dalla concezione “totalitaria” della partecipazione politica: la sfera del privato andava tendenzialmente verso un progressivo restringimento, a favore della dimensione pubblica, politica appunto. E nella sua Nuova scienza della politica, Voegelin già nel 1939 accentrò il suo sguardo proprio su questo enigmatico riermergere dalle viscere dell’Europa di una sua antica vocazione: concepire l’uomo come zoòn politikòn, animale politico, che vive la dimensione dell’agorà, della assemblea politica, come la vera espressione dell’essere uomo. Un uomo votato alla vita di comunità, al legame, alla reciprocità, al solidarismo sociale, più di quanto non fosse incline al soddisfacimento dei suoi bisogni privati e personali.

 

 

Lo studio del Fascismo partendo da queste sue profonde caratteristiche sta ormai soppiantando le obsolete interpretazioni economiciste e sociologiche che avevano dominato nei decenni scorsi, inadatte a capire un fenomeno tanto variegato e composito, ma soprattutto tanto “subliminale” e agente negli immaginari della cultura popolare. In questo senso, la categoria “totalitarismo”, sotto la quale Hannah Arendt aveva a suo tempo collocato il nazismo e il comunismo, ma non il Fascismo (in virtù dell’assenza in quest’ultimo di un apparato di violenta repressione di massa), viene recuperata con altri risvolti: anche il Fascismo ebbe un suo aspetto “totalitario”, chiamò se stesso con questo termine, aspirò a una sua “totalità”, ma semplicemente volendo significare che il suo era un modello di coinvolgimento totale, una mobilitazione di tutte le energie nazionali, una generale chiamata a raccolta di tutto il popolo nel progetto di edificazione dello Stato Nuovo. Il totalitarismo fascista, insomma, non tanto come sistema repressivo e come organizzazione dello Stato di polizia, ma come sistema di aggregazione totale di tutti in tutte le sfere dell’esistenza, dal lavoro al tempo libero, dall’arte alla cultura. Il totalitarismo fascista non come arma di coercizione capillare, ma come macchina di conquista e promozione di un consenso che si voleva non passivo e inerte, ma attivo e convinto.

 

Un’analisi di questi aspetti viene ora effettuata dal libro curato da Emilio Gentile Modernità totalitaria. Il fascismo italiano (Laterza), in cui vari autori affrontano il tema da più prospettive: la religione politica, gli stili estetici, la divulgazione popolare, l’architettura, i rituali del Regime. Pur negli ondeggiamenti interpretativi, se ne ricava il quadro di un Fascismo che non solo non fu uno strumento reazionario in mano agli agenti politici oscurantisti dell’epoca, ma proprio al contrario fu l’espressione più tipica della modernità, manifestando certo anche talune disfunzioni legate alla società di massa, ma – all’opposto del liberalismo – cercando anche di temperarle costruendo un tessuto sociale solidarista che risultasse, per quanto possibile nell’era industriale e tecnologica, a misura d’uomo.

 

Diciamo subito che l’indagine svolta da Mauro Canali, uno degli autori del libro in parola, circa le tecniche repressive attuate dal Regime nei confronti degli oppositori politici, non ci convince. Si dice che anche il Fascismo eresse apparati atti alla denuncia, alla sorveglianza delle persone, alla creazione di uno stato di sospetto diffuso. Che fu dunque meno “morbido” di quanto generalmente si pensi.

 

E si citano organismi come la mitica “Ceka” (la cui esistenza nel ‘23-’24 non è neppure storicamente accertata), la staraciana “Organizzazione capillare” del ‘35-’36, il rafforzamento della Polizia di Stato, la figura effimera dei “prefetti volanti”, quella dei “fiduciari”, che insieme alle leggi “fascistissime” del ‘25-’26 avrebbero costituito altrettanti momenti di aperta oppure occulta coercizione. Vorremmo sapere se, ad esempio, la struttura di polizia degli Stati Uniti – in cui per altro la pena capitale viene attuata ancora oggi in misura non paragonabile a quella ristretta a pochissimi casi estremi durante i vent’anni di Fascismo – non sia molto più efficiente e invasiva di quanto lo sia stata quella fascista. Che, a cominciare dal suo capo Bocchini, elemento di formazione moderata e “giolittiana”, rimase fino alla fine in gran parte liberale. C’erano i “fiduciari”, che sorvegliavano sul comportamento politico della gente? Ma perchè, oggi non sorgono come funghi “comitati di vigilanza antifascista” non appena viene detta una sola parola che vada oltre il seminato? E non vengono svolte campagne di intimidazione giornalistica e televisiva nei confronti di chi, per qualche ragione, non accetta il sistema liberaldemocratico? E non si attuano politiche di pubblica denuncia e di violenta repressione nei confronti del semplice reato di opinione, su temi considerati a priori indiscutibili? E non esistono forse leggi europee che mandano in galera chi la pensa diversamente dal potere su certi temi?

 

Il totalitarismo fascista non va cercato nella tecnica di repressione, che in varia misura appartiene alla logica stessa di qualsiasi Stato che ci tenga alla propria esistenza. Vogliamo ricordare che anche di recente si è parlato di “totalitarismo” precisamente a proposito della società liberaldemocratica. Ad esempio, nel libro curato da Massimo Recalcati Forme contemporanee di totalitarismo (Bollati Boringhieri), si afferma apertamente l’esistenza del binomio «potere e terrore» che domina la società globalizzata. Una struttura di potere che dispone di tecniche di dominazione psico-fisica di straordinaria efficienza. Si scrive in proposito che la società liberaldemocratica globalizzata della nostra epoca è «caratterizzata da un orizzonte inedito che unisce una tendenza totalitaria – universalista appunto – con la polverizzzazione relativistica dell’Uno». Il dominio oligarchico liberale di fatto non ha nulla da invidiare agli strumenti repressivi di massa dei regimi “totalitari” storici, attuando anzi metodi di controllo-repressione che, più soft all’apparenza, si rivelano nei fatti di superiore tenuta. Quando si richiama l’attenzione sull’esistenza odierna di un «totalitarismo postideologico nelle società a capitalismo avanzato», sulla materializzazione disumanizzante della vita, sullo sfaldamento dei rapporti sociali a favore di quelli economici, si traccia il profilo di un totalitarismo organizzato in modo formidabile, che è in piena espansione ed entra nelle case e nel cervello degli uomini con metodi “terroristici” per lo più inavvertiti, ma di straordinaria resa pratica. Poche società – ivi comprese quelle totalitarie storiche –, una volta esaminate nei loro reali organigrammi, presentano un “modello unico”, un “pensiero unico”, un’assenza di controculture e di antagonismi politici, come la presente società liberale. La schiavizzazione psicologica al modello del profitto e l’obbligatoria sudditanza agli articoli della fede “democratica” attuano tali bombardamenti mass-mediatici e tali intimidazioni nei confronti dei comportamenti devianti, che al confronto le pratiche fasciste di isolamento dell’oppositore – si pensi al blandissimo regime del “confino di polizia” – appaiono bonari e paternalistici ammonimenti di epoche arcaiche.

 

Il totalitarismo fascista fu altra cosa. Fu la volontà di creare una nuova civiltà non di vertice ed oligarchica, ma col sostegno attivo e convinto tanto delle avanguardie politiche e culturali, quanto di masse fortemente organizzate e politicizzate. Si può parlare, in proposito, di un popolo italiano soltanto dopo la “nazionalizzazione” effettuata dal Fascismo. Il quale, bene o male, prese masse relegate nell’indigenza, nell’ignoranza secolare, nell’abbandono sociale e culturale, le strappò al loro miserabile isolamento, le acculturò, le vestì, le fece viaggiare per l’Italia, le mise a contatto con realtà sino ad allora ignorate – partecipazione a eventi comuni di ogni tipo, vacanze, sussidi materiali, protezione del lavoro, diritti sociali, garanzie sanitarie… – dando loro un orgoglio, fecendole sentire protagoniste, elevandole alla fine addirittura al rango di “stirpe dominatrice”. E imprimendo la forte sensazione di partecipare attivamente a eventi di portata mondiale e di poter decidere sul proprio destino… Questo è il totalitarismo fascista. Attraverso il Partito e le sue numerose organizzazioni, di una plebe semimedievale – come ormai riconosce la storiografia – si riuscì a fare in qualche anno, e per la prima volta nella storia d’Italia, un popolo moderno, messo a contatto con tutti gli aspetti della modernità e della tecnica, dai treni popolari alla radio, dall’auto “Balilla” al cinema.

 

Ecco dunque che il totalitarismo fascista appare di una specie tutta sua. Lungi dall’essere uno Stato di polizia, il Regime non fece che allargare alla totalità del popolo i suoi miti fondanti, le sue liturgie politiche, il suo messaggio di civiltà, il suo italianismo, la sua vena sociale: tutte cose che rimasero inalterate, ed anzi potenziate, rispetto a quando erano appannaggio del primo Fascismo minoritario, quello movimentista e squadrista. Giustamente scrive Emily Braun, collaboratrice del libro sopra segnalato, che il Fascismo fornì nel campo artistico l’esempio tipico della sua specie particolare di totalitarismo. Non vi fu mai un’arte “di Stato”. Quanti si occuparono di politica delle arti (nomi di straordinaria importanza a livello europeo: Marinetti, Sironi, la Sarfatti, Soffici, Bottai…) capirono «che l’estetica non poteva essere né imposta né standardizzata… il fascismo italiano utilizzava forme d’arte modernista, il che implica l’arte di avanguardia». Ma non ci fu un potere arcigno che obbligasse a seguire un cliché preconfezionato. Lo stile “mussoliniano” e imperiale si impose per impulso non del vertice politico, ma degli stessi protagonisti, «poiché gli artisti di regime più affermati erano fascisti convinti».

 

Queste cose oggi possono finalmente esser dette apertamente, senza timore di quella vecchia censura storiografica, che è stata per decenni l’esatto corrispettivo delle censure del tempo fascista. Le quali ultime, tuttavia, operarono in un clima di perenne tensione ideologica, di crisi mondiali, di catastrofi economiche, di guerre e rivoluzioni, e non di pacifica “democrazia”. Se dunque vi fu un totalitarismo fascista, esso è da inserire, come scrive Emilio Gentile, nel quadro dell’«eclettismo dello spirito» propugnato da Mussolini, che andava oltre l’ideologia, veicolando una visione del mondo totale.

 

* * *

 

Tratto da Linea del 27 marzo 2009.

 

The Fourth Political Theory

 
Het boek wordt voorgesteld op 28 juli 2012 in Stockholm (voor Europa) en in Brazilië (voor het Amerikaanse continent).
 
 
Table of Contents:

A Note from the Editor
Foreword by Alain Soral
Introduction: To Be or Not to Be?

1. The Birth of the Concept
2. Dasein as an Actor
3. The Critique of Monotonic Processes
4. The Reversibility of Time
5. Global Transition and its Enemies
6. Conservatism and Postmodernity
7. ‘Civilisation’ as an Ideological Concept
8. The Transformation of the Left in the Twenty-first Century
9. Liberalism and Its Metamorphoses
10. The Ontology of the Future
11. The New Political Anthropology
12. Fourth Political Practice
13. Gender in the Fourth Political Theory
14. Against the Postmodern World
Appendix I: Political Post-Anthropology
Appendix II: The Metaphysics of Chaos

mercredi, 11 juillet 2012

Fascism, Anti-Fascism, and the Welfare State

Fascism, Anti-Fascism, and the Welfare State

Paul Gottfried

lundi, 09 juillet 2012

Augustin Cochin on the French Revolution

aaaacochin.jpg

From Salon to Guillotine
Augustin Cochin on the French Revolution

By F. Roger Devlin

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

Augustin Cochin
Organizing the Revolution: Selections From Augustin Cochin [2]
Translated by Nancy Derr Polin with a Preface by Claude Polin
Rockford, Ill.: Chronicles Press, 2007

The Rockford Institute’s publication of Organizing the Revolution marks the first appearance in our language of an historian whose insights apply not only to the French Revolution but to much of modern politics as well.

Augustin Cochin (1876–1916) was born into a family that had distinguished itself for three generations in the antiliberal “Social Catholicism” movement. He studied at the Ecole des Chartes and began to specialize in the study of the Revolution in 1903. Drafted in 1914 and wounded four times, he continued his researches during periods of convalescence. But he always requested to be returned to the front, where he was killed on July 8, 1916 at the age of thirty-nine.

Cochin was a philosophical historian in an era peculiarly unable to appreciate that rare talent. He was trained in the supposedly “scientific” methods of research formalized in his day under the influence of positivism, and was in fact an irreproachably patient and thorough investigator of primary archives. Yet he never succumbed to the prevailing notion that facts and documents would tell their own story in the absence of a human historian’s empathy and imagination. He always bore in mind that the goal of historical research was a distinctive type of understanding.

Both his archival and his interpretive labors were dedicated to elucidating the development of Jacobinism, in which he (rightly) saw the central, defining feature of the French Revolution. François Furet wrote: “his approach to the problem of Jacobinism is so original that it has been either not understood or buried, or both.”[1]

Most of his work appeared only posthumously. His one finished book is a detailed study of the first phase of the Revolution as it played out in Brittany: it was published in 1925 by his collaborator Charles Charpentier. He had also prepared (with Charpentier) a complete collection of the decrees of the revolutionary government (August 23, 1793–July 27, 1794). His mother arranged for the publication of two volumes of theoretical writings: The Philosophical Societies and Modern Democracy (1921), a collection of lectures and articles; and The Revolution and Free Thought (1924), an unfinished work of interpretation. These met with reviews ranging from the hostile to the uncomprehending to the dismissive.

“Revisionist” historian François Furet led a revival of interest in Cochin during the late 1970s, making him the subject of a long and appreciative chapter in his important study Interpreting the French Revolution and putting him on a par with Tocqueville. Cochin’s two volumes of theoretical writings were reprinted shortly thereafter by Copernic, a French publisher associated with GRECE and the “nouvelle droit.”

The book under review consists of selections in English from these volumes. The editor and translator may be said to have succeeded in their announced aim: “to present his unfinished writings in a clear and coherent form.”

Between the death of the pioneering antirevolutionary historian Hippolyte Taine in 1893 and the rise of “revisionism” in the 1960s, study of the French Revolution was dominated by a series of Jacobin sympathizers: Aulard, Mathiez, Lefevre, Soboul. During the years Cochin was producing his work, much public attention was directed to polemical exchanges between Aulard, a devotee of Danton, and his former student Mathiez, who had become a disciple of Robespierre. Both men remained largely oblivious to the vast ocean of assumptions they shared.

Cochin published a critique of Aulard and his methods in 1909; an abridged version of this piece is included in the volume under review. Aulard’s principal theme was that the revolutionary government had been driven to act as it did by circumstance:

This argument [writes Cochin] tends to prove that the ideas and sentiments of the men of ’93 had nothing abnormal in themselves, and if their deeds shock us it is because we forget their perils, the circumstances; [and that] any man with common sense and a heart would have acted as they did in their place. Aulard allows this apology to include even the very last acts of the Terror. Thus we see that the Prussian invasion caused the massacre of the priests of the Abbey, the victories of la Rochejacquelein [in the Vendée uprising] caused the Girondins to be guillotined, [etc.]. In short, to read Aulard, the Revolutionary government appears a mere makeshift rudder in a storm, “a wartime expedient.” (p. 49)

Aulard had been strongly influenced by positivism, and believed that the most accurate historiography would result from staying as close as possible to documents of the period; he is said to have conducted more extensive archival research than any previous historian of the Revolution. But Cochin questioned whether such a return to the sources would necessarily produce truer history:

Mr. Aulard’s sources—minutes of meetings, official reports, newspapers, patriotic pamphlets—are written by patriots [i.e., revolutionaries], and mostly for the public. He was to find the argument of defense highlighted throughout these documents. In his hands he had a ready-made history of the Revolution, presenting—beside each of the acts of “the people,” from the September massacres to the law of Prairial—a ready-made explanation. And it is this history he has written. (p. 65)

aaaaacochinmeccannicca.gifIn fact, says Cochin, justification in terms of “public safety” or “self- defense” is an intrinsic characteristic of democratic governance, and quite independent of circumstance:

When the acts of a popular power attain a certain degree of arbitrariness and become oppressive, they are always presented as acts of self-defense and public safety. Public safety is the necessary fiction in democracy, as divine right is under an authoritarian regime. [The argument for defense] appeared with democracy itself. As early as July 28, 1789 [i.e., two weeks after the storming of the Bastille] one of the leaders of the party of freedom proposed to establish a search committee, later called “general safety,” that would be able to violate the privacy of letters and lock people up without hearing their defense. (pp. 62–63)

(Americans of the “War on Terror” era, take note.)

But in fact, says Cochin, the appeal to defense is nearly everywhere a post facto rationalization rather than a real motive:

Why were the priests persecuted at Auch? Because they were plotting, claims the “public voice.” Why were they not persecuted in Chartes? Because they behaved well there.

How often can we not turn this argument around?

Why did the people in Auch (the Jacobins, who controlled publicity) say the priests were plotting? Because the people (the Jacobins) were persecuting them. Why did no one say so in Chartes? Because they were left alone there.

In 1794 put a true Jacobin in Caen, and a moderate in Arras, and you could be sure by the next day that the aristocracy of Caen, peaceable up till then, would have “raised their haughty heads,” and in Arras they would go home. (p. 67)

In other words, Aulard’s “objective” method of staying close to contemporary documents does not scrape off a superfluous layer of interpretation and put us directly in touch with raw fact—it merely takes the self-understanding of the revolutionaries at face value, surely the most naïve style of interpretation imaginable. Cochin concludes his critique of Aulard with a backhanded compliment, calling him “a master of Jacobin orthodoxy. With him we are sure we have the ‘patriotic’ version. And for this reason his work will no doubt remain useful and consulted” (p. 74). Cochin could not have foreseen that the reading public would be subjected to another half century of the same thing, fitted out with ever more “original documentary research” and flavored with ever increasing doses of Marxism.

But rather than attending further to these methodological squabbles, let us consider how Cochin can help us understand the French Revolution and the “progressive” politics it continues to inspire.

It has always been easy for critics to rehearse the Revolution’s atrocities: the prison massacres, the suppression of the Vendée, the Law of Suspects, noyades and guillotines. The greatest atrocities of the 1790s from a strictly humanitarian point of view, however, occurred in Poland, and some of these were actually counter-revolutionary reprisals. The perennial fascination of the French Revolution lies not so much in the extent of its cruelties and injustices, which the Caligulas and Genghis Khans of history may occasionally have equaled, but in the sense that revolutionary tyranny was something different in kind, something uncanny and unprecedented. Tocqueville wrote of

something special about the sickness of the French Revolution which I sense without being able to describe. My spirit flags from the effort to gain a clear picture of this object and to find the means of describing it fairly. Independently of everything that is comprehensible in the French Revolution there is something that remains inexplicable.

Part of the weird quality of the Revolution was that it claimed, unlike Genghis and his ilk, to be massacring in the name of liberty, equality, and fraternity. But a deeper mystery which has fascinated even its enemies is the contrast between its vast size and force and the negligible ability of its apparent “leaders” to unleash or control it: the men do not measure up to the events. For Joseph de Maistre the explanation could only be the direct working of Divine Providence; none but the Almighty could have brought about so great a cataclysm by means of such contemptible characters. For Augustin Barruel it was proof of a vast, hidden conspiracy (his ideas have a good claim to constitute the world’s original “conspiracy theory”). Taine invoked a “Jacobin psychology” compounded of abstraction, fanaticism, and opportunism.

Cochin found all these notions of his antirevolutionary predecessors unsatisfying. Though Catholic by religion and family background, he quite properly never appeals to Divine Providence in his scholarly work to explain events (p. 71). He also saw that the revolutionaries were too fanatical and disciplined to be mere conspirators bent on plunder (pp. 56–58; 121–122; 154). Nor is an appeal to the psychology of the individual Jacobin useful as an explanation of the Revolution: this psychology is itself precisely what the historian must try to explain (pp. 60–61).

Cochin viewed Jacobinism not primarily as an ideology but as a form of society with its own inherent rules and constraints independent of the desires and intentions of its members. This central intuition—the importance of attending to the social formation in which revolutionary ideology and practice were elaborated as much as to ideology, events, or leaders themselves—distinguishes his work from all previous writing on the Revolution and was the guiding principle of his archival research. He even saw himself as a sociologist, and had an interest in Durkheim unusual for someone of his Catholic traditionalist background.

The term he employs for the type of association he is interested in is société de pensée, literally “thought-society,” but commonly translated “philosophical society.” He defines it as “an association founded without any other object than to elicit through discussion, to set by vote, to spread by correspondence—in a word, merely to express—the common opinion of its members. It is the organ of [public] opinion reduced to its function as an organ” (p. 139).

It is no trivial circumstance when such societies proliferate through the length and breadth of a large kingdom. Speaking generally, men are either born into associations (e.g., families, villages, nations) or form them in order to accomplish practical ends (e.g., trade unions, schools, armies). Why were associations of mere opinion thriving so luxuriously in France on the eve of the Revolution? Cochin does not really attempt to explain the origin of the phenomenon he analyzes, but a brief historical review may at least clarify for my readers the setting in which these unusual societies emerged.

About the middle of the seventeenth century, during the minority of Louis XIV, the French nobility staged a clumsy and disorganized revolt in an attempt to reverse the long decline of their political fortunes. At one point, the ten year old King had to flee for his life. When he came of age, Louis put a high priority upon ensuring that such a thing could never happen again. The means he chose was to buy the nobility off. They were relieved of the obligations traditionally connected with their ancestral estates and encouraged to reside in Versailles under his watchful eye; yet they retained full exemption from the ruinous taxation that he inflicted upon the rest of the kingdom. This succeeded in heading off further revolt, but also established a permanent, sizeable class of persons with a great deal of wealth, no social function, and nothing much to do with themselves.

The salon became the central institution of French life. Men and women of leisure met for gossip, dalliance, witty badinage, personal (not political) intrigue, and discussion of the latest books and plays and the events of the day. Refinement of taste and the social graces reached an unusual pitch. It was this cultivated leisure class which provided both setting and audience for the literary works of the grand siècle.

The common social currency of the age was talk: outside Jewish yeshivas, the world had probably never beheld a society with a higher ratio of talk to action. A small deed, such as Montgolfier’s ascent in a hot air balloon, could provide matter for three years of self-contented chatter in the salons.

Versailles was the epicenter of this world; Paris imitated Versailles; larger provincial cities imitated Paris. Eventually there was no town left in the realm without persons ambitious of imitating the manners of the Court and devoted to cultivating and discussing whatever had passed out of fashion in the capital two years earlier. Families of the rising middle class, as soon as they had means to enjoy a bit of leisure, aspired to become a part of salon society.

Toward the middle of the eighteenth century a shift in both subject matter and tone came over this world of elegant discourse. The traditional saloniste gave way to the philosophe, an armchair statesman who, despite his lack of real responsibilities, focused on public affairs and took himself and his talk with extreme seriousness. In Cochin’s words: “mockery replaced gaiety, and politics pleasure; the game became a career, the festivity a ceremony, the clique the Republic of Letters” (p. 38). Excluding men of leisure from participation in public life, as Louis XIV and his successors had done, failed to extinguish ambition from their hearts. Perhaps in part by way of compensation, the philosophes gradually

created an ideal republic alongside and in the image of the real one, with its own constitution, its magistrates, its common people, its honors and its battles. There they studied the same problems—political, economic, etc.—and there they discussed agriculture, art, ethics, law, etc. There they debated the issues of the day and judged the officeholders. In short, this little State was the exact image of the larger one with only one difference—it was not real. Its citizens had neither direct interest nor responsible involvement in the affairs they discussed. Their decrees were only wishes, their battles conversations, their studies games. It was the city of thought. That was its essential characteristic, the one both initiates and outsiders forgot first, because it went without saying. (pp. 123–24)

Part of the point of a philosophical society was this very seclusion from reality. Men from various walks of life—clergymen, officers, bankers—could forget their daily concerns and normal social identities to converse as equals in an imaginary world of “free thought”: free, that is, from attachments, obligations, responsibilities, and any possibility of failure.

In the years leading up to the Revolution, countless such organizations vied for followers and influence: Amis Réunis, Philalèthes, Chevaliers Bienfaisants, Amis de la Verité, several species of Freemasons, academies, literary and patriotic societies, schools, cultural associations and even agricultural societies—all barely dissimulating the same utopian political spirit (“philosophy”) behind official pretenses of knowledge, charity, or pleasure. They “were all more or less connected to one another and associated with those in Paris. Constant debates, elections, delegations, correspondence, and intrigue took place in their midst, and a veritable public life developed through them” (p. 124).

Because of the speculative character of the whole enterprise, the philosophes’ ideas could not be verified through action. Consequently, the societies developed criteria of their own, independent of the standards of validity that applied in the world outside:

Whereas in the real world the arbiter of any notion is practical testing and its goal what it actually achieves, in this world the arbiter is the opinion of others and its aim their approval. That is real which others see, that true which they say, that good of which they approve. Thus the natural order is reversed: opinion here is the cause and not, as in real life, the effect. (p. 39)

Many matters of deepest concern to ordinary men naturally got left out of discussion: “You know how difficult it is in mere conversation to mention faith or feeling,” remarks Cochin (p. 40; cf. p. 145). The long chains of reasoning at once complex and systematic which mark genuine philosophy—and are produced by the stubborn and usually solitary labors of exceptional men—also have no chance of success in a society of philosophes (p. 143). Instead, a premium gets placed on what can be easily expressed and communicated, which produces a lowest-common-denominator effect (p. 141).

aaaacochin socpense.jpg

The philosophes made a virtue of viewing the world surrounding them objectively and disinterestedly. Cochin finds an important clue to this mentality in a stock character of eighteenth-century literature: the “ingenuous man.” Montesquieu invented him as a vehicle for satire in the Persian Letters: an emissary from the King of Persia sending witty letters home describing the queer customs of Frenchmen. The idea caught on and eventually became a new ideal for every enlightened mind to aspire to. Cochin calls it “philosophical savagery”:

Imagine an eighteenth-century Frenchman who possesses all the material attainments of the civilization of his time—cultivation, education, knowledge, and taste—but without any of the real well-springs, the instincts and beliefs that have created and breathed life into all this, that have given their reason for these customs and their use for these resources. Drop him into this world of which he possesses everything except the essential, the spirit, and he will see and know everything but understand nothing. Everything shocks him. Everything appears illogical and ridiculous to him. It is even by this incomprehension that intelligence is measured among savages. (p. 43; cf. p. 148)

In other words, the eighteenth-century philosophes were the original “deracinated intellectuals.” They rejected as “superstitions” and “prejudices” the core beliefs and practices of the surrounding society, the end result of a long process of refining and testing by men through countless generations of practical endeavor. In effect, they created in France what a contributor to this journal has termed a “culture of critique”—an intellectual milieu marked by hostility to the life of the nation in which its participants were living. (It would be difficult, however, to argue a significant sociobiological basis in the French version.)

This gradual withdrawal from the real world is what historians refer to as the development of the Enlightenment. Cochin calls it an “automatic purging” or “fermentation.” It is not a rational progression like the stages in an argument, however much the philosophes may have spoken of their devotion to “Reason”; it is a mechanical process which consists of “eliminating the real world in the mind instead of reducing the unintelligible in the object” (p. 42). Each stage produces a more rarified doctrine and human type, just as each elevation on a mountain slope produces its own kind of vegetation. The end result is the world’s original “herd of independent minds,” a phenomenon which would have horrified even men such as Montesquieu and Voltaire who had characterized the first societies.

It is interesting to note that, like our own multiculturalists, many of the philosophes attempted to compensate for their estrangement from the living traditions of French civilization by a fascination with foreign laws and customs. Cochin aptly compares civilization to a living plant which slowly grows “in the bedrock of experience under the rays of faith,” and likens this sort of philosophe to a child mindlessly plucking the blossoms from every plant he comes across in order to decorate his own sandbox (pp. 43–44).

Accompanying the natural “fermentation” of enlightened doctrine, a process of selection also occurs in the membership of the societies. Certain men are simply more suited to the sort of empty talking that goes on there:

young men because of their age; men of law, letters or discourse because of their profession; the skeptics because of their convictions; the vain because of their temperament; the superficial because of their [poor] education. These people take to it and profit by it, for it leads to a career that the world here below does not offer them, a world in which their deficiencies become strengths. On the other hand, true, sincere minds with a penchant for the concrete, for efficacy rather than opinion, find themselves disoriented and gradually drift away. (pp. 40–41)

In a word, the glib drive out the wise.

The societies gradually acquired an openly partisan character: whoever agreed with their views, however stupid, was considered “enlightened.” By 1776, d’Alembert acknowledged this frankly, writing to Frederick the Great: “We are doing what we can to fill the vacant positions in the Académie française in the manner of the banquet of the master of the household in the Gospel: with the crippled and lame men of literature” (p. 35). Mediocrities such as Mably, Helvétius, d’Holbach, Condorcet, and Raynal, whose works Cochin calls “deserts of insipid prose” were accounted ornaments of their age. The philosophical societies functioned like hired clappers making a success of a bad play (p. 46).

On the other hand, all who did not belong to the “philosophical” party were subjected to a “dry terror”:

Prior to the bloody Terror of ’93, in the Republic of Letters there was, from 1765 to 1780, a dry terror of which the Encyclopedia was the Committee of Public Safety and d’Alembert was the Robespierre. It mowed down reputations as the other chopped off heads: its guillotine was defamation, “infamy” as it was then called: The term, originating with Voltaire [écrasez l’infâme!], was used in the provincial societies with legal precision. “To brand with infamy” was a well-defined operation consisting of investigation, discussion, judgment, and finally execution, which meant the public sentence of “contempt.” (p. 36; cf. p. 123)

Having said something of the thought and behavioral tendencies of the philosophes, let us turn to the manner in which their societies were constituted—which, as we have noted, Cochin considered the essential point. We shall find that they possess in effect two constitutions. One is the original and ostensible arrangement, which our author characterizes as “the democratic principle itself, in its principle and purity” (p. 137). But another pattern of governance gradually takes shape within them, hidden from most of the members themselves. This second, unacknowledged constitution is what allows the societies to operate effectively, even as it contradicts the original “democratic” ideal.

The ostensible form of the philosophical society is direct democracy. All members are free and equal; no one is forced to yield to anyone else; no one speaks on behalf of anyone else; everyone’s will is accomplished. Rousseau developed the principles of such a society in his Social Contract. He was less concerned with the glaringly obvious practical difficulties of such an arrangement than with the question of legitimacy. He did not ask: “How could perfect democracy function and endure in the real word?” but rather: “What must a society whose aim is the common good do to be founded lawfully?”

Accordingly, Rousseau spoke dismissively of the representative institutions of Britain, so admired by Montesquieu and Voltaire. The British, he said, are free only when casting their ballots; during the entire time between elections there are as enslaved as the subjects of the Great Turk. Sovereignty by its very nature cannot be delegated, he declared; the People, to whom it rightfully belongs, must exercise it both directly and continuously. From this notion of a free and egalitarian society acting in concert emerges a new conception of law not as a fixed principle but as the general will of the members at a given moment.

Rousseau explicitly states that the general will does not mean the will of the majority as determined by vote; voting he speaks of slightingly as an “empirical means.” The general will must be unanimous. If the merely “empirical” wills of men are in conflict, then the general will—their “true” will—must lie hidden somewhere. Where is it to be found? Who will determine what it is, and how?

At this critical point in the argument, where explicitness and clarity are most indispensable, Rousseau turns coy and vague: the general will is “in conformity with principles”; it “only exists virtually in the conscience or imagination of ‘free men,’ ‘patriots.’” Cochin calls this “the idea of a legitimate people—very similar to that of a legitimate prince. For the regime’s doctrinaires, the people is an ideal being” (p. 158).

There is a strand of thought about the French Revolution that might be called the “Ideas-Have-Consequences School.” It casts Rousseau in the role of a mastermind who elaborated all the ideas that less important men such as Robespierre merely carried out. Such is not Cochin’s position. In his view, the analogies between the speculations of the Social Contract and Revolutionary practice arise not from one having caused or inspired the other, but from both being based upon the philosophical societies.

Rousseau’s model, in other words, was neither Rome nor Sparta nor Geneva nor any phantom of his own “idyllic imagination”—he was describing, in a somewhat idealized form, the philosophical societies of his day. He treated these recent and unusual social formations as the archetype of all legitimate human association (cf. pp. 127, 155). As such a description—but not as a blueprint for the Terror—the Social Contract may be profitably read by students of the Revolution.

Indeed, if we look closely at the nature and purpose of a philosophical society, some of Rousseau’s most extravagant assertions become intelligible and even plausible. Consider unanimity, for example. The society is, let us recall, “an association founded to elicit through discussion [and] set by vote the common opinion of its members.” In other words, rather than coming together because they agree upon anything, the philosophes come together precisely in order to reach agreement, to resolve upon some common opinion. The society values union itself more highly than any objective principle of union. Hence, they might reasonably think of themselves as an organization free of disagreement.

Due to its unreal character, furthermore, a philosophical society is not torn by conflicts of interest. It demands no sacrifice—nor even effort—from its members. So they can all afford to be entirely “public spirited.” Corruption—the misuse of a public trust for private ends—is a constant danger in any real polity. But since the society’s speculations are not of this world, each philosophe is an “Incorruptible”:

One takes no personal interest in theory. So long as there is an ideal to define rather than a task to accomplish, personal interest, selfishness, is out of the question. [This accounts for] the democrats’ surprising faith in the virtue of mankind. Any philosophical society is a society of virtuous, generous people subordinating political motives to the general good. We have turned our back on the real world. But ignoring the world does not mean conquering it. (p. 155)

(This pattern of thinking explains why leftists even today are wont to contrast their own “idealism” with the “selfish” activities of businessmen guided by the profit motive.)

We have already mentioned that the more glib or assiduous attendees of a philosophical society naturally begin exercising an informal ascendancy over other members: in the course of time, this evolves into a standing but unacknowledged system of oligarchic governance:

Out of one hundred registered members, fewer than five are active, and these are the masters of the society. [This group] is composed of the most enthusiastic and least scrupulous members. They are the ones who choose the new members, appoint the board of directors, make the motions, guide the voting. Every time the society meets, these people have met in the morning, contacted their friends, established their plan, given their orders, stirred up the unenthusiastic, brought pressure to bear upon the reticent. They have subdued the board, removed the troublemakers, set the agenda and the date. Of course, discussion is free, but the risk in this freedom minimal and the “sovereign’s” opposition little to be feared. The “general will” is free—like a locomotive on its tracks. (pp. 172–73)

 Cochin draws here upon James Bryce’s American Commonwealth and Moisey Ostrogorski’s Democracy and the Organization of Political Parties. Bryce and Ostrogorski studied the workings of Anglo-American political machines such as New York’s Tammany Hall and Joseph Chamberlain’s Birmingham Caucus. Cochin considered such organizations (plausibly, from what I can tell) to be authentic descendants of the French philosophical and revolutionary societies. He thought it possible, with due circumspection, to apply insights gained from studying these later political machines to previously misunderstand aspects of the Revolution.

One book with which Cochin seems unfortunately not to have been familiar is Robert Michels’ Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy, published in French translation only in 1914. But he anticipated rather fully Michels’ “iron law of oligarchy,” writing, for example, that “every egalitarian society fatally finds itself, after a certain amount of time, in the hands of a few men; this is just the way things are” (p. 174). Cochin was working independently toward conclusions notably similar to those of Michels and Gaetano Mosca, the pioneering Italian political sociologists whom James Burnham called “the Machiavellians.” The significance of his work extends far beyond that of its immediate subject, the French Revolution.

The essential operation of a democratic political machine consists of just two steps, continually repeated: the preliminary decision and the establishment of conformity.

First, the ringleaders at the center decide upon some measure. They prompt the next innermost circles, whose members pass the message along until it reaches the machine’s operatives in the outermost local societies made up of poorly informed people. All this takes place unofficially and in secrecy (p. 179).

Then the local operatives ingenuously “make a motion” in their societies, which is really the ringleaders’ proposal without a word changed. The motion passes—principally through the passivity (Cochin writes “inertia”) of the average member. The local society’s resolution, which is now binding upon all its members, is with great fanfare transmitted back towards the center.

The central society is deluged with identical “resolutions” from dozens of local societies simultaneously. It hastens to endorse and ratify these as “the will of the nation.” The original measure now becomes binding upon everyone, though the majority of members have no idea what has taken place. Although really a kind of political ventriloquism by the ringleaders, the public opinion thus orchestrated “reveals a continuity, cohesion and vigor that stuns the enemies of Jacobinism” (p. 180).

In his study of the beginnings of the Revolution in Brittany, Cochin found sudden reversals of popular opinion which the likes of Monsieur Aulard would have taken at face value, but which become intelligible once viewed in the light of the democratic mechanism:

On All Saints’ Day, 1789, a pamphlet naïvely declared that not a single inhabitant imagined doing away with the privileged orders and obtaining individual suffrage, but by Christmas hundreds of the common people’s petitions were clamoring for individual suffrage or death. What was the origin of this sudden discovery that people had been living in shame and slavery for the past thousand years? Why was there this imperious, immediate need for a reform which could not wait a minute longer?

Such abrupt reversals are sufficient in themselves to detect the operation of a machine. (p. 179)

The basic democratic two-step is supplemented with a bevy of techniques for confusing the mass of voters, discouraging them from organizing opposition, and increasing their passivity and pliability: these techniques include constant voting about everything—trivial as well as important; voting late at night, by surprise, or in multiple polling places; extending the suffrage to everyone: foreigners, women, criminals; and voting by acclamation to submerge independent voices (pp. 182–83). If all else fails, troublemakers can be purged from the society by ballot:

This regime is partial to people with all sorts of defects, failures, malcontents, the dregs of humanity, anyone who cares for nothing and finds his place nowhere. There must not be religious people among the voters, for faith makes one conscious and independent. [The ideal citizen lacks] any feeling that might oppose the machine’s suggestions; hence also the preference for foreigners, the haste in naturalizing them. (pp. 186–87)

(I bite my lip not to get lost in the contemporary applications.)

The extraordinary point of Cochin’s account is that none of these basic techniques were pioneered by the revolutionaries themselves; they had all been developed in the philosophical societies before the Revolution began. The Freemasons, for example, had a term for their style of internal governance: the “Royal Art.” “Study the social crisis from which the Grand Lodge [of Paris Freemasons] was born between 1773 and 1780,” says Cochin, “and you will find the whole mechanism of a Revolutionary purge” (p. 61).

Secrecy is essential to the functioning of this system; the ordinary members remain “free,” meaning they do not consciously obey any authority, but order and unity are maintained by a combination of secret manipulation and passivity. Cochin relates “with what energy the Grand Lodge refused to register its Bulletin with the National Library” (p. 176). And, of course, the Freemasons and similar organizations made great ado over refusing to divulge the precise nature of their activities to outsiders, with initiates binding themselves by terrifying oaths to guard the sacred trust committed to them. Much of these societies’ appeal lay precisely in the natural pleasure men feel at being “in” on a secret of any sort.

In order to clarify Cochin’s ideas, it might be useful to contrast them at this point with those of the Abbé Barruel, especially as they have been confounded by superficial or dishonest leftist commentators (“No need to read that reactionary Cochin! He only rehashes Barruel’s conspiracy thesis”).

Father Barruel was a French Jesuit living in exile in London when he published his Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism in 1797. He inferred from the notorious secretiveness of the Freemasons and similar groups that they must have been plotting for many years the horrors revealed to common sight after 1789—conspiring to abolish monarchy, religion, social hierarchy, and property in order to hold sway over the ruins of Christendom.

Cochin was undoubtedly thinking of Barruel and his followers when he laments that

thus far, in the lives of these societies, people have only sought the melodrama—rites, mystery, disguises, plots—which means they have strayed into a labyrinth of obscure anecdotes, to the detriment of the true history, which is very clear. Indeed the interest in the phenomenon in question is not in the Masonic bric-a-brac, but in the fact that in the bosom of the nation the Masons instituted a small state governed by its own rules. (p. 137)

For our author, let us recall, a société de pensée such as the Masonic order has inherent constraints independent of the desires or intentions of the members. Secrecy—of the ringleaders in relation to the common members, and of the membership to outsiders—is one of these necessary aspects of its functioning, not a way of concealing criminal intentions. In other words, the Masons were not consciously “plotting” the Terror of ’93 years in advance; the Terror was, however, an unintended but natural outcome of the attempt to apply a version of the Mason’s “Royal Art” to the government of an entire nation.

Moreover, writes Cochin, the peculiar fanaticism and force of the Revolution cannot be explained by a conspiracy theory. Authors like Barruel would reduce the Revolution to “a vast looting operation”:

But how can this enthusiasm, this profusion of noble words, these bursts of generosity or fits of rage be only lies and play-acting? Could the Revolutionary party be reduced to an enormous plot in which each person would only be thinking [and] acting for himself while accepting an iron discipline? Personal interest has neither such perseverance nor such abnegation. Throughout history there have been schemers and egoists, but there have only been revolutionaries for the past one hundred fifty years. (pp. 121–22)

And finally, let us note, Cochin included academic and literary Societies, cultural associations, and schools as sociétés de pensée. Many of these organizations did not even make the outward fuss over secrecy and initiation that the Masons did.

 

By his own admission, Cochin has nothing to tell us about the causes of the Revolution’s outbreak:

I am not saying that in the movement of 1789 there were not real causes—[e.g.,] a bad fiscal regime that exacted very little, but in the most irritating and unfair manner—I am just saying these real causes are not my subject. Moreover, though they may have contributed to the Revolution of 1789, they did not contribute to the Revolutions of August 10 [1792, abolition of the monarchy] or May 31 [1793, purge of the Girondins]. (p. 125)

With these words, he turns his back upon the entire Marxist “class struggle” approach to understanding the Revolution, which was the fundamental presupposition of much twentieth-century research.

The true beginning of the Revolution on Cochin’s account was the announcement in August 1788 that the Estates General would be convoked for May 1789, for this was the occasion when the men of the societies first sprang into action to direct a real political undertaking. With his collaborator in archival work, Charpentier, he conducted extensive research into this early stage of the Revolution in Brittany and Burgundy, trying to explain not why it took place but how it developed. This material is omitted from the present volume of translations; I shall cite instead from Furet’s summary and discussion in Interpreting the French Revolution:

In Burgundy in the autumn of 1788, political activity was exclusively engineered by a small group of men in Dijon who drafted a “patriotic” platform calling for the doubling of the Third Estate, voting by head, and the exclusion of ennobled commoners and seigneurial dues collectors from the assemblies of the Third Estate. Their next step was the systematic takeover of the town’s corporate bodies. First came the avocats’ corporation where the group’s cronies were most numerous; then the example of that group was used to win over other wavering or apathetic groups: the lower echelons of the magistrature, the physicians, the trade guilds. Finally the town hall capitulated, thanks to one of the aldermen and pressure from a group of “zealous citizens.” In the end, the platform appeared as the freely expressed will of the Third Estate of Dijon. Promoted by the usurped authority of the Dijon town council, it then reached the other towns of the province.[2]

. . . where the same comedy was acted out, only with less trouble since the platform now apparently enjoyed the endorsement of the provincial capital. Cochin calls this the “snowballing method” (p. 84).

An opposition did form in early December: a group of nineteen noblemen which grew to fifty. But the remarkable fact is that the opponents of the egalitarian platform made no use of the traditional institutions or assemblies of the nobility; these were simply forgotten or viewed as irrelevant. Instead, the nobles patterned their procedures on those of the rival group: they thought and acted as the “right wing” of the revolutionary party itself. Both groups submitted in advance to arbitration by democratic legitimacy. The episode, therefore, marked not a parting of the ways between the supporters of the old regime and adherents of the new one, but the first of the revolutionary purges. Playing by its enemies’ rules, the opposition was defeated by mid-December.[3]

In Brittany an analogous split occurred in September and October rather than December. The traditional corporate bodies and the philosophical societies involved had different names. The final purge of the nobles was not carried out until January 1789. The storyline, however, was essentially the same. [4]  La Révolution n’a pas de patrie (p. 131).

The regulations for elections to the Estates General were finally announced on January 24, 1789. As we shall see, they provided the perfect field of action for the societies’ machinations.

The Estates General of France originated in the fourteenth century, and were summoned by the King rather than elected. The first two estates consisted of the most important ecclesiastical and lay lords of the realm, respectively. The third estate consisted not of the “commoners,” as usually thought, but of the citizens of certain privileged towns which enjoyed a direct relation with the King through a royal charter (i.e., they were not under the authority of any feudal lord). The selection of notables from this estate may have involved election, although based upon a very restricted franchise.

In the Estates General of those days, the King was addressing

the nation with its established order and framework, with its various hierarchies, its natural subdivisions, its current leaders, whatever the nature or origin of their authority. The king acknowledged in the nation an active, positive role that our democracies would not think of granting to the electoral masses. This nation was capable of initiative. Representatives with a general mandate—professional politicians serving as necessary intermediaries between the King and the nation—were unheard of. (pp. 97–98)

Cochin opposes to this older “French conception” the “English and parliamentary conception of a people of electors”:

A people made up of electors is no longer capable of initiative; at most, it is capable of assent. It can choose between two or three platforms, two or three candidates, but it can no longer draft proposals or appoint men. Professional politicians must present the people with proposals and men. This is the role of parties, indispensable in such a regime. (p. 98)

In 1789, the deputies were elected to the States General on a nearly universal franchise, but—in accordance with the older French tradition—parties and formal candidacies were forbidden: “a candidate would have been called a schemer, and a party a cabal” (p. 99).

The result was that the “electors were placed not in a situation of freedom, but in a void”:

The effect was marvelous: imagine several hundred peasants, unknown to each other, some having traveled twenty or thirty leagues, confined in the nave of a church, and requested to draft a paper on the reform of the realm within the week, and to appoint twenty or thirty deputies. There were ludicrous incidents: at Nantes, for example, where the peasants demanded the names of the assembly’s members be printed. Most could not have cited ten of them, and they had to appoint twenty-five deputies.

Now, what actually happened? Everywhere the job was accomplished with ease. The lists of grievances were drafted and the deputies appointed as if by enchantment. This was because alongside the real people who could not respond there was another people who spoke and appointed for them. (p. 100)

These were, of course, the men of the societies. They exploited the natural confusion and ignorance of the electorate to the hilt to obtain delegates according to their wishes. “From the start, the societies ran the electoral assemblies, scheming and meddling on the pretext of excluding traitors that they were the only ones to designate” (p. 153).

“Excluding”—that is the key word:

The society was not in a position to have its men nominated directly [parties being forbidden], so it had only one choice: have all the other candidates excluded. The people, it was said, had born enemies that they must not take as their defenders. These were the men who lost by the people’s enfranchisement, i.e., the privileged men first, but also the ones who worked for them: officers of justice, tax collectors, officials of any sort. (p. 104)

This raised an outcry, for it would have eliminated nearly everyone competent to represent the Third Estate. In fact, the strict application of the principle would have excluded most members of the societies themselves. But pretexts were found for excepting them from the exclusion: the member’s “patriotism” and “virtue” was vouched for by the societies, which “could afford to do this without being accused of partiality, for no one on the outside would have the desire, or even the means, to protest” (p. 104)—the effect of mass inertia, once again.

Having established the “social mechanism” of the revolution, Cochin did not do any detailed research on the events of the following four years (May 1789–June 1793), full of interest as these are for the narrative historian. Purge succeeded purge: Monarchiens, Feuillants, Girondins. Yet none of the actors seemed to grasp what was going on:

Was there a single revolutionary team that did not attempt to halt this force, after using it against the preceding team, and that did not at that very moment find itself “purged” automatically? It was always the same naïve amazement when the tidal wave reached them: “But it’s with me that the good Revolution stops! The people, that’s me! Freedom here, anarchy beyond!” (p. 57)

During this period, a series of elective assemblies crowned the official representative government of France: first the Constituent Assembly, then the Legislative Assembly, and finally the Convention. Hovering about them and partly overlapping with their membership were various private and exclusive clubs, a continuation of the pre-Revolutionary philosophical societies. Through a gradual process of gaining the affiliation of provincial societies, killing off rivals in the capital, and purging itself and its daughters, one of these revolutionary clubs acquired by June 1793 an unrivalled dominance. Modestly formed in 1789 as the Breton Circle, later renamed the Friends of the Constitution, it finally established its headquarters in a disused Jacobin Convent and became known as the Jacobin Club:

Opposite the Convention, the representative regime of popular sovereignty, thus arises the amorphous regime of the sovereign people, acting and governing on its own. “The sovereign is directly in the popular societies,” say the Jacobins. This is where the sovereign people reside, speak, and act. The people in the street will only be solicited for the hard jobs and the executions.

[The popular societies] functioned continuously, ceaselessly watching and correcting the legal authorities. Later they added surveillance committees to each assembly. The Jacobins thoroughly lectured, browbeat, and purged the Convention in the name of the sovereign people, until it finally adjourned the Convention’s power. (p. 153)

Incredibly, to the very end of the Terror, the Jacobins had no legal standing; they remained officially a private club. “The Jacobin Society at the height of its power in the spring of 1794, when it was directing the Convention and governing France, had only one fear: that it would be ‘incorporated’—that it would be ‘acknowledged’ to have authority” (p. 176). There is nothing the strict democrat fears more than the responsibility associated with public authority.

The Jacobins were proud that they did not represent anyone. Their principle was direct democracy, and their operative assumption was that they were “the people.” “I am not the people’s defender,” said Robespierre; “I am a member of the people; I have never been anything else” (p. 57; cf. p. 154). He expressed bafflement when he found himself, like any powerful man, besieged by petitioners.

Of course, such “direct democracy” involves a social fiction obvious to outsiders. To the adherent “the word people means the ‘hard core’ minority, freedom means the minority’s tyranny, equality its privileges, and truth its opinion,” explains our author; “it is even in this reversal of the meaning of words that the adherent’s initiation consists” (p. 138).

But by the summer of 1793 and for the following twelve months, the Jacobins had the power to make it stick. Indeed, theirs was the most stable government France had during the entire revolutionary decade. It amounted to a second Revolution, as momentous as that of 1789. The purge of the Girondins (May 31–June 2) cleared the way for it, but the key act which constituted the new regime, in Cochin’s view, was the levée en masse of August 23, 1793:

[This decree] made all French citizens, body and soul, subject to standing requisition. This was the essential act of which the Terror’s laws would merely be the development, and the revolutionary government the means. Serfs under the King in ’89, legally emancipated in ’91, the people become the masters in ’93. In governing themselves, they do away with the public freedoms that were merely guarantees for them to use against those who governed them. Hence the right to vote is suspended, since the people reign; the right to defend oneself, since the people judge; the freedom of the press, since the people write; and the freedom of expression, since the people speak. (p. 77)

An absurd series of unenforceable economic decrees began pouring out of Paris—price ceilings, requisitions, and so forth. But then, mirabile dictu, it turned out that the decrees needed no enforcement by the center:

Every violation of these laws not only benefits the guilty party but burdens the innocent one. When a price ceiling is poorly applied in one district and products are sold more expensively, provisions pour in from neighboring districts, where shortages increase accordingly. It is the same for general requisitions, censuses, distributions: fraud in one place increases the burden for another. The nature of things makes every citizen the natural enemy and overseer of his neighbor. All these laws have the same characteristic: binding the citizens materially to one another, the laws divide them morally.

Now public force to uphold the law becomes superfluous. This is because every district, panic-stricken by famine, organizes its own raids on its neighbors in order to enforce the laws on provisions; the government has nothing to do but adopt a laissez-faire attitude. By March 1794 the Committee of Public Safety even starts to have one district’s grain inventoried by another.

This peculiar power, pitting one village against another, one district against another, maintained through universal division the unity that the old order founded on the union of everyone: universal hatred has its equilibrium as love has its harmony. (pp. 230–32; cf. p. 91)

 The societies were, indeed, never more numerous, nor better attended, than during this period. People sought refuge in them as the only places they could be free from arbitrary arrest or requisitioning (p. 80; cf. p. 227). But the true believers were made uneasy rather than pleased by this development. On February 5, 1794, Robespierre gave his notorious speech on Virtue, declaring: “Virtue is in the minority on earth.” In effect, he was acknowledging that “the people” were really only a tiny fraction of the nation. During the months that ensued:

there was no talk in the Societies but of purges and exclusions. Then it was that the mother society, imitated as usual by most of her offspring, refused the affiliation of societies founded since May 31. Jacobin nobility became exclusive; Jacobin piety went from external mission to internal effort on itself. At that time it was agreed that a society of many members could not be a zealous society. The agents from Tournan sent to purge the club of Ozouer-la-Ferrière made no other reproach: the club members were too numerous for the club to be pure. (p. 56)

Couthon wrote from Lyon requesting “40 good, wise, honest republicans, a colony of patriots in this foreign land where patriots are in such an appalling minority.” Similar supplications came from Marseilles, Grenoble, Besançon; from Troy, where there were less than twenty patriots; and from Strasbourg, where there were said to be fewer than four—contending against 6,000 aristocrats!

The majority of men, remaining outside the charmed circle of revolutionary virtue, were:

“monsters,” “ferocious beasts seeking to devour the human race.” “Strike without mercy, citizen,” the president of the Jacobins tells a young soldier, “at anything that is related to the monarchy. Don’t lay down your gun until all our enemies are dead—this is humanitarian advice.” “It is less a question of punishing them than of annihilating them,” says Couthon. “None must be deported; [they] must be destroyed,” says Collot. General Turreau in the Vendée gave the order “to bayonet men, women, and children and burn and set fire to everything.” (p. 100)

Mass shootings and drownings continued for months, especially in places such as the Vendée which had previously revolted. Foreigners sometimes had to be used: “Carrier had Germans do the drowning. They were not disturbed by the moral bonds that would have stopped a fellow countryman” (p. 187).

Why did this revolutionary regime come to an end? Cochin does not tell us; he limits himself to the banal observation that “being unnatural, it could not last” (p. 230). His death in 1916 saved him from having to consider the counterexample of Soviet Russia. Taking the Jacobins consciously as a model, Lenin created a conspiratorial party which seized power and carried out deliberately the sorts of measures Cochin ascribes to the impersonal workings of the “social mechanism.” Collective responsibility, mutual surveillance and denunciation, the playing off of nationalities against one another—all were studiously imitated by the Bolsheviks. For the people of Russia, the Terror lasted at least thirty-five years, until the death of Stalin.

Cochin’s analysis raises difficult questions of moral judgment, which he does not try to evade. If revolutionary massacres were really the consequence of a “social mechanism,” can their perpetrators be judged by the standards which apply in ordinary criminal cases? Cochin seems to think not:

“I had orders,” Fouquier kept replying to each new accusation. “I was the ax,” said another; “does one punish an ax?” Poor, frightened devils, they quibbled, haggled, denounced their brothers; and when finally cornered and overwhelmed, they murmured “But I was not the only one! Why me?” That was the helpless cry of the unmasked Jacobin, and he was quite right, for a member of the societies was never the only one: over him hovered the collective force. With the new regime men vanish, and there opens in morality itself the era of unconscious forces and human mechanics. (p. 58)

Under the social regime, man’s moral capacities get “socialized” in the same way as his thought, action, and property. “Those who know the machine know there exist mitigating circumstances, unknown to ordinary life, and the popular curse that weighed on the last Jacobins’ old age may be as unfair as the enthusiasm that had acclaimed their elders,” he says (p. 210), and correctly points out that many of the former Terrorists became harmless civil servants under the Empire.

It will certainly be an unpalatable conclusion for many readers. I cannot help recalling in this connection the popular outrage which greeted Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem back in the 1960s, with its similar observations.

But if considering the social alienation of moral conscience permits the revolutionaries to appear less evil than some of the acts they performed, it also leaves them more contemptible. “We are far from narratives like Plutarch’s,” Cochin observes (p. 58); “Shakespeare would have found nothing to inspire him, despite the dramatic appearance of the situations” (p. 211).

Not one [of the Jacobins] had the courage to look [their judges] in the eye and say “Well, yes, I robbed, I tortured and I killed lawlessly, recklessly, mercilessly for an idea I consider right. I regret nothing; I take nothing back; I deny nothing. Do as you like with me.” Not one spoke thus—because not one possessed the positive side of fanaticism: faith. (p. 113)

Cochin’s interpretive labors deserve the attention of a wider audience than specialists in the history of the French Revolution. The possible application of his analysis to subsequent groups and events is great indeed, although the possibility of their misapplication is perhaps just as great. The most important case is surely Russia. Richard Pipes has noted, making explicit reference to Cochin, that Russian radicalism arose in a political and social situation similar in important respects to France of the ancien régime. On the other hand, the Russian case was no mere product of social “mechanics.” The Russian radicals consciously modeled themselves on their French predecessors. Pipes even shows how the Russian revolutionaries relied too heavily on the French example to teach them how a revolution is “supposed to” develop, blinding themselves to the situation around them. In any case, although Marxism officially considered the French Revolution a “bourgeois” prelude to the final “proletarian” revolution, Russian radicals did acknowledge that there was little in which the Jacobins had not anticipated them. Lenin considered Robespierre a Bolshevik avant la lettre.

The rise of the “Academic Left” is another phenomenon worth comparing to the “development of the enlightenment” in the French salons. The sheltered environment of our oversubsidized university system is a marvelous incubator for the same sort of utopian radicalism and cheap moral posturing.

Or consider the feminist “Consciousness Raising” sessions of the 1970’s. Women’s “personal constructs” (dissatisfaction with their husbands, feelings of being treated unfairly, etc.) were said to be “validated by the group,” i.e., came to be considered true when they met with agreement from other members, however outlandish they might sound to outsiders. “It is when a group’s ideas are strongly at variance with those in the wider society,” writes one enthusiast, “that group validation of constructs is likely to be most important.”[5] Cochin explained with reference to the sociétés de pensée exactly the sort of thing going on here.

Any serious attempt to extend and apply Cochin’s ideas will, however, have to face squarely one matter on which his own statements are confused or even contradictory.

Cochin sometimes speaks as if all the ideas of the Enlightenment follow from the mere form of the société de pensée, and hence should be found wherever they are found. He writes, for example, “Free thought is the same in Paris as in Peking, in 1750 as in 1914” (p. 127). Now, this is already questionable. It would be more plausible to say that the various competing doctrines of radicalism share a family resemblance, especially if one concentrates on their negative aspects such as the rejection of traditional “prejudices.”

But in other passages Cochin allows that sociétés de pensée are compatible with entirely different kinds of content. In one place (p. 62) he even speaks of “the royalist societies of 1815” as coming under his definition! Stendhal offers a memorable fictional portrayal of such a group in Le rouge et le noir, part II, chs. xxi–xxiii; Cochin himself refers to the Mémoires of Aimée de Coigny, and may have had the Waterside Conspiracy in mind. It would not be at all surprising if such groups imitated some of the practices of their enemies.

But what are we to say when Cochin cites the example of the Company of the Blessed Sacrament? This organization was active in France between the 1630s and 1660s, long before the “Age of Enlightenment.” It had collectivist tendencies, such as the practice of “fraternal correction,” which it justified in terms of Christian humility: the need to combat individual pride and amour-propre. It also exhibited a moderate degree of egalitarianism; within the Company, social rank was effaced, and one Prince of the Blood participated as an ordinary member. Secrecy was said to be the “soul of the Company.” One of its activities was the policing of behavior through a network of informants, low-cut evening dresses and the sale of meat during lent being among its special targets. Some fifty provincial branches accepted the direction of the Paris headquarters. The Company operated independently of the King, and opponents referred to it as the cabale des devots. Louis XIV naturally became suspicious of such an organization, and officially ordered it shut down in 1666.

Was this expression of counter-reformational Catholic piety a société de pensée? Were its members “God’s Jacobins,” or its campaign against immodest dress a “holy terror”? Cochin does not finally tell us. A clear typology of sociétés de pensée would seem to be necessary before his analysis of the philosophes could be extended with any confidence. But the more historical studies advance, the more difficult this task will likely become. Such is the nature of man, and of history.

Notes

[1] François Furet, Interpreting the French Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), 173.

[2] Furet, 184.

[3] Furet, 185.

[4] Furet, 186–90.

[5] http://www.uow.edu.au/arts/sts/bmartin/pubs/01psa.html [3]

Source: TOQ, vol. 8, no. 2 (Summer 2008)

 


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mercredi, 04 juillet 2012

Introduction to Aristotle’s Politics

Introduction to Aristotle’s Politics
Part 1: The Aim & Elements of Politics

Posted By Greg Johnson

Part 1 of 2

Author’s Note:

The following introduction to Aristotle’s Politics focuses on the issues of freedom and popular government. It is a reworking of a more “academic” text penned in 2001.

250px-Aristotle_Altemps_Inv8575.jpg

1. The Necessity of Politics

Aristotle is famous for holding that man is by nature a political animal. But what does this mean? Aristotle explains that,

even when human beings are not in need of each other’s help, they have no less desire to live together, though it is also true that the common advantage draws them into union insofar as noble living is something they each partake of. So this above all is the end, whether for everyone in common or for each singly (Politics 3.6, 1278b19–22).[1]

Here Aristotle contrasts two different needs of the human soul that give rise to different forms of community, one pre-political and the other political.

The first need is material. On this account, men form communities to secure the necessities of life. Because few are capable of fulfilling all their needs alone, material self-interest forces them to co-operate, each developing his particular talents and trading his products with others. The classical example of such a community is the “city of pigs” in the second book of Plato’s Republic.

The second need is spiritual. Even in the absence of material need, human beings will form communities because only through community can man satisfy his spiritual need to live nobly, i.e., to achieve eudaimonia, happiness or well-being, which Aristotle defines as a life of unimpeded virtuous activity.

Aristotle holds that the forms of association which arise from material needs are pre-political. These include the family, the master-slave relationship, the village, the market, and alliances for mutual defense. With the exception of the master-slave relationship, the pre-political realm could be organized on purely libertarian, capitalist principles. Individual rights and private property could allow individuals to associate and disassociate freely by means of persuasion and trade, according to their own determination of their interests.

But in Politics 3.9, Aristotle denies that the realm of material needs, whether organized on libertarian or non-libertarian lines, could ever fully satisfy man’s spiritual need for happiness: “It is not the case . . . that people come together for the sake of life alone, but rather for the sake of living well” (1280a31), and “the political community must be set down as existing for the sake of noble deeds and not merely for living together” (1281a2). Aristotle’s clearest repudiation of any minimalistic form of liberalism is the following passage:

Nor do people come together for the sake of an alliance to prevent themselves from being wronged by anyone, nor again for purposes of mutual exchange and mutual utility. Otherwise the Etruscans and Carthaginians and all those who have treaties with each other would be citizens of one city. . . . [But they are not] concerned about what each other’s character should be, not even with the aim of preventing anyone subject to the agreements from becoming unjust or acquiring a single depraved habit. They are concerned only that they should not do any wrong to each other. But all those who are concerned about a good state of law concentrate their attention on political virtue and vice, from which it is manifest that the city truly and not verbally so called must make virtue its care. (1280a34–b7)

Aristotle does not disdain mutual exchange and mutual protection. But he thinks that the state must do more. It must concern itself with the character of the citizen; it must encourage virtue and discourage vice.

But why does Aristotle think that the pursuit of virtue is political at all, much less the defining characteristic of the political? Why does he reject the liberal principle that whether and how men pursue virtue is an ineluctably private choice? The ultimate anthropological foundation of Aristotelian political science is man’s neoteny. Many animals can fend for themselves as soon as they are born. But man is born radically immature and incapable of living on his own. We need many years of care and education. Nature does not give us the ability to survive, much less flourish. But she gives us the ability to acquire the ability. Skills are acquired abilities to live. Virtue is the acquired ability to live well. The best way to acquire virtue is not through trial and error, but through education, which allows us to benefit from the trials and avoid the errors of others. Fortune permitting, if we act virtuously, we will live well.

Liberals often claim that freedom of choice is a necessary condition of virtue. We can receive no moral credit for a virtue which is not freely chosen but is instead forced upon us. Aristotle, however, holds that force is a necessary condition of virtue. Aristotle may have defined man as the rational animal, but unlike the Sophists of his day he did not think that rational persuasion is sufficient to instill virtue:

. . . if reasoned words were sufficient by themselves to make us decent, they would, to follow a remark of Theognis, justly carry off many and great rewards, and the thing to do would be to provide them. But, as it is, words seem to have the strength to incite and urge on those of the young who are generous and to get a well-bred character and one truly in love with the noble to be possessed by virtue; but they appear incapable of inciting the many toward becoming gentlemen. For the many naturally obey the rule of fear, not of shame, and shun what is base not because it is ugly but because it is punished. Living by passion as they do, they pursue their own pleasures and whatever will bring these pleasures about . . . ; but of the noble and truly pleasant they do not even have the notion, since they have never tasted it. How could reasoned words reform such people? For it is not possible, or nor easy, to replace by reason what has long since become fixed in the character. (Nicomachean Ethics, 10.9, 1179b4–18)

The defect of reason can, however, be corrected by force: “Reason and teaching by no means prevail in everyone’s case; instead, there is need that the hearer’s soul, like earth about to nourish the seed, be worked over in its habits beforehand so as to enjoy and hate in a noble way. . . . Passion, as a general rule, does not seem to yield to reason but to force” (Nicomachean Ethics, 10.9, 1179b23–25). The behavioral substratum of virtue is habit, and habits can be inculcated by force. Aristotle describes law as “reasoned speech that proceeds from prudence and intellect” but yet “has force behind it” (Nicomachean Ethics, 10.9, 1180a18). Therefore, the compulsion of the appropriate laws is a great aid in acquiring virtue.

At this point, however, one might object that Aristotle has established only a case for parental, not political, force in moral education. Aristotle admits that only in Sparta and a few other cities is there public education in morals, while “In most cities these matters are neglected, and each lives as he wishes, giving sacred law, in Cyclops’ fashion, to his wife and children” (Nicomachean Ethics, 10.9, 1180a24–27). Aristotle grants that an education adapted to an individual is better than an education given to a group (Nicomachean Ethics, 10.9, 1180b7). But this is an argument against the collective reception of education, not the collective provision. He then argues that such an education is best left to experts, not parents. Just as parents have professional doctors care for their childrens’ bodies, they should have professional educators care for their souls (Nicomachean Ethics, 10.9, 1180b14–23). But this does not establish that the professionals should be employees of the state.

Two additional arguments for public education are found in Politics 8.1:

[1] Since the whole city has one end, it is manifest that everyone must also have one and the same education and that taking care of this education must be a common matter. It must not be private in the way that it is now, when everyone takes care of their own children privately and teaches them whatever private learning they think best. Of common things, the training must be common. [2] At the same time, no citizen should even think he belongs to himself but instead that each belongs to the city, for each is part of the city. The care of each part, however, naturally looks to the care of the whole, and to this extent praise might be due to the Spartans, for they devote the most serious attention to their children and do so in common. (Politics, 8.1 [5.1], 1337a21–32)

The second argument is both weak and question-begging. Although it may be useful for citizens to “think” that they belong to the city, not themselves, Aristotle offers no reason to think that this is true. Furthermore, the citizens would not think so unless they received precisely the collective education that needs to be established. The first argument, however, is quite strong. If the single, overriding aim of political life is the happiness of the citizens, and if this aim is best attained by public education, then no regime can be legitimate if it fails to provide public education.[2]

Another argument for public moral education can be constructed from the overall argument of the Politics. Since public education is more widely distributed than private education, other things being equal, the populace will become more virtuous on the whole. As we shall see, it is widespread virtue that makes popular government possible. Popular government is, moreover, one of the bulwarks of popular liberty. Compulsory public education in virtue, therefore, is a bulwark of liberty.

2. Politics and Freedom

Aristotle’s emphasis on compulsory moral education puts him in the “positive” libertarian camp. For Aristotle, a free man is not merely any man who lives in a free society. A free man possesses certain traits of character which allow him to govern himself responsibly and attain happiness. These traits are, however, the product of a long process of compulsory tutelage. But such compulsion can be justified only by the production of a free and happy individual, and its scope is therefore limited by this goal. Since Aristotle ultimately accepted the Socratic principle that all men desire happiness, education merely compels us to do what we really want. It frees us from our own ignorance, folly, and irrationality and frees us for our own self-actualization. This may be the rationale for Aristotle’s claim that, “the law’s laying down of what is decent is not oppressive” (Nicomachean Ethics, 10.9, 1180a24). Since Aristotle thinks that freedom from the internal compulsion of the passions is more important than freedom from the external compulsion of force, and that force can quell the passions and establish virtue’s empire over them, Aristotle as much as Rousseau believes that we can be forced to be free.

But throughout the Politics, Aristotle shows that he is concerned to protect “negative” liberty as well. In Politics 2.2–5, Aristotle ingeniously defends private families, private property, and private enterprise from Plato’s communistic proposals in the Republic, thereby preserving the freedom of large spheres of human activity.

Aristotle’s concern with privacy is evident in his criticism of a proposal of Hippodamus of Miletus which would encourage spies and informers (2.8, 1268b22).

Aristotle is concerned to create a regime in which the rich do not enslave the poor and the poor do not plunder the rich (3.10, 1281a13–27).

Second Amendment enthusiasts will be gratified at Aristotle’s emphasis on the importance of a wide distribution of arms in maintaining the freedom of the populace (2.8, 1268a16-24; 3.17, 1288a12–14; 4.3 [6.3], 1289b27–40; 4.13 [6.13], 1297a12–27; 7.11 [4.11], 1330b17–20).

War and empire are great enemies of liberty, so isolationists and peace lovers will be gratified by Aristotle’s critique of warlike regimes and praise of peace. The good life requires peace and leisure. War is not an end in itself, but merely a means to ensure peace (7.14 [4.14], 1334a2–10; 2.9, 1271a41–b9).

The best regime is not oriented outward, toward dominating other peoples, but inward, towards the happiness of its own. The best regime is an earthly analogue of the Prime Mover. It is self-sufficient and turned inward upon itself (7.3 [4.3], 1325a14–31). Granted, Aristotle may not think that negative liberty is the whole of the good life, but it is an important component which needs to be safeguarded.[3]

3. The Elements of Politics and the Mixed Regime

Since the aim of political association is the good life, the best political regime is the one that best delivers the good life. Delivering the good life can be broken down into two components: production and distribution. There are two basic kinds of goods: the goods of the body and the goods of the soul.[4] Both sorts of goods can be produced and distributed privately and publicly, but Aristotle treats the production and distribution of bodily goods as primarily private whereas he treats the production and distribution of spiritual goods as primarily public. The primary goods of the soul are moral and intellectual virtue, which are best produced by public education, and honor, the public recognition of virtue, talent, and service rendered to the city.[5] The principle of distributive justice is defined as proportionate equality: equally worthy people should be equally happy and unequally worthy people should be unequally happy, commensurate with their unequal worth (Nicomachean Ethics, 5.6–7). The best regime, in short, combines happiness and justice.

But how is the best regime to be organized? Aristotle builds his account from at least three sets of elements.

First, in Politics 3.6–7, Aristotle observes that sovereignty can rest either with men or with laws. If with men, then it can rest in one man, few men, or many men. (Aristotle treats it as self-evident that it cannot rest in all men.) The rulers can exercise political power for two different ends: for the common good and for special interests. One pursues the common good by promoting the happiness of all according to justice. Special interests can be broken down into individual or factional interests. A ruler can be blamed for pursuing such goods only if he does so without regard to justice, i.e., without a just concern for the happiness of all. When a single man rules for the common good, we have kingship. When he rules for his own good, we have tyranny. When the few rule for the common good, we have aristocracy. When they rule for their factional interest, we have oligarchy. When the many rule for the common good, we have polity. When they rule for their factional interest, we have democracy. These six regimes can exist in pure forms, or they can be mixed together.

Second, Aristotle treats social classes as elemental political distinctions. In Politics 3.8 he refines his definitions of oligarchy and democracy, claiming that oligarchy is actually the rule by the rich, whether they are few or many, and democracy is rule by the poor, whether they are few or many. Similarly, in Politics 4.11 (6.1) Aristotle also defines polity as rule by the middle class. In Politics 4.4 (6.4), Aristotle argues that the social classes are irreducible political distinctions. One can be a rich, poor, or middle class juror, legislator, or office-holder. One can be a rich, poor, or middle class farmer or merchant. But one cannot be both rich and poor at the same time (1291b2–13). Class distinctions cannot be eliminated; therefore, they have to be recognized and respected, their disadvantages meliorated and their advantages harnessed for the common good.

Third, in Politics 4.14 (6.14), Aristotle divides the activities of rulership into three different functions: legislative, judicial, and executive.[6]

Because rulership can be functionally divided, it is possible to create a mixed regime by assigning different functions to different parts of the populace. One could, for instance, mix monarchy and elite rule by assigning supreme executive office to a single man and the legislative and judicial functions to the few. Or one could divide the legislative function into different houses, assigning one to the few and another to the many. Aristotle suggests giving the few the power to legislate and the many the power to veto legislation. He suggests that officers be elected by the many, but nominated from the few. The few should make expenditures, but the many should audit them (2.12, 1274a15–21; 3.11, 1281b21–33; 4.14 [6.14], 1298b26–40).

In Politics 3.10, Aristotle argues that some sort of mixed regime is preferable, since no pure regime is satisfactory: “A difficulty arises as to what should be the controlling part of the city, for it is really either the multitude or the rich or the decent or the best one of all or a tyrant? But all of them appear unsatisfactory” (1281a11–13). Democracy is bad because the poor unjustly plunder the substance of the rich; oligarchy is bad because the rich oppress and exploit the poor; tyranny is bad because the tyrant does injustice to everyone (1281a13–28). Kingship and aristocracy are unsatisfactory because they leave the many without honors and are schools for snobbery and high-handedness (1281a28–33; 4.11 [6.11], 1295b13ff). A pure polity might be unsatisfactory because it lacks a trained leadership caste and is therefore liable to make poor decisions (3.11, 1281b21–33).

4. Checks and Balances, Political Rule, and the Rule of Law

Aristotle’s mixed regime is the origin of the idea of the separation of powers and “checks and balances.” It goes hand in hand with a very modern political realism. Aristotle claims that, “all regimes that look to the common advantage turn out, according to what is simply just, to be correct ones, while those that look only to the advantage of their rulers are mistaken and are all deviations from the correct regime. For they are despotic, but the city is a community of the free” (3.6, 1279a17–21).

It is odd, then, that in Politics 4.8–9 (6.8–9) Aristotle describes the best regime as a mixture of two defective regimes, oligarchy and democracy–not of two correct regimes, aristocracy and polity. But perhaps Aristotle entertained the possibility of composing a regime that tends to the common good out of classes which pursue their own factional interests.

Perhaps Aristotle thought that the “intention” to pursue the common good can repose not in the minds of individual men, but in the institutional logic of the regime itself. This would be an enormous advantage, for it would bring about the common good without having to rely entirely upon men of virtue and good will, who are in far shorter supply than men who pursue their own individual and factional advantages.

Related to the mixed regime with its checks and balances is the notion of “political rule.” Political rule consists of ruling and being ruled in turn:

. . . there is a sort of rule exercised over those who are similar in birth and free. This rule we call political rule, and the ruler must learn it by being ruled, just as one learns to be a cavalry commander by serving under a cavalry commander . . . Hence is was nobly said that one cannot rule well without having been ruled. And while virtue in these two cases is different, the good citizen must learn and be able both to be ruled and to rule. This is in fact the virtue of the citizen, to know rule over the free from both sides. (3.4, 1277b7–15; cf. 1.13, 1259b31–34 and 2.2, 1261a32–b3)

Aristotle makes it clear that political rule can exist only where the populace consists of men who are free, i.e., sufficiently virtuous that they can rule themselves. They must also be economically middle-class, well-armed, and warlike. They must, in short, be the sort of men who can participate responsibly in government, who want to participate, and who cannot safely be excluded. A populace that is slavish, vice-ridden, poor, and unarmed can easily be disenfranchised and exploited. If power were entirely in the hands of a free populace, the regime would be a pure polity, and political rule would exist entirely between equals. If, however, a free populace were to take part in a mixed regime, then political rule would exist between different parts of the regime. The many and the few would divide power and functions between them. Not only would members of each class take turns performing the different functions allotted to them, the classes themselves would rule over others in one respect and be ruled in another. In these circumstances, then, checks and balances are merely one form of political rule.

In Politics 3.16, Aristotle connects political rule to the rule of law:

What is just is that people exercise rule no more than they are subject to it and that therefore they rule by turns. But this is already law, for the arrangement is law. Therefore, it is preferable that law rule rather than any one of the citizens. And even if, to pursue the same argument, it were better that there be some persons exercising rule, their appointment should be as guardians and servants of the laws. For though there must be some offices, that there should be this one person exercising rule is, they say, not just, at least when all are similar. (1287a15–22)

Aristotle’s point is simple. If two men govern by turns, then sovereignty does not ultimately repose in either of them, but in the rule that they govern by turns. The same can be said of checks and balances. If the few spend money and the many audit the accounts, then neither group is sovereign, the laws are. If sovereignty reposes in laws, not men, the common good is safe. As Aristotle points out, “anyone who bids the laws to rule seems to bid god and intellect alone to rule, but anyone who bids a human being to rule adds on also the wild beast. For desire is such a beast and spiritedness perverts rulers even when they are the best of men. Hence law is intellect without appetite” (1287a23–31). The greatest enemy of the common good is private interest. The laws, however, have no private interests. Thus if our laws are conducive to the common good, we need not depend entirely on the virtue and public-spiritedness of men.

Aristotle would, however, hasten to add that no regime can do without these characteristics entirely, for the laws cannot apply themselves. They must be applied by men, and their application will seldom be better than the men who apply them. Furthermore, even though a regime may function without entirely virtuous citizens, no legitimate regime can be indifferent to the virtue of the citizens, for the whole purpose of political association is to instill the virtues necessary for happiness.

Notes

1. All quotes from Aristotle are from The Politics of Aristotle, trans. and ed. Peter L. Phillips Simpson (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997). Simpson’s edition has two unique features. First, The Politics is introduced by a translation of Nicomachean Ethics 10.9. Second, Simpson moves books 7 and 8 of The Politics, positioning them between the traditional books 3 and 4. I retain the traditional ordering, indicating Simpson’s renumbering parenthetically. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes are from The Politics. Quotes from the Nicomachean Ethics will be indicated as such.

2. A useful commentary on these and other Aristotelian arguments for public education is Randall R. Curren, Aristotle on the Necessity of Public Education (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000).

3. For a fuller discussion of the value Aristotle puts on liberty, see Roderick T. Long, “Aristotle’s Conception of Freedom,” The Review of Metaphysics 49, no. 4 (June 1996), pp. 787–802.

4. One could add a third category of instrumental goods, but these goods are instrumental to the intrinsic goods of the body, the soul, or both, and thus could be classified under those headings.

5. As for the highest good of the soul, which is attained by philosophy, Aristotle’s flight from Athens near the end of his life shows that he recognized that different political orders can be more or less open to free thought, but I suspect that he was realist enough (and Platonist enough) to recognize that even the best cities are unlikely to positively cultivate true freedom to philosophize. I would wager that Aristotle would be both surprised at the freedom of thought in the United States and receptive to Tocquevillian complaints about the American tendency toward conformism that makes such freedom unthreatening to the reigning climate of opinion. A cynic might argue that if Americans actually made use of their freedom of thought, it would be quickly taken away.

6. On the complexities of the executive role in the Politics, see Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr., Taming the Prince: The Ambivalence of Modern Executive Power (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993), chs. 2–3.

Introduction to Aristotle’s Politics
Part 2: In Defense of Popular Government

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Part 2 of 2

5. The Good Man and the Good Citizen

Having now surveyed Aristotle’s thoughts on the elements and proper aim of politics, we can now examine his arguments for popular government. When I use the phrase “popular government,” it should be borne in mind that Aristotle does not advocate a pure polity, but a mixed regime with a popular element.

Aristotle’s first case for bringing the many into government can be discerned in Politics 3.4. Aristotle’s question is whether the virtues of the good man and the good citizen are the same. They are not the same, insofar as the virtue of the good citizen is defined relative to the regime, and there are many different regimes, while the virtue of the good man is defined relative to human nature, which is one. One can therefore be a good citizen but not a good man, and a good man but not a good citizen. History is replete with examples of regimes which punish men for their virtues and reward them for their vices. Aristotle does, however, allow that the good man and the good citizen can be one in a regime in which the virtues required of a good citizen do not differ from the virtues of a good man.

The chief virtue of a good man is prudence. But prudence is not required of a citizen insofar as he is ruled. Only obedience is required. Prudence is, however, required of a citizen insofar as he rules. Since the best regime best encourages happiness by best cultivating virtue, a regime which allows the many to govern along with the few is better than a regime which excludes them. By including the many in ruling, a popular regime encourages the widest cultivation of prudence and gives the greatest opportunity for its exercise. The best way to bring the many into the regime is what Aristotle calls political rule: ruling and being ruled in turn, as prescribed by law.

Political rule not only teaches the virtue of prudence to the many, it teaches the virtue of being ruled to the few, who must give way in turn to the many. Since the few aspire to rule but not be ruled, Aristotle argues that they cannot rule without first having been ruled: “the ruler must learn [political rule] by being ruled, just as one learns to be a cavalry commander by serving under a cavalry commander . . . Hence is was nobly said that one cannot rule well without having been ruled. And while virtue in these two cases is different, the good citizen must learn and be able both to be ruled and to rule. This is, in fact, the virtue of a citizen, to know rule over the free from both sides. Indeed, the good man too possesses both” (3.4, 1277b7–16).

Aristotle names justice as a virtue which is learned both in ruling and being ruled. Those born to wealth and power are liable to arrogance and the love of command. By subjecting them to the rule of others, including their social inferiors, they learn to respect their freedom and justly appraise their worth.

6. Potlucks, Chimeras, Juries

Aristotle’s next case for bringing the many into the regime is found in Politics 3.11.[1] Aristotle seeks to rebut the aristocratic argument against popular participation, namely that the best political decisions are wise ones, but wisdom is found only among the few, not the many. Popular participation, therefore, would inevitably dilute the quality of the political decision-makers, increasing the number of foolish decisions. Aristotle accepts the premise that the wise should rule, but he argues that there are circumstances in which the few and the many together are wiser than the few on their own. The aristocratic principle, therefore, demands the participation of the many:

. . . the many, each of whom is not a serious man, nevertheless could, when they have come together, be better than those few best–not, indeed, individually but as a whole, just as meals furnished collectively are better than meals furnished at one person’s expense. For each of them, though many, could have a part of virtue and prudence, and just as they could, when joined together in a multitude, become one human being with many feet, hands, and senses, so also could they become one in character and thought. That is why the many are better judges of the works of music and the poets, for one of them judges one part and another another and all of them the whole. (1281a42–b10)

At first glance, this argument seems preposterous. History and everyday life are filled with examples of wise individuals opposing foolish collectives. But Aristotle does not claim that the many are always wiser than the few, simply that they can be under certain conditions (1281b15).

The analogy of the potluck supper is instructive (cf. 3.15, 1286a28–30).[2] A potluck supper can be better than one provided by a single person if it offers a greater number and variety of dishes and diffuses costs and labor. But potluck suppers are not always superior–that is the “luck” in it. Potlucks are often imbalanced. On one occasion, there may be too many desserts and no salads. On another, three people may bring chicken and no one brings beef or pork. The best potluck, therefore, is a centrally orchestrated one which mobilizes the resources of many different contributors but ensures a balanced and wholesome meal.

Likewise, the best way to include the many in political decision-making is to orchestrate their participation, giving them a delimited role that maximizes their virtues and minimizes their vices. This cannot be accomplished in a purely popular regime, particularly a lawless one, but it can be accomplished in a mixed regime in which the participation of the populace is circumscribed by law and checked by the interests of other elements of the population.

Aristotle’s second analogy–which likens the intellectual and moral unity of the many to a man with many feet, hands, and sense organs, i.e., a freak of nature–does not exactly assuage doubters. But his point is valid. While even the best of men may lack a particular virtue, it is unlikely that it will be entirely absent from a large throng. Therefore, the many are potentially as virtuous or even more virtuous than the few if their scattered virtues can be gathered together and put to work. But history records many examples of groups acting less morally than any member on his own. Thus the potential moral superiority of the many is unlikely to emerge in a lawless democracy. But it could emerge in a lawful mixed regime, which actively encourages and employs the virtues of the many while checking their vices. This process can be illustrated by adapting an analogy that Aristotle offers to illustrate another point: A painting of a man can be more beautiful than any real man, for the painter can pick out the best features of individual men and combine them into a beautiful whole (3.11, 1281b10–11).

Aristotle illustrates the potential superiority of collective judgment with another questionable assertion, that “the many are better judges of the works of music and the poets, for one of them judges one part and another another and all of them the whole.” Again, this seems preposterous. Good taste, like wisdom, is not widely distributed and is cultivated by the few, not the many. Far more people buy “rap” recordings than classical ones. But Aristotle is not claiming that the many are better judges in all cases. Aristotle is likely referring to Greek dramatic competitions. These competitions were juried by the audience, not a small number of connoisseurs.

A jury trial or competition is a genuine collective decision-making process in which each juror is morally enjoined to pay close attention the matter at hand and to render an objective judgment.[3] Although each juror has his own partial impression, when jurors deliberate they can add their partial impressions together to arrive at a more complete and adequate account. To the extent that a jury decision must approach unanimity, the jurors will be motivated to examine the issue from all sides and persuade one another to move toward a rationally motivated consensus. A jury decision can, therefore, be more rational, well-informed, and objective than an individual one.[4] The market, by contrast, is not a collective decision-making process. It does not require a consumer to compare his preferences to those of others, to persuade others of their validity or defend them from criticism, or to arrive at any sort of consensus. Instead, the market merely registers the collective effects of individual decisions.[5]

7. Freedom and Stability

Another argument for popular government in Politics 3.11 (1281b21–33) is that it is more stable. Aristotle grants the Aristocratic principle that it is not safe for the populace to share in “the greatest offices” because, “on account of their injustice and unwisdom, they would do wrong in some things and go wrong in others.” But then he goes on to argue that it would not be safe to exclude the many from rule altogether, since a city “that has many in it who lack honor and are poor must of necessity be full of enemies,” which would be a source of instability. Instability is, however, inconsistent with the proper aim of politics, for the good life requires peace. The solution is a mixed regime which ensures peace and stability by allowing the many to participate in government, but not to occupy the highest offices. In Politics 2.9, Aristotle praises the Spartan Ephorate for holding the regime together, “since, as the populace share in the greatest office, it keeps them quiet. . . . For if any regime is going to survive, all the parts of the city must want it both to exist and to remain as it is” (1270b17–22; cf. Aristotle’s discussion of the Carthaginians in 2.9, 1272b29–32; see also 4.13 [6.13], 1297b6).

In Politics 2.12, Aristotle offers another reason for including the populace in government. Solon gave the populace, “the power that was most necessary (electing to office and auditing the accounts), since without it they would have been enslaved and hostile” (1274a4–6). Here Aristotle makes it clear that he values liberty, and he values popular government because it protects the liberty of the many.

8. Expert Knowledge

In Politics 3.11 Aristotle rebuts the argument that the many should not be involved in politics because they are amateurs, and decisions in politics, as in medicine and other fields, should be left to experts. In response to this, Aristotle repeats his argument that the many, taken together, may be better judges than a few experts. He then adds that there are some arts in which the products can be appreciated by people who do not possess the art: “Appreciating a house, for example, does not just belong to the builder; the one who uses it, namely the household manager, will pass an even better judgment on it. Likewise, the pilot judges the rudder better than the carpenter and the dinner guest judges the feast better than the chef” (1282a19–22). If the art of statesmanship is like these, then the best judge of the quality of a statesman is not the few political experts, but the many political laymen who are ruled by him. The judgment of the populace should not, therefore, be disdained.

9. Resistance to Corruption

In Politics 3.15 Aristotle argues that popular regimes are more resistant to corruption. Even in a regime in which law ultimately rules, there are particular circumstances which the laws do not anticipate. Where the law cannot decide, men must do so. But this creates an opportunity for corruption. Aristotle argues that such decisions are better made by large bodies deliberating in public: “What is many is more incorruptible: the multitude, like a greater quantity of water, is harder to ruin than a few. A single person’s judgment must necessarily be corrupted when he is overcome by anger or some other such passion, but getting everyone in the other case to become angry and go wrong at the same time takes a lot of doing. Let the multitude in question, however, be the free who are acting in no way against law, except where law is necessarily deficient” (1286a33–38). Aristotle’s argument that the many may collectively possess fewer vices than the few is merely a mirror image of his earlier collective virtue argument. Here, as elsewhere, Aristotle defends popular government only under delimited circumstances. The populace must be free, not slavish, and they must decide only when the laws cannot.

10. Delegation and Diffusion of Power

Politics 3.16 is devoted to arguments against total kingship. One of these arguments can be turned into a case for popular government. Aristotle claims that total kingship is unsustainable: “It is not easy for one person to oversee many things, so there will need to be many officials appointed in subordination to him. Consequently, what is the difference between having them there right from the start and having one man in this way appoint them? . . . if a man who is serious is justly ruler because he is better, then two good men are better than one” (1287b8–12, cf. 1287b25–29).

Since total kingship is unworkable, kings must necessarily appoint superior men as “peers” to help them. But if total kingship must create an aristocracy, then why not have aristocracy from the start?

This argument could, however, be pushed further to make a case for popular government. An aristocracy cannot effectively rule the people without the active participation of some and the passive acquiescence of the rest. As we have seen above, Aristotle argues that the best way to bring this about is popular government. But if aristocracy must eventually bring the populace into the regime, then why not include them from the very beginning?

11. When Regimes Fail

In Politics 4.2 (6.2), Aristotle returns to his list of pure regime types. The three just regimes are kingship, aristocracy, and polity; the three unjust ones are tyranny, oligarchy, and democracy. Aristotle proceeds to rank the three just regimes in terms of the kinds of virtues they require. Thus Aristotle identifies kingship and aristocracy as the best regimes because they are both founded on “fully equipped virtue” (1289a31). Of the two, kingship is the very best, for it depends upon a virtue so superlative that it is possessed by only one man. Aristocracy is less exalted because it presupposes somewhat more broadly distributed and therefore less exalted virtue. Polity depends upon even more widespread and modest virtue. Furthermore, the populace, unlike kings and aristocrats, lacks the full complement of material equipment necessary to fully exercise such virtues as magnificence.

By this ranking, polity is not the best regime, but the least of the good ones. But Aristotle then offers a new, politically realistic standard for ranking the just regimes which reverses their order. Kingship may be the best regime from a morally idealistic perspective, but when it degenerates it turns into tyranny, which is the worst regime. Aristocracy may be the second best regime from a morally idealistic perspective, but when it degenerates it turns into oligarchy, which is the second worst regime. Polity may be the third choice of the moral idealist, but when it degenerates, it merely becomes democracy, which is the best of a bad lot.

Since degeneration is inevitable, the political realist ranks regimes not only in terms of their best performances, but also in terms of their worst. By this standard, polity is the best of the good regimes and kingship the worst. Kingship is best under ideal conditions, polity under real conditions. Kingship is a sleek Jaguar, polity a dowdy Volvo. On the road, the Jaguar is clearly better. But when they go in the ditch, the Volvo shows itself to be the better car overall.

12. The Middle Class Regime

Aristotle displays the same political realism in his praise of the middle class regime in Politics 4.11 (6.11): “If we judge neither by a virtue that is beyond the reach of private individuals, nor by an education requiring a nature and equipment dependent on chance, nor again a regime that is as one would pray for, but by a way of life that most can share in common together and by a regime that most cities can participate in . . . ,” then a large, politically enfranchised middle class has much to recommend it: “In the case of political community . . . the one that is based on those in the middle is best, and . . . cities capable of being well governed are those sorts where the middle is large . . .” (1295b35–36).

Since the middle class is the wealthier stratum of the common people, Aristotle’s arguments for middle class government are ipso facto arguments for popular government. Aristotle makes it clear from the beginning, however, that he is not talking about a purely popular regime, but a mixed one compounded out of a middle class populace and those elements of aristocracy which are not out of the reach of most cities (1295a30–34).

Aristotle’s first argument for the middle regime seems a sophistry: “If it was nobly said in the Ethics that the happy way of life is unimpeded life in accordance with virtue and that virtue is a mean, then necessarily the middle way of life, the life of a mean that everyone can attain, must be best. The same definitions must hold also for the virtue and vice of city and regime, since the regime is a certain way of life of a city” (1295a35–40).

In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle makes it clear that the fact that virtue can be understood as a mean between two vices, one of excess and the other of defect, does not imply either that virtue is merely an arithmetic mean (Nicomachean Ethics, 2.2, 1106a26–b8), or that virtue is to be regarded as mediocrity, not as superlative (Nicomachean Ethics, 2.2, 1107a9–27). Here, however, Aristotle describes the mean not as a superlative, but as a mediocrity “that everyone can attain.” This conclusion follows only if we presuppose that the morally idealistic doctrine of the Ethics has been modified into a moral realism analogous to the political realism of Politics 4.2.

Aristotle then claims that in a regime the mean lies in the middle class: “In all cities there are in fact three parts: those who are exceedingly well-off, those who are exceedingly needy, and the third who are in the middle of these two. So, since it is agreed that the mean and middle is best, then it is manifest that a middling possession also of the goods of fortune must be best of all” (1295b1–3). Aristotle is, however, equivocating. He begins by defining the middle class as an arithmetic mean between the rich and the poor. He concludes that the middle class is a moral mean. But he does not establish that the arithmetic mean corresponds with the moral.

Aristotle does, however, go on to offer reasons for thinking that the social mean corresponds to the moral mean. But the middle class is not necessarily more virtuous because its members have been properly educated, but because their social position and class interests lead them to act as if they had been.

First, Aristotle argues that “the middle most easily obeys reason.” Those who are “excessively beautiful or strong or well-born or wealthy” find it hard to follow reason, because they tend to be “insolent and rather wicked in great things.” By contrast, those who are poor and “extremely wretched and weak, and have an exceeding lack of honor” tend to become “villains and too much involved in petty wickedness.” The middle class is, however, too humble to breed insolence and too well-off to breed villainy. Since most injustices arise from insolence and villainy, a regime with a strong middle class will be more likely to be just.

Second, Aristotle argues that the middle class is best suited to ruling and being ruled in turn. Those who enjoy, “an excess of good fortune (strength, wealth, friends, and other things of the sort)” love to rule and dislike being ruled. Both of these attitudes are harmful to the city, yet they naturally arise among the wealthy. From an early age, the wealthy are instilled with a “love of ruing and desire to rule, both of which are harmful to cities” (1295b12), and, “because of the luxury they live in, being ruled is not something they get used to, even at school” (1295b13–17). By contrast, poverty breeds vice, servility, and small-mindedness. Thus the poor are easy to push around, and if they do gain power they are incapable of exercising it virtuously. Therefore, without a middle class, “a city of slaves and masters arises, not a city of the free, and the first are full of envy while the second are full of contempt.” Such a city must be “at the furthest remove from friendship and political community” (1295b21–24). The presence of a strong middle class, however, binds the city into a whole, limiting the tendency of the rich to tyranny and the poor to slavishness, creating a “city of the free.”

Third, Aristotle argues that middle class citizens enjoy the safest and most stable lives, imbuing the regime as a whole with these characteristics. Those in the middle are, among all the citizens, the most likely to survive in times of upheaval, when the poor starve and the rich become targets. They are sufficiently content with their lot not to envy the possessions of the rich. Yet they are not so wealthy that the poor envy them. They neither plot against the rich nor are plotted against by the poor.

Fourth, a large middle class stabilizes a regime, particularly if the middle is “stronger than both extremes or, otherwise, than either one of them. For the middle will tip the balance when added to either side and prevent the emergence of an excess at the opposite extremes” (1295b36–40). Without a large and powerful middle class, “either ultimate rule of the populace arises or unmixed oligarchy does, or, because of excess on both sides, tyranny” (1296a3; cf. 6.12, 1297a6ff).

Fifth is the related point that regimes with large middle classes are relatively free of faction and therefore more concerned with the common good. This is because a large middle class makes it harder to separate everyone out into two groups (1296a7–10).

Finally, Aristotle claims that one sign of the superiority of middle class regimes is that the best legislators come from the middle class. As examples, he cites Solon, Lycurgus, and Charondas (1296a18–21).

Conclusion: Aristotle’s Polity and Our Own

If the proper aim of government is to promote the happiness of the citizen, Aristotle marshals an impressive array of arguments for giving the people, specifically the middle class, a role in government. These arguments can be grouped under five headings: virtue, rational decision-making, freedom, stability, and resistance to corruption.

Popular government both presupposes and encourages widespread virtue among the citizens, and virtue is a necessary condition of happiness. Middle class citizens are particularly likely to follow practical reason and act justly, for they are corrupted neither by wealth nor by poverty. Popular participation can improve political decision-making by mobilizing scattered information and experience, and more informed decisions are more likely to promote happiness. In particular, popular government channels the experiences of those who are actually governed back into the decision-making process.

Popular participation preserves the freedom of the people, who would otherwise be exploited if they had no say in government. By preserving the freedom of the people, popular participation unifies the regime, promoting peace and stability which in turn are conducive to the pursuit of happiness. This is particularly the case with middle class regimes, for the middle class prevents excessive and destabilizing separation and between the extremes of wealth and poverty.

Popular governments are also more resistant to corruption. It is harder to use bribery or trickery to corrupt decisions made by many people deliberating together in public than by one person or a few deciding in private. This means that popular regimes are more likely to promote the common good instead of allowing the state to become a tool for the pursuit of one special interest at the expense of another. Furthermore, if a popular regime does become corrupt, it is most likely to become a democracy, which is the least unjust of the bad regimes and the easiest to reform.

All these are good arguments for giving the people a role in government. But not just any people. And not just any role.

First, Aristotle presupposes a small city-state. He did not think that any regime could pursue the common good if it became too large. This is particularly true of a popular regime, for the larger the populace, the less room any particular citizen has for meaningful participation.

Second, he presupposes a populace which is racially and culturally homogeneous. A more diverse population is subject to faction and strife. It will either break up into distinct communities or it will have to be held together by violence and governed by an elite. A more diverse population also erodes a society’s moral consensus, making moral education even more difficult.

Third, political participation will be limited to middle-class and wealthy property-owning males, specifically men who derive their income from the ownership of productive land, not merchants and craftsmen.

Fourth, Aristotle circumscribes the role of the populace by assigning it specific legal roles, such as the election of officers and the auditing of accounts–roles which are checked and balanced by the legal roles of the aristocratic element, such as occupying leadership positions.

If Aristotle is right about the conditions of popular government, then he would probably take a dim view of its prospects in America.

First and foremost, Aristotle would deplore America’s lack of concern with moral education. Aristotle’s disagreement would go beyond the obvious fact that the American founders did not make moral education the central concern of the state. America has neglected to cultivate even the minimal moral virtues required to maintain a liberal regime, virtues such as independence, personal responsibility, and basic civility.

Second, Aristotle would predict that multiculturalism and non-white immigration will destroy the cultural preconditions of popular government.

Third, Aristotle would reject America’s ever-widening franchise–particularly the extension of the vote to women, non-property owners, and cultural aliens–as a sure prescription for lowering the quality of public decision-making in the voting booth and jury room.

Fourth, Aristotle would be alarmed by the continuing erosion of the American working and middle classes by competition from foreign workers both inside and outside America’s borders. He would deplore America’s transformation from an agrarian to an industrial-mercantile civilization and support autarky rather than free trade and economic globalization.

Fifth, Aristotle would be alarmed by ongoing attempts to disarm the populace.

Sixth, he would condemn America’s imperialistic and warlike policies toward other nations.

Finally, Aristotle would likely observe that since genuine popular government is difficult with hundreds of thousands of citizens it will be impossible with hundreds of millions.

In short, if Aristotle were alive today, he would find himself to the right of Patrick J. Buchanan, decrying America’s decline from a republic to an empire. Aristotle challenges us to show whether and how liberty and popular government are compatible with feminism, multiculturalism, and globalized capitalism.

To conclude, however, on a more positive note: Although Aristotle gives reasons to think that the future of popular government in America is unpromising, he also gives reasons for optimism about the long-term prospects of popular government in general, for his defense of popular government is based on a realistic assessment of human nature, not only in its striving for perfection, but also in its propensity for failure.

Notes

1. For useful discussions of the arguments of Politics 3.11, see Mary P. Nichols, Citizens and Statesmen: A Study of Aristotle’s Politics (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 1992), 66–71, and Peter L. Phillips Simpson, A Philosophical Commentary on the Politics of Aristotle (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998), 166-71.

2. On the potluck supper analogy, see Arlene W. Saxonhouse, Fear of Diversity: The Birth of Political Science in Ancient Greek Thought (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), 222–24.

3. I wish to thank M. L. C. for suggesting the model of a jury trial.

4 . For a beautiful description of the deliberative process of a jury, see John C. Calhoun, A Disquisition on Government, in Union and Liberty: The Political Philosophy of John C. Calhoun, ed. Ross M. Lence (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1992), 49–50.

5. Friedrich A. Hayek’s classic essay “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” in his Individualism and Economic Order (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948), argues that the market is superior to central planning because it better mobilizes widely scattered information. The market is, of course, larger than any possible jury and thus will always command more information. However, if one were to compare a market and a jury of the same size, the jury would clearly be a more rational decision-making process, for the market registers decisions based on perspectives which are in principle entirely solipsistic, whereas the jury requires a genuine dialogue which challenges all participants to transcend their partial and subjective perspectives and work toward a rational consensus which is more objective than any individual decision because it more adequately accounts for the phenomena in question than could any individual decision. It is this crucial disanalogy that seems to vitiate attempts to justify the market in terms of Gadamerian, Popperian, or Habermasian models and communicative rationality. For the best statement of this sort of approach, see G. B. Madison, The Political Economy of Civil Society and Human Rights (New York: Routledge, 1998), esp. chs. 3–5.

 


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dimanche, 24 juin 2012

Les « élites » et « l'écroulement d'un monde », selon Frédéric Lordon

 

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Les « élites » et « l'écroulement d'un monde », selon Frédéric Lordon

Ex: http://verslarevolution.hautetfort.com/

« (...) la catastrophe étant sans doute le mode historique le plus efficace de destruction des systèmes de domination, l’accumulation des erreurs des "élites" actuelles, incapables de voir que leurs "rationalités" de court terme soutiennent une gigantesque irrationalité de long terme, est cela même qui nous permet d’espérer voir ce système s’écrouler dans son ensemble.

Il est vrai que l’hypothèse de l’hybris, comprise comme principe d’illimitation, n’est pas dénuée de valeur explicative. (...) Car c’est bien l’abattement des dispositifs institutionnels de contention des puissances qui pousse irrésistiblement les puissances à propulser leur élan et reprendre leur marche pour pousser l’avantage aussi loin que possible. Et il y a bien quelque chose comme une ivresse de l’avancée pour faire perdre toute mesure et réinstaurer le primat du "malpropre" et du "borné" dans la "rationalité" des dominants.

Ainsi, un capitaliste ayant une vue sur le long terme n’aurait pas eu de mal à identifier l’État-providence comme le coût finalement relativement modéré de la stabilisation sociale et de la consolidation de l’adhésion au capitalisme, soit un élément institutionnel utile à la préservation de la domination capitaliste – à ne surtout pas bazarder ! Évidemment, sitôt qu’ils ont senti faiblir le rapport de force historique, qui au lendemain de la seconde guerre mondiale leur avait imposé la Sécurité sociale – ce qui pouvait pourtant leur arriver de mieux et contribuer à leur garantir trente années de croissance ininterrompue –, les capitalistes se sont empressés de reprendre tout ce qu’ils avaient dû concéder. (...)

Il faudrait pourtant s’interroger sur les mécanismes qui, dans l’esprit des dominants, convertissent des énoncés d’abord grossièrement taillés d’après leurs intérêts particuliers en objets d’adhésion sincère, endossés sur le mode la parfaite généralité. Et peut-être faudrait-il à cette fin relire la proposition 12 de la partie III de l’Éthique de Spinoza selon laquelle "l’esprit s’efforce d’imaginer ce qui augmente la puissance d’agir de son corps", qu’on retraduirait plus explicitement en "nous aimons à penser ce qui nous réjouit (ce qui nous convient, ce qui est adéquat à notre position dans le monde, etc.)".

Nul doute qu’il y a une joie intellectuelle particulière du capitaliste à penser d’après la théorie néoclassique que la réduction du chômage passe par la flexibilisation du marché du travail. Comme il y en a une du financier à croire à la même théorie néoclassique, selon laquelle le libre développement de l’innovation financière est favorable à la croissance. Le durcissement en énoncés à validité tout à fait générale d’idées d’abord manifestement formées au voisinage immédiat des intérêts particuliers les plus grossiers trouve sans doute dans cette tendance de l’esprit son plus puissant renfort.

C’est pourquoi la distinction des cyniques et des imbéciles est de plus en plus difficile à faire, les premiers mutant presque fatalement pour prendre la forme des seconds. À bien y regarder, on ne trouve guère d’individus aussi "nets" – il faudrait dire aussi intègres – que le Patrick Le Lay de TF1 qui, peu décidé à s’embarrasser des doctrines ineptes et faussement démocratiques de la "télévision populaire", déclarait sans ambages n’avoir d’autre objectif que de vendre aux annonceurs du temps de cerveau disponible ; rude franchise dont je me demande s’il ne faut pas lui en savoir gré : au moins, on sait qui on a en face de soi, et c’est une forme de clarté loin d’être sans mérite.

Pour le reste, il y a des résistances doctrinales faciles à comprendre : la finance, par exemple, ne désarmera jamais. Elle dira et fera tout ce qu’elle peut pour faire dérailler les moindres tentatives de re-réglementation. Elle y arrive fort bien d’ailleurs ! Il n’est que de voir l’effrayante indigence des velléités régulatrices pour s’en convaincre, comme l’atteste le fait que, depuis 2009, si peu a été fait que la crise des dettes souveraines menace à nouveau de s’achever en un effondrement total de la finance internationale. Pour le coup, rien n’est plus simple à comprendre : un système de domination ne rendra jamais les armes de lui-même et cherchera tous les moyens de sa perpétuation.

On conçoit aisément que les hommes de la finance n’aient pas d’autre objectif que de relancer pour un tour supplémentaire le système qui leur permet d’empocher les faramineux profits de la bulle et d’abandonner les coûts de la crise au corps social tout entier, forcé, par puissance publique interposée, de venir au secours des institutions financières, sauf à périr lui-même de l’écroulement bancaire. Il faut simplement se mettre à leur place ! Qui, en leur position, consentirait à renoncer ?

Il faudrait même dire davantage : c’est une forme de vie que ces hommes défendent, une forme de vie où entrent aussi bien la perspective de gains monétaires hors norme que l’ivresse d’opérer à l’échelle de la planète, de mouvementer des masses colossales de capitaux, pour ne rien dire des à-côtés les plus caricaturaux, mais bien réels, du mode de vie de l’ "homme des marchés" : filles, bagnoles, dope. Tous ces gens n’abandonneront pas comme ça ce monde merveilleux qui est le leur, il faudra activement le leur faire lâcher.

C’est en fait à propos de l’État que le mystère s’épaissit vraiment. Préposé à la socialisation des pertes bancaires et au serpillage des coûts de la récession, littéralement pris en otage par la finance dont il est condamné à rattraper les risques systémiques, n’est-il pas celui qui aurait le plus immédiatement intérêt à fermer pour de bon le foutoir des marchés ?

Il semble que poser la question ainsi soit y répondre, mais logiquement seulement, c’est-à-dire en méconnaissant sociologiquement la forme d’État colonisé qui est le propre du bloc hégémonique néolibéral : les représentants de la finance y sont comme chez eux. L’interpénétration, jusqu’à la confusion complète, des élites politiques, administratives, financières, parfois médiatiques, a atteint un degré tel que la circulation de tous ces gens d’une sphère à l’autre, d’une position à l’autre, homogénéise complètement, à quelques différences secondes près, la vision du monde partagée par ce bloc indistinct.

La fusion oligarchique – et il faudrait presque comprendre le mot en son sens russe – a conduit à la dé-différenciation des compartiments du champ du pouvoir et à la disparition des effets de régulation qui venaient de la rencontre, parfois de la confrontation, de grammaires hétérogènes ou antagonistes. Ainsi par exemple a-t-on vu, aidé sans doute par un mécanisme d’attrition démographique, la disparition de l’habitus de l’homme d’État tel qu’il a pris sa forme accomplie au lendemain de la seconde guerre mondiale, l’expression "homme d’État" n’étant pas à comprendre au sens usuel du "grand homme" mais de ces individus porteurs des logiques propres de la puissance publique, de sa grammaire d’action et de ses intérêts spécifiques.

Hauts fonctionnaires ou grands commis, jadis hommes d’État parce que dévoués aux logiques de l’État, et déterminés à les faire valoir contre les logiques hétérogènes – celles par exemple du capital ou de la finance –, ils sont une espèce en voie de disparition, et ceux qui aujourd’hui "entrent dans la carrière" n’ont pas d’autre horizon intellectuel que la réplication servile (et absurde) des méthodes du privé (d’où par exemple les monstruosités du type "RGPP", la Révision générale des politiques publiques), ni d’autre horizon personnel que le pantouflage qui leur permettra de s’intégrer avec délice à la caste des élites indifférenciées de la mondialisation.

Les dirigeants nommés à la tête de ce qui reste d’entreprises publiques n’ont ainsi rien de plus pressé que de faire sauter le statut de ces entreprises, conduire la privatisation, pour aller enfin rejoindre leurs petits camarades et s’ébattre à leur tour dans le grand bain des marchés mondiaux, de la finance, des fusions-acquisitions – et "accessoirement" des bonus et des stock-options.

Voilà le drame de l’époque : c’est qu’au niveau de ces gens qu’on continue à appeler – on se demande pourquoi tant leur bilan historique est accablant – des "élites", il n’y a plus nulle part aucune force de rappel intellectuelle susceptible de monter un contre-discours. Et le désastre est complet quand les médias eux-mêmes ont été, et depuis si longtemps, emportés par le glissement de terrain néolibéral ; le plus extravagant tenant à la reconduction des éditorialistes, chroniqueurs, experts à demi vendus et toute cette clique qui se présente comme les précepteurs éclairés d’un peuple nativement obtus et "éclairable" par vocation.

On aurait pu imaginer que le cataclysme de l’automne 2008 et l’effondrement à grand spectacle de la finance conduirait à une non moins grande lessive de tous ces locuteurs émergeant en guenilles des ruines fumantes, mais rien du tout ! Pas un n’a bougé !

Alain Duhamel continue de pontifier dans Libération ; le même journal, luttant désespérément pour faire oublier ses décennies libérales, n’en continue pas moins de confier l’une de ses plus décisives rubriques, la rubrique européenne, à Jean Quatremer qui a méthodiquement conchié tous ceux qui dénonçaient les tares, maintenant visibles de tous, de la construction néolibérale de l’Europe. Sur France Inter, Bernard Guetta franchit matinée après matinée tous les records de l’incohérence – il faudrait le reconduire à ses dires d’il y a cinq ans à peine, je ne parle même pas de ceux de 2005, fameuse année du traité constitutionnel européen… L’émission hebdomadaire d’économie de France Culture oscille entre l’hilarant et l’affligeant en persistant à tendre le micro à des gens qui ont été les plus fervents soutiens doctrinaux du monde en train de s’écrouler, parmi lesquels Nicolas Baverez par exemple, sans doute le plus drôle de tous, qui s’est empressé de sermonner les gouvernements européens et de les enjoindre à la plus extrême rigueur avant de s’apercevoir que c’était une ânerie de plus. Et tous ces gens plastronnent dans la plus parfaite impunité, sans jamais que leurs employeurs ne leur retirent ni une chronique ni un micro, ni même ne leur demandent de s’expliquer ou de rendre compte de leurs discours passés.

Voilà le monde dans lequel nous vivons, monde de l’auto-blanchiment collectif des faillis. (...)

Dans ce paysage où tout est verrouillé, où la capture "élitaire" a annihilé toute force de rappel, je finis par me dire qu’il n’y a plus que deux solutions de remise en mouvement : une détérioration continue de la situation sociale, qui conduirait au franchissement des "seuils" pour une partie majoritaire du corps social, c’est-à-dire à une fusion des colères sectorielles et à un mouvement collectif incontrôlable, potentiellement insurrectionnel ; ou bien un effondrement "critique" du système sous le fardeau de ses propres contradictions – évidemment à partir de la question des dettes publiques – et d’un enchaînement menant d’une série de défauts souverains à un collapsus bancaire – mais cette fois autre chose que la bluette "Lehman"…

Disons clairement que la deuxième hypothèse est infiniment plus probable que la première… quoiqu’elle aurait peut-être, en retour, la propriété de la déclencher dans la foulée. Dans tous les cas, il faudra sacrément attacher sa ceinture. (...)

À constater le degré de verrouillage d’institutions politiques devenues absolument autistes et interdisant maintenant tout processus de transformation sociale à froid, je me dis aussi parfois que la question ultra taboue de la violence en politique va peut-être bien devoir de nouveau être pensée, fût-ce pour rappeler aux gouvernants cette évidence connue de tous les stratèges militaires qu’un ennemi n’est jamais si prêt à tout que lorsqu’il a été réduit dans une impasse et privé de toute issue.

Or il apparaît d’une part que les gouvernements, entièrement asservis à la notation financière et dévoués à la satisfaction des investisseurs, sont en train de devenir tendanciellement les ennemis de leurs peuples, et d’autre part que si, à force d’avoir méthodiquement fermé toutes les solutions de délibération démocratique, il ne reste plus que la solution insurrectionnelle, il ne faudra pas s’étonner que la population, un jour portée au-delà de ses points d’exaspération, décide de l’emprunter – précisément parce que ce sera la seule. »

Frédéric Lordon (décembre 2011)

samedi, 23 juin 2012

La communauté ou le cauchemar du Système

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La communauté ou le cauchemar du Système

Ex: http://verslarevolution.hautetfort.com/

« L’atomisation sociétale, l’anomie sociale, la guerre de tous contre tous et l’extrême individualisation égoïsto-nombriliste des existences contemporaines ne sont pas des "dommages collatéraux" de la  société capitalisto-marchande, les  symptômes de maux superficiels qui pourraient être guéris par des "ajustements" du système, ce sont tout au contraire le substrat, la matière première et le carburant du monde libéral.

L’oligarchie financiaro-mercantile ne peut en effet régner que sur un conglomérat d’individus séparés, isolés, concurrents les uns des autres en tous domaines (emploi, sexualité, sentimentalité, consommation, représentations symboliques…) et n’ayant pas d’autre horizon que la poursuite de leurs intérêts particuliers et la satisfaction de leurs désirs matériels. C’est pour cela que la bourgeoisie financière, avec l’appui actif et empressé des idiots utiles de la gauche "libérale/ libertaire",  n’a jamais eu de cesse que de faire disparaître toutes les entités collectives et les corps intermédiaires qui séparaient encore l’individu du Marché (corporations, syndicats, églises, familles, nations…).

Car le cauchemar du système de l’individu-roi, déraciné et interchangeable, défini uniquement par sa capacité de consommation, porte un nom, celui de "communauté".

La communauté est un groupement humain rassemblant des individus qui veulent être acteurs et non spectateurs de leur existence, qui ont compris qu’il n’y a ni espoir ni avenir dans la "délégation" du politique à des "élites" expertocratiques qui ne servent jamais que leurs propres intérêts de classe.

A l’opposé du "héros solitaire", notamment vanté par la littérature commerciale et les représentations cinématographiques hollywoodiennes,  qui s’oppose au monde au nom de son exceptionnelle singularité, le membre d’une communauté sait que ce n’est que par l’action collective, l’union des qualités et des talents, la collaboration des caractères et des volontés que l’on peut trouver des issues à l’impasse contemporaine et bâtir des alternatives concrètes et durables au suicide général qu’est la mondialisation libérale.

 

La communauté n’est ni un ghetto ni un refuge, c’est un camp de base, fortifié sur ses fondations mais ouvert sur le monde, un point de ralliement et d’organisation aujourd’hui indispensable à toute perspective de résistance et de reconquête. La communauté c’est l’interdépendance au service d’un projet commun.

Si la communauté se nourrit de la proximité ethnico-culturelle, fruit de la lignée et de l’enracinement historique,  elle ne se limite nullement à elle  puisque ce qui en fait à la fois la force, la spécificité et le dynamisme est le fait d’incarner des valeurs élevées et exigeantes mais dans lesquelles, potentiellement, tout homme libre, fier et aimant peut se reconnaître.

Ainsi si la communauté offre une nécessaire image d’homogénéité, c’est une homogénéité "plurielle" c’est-à-dire qui associe la diversité des individus, des parcours, des origines et des caractères à un socle moral et politique commun et des objectifs partagés. C’est donc avant tout une homogénéité d’esprit, de vues, d’aspirations et d’espoirs.

Le Larzac plus l’Ordre

Le système se moque des contestations qui ne sont que sonores ou visuelles, des agitations vociférantes, des slogans et des palabres. Il les recycle même avec une déconcertante facilité, les transformant bien souvent en nouvelles micro-niches commerciales nourrissant généreusement le supermarché global. Tant que ses prétendus adversaires continuent à suivre ses programmes télé, à fréquenter ses centres commerciaux et ses agences de voyages, à intégrer ses codes esthétiques et son imaginaire et à apporter leur écot à l’organisation bancaire (épargne, emprunts, assurances-vie…), ils peuvent bien pondre tous les manifestes, tous les fanzines, tous les pamphlets qu’ils souhaitent, ils peuvent même organiser trois fois par an tous les saccages anti G20 ou G8 qu’ils désirent, le système s’en moque éperdument, et  même s’en pourlèche, pouvant ainsi agiter l’épouvantail factice d’une virulente et redoutable "opposition".

Aujourd’hui, la seule réelle crainte du système est clairement le retrait et le court-circuit, c’est-à-dire le fait pour des individus, regroupés et organisés au sein de communautés, de rompre non pas avec les superficialités du temps mais avec les fondements de l’époque : la consommation, l’industrie du divertissement et l’omniprésence financière. Il suffit pour s’en convaincre de constater le mépris hargneux de la "gauche" capitalo-compatible envers les tenants de la "décroissance" ou l’acharnement judiciaro-policier dont ont été victimes les SEL (Systèmes d’échanges locaux), les "casseurs de pub" ou les épiciers communautaires de Tarnac.

Que ces expériences socialo-collectivistes se débarrassent de leurs scories libertariennes, xénophiles et ethno-masochistes et s’enrichissent des préoccupations patriotiques, méritocratiques et différentialistes et la plus grand terreur de l’oligarchie prendra alors forme, réveillant les fantômes de la Commune et le souvenir de Louis Rossel.

Pour atteindre cet objectif, qui est tout sauf utopique, il n’y a pas d’autre voie que la communauté, seul "lieu" où le retrait et le court-circuit (consistant à se passer au maximum des infrastructures et des mécanismes imposés par le système)  sont viables et porteurs de sens politique. Car il ne s’agit pas d’encourager à la multiplication des retraites au désert et des vocations d’anachorètes mais d’inciter à la mise en place de structures collectives où un autre mode de vie, basé sur la décence commune, le sens de la mesure, l’altruisme, la simplicité volontaire, est possible sans être synonyme d’exclusion et de précarisation progressive.

Prêts sans intérêts entre camarades, habitat collectif, recyclage et récupération, services gratuits, troc, rejet de la lobotomie télévisuelle et de l’emprisonnement facebookien, réappropriation agraire, coopératives, loisirs collectifs, chantiers communs… les moyens, à la fois humbles et gigantesques,  sont nombreux pour poser dès aujourd’hui les premières pierres de ces communautés qui seront autant de monastères et de phalanstères conservant et entretenant la flamme de la civilisation au cœur de la longue nuit de la barbarie libérale. »

 

Zentropa

vendredi, 22 juin 2012

Au-delà du vote individuel

Au-delà du vote individuel

par Georges FELTIN-TRACOL

 

Modalites-de-vote--differents-types-de-majori.jpgParmi les nombreuses promesses électorales du socialiste François Hollande, il y a le droit de vote aux élections locales des étrangers extra-communautaires qui seraient victimes d’une soi-disant discrimination alors qu’ils paient leurs impôts (les braves gens !). Avant d’étendre ce droit politique majeur à des non-citoyens, il serait approprié de l’accorder aux nouvelles générations de racines européennes.

 

Avec La famille doit voter, Jean-Yves Le Naour et Catherine Valenti  retracent l’histoire d’un enjeu politique qui fit longtemps débat, mais qui pourrait resurgir : le vote plural familial. Le « vote plural » se pratique dans les systèmes censitaires pour désigner l’attribution à un même électeur de plusieurs suffrages. Il se distingue du vote familial qui revendique une autre forme de représentativité.

 

L’ouvrage retrace en détail les débats sur le rôle politique des familles sous la IIIe République, l’État français et aux débuts de la IVe République. Ce thème, méconnu et intéressant, méritait un meilleur traitement. Malheureusement, Le Naour et Valenti se montrent partiaux. S’inscrivant dans le conformisme intellectuel de la gauche bien-pensante, ils étudient leur sujet avec un parti-pris défavorable. Pour eux, le suffrage familial est une tentative inacceptable de remise en cause du suffrage universel d’essence égalitaire. Un mineur pouvant, dès sa naissance, hériter ou posséder un bien sous la tutelle de ses représentants légaux, pourquoi ne pourrait-il pas être électeur par délégation ?

 

Certes, les partisans du vote familial qui se recrutent dans la droite conservatrice invoquent l’ordre supposé des pères de famille. Mais ils ne sont pas les seuls à en réclamer l’instauration. La Belgique (État fasciste ?) l’applique de 1893 à 1919. En décembre 1923, 440 députés de la Chambre bleu-horizon (en chemises brunes ?) en votent le principe. En 1945 – 1946, d’anciens résistants démocrates-chrétiens défendent en vain l’idée d’une « République familiale » contre un Sénat à majorité radicale. Et, dans les années 1970, l’ancien Premier ministre gaulliste Michel Debré qui ne passe pas pour un nostalgique de l’alliance du Trône et de l’Autel, ne reprend-il pas le combat en faveur du vote familial ? Bien entendu, les auteurs ont beau jeu de noter que le Front national s’y est montré favorable, surtout pour des motifs démographiques (1). En 1988, Bruno Gollnisch, alors député du Rhône, observait dans une proposition de loi que « les familles de trois enfants et plus, qui représentent 11 % de la population, et qui assurent à elles seules 27 % du renouvellement des générations, ne représentent que 5,3 % du corps électoral (2) ».

 

Le vote familial eut cependant des alliés surprenants, comme les militantes du vote féminin ou les partisans de « l’approbation des morts ». À l’exception de quelques pétroleuses suffragettes extrémistes, les  organisations féministes ont souvent collaboré avec les partisans du vote familial, car elles y voyaient une avancée notable dans la réalisation de leur objectif final. Quant au vote des morts tombés pour la France proposé par Maurice Barrès dans sa chronique du 1er février 1916 (et reprise vers la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale par le communiste Jacques Duclos !), il fait resurgir les débats autour de la citoyenneté accordée aux femmes et du suffrage multiple, l’académicien suggérant que les épouses ou les pères des disparus en deviennent les mandataires.

 

De leur côté, les promoteurs du vote familial se divisent en natalistes et en familialistes. Pour le courant nataliste, « le dénombrement intégral des membres de la famille répond […] à une logique individualiste qui reconnaît à l’épouse et aux enfants le droit d’être représentés » alors que la tendance familialiste considère que la famille est la « cellule sociale fondamentale et repose sur la fonction supérieure du père de famille par rapport au célibataire ». Nourris par les travaux de Frédéric Le Play et de René de La Tour du Pin qui associent familialisme et corporatisme, les seconds accusent les premiers d’aménager et donc d’accepter la dérive individualiste. En revanche, les deux parties s’inquiètent de la dépopulation de la France. Soucieux de la faible natalité persistante après 1918, ils réclament une grande politique familiale nataliste et lorgnent, dans les années 1930, du côté des régimes autoritaires voisins, avec toutefois d’importantes nuances. « Si les natalistes admirent les politiques démographiques menées par les fascismes, les familialistes se méfient de l’omnipotence de l’État qui écrase l’autorité paternelle et finalement nuit aux familles. L’étatisme est pour eux un péril au moins aussi redoutable que l’individualisme », leur préférence allant pour le régime portugais de Salazar.

 

Soulagés par une décision du Conseil constitutionnel du 17 janvier 1979 qui proscrit tout vote plural, Le Naour et Valenti pensent que le vote familial se trouve désormais dans les « poubelles de l’histoire », car « la réforme du suffrage universel est maintenant complètement inintelligible aux Français. La famille ne votera pas », concluent-ils. Pourquoi cette assurance fate ? Ignorent-ils que l’histoire est toujours ouverte ? Longtemps, on a estimé que la famille était une structure vieillotte, ringarde, dépassée. Et à quoi assiste-t-on maintenant ? À une intense propagande en faveur du mariage homosexuel, de l’homoparentalité et de la famille homosexuée. Pour peu que les couples de même sexe obtiennent le droit à l’enfantement (la maternité étant l’ultime discrimination à bannir), des groupes activistes exigeront ensuite l’extension du suffrage à leur progéniture…

 

En dépit de la multiplication des familles monoparentales et des familles recomposées, l’enjeu du vote familial reste d’actualité. En 2004, des parlementaires conservateurs autrichiens demandèrent son introduction rapide. Et en 2005, ce sont trente députés allemands du Bundestag qui déposèrent une proposition de loi similaire. Dans une Europe touchée par l’« hiver des berceaux », la « Peste blanche » et le Papy Boom, la reconnaissance du vote familial s’interpréterait comme le signal fort d’une relance volontariste de la fécondité autochtone. Mais cette mesure politique de salut public doit impérativement s’accompagner d’une révision draconienne des naturalisations et de la réforme radicale du code de la nationalité. Le droit du sang remplacerait avantageusement le droit du sol sous peine d’obtenir le contraire de ce que l’on souhaite. L’application du vote familial suppose enfin une remise en cause des dogmes égalitaires et universalistes actuellement dominants, en clair, entreprendre une gigantesque révolution intellectuelle. « Mais après tout, écrivait Marc Dem, pourquoi la gauche aurait-elle le monopole de la révolution ? (3) » Loin d’être dépassé, le suffrage familial ou plural a de l’avenir et la grande supériorité d’être pré-moderne, anti-moderne et post-moderne.

 

Georges Feltin-Tracol

 

Notes

 

1 : Cette proposition qui figurait dans le programme présidentiel de Jean-Marie Le Pen de 1988 à 2007 semble avoir été abandonnée en 2012, car très incorrecte au regard des gras médias.

 

2 : Proposition de loi cité par Marc Dem, « Que deviendra la France quand il n’y aura plus de Français ? », Le Choc du Mois, n° 5, avril 1988, p. 26.

 

3 : Idem.

 

• Jean-Yves Le Naour (avec la collaboration de Catherine Valenti), La famille doit voter. Le suffrage familial contre le vote individuel, Hachette, coll. « Littératures », 2005, 266 p., 20,50 €.

 

• Article d’abord paru dans la revue Liberté politique, n° 31, octobre – novembre 2005 – 2006, et largement modifié pour la présente mise en ligne.

 


 

Article printed from Europe Maxima: http://www.europemaxima.com

 

URL to article: http://www.europemaxima.com/?p=2337

jeudi, 21 juin 2012

La démocratie jusqu’à l’indigestion

587739_litterature-camus.jpg

La démocratie jusqu’à l’indigestion

par Pierre LE VIGAN

Une société suppose des règles de civilité. Et ce sont ces règles qui rendent possible le droit, et la démocratie, en d’autres termes un code raisonné des affrontements politiques. La civilité, c’est le dépassement des préjugés, des tribus, des égoïsmes. C’est un horizon commun donc une culture commune. Disons le mot : ce sont des mœurs communes. Or à quoi assistons-nous ? À la réduction de la démocratie à des procédures, à des droits sociaux déconnectés des usages culturels de notre pays.

 

Ces droits appliqués à tout constituent une hyper-démocratie : droit à la santé, à la culture, etc. Mais l’inconvénient, c’est que l’hyper-démocratie tue la vraie démocratie. Car l’hyper-démocratie est démesure, hubris (outrage), tandis que la démocratie est l’apprentissage du temps, de la patience, du travail, de l’effort. C’est l’effort même de la civilisation.

 

Nous en sommes là. L’hyper-démocratie est, explique Renaud Camus, « la transposition plus ou moins opportune de la démocratie dans des domaines où sa pertinence est moins immédiatement évidente qu’en celui qui circonscrit le processus décisionnel au sein de la cité ». Par voie de conséquence, les mots perdent leur sens. La culture ne consiste plus à élever tout le monde dans la mesure des possibles de chacun mais à dire que tout est culture. Il en est de même pour l’éducation. Tout le monde a « le niveau » puisque le niveau est celui de tout le monde. Au terme de cela, c’est une moyennisation du monde qui se met en place. Ce sont les vraies hiérarchies qui s’effacent pour laisser la place aux seules hiérarchies de l’argent. Les riches ne sont plus des gens cultivés et aisés (ce qu’ils n’étaient pas toujours mais ce que l’on attendait d’eux !). Ce sont des pauvres qui ont réussis. « Les riches ne sont plus que des pauvres avec plus d’argent », note Renaud Camus. Le festivisme de la vie sociale et l’ironisation de tout sont les conséquences de cela, avec la dépolitisation qui va avec. L’enseignement de l’ignorance se combine avec la généralisation de la muflerie. Pour refaire une démocratie, c’est tout le problème de l’éducation du peuple qui devra être repris.

 

Pierre Le Vigan

 

• Renaud Camus, Décivilisation, Fayard, 212 p., 17 €.

 


 

Article printed from Europe Maxima: http://www.europemaxima.com

 

URL to article: http://www.europemaxima.com/?p=2486

mercredi, 13 juin 2012

Civilization as political concept

Civilization as political concept

Interview with the leader of the International “Eurasian Movement”, a philosopher, and a  professor at Moscow State University Alexander Dugin

Interviewed by the Global Revolutionary Alliance’s own Natella Speranskaja 

Ex: http://www.granews.info/

- The crisis of identity, with which we faced after the Cold War and the collapse of the communist world, is still relevant. What do you think is capable of lifting us out of this crisis  – a religious revival or creation of a new political ideology? Which of the options are you  inclined to yourself?

- After the collapse of communism came the phase of the “unipolar moment” (as Charles Krauthammer called it). In geopolitics, this meant the victory of unilateralism and Atlanticism, and because the pole was left alone, the West has become a global phenomenon. Accordingly,  the ideology of liberalism (or more accurately, neo-liberalism) is firmly in place crushing the two alternative political theories that existed in the twentieth century – communism and fascism . The Global liberal West has now defined culture, economics, information and technology, and politics. The West’s claims to the universalism of it’s values, the values of Western modernity and the Postmodern era, has reached its climax. 

Problems stemming from the West during the “unipolar moment” has led many to say that this “moment” is over, that he could not yet be a “destiny” of humanity.That is, a “unipolar moment” should be interpreted very broadly – not only geopolitical, but also ideologically, economically, axiologically, civilization wide. The crisis of identity, about which you ask, has scrapped all previous identities – civilizational, historical, national, political, ethnic, religious, cultural, in favor of a universal planetary Western-style identity  – with its concept of individualism, secularism, representative democracy, economic and political liberalism, cosmopolitanism and the ideology of human rights.Instead of a hierarchy of identities, which have traditionally played a large role in sets of collective identities, the “unipolar moment” affirmed a flat one-dimensional identity, with the absolutization of the individual singularity.  One individual = one identity, and any forms of the collective identity (for example, individual as the part of the religious community, nation, ethnic group, race, or even sex) underwent dismantling and overthrow. Hence the hatred of globalists for different kind of “majorities” and protection of minorities, up to the individual.

The Uni-polar Democracy of our moment - this is a democracy, which unambiguously protects the minority before the face of the majority and the individual before face of the group.  This is  the crisis of identity for those of non-Western or non-modern (or even not “postmodern”) societies,since this is where customary models are scrapped and liquidated. The postmodern West with  optimism, on the contrary, asserts individualism and hyper-liberalism in its space and zealously  exports it on the planetary scale.

However, it’s not painless, and has caused at all levels it’s own growing rejection.  The problems, which have  appeared in the West in the course of this “uni-polar moment”, forced many to speak, that this “moment’s” conclusion, has not succeeded in becoming “the fate” of humanity.  This, therefore,  was the cost of the  possibility of passage to some other paradigm…

So, we can think about an alternative  to the “unipolar moment” and, therefore, an alternative to liberalism, Americanism, Atlanticism, Western Postmodernism, globalization, individualism, etc. That is, we can, and I think should,  work out plans and strategies for a “post-uni polar world “, at all levels – the ideological and political, the economic, and religious, and the philosophical and geo-political, the cultural and civilizational, and technology, and value.

In fact, this is what I call multi-polarity. As in the case of uni-polarity it is not only about the political and strategic map of the world, but also the paradigmatic philosophical foundations of the future world order.  We can not exactly say that the “uni-polar moment” has finally been completed. No, it is still continuing, but it faces a growing number of problems. We must put an end to it – eradicate it. This is a global revolution, since the existing domination of the West, liberalism and globalism completely controls the  world oligarchy, financial and political elites.

So they just will not simply  give up their positions. We must prepare for a serious and intense battle.   Multi-polarity will be recaptured by the conquered peoples of the world in combat and it will be able to arise only on the smoking ruins of the global West.  While the West is still dictating his will to the rest, to talk about early multipolarity  – you must first destroy the Western domination on the ground.   Crisis – this is much, but far from all.

- If we accept the thesis of the paradigmatic transition from the current unipolar world order model to a new multi-polar model, where the actors are not nation-states, but  entire civilizations, can it be said that this move would entail a radical change in the very human identity?

- Yes, of course. With the end of the unipolar moment, we are entering a whole new world. And it is not simply a reverse or a step back, but it is a step forward to some unprecedented future, however, different from the digital project of “lonely crowds”, which is reserved for  humanity by globalism. Multi-polar identity will be the complex nonlinear collection of different identities – both individual and collective, that is varied for each civilization (or even inside each civilization).

This is something completely new that  will be created.

And the changes will be radical. We can not exclude that, along with known identities, civilizations, and offering of  new ways … It is possible that one of these new identities will become the identity of “Superman” – in the Nietzschean sense or otherwise (for example, traditionalist) …  In the “open society” of globalism the individual is, on the contrary, closedand strictly self-identical.

The multi-polar world’s anthropological map will be, however, extremely open, although the boundaries of civilizations  will be defined clearly. Man will again re-open the measurement of inner freedom – “freedom for”, in spite of the flat and purely external  liberal freedom – “freedom from” (as John Mill), Which is actually,  not freedom, but its simulacrum, imposed for a more efficient operation of the planetary masses by a small group of global oligarchs.

- Alexander Gelevich Dugin, you are the creator of the theory of a multi-polar world, which laid the foundation from which we can begin a new historical stage. Your book“The theory of a multi-polar world” has been and is being translated into other languages. The transition to a new model of world order means a radical change in the foreign policy of nation-states, and in today’s global economy, in fact, you have created all the prerequisites for the emergence of a new diplomatic language. Of course, this is a challenge of the global hegemony of the West. What do you think will be the reaction of your political opponents when they realize the seriousness of the threat posed?

- As always in the vanguard of  philosophical and ideological ideas, we first have the effect of bewilderment, the desire to silence or marginalize them. Then comes the phase of severe criticism and rejection. Then they begin to consider. Then they become commonplace and a truism. So it was with many of my ideas and concepts in the past 30 years. Traditionalism, geopolitics, Sociology of imagination , Ethnosociology, Conservative Revolution , National Bolshevism, Eurasianism, the Fourth Political Theory, National-structuralism, Russian Schmittianism, the concept of the three paradigms, the eschatological gnosis, New Metaphysics and Radical Theory of the Subject , Conspiracy theories, Russian haydeggerianstvo , a post-modern alternative , and so on – perceived first with hostility, then partially assimilated, and finally became part of mainstream discourse in academia and politics of Russia, and in part, and beyond.

Each of these directions has their fate, but the diagram of their mastering is approximately identical. So it will be also with the theory of a multipolar world   It will be hushed up, and then demonized and fiercely criticized, and then they will begin to look at it closely, and then accepted. But for all this it is necessary to pay for it and to defend it in the fight.  Arthur Rimbaud said that “the spiritual battle as fierce and hard, as the battle of armies.” For this we will have to struggle violently and desperately. As for everything else.

- In the “Theory of a multipolar world,” you write that in the dialogue between civilizations the responsibility is born by the elite of civilization. Do I understand correctly, it should be a “trained” elite, that is, the elite, which has a broad knowledge and capabilities, rather than the present “elite”? Tell me, what is the main difference between these elites?

- Civilizational elite – is a new concept. Thus far  it does not exist. It is a combination of two qualities – deep assimilation of the particular civilizational culture (in the philosophical, religious, value levels) and the presence of a high degree “of drive,” persistently pushing people to the heights of power, prestige and influence. Modern liberalism channels passion exclusively in the area of economics and business, creating a preference for a particular social elevator and it is a particular type of personality (which is an American sociologist Yuri Slezkine called “mercurial type”) .

The Mercurial elite of globalism, “aviakochevniki” mondialist nomadism, sung by Jacques Attali, should be overthrown in favor of radically different types of elites. Each civilization can dominate, and other “worlds”, not only thievish, mercurial shopkeepers and  cosmopolitans.  Islamic elite is clearly another – an example of this we see in today’s Iran, where the policy (Mars) and economics (Mercury) are subject to  spiritual authority, of the Ayatollah (Saturn).

But the “world” is only a metaphor. Different civilizations are based on different codes. The main thing is that the elite must be reflected in the codes themselves, whatever they may be. This is the most important condition. The will to power inherent in any elite, shall be interfaced with the will to knowledge, that is intellectualism and activism in such a multipolar elite should be wedded. Technological efficiency and value (often religious) content should be combined in such an elite. Only such an elite will be able to fully and responsibly participate in the dialogue of civilizations, embodying the principles of their traditions and engaging in interaction with other civilizations of the worlds.

- How can you comment on the hypothesis that the return to a bipolar model is still possible?

- I think not, practically or theoretically. In practice, because today there is no country that is comparable to the basic parameters of the U.S. and the West in general. The U.S. broke away from the rest of the world so that no one on its own can compete with them. Theoretically, only the West now has a claim to universality of its values, whereas previously Marxism was regarded as an alternative. After the collapse of the Soviet Union it became clear that universalism is only  liberal, capitalist. To resist Western imperialism there can only be a coalition of large spaces – not the second pole, but immediately multiple poles, each of them with its own strategic infrastructure and with a particular civilizational, cultural and ideological content.

- How real is the sudden transition to a non-polar model? What are the main disadvantages of this model?

- Passage to a non-polar model, about which leaders are increasingly talking of in the Council on Foreign Relations (Richard Haass, George Soros,etc.), means the replacement of the facade of a uni-polar hegemony, the transition from the domination based on military and strategic power of the United States and NATO (hardware ) to dispersed domination of the West as a whole (software). These are two versions – hard-hegemony and soft-hegemony. But in both cases the West, its civilization, its culture, its philosophy, its technologies, its political and economic institutes and procedures come out as the standard universal model.  Over the long term, this will indicate  the transfer of power to a “world government”, which will be dominated by all  the same Western elites, the global oligarchy. It will then  discard it’s  mask and will act directly on behalf of the transnational forces. In some sense non-polarity is worse than uni-polarity, though, it would seem hard to believe.

Non-polarity itself, and even more sharply and rapidly, will not yet begin. For this, the world must go through the turmoil and trials until a desperate humanity itself cried for the world elite with a prayer for salvation. Prior to that, to weaken the power of the United States, world disasters occur, and war. Non-polar world under the control of a world government, consisting of direct representatives of the global oligarchy,  is expected by many religious circles as the coming “of the kingdom of the Antichrist.”

As for the “shortcomings” of such a model, I believe that it is just  “a great parody of” the sacred world empire, which  Rene Guenon warned of in his work The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times. This will be a global simulacrum.  To recognize these “deficiencies” will  not be so easy, otherwise opposition “to the antichrist” would be too simple a matter, and the depth of his temptation would be insignificant.

The true alternative is a multi-polar world, everything else – evil in the truest sense of the word.

- The “counter-hegemony” by Robert Cox, who you mention in your book aims to expose the existing order in international relations and raise the rebellion against it. To do this, Cox called for the creation of counter-hegemonic bloc, which will include political actors who reject the existing hegemony. Have you developed the Fourth Political Theory as a kind of counter-hegemonic doctrine that could unite the rebels against the hegemony of the West?

- I am convinced that the Fourth Political Theory fits into the logic of building counter-hegemony, which Cox spoke of. By the way, also inthe proximity of critical theory in the MO theory, and multi-polar world is a wonderful text by Alexandra Bovdunova ,voiced at the Conference on the Theory of a multipolar world in Moscow, Moscow State University on 25-26 April 2012 .

4PT is not a complete doctrine, this is still the first steps toward the exit from the conceptual impasse in which we find ourselves in the face of liberalism, today rejected by more and more people around the world, in the collapse of the old anti-liberal political theories – Communism and Fascism. In a sense, the need for 4PT – is a sign of the times, and really can not be disputed by anyone. Another matter, what will be 4PT in its final form. The temptation appears to build it as a syncretic combination of elements of previous anti-liberal doctrines and ideologies …

I am convinced that we should go another way. It is necessary to understand the root of the current hegemony. This coincides with the root of modernity as such, and it grows from the roots of modernity in all three pillars of political theories – liberalism, communism and fascism. To manipulate them to find an alternative to modernity and liberalism, respectively, and of the liberal hegemony of the West, is in my view, pointless. We must move beyond modernity in general, beyond the range of its political actors – individual, class, nation, state, etc.

Therefore 4PT as the basis of a counter-hegemonic planetary front should be constructed quite differently. Like the theory of a multipolar world 4PT operates with a new concept – “civilization”, but 4PT puts special emphasis on the existential aspect of it. Hence the most important, the central thesis of 4PT that its subject is the actor -  Dasein. Every civilization, its Dasein, which means that it describes a specific set of existentials. On their basis, should be raised a new political theory  generalized at the following level into a “multipolar federation Of Dasein” as the concrete structure of counter – hegemony. In other words, the very counter-hegemony must be conceived existentially, as a field of war between the inauthentic globalization (global alienation) and the horizon of authentic  peoples and societies in a multipolar world (the possibility of overcoming the alienation  of civilizations).

- When we talk about cognitive uprising, however first of all, our actions should be aimed at the overthrow of the dictatorship of the West?

- The most important step is the beginning of the systematic preparation of a global revolutionary elite-oriented to multi-polarity 4PT. This elite must perform a critical function – to be a link between the local and global. At the local level we are talking about the masses and the clearest exponents of their local culture (religious leaders, philosophers, etc.). Often, these communities do not have a planetary perspective and simply defend their conservative identity before the onset of toxic globalization and Western imperialism.

Raising the masses and the traditionalist-conservatives  to a realized uprising in the context of a complex union of a counter-hegemonistic block is  extremely difficult. Simple conservatives and their supportive mass, for example, of the Islamic or Orthodox persuasion are unlikely to realize the necessity of  alliances with the Hindus or the Chinese. This will be the play  (and they are already actively playing it) of the globalists and their principle of “divide and conquer!” But the revolutionary elite, which is the elite, even within a particular traditionalist elite of society, should take the , heartfelt deep and deliberate feelings of local identity and correlate it within a total horizon of multi-polarity, and  4PT.

Without the formation of such a elite the revolt against the  post-modern world and the overthrow of the dictatorship of the West will not take place. Every time and everywhere   the West has a problem, he will come to the aid of anti-Western forces, which, however, will be motivated by narrow bills to specific civilizational neighbors – most often, just as anti-Western as they are. So it will be and already is the instrumentalization of globalists of various conservative fundamentalist and nationalist movements. Islamic fundamentalists to help the West is one. European nationalists – is another. So a “unipolar moment” extends not only to exist in itself, but also playing the antagonistic forces against him. The overthrow of the dictatorship of the West will become possible only if this strategy  will be sufficient enough to create or make appear a new counter-hegemonic elite. A initiative like Global Revolutionary Alliance – the unique example of really revolutionary and effective opposition to hegemony.

- You have repeatedly said that Eurasianism is a strategic, philosophical, cultural and civilizational choice. Can we hope that the political course chosen by Vladimir Putin (establishment of a Eurasian Union ) Is the first step towards a multipolar model?

- This is a difficult question. By himself, Putin and, especially, his environment, they act  more out of inertia, without calling into question the legitimacy of the existing planetary status quo. Their goal – to win his and Russia’s  rather appropriate place within the existing world order. But that is the problem: a truly acceptable place for Russia is not and can not exist, because the “uni-polar moment”, as well as the globalists stand for the desovereignization of Russia, eliminating it as an independent civilization, and strategic pole.

This self-destruction seems to suit, Dmitry Medvedev and his entourage (INSOR) for he was ready to reboot and go for almost all of it. Putin clearly understands the situation somewhat differently, and his criteria of “acceptability” is also different. He would most of all psychologically  arrange  a priority partnership with the West while maintaining the sovereignty of Russia. But this is  something  unacceptable under any circumstances to the unipolar globalists -  practically or theoretically.

So Putin is torn between multipolarity, where he leads the orientation of  sovereignty and Atlanticism, where he leads the inertia and the tireless work of a huge network of influence that permeates all of the structure of Russian society. Here’s the dilemma. Putin makes moves in both directions – he proclaims multi-polarity, the Eurasian Union, to protect the sovereignty of Russia, even spoke of the peculiarities of Russian civilization, strengthening vertical power, shows respect (if not more) to Orthodoxy, but on the other hand, surrounds himself with pro-American experts (eg, “Valdai Club”), rebuilds, education and culture under the globalistic Western models, has a liberal economic policy and suffers comprador oligarchs, etc.

The field for maneuver Putin is constantly shrinking. The logic of the circumstances pushes him to a more unambiguous choice. Inside the country this uncertainty of course causes growing hostility, and his legitimacy falls.

Outside the country  the West only increases the pressure on Putin to persuade him towards globalism and the recognition of “unilateralism”, specifically – to cede his post to the Westerner Medvedev. So Putin, while continuing to fluctuate between multipolarity and Westernism, loses ground and support here and there.

The new period of his presidency will be very difficult. We will do everything we can to move it to a multipolar world, the Eurasian Union and 4PT. But we are not alone in Russian politics – against us for influence in Putin’s circles we have an army of liberals, agents of Western influence and the staff of the global oligarchy. For us, though, we have the People and the Truth. But behind them – a global oligarchy, money, lies, and, apparently, the father of lies. Nevertheless, vincit omnia veritas. That I have no doubt.