Affaire Fillon: A qui profite le crime ? (French presidential election: Hope and change now so things can stay as they are tomorrow)

9 février, 2017

francois fillon penelope juges medias
Sondage : Macron le plus capable pour l\'Elysée, Hamon le plus honnête
https://www.thesun.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/nintchdbpict000300125351.jpg?strip=all&w=960

‘All further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped’

Il faut que tout change pour que rien ne change. Le Guépard
Is France on the brink of a political revolution? Already, four established candidates for the presidency — two former presidents and two former prime ministers — have backed out or been rejected by the voters, and another, François Fillon, is on the ropes. The campaign is being taken over by outsiders, principally the Front National’s Marine Le Pen and a youthful former banker, Emmanuel Macron, while the Socialists have chosen an eccentric radical, Benoît Hamon. Should we welcome a shake-up in the cradle of European revolutions? What kind of shake-up might it be — socialist (the least likely), liberal with Macron or nationalist with Le Pen? Or can the outsiders still be beaten by an electoral system designed to keep them out of power? France in its modern history has worn out five monarchies, five republics and 16 constitutions — and two of this year’s presidential hopefuls are demanding a 17th. Its people are still more ready than most to go into the streets. It was, and is, a country in which rhetoric and visions play a prominent part in politics. (…) This is because France fluctuates between short spasms of change and longer periods of immobility. It has developed institutional barriers and tacit compromises to hold things steady. Its current Fifth Republic is a ‘republican monarchy’, with parliament downgraded and a powerful president supposed to unite the nation — a task sadly beyond most politicians. Another, less noticed, institution goes back even further than Enjolras’s fictional death on the barricades: the two-round ballot, designed in the 1820s to prevent hotheads like him from winning elections. It gives voters and politicians a second chance, not so much to reconsider their own choices as to react against the choices of others. In the first round you vote for the person you want; in the second you vote against the person you fear. (…) Consider the long-term consequences of the two-round voting system. Many British commentators — and indeed some in France — call periodically for a ‘French Thatcher’ to sweep away institutional barriers to economic dynamism. Nicolas Sarkozy was one who briefly claimed this mantle. The latest is Emmanuel Macron, a former economics minister of Blairite tinge in François Hollande’s socialist government. But Margaret Thatcher could never have been elected in a French-style second round. The British system not only can but regularly does give power to a united minority over a divided majority. Mrs Thatcher could carry out a peaceful revolution without ever having the clear support of a majority of voters. In a French-style system, she and her parliamentary supporters would inevitably have been defeated in second-round ballots by a combination of Labour and the Liberals: Jim Callaghan would have been triumphantly re-elected. In short, precisely because of its turbulent political history, France has developed a series of barriers against radical change. A leading sociologist, Michel Crozier, described it in 1970 as a ‘société bloquée’ — a ‘stalemate society’. Of course, much in France does change: but the price of political stability is that certain fundamental rights and privileges remain untouched. Advantageous retirement rights and pensions. Certain influential professions. Farmers, sheltered by the Common Agricultural Policy. People in permanent employment, protected by laws penalising redundancy and limiting hours of work. The public sector — in French le service public, significantly in the singular — is the core of this system: schools, public hospitals, railways, universities, local government, the post office. All are arms of the state. Think of le service public as the NHS multiplied by five. The politics of its workforce, combining a real sense of public service with a jealous defence of rights and privileges, explains why France is the most anti-capitalist country in Europe. There are benefits. Many British people have happy memories of French hospitals, schools or trains. But one does not need very right-wing views to see the accumulating disadvantages. The highest taxes in the developed world, especially on businesses. Chronic unemployment, worst among the young and ethnic minorities. Slow growth, including among small companies afraid of the burden of regulation incurred by getting too big. Crumbling infrastructure. Anyone who arrives at the Gare du Nord must see that something is amiss. People in France do too, and have done for years. Even in the 1980s President Mitterrand lamented national ‘moroseness’. Bookshops have long been piled high with works by economists, politicians and academics warning that France was in accelerating decline. Young people emigrate, over 200,000 to London alone. On top of this chronic malaise has come the tension between republican secularism and Islam, sparked off three decades ago by a row about girls wearing headscarves in a provincial secondary school. It is a fraught mixture of cultural difference, social deprivation and historic mistrust, but none can doubt its brooding presence, hugely inflamed by a series of terrorist attacks. (…) None of these observations is unique to France. Characteristic of France, however, is the seeming inability of the political system to do much about them, even over many years. Here we come back to the ‘stalemate society’ problem. Even limited reforms — by British standards minor tinkering — with the education system or the labour market have caused huge and prolonged student demonstrations and sit-ins, and damaging strikes by public-sector unions. They often produce complicated half-measures that create a destabilising sense of unresolved problems and leave continuing tensions. A ‘French Thatcher’ — assuming that there is one, however diluted — faces not only the electoral barrier but a wider ideological polarisation than that of Britain in the 1980s. Then a large minority, even at times a majority, felt that something radical had to be done, and accepted that this included weakening the trade unions and increasing the freedom of the market. There is little sign that any such consensus exists in France, where both left and right are deeply suspicious of economic liberalism. Marine Le Pen thunders against free trade and ‘unfair’ competition. The very word ‘liberal’ has long been a political kiss of death: we shall see whether Macron is immune. So there is widespread dissatisfaction, but no accepted solution. Robert Tombs
If Macron’s unique selling point is unclear, his unique talking point is that he married his former school teacher, a lady 24 years older than him. This startling fact, when first encountered, tends to bring political discussion to a halt, while all pause for a few moments of profound reflection. His latest fan is Ségolène Royal. Ségolène is the current minister of the environment, and, by chance, she too is 24 years older than the dynamic new arrival. She has repeatedly spoken of her affection and admiration for Macron. Ségolène was the defeated Socialist presidential candidate of 2007, but last week she urged the party’s voters to ignore their own candidate, Benoît Hamon — a hardline leftist sacked as education minister by Valls in 2014 — and back Macron instead. Macron has not just divided the Socialists, he has replaced them. So how has this apparently isolated and underfunded individual managed all this in such a short time? It is clear that Macron has powerful supporters behind the scenes, and a clue may lie in the little-discussed fact that some years ago he was identified as a member of ‘les Gracques’ — a discreet centre-left pressure group loosely staffed by influential chief executives and civil service mandarins. They are pro-market socialists who long ago gave up on the Socialist party. Many are fellow ‘énarques’ (graduates of ENA) and every step of Macron’s career could have been directed by them. Spotted as a brilliant and charming student, Macron could first have been launched into the prestigious state Finance Inspectorate, then switched into Rothschild to gain business experience (and wealthy support) and then placed like a time bomb in Hollande’s outer office, where he ticked away until he could be moved into the heart of the Valls government. Last August he finally exploded into action at the perfect moment to cause maximum damage to Hollande, Valls and the entire Socialist presidential election campaign. Macron’s rise bears all the hallmarks of a classic ENA undercover operation, a fundamental part of the énarques’ stock-in-trade and one in which the country’s leading bureaucrats are cynically trained. Now that the Socialists have lumbered themselves with a dinosaur — Hamon — as their candidate, Macron is in an even stronger position. He will be able to tune his campaign to attract moderate Socialist voters as well as the centrists and centre-rightists who flock to his meetings and are having second thoughts about François Fillon. Mr Fillon and his British wife Penelope are currently under investigation for misuse of public funds. The Spectator
No one in France disputes Fillon’s right to have paid his wife as an “assistant” over the course of eight years. While nepotism laws in America prohibit such practices — unless you are president — not so in France. More than one-fifth of French parliamentary representatives — 115 of 577 — employ one or more family members as “assistants.” Yet, while it is not illegal for political officeholders in France to hire family members, it is illegal to create so-called emplois fictifs, or make-believe jobs where you pay relatives for work they have not, are not, and never intend to do. Herein lies the rub with the Fillons. Until the Canard’s scoop, there was no reason to believe that the Welsh-born Penelope Fillon devoted her life to anything other than her family of five (unless you count the five horses stabled near the family’s 12th-century chateau). Mme Fillon has previously conceded that she had extra time on her hands. (…) Fillon did not help his cause by revealing in the same interview that, while a senator, he had also paid two of his children to handle specific cases for him because of “their particular competence as lawyers.” (The problem, as several newspapers quickly pointed out, is that neither child was a lawyer yet; the latest Canard story reports that they were paid approximately $90,000 for their work.) Over the weekend, fresh news broke out that between 2005 and 2007, Fillon had written himself seven checks totaling about $28,000 from an account earmarked for paying assistants; then came the new revelations that his wife’s pay had been even more than first thought. The two pillars of Fillon’s candidacy have been the economic imperative of scaling back the state’s social protections, and the political imperative of being untouched by scandal. The two are interconnected; the former relies on the latter. That Penelope Fillon drew an exorbitant salary for reading her husband’s speeches before saddling up for a morning canter will not go down well with an electorate being asked to make financial sacrifices. At the same time, Fillon has always emphasized that his hands, unlike those of his fellow Gaullist contenders, were clean. (…) France is not a particularly corrupt country, in global terms, but in the West it is something of an outlier. According to Transparency International’s 2016 “corruption perception” index, France ranked 23rd among 176 nations, just behind Estonia and just ahead of the Bahamas. It is not, of course, Somalia or Syria. But neither is it Denmark, New Zealand, Canada, or even the United States. In Western Europe, it outranks only Portugal, Italy, and Spain. What may make matters worse is that French corruption is particularly high-profile: It doesn’t come in the form of cops asking for petty bribes, or companies buying off bureaucrats. Rather, thanks to the peculiarly French principle of a republican monarchy, French corruption involves vast sums and takes place at the highest levels of government. Created by De Gaulle in 1958, the Fifth Republic hands vast power and prestige to the presidency. The president, in principle, is not answerable to Parliament; the president, in essence, reigns and his ministers merely rule. While De Gaulle also endowed the office with his personal imperiousness and incorruptibility, his descendants have held tight to the former while mostly trashing the latter. From the late 1970s, when Central African Republic Emperor Jean-Bedel Bokassa showered Valéry Giscard d’Estaing with diamonds, through the 1980s, when Chirac, while mayor of Paris, embezzled public funds for his presidential campaign, to Sarkozy and the kaleidoscope of court cases confronting him, ranging from influence peddling to accepting $54 million in campaign financing from former Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi, the French presidency has been consistently mired in scandals worthy of the Bourbons. (François Hollande, for all his fecklessness, has — to give credit where it’s due — kept his hands relatively clean during his time in office; his scandals have been of the personal sort.) This relentless drip of scandals both dampens public attitudes toward the mainstream parties — a Transparency International poll taken late last year revealed that three-quarters of the French believe that parliamentary deputies and government ministers are corrupt — and continues to raise the boat of the far-right National Front (FN). Marine Le Pen’s party has its own instances of financial misbehavior: The European Union had determined that the FN defrauded the European Parliament budget of more than $324,000, which it used to illicitly pay FN staffers. Perhaps because the victim was Brussels, however, and because Le Pen was not enriching herself personally, the scandal has had little traction in France; this week, while Fillon was busy battling for his political life, Le Pen was scoffing at the notion that she might return the funds. More to the point, it hasn’t stopped Le Pen from positioning herself as the only candidate able to drain the French swamp. Given the steady 25 to 26 percent support her party attracts in polls, a sizable group, it seems, believes her. The reluctance of French governments to address the problem of corruption is well known. In 2014, a European Union report rapped France’s knuckles for its faulty firewalls in campaign financing, its judiciary’s relative lack of independence, and the absence of political willpower to tackle a culture of corruption. Until recently, moreover, the foot-dragging of politicians over these issues has not unduly bothered French voters. As Jean-Christophe Picard of the watchdog group Anticor notes, through the 1980s and 1990s the public mostly tolerated such wheeling and dealing. “In France, there is the idea that defrauding and wasting public money is not too serious a problem as long as there are no direct victims,” he said in a recent interview with the weekly French magazine L’Obs. There have been some recent attempts to remedy the problem: Last year, the country enacted the Sapin II Law, which, for the first time, creates an anti-corruption agency, requires members of Parliament to render public the names of everyone listed on their official payrolls, and affords fuller legal protection to lanceurs d’alerte, the rather awkward French term for whistleblowers. The law has been hailed as an important step by transparency advocacy groups, but much of the law is aimed at targets lower down than the Élysée. It is still too early to tell if the recent revelations will bar Fillon from the presidency, but it is looking increasingly likely. He has already vowed that he will end his campaign if formal charges are brought against him; on Tuesday, police were spotted at his parliamentary office looking for evidence. Even if the courts do not act before this spring’s election, Fillon’s reputation has already taken a serious hit. In an Odoxa poll taken after the Canard’s scoop, 61 percent of respondents had a bad opinion of Fillon, while just 38 percent thought favorably of him — a 4 percent drop since Jan. 8. An even more recent poll, conducted by Elabe, shows that Fillon is now in danger of not even making it past the first round of France’s two-stage election process. One of the beneficiaries of his decline will be Le Pen, who even before Penelope-gate had overtaken Fillon in a Le Monde poll; another may be Emmanuel Macron, the center-left independent whose campaign continues to gain momentum. French politics is looking more unpredictable than ever, and much can still happen between now and the first round of the election, which is slated for late April. But one thing does seem clear: With Penelope-gate, a long French tradition looks set to continue. Foreign Policy
Trois pays qui ont profondément modernisé leur administration dans les vingt dernières années, le Canada, la Suède et la Nouvelle-Zélande (…) ont en commun d’avoir mis en œuvre cette réforme en réponse justement à des situations de crise économique profonde. (…) L’expérience de ces trois pays montre que plusieurs éléments doivent se conjuguer pour mener à bien ces transformations : tout d’abord la légitimité sortie des urnes pour une équipe qui place le redressement de l’économie et la défense d’un contrat social comme objectif prioritaire à atteindre, la réforme de l’État n’étant qu’un moyen d’y parvenir. Ensuite, la prise de conscience à travers une grave crise économique et budgétaire de la rareté de la ressource publique et de la nécessité d’en « avoir pour son argent ». Désormais, les exigences des citoyens sont renforcées, ce qui rend impossible le maintien de prélèvements obligatoires élevés et le blocage des réformes indispensables. Enfin, la réforme implique une attitude pragmatique des parties prenantes : c’est la recherche d’une plus grande efficacité du modèle social qui doit être mise en avant par les pouvoirs publics, plus qu’une simple logique comptable. Pour les syndicats, c’est un changement de stratégie qui passe par la négociation des réformes plutôt qu’une opposition systématique. C’est au prix de ces efforts que l’on pourra, en France, réussir la réforme de l’État et des politiques publiques. Sandrine Gorreri (2009)
Il n’y a pas une culture française, il y a une culture en France et elle est diverse. Emmanuel Macron
Que voulez-vous que j’en pense? Il est cynique. Un peu homme, un peu femme, c’est la mode du moment. Androgyne. Ce qui vous plait chez Macron, c’est que vous aimez toujours ceux qui ne vous obligent pas à choisir. Nicolas Sarkozy
Sur les « qualités nécessaires » pour être chef de l’Etat, le candidat de la droite est certes à la deuxième place. L’ancien Premier ministre de Nicolas Sarkozy est cité en premier ou deuxième par 36% des personnes interrogées. Seul Emmanuel Macron fait mieux, cité en premier ou deuxième par 46%. Benoît Hamon est cité par 34% des Français, devant Marine Le Pen (28%) et Jean-Luc Mélenchon (18%). François Fillon est même celui qui est le plus cité en premier, par 22% des personnes interrogées, contre 21% à l’ancien ministre de l’Economie de François Hollande. Sur la question de l’honnêteté, le palmarès est radicalement différent, même si Emmanuel Macron reste bien placé puisqu’il est sur la deuxième marche du podium, cité (en premier ou second) par 30% des Français. Cette-fois, c’est Benoît Hamon qui arrive en tête. Le candidat du PS est cité (toujours en premier ou deuxième) par 33% des personnes interrogées. Suivent Marine Le Pen (25%), Jean-Luc Mélenchon (23%) et François Bayrou (21%). Plombé par la polémique sur les emplois présumés fictifs de son épouse Penelope, François Fillon est à la peine : 17% seulement le citent en premier ou deuxième parmi les candidats « les plus honnêtes ». Il ne devance que les petits candidat (Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Philippe Poutou, Nathalie Artaud, Jannick Jadot), qui pâtissent, eux, de leur manque de notoriété dans l’opinion. Les Echos (01.02.2017)
Poland showed the strongest opposition to migrants arriving from Muslim countries, with 71 per cent supporting the ban. Opposition to further migration was also intense in Austria (65 per cent), Belgium (64 per cent), Hungary (64 perc cent) and France (61 per cent) and Greece (58 per cent). The idea of a Trump-style ban also received support in Germany, with 53 per cent calling for increased curbs and 51 per cent in Italy. But there was not majority support in Britain or Spain, which was most opposed to the idea of a ban with only 41 per cent voicing support. Overall, across all ten of the European countries an average of 55 per cent agreed that all further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped. The Sun
Selon une étude menée par l’institut de recherche britannique Chatham House, les Européens seraient majoritairement favorables à la fermeture de leurs frontières aux individus originaires de pays musulmans. 55% des personnes interrogées ont ainsi déclaré être d’accord avec cette affirmation : “Toute immigration supplémentaire venant de pays à majorité musulmane doit cesser”. Un chiffre impressionnant. Dans le commentaire de l’étude, l’institut livre ses conclusions : “Nos résultats sont frappants et donnent à réfléchir. Ils suggèrent que l’opposition à l’immigration venant de pays à majorité musulmane n’est pas confinée à l’électorat de Donald Trump aux Etats-Unis mais est largement répandue”. Largement, mais plus spécialement dans les pays qui “ont été au centre de la crise migratoire ou ont vécu des attaques terroristes ces dernières années”. La Pologne (71%), l’Autriche (65%), la Hongrie et la Belgique (64%), ainsi que la France (61%), sont ainsi parmi les plus favorables à l’assertion de départ. Valeurs actuelles
Jusqu’en 2012, les députés pouvaient conserver le reliquat du crédit collaborateurs qui leur était attribué. Vincent Goyet
Marine Le Pen bénéfice d’un électorat fidèle et déjà très mobilisé: 76% de ses anciens électeurs en 2012 se disent d’ores-et-déjà certains d’aller voter à la présidentielle, 90% de ses anciens électeurs en 2012 voteraient à nouveau pour elle en 2017 et parmi eux, près de huit sur dix se disent sûrs de leur choix. (…) Telle n’est pas la situation d’Emmanuel Macron, dont l’électorat potentiel apparaît sensiblement plus incertain, une personne sur deux exprimant une intention de vote en sa faveur nous disant qu’elle peut encore changer d’avis. Ceci s’explique par la nouveauté qu’incarne Emmanuel Macron et la structure politique de son électorat potentiel. Sa volonté de transcender les clivages politiques traditionnels séduit une partie des électeurs, et nos récents sondages attestent de sa capacité à attirer sur son nom d’anciens électeurs de François Hollande, de Nicolas Sarkozy et François Bayrou. Reste à savoir si cette alliance perdurera jusqu’au au premier tour de l’élection présidentielle, ce qui n’est pas acquis. Un moment de vérité sera certainement le jour où il dévoilera officiellement son programme, ce qui est annoncé pour fin février ou début mars. C’est à ce moment-là que l’on pourra juger avec davantage de certitude de sa capacité à fédérer sur son nom des électeurs venus de divers horizons politiques, et donc de la solidité de son électorat potentiel. (…) Dans notre enquête, ce sont 72% à 75% des électeurs potentiels de François Fillon qui se déclarent d’ores-et-déjà sûrs de leur choix. C’est un peu moins que Marine Le Pen, et nettement plus que pour Emmanuel Macron, Benoît Hamon et Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Ce résultat doit toutefois être mis en perspective avec l’érosion qu’a connue le socle électoral de François Fillon ces dernières semaines, nous rapprochant d’un noyau dur d’électeurs qui lui sont acquis quoiqu’il arrive. Ceci contribue à augmenter mécaniquement la proportion d’électeurs se disant certains de leur choix. Notons d’ailleurs que ceci tendrait à valider l’hypothèse selon laquelle le potentiel à la baisse pour François Fillon est désormais limité. Reste à savoir dans quelle mesure il lui sera possible, d’ici au premier tour, d’inverser la tendance et de regagner les parts de voix qu’il a subitement perdues. Alexis Feertchak
François Fillon (…) a vigoureusement posé les termes du débat et de l’affrontement. D’un côté le tribunal médiatique – il a affirmé sa confiance pour l’issue judiciaire -, de l’autre le peuple français. François Fillon de retour n’a été animé par rien d’autre que le souci de rendre à une part importante de celui-ci une victoire qu’on croyait déjà lui avoir volée. Philippe Bilger
Le lynchage médiatique de François Fillon et l’écho qu’il semble rencontrer dans l’opinion montrent à quel point le système politico-médiatico-judiciaire tombe en déliquescence. Mise à mal par le gouvernement des juges et des médias la démocratie représentative est en danger. (…) Il est stupéfiant de constater la façon dont certaines des allégations sorties par Le Canard enchaîné et Médiapart sont reprises en boucle par presque tous les médias. Ces affirmations sont totalement à charge et peu de rédactions osent donner des arguments à décharge, alors que ceux-ci existent et sont d’importance. Il est encore plus stupéfiant de constater que la justice s’est emparée de cette affaire alors que rien ne justifie qu’elle le fasse. (…) A tel point que même les plus ardents supporters de François Fillon se sont mis à douter de son honnêteté. Et l’information est devenue un feuilleton quotidien. (…) Pourquoi cette affaire sort-elle précisément en janvier 2017 alors que les faits reprochés remontent à plusieurs années ? Pourquoi la justice s’en empare-t-elle avec une telle diligence ? Quel objectif cherchent à atteindre ceux qui ont manipulé et fabriqué l’opinion, ceux qui l’ont mise sous tutelle ? La réponse est évidente. Dans un premier temps, il s’agit de faire baisser François Fillon dans les sondages et dans les intentions de vote pour arriver au constat que le candidat de la droite et du centre ne sera pas qualifié pour le second tour de l’élection présidentielle. L’objectif suivant étant de l’obliger, sous la pression des mauvais sondages, à renoncer à se présenter à l’élection pour laisser le champ libre au duel rêvé par les médias – entre Marine Le Pen et Emmanuel Macron (ce dernier est d’ailleurs une pure fabrication du système médiatique). Dès que l’objectif sera atteint, la presse cessera de s’intéresser au cas de François Fillon. Le « PénélopeGate » disparaîtra immédiatement des radars médiatiques. Concernant la justice, notons que c’est le parquet national financier (PNF) qui s’est autosaisi de l’affaire, 24 heures seulement après les révélations du Canard enchaîné. Le PNF, présenté comme « autonome », a été installé par le gouvernement socialiste le 6 décembre 2013, et son procureur, la magistrate Éliane Houlette – une proche de Ségolène Royal – a été choisie et nommée à la discrétion de François Hollande. Marc Joncour
François Fillon fait l’objet d’un lynchage en règle depuis plusieurs semaines. Chaque nouvelle information sur lui, même la plus anodine, est présentée comme un délit potentiel. Quoi qu’il dise, on considère qu’il aggrave son cas. Les circonstances commanderaient pourtant que l’on fasse le tri entre ce qui doit lui être reproché et ce qui est sans conséquence, et que l’on aille jusqu’à faire l’effort de ne pas publier dans la presse les faits et gestes relevant de la seconde catégorie. Comment peut-on accepter que cet homme et sa famille soient scannés avec une telle obsession, un tel niveau de détails, une telle suspicion ? Ce délire donne la nausée. Si François Fillon a octroyé un emploi fictif à sa femme et/ou à ses enfants, il est normal qu’il soit sanctionné. La décision relèvera d’un tribunal et sera prise à la lumière du contexte dans lequel ces contrats ont été conclus, des éléments fournis par les personnes mises en cause et des éclairages apportés par les enquêteurs. Ce n’est pas aux journaux, même les plus prestigieux, d’en décider. En attendant, il conviendrait de ne pas faire preuve d’une mauvaise foi telle qu’elle ne pourrait que révéler une forme d’animosité. Certains ont écrit que la fille de M. Fillon, lorsqu’elle travaillait à ses côtés au Sénat, était sortie de ses fonctions en participant à l’écriture d’un ouvrage publié par son père, comme si François Fillon était le seul responsable politique à se faire aider pour écrire ses livres ! On a pareillement reproché au fils de M. Fillon d’avoir planché sur le programme … Charles Consigny
Les réseaux sociaux s’en donnent à cœur joie, ces temps-ci. Les twittos lynchent comme ils respirent. Bienvenue dans le monde de Dark Vador, chez les aigris, les haineux en furie. Dommage qu’on ne puisse pas marcher dessus, ça porterait bonheur. Il paraît que cette meute électronique incarne la modernité. Mille excuses, mais elle n’a pas le pouvoir qu’elle croit. Sous l’Occupation, ses ancêtres parvenaient à leurs fins quand ils envoyaient leurs lettres de dénonciation à la Kommandantur. Aujourd’hui, son hystérie a tendance à se retourner contre elle : l’élection de sa bête noire, Donald Trump l’a hélas confirmé. Nous voilà sommés de condamner sans autre forme de procès François Fillon, qui, de tout évidence,a fauté, comme nous l’avons écrit la semaine dernière.  Les bois de justice sont déjà dressés, il est urgent de raccourcir le prévenu. Depuis peu, il règne sur la France un climat qui rappelle, à certains égards, celui de la terreur de 1793. Sauf que la guillotine est devenue métaphorique. Les médias, ces nouveaux dieux ont soif. Franz-Olivier Giesbert
Macron, c’est tout ce que les Français sensibles à la fragilité du pays rejettent. Annoncer vouloir voter pour lui, même en dernier recours, est incompatible avec la défense d’une nation unifiée et assimilatrice. Son usage du mot « hexagone », vocabulaire désincarné qu’il partage avec Hamon, fait comprendre la froide distance qui sépare Macron de l’âme française. Samedi, à Lyon, le faux rebelle d’un Système qui le soutient a défendu le modèle multiculturel, qui est au cœur de la crise identitaire abordée par Fillon, mais aussi Marine Le Pen et Nicolas Dupont-Aignan. Il a déclaré : « Il n’y a pas une culture française ; il y a une culture en France : elle est diverse, elle est multiple ». Il a aussi dénoncé l’ »obscurantisme », mais il le voit chez Donald Trump, et non dans l’idéologie islamiste qui nargue la République et a pris le monde occidental pour cible. Macron dit refuser les murs, les quotas, les frontières, les conflits. Un tel homme à l’Elysée signifierait l’abandon de la société d’intégration au profit d’une « inclusion » dans un espace ouvert et bienveillant. Pour le leader d’En Marche!, le FN représente « une France qui n’a jamais existé ». Mais le communautariste qu’il avalise, et qui se consolide dans les cités, est celui qui produit les tensions et annonce les guerres civiles. Lundi soir, à Aulnay-sous-Bois (Seine-Saint-Denis) des policiers encerclés ont dû tirer en l’air à balles réelles. Si la droite ne s’affirme pas, elle poussera nombre d’électeurs dans les bras de Marine. Ivan Rioufol
Dans l’affaire Fillon, le « plan B » s’appelle Marine Le Pen : voilà à quoi ont conduit les justiciers qui, depuis deux semaines, chargent le dossier contre le candidat de la droite, plébiscité par la primaire. S’il y a un scandale à ce stade c’est celui qui consiste à faire taire, à moins de trois mois de la présidentielle, un homme qui a su désigner le libéralisme comme allié et le totalitarisme islamique comme ennemi. La tentative de kidnapping du favori pour l’Elysée, devenu le symbole d’une classe politique déconnectée de la vie des gens, n’est pas plus respectable que les pratiques dénoncées, sans preuve pour l’instant, par les donneurs de leçons. Le spectacle donné par ceux qui, chez Les Républicains paniqués, pressent Fillon de céder la place, illustrent la pusillanimité qui habite les opportunistes et les carriéristes. Alain Juppé est resté, ce lundi, à la bonne hauteur quand il a une nouvelle fois rejeté les appels du pied pour remplacer Fillon : « Clairement et définitivement, c’est non ! ». Ni lui, ni Nicolas Sarkozy, ne seraient acceptés d’un électorat qui les a clairement éliminés, dans un jeu de massacre qui n’est pas terminé. Pour ces raisons, Fillon a raison de tenir bon. Lui qui refusait le « tribunal médiatique » donnera, ce lundi à 16 heures, une conférence de presse. Il est attendu de lui qu’il dise tout, de ses erreurs de jugement comme de ceux qui veulent l’abattre. Le hold-up électoral peut encore être déjoué, tant les méthodes de chasse à l’homme sont odieuses. Ivan Rioufol
Une constatation se dégage du « Pénélopegate » : le troublant amateurisme de François Fillon. Cette impréparation apparaît d’autant plus que, comme il l’a souligné mardi, il doit faire front à « une opération de calomnies très professionnelles, d’une extrême ampleur, sans précédent sous la Ve République ». Ses fautes de communication et ses imprécisions dans des faits qu’il a tardé à reconnaître s’ajoutent aux maladresses de ses porte-paroles qui, avant même cette affaire, avaient déjà laissé voir un manque de coordination et une impréparation au sommet. Face aux révélations du Canard Enchaîné, qui en remet une louche ce mercredi sur les sommes perçues par l’épouse du candidat Les Républicains (près d’un million d’euros au final) et deux de leurs enfants (84.000 euros), Fillon a fait le choix, erroné selon moi, de se draper dans sa dignité bafouée et sa présomption d’innocence. Or le tribunal médiatique, cette régression démocratique, est pareil aux anciens Comités de salut public : il juge et condamne sur le champ celui qui ne sait se défendre dans l’urgence. Ce qui est en cause ici dépasse le népotisme de Fillon, qui est commun à d’autres hommes politiques, de droite ou de gauche. François Mitterrand faisait travailler ses fils à l’Elysée, et Jacques Chirac sa fille. Le problème se situe dans les largesses annexes que se sont accordés les parlementaires, ces nouveaux fermiers généraux. Rien ne semblait interdire à Fillon de puiser dans les fonds mis à sa disposition pour rémunérer des assistants. Mais cette pratique doit être réformée. Sa position de nouveau « paria de la République », que dénonce Maxime Tandonnet, en fait le bouc-émissaire d’un système politique qui a trop longtemps vécu dans l’entre-soi des carriéristes. Cette relative injustice s’ajoute à l’acharnement visant à faire taire un homme ayant choisi de répondre à la crise identitaire qui taraude la société. Ceux qui, derrière Le Canard, veulent méthodiquement abattre Fillon, qui se défend mal pour l’instant, sont à deux doigts de réussir leur dessein. Les dégâts sont déjà considérables dans l’opinion. Cependant, la gauche à la manœuvre suit là une stratégie agressive à courte vue. Rien ne dit qu’elle sera profitable à Macron, cet avatar d’un hollandisme rhabillé de neuf. Seule Marine Le Pen partage avec Fillon, au-delà des divergences économiques, la même inquiétude sur la crise de civilisation et les moyens d’y répondre. Forcer Fillon à renoncer à représenter le courant conservateur, très majoritairement choisi par les électeurs de la primaire, donnerait au FN l’opportunité de se placer en recours pour la droite orpheline. La chasse à l’homme lancée par les Fouquier-Tinville peut amener Le Pen à l’Elysée. Ivan Rioufol
L’éviction de Valls laisse un boulevard aux défenseurs du multiculturalisme, cheval de Troie de la charia. Emmanuel Macron partage avec Hamon la vision irénique d’un « Hexagone » ouvert à tous. À droite, Alain Juppé défendait cette posture, qui récuse l’exigence d’assimilation. La large victoire de François Fillon à la primaire était venue porter un coup d’arrêt à cette défrancisation voulue par les « modernistes ». Mais, depuis, les accusations qu’il subit l’affaiblissent dangereusement. Oui, la droite, majoritaire dans le pays, peut perdre. Il suffit de lire les satisfactions de la twittosphère islamiste après l’élection de Hamon pour constater la proximité entre le candidat du PS et la partie militante de l’électorat musulman. La mouvance fondamentaliste peut se frotter les mains : l’élimination de Valls, coupable d’avoir nommé le djihadisme comme fauteur de guerre, est une aubaine qui s’ajoute à l’avenir incertain de Fillon, pourfendeur du nouveau totalitarisme coranique. L’autre jour, à Paris, l’historien de la Shoah, Georges Bensoussan, a comparu en correctionnelle pour avoir décrit l’antisémitisme culturel qui s’exprime dans des banlieues : à côté du Collectif contre l’islamophobie en France (CCIF), qui milite pour rendre l’islam intouchable, s’étaient joints, comme accusateurs, la Licra, SOS-Racisme, le Mrap, la Ligue des droits de l’homme. Et c’est Bensoussan que la jeune procureur a éreinté. La trahison des mouvements antiracistes, qui trouvent chez des magistrats l’appui pour poursuivre ceux qui dénoncent la nouvelle judéophobie, fait mesurer l’emprise de l’idéologie conquérante sur les esprits… Ivan Rioufol
Une victoire de Macron en mai viendrait concrétiser la stratégie du trou de souris, cette opportunité que François Hollande se réservait pour lui-même. Macron serait surtout la victoire des minorités militantes qui voient dans la consolidation d’une France multiculturelle l’opportunité d’affirmer encore davantage leur visibilité. Ceux qui, de ce point de vue, soutiennent Hamon sont les mêmes qui espèrent en une victoire de Macron. C’est donc bien un choix de société, capital, qui est en jeu dans la présidentielle. Mais alors que la société civile fait savoir, majoritairement, son attachement à la nation unitaire et assimilatrice, l’option communautariste peut espérer l’emporter en jouant sur les droites divisées. Ivan Rioufol
Macron incarnerait la gauche moderne, européenne, mondialisée, affranchie des traditions politiques françaises : ceux qui rêvent du postnational l’adulent. D’un coup, n’importe quelle occasion semble bonne pour lui tresser des lauriers. La dernière en date, c’est ce discours en anglais, prononcé en Allemagne, qui selon l’expression employée par certains journalistes, aurait « ringardisé » la majorité de la classe politique … il y a dans les élites françaises une agaçante fascination pour l’anglais, et même une délirante anglomanie. À la télévision comme au quotidien, on parlera des « news », de son « smartphone », de la « battle de France », de la « society », du « Coca light », des « mails », des « guests », comme si ces termes ne trouvaient aucune correspondance en français. Qu’on me pardonne cette référence personnelle : on peut comprendre les Québécois d’intégrer plus de mots anglais qu’ils ne le devraient dans leur vocabulaire courant : ils vivent aux marches de l’empire américain, et, dans la mesure du possible, ils y résistent, même si la tentation est forte de s’y laisser dissoudre. Mais la France est moins soumise à l’impérialisme américain qu’elle ne semble hypnotisée par lui. Comment ne pas voir dans l’anglomanie des élites françaises une forme de dévalorisation de soi, comme si le français était la langue d’un monde déclassé ? Mathieu Bock-Côté
La droite française, déstabilisée à la première bourrasque alors qu’elle se veut, à juste titre, majoritaire dans le pays, devrait réfléchir à sa fragilité. Elle semble ne pas comprendre le moment historique, ni même savoir ce qu’elle est dans ce moment, au point que, incapable de faire bloc, elle se laisse manœuvrer par toutes les opérations de l’adversaire. Pourtant, la théorie gramscienne du «bloc historique», qu’on cite sans cesse mais en ne l’effleurant que du bout de l’aile, et sous son acception la plus lapidaire (l’idée que la pensée précède le combat politique – «Au fond des victoires d’Alexandre, on trouve toujours Aristote» comme disait de Gaulle) donnerait de fameuses clefs, si du moins on se donnait la peine de l’étudier de plus près. Le théoricien italien observait que les générations constituaient à tour de rôle des «blocs historiques» soudant l’ensemble d’une société autour de paradigmes communs – subversifs d’abord, puis peu à peu dominants, avant de se faner et décliner. Ces ensembles idéologiques sont d’abord élaborés par les «intellectuels centraux» (écrivains, universitaires, autorités morales qui, par des livres ou des revues, «donnent les mots») avant de faire peu à peu système et «d’infuser» par degrés l’ensemble de la population: les intellectuels de seconde ligne (professeurs, instituteurs, journalistes…), puis les dirigeants politiques, les hauts-fonctionnaires et les magistrats, les chefs d’entreprise, les professions libérales, et, par degrés, l’ensemble d’un peuple ainsi soudé autour de «points de communion». S’est de la sorte constitué, dans les années 70 (en France, les dates majeures sont 1968, 1974 et 1981), un bloc historique progressiste, fait de cette gauche particulière que Chevènement nomma «gauche américaine», celle qui tient que la «modernité» a toujours raison et le passé toujours tort, et qui croit même que l’on peut tout changer, peuples, hommes, femmes, institutions etc. -voir son slogan de 1974, «Tout est possible». En quelques années, une jeune escouade de «déconstructeurs» (de la langue, des codes et, surtout, du socle politique classique – Etat, nation, civilisation), donna mots et paradigmes à la vaste ruche des professions intellectuelles ; ils finirent par devenir omniprésents à l’université, dans l’édition, puis dans les médias, parmi les cléricatures et les magistratures, et même chez les grands patrons, lesquels trouvèrent grand intérêt au fameux «jouir sans entrave» qui fut le passeport du consumérisme à outrance, comme le «sans frontiérisme» festif fut celui du libre-échange généralisé. La doxa moderniste conquit finalement l’immense majorité des politiques, y compris de la dite «droite» – celle-ci finit même par accepter de se lire dans une typologie extérieure, et très contestable, celle de René Rémond dont deux des trois branches l’orléanisme et le bonapartisme sont en fait des centrismes… La droite perdit ainsi jusqu’à son nom, ce légitimisme ou, pour mieux dire, ce classicisme politique qui ne sut jamais actualiser ses paradigmes et mots de passe, ni conséquemment se rassembler, et qui, divisée, se laissa exclure du débat public. Une génération intellectuelle domine en général une trentaine d’années -telle la génération précédente, que l’on peut dire «de la reconstruction», qui fut dominante entre 1944 et 1970, déclinante ensuite. Celle qui prit tous les pouvoirs dans les années 70 et 80 devrait donc disparaître depuis quelques années. Certes, elle s’épuise: le Non de 2005 prit à angle droit la pensée unique – les oligarques se revanchant vite à Lisbonne. Plusieurs de ses bastions se lézardent: il n’est un secret pour personne que la presse de gauche vit sous perfusion d’argent public, tandis que celle de droite progresse. L’éclatante réussite de la Manif Pour Tous, celle du Puy du Fou exhumant l’archaïque national (est archaïque non ce qui est vieux et passé, mais au contraire ce qui fonde et ne passe pas), les succès de librairie de Patrick Buisson, Philippe de Villiers ou Eric Zemmour sont autant de signes ; par dessus tout, on voit peu à peu ressurgir une droite classique (Patrick Buisson parla de «révolution conservatrice») dont la manifestation fut la victoire aux «primaires» de François Fillon, le catholique qui refuse Babel, ne croit pas que les arbres montent au ciel ni que l’on puisse dépenser sans limite, qui entend restaurer les frontières, l’Europe des nations, les enseignements classiques -on pourrait dire un «identitaire», comme le fut de Gaulle. Hélas, si le grand reversement idéologique est différé, et si la victoire politique est conséquemment si difficile, c’est que la droite française, qui n’a soutenu nul écrivain, nulle revue, nul grand média capable de jouer le rôle décisif que joua par exemple, dans la génération précédente le Nouvel Observateur, a négligé un travail intellectuel qu’elle ne regarde encore qu’avec un profond mépris -ou non moins profonde paresse. (…)  On comprend la violence des jours que nous vivons, qui sont peut-être ceux de la crise maximale: le bloc UMPS disparaît (qui peut encore assimiler Hamon et Fillon?), la droite, en son cœur légitimiste, menace directement, et au moment crucial des présidentielles, un bloc soixante-huitard attardé qui jette ses dernières forces de ses derniers bastions et cela sans préparation idéologique sérieuse, de sorte que, comme on voit hélas, elle se débande assez vite – à commencer par les parlementaires «républicains» qui révèlent à cette occasion combien la presse de gauche a prise sur eux, et si profondément qu’ils utilisent le vocabulaire même de leur adversaire. Pendant ce temps, la complicité entre puissances d’argent, médias et magistrature joue encore à fond: un article le mercredi, une audition le vendredi, un mauvais sondage le dimanche, une perquisition le lundi puis vient le pilonnage médiatique, certes disproportionné (les problèmes qui font sous nos yeux disparaître la France comme nation, comme Etat et comme civilisation sont sans rapport de gravité avec la façon dont le candidat a utilisé son enveloppe parlementaire) mais capable de faire vaciller le favori, issu pour la première fois depuis longtemps d’une droite assumée – mais si mal préparée au combat idéologico-judiciaro-médiatique qu’elle n’a pour arme qu’internet, ou des manifestations de rue. Bref: les mains nues. C’est pour cela que M. Fillon doit tenir coûte que coûte ; et qu’il faut toutes affaires cessantes reconstruire une droite idéologique, à commencer par ses paradigmes, qui réunira ses composantes et permettra de conquérir les places décisives, à l’université, dans l’édition, dans les médias et la haute fonction publique sans lesquelles il n’est pas de légitimité forte, donc par de puissance de gouvernement. (Au passage, souhaitons que la droite étourdie, du coup la plus bête du monde, sache enfin sortir du piège de Mitterrand qui la coupant depuis trente ans en deux camps, en commençant par jouer des porosités avec le FN. Si, alors que la relève est pourtant là, et que les jeunes plumes ne manquent pas, nous échouons à opérer ce grand renversement qui est dans els rythmes mêmes de l’Histoire, il est possible qu’une nouvelle relève, un modernisme plus violent encore (tel le trans-humanisme) prenne sa place, et nous partons alors vers une «civilisation» qui n’aura plus rien à voir avec ce que nous appelons encore la France. Pendant ce temps la gauche perdure alors que toute sa matrice est disqualifiée, tirant encore de fameuses salves sur une droite sans leviers ni relais et plongée dans l’hébétude. Il est donc temps de lire Gramsci, puis, comme disait Boutang, de «reprendre le Pouvoir» -de le reprendre réellement, et de l’exercer. Paul-Marie Coûteaux Les masques tombent : l’affaire François Fillon se révèle être un véritable assassinat politique, mené tambour battant et avec une efficacité redoutable. (…) Ce matin, sur France Info, un journaliste s’indignait de la réaction de ceux qui critiquent la charge médiatique sur François Fillon en vociférant (enfin presque) « mais on fait notre travail de journaliste ! ». Cette proclamation « On fait notre travail de journaliste » m’a laissé rêveur quand on songe à ce que nous dit, en creux, cette affaire Fillon sur le mode de fonctionnement de notre démocratie. (…) La plupart des élus, si ce n’est la totalité, emploient des proches sur des postes directement rattachés à l’exercice de leur mandat électif : la femme, l’époux, les enfants, la maitresse ou l’amant et parfois d’autres parents, sont rémunérés sur des postes d’attaché parlementaire. La pratique est courante, non interdite par la loi et connue de la presse depuis des lustres. C’est légal, mais évidemment moralement douteux dans un pays où tant de gens sont au chômage et où on invoque à tout bout de champ la nécessité de faire ses preuves. Certains, dans notre République, bénéficient de piston, de rente de situation en étant les parents ou ami(e)s intimes d’un élu. C’est triste mais ce n’est affreusement pas nouveau. Ce que l’on peut reprocher à François Fillon sur ce point, c’est d’avoir été comme les autres élus, ni plus, ni moins vertueux. Or, on attend d’un candidat à la présidence de la République une droiture certaine et une exemplarité de fait. Bon, ça c’est dans un monde idéal. Dans nos démocraties du 21ème siècle, la droiture et la moralité sont en dose limitée dans le sang du politique. En somme, sur la question du principe de la rémunération de Pénélope Fillon par François Fillon, il est difficile de faire les vierges effarouchées qui découvrent comment on fait des enfants sauf à avoir une sacré dose d’hypocrisie. (…) Les parlementaires rémunèrent leurs collaborateurs en puisant dans une enveloppe mise à leur disposition par les institutions. Le montant mensuel de cette enveloppe est de 9 561 euros (si l’Assemblée Nationale est en charge de la gestion du contrat de travail et paye les charges sociales) ou de 14 341 euros (dans ce cas c’est l’élu qui gère le contrat de travail et qui verse lui-même les charges patronales à prélever dans cette enveloppe). Mme Fillon a été rémunérée de 1989 à 2013 pour un montant de 830 000 euros…..bruts ! Et oui, la presse brandit ce montant proche du million d’euros en omettant de préciser que la somme est en euros bruts. En net, Mme Fillon a perçu 639 000 euros et l’Etat a récupéré 191 000 euros ! En salaire mensuel net, sur la période considérée, Mme Fillon a donc perçu 2 218,75 euros. C’est une jolie somme, mais le travail d’un attaché parlementaire correspond à un travail d’agent de catégorie A de la fonction publique et le montant du salaire net n’est pas manifestement choquant ni déraisonnable. (…) François Fillon, à la différence de M. Macron, n’est pas un jeune nouveau dans le paysage politique. Il a détenu différents portefeuilles ministériels et il a été Premier ministre de Nicolas Sarkozy pendant cinq années… Cinq années au cours desquelles son épouse a perçu une rémunération d’attaché parlementaire. Etrange que la presse qui fait son travail ne se soit pas emparée de cette question à l’époque. Curieusement, ce sujet qui est un vrai sujet légitime, n’est évoqué qu’au lendemain de la primaire de la droite et à quelques mois de l’élection présidentielle. Les Français et les électeurs ne sont pas des gens dénués de sens critique. Il est clair que tout ce remue ménage à un but : tuer politiquement François Fillon. Pourquoi le tuer ? Assurément pour l’empêcher d’accéder au poste de Président de la République. Pour comprendre les vrais motifs du lynchage médiatique de François Fillon, il convient de voir en quoi François Fillon se distingue des autres candidats et quel(s) autre(s) candidat(s) à l’élection présidentielle est susceptible de tirer les marrons du feu. Sans se lancer dans une analyse approfondie du programme de François Fillon, ce qu’il conviendrait de faire pour mettre en parallèle ce programme avec celui du (des) candidat(s) avantagé(s) par cette affaire, on peut déjà identifier quelques lignes de force qui distingue François Fillon des autres : sa volonté de réforme, sa vision d’un monde multipolaire, son catholicisme affiché, sa volonté de renouer les liens avec Moscou et la Syrie, sortir le pays d’une situation d’endettement, l’idée de redonner à la France une place forte au sein de l’Union européenne. En clair, François Fillon est une « horreur » pour le système qui depuis des décennies est aux commandes. (…) Dans cette affaire, François Fillon a eu le tort de ne pas être le candidat du système en place. Les électeurs de la primaire ont placé en tête de leur choix un candidat qui ne satisfaisait pas aux critères du système. (…) La désignation inattendue de Fillon par les électeurs de la primaire a coupé l’herbe sous le pied de ceux qui attendaient la désignation d’Alain Juppé, un candidat en tout point conforme aux désirs du système. Il était donc nécessaire de virer Fillon et nous assistons aujourd’hui à son assassinat politique pour que ce dernier n’accède pas à la fonction présidentielle. Cette mise à l’écart de Fillon est d’autant plus nécessaire qu’un autre beau et jeune candidat, sorti de presque nulle part, est en vogue et correspond en tout point au profil du candidat du système : Emmanuel Macron. Méditons sur le beau travail des journalistes qui laissent dans l’ombre cette fameuse histoire des 120 000 euros (80% de l’enveloppe budgétaire de représentation du ministère de l’économie) consommée par Macron avant son départ de Bercy pour financer des prestations sans lien avec le ministère de l’économie mais en très fort lien avec la préparation de sa candidature présidentielle. Sur ce sujet, mutisme de la presse. On objectera que si 120 000 euros c’est une somme, elle est toujours inférieure aux 639 000 euros de Mme Fillon, heu pardon, reprenons la méthode de désinformation des médias… les 830 000 euros de Mme Fillon. C’est moins important mais cela s’est produit sur une échelle de temps bien plus courte. Mais vu l’efficacité de la dépense de M. Macron, je vous laisse calculer ce que cela aurait représenté sur 24 ans d’activités politiques…cela donne des frissons.. (…) Enfin la chronologie des évènements parle de façon assez claire : le 25 janvier 2017, le Canard enchaîné publie son article sur l’affaire « Pénélope Fillon », le 26 janvier 2017, le Parquet national financier ouvre une enquête judiciaire et le lendemain plusieurs témoins sont auditionnés….il faut vite virer Fillon. En conclusion, vous l’avez compris : la démocratie a « dérapé » en plaçant François Fillon candidat de la droite française. Le système a vite réagi pour sortir ce candidat gênant de la scène politique et tracer un boulevard à un autre candidat construit, façonné et adulé par le système. Si ce dernier candidat ne devait pas percer, alors ce n’est pas un problème car le nouveau candidat de la droite fera l’affaire car, quel qu’il soit, il sera forcement le candidat désigné de force par le système. Sauf erreur d’analyse de ma part, François Fillon va être sommé de renoncer à l’élection présidentielle pour être remplacé par un candidat cautionné par le système. Les millions d’électeurs qui se sont prononcés lors de la primaire sont donc désavoués et rappelés à l’ordre : vous deviez désigner celui qui était le favori des sondages ! Regis Desmarais 
Depuis janvier 2015, il a été le sujet de plus de 8 000 articles dans Libération, l’Obs, le Monde et l’Express. C’est plus que tout autre candidat, sans parler des multiples couvertures de Paris Match ou VSD façon couple glamour avec sa femme. Et personne ne pourra l’accuser de ne pas savoir trouver les mots qui font rêver et galvanisent les foules (…) De fait, trouver les mots, aussi creux soient-ils, fut le grand travail de sa campagne et dans ce domaine, rien ne fut laissé au hasard. Là encore, on ne pourra pas reprocher à Emmanuel Macron de ne pas avoir exploité à fond toutes les possibilités de la magie du verbe pour captiver un auditoire prêt à tomber en pâmoison. Au cours d’une « grande marche » qui s’est déroulée en porte-à-porte cet été, des « Marcheurs » ont eu « 100 000 conversations » et ont recueilli « 25 000 questionnaires », constituant autant de verbatim dont les mots – pardon on dit « prédicats » à présent – furent analysés via des algorithmes complexes, par la société Liegey Muller Pons, la « première start-up de stratégie électorale en Europe » et par Proxem dont le métier consiste à « changer les conversations en données » (au contraire des journalistes dont le métier consiste à transformer des conversations en courants d’air chaud). (…) Ce discours, ce style, ce show bien orchestré plaisent beaucoup, aux médias, aux socialistes en mal de représentation politique, à tous ceux qui cherchent une nouvelle tête, à tous ceux qui attendent un discours rassurant du type « Yes We Can », à tous ceux qui veulent gagner en liberté sans perdre en protection tutélaire de l’État, à tout ceux qui pensent qu’il suffit d’améliorer la gestion de nos structures sans les remettre en cause fondamentalement. Bonne pioche ! Emmanuel Macron se dit d’une « gauche qui se confronte au réel », c’est-à-dire typiquement d’une gauche sociale-démocrate façon Rocard et même Hollande, le style et la persuasion en plus. Forcément, ça attire : d’après les responsables, En marche ! aurait à ce jour 170 000 adhérents. L’adhésion gratuite, en ligne, ça aide. Bonne pioche toujours, lorsque Benoît Hamon est désigné candidat du PS. Bonne pioche encore, lorsque les affaires embourbent Fillon dans des emplois présumés fictifs. Et super bonne pioche, lorsque les sondages placent finalement notre héros en deuxième position au premier tour de la présidentielle ! (…) Aux grincheux qui pointent régulièrement l’absence d’un vrai programme politique derrière les envolées lyriques, les « Marcheurs », tendrement hypnotisés par leur candidat, rétorquent que si Macron les attire, c’est justement parce qu’il « fédère une vision, il y a une espèce de fluide ». Lubrifiant qui permet d’éviter les frottements douloureux et de rêver à son aise à un monde meilleur (…) C’est ainsi que les 35 heures sont « une avancée sociale non contestable » qui présente « un bilan contrasté » qu’il faudra « adapter sans remettre en cause le principe ». Jolie bourrasque d’air tiède. On souhaite bon courage au futur ministre de l’économie si d’aventure Emmanuel était élu ! Si le mystère reste entier quant au programme de gouvernement de Macron, on a cependant quelques idées sur ce qu’il sera en observant les soutiens qui s’agglutinent à lui. (…) À gauche, on peut citer Gérard Collomb et tous les députés socialistes orphelins de la candidature Valls, les hommes d’affaires Marc Simoncini (Meetic), Xavier Niel (Free) et Pierre Bergé, les deux derniers étant de plus co-propriétaires de l’Obs qui a largement ouvert ses pages à Macron, l’écrivain Erik Orsenna, ancienne plume de Mitterrand, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Alain Minc, Bernard Kouchner, sans oublier Ségolène Royal qui apporte indirectement le parrainage de François Hollande et une caution de sérieux assez originale dans la gestion des affaires publiques, et sans oublier non plus Geneviève de Fontenay, génialissime caution populaire, venue spécialement à Lyon pour vérifier que Macron n’avait pas  ♥ «  une banque à la place du cœur  » ♥ ! À cette brochette de cadors, ajoutons la droite énarchiste et étatiste représentée par Renaud Dutreil, ancien ministre responsable de la création du pitoyable RSI (que Macron veut réformer, pas forcément pour le bien des Indépendants) et Anne-Marie Idrac, ancienne secrétaire d’État aux transports sous Chirac et ex-présidente de ces fleurons de la réussite nationale que sont la RATP et la SNCF. (…) Il n’en reste pas moins que le vide grandiloquent de ses propos associé au déjà-vu, au progressisme revendiqué et à l’étatisme assumé de l’équipe qui l’entoure fait irrésistiblement penser à la réflexion de Tancrède à son oncle le prince Salina dans le Guépard : « Il faut que tout change pour que rien ne change. » Nathalie MP et H16

Vous avez dit déjà vu ?

A l’heure où sur l’immigration, l’Europe vote Trump

Et où comme pour ledit Trump et à l’aide de violations sytématiques et continues du secret judiciaire, se déchaine la curée médiatique contre le seul véritable espoir d’alternative pour la prochaine présidentielle française …

Coupable certes d’avoir largement profité, avec nombre de ses confrères, de pratiques longtemps légales de maximisation (récupération comprise, jusqu’à 2012, des reliquats non utilisés ?) de ses enveloppes d’assistance parlementaire …

Mais seul, 20 ou 30 ans après la Suède, la Nouvelle-Zélande ou le Canada, à avoir le courage d’affronter enfin au nom d’une plus grande efficacité du modèle social …

La véritable réforme de l’État et des politiques publiques qui pourra enfin sortir notre pays du chômage de masse qui le mine …

Comment ne pas voir avec l’excellent billet de nos confrères des blog Nathalie MP et H16 …

Et face tant à l’irrationnalité mariniste qu’à l’honnêteté hamoniste à 300 milliards …

Le véritable bénéficiaire de tant d’acharnement et dernier avatar en date, après ses versions Obama, Hollande ou Trudeau …

A savoir, selon la formule du célébrissime film de Visconti

Celui du changement maintenant pour que rien ne change vraiment ?

Avec Macron, le changement, c’est mollement !

Nathalie MP
9 février 2017

Article écrit en commun par   h16 et Nathalie MP.

Personne ne pourra accuser Emmanuel Macron de ne pas soigner tous les détails de sa candidature présidentielle. Ainsi, fini les petits couinements et le passage aux ultrasons éraillés comme à la fin de son grand meeting de la porte de Versailles en décembre dernier : il suit maintenant les cours d’un chanteur d’opéra ! ♫♪♬ ! 

Macron Couv Maris Match 110816Personne ne pourra l’accuser non plus de négligence avec les médias. Depuis janvier 2015, il a été le sujet de plus de 8 000 articles dans Libération, l’Obs, le Monde et l’Express. C’est plus que tout autre candidat, sans parler des multiples couvertures de Paris Match ou VSD façon couple glamour avec sa femme.

Et personne ne pourra l’accuser de ne pas savoir trouver les mots qui font rêver et galvanisent les foules :

Notre révolution est En Marche… On ne peut plus faire comme avant, il faut dépasser les clivages, rebattre les cartes, remettre la France en mouvement, libérer les forces et apporter l’espérance… Je compte sur votre mobilisation et votre engagement, c’est notre force ! etc…

Pour Manu, qui s’adresse ♫♪♬ « à tous les recalés de l’âge et du chômage, les privés du gâteau, les exclus du partage » ♫♪♬,  il faut dépasser les clivages ♥ et le chacun pour soi. Quand il pense à eux, il pense à lui ❥ et la coïncidence avec les Restos du Cœur ♥ n’est pas tout à fait fortuite parce que c’est de cœur ♥qu’il s’agit, mes amis, mes amours, mes enfants, ♥♥♥♫♪♬ ! 

Voici en substance la teneur de ses appels (vidéo ci-dessous), voici ce qu’il martèle de meeting en meeting sous les applaudissements frénétiques (ou médusés) de milliards milliers de personnes.

Lorsqu’il parade au Palais des Sports de Lyon, des millions milliers de personnes viennent boire ses paroles : 8 000 selon les organisateurs, 800 000 selon les médias et plusieurs milliers d’autres, massées aux abords. Telle une rock-star, Macron fend la foule en musique (vidéo ci-dessous), voit dans « ce mur de présence » un désir d’avenir, une « démonstration d’envie de sa candidature », et, se prenant manifestement pour Napoléon Ier à Austerlitz et prenant visiblement ses « Marcheurs » (le petit nom des « adhérents ») pour les fantassins de sa campagne, lance avec cette modestie onctueuse de ceux qui osent tout (et c’est à ça qu’on les reconnaît) :

« Vous pourrez dire : ‘J’étais là’. Parce que nous allons changer les choses encore aujourd’hui et nous continuerons à avancer. Ensemble ! »

Dans la même veine, voici une petite vidéo hautement réjouissante alignant les « meilleurs moments » d’Emmanuel Macron aux instruments à vent : « Ce que nous ferons pour la culture, mes amis, c’est un chemin » – « Je veux réconcilier la France avec le Monde » – etc … etc…

De fait, trouver les mots, aussi creux soient-ils, fut le grand travail de sa campagne et dans ce domaine, rien ne fut laissé au hasard. Là encore, on ne pourra pas reprocher à Emmanuel Macron de ne pas avoir exploité à fond toutes les possibilités de la magie du verbe pour captiver un auditoire prêt à tomber en pâmoison.

Au cours d’une « grande marche » qui s’est déroulée en porte-à-porte cet été, des « Marcheurs » ont eu « 100 000 conversations » et ont recueilli « 25 000 questionnaires », constituant autant de verbatim dont les mots – pardon on dit « prédicats » à présent – furent analysés via des algorithmes complexes, par la société Liegey Muller Pons, la « première start-up de stratégie électorale en Europe » et par Proxem dont le métier consiste à « changer les conversations en données » (au contraire des journalistes dont le métier consiste à transformer des conversations en courants d’air chaud).

Cette « grande marche », au-delà du côté proximité, écoute et rencontre avec la France « vraie de vraie », a surtout eu pour objectif de définir au mieux le discours qui sera « le plus intelligible possible pour le plus de monde possible. » En clair, le discours qui ratissera le plus large, déclenchera le plus de réactions positives et transformera les auditeurs en adhérents scotchés.

Ajoutez qu’Emmanuel Macron est jeune, intelligent, tout beau et tout nouveau. Il n’a jamais été élu, mais l’Elysée direct, ça ne lui fait même pas peur ! Mieux encore : il est de gauche (il l’a dit cent fois) mais il peut aussi être de droite si besoin est, d’autant qu’il n’est plus membre du PS tout en étant socialiste, et ayant participé à un gouvernement de gauche, « mais quelle importance ? » (vidéo 01′ 10″) :

Ce discours, ce style, ce show bien orchestré plaisent beaucoup, aux médias, aux socialistes en mal de représentation politique, à tous ceux qui cherchent une nouvelle tête, à tous ceux qui attendent un discours rassurant du type « Yes We Can », à tous ceux qui veulent gagner en liberté sans perdre en protection tutélaire de l’État, à tout ceux qui pensent qu’il suffit d’améliorer la gestion de nos structures sans les remettre en cause fondamentalement.

Bonne pioche ! Emmanuel Macron se dit d’une « gauche qui se confronte au réel », c’est-à-dire typiquement d’une gauche sociale-démocrate façon Rocard et même Hollande, le style et la persuasion en plus. Forcément, ça attire : d’après les responsables, En marche ! aurait à ce jour 170 000 adhérents. L’adhésion gratuite, en ligne, ça aide.

Bonne pioche toujours, lorsque Benoît Hamon est désigné candidat du PS. Bonne pioche encore, lorsque les affaires embourbent Fillon dans des emplois présumés fictifs. Et super bonne pioche, lorsque les sondages placent finalement notre héros en deuxième position au premier tour de la présidentielle !

Décidément, Manu Macron, c’est de la très bonne pioche !

Aux grincheux qui pointent régulièrement l’absence d’un vrai programme politique derrière les envolées lyriques, les « Marcheurs », tendrement hypnotisés par leur candidat, rétorquent que si Macron les attire, c’est justement parce qu’il « fédère une vision, il y a une espèce de fluide ». Lubrifiant qui permet d’éviter les frottements douloureux et de rêver à son aise à un monde meilleur :

« Un président, ce n’est pas un épicier. L’important, c’est d’avoir une vision, pas forcément d’être dans les détails de la comptabilité. » (un participant au meeting de Lyon, 4 février 2017)

Malgré tout, ce programme trop diaphane gêne certains militants. Sa divulgation ayant été souvent annoncée puis repoussée, pour être finalement fixée à début mars, les « Jeunes avec Macron » ont pris sur eux de construire un site internet reprenant les principales déclarations de leur leader pour leur donner un semblant de consistance.

Ça ne s’invente pas, ce site s’appelle « Vision Macron » et surfe avec application sur un océan de lieux communs des plus vagues, dispatchés en une partie « Diagnostic » puis une partie « Action ». La partie « Réaction » est laissée comme exercice au lecteur.

C’est ainsi que les 35 heures sont « une avancée sociale non contestable » qui présente « un bilan contrasté » qu’il faudra « adapter sans remettre en cause le principe ». Jolie bourrasque d’air tiède. On souhaite bon courage au futur ministre de l’économie si d’aventure Emmanuel était élu !

Si le mystère reste entier quant au programme de gouvernement de Macron, on a cependant quelques idées sur ce qu’il sera en observant les soutiens qui s’agglutinent à lui.

Au-delà de sa tendresse pour le socialisme du réel qui signe son tropisme social-démocrate, on constate sans trop de surprise que les ralliements qu’il enregistre en nombre sont tous le fait d’individus extrêmement à l’aise dans « le système » dont il prétend s’affranchir et que certains d’entre eux sont de vieux routards de la politique depuis des dizaines d’années.

À gauche, on peut citer Gérard Collomb et tous les députés socialistes orphelins de la candidature Valls, les hommes d’affaires Marc Simoncini (Meetic), Xavier Niel (Free) et Pierre Bergé, les deux derniers étant de plus co-propriétaires de l’Obs qui a largement ouvert ses pages à Macron, l’écrivain Erik Orsenna, ancienne plume de Mitterrand, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Alain Minc, Bernard Kouchner, sans oublier Ségolène Royal qui apporte indirectement le parrainage de François Hollande et une caution de sérieux assez originale dans la gestion des affaires publiques, et sans oublier non plus Geneviève de Fontenay, génialissime caution populaire, venue spécialement à Lyon pour vérifier que Macron n’avait pas  ♥ «  une banque à la place du cœur  » ♥ !

À cette brochette de cadors, ajoutons la droite énarchiste et étatiste représentée par Renaud Dutreil, ancien ministre responsable de la création du pitoyable RSI (que Macron veut réformer, pas forcément pour le bien des Indépendants) et Anne-Marie Idrac, ancienne secrétaire d’État aux transports sous Chirac et ex-présidente de ces fleurons de la réussite nationale que sont la RATP et la SNCF.

Le vrai défi, maintenant, consistera à croire que ce sont ces personnes qui seront capables de mettre en marche une révolution vertueuse, alors qu’elles sont toutes liées à tout ce que la France fait sans succès depuis quarante ans en terme de chômage, de dépenses publiques, de déficit et de dette.

Il va en falloir, de la foi, pour imaginer que l’État, gonflé d’orgueil à l’idée d’être stratège, va continuer à l’être sans se fracasser sur des catastrophes financières qui se chiffrent en milliards d’euros.

Il va en falloir, de la ferveur, pour voir en Emmanuel Macron l’artisan d’une transformation libérale de la France, lui dont le bilan se résume à des conseils catastrophiques pendant un quinquennat calamiteux et à une loi qui aura permis d’ouvrir quelques lignes d’autocars et quelques magasins un nombre limité de dimanches.

Conclusion

Certes, Emmanuel Macron s’est montré particulièrement habile à mobiliser médias et public autour de lui. Certes, il a su trouver les mots les plus susceptibles de toucher des Français désorientés et désireux de changement, mais aussi de protection et d’attention. Certes, il a su faire passer un message de nouveauté et de modernité en menant une campagne aussi originale que calibrée au millimètre comme s’il vendait le produit Macron à des consommateurs et non pas un programme politique à des électeurs. Soit.

Il n’en reste pas moins que le vide grandiloquent de ses propos associé au déjà-vu, au progressisme revendiqué et à l’étatisme assumé de l’équipe qui l’entoure fait irrésistiblement penser à la réflexion de Tancrède à son oncle le prince Salina dans le Guépard : « Il faut que tout change pour que rien ne change. »

Emmanuel Macron n’est rien d’autre que la nouvelle frimousse « hors-système » choisie par le « système », coterie de médias et de politiciens qui nous gouvernent. C’est un changement purement formel, sans rien de fondamental pour la France et les Français, qui préservera nos élites au pouvoir.

Le navire de gauche a coulé. Celui de droite prend l’eau. Les rats quittent ces navires incertains pour courir chez Macron, ce « révolutionnaire » qui rassure tous les étatistes et leur promet qu’il suffit de dire que tout va changer pour que finalement rien ne change. ♫♪♬ !

Voir aussi:

Lynchage de Fillon: la France est-elle encore une démocratie?

Non au gouvernement des juges et des médias
Marc Joncour est retraité de l’informatique.

09 février 2017

Le lynchage médiatique de François Fillon et l’écho qu’il semble rencontrer dans l’opinion montrent à quel point le système politico-médiatico-judiciaire tombe en déliquescence. Mise à mal par le gouvernement des juges et des médias la démocratie représentative est en danger

Jusqu’à une date récente, le lynchage médiatique était plutôt une spécialité anglo-saxonne. La presse française pouvait s’honorer d’être plus mesurée et plus équilibrée que ses consœurs britanniques ou américaines. Mais l’arrivée d’Internet, des réseaux sociaux, des chaînes d’informations permanentes, a bouleversé le paysage médiatique partout dans le monde. La France n’y échappe pas.

Il est stupéfiant de constater la façon dont certaines des allégations sorties par Le Canard enchaîné et Médiapart sont reprises en boucle par presque tous les médias. Ces affirmations sont totalement à charge et peu de rédactions osent donner des arguments à décharge, alors que ceux-ci existent et sont d’importance. Il est encore plus stupéfiant de constater que la justice s’est emparée de cette affaire alors que rien ne justifie qu’elle le fasse.

Quelles sont les accusations formulées ? François Fillon aurait employé son épouse et deux de ses enfants au cours de ses mandats successifs de député puis de sénateur. Et ces emplois ne seraient pas réels mais fictifs.

Collaborateur parlementaire, tout un métier

Quels sont les journalistes qui ont étudié la loi concernant le statut et les fonctions des collaborateurs parlementaires ? Quels sont les journalistes qui ont rapporté à leurs lecteurs ces éléments de base permettant de se faire une opinion éclairée sur les allégations formulées par les accusateurs ? Quasiment aucun ! Ce qui montre la partialité de la majorité des organes de presse et leur absence éhontée de déontologie !

Alors rappelons la loi telle qu’elle existe. Chaque député dispose d’un crédit mensuel forfaitaire de 9.561 € lui permettant de recruter et rémunérer jusqu’à cinq collaborateurs. Quant au sénateur, il dispose d’un crédit de 7.593 € pour la rémunération, lui aussi, d’un maximum de cinq collaborateurs. Pour la simplicité du propos, je me limite ci-après au seul cas des députés.

Chacun des députés a la qualité d’employeur. Le collaborateur est le salarié du député, non celui de l’Assemblée nationale. Les collaborateurs sont recrutés sur la base d’un contrat de travail de droit privé. Le député recrute librement ses collaborateurs, licencie, fixe les conditions de travail et le salaire de son personnel, dans le respect des dispositions du code du travail. Les contrats de travail comportent deux stipulations directement liées au mode de gestion du crédit collaborateur. La première, relative à l’objet du contrat, dispose que « le député-employeur, agissant pour son compte personnel, engage le salarié qui lui est juridiquement et directement subordonné et a toute sa confiance pour l’assister dans l’exercice de son mandat parlementaire ». La seconde précise que « la cessation, pour quelque cause que ce soit, du mandat du député-employeur constitue une juste cause de rupture automatique du contrat ». Depuis 1978, des indemnités de fin de contrat, financées par l’Assemblée nationale,  sont allouées aux collaborateurs en cas de cessation du mandat du député-employeur (ce qui justifie les indemnités – qualifiées de « licenciement » par le Canard enchaîné – perçues deux fois par Pénélope Fillon).

La fiction des emplois fictifs

Certains prétendent qu’il s’agirait d’emplois fictifs. Dès lors que les contrats de travail et les feuilles de paie existent en bonne et due forme – ce qui semble être le cas – il ne peut pas y avoir emploi fictif puisque la seule personne à pouvoir juger et contrôler le contenu et la valeur du travail effectué est le parlementaire lui-même. Imagine-t-on la justice intervenir dans une entreprise pour vérifier la réalité du travail d’un de ses salariés ? Seul l’employeur a qualité pour le faire.

On reproche à François Fillon de ne pas apporter de preuves du travail réel effectué par Pénélope. Peut-être en a-t-il d’ailleurs fourni à la justice. Mais en tout état de cause, comment prouver qu’on a préparé un discours du député, qu’on l’a corrigé à plusieurs reprises, qu’on a préparé les réponses aux nombreux courriers des administrés, qu’on a mené un travail de réflexion ou de recherche sur un sujet donné ?

La façon dont les médias ont traité cette affaire est assez exceptionnelle. Les accusations à l’encontre de François et Pénélope Fillon ont monopolisé depuis plus de deux semaines la quasi-totalité de l’information en France. Paul Valéry affirmait à juste titre : « Le mensonge et la crédulité s’accouplent et engendrent l’opinion ». Jamais ces paroles n’ont été aussi vraies. A tel point que même les plus ardents supporters de François Fillon se sont mis à douter de son honnêteté. Et l’information est devenue un feuilleton quotidien, chacun cherchant à justifier les propos de Samuel Butler, cet écrivain britannique du XIXe siècle : « Le meilleur menteur est celui qui fait servir le même mensonge le plus longtemps possible ».

L’opinion sous influence

Pourquoi cette affaire sort-elle précisément en janvier 2017 alors que les faits reprochés remontent à plusieurs années ? Pourquoi la justice s’en empare-t-elle avec une telle diligence ? Quel objectif cherchent à atteindre ceux qui ont manipulé et fabriqué l’opinion, ceux qui l’ont mise sous tutelle ?

La réponse est évidente. Dans un premier temps, il s’agit de faire baisser François Fillon dans les sondages et dans les intentions de vote pour arriver au constat que le candidat de la droite et du centre ne sera pas qualifié pour le second tour de l’élection présidentielle. L’objectif suivant étant de l’obliger, sous la pression des mauvais sondages, à renoncer à se présenter à l’élection pour laisser le champ libre au duel rêvé par les médias – entre Marine Le Pen et Emmanuel Macron (ce dernier est d’ailleurs une pure fabrication du système médiatique). Dès que l’objectif sera atteint, la presse cessera de s’intéresser au cas de François Fillon. Le « PénélopeGate » disparaîtra immédiatement des radars médiatiques.

Concernant la justice, notons que c’est le parquet national financier (PNF) qui s’est autosaisi de l’affaire, 24 heures seulement après les révélations du Canard enchaîné. Le PNF, présenté comme « autonome », a été installé par le gouvernement socialiste le 6 décembre 2013, et son procureur, la magistrate Éliane Houlette – une proche de Ségolène Royal – a été choisie et nommée à la discrétion de François Hollande.

La démocratie confisquée

François Fillon risque d’être la dernière victime en date de cette presse uniquement motivée par la réussite des lynchages médiatiques qu’elle met en œuvre. Dans la série des assassinats politiques, il succédera ainsi à Jacques Chaban-Delmas (l’affaire de sa feuille de paye et de l’avoir fiscal), à Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (l’affaire des diamants de Bokassa), à Pierre Bérégovoy (l’affaire de son prêt à taux zéro qui le conduira au suicide), mais aussi à Dominique Baudis, Michèle Alliot-Marie ou Nicolas Sarkozy.

À propos de l’action du PNF dans l’affaire Fillon, un ancien juge interrogé par Valeurs actuelles dénonce une « très belle opération de déstabilisation » et « un coup d’État de droit ! ». Il ajoute : « Ces officines pensent qu’elles peuvent disqualifier un candidat à la présidentielle, c’est extrêmement choquant. » Dans le même journal, un ancien ministre s’indigne : « Pour la première fois dans l’histoire dela Ve République, on a créé un “cabinet noir légal” au service de l’exécutif. »

La question est désormais simple : sommes-nous en train de glisser vers une dictature des médias et des juges, auquel cas la démocratie représentative serait en grand danger ! Notre démocratie, qui donne au peuple le pouvoir ultime, va-t-elle être confisquée par ceux qui se prétendent être ses défenseurs, à savoir les juges et les médias ?

Quatre millions et demi de Français se sont déplacés au mois de novembre dernier pour désigner – à une très large majorité – François Fillon comme candidat de la droite et du centre à la prochaine élection présidentielle. Ils ont voté pour un programme et ils ont voté pour l’homme en capacité de le mener à bien. Si cet homme devait se trouver dans l’impossibilité de poursuivre sa candidature, le peuple français vivrait alors un véritable déni de démocratie.

Le risque, après toute cette affaire, c’est de faire le jeu de Marine Le Pen au second tour de l’élection, en amenant tous les électeurs qui se seront fait confisquer leur élection par le retrait forcé de François Fillon, à voter en masse pour elle. Dès lors, bonjour le destin de la France !

Voir également:

L’assassinat politique de François Fillon
Regis Desmarais
4 févr. 2017

Les masques tombent : l’affaire François Fillon se révèle être un véritable assassinat politique, mené tambour battant et avec une efficacité redoutable. Pourtant, un léger recul permet de voir cette affaire d’une façon différente et instructive. Ce qui se passe n’est rien de moins que la révélation des simulacres dans lesquels nos démocraties ont sombré.

Ce matin, sur France Info, un journaliste s’indignait de la réaction de ceux qui critiquent la charge médiatique sur François Fillon en vociférant (enfin presque) « mais on fait notre travail de journaliste ! ». Cette proclamation « On fait notre travail de journaliste » m’a laissé rêveur quand on songe à ce que nous dit, en creux, cette affaire Fillon sur le mode de fonctionnement de notre démocratie.

Pour décrypter et comprendre ce que cache l’affaire Fillon, il convient évidemment de s’abstraire du tumulte médiatique pour poser à plat les données de cette affaire, en apprécier la portée, voir les mécanismes de pouvoir en jeu et essayer d’identifier qui sera bénéficiaire de tout ce brouhaha médiatique.

Que se passe-t-il dans la maison Fillon ? La révélation, au moment où François Fillon est devenu le candidat de la droite à l’élection présidentielle française, d’une pratique commune dans le microcosme politique : rémunérer ses proches à des postes laissés à discrétion de l’élu.

La rémunération de Pénélope Fillon par François Fillon

M. Fillon a ainsi rémunéré sa femme sur un poste d’attaché parlementaire. Sur ce sujet, rien de neuf dans le monde politique. La plupart des élus, si ce n’est la totalité, emploient des proches sur des postes directement rattachés à l’exercice de leur mandat électif : la femme, l’époux, les enfants, la maitresse ou l’amant et parfois d’autres parents, sont rémunérés sur des postes d’attaché parlementaire. La pratique est courante, non interdite par la loi et connue de la presse depuis des lustres. C’est légal, mais évidemment moralement douteux dans un pays où tant de gens sont au chômage et où on invoque à tout bout de champ la nécessité de faire ses preuves. Certains, dans notre République, bénéficient de piston, de rente de situation en étant les parents ou ami(e)s intimes d’un élu. C’est triste mais ce n’est affreusement pas nouveau.

Ce que l’on peut reprocher à François Fillon sur ce point, c’est d’avoir été comme les autres élus, ni plus, ni moins vertueux. Or, on attend d’un candidat à la présidence de la République une droiture certaine et une exemplarité de fait. Bon, ça c’est dans un monde idéal. Dans nos démocraties du 21ème siècle, la droiture et la moralité sont en dose limitée dans le sang du politique. En somme, sur la question du principe de la rémunération de Pénélope Fillon par François Fillon, il est difficile de faire les vierges effarouchées qui découvrent comment on fait des enfants sauf à avoir une sacré dose d’hypocrisie.

Un autre argument est abondamment déversé par la presse afin d’effarer le citoyen électeur : le montant des salaires versés.

Des salaires pharamineux perçus par Mme Fillon ?

Les parlementaires rémunèrent leurs collaborateurs en puisant dans une enveloppe mise à leur disposition par les institutions. Le montant mensuel de cette enveloppe est de 9 561 euros (si l’Assemblée Nationale est en charge de la gestion du contrat de travail et paye les charges sociales) ou de 14 341 euros (dans ce cas c’est l’élu qui gère le contrat de travail et qui verse lui-même les charges patronales à prélever dans cette enveloppe).

Mme Fillon a été rémunérée de 1989 à 2013 pour un montant de 830 000 euros…..bruts ! Et oui, la presse brandit ce montant proche du million d’euros en omettant de préciser que la somme est en euros bruts. En net, Mme Fillon a perçu 639 000 euros et l’Etat a récupéré 191 000 euros ! En salaire mensuel net, sur la période considérée, Mme Fillon a donc perçu 2 218,75 euros. C’est une jolie somme, mais le travail d’un attaché parlementaire correspond à un travail d’agent de catégorie A de la fonction publique et le montant du salaire net n’est pas manifestement choquant ni déraisonnable.

Les salaires perçus par Mme Fillon sont-il pharamineux ? La réponse est non et cette réponse résulte des chiffres eux-mêmes et non d’un sentiment ou d’une opinion personnelle sur ce que devrait être le salaire d’un attaché parlementaire.

Autre argument avancé pour déstabiliser la candidature de François Fillon : l’effectivité du travail réalisé par Mme Fillon.

Mme Fillon a-t-elle perçu une rémunération de complaisance ?

Une interview de Mme Fillon circule dans laquelle elle dit qu’elle n’avait pas travaillé pour son mari. Là, c’est désastreux. Ou bien Mme Fillon a perçu 2 218,75 euros nets par mois pour un travail effectif ou bien elle a perçu cet argent sans contrepartie. Comment répondre à cette question à la place du principal et de la principale intéressée ? En essayant de suivre un raisonnement logique. Si Mme Fillon n’a pas travaillé pour son mari pendant 24 ans alors quelqu’un d’autre a exercé ces fonctions d’attaché parlementaire car il est impossible à un élu national d’exercer son mandat électif sans l’aide d’un attaché. Or, que pouvons-nous observer ? Un grand silence de la presse à ce sujet. Personne ne nous dit qui a réellement travaillé et surtout qui a travaillé pendant 24 ans pour les beaux yeux de François Fillon, c’est-à-dire gratuitement puisque l’enveloppe réservée à la rémunération de l’attaché parlementaire de M. Fillon servait à rémunérer une femme qui ne faisait rien.

Vous connaissez beaucoup de gens qui travaillent pendant 24 ans sans percevoir de salaire ? Moi non. La logique veut que Mme Fillon ait bel et bien travaillé pour son mari. Alors cette interview ? Rappelons que cette interview a été sortie de son contexte, est ancienne et est l’interview d’une femme qui ne considérait sans doute pas que travailler pour son mari était un travail classique, voire un travail tout court. Je ne vais pas écrire que le couple Fillon est innocent et que le travail a été effectif en l’absence de preuves matérielles mais le bon sens et la logique doivent nous interpeller et nous conduire à poser les bonnes questions. Qui aurait alors travaillé pendant 24 ans sans rémunération pour François Fillon ? Personne assurément. De fait, Mme Fillon n’est certainement pas restée inerte pendant toute cette période. Avant de hurler à la mort politique du candidat Fillon, les journalistes qui font leur travail devraient creuser cette question.

Tout ceci nous interpelle sur le contexte dans lequel surgit cette affaire…

Le contexte

François Fillon, à la différence de M. Macron, n’est pas un jeune nouveau dans le paysage politique. Il a détenu différents portefeuilles ministériels et il a été Premier ministre de Nicolas Sarkozy pendant cinq années… Cinq années au cours desquelles son épouse a perçu une rémunération d’attaché parlementaire. Etrange que la presse qui fait son travail ne se soit pas emparée de cette question à l’époque. Curieusement, ce sujet qui est un vrai sujet légitime, n’est évoqué qu’au lendemain de la primaire de la droite et à quelques mois de l’élection présidentielle. Les français et les électeurs ne sont pas des gens dénués de sens critique. Il est clair que tout ce remue ménage à un but : tuer politiquement François Fillon. Pourquoi le tuer ? Assurément pour l’empêcher d’accéder au poste de Président de la République. Pour comprendre les vrais motifs du lynchage médiatique de François Fillon, il convient de voir en quoi François Fillon se distingue des autres candidats et quel(s) autre(s) candidat(s) à l’élection présidentielle est susceptible de tirer les marrons du feu.

Sans se lancer dans une analyse approfondie du programme de François Fillon, ce qu’il conviendrait de faire pour mettre en parallèle ce programme avec celui du (des) candidat(s) avantagé(s) par cette affaire, on peut déjà identifier quelques lignes de force qui distingue François Fillon des autres : sa volonté de réforme, sa vision d’un monde multipolaire, son catholicisme affiché, sa volonté de renouer les liens avec Moscou et la Syrie, sortir le pays d’une situation d’endettement, l’idée de redonner à la France une place forte au sein de l’Union européenne. En clair, François Fillon est une « horreur » pour le système qui depuis des décennies est aux commandes. Quel est ce système : celui du monde financier dont le seul dieu est l’argent et dont le moteur est la consommation des masses sans cesse développée grâce à l’endettement. Système dont le rêve est celui d’un monde globalisé où les populations se distinguent par leur indistinction car toutes soumises au dictat de la dépense avec pour finalité à l’existence : consommer pour vivre et vivre pour s’endetter. Je sais, je force le trait mais il n’est pas nécessaire de trop appuyer le feutre sur le papier pour le forcer.

Dans cette affaire, François Fillon a eu le tort de ne pas être le candidat du système en place. Les électeurs de la primaire ont placé en tête de leur choix un candidat qui ne satisfaisait pas aux critères du système. Or, vous le savez bien, qui a l’argent possède le pouvoir. Dans un monde ou plus de 99% des richesses planétaires sont entre les mains de 1% de la population mondiale, il est hors de question que la démocratie, qui par nature est la loi de la majorité donc des moins fortunée, laisse passer des candidats qui ne sont pas autorisés et souhaités par le système. Ce que les électeurs citoyens doivent comprendre dans cette affaire, c’est que nos démocraties contemporaines sont des simulacres. Oui, on choisit les candidats puis celui qui occupe la fonction suprême mais à la condition que ces candidats soient validés et pré-filtrés par le système lequel est le système financier et le lieu de pouvoir de ces 1% de la population qui possède plus de 99% de la richesse mondiale (8 personnes au monde possèdent même en patrimoine ce que possède la moitié de la population planétaire la plus pauvre cela donne le vertige et permet de comprendre que nos démocraties sont aujourd’hui des simulacres).

La désignation inattendue de Fillon par les électeurs de la primaire a coupé l’herbe sous le pied de ceux qui attendaient la désignation d’Alain Juppé, un candidat en tout point conforme aux désirs du système. Il était donc nécessaire de virer Fillon et nous assistons aujourd’hui à son assassinat politique pour que ce dernier n’accède pas à la fonction présidentielle.

Cette mise à l’écart de Fillon est d’autant plus nécessaire qu’un autre beau et jeune candidat, sorti de presque nulle part, est en vogue et correspond en tout point au profil du candidat du système : Emmanuel Macron. Méditons sur le beau travail des journalistes qui laissent dans l’ombre cette fameuse histoire des 120 000 euros (80% de l’enveloppe budgétaire de représentation du ministère de l’économie) consommée par Macron avant son départ de Bercy pour financer des prestations sans lien avec le ministère de l’économie mais en très fort lien avec la préparation de sa candidature présidentielle. Sur ce sujet, mutisme de la presse. On objectera que si 120 000 euros c’est une somme, elle est toujours inférieure aux 639 000 euros de Mme Fillon, heu pardon, reprenons la méthode de désinformation des médias… les 830 000 euros de Mme Fillon. C’est moins important mais cela s’est produit sur une échelle de temps bien plus courte. Mais vu l’efficacité de la dépense de M. Macron, je vous laisse calculer ce que cela aurait représenté sur 24 ans d’activités politiques…cela donne des frissons.. M. Macron ne vient pas vraiment de nulle part mais de la banque Rothschild…eh oui M. Macron est un pur produit du système financier et du monde de l’argent. Regardons ses soutiens : Jacques Attali, Pierre Bergé ou le maire de Lyon qui récemment hurlait sa douleur existentielle en déclarant que vivre qu’avec 4 000 euros par mois était insupportable… Jamais un candidat se déclarant anti-système n’aura été un candidat à ce point issu du système et validé par ce système.

Enfin la chronologie des évènements parle de façon assez claire : le 25 janvier 2017, le Canard enchaîné publie son article sur l’affaire « Pénélope Fillon », le 26 janvier 2017, le Parquet national financier ouvre une enquête judiciaire et le lendemain plusieurs témoins sont auditionnés….il faut vite virer Fillon.

En conclusion, vous l’avez compris : la démocratie a « dérapé » en plaçant François Fillon candidat de la droite française. Le système a vite réagi pour sortir ce candidat gênant de la scène politique et tracer un boulevard à un autre candidat construit, façonné et adulé par le système. Si ce dernier candidat ne devait pas percer, alors ce n’est pas un problème car le nouveau candidat de la droite fera l’affaire car, quel qu’il soit, il sera forcement le candidat désigné de force par le système. Sauf erreur d’analyse de ma part, François Fillon va être sommé de renoncer à l’élection présidentielle pour être remplacé par un candidat cautionné par le système. Les millions d’électeurs qui se sont prononcés lors de la primaire sont donc désavoués et rappelés à l’ordre : vous deviez désigner celui qui était le favori des sondages ! Pour la première fois, jamais le simulacre de la démocratie ne se sera dévoilé avec autant de pertinence aux citoyens qui acceptent d’ouvrir les yeux et de raisonner en dehors de tout mouvement d’humeur. Un conseil, pour l’élection présidentielle, comme tout est joué d’avance, autant aller à la pêche et conserver en vous une place pour le souvenir de François Fillon, martyr du simulacre de démocratie.

Voir encore:

Philippe Bilger : «François Fillon est de retour !»
Philippe Bilger
Le Figaro

06/02/2017

FIGAROVOX/OPINION – Le magistrat honoraire, Philippe Bilger, a regardé la conférence de presse de François Fillon. Il a trouvé la plaidoirie du candidat LR convaincante.

Magistrat honoraire, président de l’Institut de la parole, Philippe Bilger a été plus de vingt ans avocat général à la Cour d’Assises de Paris. Auteur de très nombreux ouvrages, il tient le blog Justice au singulier et vient de publier La parole, rien qu’elle (éd. Le Cerf, 2017).
Depuis ses remarquables prestations politiques et médiatiques pour la primaire de la droite et du centre, François Fillon avait en quelque sorte disparu.

Comme si l’éclat de sa victoire l’avait presque déstabilisé à cause des immenses responsabilités qu’elle faisait peser sur lui.

Puis il y a eu l’article sur les prétendus emplois fictifs de son épouse Pénélope dans le Canard enchaîné du 25 janvier. Cet hebdomadaire, dont on aimerait qu’il s’attachât avec tant d’obstination et de malignité à d’autres responsables politiques de haut niveau, n’a jamais cessé de s’en prendre à François Fillon et ce depuis longtemps. Mediapart s’est associé à cette entreprise qui ressemblait plus à de la démolition qu’à de l’investigation.

Il y a eu, cette campagne lancée contre lui, un flot inouï d’attaques, d’insinuations, d’absurdités, de partialités et de trahisons qui avaient tous pour objectifs de présumer François Fillon coupable, de désespérer la droite qui avait enfin trouvé un candidat à la fois intègre, courageux et digne et de laisser croire à certains ambitieux qu’ils avaient leurs chances à sa place. Il faudra retenir leur nom si la campagne présidentielle confirme le prélude de la primaire.

Comment n’y aurait-il pas eu de la part de François Fillon plus qu’un flottement, comme un bouleversement, des variations, des tentatives presque désespérées pour faire admettre sa bonne foi et l’ignoble du procès médiatique intenté à la famille Fillon?

Qui aurait pu résister à ce terrifiant cumul d’une autorité judiciaire se saisissant dans l’urgence après un simple article, de quelques médias acharnés à sa perte, de la honte et de l’indignité déversées sur un couple et ses enfants, du lynchage voluptueux d’une personnalité à laquelle il fallait faire payer le fait qu’elle avait eu le droit de donner des leçons de morale, de prétendus soutiens se plaisant à distiller le doute et le soupçon à son encontre, d’un pouvoir qui à l’évidence n’était pas resté indifférent à ce qui se déroulait et qui aurait pu aboutir à rien de moins qu’à l’élimination du candidat de la droite honorable et heureusement radicale du second tour de l’élection présidentielle? Qui aurait pu affronter sans faiblesse ni approximations ce maelstrom de quelques jours?

D’autant plus que le moins qu’on puisse dire est que la cellule de communication auprès de François Fillon a connu des ratés qu’un amateur aurait su prévenir, notamment dans la distinction trop lentement appréhendée entre le légal et le décent, au cœur de l’affaire Fillon.

François Fillon a eu le courage de l’avouer lors de la conférence de presse qui a marqué son retour. Il a été assommé, il a pris un coup dans l’estomac et a perdu un temps sa réactivité et sa lucidité. Encore troublé, ému, affecté, mais sa maîtrise recouvrée, il a offert non seulement une défense mais une justification de qualité. Non seulement il n’a transgressé aucune loi mais il a toujours favorisé, par son action politique, l’élévation de la morale publique.

Je ne me fais aucune illusion. On ne le laissera quitte de rien. Les officines du pouvoir et les médias ne désirant l’impartialité que pour leurs amis continueront à le harceler.
Lors de cette rencontre avec les journalistes qui n’a duré que 45 minutes, il a été si convaincant, si clair, si net, si vigoureux dans certaines de ses répliques, si lucide dans l’analyse politique de cette machine de guerre lancée contre lui, son programme et donc le peuple de droite auquel on prétendait voler son enthousiasme d’avoir enfin une personnalité à soutenir par adhésion et non plus par défaut que les professionnels du questionnement sont vite demeurés cois.

Rien sur La Revue des Deux Mondes, des interrogations répétées sur un éventuel remboursement. S’ils n’ont pas été à la hauteur, cela tenait d’abord au fait qu’une baudruche enflée jusqu’à la démesure avait éclaté et surtout à ce constat qu’ayant enfin décidé de s’expliquer et de tout dire, François Fillon avait réduit à néant tout un dispositif qui se plaisait, sans véritable contradiction, à l’accabler alors que l’honnêteté, la sincérité et peut-être une certaine maladresse étaient de l’autre côté.

Pour ma part, j’ai apprécié que François Fillon ait maintenu sa phrase sur la mise en examen, qu’un remboursement serait injuste pour ses proches et qu’en définitive il soit parvenu à faire réapparaître celui qu’il avait été lors de la primaire.

Je ne me fais aucune illusion. On ne le laissera quitte de rien. Les officines du pouvoir et les médias ne désirant l’impartialité que pour leurs amis continueront à le harceler.

Mais quelque chose a changé.

Enfin il a compris. Il ne s’agissait pas seulement de Français troublés mais de bien plus. Il a présenté ses regrets, des excuses. Il l’a affirmé avec force: ce qui est légal peut être perçu comme peu moral.

Il a vigoureusement posé les termes du débat et de l’affrontement. D’un côté le tribunal médiatique – il a affirmé sa confiance pour l’issue judiciaire -, de l’autre le peuple français.

François Fillon de retour n’a été animé par rien d’autre que le souci de rendre à une part importante de celui-ci une victoire qu’on croyait déjà lui avoir volée.

Voir de plus:

«François Fillon doit lire Gramsci»

Paul-Marie Coûteaux

Le Figaro
06/02/2017

FIGAROVOX/TRIBUNE – Avec Benoît Hamon et François Fillon, l’opposition historique entre droite et gauche est redevenue maximale. Pour l’ancien eurodéputé souverainiste, «il faut toutes affaires cessantes reconstruire une droite idéologique».


Paul-Marie Coûteaux, né le 31 juillet 1956 à Paris, est un haut fonctionnaire, essayiste et homme politique français. Il a été député européen souverainiste de 1999 à 2009.


La droite française, déstabilisée à la première bourrasque alors qu’elle se veut, à juste titre, majoritaire dans le pays, devrait réfléchir à sa fragilité. Elle semble ne pas comprendre le moment historique, ni même savoir ce qu’elle est dans ce moment, au point que, incapable de faire bloc, elle se laisse manœuvrer par toutes les opérations de l’adversaire. Pourtant, la théorie gramscienne du «bloc historique», qu’on cite sans cesse mais en ne l’effleurant que du bout de l’aile, et sous son acception la plus lapidaire (l’idée que la pensée précède le combat politique – «Au fond des victoires d’Alexandre, on trouve toujours Aristote» comme disait de Gaulle) donnerait de fameuses clefs, si du moins on se donnait la peine de l’étudier de plus près.

Le théoricien italien observait que les générations constituaient à tour de rôle des «blocs historiques» soudant l’ensemble d’une société autour de paradigmes communs – subversifs d’abord, puis peu à peu dominants, avant de se faner et décliner. Ces ensembles idéologiques sont d’abord élaborés par les «intellectuels centraux» (écrivains, universitaires, autorités morales qui, par des livres ou des revues, «donnent les mots») avant de faire peu à peu système et «d’infuser» par degrés l’ensemble de la population: les intellectuels de seconde ligne (professeurs, instituteurs, journalistes…), puis les dirigeants politiques, les hauts-fonctionnaires et les magistrats, les chefs d’entreprise, les professions libérales, et, par degrés, l’ensemble d’un peuple ainsi soudé autour de «points de communion». S’est de la sorte constitué, dans les années 70 (en France, les dates majeures sont 1968, 1974 et 1981), un bloc historique progressiste, fait de cette gauche particulière que Chevènement nomma «gauche américaine», celle qui tient que la «modernité» a toujours raison et le passé toujours tort, et qui croit même que l’on peut tout changer, peuples, hommes, femmes, institutions etc. -voir son slogan de 1974, «Tout est possible».

En quelques années, une jeune escouade de «déconstructeurs» (de la langue, des codes et, surtout, du socle politique classique – Etat, nation, civilisation), donna mots et paradigmes à la vaste ruche des professions intellectuelles ; ils finirent par devenir omniprésents à l’université, dans l’édition, puis dans les médias, parmi les cléricatures et les magistratures, et même chez les grands patrons, lesquels trouvèrent grand intérêt au fameux «jouir sans entrave» qui fut le passeport du consumérisme à outrance, comme le «sans frontiérisme» festif fut celui du libre-échange généralisé. La doxa moderniste conquit finalement l’immense majorité des politiques, y compris de la dite «droite» – celle-ci finit même par accepter de se lire dans une typologie extérieure, et très contestable, celle de René Rémond dont deux des trois branches l’orléanisme et le bonapartisme sont en fait des centrismes… La droite perdit ainsi jusqu’à son nom, ce légitimisme ou, pour mieux dire, ce classicisme politique qui ne sut jamais actualiser ses paradigmes et mots de passe, ni conséquemment se rassembler, et qui, divisée, se laissa exclure du débat public.

Vers le grand renversement

Une génération intellectuelle domine en général une trentaine d’années -telle la génération précédente, que l’on peut dire «de la reconstruction», qui fut dominante entre 1944 et 1970, déclinante ensuite. Celle qui prit tous les pouvoirs dans les années 70 et 80 devrait donc disparaître depuis quelques années. Certes, elle s’épuise: le Non de 2005 prit à angle droit la pensée unique – les oligarques se revanchant vite à Lisbonne. Plusieurs de ses bastions se lézardent: il n’est un secret pour personne que la presse de gauche vit sous perfusion d’argent public, tandis que celle de droite progresse. L’éclatante réussite de la Manif Pour Tous, celle du Puy du Fou exhumant l’archaïque national (est archaïque non ce qui est vieux et passé, mais au contraire ce qui fonde et ne passe pas), les succès de librairie de Patrick Buisson, Philippe de Villiers ou Eric Zemmour sont autant de signes ; par dessus tout, on voit peu à peu ressurgir une droite classique (Patrick Buisson parla de «révolution conservatrice») dont la manifestation fut la victoire aux «primaires» de François Fillon, le catholique qui refuse Babel, ne croit pas que les arbres montent au ciel ni que l’on puisse dépenser sans limite, qui entend restaurer les frontières, l’Europe des nations, les enseignements classiques -on pourrait dire un «identitaire», comme le fut de Gaulle.

Hélas, si le grand reversement idéologique est différé, et si la victoire politique est conséquemment si difficile, c’est que la droite française, qui n’a soutenu nul écrivain, nulle revue, nul grand média capable de jouer le rôle décisif que joua par exemple, dans la génération précédente le Nouvel Observateur, a négligé un travail intellectuel qu’elle ne regarde encore qu’avec un profond mépris -ou non moins profonde paresse. Significative fut la mésaventure d’une revue lancée en 1998 par Philippe Séguin, Une certaine Idée, que j’eus l’honneur de diriger aux cotés de Jean de Boishue, et qui releva le gant du «débat d’idées» jusqu’à ce que, dès sa création, l’UMP la fasse disparaitre au profit d’une Fondation, la FondaPol, confiée à… un homme de gauche.

On comprend la violence des jours que nous vivons, qui sont peut-être ceux de la crise maximale: le bloc UMPS disparaît (qui peut encore assimiler Hamon et Fillon?), la droite, en son cœur légitimiste, menace directement, et au moment crucial des présidentielles, un bloc soixante-huitard attardé qui jette ses dernières forces de ses derniers bastions et cela sans préparation idéologique sérieuse, de sorte que, comme on voit hélas, elle se débande assez vite – à commencer par les parlementaires «républicains» qui révèlent à cette occasion combien la presse de gauche a prise sur eux, et si profondément qu’ils utilisent le vocabulaire même de leur adversaire. Pendant ce temps, la complicité entre puissances d’argent, médias et magistrature joue encore à fond: un article le mercredi, une audition le vendredi, un mauvais sondage le dimanche, une perquisition le lundi puis vient le pilonnage médiatique, certes disproportionné (les problèmes qui font sous nos yeux disparaître la France comme nation, comme Etat et comme civilisation sont sans rapport de gravité avec la façon dont le candidat a utilisé son enveloppe parlementaire) mais capable de faire vaciller le favori, issu pour la première fois depuis longtemps d’une droite assumée – mais si mal préparée au combat idéologico-judiciaro-médiatique qu’elle n’a pour arme qu’internet, ou des manifestations de rue. Bref: les mains nues.

C’est pour cela que M. Fillon doit tenir coûte que coûte ; et qu’il faut toutes affaires cessantes reconstruire une droite idéologique, à commencer par ses paradigmes, qui réunira ses composantes et permettra de conquérir les places décisives, à l’université, dans l’édition, dans les médias et la haute fonction publique sans lesquelles il n’est pas de légitimité forte, donc par de puissance de gouvernement. (Au passage, souhaitons que la droite étourdie, du coup la plus bête du monde, sache enfin sortir du piège de Mitterrand qui la coupant depuis trente ans en deux camps, en commençant par jouer des porosités avec le FN. Si, alors que la relève est pourtant là, et que les jeunes plumes ne manquent pas, nous échouons à opérer ce grand renversement qui est dans els rythmes mêmes de l’Histoire, il est possible qu’une nouvelle relève, un modernisme plus violent encore (tel le trans-humanisme) prenne sa place, et nous partons alors vers une «civilisation» qui n’aura plus rien à voir avec ce que nous appelons encore la France. Pendant ce temps la gauche perdure alors que toute sa matrice est disqualifiée, tirant encore de fameuses salves sur une droite sans leviers ni relais et plongée dans l’hébétude. Il est donc temps de lire Gramsci, puis, comme disait Boutang, de «reprendre le Pouvoir» -de le reprendre réellement, et de l’exercer.

Voir également:

Pourquoi M. Fillon sera élu président de la République
Maxime Tandonnet

7 février 2017

Paradoxalement, les événements de ces derniers jours me confortent dans l’idée que F Fillon sera élu président de la République en mai prochain. Sept raisons me font dire qu’il est aujourd’hui le mieux placé des grands candidats pour gagner la présidentielle.

Le lynchage médiatique qu’il subit depuis deux semaines a pris une tournure caricaturale. Presse, télévisions, radios, sites Internet, réseaux sociaux, dans une sorte de délire mimétique et d’acharnement, se livrent à une chasse à l’homme rituelle qui va provoquer une réaction naturelle de victimisation du paria et un retournement de l’opinion en sa faveur, en tant que gibier de potence d’un système politico-médiatique dont les Français ne veulent plus.

Malgré cette curée d’une violence sans précédent lors d’une campagne, il a tenu bon dans la tempête. Au plus fort de cette tentative d’assassinat politique, son niveau dans les sondages n’est pas descendu à moins de 18%, signe d’un socle de popularité solide.

L’opposition républicaine a tenu bon autour de lui, aucun des grands leaders battus des primaires n’a manqué à la solidarité, bien au contraire, notamment A. Juppé et N. Sarkozy qui lui ont apporté un soutien sans failles. L’assise politique est solide.

Le néant de ses principaux adversaires est effarant. Le succès de M. Macron est spectaculaire, mais au-delà de son visage avenant et de son sourire, nul n’a la moindre idée des orientations qu’il propose, surtout sur le régalien (sécurité, terrorisme, international, frontières). Les propositions lepénistes sont sidérantes d’irréalisme: par exemple le « référendum d’initiative populaire » à la demande de 500 000 signataires (à la portée de tout groupuscule et de toutes les démagogies) plongerait l’Etat de droit dans un chaos permanent et une banalisation destructrice de la procédure référendaire. Un jour ou l’autre, la torpeur générale à cet égard prendra fin.

Fillon est le seul à pouvoir espérer disposer d’une majorité parlementaire cohérente et à réussir l’alternance que souhaitent les Français. M. Macron qui se dit « ni droite ni gauche », détesté par une partie de la gauche,  ne disposerait pas d’une majorité socialiste stable et devrait compter sur une vague alliance centriste de circonstance, totalement instable. Quant à la candidate lepéniste, élue, elle se trouverait face à un Parlement  presque unanimement hostile et serait radicalement paralysée.

Seul F. Fillon se présente comme un personnage expérimenté, ayant une longue expérience du sommet de l’Etat et en politique étrangère. Or les Français n’attendent pas un président « zébulon », bavard et gesticulant, faute de pouvoir agir, mais une forme de sagesse et de recul à l’Elysée. Le temps des super communicants est passé et celui de la vérité et de l’action est venu. A cet égard, il semble mieux placé que les autres candidats pour rendre de la hauteur à la fonction présidentielle, même s’il doit encore donner des gages à ce sujet.

Lui seul offre une forme de troisième voie entre le repli nationaliste qu’exprime le lepénisme (thème de la « préférence nationale » ou de la taxe à 3% sur les importations qui entraînerait des représailles foudroyantes sur les exportations) et la grande ouverture à tous les vents, sans limite ni protection, que reflète M. Macron.

Voir de plus:

Affaire Fillon : un ex-attaché parlementaire témoigne

Vincent Goyet
02-02-2017

Titulaire à la Sorbonne d’une licence de philosophie politique et d’une maîtrise d’Histoire contemporaine, puis d’un master en stratégie et décision publiques et politiques de l’ISMaPP , Vincent Goyet a travaillé durant cinq ans, comme attaché parlementaire à l’Assemblée nationale. Il nous confie son témoignage.

Parce que j’ai été attaché parlementaire, beaucoup de ceux qui me connaissent m’ont demandé comment faire le tri entre tous les éléments qu’ils ont lus dans la presse ces derniers jours à propos du fonctionnement de l’équipe qui entoure chaque député. Je tiens à préciser tout de suite que si je soutiens François Fillon depuis la défaite et le départ de Nicolas Sarkozy en mai 2012, les éléments que je donne ci-dessous sont ma propre analyse et mon propre ressenti. Je laisse chacun y puiser ce qu’il voudra.

Avant tout, le cabinet parlementaire fonctionne de fait comme une TPE. Le député embauche et rémunère librement ses collaborateurs, sur la base de contrats de travail de droit privé, qui prennent automatiquement fin en cas d’interruption du mandat parlementaire. Pour rémunérer ses collaborateurs, chaque député dispose d’une enveloppe mensuelle de 9 561 € (lorsqu’il laisse l’Assemblée nationale gérer ces contrats et payer les charges patronales), 14 341 € s’il décide de tout gérer lui-même. Sur les 9 561 €, il doit donc encore acquitter les charges salariales (précision technique pour les puristes). Dans les faits, l’immense majorité des députés laisse l’Assemblée s’occuper de tout.

Chaque député organise à sa guise le travail de son équipe, avec des collaborateurs dont le travail peut être très divers : agenda, logistique, courriers, dossiers législatifs, dossiers locaux, réunions, questions au Gouvernement, amendements, relations presse, relations avec les élus, relations avec la population, communication, rendez-vous, représentation, conseil, etc. Ce travail répond en fait aux trois fonctions remplies par un parlementaire : 1/ il représente le peuple ; 2/ il vote les lois ; 3/ il contrôle l’action du Gouvernement et des administrations.                             Bref, le travail est gigantesque, et la politique est bien souvent le lieu où les militants viennent donner un coup de main bénévole (mise sous pli, distribution de documents à la population, logistique des réunions publiques, réseaux sociaux, etc.). Il y a plutôt trop de travail que pas assez !

François Fillon est aujourd’hui attaqué non pas pour avoir rémunéré son épouse et deux de ses enfants, mais parce que certains soupçonnent qu’il s’agirait d’emplois fictifs, sans travail réalisé en contrepartie. Comme je viens de le souligner, ce n’est pas le travail qui manque autour d’un député. J’ai croisé des dizaines et des dizaines de parlementaires, davantage encore de collaborateurs, et la plupart d’entre eux sont des passionnés, qui ne comptent pas leurs heures. De même, il est inimaginable qu’un élu fasse une carrière politique durant 35 ans (François Fillon a été élu pour la première fois en 1981) sans que sa / son conjoint(e) ne lui apporte au quotidien un soutien et une aide de tous les instants, surtout si elle / il n’a pas une autre activité professionnelle à côté.

Quid du niveau de rémunération pour le conjoint non salarié du chef d’entreprise ? Comme dans n’importe quelle TPE, il est fréquent que le conjoint participe de fait à l’activité sans percevoir de salaire. Quand la structure trouve l’espace d’une rémunération, il peut y avoir ensuite une forme de rattrapage salarial, en contrepartie de toutes les années de bénévolat. S’agissant de Pénélope Fillon, elle n’a pas été rémunérée entre 1981 et 1988. Puis elle a bénéficié d’un salaire comme attachée parlementaire jusqu’en 2013 (avec manifestement un rattrapage salarial). Elle a perçu 639 000 euros net sur cette période (les médias parlent en brut pour gonfler la somme). Ramené à 35 années de travail aux côtés de son mari, nous arrivons à l’équivalent d’un salaire net mensuel de 1521 €.                                                                                                            Tous ceux qui se scandalisent du montant de 830 000 € brut devraient méditer sur la période concernée… Si j’avais travaillé durant 35 ans aux côtés de François Fillon, sur la base du salaire de 2600 € net que je touchais en 2007, j’aurais coûté bien plus de 830 000 € brut (faites le calcul : 1,4 million d’euros brut – et par souci de simplicité, je n’ai pas tenu compte du 13e mois…).

Mais quel travail a donc bien pu réaliser Pénélope Fillon ? Sans doute un travail de petite main pour un grand nombre de courriers reçus au domicile (François Fillon n’avait pas de permanence parlementaire en circonscription). Un soutien logistique également. Un travail de conseil, relecture (c’est ce qui semble ressortir de la bouche de l’avocat de François Fillon). Un travail de représentation, aussi, accompagnant son mari, ou se substituant à lui quand il n’était pas disponible.                                                                                                                                   Pénélope Fillon n’aurait-elle pas pu remplir toutes ces tâches sans être rémunérée ? Si, sans doute. Mais en France, la loi autorise les parlementaires à salarier leurs proches. De très, très nombreux élus le font, ponctuellement ou de façon pérenne. C’est fréquemment le cas pour les enfants étudiants des députés ou sénateurs, dont les parents mettent ainsi le pied à l’étrier professionnel.

Mais alors, pourquoi cette brusque poussée de fièvre concernant François Fillon ? Qui ne voit pas l’opération de déstabilisation à quelques semaines de la présidentielle ? « Calomniez, calomniez, il en restera toujours quelque chose » proclame Francis Bacon dans son Essai sur l’athéisme.

Interrogeons-nous maintenant sur le niveau de rémunération des enfants de parlementaires : n’est-il pas excessif ? On peut parfaitement le penser dans certains cas. Mais 1/ ce montant reste à la discrétion du parlementaire et 2/ on sort du débat sur le caractère fictif de l’emploi. Les enfants de Fillon avaient fait des études de droit, l’un d’eux a d’ailleurs obtenu son diplôme d’avocat l’année suivante. Ils avaient donc des compétences utiles pour aider leur père dans ses missions parlementaires. Il ne s’agit pas d’emplois fictifs. Or, c’est là-dessus que Fillon est attaqué.

Certains s’étonnent aussi que Pénélope Fillon n’avait pas de badge pour accéder à l’Assemblée, ni d’adresse e-mail personnalisée. J’ai travaillé durant 5 ans à l’Assemblée (entre 2002 et 2007), j’avais évidemment un badge pour accéder à mon lieu de travail, mais ce n’était pas le cas de tous mes collègues de circonscription. Je n’ai par ailleurs jamais eu d’adresse e-mail professionnelle à mon nom : j’ai toujours utilisé l’adresse des parlementaires pour lesquels j’ai travaillé.

Autres questions légitimes que se posent beaucoup de gens : pourquoi Pénélope Filllon a-t-elle été rémunérée par le suppléant de François Fillon ? A quel travail est-ce que cela correspond ? Pourquoi un salaire si élevé ? Lorsqu’un parlementaire devient ministre, il conserve un lien avec le territoire d’où il est originaire. Les collaborateurs du suppléant devenu député font souvent le lien et la navette entre la circonscription et le ministère. Et Pénélope Fillon a pu être d’autant plus sollicitée dans ce cadre que l’agenda de son mari le rendait beaucoup moins disponible. Le suppléant de François Fillon était par ailleurs peut-être davantage présent en circonscription qu’à Paris, n’ayant pas forcément les mêmes ambitions et appétences pour le travail législatif que son prédécesseur.                                                                                                                     Enfin, un élément important : jusqu’en 2012, les députés pouvaient conserver le reliquat du crédit collaborateurs qui leur était attribué. Cet argent ne serait donc pas resté dans les caisses de l’Assemblée. Ceux qui demandent à Pénélope Fillon de « rendre l’argent » ignorent manifestement qu’il s’agirait de le rendre… à François Fillon lui-même.

Mais alors, pourquoi Pénélope Filllon a-t-elle dit qu’elle ne travaillait pas et ne s’était jamais mêlée de politique ? Peut-être simplement parce qu’elle ne considérait pas son action comme un travail, mais comme un engagement aux côtés de son mari. Il n’empêche que si elle n’avait pas été là, toutes les tâches qu’elle a accomplies auraient dû l’être par quelqu’un d’autre. En outre, un attaché parlementaire ne fait pas de politique : il travaille dans le domaine politique, mais c’est le parlementaire qui fait de la politique. Pas ses collaborateurs.

Posons-nous maintenant la question de l’orchestration de cette affaire politico-médiatique :

– le mercredi 25 janvier, le Canard Enchaîné publie un article

– le jeudi 26 janvier, le Parquet national financier ouvre une enquête judiciaire

– le vendredi 27 janvier, ce même parquet auditionne plusieurs témoins

Une vitesse absolument stupéfiante !

Pour rappel, le parquet national financier a été créé par Christiane Taubira en 2014, qui y a placé ses amis : le procureur du PNF, Eliane Houlette, était commissaire du gouvernement auprès du Conseil des ventes volontaires. Elle doit son incroyable et fulgurante promotion au Garde des Sceaux de l’époque, laquelle a également constitué une équipe de procureurs adjoints et vice-procureurs parmi ses très proches (Michel Pelegry, Ulrika Delaunay-Weiss, Patrice Amar, Monica d’Onofrio…). Rappelons aussi qu’en France, le parquet (a fortiori le parquet national financier) n’est pas indépendant du pouvoir exécutif : les procureurs dépendent directement du ministre de la Justice, ce qui est d’ailleurs pointé du doigt par la Cour Européenne des Droits de l’Homme.

La vitesse avec laquelle le parquet s’est jeté sur François Fillon ne manquera pas d’interpeller tous ceux qui déplorent les lenteurs habituelles de la Justice. La perquisition de l’Assemblée nationale qui a eu lieu hier après-midi relève là encore de l’exceptionnel. Parallèlement, quand des journalistes publient dans le livre « Nos très chers émirs » des accusations nominatives de corruption envers un ministre du Gouvernement, le même parquet reste curieusement muet. Pourquoi une telle différence de traitement ?

Face à cette situation, je suis persuadé de l’impossibilité pour Pénélope Fillon de ne pas avoir participé au travail parlementaire de son mari. Son travail n’a pas été fictif, et il dure depuis 35 ans. Je suis aussi persuadé que cette opération de déstabilisation a été sciemment préparée et orchestrée. Je n’ai pas voulu croire à une machination envers DSK en 2011, ses propres turpitudes étant suffisantes pour provoquer la chute d’un candidat annoncé par tous comme le prochain président français. La similitude de l’acharnement qu’il a subi alors, avec l’acharnement subi aujourd’hui par François Fillon, fait naître le doute. Les mêmes officines semblent à l’oeuvre. D’ailleurs, ce sont les mêmes qui en furent et en seraient les grands bénéficiaires : François Hollande et ses proches, du PS à Macron.

Et toute cette agitation éloigne les citoyens de ce qui devrait nous préoccuper à titre principal : la situation de la France, qui compte un nombre record de chômeurs, dont la dette n’a jamais été aussi élevée, et qui n’offre aux jeunes générations que le choix entre le déclassement ou l’émigration.

Voilà pourquoi je continue plus que jamais à soutenir François Fillon. Parce que le projet qu’il porte me semble nécessaire pour redresser notre pays. Parce qu’il faut desserrer l’étau de l’étatisme. Parce qu’il faut permettre à chacun de travailler davantage s’il le souhaite pour gagner davantage. Parce qu’il faut améliorer le financement et la couverture maladie de notre assurance sociale. Parce que la France doit redevenir un interlocuteur crédible sur la scène internationale. Et parce que je ne suis pas dupe du matraquage médiatique actuel.

Voir encore:

Sondage : Macron le plus capable pour l’Elysée, Hamon le plus honnête
Pierre-Alain Furbury

Les Echos

Le 01/02/17

EXCLUSIF + DOCUMENT et VIDEO – Pour les Français sondés par Elabe pour « Les Echos », le leader d’En Marche est celui qui a le plus « les capacités nécessaires » pour l’Elysée et le porte-drapeau du PS celui qui est le plus « honnête ». Victime de l’« affaire Penelope », Fillon apparaît capable, moins honnête.

Quels sont les candidats à la présidentielle qui ont, dans l’opinion publique, « les qualités nécessaires » pour être à l’Elysée ? Et quels sont « les plus honnêtes ». L’institut Elabe a interrogé ces lundi et mardi les Français et les résultats, pour « Les Echos » et Radio classique, illustrent à la fois la progression d’Emmanuel Macron et Benoît Hamon, qui accèdent respectivement à la deuxième et quatrième places dans les intentions de vote. Et la chute de François Fillon, qui, à 19-20%, serait aujourd’hui éliminé dès le premier tour .

Sur les « qualités nécessaires » pour être chef de l’Etat, le candidat de la droite est certes à la deuxième place. L’ancien Premier ministre de Nicolas Sarkozy est cité en premier ou deuxième par 36% des personnes interrogées. Seul Emmanuel Macron fait mieux, cité en premier ou deuxième par 46%. Benoît Hamon est cité par 34% des Français, devant Marine Le Pen (28%) et Jean-Luc Mélenchon (18%). François Fillon est même celui qui est le plus cité en premier, par 22% des personnes interrogées, contre 21% à l’ancien ministre de l’Economie de François Hollande.

Sur la question de l’honnêteté, le palmarès est radicalement différent, même si Emmanuel Macron reste bien placé puisqu’il est sur la deuxième marche du podium, cité (en premier ou second) par 30% des Français. Cette-fois, c’est Benoît Hamon qui arrive en tête. Le candidat du PS est cité (toujours en premier ou deuxième) par 33% des personnes interrogées. Suivent Marine Le Pen (25%), Jean-Luc Mélenchon (23%) et François Bayrou (21%).

Plombé par la polémique sur les emplois présumés fictifs de son épouse Penelope, François Fillon est à la peine : 17% seulement le citent en premier ou deuxième parmi les candidats « les plus honnêtes ». Il ne devance que les petits candidat (Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, Philippe Poutou, Nathalie Artaud, Jannick Jadot), qui pâtissent, eux, de leur manque de notoriété dans l’opinion.

Voir par ailleurs:

Who’s behind the mysterious rise of Emmanuel Macron?

Until recently, he had no visible record of political commitment. But he might be about to destroy the Socialist party

The Spectator

4 February 2017

Before the horrified gaze of its militants, the French Socialist party — which has been a major force in French politics since 1981, and forms the present government — is falling to pieces.

There are many reasons behind this catastrophe. They go back to 2005 and the dithering leadership of the then secretary-general, François Hollande, at a time when the party was dangerously divided after the referendum on a European constitution. And they continue up to 1 December last year, when President Hollande, after again dithering for months, announced on national television, in tears, that he had bowed to the inevitable — his own failure and unpopularity — and would not run for re-election. But the most significant reason for the Socialist implosion is the sudden arrival of a man from nowhere called Emmanuel Macron.

Macron, at 39, would normally be considered at least 15 years too young to mount a serious presidential challenge in France, but the most recent polls show him in third place, just behind the front-runner, the far-right Front National’s leader, Marine Le Pen, and François Fillon, the candidate of the conservative party, Les Républicains.

His rapid rise makes Macron a genuine original in French politics and his opponents do not know what to make of him. Unlike all other serious contenders, he has no visible record of political commitment. In 2004 he graduated from the National School of Administration (ENA) and joined the upper civil service. Then, in 2008, he paid €50,000 to buy himself out of his government contract and became an investment banker with Rothschild, where he was highly regarded and quickly made a small fortune. Then, in 2012, with the election of President Hollande, his career took another unexpected change of direction: he left Rothschild to become deputy secretary-general at the Elysée. When Manuel Valls became Hollande’s second prime minister in 2014, with instructions to deregulate the French economy, Macron was catapulted into the economics ministry.

Hollande and Valls congratulated themselves on an imaginative choice, and Macron set out to please Brussels by cutting France’s deficit while encouraging business activity. In 2015 he introduced la loi Macron, a measure designed to stimulate growth by abolishing public service monopolies and union restrictions on hours. This had to be forced through the National Assembly by decree, against the opposition of Socialist deputies, an unpopular move that consecrated Macron as the bête noire of the left.

As the months in office passed, Macron openly developed a separate political agenda, often disagreeing in public with Valls. Soon after his appointment, a mysterious movement appeared called ‘Les Jeunes avec Macron’ (‘Young people for Macron’). This was launched as a ‘spontaneous’ internet site, but quickly grew into a well-organised group numbering several thousand activists whose average age was said to be 33.

Macron then began to dominate the debate on European and welfare policy — but Hollande and Valls did nothing to rein him in. In 2015, a few days after Hollande insisted that Macron was ‘respecting his authority’, the maverick minister attacked the wealth tax — a central plank of Socialist fiscal policy since it was introduced in 1989. Meanwhile, party leaders mocked his inexperience and lack of support on the left, and estimated his electoral appeal at 6 per cent.

Undaunted, the economics minister announced that he was forming his own political ‘movement’, ‘En Marche!’ (Let’s Go!), ‘open to everyone of progressive views’ and ‘aimed at younger voters’. Last August he started touring French holiday resorts appealing for a vision that would ‘re-forge the country’s politics, culture and ideology’. At the end of the month he announced his resignation, and in November he launched the presidential campaign that he must have been secretly preparing ever since he joined the government.

While the seven hapless candidates for the Socialist party’s nomination were struggling throughout December to achieve three-figure attendance at their meetings, Macron — with no party machine behind him — was attracting thousands. In Clermont-Ferrand it was 2,500, in Lille 4,000, and in Paris last month 12,000 people packed into the hall to hear him speak.

As a presidential candidate, Macron is seen as an outsider, someone who will ‘break the system’ and challenge the stifling consensus of unions, over-entitled functionaries and remarkably youthful pensioners that prevents France from responding to the challenges of globalisation. He usually describes himself as ‘centrist’ but he also objects to being called ‘anti-socialist’.

If Macron’s unique selling point is unclear, his unique talking point is that he married his former school teacher, a lady 24 years older than him. This startling fact, when first encountered, tends to bring political discussion to a halt, while all pause for a few moments of profound reflection. His latest fan is Ségolène Royal. Ségolène is the current minister of the environment, and, by chance, she too is 24 years older than the dynamic new arrival. She has repeatedly spoken of her affection and admiration for Macron. Ségolène was the defeated Socialist presidential candidate of 2007, but last week she urged the party’s voters to ignore their own candidate, Benoît Hamon — a hardline leftist sacked as education minister by Valls in 2014 — and back Macron instead.

Macron has not just divided the Socialists, he has replaced them. So how has this apparently isolated and underfunded individual managed all this in such a short time? It is clear that Macron has powerful supporters behind the scenes, and a clue may lie in the little-discussed fact that some years ago he was identified as a member of ‘les Gracques’ — a discreet centre-left pressure group loosely staffed by influential chief executives and civil service mandarins. They are pro-market socialists who long ago gave up on the Socialist party. Many are fellow ‘énarques’ (graduates of ENA) and every step of Macron’s career could have been directed by them. Spotted as a brilliant and charming student, Macron could first have been launched into the prestigious state Finance Inspectorate, then switched into Rothschild to gain business experience (and wealthy support) and then placed like a time bomb in Hollande’s outer office, where he ticked away until he could be moved into the heart of the Valls government. Last August he finally exploded into action at the perfect moment to cause maximum damage to Hollande, Valls and the entire Socialist presidential election campaign. Macron’s rise bears all the hallmarks of a classic ENA undercover operation, a fundamental part of the énarques’ stock-in-trade and one in which the country’s leading bureaucrats are cynically trained.

Now that the Socialists have lumbered themselves with a dinosaur — Hamon — as their candidate, Macron is in an even stronger position. He will be able to tune his campaign to attract moderate Socialist voters as well as the centrists and centre-rightists who flock to his meetings and are having second thoughts about François Fillon.

Mr Fillon and his British wife Penelope are currently under investigation for misuse of public funds. Both deny the accusations. Interestingly, the information that has placed him under suspicion seems to have come from dissident members of Les Républicains, his own party — angry that neither ex–president Nicolas Sarkozy nor Alain Juppé, mayor of Bordeaux, won the nomination. If Mr Fillon is formally charged, he has said that he will not run. In which case the most likely solution for his party, at this short notice, would be to select Mr Juppé in his place.

Voir encore:

The French election is now Marine Le Pen vs a collapsing French establishment

A Le Pen victory would be the worst crisis for half a century. Even if she doesn’t, the system is in deep trouble

The Spectator

11 February 2017

Is France on the brink of a political revolution? Already, four established candidates for the presidency — two former presidents and two former prime ministers — have backed out or been rejected by the voters, and another, François Fillon, is on the ropes. The campaign is being taken over by outsiders, principally the Front National’s Marine Le Pen and a youthful former banker, Emmanuel Macron, while the Socialists have chosen an eccentric radical, Benoît Hamon. Should we welcome a shake-up in the cradle of European revolutions? What kind of shake-up might it be — socialist (the least likely), liberal with Macron or nationalist with Le Pen? Or can the outsiders still be beaten by an electoral system designed to keep them out of power?

France in its modern history has worn out five monarchies, five republics and 16 constitutions — and two of this year’s presidential hopefuls are demanding a 17th. Its people are still more ready than most to go into the streets. It was, and is, a country in which rhetoric and visions play a prominent part in politics. In Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, the romantic revolutionary Enjolras waxes lyrical from the top of his barricade about the glorious time when ‘thinkers will be completely free, believers completely equal, no more hatred, fraternity in the workshop and the school, jobs and rights for all’. But Enjolras gets killed, and his wish list is still at the top of the agenda nearly two centuries on.

This is because France fluctuates between short spasms of change and longer periods of immobility. It has developed institutional barriers and tacit compromises to hold things steady. Its current Fifth Republic is a ‘republican monarchy’, with parliament downgraded and a powerful president supposed to unite the nation — a task sadly beyond most politicians. Another, less noticed, institution goes back even further than Enjolras’s fictional death on the barricades: the two-round ballot, designed in the 1820s to prevent hotheads like him from winning elections. It gives voters and politicians a second chance, not so much to reconsider their own choices as to react against the choices of others. In the first round you vote for the person you want; in the second you vote against the person you fear.

This evolved historically into what was called ‘republican discipline’: in the first round there could be a range of competing candidates of all shades, but in the second round all loyal republicans, from the mildest liberal to the reddest communist, would vote for the candidate best placed to beat the enemy of the republic — usually a royalist or authoritarian nationalist. The apparition of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s Front National in the 1970s, combining traditionalist conservatives, embittered nationalists and nostalgic fascists, met the same response. When Le Pen shocked France by getting through to the second round of the 2002 presidential election, he was crushed by Jacques Chirac, who got 82 per cent of the vote. Good republicans rallied, including those on the far left: ‘Better a crook than a fascist’ said one slogan. The crucial question in this election is whether the republican reflex still operates. If not, Marine Le Pen could win.

Consider the long-term consequences of the two-round voting system. Many British commentators — and indeed some in France — call periodically for a ‘French Thatcher’ to sweep away institutional barriers to economic dynamism. Nicolas Sarkozy was one who briefly claimed this mantle. The latest is Emmanuel Macron, a former economics minister of Blairite tinge in François Hollande’s socialist government. But Margaret Thatcher could never have been elected in a French-style second round. The British system not only can but regularly does give power to a united minority over a divided majority. Mrs Thatcher could carry out a peaceful revolution without ever having the clear support of a majority of voters. In a French-style system, she and her parliamentary supporters would inevitably have been defeated in second-round ballots by a combination of Labour and the Liberals: Jim Callaghan would have been triumphantly re-elected.

In short, precisely because of its turbulent political history, France has developed a series of barriers against radical change. A leading sociologist, Michel Crozier, described it in 1970 as a ‘société bloquée’ — a ‘stalemate society’. Of course, much in France does change: but the price of political stability is that certain fundamental rights and privileges remain untouched. Advantageous retirement rights and pensions. Certain influential professions. Farmers, sheltered by the Common Agricultural Policy. People in permanent employment, protected by laws penalising redundancy and limiting hours of work. The public sector — in French le service public, significantly in the singular — is the core of this system: schools, public hospitals, railways, universities, local government, the post office. All are arms of the state. Think of le service public as the NHS multiplied by five. The politics of its workforce, combining a real sense of public service with a jealous defence of rights and privileges, explains why France is the most anti-capitalist country in Europe.

There are benefits. Many British people have happy memories of French hospitals, schools or trains. But one does not need very right-wing views to see the accumulating disadvantages. The highest taxes in the developed world, especially on businesses. Chronic unemployment, worst among the young and ethnic minorities. Slow growth, including among small companies afraid of the burden of regulation incurred by getting too big. Crumbling infrastructure. Anyone who arrives at the Gare du Nord must see that something is amiss. People in France do too, and have done for years. Even in the 1980s President Mitterrand lamented national ‘moroseness’. Bookshops have long been piled high with works by economists, politicians and academics warning that France was in accelerating decline. Young people emigrate, over 200,000 to London alone.

On top of this chronic malaise has come the tension between republican secularism and Islam, sparked off three decades ago by a row about girls wearing headscarves in a provincial secondary school. It is a fraught mixture of cultural difference, social deprivation and historic mistrust, but none can doubt its brooding presence, hugely inflamed by a series of terrorist attacks. Had I risked forgetting this, I would have been dramatically reminded a few weeks ago when in a quiet street in Paris I walked into a 25-man military patrol in full combat gear.

None of these observations is unique to France. Characteristic of France, however, is the seeming inability of the political system to do much about them, even over many years. Here we come back to the ‘stalemate society’ problem. Even limited reforms — by British standards minor tinkering — with the education system or the labour market have caused huge and prolonged student demonstrations and sit-ins, and damaging strikes by public-sector unions. They often produce complicated half-measures that create a destabilising sense of unresolved problems and leave continuing tensions.

A ‘French Thatcher’ — assuming that there is one, however diluted — faces not only the electoral barrier but a wider ideological polarisation than that of Britain in the 1980s. Then a large minority, even at times a majority, felt that something radical had to be done, and accepted that this included weakening the trade unions and increasing the freedom of the market. There is little sign that any such consensus exists in France, where both left and right are deeply suspicious of economic liberalism. Marine Le Pen thunders against free trade and ‘unfair’ competition. The very word ‘liberal’ has long been a political kiss of death: we shall see whether Macron is immune. So there is widespread dissatisfaction, but no accepted solution.

The party structure, always weak in France, has struggled to produce agreed strategies or new generations of politicians. Party funding problems have produced endless financial scandals, in which Sarkozy is now again entangled. Many politicians have roots in local government, and in one way that’s a strength. But it also creates what the French call fiefs — feudal domains — which can provide impregnable political bases for big beasts and questionable sources of funds. Not untypical is Alain Juppé, mayor of the great city of Bordeaux — and, despite his advanced age and conviction for corruption, until recently regarded as the leading presidential candidate. He has memorably remarked that only death ends a political career in France: he might still prove it again.

Parties struggle to clear out the dead wood and choose new people. It is telling that the charismatic Macron, astonishingly young for French politics at 39, has never held elected office and must stand as an independent, having created his own party. However, the recent introduction of party primaries, which started with the Socialists, has unexpectedly let the frustrated grass roots see off a succession of ‘big-beast’ candidates including Juppé, Sarkozy and the former Socialist prime minister Manuel Valls, whose defeat marks the Corbynisation of the Socialist party under the evidently unelectable Benoît Hamon.

So is France in crisis? It remains one of the world’s richest, most powerful and most active states, which should make us beware excessive pessimism. The historian Emile Chabal has noted that the French often talk up crisis as ‘a key catalyst’ for change. But this time the crisis is more than just rhetoric: many voters really have lost faith in the established parties and see change as coming from outside the system. The main embodiment of disillusion is Marine Le Pen. Her Front National continues to grow in rust-belt regions and those with high levels of immigration, largely by attracting disaffected working-class voters. It is probably France’s largest party, supported by nearly a third of the electorate.

Le Pen has laboured since taking over from her father in 2011 to convince voters that the Front National, though still radical, is no longer ‘anti-republican’, and indeed is the staunchest upholder of republican secularism against Islamic encroachment. The message is that voting for her is not a betrayal of the republican heritage so central to France’s self-image.

She has added to her nationalist agenda vehement denunciation of the European Union as a foreign capitalist plot. Nearly the whole French establishment unquestioningly accepts the EU as France’s historic destiny. The Front National’s denunciation makes support for it a shibboleth of progressive values. The country is more polarised than Britain: more people strongly support the EU, but also more people strongly reject it. So while Brexit provoked some asperity in private and a few polite demonstrations in public, any attempt at a French exit would cause mayhem.

Le Pen will surely win through to the second round of the election, and it is quite possible that she will head the poll in the first round on 23 April. Fillon was supposed to be able to rally moderate conservative and moderate Socialist voters and beat her in the second round. But a tawdry financial scandal (which many suspect was leaked by a vengeful and still ambitious Sarkozy) has damaged and may eliminate him. He fought back by producing his diffident Welsh-born wife Penelope — accused of being paid for a fake job — at a rally where she tearfully held his hand while supporters shouted ‘Je suis Penelope!’ Polls indicate that two thirds of conservative voters still support him. How many of the other third might defect to Le Pen?

Brexit and Trump have created a sense that the unthinkable is possible, which could further weaken the taboo against voting for her. But it will mobilise her opponents too. I cannot believe that enough moderate voters will stay away from the second-round poll to let ‘the fascists’ win. ‘Republican discipline’ should still rally support for whoever polls best against Le Pen, which at the moment looks likely to be Macron.

Nevertheless, few now rule out a Le Pen victory completely, and if Macron’s campaign runs into serious trouble, all bets are off. Every new scandal or terrorist incident plays into her hands. If she did become president, France would face a genuine crisis, the worst for half a century. There would certainly be strikes and violent demonstrations by those who would see themselves as defending the republic against fascism. How she could form a viable government or win a majority in parliament is unclear. We would see a conflict between the Fifth Republic’s powerful president and its parliament under a constitutional system that one liberal critic has called dangerous even in the hands of a saint. The consequences for the euro, the EU, western security and Britain’s relations with one of its closest allies would be dire.

More likely is that a very different kind of outsider, Emmanuel Macron, will win in the second round. This would gain him goodwill and authority — for a time. But his, and France’s, problems would not be over. He is committed to liberal economic reforms likely to arouse widespread and even turbulent opposition. He is a one-man band, and established politicians of right and left have an interest in his failure. He himself will have won only because people who dislike him have seen him as a barrier to Le Pen. She will probably get a higher vote than ever and will continue working inexorably towards the next election. A French friend recently said to me, ‘I am not voting for anyone. I’m only voting against.’ This is the depressing mantra of French politics today.

Robert Tombs is professor of French history at St John’s College, Cambridge. He discusses the fate of the Fifth Republic in this week’s Spectator podcast, available at www.spectator.co.uk/podcast. He is the author of The English and Their History, and, with his wife, Isabelle, That Sweet Enemy: the British and the French from the Sun King to the Present.

Voir enfin:

Why Is France So Corrupt?
France’s lax ethical standards are catching up with Francois Fillon — and boosting Marine Le Pen’s campaign for president.
Robert Zaretsky
Foreign Policy
February 1, 2017

Last week, France’s Les Républicains had an American Republican moment — namely, they relived Richard Nixon’s televised 1952 Checkers speech. Just as the U.S. vice presidential candidate responded to charges that he and his family had dipped into a political campaign fund, so too did François Fillon, the French Républicains’ presidential candidate, appear on television to defend himself against similar charges.

Nixon’s gamble paid off. His remark that his wife, Pat, wore a “respectable Republican cloth coat” instead of mink won over enough Republican voters to salvage his place on Dwight Eisenhower’s ticket. Whether Fillon’s will do the same remains to be seen. He faces greater odds. As the satirical and investigative weekly Le Canard Enchaîné revealed last Wednesday, Fillon had funneled enough money — about $540,000 — from his taxpayer-funded parliamentary account into his wife’s private bank account for her to buy plenty of fur, should she so choose. One week later, the news got worse: turns out, according to Canard, the figure was closer to $900,000.

No one in France disputes Fillon’s right to have paid his wife as an “assistant” over the course of eight years. While nepotism laws in America prohibit such practices — unless you are president — not so in France. More than one-fifth of French parliamentary representatives — 115 of 577 — employ one or more family members as “assistants.” Yet, while it is not illegal for political officeholders in France to hire family members, it is illegal to create so-called emplois fictifs, or make-believe jobs where you pay relatives for work they have not, are not, and never intend to do. Herein lies the rub with the Fillons. Until the Canard’s scoop, there was no reason to believe that the Welsh-born Penelope Fillon devoted her life to anything other than her family of five (unless you count the five horses stabled near the family’s 12th-century chateau). Mme Fillon has previously conceded that she had extra time on her hands. In 2007, she told an interviewer with The Telegraph that she had just enrolled in a Shakespeare class: “I realized that my children have only known me as just a mother but I did a French degree, I qualified as a lawyer and I thought ‘Look here, I’m not that stupid.’ This will get me working and thinking again.”

During his televised interview, Fillon insisted that his wife’s work was real: Penelope Fillon reviewed his speeches, met with associates, gathered and collated news stories, and the like. And yet not only was she never seen in the halls of the National Assembly, even the residents of Sablé-sur-Sarthe (the village that is home to chateau Fillon ) were astonished to learn she was her husband’s assistant. As one local official told a journalist, “The separation was always clear: He took care of politics, she took care of the family.”

And if the goal of appearing on television was to contain the damage, it does not appear to have worked: Fillon did not help his cause by revealing in the same interview that, while a senator, he had also paid two of his children to handle specific cases for him because of “their particular competence as lawyers.” (The problem, as several newspapers quickly pointed out, is that neither child was a lawyer yet; the latest Canard story reports that they were paid approximately $90,000 for their work.) Over the weekend, fresh news broke out that between 2005 and 2007, Fillon had written himself seven checks totaling about $28,000 from an account earmarked for paying assistants; then came the new revelations that his wife’s pay had been even more than first thought.

The two pillars of Fillon’s candidacy have been the economic imperative of scaling back the state’s social protections, and the political imperative of being untouched by scandal. The two are interconnected; the former relies on the latter. That Penelope Fillon drew an exorbitant salary for reading her husband’s speeches before saddling up for a morning canter will not go down well with an electorate being asked to make financial sacrifices. At the same time, Fillon has always emphasized that his hands, unlike those of his fellow Gaullist contenders, were clean. During his primary debate with Alain Juppé, who was found guilty in 2004 of creating phony jobs while serving under Jacques Chirac, Fillon announced: “One cannot lead France if one is not irreproachable.” Fillon also blasted his rival Nicolas Sarkozy’s many entanglements over alleged campaign finance shenanigans by evoking the moral rectitude of the national conservative patriarch Charles de Gaulle: “Who could imagine the Général ever being taken in for a police questioning?” Now that finance inspectors have begun a preliminary investigation into Fillon’s case, the General seems more alone than ever.

France is not a particularly corrupt country, in global terms, but in the West it is something of an outlier. According to Transparency International’s 2016 “corruption perception” index, France ranked 23rd among 176 nations, just behind Estonia and just ahead of the Bahamas. It is not, of course, Somalia or Syria. But neither is it Denmark, New Zealand, Canada, or even the United States. In Western Europe, it outranks only Portugal, Italy, and Spain.

What may make matters worse is that French corruption is particularly high-profile: It doesn’t come in the form of cops asking for petty bribes, or companies buying off bureaucrats. Rather, thanks to the peculiarly French principle of a republican monarchy, French corruption involves vast sums and takes place at the highest levels of government. Created by De Gaulle in 1958, the Fifth Republic hands vast power and prestige to the presidency. The president, in principle, is not answerable to Parliament; the president, in essence, reigns and his ministers merely rule. While De Gaulle also endowed the office with his personal imperiousness and incorruptibility, his descendants have held tight to the former while mostly trashing the latter. From the late 1970s, when Central African Republic Emperor Jean-Bedel Bokassa showered Valéry Giscard d’Estaing with diamonds, through the 1980s, when Chirac, while mayor of Paris, embezzled public funds for his presidential campaign, to Sarkozy and the kaleidoscope of court cases confronting him, ranging from influence peddling to accepting $54 million in campaign financing from former Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi, the French presidency has been consistently mired in scandals worthy of the Bourbons. (François Hollande, for all his fecklessness, has — to give credit where it’s due — kept his hands relatively clean during his time in office; his scandals have been of the personal sort.)

This relentless drip of scandals both dampens public attitudes toward the mainstream parties — a Transparency International poll taken late last year revealed that three-quarters of the French believe that parliamentary deputies and government ministers are corrupt — and continues to raise the boat of the far-right National Front (FN). Marine Le Pen’s party has its own instances of financial misbehavior: The European Union had determined that the FN defrauded the European Parliament budget of more than $324,000, which it used to illicitly pay FN staffers. Perhaps because the victim was Brussels, however, and because Le Pen was not enriching herself personally, the scandal has had little traction in France; this week, while Fillon was busy battling for his political life, Le Pen was scoffing at the notion that she might return the funds. More to the point, it hasn’t stopped Le Pen from positioning herself as the only candidate able to drain the French swamp. Given the steady 25 to 26 percent support her party attracts in polls, a sizable group, it seems, believes her.

The reluctance of French governments to address the problem of corruption is well known. In 2014, a European Union report rapped France’s knuckles for its faulty firewalls in campaign financing, its judiciary’s relative lack of independence, and the absence of political willpower to tackle a culture of corruption. Until recently, moreover, the foot-dragging of politicians over these issues has not unduly bothered French voters. As Jean-Christophe Picard of the watchdog group Anticor notes, through the 1980s and 1990s the public mostly tolerated such wheeling and dealing. “In France, there is the idea that defrauding and wasting public money is not too serious a problem as long as there are no direct victims,” he said in a recent interview with the weekly French magazine L’Obs.

There have been some recent attempts to remedy the problem: Last year, the country enacted the Sapin II Law, which, for the first time, creates an anti-corruption agency, requires members of Parliament to render public the names of everyone listed on their official payrolls, and affords fuller legal protection to lanceurs d’alerte, the rather awkward French term for whistleblowers. The law has been hailed as an important step by transparency advocacy groups, but much of the law is aimed at targets lower down than the Élysée.

It is still too early to tell if the recent revelations will bar Fillon from the presidency, but it is looking increasingly likely. He has already vowed that he will end his campaign if formal charges are brought against him; on Tuesday, police were spotted at his parliamentary office looking for evidence. Even if the courts do not act before this spring’s election, Fillon’s reputation has already taken a serious hit. In an Odoxa poll taken after the Canard’s scoop, 61 percent of respondents had a bad opinion of Fillon, while just 38 percent thought favorably of him — a 4 percent drop since Jan. 8. An even more recent poll, conducted by Elabe, shows that Fillon is now in danger of not even making it past the first round of France’s two-stage election process. One of the beneficiaries of his decline will be Le Pen, who even before Penelope-gate had overtaken Fillon in a Le Monde poll; another may be Emmanuel Macron, the center-left independent whose campaign continues to gain momentum. French politics is looking more unpredictable than ever, and much can still happen between now and the first round of the election, which is slated for late April. But one thing does seem clear: With Penelope-gate, a long French tradition looks set to continue.


Droits d’auteur: Accorder à Hitler ce que l’on refuse à Anne Frank (Doing the revisionists’s work for them: To extend copyright of Anne Frank’s diary, foundation argues it was ‘cut and pasted’ by the father)

27 janvier, 2016
This image shows Anne Frank, with a hand written note and signed by her in Dutch language dating back to October 10, 1942. The note says: "This is a photo as I would wish myself to look all the time. Then I would maybe have the chance to come to Hollywood." signed: Anne Frank 10 Oct. 1942. Anne Frank, is the Jewish girl who wrote her world famous journal while living in hiding, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, during the Second World War. (AP Photo)anne-frank-361679MeinKampfBurqaExecutionsSerai-je jamais capable d’écrire quelque chose de grand ? Anne Frank
Ce faux n’est pas à mettre au compte du respect des victimes mais, au contraire, il pue les charognards qui se repaissent du malheur des hommes pour en faire des drames à grand spectacle. Claude Karnoouh
Les faucons affirment (…) que le président Ahmadinejad a déclaré vouloir “rayer Israël de la carte”. Mais cet argument repose sur une mauvaise traduction de ses propos. La traduction juste est qu’Israël “devrait disparaître de la page du temps”. Cette expression (empruntée à un discours de l’ayatollah Khomeiny) n’est pas un appel à la destruction physique d’Israël. Bien que très choquant, son propos n’était pas un appel à lancer une attaque, encore moins une attaque nucléaire, contre Israël. Aucun État sensé ne peut partir en guerre sur la foi d’une mauvaise traduction. John J. Mearsheimer et Stephen M. Walt (2007)
L’Etat actuel d’Israël n’est pas légitime. C’est pourquoi nous n’avons pas de relations avec eux car nous ne considérons pas cet Etat comme légitime. Nous pensons que toutes les personnes qui étaient d’origine palestinienne et qui sont en errance à l’étranger doivent pouvoir tous revenir sur leurs terres. Il faut qu’il y ait des élections publiques sous la supervision des Nations unies et quels qu’en soient les résultats, nous les accepterons. (…) nous parlons d’un Etat. Que tout le monde se réunisse et vote. Avant 1948, il y avait un seul pays. Nous voulons retourner à cette situation. (…) Nous parlons du vote du peuple. Une fois réunis, tous les juifs, tous les musulmans, tous les chrétiens, tous ceux qui appartiennent à cette terre et sont aujourd’hui réfugiés doivent revenir dans leur pays et voter. C’est la raison pour laquelle nous n’avons pas de relation avec cet Etat. La seule solution, c’est une élection libre. (…) De grandes compagnies, notamment Airbus, sont présentes en Iran. Nous achèterons, c’est vrai, à ces grandes compagnies, et notamment Airbus.  (…) L’Iran, à aucun moment, n’a souhaité fabriquer une bombe atomique, ni hier, ni aujourd’hui. Hassan Rohani
À l’occasion de la visite du président iranien Hassan Rohani, lundi 25 janvier, le célèbre musée du Capitole à Rome a dissimulé toutes ses statues dénudées derrière des paravents en bois. Une initiative  prise par respect pour la culture et la sensibilité de l’Iran. (…) En accueillant son hôte lundi dans ce site prestigieux où de nombreux accords ont été signés, le président du Conseil italien, Matteo Renzi, avait mis l’accent sur la richesse historique des deux pays, assurant qu’ils avaient en commun d’être « deux superpuissances de la beauté et de la culture ». L' »attention » du musée italien en a surpris, voire agacé plus d’un. Le ministre de la Culture lui-même, Dario Franceschini, a jugé cette initiative « incompréhensible », précisant que ni lui, ni le Premier ministre ne l’ont autorisée. « Je pense qu’on aurait facilement pu trouver d’autres solutions pour ne pas offenser un important visiteur étranger plutôt que de faire ce choix incompréhensible de recouvrir les statues », a-t-il déclaré à la presse mercredi. Certaines personnalités politiques avaient dénoncé une « soumission culturelle », tandis que de nombreux titres de presse avaient également affiché leur colère.  Dans un tweet mardi, le quotidien de gauche L’espresso a déclaré : « Quelle honte d’avoir couvert les statues du Capitole pour la visite de Rohani ». Le journal libéral Il foglio a lui titré sur « L’Italie met des burqas à ses statues », tandis que le parti anti-immigrés de la Ligue du Nord a dénoncé un « énième acte de soumission à une culture qui ne nous appartient pas. Le gouvernement semble avoir honte de nos racines et de notre histoire. Faut-il mettre le hijab aussi aux œuvres d’art au nom de l’intégration ? » Cette indignation a fait sourire les Radicaux: « Il y a seulement sept mois, toujours ‘par respect’, les affiches de l’exposition de Tamara de Lempicka ont été couvertes pour la visite du pape dans notre ville laïque de Turin. Personne ne s’en était scandalisé ». Toujours par « respect » et pour ménager la sensibilité de son hôte, l’Italie a également accepté de bannir le vin d’un déjeuner avec le président Sergio Matterella, et d’un dîner avec Matteo Renzi, la consommation d’alcool étant prohibé par l’islam. Si l’Italie a accepté de mettre de l’eau dans son vin, la France s’était de son côté montrée plus intransigeante sur son patrimoine culturel spiritueux. Le 17 novembre, Hassan Rohani devait être reçu par François Hollande – une visite finalement repoussée au jeudi 28 janvier à cause des attentats de Paris. Mais lorsque le protocole s’agitait encore dans l’ombre début novembre pour organiser la rencontre, l’Iran avait demandé un menu halal et la suppression des bouteilles d’alcool à table. La France avait indiqué qu’elle n’accèderait pas à cette requête, l’usage voulant qu’une sélection de vins français soit proposée au cours de repas officiels organisés à l’Élysée. L’idée d’un petit déjeuner avait alors été évoquée, mais rejetée par Téhéran. Finalement, deux mois après, il semblerait que tout repas ait été écarté. Hassan Rohani sera reçu à l’Élysée par François Hollande et Laurent Fabius à …15 heures, pas même à l’heure du goûter. France 24
M. Shaheed, l’enquêteur spécial de l’ONU sur les droits de l’homme en Iran, a déclaré que le «nombre estomaquant de 753 exécutions» effectuées par l’Iran en 2014 – un sommet – sera surpassé cette année. Au moins 694 personnes auraient été pendues pendant les sept premiers mois de 2015 et plusieurs organisations de défense des droits de la personne témoignent maintenant de plus de 800 exécutions pendant les dix premiers mois de l’année. Des dizaines d’autres personnes attendent un sort similaire, a dit M. Shaheed. Il estime que le rythme des exécutions est «alarmant» et déclare que «l’Iran est possiblement sur le bon chemin pour surpasser 1000 (exécutions) d’ici la fin de l’année». M. Shaheed a dit que 69 % des exécutions pendant les six premiers mois de 2015 étaient reliées au trafic de la drogue, ce qui témoigne d’une hausse de la toxicomanie au pays. Il a aussi dénoncé le recours de l’Iran à l’isolement et à la torture pour obtenir des aveux; la criminalisation de la liberté d’expression; l’arrestation d’une cinquantaine de journalistes depuis le début de l’année; et les châtiments imposés aux individus qui discutent du gouvernement et des droits de la personne sur les réseaux sociaux. M. Shaheed indique toutefois que son rapport est «légèrement plus optimiste» que le précédent, puisqu’il a été en mesure de rencontrer différents responsables iraniens et que Téhéran semblait plus ouvert au dialogue cette fois-ci. Peine de mort.org
Les lois n’ont pas à décider de la vérité des dogmes ; elles n’ont en vue que le bien et la conservation de l’État et des particuliers qui le composent.  John Locke (1689)
Nous sommes entrés dans un mouvement qui est de l’ordre du religieux. Entrés dans la mécanique du sacrilège: la victime, dans nos sociétés, est entourée de l’aura du sacré. Du coup, l’écriture de l’histoire, la recherche universitaire, se retrouvent soumises à l’appréciation du législateur et du juge comme, autrefois, à celle de la Sorbonne ecclésiastique. Françoise Chandernagor
Pour beaucoup de mouvements politiques d’extrême droite, Anne s’avère être un obstacle. Son témoignage personnel de la persécution des Juifs et sa mort dans un camp de concentration empêchent la réhabilitation du national socialisme.  Teresien da Silva
Son authenticité ayant été contestée par des historiens comme Pierre Vidal-Naquet ou Claude Karnoouh (ils n’en contestent pas l’existence, mais affirment que son père l’a réécrit, supprimant les passages intimes et en rajoutant d’autres), le Journal d’Anne Frank est devenu un enjeu politique entre les défenseurs du devoir de mémoire envers la Shoah et les négationnistes (…) Mais les contestations des négationnistes n’ont pas attendu les doutes des historiens sur l’authenticité du texte : dès 1958, Simon Wiesenthal fut défié par un groupe de manifestants lors de la représentation théâtrale du Journal d’Anne Frank à Vienne, de prouver qu’Anne a bien existé, en retrouvant l’homme qui l’avait arrêtée. Wisenthal commença à chercher Karl Silberbauer et le trouva en 1963. Lors de son interview, Silberbauer admit directement son rôle, et identifia Anne Frank à partir d’une photographie comme étant l’une des personnes arrêtées. Il fournit un compte rendu complet des événements et se rappela qu’il avait vidé une valisette pleine de papiers sur le sol. Ses déclarations corroborèrent la version des événements qui avait précédemment été présentée par des témoins oculaires comme Otto Frank. Aucune charge ne put être retenue contre Silberbauer, qui n’avait fait que suivre les ordres. Les informations qu’il donna ne permirent pas à Wiesenthal de trouver le dénonciateur de la famille Frank (…) À Lübeck en 1959, Otto Frank attaqua en justice Lothar Stielau, un professeur d’école, ancien membre des Jeunesses hitlériennes, qui avait publié un prospectus scolaire décrivant le journal comme une contrefaçon. La Cour de justice examina le journal et, en 1960, le déclara comme étant authentique. Stielau rétracta ses précédentes déclarations et Otto Frank arrêta la procédure judiciaire. Depuis les années 1970 le négationniste David Irving a affirmé de manière régulière que le journal n’était pas authentique. En 1976, M. Frank engagea une autre procédure contre Heinz Roth de Francfort, qui avait également publié des pamphlets proclamant que le journal était une contrefaçon. Le juge statua que s’il publiait de nouveaux écrits de ce type, il serait passible de 500 000 Deutsche Mark d’amende et d’une peine de six mois de prison. Deux autres plaintes furent rejetées par des tribunaux allemands en 1978 et 1979 sur base de la liberté d’expression, car la plainte n’avait pas été déposée par une des parties visées par les écrits. La cour statua dans les deux cas que si la plainte avait été déposée par une partie concernée, comme Otto Frank, une charge pour calomnie aurait pu être retenue. Wikipedia
AFF is merely applying to existing laws under which the diary remains protected after 2015, and has decided to inform people about it. We have made clear that in certain territories the copyright is protected for a longer time, because this is our duty. Otto Frank is not the co author of the original diaries. We as a foundation have been fighting for 40 years against Holocaust deniers who have said the book is a falsification. We proved that it was not – the diary is authentic. After the war, Otto Frank merged, or compiled, the two versions of the Diary that Anne Frank left, that were both incomplete and that partly overlapped, into one reader friendly version. He typed over Anne Frank’s manuscripts and with scissors and glue subsequently, literally, ‘cut and pasted’ them into the version that was published in English from the early fifties. The book he created earns his own copyright. For the purposes of copyright, he is to be viewed as an ‘author’ of that version. Please note, again, that this does not imply that he ‘co-wrote’ anything. Yves Kugelmann (Anne Frank Fonds)
Many revisionists, people who want to deny the extermination camps existed, have tried to attack the diary for years. Saying now the book wasn’t written by Anne alone is weakening the weight it has had for decades, as a testimony to the horrors of this war. She lost her grandparents in Nazi camps, she had uncles who were hidden like Anne Frank was – for her it is a very touchy subject, and she wanted to react and not to let the Anne Frank Fonds use its interpretation of the law. On 1 January, Mein Kampf will enter the public domain, and [Attard] feels the symbolism of this, Mein Kampf entering the public domain, and a counterpart, Anne Frank’s diary, this very important work about the horrors of the second world war, not entering at the same time, was inacceptable for her. Spokesperson for French MP Attard
C’est horrible, mais Mein Kampf tombera, lui aussi, dans le domaine public en cette année 2016. Le Journal d’Anne Frank est la voix qui s’élève contre l’obscurantisme, contre le négationnisme. Pourquoi donner accès aux propos malsains de Mein Kampf et refuser l’accès libre à l’histoire incroyable de cette jeune fille qui a vécu l’enfer de la Shoah puis des camps ? Les gens ont besoin d’y avoir accès librement pour se rappeler d’Anne Frank. Isabelle Attard

Attention: un scandale peut en cacher bien d’autres !

Après avoir non seulement résisté mais été conforté par tant d’accusations de contrefaçon, le journal d’Anne Frank succombera-t-il aux trop bonnes intentions de ses ayant droit ?

En ces temps liberticides où l’histoire se dit désormais dans les prétoires …

Et où après avoir vendu l’arme nucléaire à un régime qui appelle explicitement à la Solution finale d’un de ses voisins et avec la Chine et l’Arabie saoudite détient le record toutes catégories d’éxécutions dans le monde, l’Europe en est à mettre des burqas à sa culture

Commen ne pas poser …

En cette 71e Journée internationale dédiée à la mémoire des victimes de l’Holocauste

Et près de 50 ans après la mort d’un Martin Luther King né la même année que la petite Anne dont les discours comme les films sont toujours bloqués ou réduits à la paraphrase par des héritiers qui en revendent les droits au prix fort à la plus offrante des Apple ou Google …

La question d’un droit d’auteur …

Qui accorde, comme le rappelle avec raison la députée du Calvados  Isabelle Attard , le libre accès du domaine public au texte qui fonde ledit holocauste …

Et le refuse à l’un de ses plus forts témoignages personnels …

Allant même, avec l’argument de la co-écriture paternelle du journal, jusqu’à accorder aux négationnistes ce qu’ils n’avaient pas réussi à obtenir depuis justement plus de 70 ans ?

Une députée de Normandie « libère » le Journal d’Anne Frank
Au 1er janvier 2016, le Journal d’Anne Frank tombe dans le domaine public, selon la loi. Mais le fonds Anne Frank le refuse. Isabelle Attard, députée du Calvados, l’a publié.
Alice Labrousse
Normandie actu

01/01/2016

Dernière minute. Le maître de conférence Olivier Ertzscheid et la députée Isabelle Attard ont, comme promis, mis en ligne l’intégralité du « Journal d’Anne Frank » en version originale, vendredi 1er janvier 2016.

70 ans après le décès d’un auteur, ses héritiers perdent leurs droits. L’oeuvre devient public. Mais le fonds Anne Frank refuse que le Journal soit diffusé. La députée écologiste du Calvados, Isabelle Attard, monte au créneau. Explications.

Isabelle Attard, députée EELV du Calvados, annonce vouloir publier, le 1er janvier 2016, une version du Journal d’Anne Frank sur son site. (Photo @Isabelle Attard Facebook)

Une histoire d’argent pour le fonds ?
Pour la députée, le Journal d’Anne Frank est une oeuvre que tout le monde doit connaître et dont l’accès doit être facilité. « Je considère qu’il entrera dans le domaine public peu importe ce que pense le fonds. » Selon elle, il y a une distinction à faire entre le droit patrimonial et le droit moral.

Au 1er janvier 2016, les héritiers ne toucheront plus de droits d’auteur, mais ils pourront toujours défendre l’oeuvre d’Anne Frank en poursuivant toute personne qui dénigre l’image de la jeune fille et de son ouvrage. L’excuse des négationnistes ne tient pas. Ils auront toujours un droit de regard sur ce qui sera dit sur l’oeuvre et sur la personne d’Anne Frank.
Isabelle Attard dénonce une peur des pertes financières qui découleront de la disparition des droits d’auteur. « C’est une question de dizaines de millions d’euros en droits d’auteur. C’est conséquent, bien sûr. Mais l’oeuvre et son message ne méritent-ils pas d’être connus de tous plus largement grâce à l’entrée dans le domaine public ? À l’heure actuelle, les héritiers n’ont même jamais connu de son vivant la jeune fille. Ce serait dommage qu’ils refusent que son oeuvre bénéficie d’une plus large accessibilité au public. »

La polémique. Le texte original hollandais du Journal, paru en 1947, tombe dans le domaine public 70 ans après la mort de la jeune fille au camp de concentration de Bergen-Belsen, en 1945. Mais, pour le fonds Anne Frank, Otto, le père d’Anne, est coauteur du Journal. Comme il n’est mort qu’en 1980, le texte ne tomberait pas dans le domaine public avant 2051…  Le fonds, à Bâle (Suisse), menace même ceux qui voudraient défier l’interdiction, en publiant le Journal, de 1 000 euros par jour de pénalités.

Une aubaine pour la culture…et la mémoire
L’autre argument qu’avance la députée est celui de la création d’emplois dans la culture. « Le passage dans le domaine public permettrait à des metteurs en scène, à des scénaristes, de raconter cette histoire tragique. Cela donne du travail. Et puis, cela engendre beaucoup de richesses, à la fois financières et culturelles. » Et le Journal d’Anne Frank n’est pas le seul ouvrage de cette sombre période de la Shoah concerné :

C’est horrible, mais Mein Kampf tombera, lui aussi, dans le domaine public en cette année 2016. Le Journal d’Anne Frank est la voix qui s’élève contre l’obscurantisme, contre le négationnisme. Pourquoi donner accès aux propos malsains de Mein Kampf et refuser l’accès libre à l’histoire incroyable de cette jeune fille qui a vécu l’enfer de la Shoah puis des camps ? Les gens ont besoin d’y avoir accès librement pour se rappeler d’Anne Frank.
Publié le 1er janvier 2016 sur son site
La députée menace ainsi de publier la version originale du Journal sur son site au 1er janvier. « Je publierai la version du Journal d’Anne Frank de 1947 sur mon site, dès le 1er janvier 2016, le plus tôt possible. Elle sera en Néerlandais pour des raisons de droits d’auteur, car les traducteurs touchent toujours des droits sur leur traduction. Je le fais pour que tout le monde ait accès à ce grand ouvrage. »

Vive Anne Frank, vive le Domaine Public
Isabelle Attard

1 janvier 2016

Aujourd’hui, le journal intime écrit dans un appartement secret d’Amsterdam par cette jeune adolescente juive, allemande puis déchue de sa nationalité, entre enfin, s’élève, dans le Domaine Public. Chaque 1er janvier de nombreux artistes viennent tour à tour enrichir le Domaine Public de leurs œuvres. Cela signifie concrètement que 70 ans après le décès de l’auteur, le monde entier peut utiliser, traduire, interpréter ces œuvres, et se les approprier pour en créer de nouvelles. Cela signifie que leurs renommées n’ont plus de frontières.

Combattre la « privatisation de la connaissance » comme le disait Aaron Swartz est entièrement d’actualité. La création, les contenus, valent de l’or et les Google, Amazon & Co le savent parfaitement. Leur obsession est bien de mettre la main sur la plus grande quantité de contenus et de monnayer l’accès à cette immensité culturelle. Ne soyons pas naïfs au point de croire que cette privatisation est « pour notre bien », et protégeons le Domaine Public en lui donnant une définition positive !

Alors, malgré les trouvailles juridiques du Fonds Anne Frank pour retarder le plus possible ce moment tant attendu, nous pouvons, comme le disait Olivier Ertzscheid, collectivement, « après ces années de cave, d’obscurité, cette obscurité si pesante dans ton journal, chère Anne Frank, avoir l’intelligence de t’offrir enfin la lumière que tu mérites, celle que ton journal mérite, celle de l’espace public. Bienvenue dans la lumière, chère Anne. »

Les fichiers suivants, en néerlandais, sont libres de tout droit d’auteur patrimonial en France. Si vous vous trouvez ailleurs, il vous appartient de vérifier que la législation de votre pays est identique. Vous êtes libres de copier ces fichiers, les modifier, les traduire, les diffuser et même les vendre. Néanmoins, le droit moral de l’auteur est en France perpétuel, imprescriptible et inaliénable. L’auteur jouit donc du droit au respect de son nom, de sa qualité et de son œuvre. Attention à ne faire qu’un usage respectueux de cette œuvre si importante.

Het Achterhuis – Anne Frank en txt.

La députée Isabelle Attard et un chercheur mettent en ligne le « Journal d’Anne Frank », contre l’avis des ayants droit
Le HuffPost
02/01/2016

CULTURE – Une députée et un universitaire français ont mis en ligne vendredi comme ils l’avaient annoncé « Le Journal d’Anne Frank » dans sa version néerlandaise, estimant que cette oeuvre tombe dans le domaine public le 1er janvier 2016, ce que conteste le Fonds détenant les droits du livre.

« Anne Frank est morte en 1945 (au camp de concentration de Bergen-Belsen), donc au 1er janvier 2016 le Journal doit rentrer dans le domaine public », fait valoir Olivier Ertzscheid, enseignant chercheur en sciences de l’information.

La législation française, conforme à une directive européenne de 1993, prévoit qu’une oeuvre tombe dans le domaine public le 1er janvier suivant les soixante-dix ans de la mort de son auteur « ou du dernier auteur survivant ».

« Pour ce texte, pour ce témoignage, pour ce qu’il représente (…), je garde la conviction qu’il n’y a pas d’autre combat à mener que celui de sa libération, pas d’autre hommage à rendre que celui de son partage sans limite, pas d’autre place à lui accorder que celle qui lui revient de droit en le laissant s’élever ce jour dans le domaine public », écrit l’enseignant sur son blog en préambule à la publication de l’intégralité du journal.

L’universitaire, qui se décrit comme un « militant, très attaché à une vision positive du domaine public », avait en octobre publié sur son site deux versions françaises du « Journal d’Anne Frank », avant de les retirer en novembre après une mise en demeure du Livre de Poche. Le chercheur rappelle que le 1er janvier 2016 sont entrés dans le domaine public des œuvres antisémites, dont ‘Mein Kampf' » d’Adolf Hitler.

Déjà vendu à plus de 30 millions d’exemplaires

La députée du Calvados Isabelle Attard, membre du groupe écologiste, a également mis en ligne la version néerlandaise de l’oeuvre. « Vive le Journal d’Anne Frank, vive le Domaine public », écrit-elle dans son blog, soutenant que « combattre la ‘privatisation de la connaissance’ est entièrement d’actualité ».

Dès l’annonce de ces publications, le Fonds Anne Frank avait demandé par courrier à Olivier Ertzscheid et Isabelle Attard de renoncer à la mise en ligne, de rectifier leurs déclarations, et les a menacés de poursuites judiciaires. Créé par le père de la jeune fille, Otto Frank, le Fonds, installé à Bâle (Suise), est propriétaire des droits de ce phénomène d’édition, traduit dans 70 langues et vendu à plus de 30 millions d’exemplaires.

Selon lui, le Journal est une oeuvre posthume, pour laquelle la durée du droit exclusif est de cinquante années à compter de la date de publication. Le texte dans sa version intégrale publiée en 1986 serait donc protégé jusqu’en 2037 au moins.

« Le ‘Journal d’Anne Frank’, écrit par la jeune fille juive de 13 ans entre juin 1942 et août 1944 alors qu’elle se cachait avec sa famille à Amsterdam, a été publié pour la première fois en néerlandais par son père en 1947 qui en a supprimé des passages.

Voir aussi:

 « Mein Kampf » de Hitler est tombé dans le domaine public
Metronews

02-01-2016

INQUIETUDES – Depuis le 1er janvier, l’édition et la publication de « Mein Kampf » d’Adolf Hitler sont désormais libres. Cette perspective nourrit de vives inquiétudes en Europe, même s’il est déjà très simple de se procurer le livre fondateur du IIIe Reich.

Soixante-dix ans après la mort d’un auteur, les droits de ses œuvres tombent dans le domaine public. Le pamphlet antisémite d’Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, n’échappe pas à la règle. Détenus par l’Etat de la Bavière, qui les avait reçus des forces d’occupation américaines, les droits de ce texte rédigé en 1924 et 1925 sont devenus propriété universelle. En théorie, n’importe quel éditeur peut, depuis ce vendredi 1er janvier, publier l’ouvrage.

Dans les faits, l’ouvrage est déjà abondamment diffusé dans certains pays et largement accessible en ligne. « On trouve Mein Kampf dans au moins vingt versions sur Internet », précise à RFI le journaliste Sven Kellerhoff, qui vient de finir un livre sur l’histoire de Mein Kampf. Mais la possibilité de rééditer l’ouvrage fondateur du IIIe Reich suscite de nombreuses inquiétudes en Europe.

Faut-il l’interdire ?

« Le danger est très grand que ce ‘torchon’ soit encore davantage mis à disposition sur le marché », s’alarme le président de la communauté juive d’Allemagne, Josef Schuster, interrogé par l’AFP. Selon lui, »l’ouvrage de propagande antisémite devrait rester interdit ». Au risque de contribuer à en faire un mythe, comme le pense le journaliste Sven Kellerhoff ?

En Allemagne, la publication du texte brut restera interdite, sous peine de poursuites pour incitation à la haine raciale. Mais des rééditions commentées et contextualisées seront désormais possibles. Et c’est l’Institut d’Histoire contemporaine de Munich (IFZ) qui va mettre la toute première réédition de Mein Kampf à la disposition du public allemand le 8 janvier prochain. Une première, soixante-dix ans après la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Le texte du dictateur nazi et ses 3.500 annotations seront édités en deux volumes, pour un total de 1.948 pages, vendus au prix de 59 euros.

Fayard va le publier en France

L’idée est de « déconstruire et mettre en contexte les écrits de Hitler : comment sont nées ses thèses ? Quels objectifs avait-il ? Et surtout : que pouvons-nous opposer avec nos connaissances d’aujourd’hui aux innombrables affirmations, mensonges et déclarations d’intention d’Hitler? » se justifie l’institut.

En France, c’est la maison d’édition Fayard qui devrait publier en 2016 une version commentée de « Mon combat » (le titre en français) dans une nouvelle traduction. « Fayard prendra bien sûr toutes les précautions nécessaires à la republication de ce livre », avait tenu à rassurer l’éditeur, interrogé par metronews. « Le comité scientifique est en cours de constitution. Il sera composé d’historiens français et étrangers et proposera une importante critique ». « Une catastrophe », a déploré le Conseil représentatif des institutions juives (Crif), Roger Cukierman, qui s’inquiète de voir le brûlot devenir « un livre de chevet ».

Voir également:

EUROPE

Italie: le musée du Capitole habille ses statues dénudées pour la visite de l’Iranien Rohani

France 24

27/01/2016

Lors de sa visite au musée du Capitole de Rome lundi 25 janvier, le président iranien Hassan Rohani n’a vu aucune des statues dénudées, dissimulées derrière des paravents. Une initiative du musée qui a fait polémique dans la péninsule.

Autocensure trop zélée ou protocole diplomatique ? À l’occasion de la visite du président iranien Hassan Rohani, lundi 25 janvier, le célèbre musée du Capitole à Rome a dissimulé toutes ses statues dénudées derrière des paravents en bois. Une initiative  prise par respect pour la culture et la sensibilité de l’Iran.

Selon des sources iraniennes, citées par le Corriere della Sera, les Vénus aux seins nus et autre Éros en tenue d’Adam n’auraient pas obtenu l’aval d’une inspection préalable de la délégation diplomatique iranienne. Une information démentie mercredi 27 janvier par le président iranien lui-même qui a assuré que Téhéran n’a jamais contacté Rome à ce sujet, ni donné d’instruction en ce sens. Pour autant, il dit avoir « apprécié l’accueil qui lui a été réservé » en Italie. “Les Italiens sont très accueillants, ce sont des gens qui font le maximum pour mettre leurs invités à l’aise et je les remercie pour cela”, a-t-il declaré.

En accueillant son hôte lundi dans ce site prestigieux où de nombreux accords ont été signés, le président du Conseil italien, Matteo Renzi, avait mis l’accent sur la richesse historique des deux pays, assurant qu’ils avaient en commun d’être « deux superpuissances de la beauté et de la culture ».

« Che vergogna ! »

L' »attention » du musée italien en a surpris, voire agacé plus d’un. Le ministre de la Culture lui-même, Dario Franceschini, a jugé cette initiative « incompréhensible », précisant que ni lui, ni le Premier ministre ne l’ont autorisée. « Je pense qu’on aurait facilement pu trouver d’autres solutions pour ne pas offenser un important visiteur étranger plutôt que de faire ce choix incompréhensible de recouvrir les statues », a-t-il déclaré à la presse mercredi.

Certaines personnalités politiques avaient dénoncé une « soumission culturelle », tandis que de nombreux titres de presse avaient également affiché leur colère.  Dans un tweet mardi, le quotidien de gauche L’espresso a déclaré : « Quelle honte d’avoir couvert les statues du Capitole pour la visite de Rohani ».

Le journal libéral Il foglio a lui titré sur « L’Italie met des burqas à ses statues », tandis que le parti anti-immigrés de la Ligue du Nord a dénoncé un « énième acte de soumission à une culture qui ne nous appartient pas. Le gouvernement semble avoir honte de nos racines et de notre histoire. Faut-il mettre le hijab aussi aux œuvres d’art au nom de l’intégration ? »

Cette indignation a fait sourire les Radicaux: « Il y a seulement sept mois, toujours ‘par respect’, les affiches de l’exposition de Tamara de Lempicka ont été couvertes pour la visite du pape dans notre ville laïque de Turin. Personne ne s’en était scandalisé ».

L’Italie met de l’eau dans son vin

Toujours par « respect » et pour ménager la sensibilité de son hôte, l’Italie a également accepté de bannir le vin d’un déjeuner avec le président Sergio Matterella, et d’un dîner avec Matteo Renzi, la consommation d’alcool étant prohibé par l’islam.

Si l’Italie a accepté de mettre de l’eau dans son vin, la France s’était de son côté montrée plus intransigeante sur son patrimoine culturel spiritueux. Le 17 novembre, Hassan Rohani devait être reçu par François Hollande – une visite finalement repoussée au jeudi 28 janvier à cause des attentats de Paris. Mais lorsque le protocole s’agitait encore dans l’ombre début novembre pour organiser la rencontre, l’Iran avait demandé un menu halal et la suppression des bouteilles d’alcool à table.

La France avait indiqué qu’elle n’accèderait pas à cette requête, l’usage voulant qu’une sélection de vins français soit proposée au cours de repas officiels organisés à l’Élysée. L’idée d’un petit déjeuner avait alors été évoquée, mais rejetée par Téhéran. Finalement, deux mois après, il semblerait que tout repas ait été écarté. Hassan Rohani sera reçu à l’Élysée par François Hollande et Laurent Fabius à …15 heures, pas même à l’heure du goûter.

EUROPE

Le président iranien en visite en Italie, les entreprises se mobilisent
France 24

26/01/2016

Neuf jours après la levée des sanctions contre l’Iran, le président Hassan Rohani effectue sa première visite en Europe, où d’importants contrats commerciaux devraient être signés. Arrivé lundi en Italie, il est attendu en France cette semaine.

Le président iranien, Hassan Rohani, est arrivé lundi 25 janvier en Italie pour sa première visite officielle en Europe, symboliquement très importante puisqu’elle intervient après la levée des sanctions internationales contre la République islamique, le 16 janvier.

Cette venue du numéro un iranien sera axée en grande partie sur l’économie, alors que de nombreuses entreprises européennes cherchent à revenir ou s’implanter en Iran. « Atterri à Rome. Impatient de renforcer les liens bilatéraux et d’explorer les opportunités pour un engagement constructif », a écrit Rohani à la mi-journée sur son compte Twitter.

Reçu pour un déjeuner de travail par son homologue italien, Sergio Mattarella, avant une rencontre et un dîner avec le chef du gouvernement Matteo Renzi en soirée, le président iranien doit aussi s’entretenir mardi matin avec le pape François.

« L’Italie, premier partenaire de l’Iran »

« L’Italie était le premier partenaire économique et commercial de l’Iran avant les sanctions », et entend retrouver cette place, avait souligné il y a quelques mois la ministre italienne du Développement économique, Federica Guidi. Avant l’entrée en vigueur des sanctions, les échanges entre l’Italie et l’Iran s’élevaient à 7 milliards d’euros. Ils sont actuellement de quelque 1,6 milliard, dont 1,2 milliard d’exportations italiennes.

Selon la presse locale, les repas sont possibles parce que les Italiens ont accédé à la demande des Iraniens de ne pas mettre d’alcool sur la table. Lors de la suite de son voyage mercredi en France, Rohani n’a en revanche aucun repas de travail prévu avec les autorités.

Tous les Européens cherchent en effet à placer leurs pions pour tenter de reconquérir le terrain perdu au profit de la Russie et des pays émergents comme la Chine et la Turquie. Ils sont avantagés par rapport aux Américains, car Washington – qui n’a plus de relations diplomatiques depuis 35 ans avec Téhéran – va maintenir des sanctions dans le secteur pétrolier contre toute entreprise soupçonnée de financer le terrorisme.

Airbus décroche un contrat

Dans la course aux contrats, Airbus a été le plus rapide : le ministre iranien des Transports a annoncé samedi que l’Iran allait acheter 114 avions. Rohani doit signer cet accord mercredi à Paris. Il s’agit de la première annonce commerciale d’envergure depuis la levée des sanctions, le 16 janvier, avec l’entrée en vigueur de l’accord historique sur le nucléaire.

L’aéronautique représente un secteur clé pour les Européens car l’Iran, peuplé de près de 79 millions d’habitants, doit renouveler sa flotte vieillissante, notamment de la compagnie nationale Iran Air.

Ce nouveau climat d’entente inquiète cependant les opposants à la peine de mort, un sujet sur lequel l’Italie est d’ordinaire en pointe. Une manifestation est prévue mardi pour rappeler que selon l’ONU, l’Iran a exécuté au moins 700 condamnés en 2015.

Avec AFP

Le nombre d’exécutions bondit en Iran
dépêche de presse du 28 octobre 2015 – Associated Press – AP

Peine de mort.org

(Associated Press) Le nombre d’exécutions en Iran connaît une croissance «exponentielle» depuis 2005 et pourrait atteindre un millier cette année, en raison de la répression lancée contre les narcotrafiquants, a prévenu mercredi un enquêteur des Nations Unies.

Ahmed Shaheed indique dans un rapport présenté à l’Assemblée générale et remis aux médias que l’Iran exécute plus de gens par habitant que n’importe quel autre pays du monde.

Il ajoute que la majorité de ces exécutions contreviennent au droit international, qui interdit le recours à la peine capitale pour les mineurs et les crimes non violents. Il demande à l’Iran d’adopter un moratoire sur la peine de mort dans ces dossiers et de la réserver uniquement aux «crimes les plus graves», où on peut démontrer une intention de tuer qui se solde par un décès.

M. Shaheed, l’enquêteur spécial de l’ONU sur les droits de l’homme en Iran, a déclaré que le «nombre estomaquant de 753 exécutions» effectuées par l’Iran en 2014 – un sommet – sera surpassé cette année.

Au moins 694 personnes auraient été pendues pendant les sept premiers mois de 2015 et plusieurs organisations de défense des droits de la personne témoignent maintenant de plus de 800 exécutions pendant les dix premiers mois de l’année. Des dizaines d’autres personnes attendent un sort similaire, a dit M. Shaheed.

Il estime que le rythme des exécutions est «alarmant» et déclare que «l’Iran est possiblement sur le bon chemin pour surpasser 1000 (exécutions) d’ici la fin de l’année».

M. Shaheed a dit que 69 % des exécutions pendant les six premiers mois de 2015 étaient reliées au trafic de la drogue, ce qui témoigne d’une hausse de la toxicomanie au pays.

Il a aussi dénoncé le recours de l’Iran à l’isolement et à la torture pour obtenir des aveux; la criminalisation de la liberté d’expression; l’arrestation d’une cinquantaine de journalistes depuis le début de l’année; et les châtiments imposés aux individus qui discutent du gouvernement et des droits de la personne sur les réseaux sociaux.

M. Shaheed indique toutefois que son rapport est «légèrement plus optimiste» que le précédent, puisqu’il a été en mesure de rencontrer différents responsables iraniens et que Téhéran semblait plus ouvert au dialogue cette fois-ci.

Pourquoi Le Journal d’Anne Frank ne sera libre qu’en 2050
Mathilde Doiezie
Le Figaro
14/10/2015

INTERVIEW – Le célèbre ouvrage devait tomber dans le domaine public en 2016, ce que constestent ses ayants droit. Le Figaro a interrogé Camille Bauer, spécialiste du droit de la propriété intellectuelle, afin de faire le point sur une controverse qui enflamme les réseaux sociaux.

Le 6 octobre, le Fonds Anne Frank de Bâle rappelait dans un communiqué, transmis à Livres Hebdo, que Le Journal d’Anne Frank ne sera pas libre de droit au 1er janvier 2016, comme les règles générales du droit d’auteur pouvaient le laisser penser, 70 ans après la mort d’Anne Frank.

«Si Anne Frank est décédée en mars 1945, les différentes versions de son journal restent pourtant soumises à protection en France, comme dans de nombreux autres pays, et donc à autorisation préalable du Fonds Anne Frank», écrivaient ainsi ses ayants droit.

Pour quelles raisons? Le Fonds Anne Frank utilise deux arguments: la première version du Journal, publiée en 1947, a été co-écrite par Otto Frank, mort en 1980 ; la seconde, parue en 1980, bénéficie encore du régime particulier des œuvres posthumes. Les écrits d’Anne Frank ne devraient alors entrer dans le domaine public qu’en 2050 pour le premier cas, en 2030 pour le second.

Cette annonce a créé une vive polémique dans le milieu de l’édition. Notamment parce que les ayants droit ont déjà vendu plus de 30 millions d’exemplaires du Journal d’Anne Frank. Le 8 octobre, l’enseignant chercheur Olivier Ertzscheid a publié les deux versions de l’ouvrage sur le site de Rue89, afin de remettre en question cette décision et de permettre la mise en place d’un débat constructif sur la question. Me Camille Bauer, avocate spécialiste du droit de la propriété intellectuelle, répond aux questions du Figaro.

LE FIGARO. – Le fonds Anne Frank a signifié la semaine dernière que Le Journal d’Anne Frank ne sera pas libre de droit au 1er janvier 2016, comme prévu initialement, en mentionnant divers arguments juridiques pour repousser cette date. Est-ce une tentative courante de la part des ayants droit?

Camille BAUER. – Il ne faut pas banaliser ce comportement, mais oui, cela se pratique. Quand on a une source de revenu importante pour une œuvre connaissant une certaine notoriété, des ayants droit peuvent avoir le souhait de proroger cette période de protection des droits. Souvent, ce sont aussi les éditeurs- qui se partagent les droits avec l’auteur – qui font ressortir un nouvel ouvrage agrémenté de commentaires ou d’une nouvelle traduction, ceci afin de faire courir plus longtemps le délai de prescription. Ça s’est notamment pratiqué avec des versions modernes d’ouvrages d’auteurs anciens pourtant tombés dans le domaine public. On retrouve ces deux éléments avec Le Journal d’Anne Frank: les ayants droit souhaitent proroger leurs droits au maximum et deux versions coexistent, probablement pour prolonger encore ces droits.

Le fonds Anne Frank avance le report des droits en raison de la qualité de co-auteur d’Otto Frank sur la première version du Journal, paru en 1947. Qu’est-ce que cela signifie au niveau juridique?

Deux sortes de règles s’appliquent en matière de droit d’auteur. Les droits patrimoniaux d’abord, qui sont pécuniaires et sont perçus en France et en Europe, à quelques différences près, sur une durée de 70 ans après la mort de l’auteur. Le droit moral ensuite, qui précise que l’auteur jouit du respect de son nom, de sa qualité et de son œuvre. Un droit perpétuel, inaliénable et imprescriptible, néanmoins transmissible aux héritiers à la mort de l’auteur.

Dans le cas du Journal d’Anne Frank, l’affaire relève de l’interprétation des règles du droit patrimonial. Comme souvent, le sujet est de savoir à partir de quand la date de prescription s’impose. À partir de la mort d’Anne Frank en 1945, ce qui signifierait que son Journal tomberait effectivement dans le domaine public le 1er janvier 2016? Or sur la première version publiée, son père a été crédité en tant que co-auteur. Lui étant décédé en 1980, cela repousse les droits de cette version jusqu’en 2050.

Qu’en est-il pour la version parue en 1980?

Cette version est considérée comme une œuvre à part entière, générant des droits patrimoniaux nouveaux. Néanmoins, en sa qualité d’oeuvre posthume – parue après la mort d’Anne Frank – elle n’est protégée que durant 50 ans. Elle devrait donc tomber dans le domaine public en 2030.

Est-il possible de contredire les revendications du fonds Anne Frank? Notamment en ce qui concerne le rôle de co-auteur d’Otto Frank?

On peut effectivement s’interroger sur sa qualité de co-auteur, qui repousse les droits de la première version du Journal d’Anne Frank aux 70 ans après sa mort. Est-il co-auteur ou ne l’est-il pas? Le fonds revendique que l’œuvre est composite. Mais cela peut paraître contestable sur le plan juridique, étant donné qu’il n’a, a priori, fait que des coupes et allégé l’ouvrage dans un souci éditorial.

Certains avancent que les ayants droit chercheraient également à repousser la date de protection, par crainte que des négationnistes ou des révisionnistes ne s’emparent de l’œuvre pour la modifier. Est-ce une réelle menace?

C’est une crainte qui serait peu fondée. La famille peut toujours attaquer pour violation du droit du respect de l’œuvre. Elle a un droit de regard sur le bien-fondé de l’utilisation du Journal. Dans le cas d’attaques négationnistes, les ayants droit peuvent aussi poursuivre pour incitation à la haine raciale. La protection au titre du droit moral leur donne déjà des garanties, pas besoin du droit patrimonial pour ça.

À quoi peut s’attendre Olivier Ertzscheid, l’enseignant chercheur qui a publié les deux versions du Journal d’Anne Frank sur le site de Rue89?

Les droits confèrent un monopole à l’éditeur. Si on viole les droits de l’éditeur en la diffusant gratuitement par exemple, on est dans l’illégalité. Ce chercheur risquerait d’être poursuivi pour violation des droits, à l’intiative de l’éditeur et de la famille. Il s’expose à une condamnation pour dommages et intérêts ainsi qu’à une interdiction de publication.

Ces dommages et intérêts pourraient néanmoins être symboliques dans ce cas. Il était conscient de l’illégalité de son geste. C’était un acte à la fois de provocation – à l’intention des ayants droit – et d’hommage – à Anne Frank. Un moyen d’ouvrir le débat sur cet ouvrage dont on reporte la date d’entrée dans le domaine public. Or il estime que son rayonnement serait plus large si Le Journal d’Anne Frank pouvait être exploité librement, par exemple avec des adaptations en film, en bande dessinée… Un acte de résistance en somme dont il assume les risques.

Chère Anne Frank

Olivier Ertzscheid

07 oct 2015

Bon ben voilà. On dirait que je suis le gars qui a mis un gros bordel sur les internets. Ce billet – et ceux des camarades qui m’ont suivi – est repris un peu partout, Anne Franck a passé la journée en Trending Topic sur Twitter – ben oui … Les articles de presse tombent, Mediapart, Arrêt sur Images, 20 minutes, probablement Libé bientôt et probablement d’autres. Un salut particulier à l’équipe de Rue89 et à Xavier De La Porte qui ont reproduit mon texte et proposent également les deux fichiers illégaux sur leur site.

Beaucoup de choses sont en train de se dire et de s’écrire. Certaines sont justes et peuvent être discutées (elles le méritent), d’autres sont uniquement des réactions épidermiques – c’est le jeu – en mode « c’est un scandale / salaud ! » ou « quelle attitude courageuse ». Ce n’est bien sûr ni l’un, ni l’autre.

Le but premier de ce billet était de porter cette question (le domaine public, les ayants droits) sur la place publique. Là au moins … c’est fait.

Je vais couper toute connexion jusqu’à ce week-end et reviendrai dimanche soir ou Lundi sur ce blog pour répondre aux arguments de ceux qui me reprochent de l’avoir fait et expliquer plus en détail pourquoi je l’ai fait.

En attendant un merci sincère pour les nombreux messages de soutien que je reçois depuis ce matin (par mail, en commentaire, par téléphone ou sur Twitter), un merci tout aussi sincère à celles et ceux qui ont choisi de s’associer à cette initiative en étant tout aussi conscients que moi des risques qu’ils prenaient, en en prenant parfois davantage, a fortiori lorsqu’il s’agit de journaux, d’acteurs ou d’institutions publiques (oui oui, des bibliothèques proposent ces fichiers sur leurs sites).

Je précise juste deux choses :

je ne suis pas « un blogueur » qui a mis en ligne ces 2 fichiers. Je suis un universitaire qui depuis 15 ans réfléchit sur les problématiques de l’accès ouvert, qui connaît les modèles de l’édition, qui sans être juriste a, disons, un avis relativement étayé sur les questions juridiques sous-jacentes, qui a lui même été édité, à touché des droits d’auteur, a aussi choisi parfois de ne pas en toucher. Je connais et bosse régulièrement avec des auteurs, des éditeurs, des traducteurs. Je sais de quoi leur quotidien est fait. Je sais combien il est pour certains difficile. Je suis aussi un enseignant à l’université qui chaque année, forme – ou déforme … – une grosse centaine d’étudiants sur les questions et les enjeux du numérique, des droits d’auteurs, de la circulation et de la mise à disposition des savoirs et des connaissances. Le fait de clamer ainsi d’être un « universitaire » n’ajoute ou n’enlève rien à ma démarche, ni ne la justifie d’aucune manière, mais elle est tout de même une manière de rappeler que cet acte illégal dont je me suis rendu coupable a été accompli en parfaite connaissance de cause, mais qu’il ne l’a pas uniquement été sur un coup de tête ou un énervement passager et qu’il s’inscrit dans le cadre de la réflexion et de l’analyse que je m’efforce de mener depuis 15 sur ces questions, et sur un autre risque, le risque, tout aussi considérable, qu’il y aurait eu, une nouvelle fois, à ne rien faire.

Je suis aussi un « militant », et oui, il n’est pas totalement infondé d’assimiler mon acte d’hier soir à celui des faucheurs volontaires, comme cela a souvent été fait sur Twitter. J’ai publiquement et sous mon vrai nom rendu accessibles des fichiers illégaux que n’importe qui peut récupérer en tapant simplement le nom d’Anne Frank sur Google suivi du mot clé « pdf » ou « epub ». Le fait de le faire publiquement n’a pas pour seule vocation de faciliter le travail de la justice pour remonter jusqu’à moi. Il est un nouvel épisode de cette « guerilla » qu’Aaron Schwartz appelait de ses voeux dans son manifeste :
« Nous avons besoin de récolter l’information où qu’elle soit stockée, d’en faire des copies et de la partager avec le monde. Nous devons nous emparer du domaine public et l’ajouter aux archives. Nous devons acheter des bases de données secrètes et les mettre sur le Web. Nous devons télécharger des revues scientifiques et les poster sur des réseaux de partage de fichiers. Nous devons mener le combat de la guérilla pour le libre accès.

Lorsque nous serons assez nombreux de par le monde, nous n’enverrons pas seulement un puissant message d’opposition à la privatisation de la connaissance  : nous ferons en sorte que cette privatisation appartienne au passé. Serez-vous des nôtres  ? »

Bon week-end. Bonne lecture. Et à bientôt pour d’autres nouvelles.

Dix questions sur l’authenticité du journal d’Anne Frank

Il existe un nombre important d’informations fiables concernant Anne Frank et son journal. Mais il arrive à l’occasion que via Internet ou ailleurs des mensonges soient colportés à propos du journal. On peut lire dans des livres et des brochures qui circulent que le journal est un faux, qu’il a été rédigé par d’autres qu’anne Frank. Certains sites web même affirment que des passages du journal ont été écrits au stylo à bille. La Maison d’anne Frank attaque régulièrement en justice ceux qui remettent en cause l’authenticité (la véracité) du journal, et ceci avec succès. Ceux qui néanmoins tombent sur ces mensonges à propos du journal trouveront sur ces pages web, sous forme de questions et de réponses, les principaux faits concernant l’authenticité du journal.

Une arrière-pensée politique

Il convient de placer les attaques contre le journal dans une perspective plus large. Ceux qui ont affirmé ou affirment que le journal est un faux sont sur une arrière-pensée politique. En général, ils nient l’holocauste. Ou bien ils tentent de démontrer qu’il n’y a pas eu de chambres à gaz à Auschwitz et que le nombre de six millions de Juifs exterminés durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale est démesurément exagéré. Le journal d’anne Frank constitue un document très important sur l’holocauste et au lendemain de la Seconde Guerre mondiale Anne Frank est devenue progressivement le symbole le plus connu, de par le monde, de la persécution des Juifs. Les personnes ou les organisations qui nient ou minimisent l’holocauste essaient de par- là même de disculper et de réhabiliter le système national-socialiste. Ou bien elles tentent, en semant le doute sur le sort des Juifs pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, de saper les fondements mêmes sur lesquels se base l’existence de l’état d’israël. À la télévision et sur Internet La diffusion de matériel remettant en cause l’authenticité du journal d’anne Frank et niant aussi fréquemment l’holocauste est heureusement, en Europe et en Amérique du Nord, uniquement l’œuvre de quelques personnes. Il n’existe pas d’hommes de sciences dignes de ce nom qui doutent que l’holocauste ait eu lieu ou que le journal d’anne Frank ait vraiment été écrit par elle. Cependant, au Moyen-Orient le négationnisme est devenu de plus en plus souvent une arme dans la lutte contre Israël, et des contrevérités sur l’holocauste sont colportées ouvertement et à grande échelle à la télévision et sur Internet. Bien des enfants au Moyen-Orient apprennent à l’école que le journal d’anne Frank est un faux. Au moyen de la télévision par satellite, ces mensonges s’infiltrent aussi dans le monde occidental. De plus, les diffuseurs de matériel négationniste ou remettant en cause le journal d’anne Frank se voient offrir par Internet une diffusion particulièrement large de leurs idées. C’est pourquoi la Maison d’anne Frank se propose d’user de plusieurs moyens et par conséquent de son site web également pour infirmer les contrevérités émises sur le journal d’anne Frank.

2 Dix questions sur l’authenticité du journal d’anne Frank : 1. En quoi consiste exactement l’héritage d’Anne Frank? 2. Quelles ont été les recherches effectuées sur l’authenticité du journal? 3. D’où provenaient soudain les cinq nouvelles pages du journal? 4. On dit parfois qu’il existe aussi dans le journal des notes faites au stylo à bille. Est-ce exact? 5. Quelles sont les personnes et les organisations qui affirment que le journal d’anne Frank est un faux? 6. Pourquoi ne peut-on affirmer que le journal est un faux? La liberté d’expression existe tout de même? 7. Qu’a fait Otto Frank contre les attaques mettant en cause l’authenticité du journal? 8. Qu’a fait la Maison d’anne Frank contre les attaques mettant en cause l’authenticité du journal? 9. Pour quelle raison prend-on si peu de mesures contre les sites Internet qui nient l’holocauste ou qui mettent en doute l’authenticité du journal? 10. Où puis-je trouver davantage d’informations sur le négationnisme? 1. En quoi consiste exactement l’héritage d’anne Frank? Le 12 juin 1942, Anne Frank fête son treizième anniversaire. Elle reçoit entre autres un cahier de poésies : un album pour ainsi dire carré avec une couverture dure à carreaux rouges-blancs-verts. C’est dans cet album qu’elle va tenir son journal. Son premier journal se termine le 5 décembre 1942. Son deuxième cahier, un cahier d’écolier qui a été conservé, débute le 22 décembre 1943 et se poursuit jusqu’au 17 avril 1944. Il est extrêmement improbable qu’anne Frank n’ait pas tenu de journal entre décembre 1942 et décembre 1943 : nous devons admettre que cette partie a dû se perdre. Son troisième et dernier journal, également un cahier d’écolier, débute le 17 avril 1944 et prend fin le 1 er août 1944. 2007 Anne Frank Stichting 2

3 En plus de son journal, Anne écrivit aussi dans un grand cahier de caisse les « Contes d’anne Frank ». Et elle remplit de citations un petit livre de caisse de forme allongée : le « Livre de belles phrases ». Tous deux ont été conservés. Deux versions Les journaux d’anne Frank décrivent à partir du mois de juin 1942 d’une façon poignante les heurs et malheurs des huit clandestins juifs de l’annexe située au Prinsengracht, à Amsterdam. Anne Frank a elle-même réécrit dans l’annexe ses notes de journal, en vue d’une éventuelle publication après la guerre. Et ce, sur des feuilles de papier pelure, les fameuses « feuilles volantes ». C’est sur ces feuilles volantes qu’elle trie et réécrit ses précédentes notes de journal ; elle remanie des textes, assemble parfois sous une seule date des notes rédigées à des dates différentes et dans certains cas en raccourcit d’autres considérablement. C’est ainsi que naît de sa main une deuxième version, dans laquelle sont également décrites les vicissitudes de décembre 1942 à décembre 1943. Les feuilles volantes ont été conservées ; les dernières notes datent du 29 mars 1944. Si la première version du journal n’a donc pas été entièrement gardée, la deuxième partie est restée inachevée. Publication Afin de susciter l’intérêt d’un éditeur pour Het Achterhuis (L’Annexe, ainsi qu’anne Frank avait intitulé sa deuxième version), Otto Frank fait dactylographier durant l’automne 1945 des passages des notes du journal. Il supprime certains fragments, en déplace d’autres et apporte quelques corrections. C’est ainsi que prend forme un tapuscrit, toutefois le livre n’existe pas encore. À la demande d’otto Frank, son ami Albert Cauvern réalise ensuite un second tapuscrit. Avec l’autorisation d’otto Frank, Cauvern change entre autres les noms de neuf des treize clandestins et protecteurs de l’annexe en leur donnant des pseudonymes qu’anne elle-même a imaginés en vue d’une éventuelle publication. Les deux textes dactylographiés ont été conservés. Enfin, un rédacteur de la maison d’édition Contact est le troisième à se pencher sur le texte : en corrigeant les fautes de frappe et en harmonisant le manuscrit avec les « règles internes » de la maison d’édition. Le tout a pour résultat la première publication néerlandaise de Het Achterhuis en juin 1947. Trois versions en un seul volume Otto Frank meurt le 19 août 1980. Il lègue par testament tous les écrits de sa fille à l’état néerlandais. Les autorités néerlandaises remettent alors la gestion des écrits à l’institut national de documentation sur la guerre (RIOD, par la suite Institut néerlandais de documentation sur la guerre NIOD). En 1986, le NIOD publie les trois versions du journal mentionnées ci-dessus les notes originales du journal qui ont été conservées, la version réécrite par Anne Frank elle-même et l’édition composée par Otto Frank et parue en 1947 aux éditions Contact le tout en un seul volume intitulé De Dagboeken van Anne Frank (Les Journaux d’anne Frank). 2007 Anne Frank Stichting 3

4 L’original du journal d’anne Frank ainsi que plusieurs écrits de sa main sont exposés depuis 1986 dans la Maison d’anne Frank. 2. Quelles ont été les recherches effectuées sur l’authenticité du journal? Face aux accusations lancées continuellement à l’encontre du journal d’anne Frank dans les années soixante et soixante-dix, un certain nombre de recherches ont été effectuées en partie à l’initiative d’otto Frank sur l’authenticité du journal. Les recherches les plus vastes menées dans la première moitié des années quatre-vingt sont celles du Laboratoire judiciaire de l’institut néerlandais de médecine légale, et ce, à la demande de l’institut national de documentation sur la guerre. Les résultats des recherches du Laboratoire judiciaire ont été consignés dans un rapport de plus de 250 pages. La majeure partie de ce rapport porte sur les résultats d’une analyse graphologique approfondie. Cependant, le Laboratoire judiciaire a également étudié les documents d’un point de vue technique. Un résumé du rapport du Laboratoire judiciaire de 65 pages a été inclus dans les Dagboeken van Anne Frank, c’est-àdire dans l’édition critique qu’a publiée le NIOD en 1986. La totalité du rapport est disponible pour les chercheurs. Le NIOD conclut : «( ) Le rapport du Laboratoire judiciaire (Gerechtelijk Laboratorium) a établi de façon probante que les deux versions du journal d’anne Frank ont bien été écrites par elle dans les années 1942-1944. Les allégations selon lesquelles elles auraient été écrites (après la guerre ou non) par une autres personne, ont trouvé ainsi une réfutation décisive.» (Les Journaux d’anne Frank. Édition intégrale, 1988, p. 207.) Recherches allemandes Les recherches du Laboratoire judiciaire effectuées sur l’authenticité du journal dans les années quatre-vingt avaient été précédées par d’autres. En 1959, les écrits d’anne Frank avaient été étudiés par des graphologues en Allemagne en vue d’un procès intenté par Otto Frank. En mars 1960, les graphologues de Hambourg parvinrent, dans un rapport de 131 pages, à la conclusion que toutes les notes contenues dans les journaux, les feuilles volantes mais aussi toutes les corrections et tous les ajouts étaient « identiques » à l’écriture d’anne Frank. Le rapport concluait également que les feuilles volantes n’avaient pas été écrites avant les trois cahiers. Enfin, ils tirèrent la conclusion que «le texte paru en traduction allemande sous le titre de Das Tagebuch der Anne Frank [devait] être considéré comme conforme à l’original en ce qui concerne le contenu et les idées.» (Les Journaux d’anne Frank. Édition intégrale, 1989, p. 109.) C’est aussi en 1980 qu’eurent lieu des recherches très limitées – en Allemagne, en vue d’une procédure juridique, effectuées cette fois-ci par le Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) de Wiesbaden. Le BKA parvint à la conclusion que tous les types de papier et toutes les sortes d’encre utilisés avaient été fabriqués avant 1950 et qu’ils avaient donc pu servir dans les années de guerre. 2007 Anne Frank Stichting 4

5 3. D’où provenaient soudain les cinq nouvelles pages du journal? En 1998, cinq pages jusqu’alors inconnues du journal d’anne Frank refirent surface. Il s’agissait de cinq feuilles volantes qu’otto Frank avait déjà écartées avant la publication du journal en 1947. Elles furent rendues publiques par Cor Suyk, un ancien collaborateur de la Maison d’anne Frank. Cor Suyk fit savoir qu’otto Frank lui avait confié les cinq feuilles. Il vendit les feuilles volantes à l’état néerlandais et celles-ci furent ensuite ajoutées au journal, qui est géré par l’institut néerlandais de documentation sur la guerre (NIOD). Les cinq feuilles furent insérées pour la première fois intégralement dans la cinquième édition des Dagboeken van Anne Frank (l’édition critique, 2001). Selon toute vraisemblance, Otto Frank n’a pas voulu rendre publics ces fragments du journal de sa fille étant donné qu’ils contenaient des observations quelque peu pénibles d’anne Frank sur son mariage et sur sa première femme morte à Auschwitz. Avec une probabilité quasi certaine Le NIOD chargea le Laboratoire judiciaire qui durant la première moitié des années quatre-vingt avait effectué des recherches approfondies sur l’authenticité du journal d’étudier également ces cinq feuilles volantes. A l’issue des recherches sur l’aspect technique des documents et de fait d’une étude graphologique, le Laboratoire judiciaire conclut que «( ) l’écriture figurant sur le matériel à étudier d’une part et sur le matériel de référence constitué par des feuilles volantes du journal d’anne Frank d’autre part, sont avec une probabilité quasi certaine de la même main.» (De Dagboeken van Anne Frank, cinquième édition, 2001, p. 213.) 4. On dit parfois qu’il existe aussi dans le journal des notes faites au stylo à bille. Est-ce exact? Non, ce n’est pas exact. Toutes les notes du journal ont été écrites avec diverses sortes d’encre et de crayon (de couleur), pas au stylo à bille. Les recherches portant sur l’aspect technique des documents effectués par le Laboratoire judiciaire démontrent que la majeure partie du journal et des feuilles volantes a été écrite au stylo à encre bleu gris. Par ailleurs, Anne a utilisé pour ses notes de l’encre rouge diluée, un crayon de couleur vert et rouge et un crayon noir ; mais pas de stylo à bille. Néanmoins on peut encore lire régulièrement, entre autres sur les sites web d’extrême droite, que des passages du journal d’anne Frank ont été écrits au stylo à bille. C’est avec raillerie que les auteurs de ces sites parlent de « la fille au stylo à bille A. Frank », tout en expliquant que ce n’est qu’après la Seconde Guerre mondiale que le stylo à bille est devenu populaire en Europe. La conclusion qui s’impose dans ces accusations, c’est que les textes figurant dans le journal n’ont pas pu être écrits par Anne Frank elle-même. 2007 Anne Frank Stichting 5

6 Feuilles de notes L' »histoire du stylo à bille » remonte au rapport de quatre pages que le Bundeskriminalamt (BKA) de Wiesbaden publia en 1980. Ces recherches sur les types de papier et les sortes d’encre utilisés dans les journaux d’anne Frank mentionnent des « corrections au stylo à bille » apportées sur quelques feuilles volantes. Le BKA avait été chargé de signaler tous les textes figurant dans le journal. Les analyses du Laboratoire judiciaire néerlandais (au milieu des années quatre-vingt) montrent cependant que l’écriture au stylo à bille n’a été trouvée que sur deux feuilles de note volantes rédigées précédemment par des chercheurs et que ces notes ne sont d’aucune importance quant au contenu même du journal. Elles y ont été de toute évidence glissées par la suite. De plus, les chercheurs du Laboratoire judiciaire concluent que l’écriture sur ces deux feuilles de note diffère « dans une très large mesure » de celle figurant dans le journal. La publication du NIOD a inclus des photos de ces feuilles de note volantes (voir : De Dagboeken van Anne Frank, cinquième édition, 2001, p. 193 et 195). En 1987, monsieur Ockelmann, de Hambourg, fit savoir dans une lettre que c’était sa mère qui avait écrit les feuilles de note en question. Madame Ockelmann avait fait partie de l’équipe qui vers 1960 avait effectué une analyse graphologique des écrits d’anne Frank. L’histoire fait son chemin Bref, l' »histoire du stylo à bille » est simple à infirmer. La formulation négligente ou en tout cas susceptible à plusieurs interprétations du rapport du BKA de 1980 un rapport qui au demeurant n’apporte nullement atteinte à l’authenticité du journal a commencé à faire son chemin dans les milieux d’extrême droite. L’histoire du stylo à bille repose sur le simple fait que vers 1960 deux feuilles de note écrites au stylo à bille se sont glissées parmi les feuilles originales. Ces textes ont été écrits par une graphologue et n’ont été inclus dans aucune édition du journal (à l’exception de l’édition critique, où figurent les photos de ces feuilles de note). En juillet 2006, le BKA a jugé nécessaire de déclarer dans un communiqué de presse que l’analyse réalisée en 1980 ne peut être utilisée pour mettre en doute l’authenticité du journal. 5. Quelles sont les personnes et les organisations qui affirment que le journal d’anne Frank est un faux? Abstraction faite de quelques originaux égarés, toutes les personnes (et groupes de personnes) qui affirment, en ayant toutes leurs facultés, que le journal ou des passages du journal d’anne Frank sont un faux appartiennent à la catégorie des négationnistes. En attaquant le journal, elles tentent de semer le doute quant à la réalité de l’holocauste. Et ce, en affirmant qu’il n’y a pas eu six millions de Juifs assassinés durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale et que les nationaux-socialistes n’ont pas construit de chambres à gaz. Ce sont des individus qui ont une arrièrepensée politique : en niant l’holocauste, elles essaient de démonter ou du moins de rendre plausible que le national-socialisme était (et est) un système bien 2007 Anne Frank Stichting 6

7 moins pernicieux qu’on ne le pense. Elles essaient de gagner par-là de nouveaux adeptes à l’idéologie nazie. Comme le journal d’anne Frank représente de par le monde une introduction accessible à l’holocauste et qu’il est souvent utilisé dans les écoles, il constitue une cible de choix pour ces anciens et nouveaux nazis. Arguments pseudo-scientifiques Les négationnistes – ceux donc qui nient l’holocauste sont de tout poil. Certains se drapent d’un manteau scientifique : ils se qualifient de révisionnistes ou révisionnistes historiques (le révisionnisme signifie : aspiration à la révision). Avec des arguments pseudo-scientifiques, ils essaient de revoir l’histoire de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. L’un des écrits révisionnistes les plus traduits et les plus propagés sur le journal d’anne Frank est la « thèse » du scientifique français Robert Faurisson, publiée en 1978 sous le titre de Le Journal d’anne Frank est-il authentique? Faurisson a été condamné à plusieurs reprises en France à des peines de prison avec ou sans sursis et à payer des amendes pour avoir nié l’existence des chambres à gaz durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale et pour incitation à la discrimination et à la haine raciale. « Propagande sioniste » Le négationnisme n’est pas le fait uniquement du monde occidental, mais aussi et ces dernières années à un degré croissant du Moyen Orient. Dans cette région, il constitue surtout une arme contre l’état d’israël. Le fait de semer le doute quant au sort des Juifs durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale mais aussi de nier l’authenticité du journal d’anne Frank a lieu en première instance pour « démontrer » que l’holocauste n’est que de la « propagande sioniste ». On essaie ainsi de saper les fondements mêmes sur lesquels se base l’existence de l’etat d’israël. En Iran, le négationnisme est même l’idéologie officielle de l’état, mais dans le monde arabe aussi et à un degré croissant en Turquie également les négationnistes sont présentés dans les médias comme des scientifiques sérieux. Il convient de remarquer que de nombreux écrits révisionnistes qui circulent au Moyen Orient (que ce soit ou non sur Internet) sont de fabrication européenne ou américaine. 6. Pourquoi ne peut-on affirmer que le journal est un faux? La liberté d’expression existe tout de même? La liberté d’expression est un droit fondamental important dans toute société démocratique. Ce droit signifie que tout citoyen est libre d’exprimer en public toutes sortes d’idées, d’opinions et de points de vue, sans censure préalable. Cependant, la liberté d’expression ne signifie pas pour autant que quiconque peut impunément tout dire ou tout proclamer en public. Comme tous les autres droits fondamentaux, la liberté d’expression est sujette à des limites qui ne peuvent être transgressées. L’incitation à la haine, au meurtre ou à la violence et la diffamation par exemple tombent sous le coup de la loi. La diffusion de contrevérités manifestes sur le journal d’anne Frank n’est pas seulement 2007 Anne Frank Stichting 7

8 extrêmement offensante pour les proches parents, c’est également discriminatoire et blessant pour toutes les victimes de l’holocauste et leurs parents. Est-ce que ça tombe sous le coup de la loi? C’est seulement une fois l’opinion exprimée publiquement que le juge peut évaluer si celle-ci tombe sous le coup de la loi. Sur ce point, les États-Unis et les pays membres de l’union européenne ont des traditions divergentes. Aux États- Unis, on ne sera pas prompt à fixer des limites à la liberté d’expression. Ce n’est pas un hasard si le Premier article de la Constitution américaine stipule que le législateur ne peut promulguer des lois qui limitent inutilement cette liberté. En Europe par contre, on aura tendance à limiter la liberté d’expression si le droit à la protection contre la discrimination est en cause. Si le négationnisme ne tombe pas sous le coup de la loi aux États-Unis, en revanche l’allemagne, la France et plusieurs autres pays européens connaissent des lois qui pénalisent la diffusion de mensonges sur « Auschwitz » – et par conséquent aussi les mensonges propagés sur le journal d’anne Frank. C’est ce qui explique pourquoi un nombre considérable de livres et de sites web remettant en cause le journal d’anne Frank proviennent des États-Unis. 7. Qu’a fait Otto Frank contre les attaques mettant en cause l’authenticité du journal? Dès la fin des années cinquante jusqu’à sa mort en 1980, Otto Frank s’est élevé en paroles et en écrits, mais aussi en intervenant en justice contre les attaques remettant en cause l’authenticité du journal. Les premières accusations contre le journal parurent en 1957 et 1958 dans d’obscures revues suédoises et norvégiennes. Il y était notamment affirmé que le journaliste et romancier américain Myer Levin était l’auteur du journal. Levin s’était proposé de faire aux États-Unis une adaptation du journal au théâtre et au cinéma, mais n’avait pas rencontré le soutien d’otto Frank dans cette entreprise. La presse eut connaissance du conflit entre Meyer Levin et Otto Frank et ce conflit fut ensuite utilisé par des radicaux de droite comme argument pour mettre en doute l’authenticité du journal. On ignore si Otto Frank eut vent de ces premières attaques contre le journal ; le fait est qu’il n’a pas porté plainte. Lothar Stielau et Heinrich Buddeberg À trois reprises, Otto Frank attaqua en justice plusieurs personnes qui avaient affirmé que le journal de sa fille était un faux. Début 1959, il déposa plainte contre le professeur allemand Lothar Stielau (professeur d’anglais à Lübeck et membre du parti radical de droite Deutsche Reichspartei) pour diffamation, injure, outrage et atteinte à la mémoire d’une personne décédée et pour propos antisémites. Celui-ci avait écrit dans un journal d’école : «Les faux journaux d’eva Braun, de la reine d’angleterre et celui, à peine plus authentique, d’anne Frank ont sans doute rapporté quelques millions aux profiteurs de la défaite 2007 Anne Frank Stichting 8

9 d’allemagne, mais ont en revanche exacerbé notre sensibilité à ces sortes de choses.» La plainte déposée par Otto Frank visait également Heinrich Buddeberg, membre du même parti que Stielau, qui avait pris la défense de ce dernier dans une lettre ouverte au journal Lübecker Nachrichten. À l’issue d’une ample et sérieuse analyse graphologique sur l’authenticité des manuscrits d’anne Frank, le tribunal régional de Lübeck reconnut l’authenticité du journal et déclara la plainte d’otto Frank fondée. Stielau et Buddeberg rétractèrent leurs accusations en raison de l’enquête préliminaire et la procédure judiciaire fut clôturée. L’enquête et l’audition des témoins les avaient convaincus de l’authenticité du journal. Ils firent part de leurs regrets d’avoir tenu leurs propos sans avoir tenté d’étudier la question. Là-dessus, Otto Frank accepta une transaction, ce qu’il regretta par la suite : «Si j’avais su qu’il y a des gens pour qui un compromis, dans cette affaire, ne constitue pas une preuve suffisante, j’aurais mené le procès a son terme.» (Les Journaux d’anne Frank. Édition intégrale, 1989, p. 112.) Heinz Roth En 1976, Otto Frank engagea devant le tribunal régional de Francfort une procédure en référé contre Heinz Roth, originaire de la ville d’odenhausen, en Allemagne. Par le biais de sa propre maison d’édition, Roth propageait une multitude de brochures et de tracts néonazis intitulés notamment : Anne Frank’s Tagebuch eine Fälschung et Anne Frank’s Tagebuch Der Grosse Schwindel. Au bout de deux ans, le tribunal jugea que Roth serait passible de 500.000 marks allemands d’amende (environ 250.000) ou de six mois de prison au maximum s’il publiait à nouveau ce genre d’écrits. Ayant fait appel, Roth produisit le rapport du scientifique français Robert Faurisson, mais ce rapport non plus ne put convaincre le tribunal allemand. L’appel de Roth fut rejeté en 1979. Bien que mort en 1978, il y eut pourvoi en cassation auprès de la Cour fédérale allemande qui renvoya l’affaire en 1980 à la Cour de Francfort au motif que Roth n’avait pas eu suffisamment l’occasion d’étayer ses affirmations ; il aurait dû au cas où l’affaire serait révisée se voir offrir la possibilité de le faire. Le fait que le prévenu était mort depuis deux ans déjà ne joua manifestement aucun rôle dans ce verdict ; l’affaire ne fut finalement jamais examinée par le tribunal de Francfort. Ernst Römer et Edgar Geiss Le troisième procès allemand auquel prit part Otto Frank (en tant que coplaignant) se déroula de 1976 à 1993. Tout commença lorsqu’ernst Römer, à l’issue des représentations de la pièce « Le journal d’anne Frank », distribua des tracts ayant pour titre « Best-Seller ein Schwindel ». Le Ministère public décida de poursuivre Römer et par la suite également Edgar Geiss, qui partageait ses idées et qui distribuait au tribunal les mêmes tracts. Les deux affaires furent jointes. Römer et Geiss furent condamnés à respectivement 1.500 marks d’amende (environ 750) et six mois d’emprisonnement. Ils firent appel. Si l’affaire en appel traîna si longtemps, c’est surtout parce qu’une enquête fut tout d’abord ouverte par le Bundeskriminalamt et qu’il fut ensuite décidé d’attendre la traduction en allemand des Dagboeken van Anne Frank (l’édition critique). Celleci parut en 1988 et put ainsi servir de pièce à conviction. En raison de son âge 2007 Anne Frank Stichting 9

10 avancé, Römer décida de renoncer à faire appel et Geiss se retrouva seul. L’un des moyens de sa défense atteint son but : en Allemagne la diffusion d’écrits diffamatoires bénéficie d’un délai de prescription relativement court. L’affaire fut classée pour prescription. 8. Qu’a fait la Maison d’anne Frank contre les attaques mettant en cause l’authenticité du journal? La Maison d’anne Frank s’est, elle aussi, élevée en paroles et en écrits et dans un certain nombre de cas également par des moyens juridiques contre les remises en cause de l’authenticité du journal. Libre examen historique En 1976, la La Maison d’anne Frank intervint dans la procédure en référé qu’otto Frank avait engagée contre Heinz Roth devant le tribunal régional de Francfort (voir question précédente). De même, après la mort d’otto Frank survenue en 1980, la Maison d’anne Frank s’est employée à lutter contre la diffusion de mensonges blessants sur le journal. Avec d’autres organisations, elle a engagé des procédures judiciaires contre la maison de vente par correspondance Vrij Historisch Onderzoek (Libre examen historique VHO), l’un des plus grands distributeurs dans les pays de langue néerlandaise de matériel négationniste et remettant en cause l’authenticité du journal d’anne Frank. Établie à Anvers (Belgique), la VHO diffusait depuis 1985 la traduction néerlandaise du rapport de Robert Faurisson intitulé Le Journal d’anne Frank est-il authentique? et publia en 1991 le livret Le « Journal » d’anne Frank : une approche critique. Ce livret contenait le rapport de Faurisson et une introduction de l’éditeur de la VHO, Siegfried Verbeke. Il était surtout envoyé à des bibliothèques et à des personnes privées aux Pays-Bas sans qu’elles en aient fait, ni les unes ni les autres, la demande. Procédure civile La Maison d’anne Frank et l’anne Frank Fonds Bâle décidèrent d’agir de concert et engagèrent une procédure civile contre Verbeke, Faurisson et la Vrij Historisch Onderzoek. L’Anne Frank Fonds Bâle et la Maison d’anne Frank sollicitèrent une interdiction de la diffusion du livret aux Pays-Bas sous peine d’une astreinte de 25.000 florins. Le tribunal de grande instance d’amsterdam donna gain de cause aux requérants en décembre 1998 et admit les demandes, une décision qui en 2000 fut confirmée en appel. D’autres procédures judiciaires ont été entreprises depuis 1992 contre la Vrij Historisch Onderzoek et Siegfried Verbeke, qui via Internet ont considérablement élargi leur champ d’activités. 2007 Anne Frank Stichting 10

11 9. Pour quelle raison prend-on si peu de mesures contre les sites Internet qui nient l’holocauste ou qui mettent en doute l’authenticité du journal? L’authenticité du journal d’anne Frank a surtout été mise en doute, durant la dernière décennie du siècle précédent, par le biais de livrets, de tracts et de brochures d’obscures maisons d’édition nazies. La très grande majorité de ces écrits n’a pas atteint ou pratiquement pas atteint la grande masse des lecteurs. L’arrivée d’internet a offert des possibilités considérables aux diffuseurs de matériel négationniste. Quiconque tape sur un moteur de recherche « Anne Frank » n’obtiendra pas seulement toutes sortes de sites web fournissant de bonnes et solides informations, mais pourra aussi être confronté à des sites diffusant des mensonges et des contrevérités sur le journal. Et en tapant le mot « Holocauste », on tombera rapidement sur des sites révisionnistes. Sur ce point, Internet n’est pas seulement une magnifique et incroyablement grande bibliothèque, mais aussi un amas de fumier. La lutte juridique : pas si simple La lutte contre le négationnisme sur Internet en est encore à ses premiers balbutiements. Tout comme d’ailleurs la lutte contre les « sites de haine » (des sites incitant à la haine et à la violence envers les minorités), le cyberterrorisme/criminalité ou la diffusion de pornographie infantile par le biais du net. Il est difficile de dire quelle est la manière la meilleure et la plus efficace de lutter contre la diffusion du négationnisme et de mensonges sur le journal d’anne Frank sur Internet. En raison notamment du caractère transfrontalier d’internet, la lutte juridique n’est pas simple. Ainsi, afin d’éviter l’intervention de la justice, certains groupuscules révisionnistes et néonazis cherchent-ils un fournisseur d’accès en dehors de l’europe. Pour ce qui est de la lutte juridique contre la diffamation, les États-Unis connaissent en effet une autre tradition, ce qui a pour conséquences que le négationnisme n’entraîne pas rapidement des poursuites en justice. Cependant, un certain nombre de sites analysant en profondeur les « arguments » des négationnistes (voir également la dernière question) ont été créés et sont régulièrement mis à jour aux États-Unis. Avec faits, chiffres et documents à l’appui, ces sites réfutent les mensonges colportés dans les rapports révisionnistes. Et ce, en partant du principe que les faits sont le seul et le meilleur remède contre la diffusion de contrevérités. 10. Où puis-je trouver davantage d’informations sur le négationnisme? Il existe un certain nombre de livres et de sites web offrant de solides informations sur le négationnisme et les négationnistes. Quiconque veut en savoir davantage sur ce sujet peut consulter l’un des titres mentionnés cidessous au centre de documentation de la Maison d’anne Frank ou visiter l’un des sites web mentionnés ci-dessous. 2007 Anne Frank Stichting 11

12 Articles: Barnouw, David Mises en cause de l’authenticité du journal. Dans: Les journaux d’anne Frank / Institut national néerlandais pour la documentation de guerre ; introd. de Harry Paape, Gerrold van der Stroom et David Barnouw ; texte établi par David Barnouw et Gerrold van der Stroom ; trad. du néerlandais par Philippe Noble et Isabelle Rosselin-Bobulesco. – Paris : Calmann-Lévy, 1989. P. 105-125. Livres: Brayard, Florent Le génocide des Juifs entre procès et histoire, 1943-2000 / sous la dir. de Florent Brayard ; textes de Florent Brayard… [et al.]. – Bruxelles : Éditions Complexe [etc.], cop. 2000. (Collection « Histoire du Temps Présent »). Brayard, Florent Comment l’idée vint à M. Rassinier : naissance du révisionnisme / Florent Brayard ; préf. de Pierre Vidal-Naquet. – [Paris] : Fayard, 1996. Finkielkraut, Alain L’avenir d’une négation : réflexion sur la question du génocide / Alain Finkielkraut. – Paris : Seuil, 1982. (Fiction & Cie). Igounet, Valérie Histoire du négationnisme en France / Valérie Igounet. – Paris : Seuil, 2000. – 693 p. Janover, Louis Nuit et brouillard du révisionisme / Louis Janover. – Parijs : Méditerranée, 1996. – (Les pieds dans le plat). Vidal-Naquet, Pierre Les assassins de la mémoire : « Un Eichmann de papier » et autres essais sur le révisionnisme / Pierre Vidal-Naquet. – Paris : Découverte, 1987. – (Cahiers libres). Wellers, Georges Les chambres à gaz ont existé : des documents, des témoignages, des chiffres / Georges Wellers. – [Paris] : Gallimard, 1981. – (Collection Témoins). Sites web: The Nizkor Project: Deceit and Misrepresentation: The Techniques of Holocaust Denial English language website that discusses the techniques of Holocaust denial. Includes a FAQ section and details the denial of science, the toxicity of hydrogen cyanide, misrepresentation of the Holocaust, and fabrications concerning the Holocaust. http://www.nizkor.org/features/techniques-of-denial 2007 Anne Frank Stichting 12

13 MEMRI: The Middle East Media Research Institute English language website that that offers information on holocaust denial in the Middle East. http://www.memri.org/ Holocaust Denial on Trial: Truth Triumphs in 2000 Historical Court Victory David Irving, a British writer, sued American professor and author Deborah Lipstadt and her British publisher, Penguin Books Ltd., for libel in a trial that took place in London, England, in 2000. Lipstadt is the author of the book « Denying the Holocaust – the Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, » which was published by Penguin Books Ltd. The judge found in favor of the defendants. Transcripts, testimony, and news articles in English relating to the trial are available online. Emory University and the Institute for Jewish Studies present the information. http://www.holocaustdenialontrial.org/ 2007 Anne Frank Stichting 13

Le Journal d’Anne Frank : Les falsifications de Faurisson
Didier Daeninckx
Publié originellement dans Amnistia.net-Les enquêtes interdites, no 81, 19 mars 2007

Préambule
Robert Faurisson (à dr.) et Pierre Guillaume au palais de justice de Paris.
Le 12 mars 2007, la 17e Chambre correctionnelle de Paris consacrait ses audiences du matin et de l’après-midi à l’examen de la plainte pour diffamation déposée par le négationniste Robert Faurisson à l’encontre de l’ancien garde des Sceaux, Robert Badinter, lui réclamant 15 000 euros de dommages et intérêts. L’ancien ministre de la Justice, lors d’un débat sur la chaîne Arte, avait déclaré que Robert Faurisson s’était vu condamner pour falsification historique. Techniquement parlant, cela était inexact, le délit de « falsification historique » n’existant pas. Cependant une dizaine de témoins sont venus à la barre pour démontrer que les déclarations, les écrits négationnistes reposent sur des méthodes connues de falsification, de mensonge et que les nombreuses condamnations prononcées contre Robert Faurisson, tant en France qu’à l’étranger, se basent sur la dénonciation de ces techniques de manipulation, de ces procédés de faussaire. Il ne s’agissait donc pas, juridiquement parlé, de « diffamation », compte tenu du caractère patent des falsifications faurissoniennes. Didier Daeninckx était l’un des témoins appelés par Robert Badinter, afin de traiter la façon dont Robert Faurisson présente frauduleusement Le Journal d’Anne Frank. Le site web Amnistia.net, aujourd’hui indisponible, avait publié un résumé de son intervention à la barre accompagné de documents. Didier Daeninckx a autorisé PHDN a reproduire ce texte. Le découpage et les intertitres ont été adaptés par PHDN pour cette version.

Introduction
Portrait d’Anne Frank en 1941
La première fois que j’ai lu le texte de Robert Faurisson « Le Journal d’Anne Frank est-il authentique ? », j’ai été véritablement déstabilisé. La minutie avec laquelle l’auteur démontait la thèse de la véracité du journal, la variété des démonstrations, tout semblait apparemment inattaquable tellement les arguments étaient assénés avec autorité. Il m’a fallu reprendre l’argumentation de Robert Faurisson page par page, argument par argument, pour m’apercevoir que la force de conviction de ce texte reposait sur des méthodes de falsification, sur des procédés de faussaire: absence de citations de sources, noms de témoins passés sous silence, citations inexactes, traductions biaisées, rétention d’informations essentielles au jugement du lecteur, affirmations sans fondements, suppositions tenant lieu de démonstrations. Nous sommes bien là face à une démarche empreinte de « légèreté », de « négligence », « d’ignorance délibérée », de « mensonges ».

Je voudrais donner quatre exemples de la manière dont Robert Faurisson détourne l’attention du lecteur :

La démonstration sur les bruits dans l’Annexe
L’expertise d’un procès de négateurs allemands du Journal
Les différentes écritures d’Anne Frank
La mention des “chambres à gaz” par Anne Frank

1. Les bruits dans l’Annexe
Une page du Journal
Il s’agit là de la première page du texte de Robert Faurisson où il tente d’établir que les descriptions attribuées à Anne Frank ne sont pas réalistes et il en tire la conclusion que la famille Frank n’a pu vivre dans l’Annexe, cet appartement secret dissimulé dans l’entreprise que le père d’Anne Frank dirigeait avant-guerre à Amsterdam.

Robert Faurisson débusque tous les passages où Anne Frank décrit la vie, les bruits, les rires, les disputes pour tenter de prouver que toute cette activité aurait alerté les magasiniers travaillant dans l’entrepôt situé sous l’appartement dissimulé. Faurisson écrit par exemple en ouverture de sa « démonstration » :

« Il est donc invraisemblable et même inconcevable que Mme Van Daan ait pour habitude tude de passer l’aspirateur chaque jour à 12 heures 30 (5 août 1943). Les aspirateurs de l’époque étaient, de plus, particulièrement bruyants. Je demande: ‘Comment cela est-il concevable?’ Ma question n’est pas de pure forme. Elle n’est pas oratoire. Elle n’a pas pour but de manifester un étonnement. Ma question est une question. Il faut y répondre. »
Le problème, c’est que Robert Faurisson connaît la réponse à sa question: il suffit pour cela de lire le texte d’Anne Frank du 5 août 1943 en commençant par le début et non pas en la tronçonnant comme le fait Faurisson. Voici ce qu’écrit Anne Frank :

« Aujourd’hui, nous passons à la pause des bureaux. Il est 12 heures trente. Toute la bande respire. Au moins Van Maaren, l’homme au passé obscur, et de Kök, sont rentrés chez eux. En haut, on entend les coups étouffés de l’aspirateur qui passe sur le beau et d’ailleurs unique tapis de ‘madame’. »
Robert Faurisson prend, dès le début de sa soit-disante démonstration, le soin de châtrer le texte, de l’amputer, afin d’imposer sa vision des choses au lecteur alors qu’Anne Frank dit explicitement que les gens dangereux ont quitté leur poste de travail et que les emmurés vivants peuvent enfin relâcher le contrôle de leurs moindres gestes.

De la même manière, Robert Faurisson insiste sur le fait qu’Anne Frank parle de « cris interminables » en date du 6 décembre 1943. Une lecture précise du texte auquel Faurisson se réfère permet de constater qu’il n’existe pas les mots « cris interminables » ce qui est une invention pure et simple de Robert Faurisson. Anne Frank parle « d’éclats de rire interminables ». Mais ce que Robert Faurisson gomme délibérément pour les besoins de sa démonstration, c’est qu’Anne Frank relate une scène se déroulant la veille au soir, soit le dimanche 5 décembre, jour où les magasiniers sont absents.

Un nouvel exemple de falsification de Robert Faurisson. Dès la première page de son article, il prend appui sur cette lettre du 9 novembre 1942 pour souligner que les clandestins font énormément de bruit, ce qui aurait dû alerter les ouvriers travaillant dans le magasin situé au rez-de-chaussée de la maison. Pour les besoins de sa démonstration, Robert Faurisson ne mentionne pas une phrase capitale écrite par Anne Frank et placée entre parenthèses : « Dieu merci, il n’y avait là que des initiés ». CQFD.
Robert Faurisson évoque également le 9 novembre 1942 quand un sac de haricots rouges se déchire provoquant « un fracas de jugement dernier ». Il coupe la phrase pour que n’apparaisse pas cette réflexion d’Anne Frank : « Dieu merci, il n’y avait là que des initiés », c’est-à-dire des gens au courant de la présence des clandestins.

Ce sont là des méthodes de faussaire.

2. L’expertise
Robert Faurisson consacre de nombreuses pages au procès intenté par Otto Frank, le père d’Anne Frank, en 1960 à Stielau, un négateur allemand du Journal d’Anne Frank. Robert Faurisson prétend qu’une expertise de Mme Hübner, favorable à l’accusé, aurait été annulée d’autorité par le procureur de Lübeck. En fait, il est avéré en consultant les archives allemandes que ce sont les avocats de l’accusé qui ont récusé l’expert.

Robert Faurisson n’en poursuit pas moins sur sa lancée en imaginant ce que ce rapport d’expertise pourrait contenir. Cela donne :

« D’après le peu d’éléments que je possède sur le contenu de ce rapport d’expertise, ce dernier FERAIT état d’une grande quantité de faits intéressants au point de vue de la comparaison des textes […] Elle PARLERAIT de texte remanié […] Elle IRAIT par ailleurs jusqu’à nommer des personnes […] Ces personnes SERAIENT… Mme Hübner AURAIT…. »
Cette inflation de conditionnels permet, aux yeux d’un lecteur pressé, d’établir la réalité du complot dont seraient victimes les personnes qui osent s’attaquer au « mythe » du Journal d’Anne Frank. Et sur les bases de cette méthode de journalisme de pacotille, Robert Faurisson n’hésite pas à franchir un nouveau pas en accusant Otto Frank, le père d’Anne Frank, d’avoir acheté le silence des accusés. Qu’en est-il ?

Le procès Stielau n’est pas allé à son terme. Le 17 octobre 1961, à l’initiative du procureur de Lübeck, un accord amiable intervenait entre Otto Frank et Stielau. Ce dernier reconnaissait par écrit que ses attaques étaient sans fondement, qu’il avait été convaincu par les travaux des experts et il s’engageait à payer 1 000 DM de frais de justice sur les 15 000 DM afférents à la procédure, l’État apurant la différence.

Sans vérification des sources, sans aucune autre preuve que sa volonté de nuire, Robert Faurisson écrit :

« Je suppose que M. Frank a versé au tribunal de Lübeck ces 1 000 Marks et qu’il a ajouté à cette somme 14 712 Marks pour sa propre part. »
Ce sont là des méthodes de faussaire.

3. Les deux écritures
Robert Faurisson juxtapose deux textes d’Anne Frank écrits avec deux écritures dissemblables et en tire la conclusion qu’il s’agit de faux…

En conclusion de son article, Robert Faurisson donne à voir le fac-similé de deux textes écrits de la main d’Anne Frank.

Un premier en écriture en cursive d’apparence maîtrisée qui date du 12 juin 1942 signé Anne Frank. Un autre en écriture script d’apparence enfantine et datée lui du 10 octobre 1942, c’est-à-dire quatre mois plus tard, également signé Anne Frank.

Cette juxtaposition conduit le lecteur à conclure qu’une adolescente ne peut avoir deux formes d’écriture aussi éloignées l’une de l’autre et que le modèle le plus immature soit postérieur au modèle affirmé. Il y a donc supercherie. Ce montage est un des éléments qui permet à Robert Faurisson d’affirmer en conclusion de son étude que sa « conviction personnelle est que cette œuvre émane de M. Frank, même si je pense qu’à raison de deux lettres par jour, il lui a suffi de trois mois pour mettre sur pied le premier état de son affabulation maladroite ».

Pour conclure, Faurisson assène : « La vérité m’oblige à dire que le Journal d’Anne Frank n’est qu’une simple supercherie littéraire. »

…Il lui aurait suffi de consulter les manuscrits originaux pour constater qu’Anne Frank, à la même page de son Journal, utilisait indifféremment ces deux écritures, comme nombre d’adolescents. Leur appartenance à une seule et même personnes a été définitivement établie par les expertises judiciaires de 1985

Bien entendu, Robert Faurisson s’est bien gardé de consulter des spécialistes de l’écriture enfantine ou adolescente, sinon il aurait appris que l’alternance d’écriture script et cursive est un phénomène sinon habituel au moins courant chez les sujets adolescents en phase d’affirmation de la personnalité. Des études portant sur des échantillons de journaux intimes de cette classe d’âge ont montré jusqu’à 15 % d’exemples se rapprochant du cas d’Anne Frank.

Le Laboratoire Judiciaire de l’État néerlandais a de son côté procédé à une analyse rigoureuse de chaque page du Journal: étude des encres, du papier, des reliures, des colles, examen graphologique minutieux. Des cartes postales, des lettres, envoyées par Anne Frank en 1942 et 1943 ont complété la masse des documents soumis à vérification.

La conclusion est sans appel :

« Les écritures figurant sur les feuilles volantes, les écritures figurant sur les Journaux 1 et 2, les écritures figurant sur les échantillons supplémentaires (cartes postales, enveloppes, lettres) peuvent être attribuées au même scripteur avec une probabilité confinant à la certitude ».
D’ailleurs, Robert Faurisson le savait bien avant ces analyses qui le confondent : en plaçant côte à côte les deux documents en fac-similé, en les choisissant soigneusement pour que l’écriture d’apparence enfantine soit postérieure de quatre mois à l’écriture cursive, il se trahit, il en fait trop.

Il suffit en effet de consulter l’original du Journal d’Anne Frank pour constater qu’il n’est point besoin de confronter des textes distants de plusieurs mois. En effet, les deux écritures COHABITENT sur la même page, à la même date. Ce que ne dit pas Faurisson, c’est que le même jour, Anne Frank pouvait utiliser alternativement l’écriture script et l’écriture cursive, ce dont témoignent des dizaines de documents.

Nous sommes là encore face aux méthodes d’un faussaire en histoire.

4. Les chambres à gaz
Dans son article, Robert Faurisson, qui maîtrise l’allemand et le néerlandais, affirme qu’Anne Frank parle de « chambres à gaz » à la date du 9 octobre 1942. Robert Faurisson a pourtant eu connaissance du texte originale puisqu’il met entre parenthèses le mot « vergassing » comme si c’était le mot hollandais pour désigner les chambres à gaz. Si on se réfère à l’édition originale du Journal on trouve cette rédaction de la plume d’Anne Frank :

Lors de ma première lecture du texte de Robert Faurisson, l’argument qui m’avait le plus ébranlé est celui concernant les chambres à gaz. Robert Faurisson écrit qu’« Il ne faudrait pas attribuer à l’imagination de l’auteur ou à la richesse de sa personnalité des choses qui sont, en réalité, inconcevables ». Il souligne à l’appui de son avis que « Le 9 octobre 1942, Anne parle déjà de ‘chambre à gaz’ (texte hollandais : “vergassing”)! »

On sait que les informations sur cet instrument du meurtre de masse n’interviendront que près de deux années plus tard, et qu’il est rigoureusement impossible qu’Anne Frank ait pu percer un secret aussi protégé que celui-là. La radio anglaise sera extrêmement prudente et ne divulguera l’existence des chambres à gaz qu’après de nombreuses vérifications. En lisant cette citation mise sous la plume d’Anne Frank, je me suis dit que si Faurisson avait raison sur ce point, il emportait tout.

Je me suis reporté à l’édition courante en français, une traduction de 1950 publiée par Calmann-Lévy, et, effectivement, les mots « chambre à gaz » figuraient au cœur du texte du 9 octobre 1942. Ce qu’avançait Faurisson avait donc une réalité.

Dans ce cas, la première question que l’on se pose, que l’on soit scientifique ou non, est de savoir si les termes figurent dans l’édition originale ainsi que sur les manuscrits. Je me suis donc procuré cette version originale en néerlandais adossée de manière rigoureuse sur les manuscrits et expertisée par l’Institut national néerlandais pour la documentation de guerre.

Le texte des Journaux 1 et 2 écrits par Anne Frank est identique :

« De Engelse radio spreekt van vergassing ».
C’est-à-dire littéralement : « La radio anglaise parle de… vergassing ».

La traduction publiée en France en 1950 est donc fautive. L’existence des chambres à gaz étant avérée à l’époque de l’établissement du texte en français, le traducteur a sollicité la lettre du Journal en pensant en fortifier l’esprit. Robert Faurisson ne l’ignore pas, mais il fait comme si Anne Frank avait supervisé l’édition française de son Journal cinq ans après sa mort dans les camps nazis. Il écrit en effet qu’Anne Frank (et non la radio anglaise) « parle déjà de ‘chambre à gaz’ » ! Il prend soin d’ajouter le terme « vergassing » entre parenthèses pour faire avaler à ses lecteurs dont la connaissance de la langue néerlandaise est, on peut le penser, réduite, le fait qu’Anne Frank aurait écrit le terme néerlandais correspondant à « chambre à gaz ».

Selon Robert Faurisson qui maîtrise parfaitement l’allemand et le néerlandais comme le prouve son travail millimétrique sur les moindres différences entre la traduction allemande du Journal et l’original, le mot « vergassing » doit donc être traduit par « chambre à gaz ».

Il suffit de consulter le dictionnaire de référence de langue néerlandaise pour traduire le mot « vergassing » et réduire à néant la falsification de Faurisson. Le verbe « vergassen » signifie « tuer ou assassiner par le gaz » sans qu’il soit question de « chambre à gaz ».
Je me suis donc procuré auprès de l’Université de Gand la définition donnée par le Van Dalle, dictionnaire de référence pour la langue néerlandaise, au verbe « vergassen » dont « vergassing » est une déclinaison.

Voici cette définition: « Vergassen: 2) met gas doden of uitmoorden » Ce que l’on peut traduire par : « donner la mort par le gaz », « tuer au moyen du gaz », « gazer ».

Anne Frank n’a donc jamais écrit les mots « chambre à gaz », il s’agit là d’une faute de traduction de la version française dont Robert Faurisson se sert de façon délibérée pour forger une falsification historique. Faurisson sait pertinemment qu’en néerlandais, « chambre à gaz » se dit « gaskamer », formé des mots « gas » pour « gaz » et « kamer » pour « chambre ». Et pour accentuer son avantage supposé, basé sur la fausseté, Robert Faurisson prétend qu’une étude des émissions de la radio anglaise et de la radio hollandaise, de juin 1942 à août 1944, arriverait à prouver une supercherie de la part de l’auteur réel du journal, sous-entendu Otto Frank.

Cette étude, que Robert Faurisson s’est, bien entendu, abstenu d’entreprendre, a été faite par l’Institut néerlandais, et elle lui apporte une fois encore un démenti cinglant : à partir de juin 1942, la BBC évoque des massacres au moyen du gaz. Le 9 juillet 1942, par exemple, le bulletin de six heures du soir donne l’information suivante : « On massacre régulièrement des juifs à la mitrailleuse, à la grenade et même au gaz ». Anne Frank, qui écoutait régulièrement la BBC et les émissions en néerlandais diffusées depuis Londres, était donc informée des « gazages » en cours à l’Est de l’Allemagne. Le mot « vergassing » terrorisait la population juive de Hollande qui fut décimée à près de 90 %. Mais Anne Frank ignora, jusqu’à sa déportation le moyen utilisé par ces gazages : la « chambre à gaz ».

5. Faurisson imposteur
Dans son article publié en 1980 dans le livre de Serge Thion, “Vérité historique ou vérité politique?” (éditions de la Vieille Taupe), Robert Faurisson prétend qu’un témoin miraculeux lui aurait fait des révélations sur les circonstances de l’arrestation de la famille Frank, à Amsterdam. Il ne peut, prétend-il, divulguer le nom de ce témoin dont le nom figure dans une enveloppe cachetée à entête de l’Université Lyon 2. Le fac-similé est placé en annexe du livre.

En août 1978, cette enveloppe mystérieuse a été produite (et non son contenu) devant le tribunal de Hambourg qui jugeait Ernst Römer, un négateur allemand.

Trente ans plus tard, Robert Faurisson s’est fait plus que discret sur cet épisode et plus personne n’a jamais entendu parler du témoin secret1, au point que ce fac-similé a disparu des éditions postérieures du texte de Faurisson, particulièrement la traduction néerlandaise.

Ce que Robert Faurisson ne pouvait deviner, c’est que cette enveloppe l’accuse aujourd’hui. Il y a effectivement porté, de sa main, en 1978, la mention “Rapport du Professeur Faurisson sur le Journal d’Anne Frank”.

Or,en 1978, quand il produisait cette pièce devant la justice allemande, Robert Faurisson n’était pas professeur d’université, ce grade lui ayant été plusieurs fois refusé. Il usurpait alors, pour influer sur les juges, une fonction scientifique.Robert Faurisson ne sera nommé professeur que deux ans plus tard, au plus fort de l’offensive négationniste.
Il faut souligner que ce véritable travail de faussaire intitulé « Le Journal d’Anne Frank est-il authentique ? » était en 1978-1979 au programme de l’Université Lyon II, inscrit au séminaire de « Critique de textes et documents » dispensé par Robert Faurisson aux étudiants de 4e année déjà pourvus d’une licence.

Non content d’être un faussaire, Robert Faurisson, alors chargé de cours, enseignait le négationnisme au nom de l’éducation nationale. En 1980, alors qu’il était assigné en justice pour sa propagande antisémite, le ministère lui conférera le titre de professeur des Universités, un titre qu’il usurpait depuis plusieurs années déjà dans les publications négationnistes auxquelles il participait.

Complément
A l’issue de cette déposition, Eric Delcroix, l’avocat de Robert Faurisson a procédé à l’interrogatoire de Didier Daeninckx et s’est trouvé dans l’incapacité de contredire les points abordés. Il s’est alors livré à une diversion en se saisissant d’une phrase de Pierre Vidal-Naquet, contemporaine de la sortie de l’étude frauduleuse de Robert Faurisson. A la question d’un journaliste de l’hebdomadaire Regards le 7 novembre 1980, Pierre Vidal-Naquet répondait que lorsque Robert Faurisson « montre que le Journal d’Anne Frank est un texte trafiqué, il n’a peut-être pas raison dans tous les détails, il a certainement raison en gros et une expertise du tribunal de Hambourg vient de montrer qu’effectivement, ce texte avait été pour le moins remanié après la guerre, puisqu’utilisant des stylos à bille qui n’ont fait leur apparition qu’en 1951.Ceci est net, clair et précis ».

Ce qui est clair, net et précis, c’est que Pierre Vidal-Naquet n’a pas effectué, à l’époque, d’analyse approfondie des élucubrations de Faurisson. Il prend tout de même la précaution de modérer son propos par un « peut-être », de dire que Faurisson a raison « en gros », formulation peu scientifique s’il en est, mais surtout il adosse son avis sur une expertise judiciaire qui ferait apparaître des parties du Journal écrites au moyen de stylos à bille en noir, en bleu, en vert, un argument, il faut le souligner, que Robert Faurisson n’utilise pas dans son long article.

Qu’en est-il ? En 1985, le Laboratoire Judiciaire néerlandais procédait à une expertise minutieuse de l’ensemble des écrits d’Anne Frank, et trouvait effectivement quelques mots écrits au stylo-bille noir et bleu. Rien en vert. Il s’agissait de deux languettes de papier jointes aux feuilles volantes remplies de l’écriture d’Anne Frank. Les quelques phrases portées sur ces languettes n’ont aucune incidence sur le contenu du journal, et leur écriture est radicalement différente de celle d’Anne Frank. Ces ajouts au stylo à bille portent le texte suivant :

« La page 70 est la conclusion de la lettre datée du 28 septembre 1942 (commençant en XVIII à la page 64) ».

Et

« La lettre XVI du 12 nov. 1942 page 93 et 94 devrait en fait porter le n°XXVI. »
Cela, on le constate, n’a aucune incidence sur le contenu du Journal. Il s’agit, à l’évidence, de notes de travail écrites par l’une des personnes qui a travaillé à l’établissement de la première publication du Journal d’Anne Frank.
Liens & bibliographie (par PHDN)
Philippe Lejeune, « L’Histoire vraie du Jounal d’Anne Frank », Revue des Livres pour Enfants, no 153, automne 1993.
Dix questions sur l’authenticité du journal d’Anne Frank
Les différents Journaux d’Anne Frank
Dene Bebbington, « Rebuttal of Faurisson on the Anne Frank Diary », tHHP.
Daniel Paul O’Donnell, « The Diary of Anne Frank as Bildungsroman », Revue canadienne d’études néerlandaises, 2011, vol. 32 no. 2
Bigitte Bailer-Galanda, « Das Tagebuch der Anne Frank », in Brigitte Bailer-Galanda, Wolfgang Benz & Wolfgang Neugebauer (eds), Wahrheit und „Auschwitzlüge“. Zur Bekämpfung „revisionistischer“ Propaganda, Wien 1995.
A Study of the Diary of Anne Frank, A Student Essay
The Controversy of Anne Frank, A student essay
Gerrold Van der Stroom, « Les journaux : le texte néerlandais publié (Het Achterhuis) et les traductions », in Les Journaux d’Anne Frank, Institut national néerlandais pour la documentation de guerre, Paris : Calmann-Lévy, 1989, p. 75-96.
David Barnouw, « Mises en cause de l’authenticité du journal », in Les Journaux d’Anne Frank, op. cit., p. 105-125.

Notes de PHDN.

1. Didier Daeninckx commet ici une erreur vénielle. En effet, Faurisson a révélé en 2000 l’identité de son spectaculaire témoin, à savoir la veuve de Karl Silberbauer. Or Karl Silberbauer était le SS-Oberscharführer autrichien, membre de la Gestapo, qui a procédé à l’arrestation d’Anne Frank et de sa famille. Retrouvé en 1963, il a regretté n’avoir pas ramassé les papiers qui constitueront le Journal d’Anne Frank (Simon Wiesenthal, « Epilogue to the Diary of Anne Frank », in Hyman A. Enzer & Sandra Solotarrof-Enzer, University of Illinois Press, Anne Frank: Reflections on Her Life and Legacy, p. 67. Les seuls regrets exprimés par Karl Silberbauer ne concernent pas la mort d’Anne Frank, de sa mère, de sa soeur, mais de la perte de confort que la révélation de son rôle a entraînée…). Il confirmait ainsi le récit de Otto Frank, le père d’Anne et celui de l’amie de la famille, Miep Gies qui retrouva ces papiers, les notes et journaux d’Anne Frank, les garda et les remis à Otto Frank après la guerre. Ceci infirme évidemment les propos de Faurisson qui prétend rapporter les propos de la veuve de Silberbauer qui prétendrait rapporter les propos de son mari (décédé en 1972!) comme quoi celui-ci n’aurait pas cru à l’authenticité du Journal… Notons que le rôle de Silberbauer s’est limité à l’arrestation des Frank, une parmi les nombreuses arrestations auxquelles il a procédé et que de son vivant, il n’a jamais émis le moindre doute sur le Journal. Les journalistes lui avaient pourtant abondamment tendu l’oreille. Quand on sait comment Faurisson traite les témoins directs de l’assassinat industriel des Juifs, voir Faurisson accorder une telle importance à un récit de seconde main (Faurisson ne jugera pas utile de réfléchir à l’objectivité de la veuve de celui qui a arrêté Anne Frank…) d’un avis qu’auraient eu Silberbauer qui n’était même pas en mesure de fonder un tel avis, cela a quelque-chose de savoureux et souligne bien l’hypocrisie absolue de Faurisson dans son traitement des témoignages en général.

Voir enfin:

« Le Rêve d’Eva est mon meilleur conte, et le plus incroyable c’est que je ne sais pas vraiment d’où je le tire. Dans La Vie de Cady, il y a beaucoup de bonnes choses, mais l’ensemble est nul ! Le meilleur et le plus sévère de mes juges ici, c’est bien moi, c’est moi qui sais ce qui est bien ou mal écrit. Quand on n’écrit pas, on ne peut pas savoir à quel point c’est agréable ; avant, je regrettais toujours d’être complètement incapable de dessiner, mais à présent je suis trop contente de savoir au moins écrire. Et si je n’ai pas le talent d’écrire dans les journaux ou d’écrire des livres, alors je pourrai toujours écrire pour moi-même. Mais je veux aller plus loin, je ne peux pas m’imaginer une vie comme celle de Maman, de Mme Van Daan et de toutes ces femmes qui font leur travail puis qu’on oublie, je dois avoir une chose à laquelle je peux me consacrer, en plus de mon mari et de mes enfants ! Oui, je ne veux pas, comme la plupart des gens, avoir vécu pour rien. Je veux être utile ou agréable aux gens qui vivent autour de moi et qui ne me connaissent pourtant pas, je veux continuer à vivre, même après ma mort ! Et c’est pourquoi je suis si reconnaissante à Dieu de m’avoir donné à la naissance une possibilité de me développer et d’écrire, et donc d’exprimer tout ce qu’il y a en moi !

Quand j’écris, je me débarrasse de tout, mon chagrin disparaît, mon courage renaît ! Mais voilà la question capitale, serai-je jamais capable d’écrire quelque chose de grand, deviendrai-je jamais une journaliste et un écrivain ?

Je l’espère tant, car en écrivant je peux tout consigner, mes pensées, mes idéaux et les fruits de mon imagination.

Cela fait longtemps que je n’ai pas travaillé à La Vie de Cady, dans ma tête je connais exactement la suite de l’histoire, mais ça ne coule pas bien. Peut-être que je ne terminerai jamais, que le tout finira au panier ou dans le poêle. C’est une pensée très désagréable, mais je me dis qu’à quatorze ans et avec si peu d’expérience, on ne peut quand même pas écrire de la philosophie. Alors il faut persévérer, reprendre courage, je vais finir par y arriver, car écrire, voilà ce que je veux !

Bien à toi,

Anne M. Frank


Armes à feu: Attention, un massacre peut en cacher un autre ! (As guns could soon overtake cars as America’s number one killer, Harvard econonomist confirms that in developed countries it’s the number of handguns and not assault rifles that kill the most people and children)

11 octobre, 2015
homocidemapGuns
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ViolentUSprevention
gun-crime
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Guns_race
toll
a-5-ans-un-petit-garcon-tue-sa-soeur-de-2-ans-10908865lzdfg
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TennesseeGirl
Il faut toujours dire ce que l’on voit. Surtout, il faut toujours, ce qui est plus difficile, voir ce que l’on voit. Charles Péguy
Nous ne pouvons accepter ni un monde politiquement unipolaire, ni un monde culturellement uniforme, ni l’unilatéralisme de la seule hyperpuissance. Hubert Védrine (1999)
La situation est riche en ironies. Le rejet par l’Europe de la Machtpolitik, son hostilité à l’usage des armes en politique internationale, dépendent de la présence de troupes américaines sur son sol. Le nouvel ordre kantien dont elle jouit ne pouvait fleurir que sous le parapluie protecteur de la puissance américaine exercée selon les règles du vieil ordre hobbésien. (…) Les dirigeants américains sont convaincus que la sécurité mondiale et l’ordre libéral, tout comme le paradis « postmoderne » qu’est l’Europe, ne sauraient survivre longtemps si l’Amérique n’utilisait pas sa puissance dans ce monde dangereux, hobbésien, qui est toujours la règle hors d’Europe. (…) Ainsi, bien que les Etats-Unis aient eu naguère le rôle décisif dans l’accès de l’Europe au paradis kantien, et le jouent toujours pour en assurer la survie, ils ne sauraient eux-mêmes entrer dans cet éden. Ils en gardent la muraille, mais ne peuvent en franchir la porte. Les Etats-Unis, en dépit de leur puissance considérable, demeurent englués dans l’histoire, contraints d’affronter les Saddam Hussein, les ayatollahs, les Kim Jong-iI et les Jiang Zemin, laissant à d’autres la chance d’en toucher les dividendes. Robert Kagan (2002)
N’importe qui peut jouer les gentils quand les mauvais garçons ont été abattus et le train a sifflé trois fois. Alors les habitants de la ville qui jusque là tremblaient comme une feuille peuvent ressortir dans la grand’ rue et féliciter le shérif à coups de grandes claques dans le dos, se réjouissant que son pistolet soit à nouveau tranquillement rangé dans son étui – et que tous ces cadavres de méchants hors-la-loi soient commodément hors de vue chez le croque-morts. Victor Davis Hanson
Les Européens disent maintenant au revoir à M. Bush, et espèrent l’élection d’un président américain qui partage, le croient-ils, leurs attitudes sophistiquées de postnationalisme, post-modernisme et multiculturalisme. Mais ne soyez pas étonné si, afin de protéger la liberté et la démocratie chez eux dans les années à venir, les dirigeants européens commencent à ressembler de plus en plus au cowboy à la gâchette facile de l’étranger qu’ils se délectent aujourd’hui à fustiger. Natan Sharansky
Si vous pouvez tuer un incroyant américain ou européen – en particulier les méchants et sales Français – ou un Australien ou un Canadien, ou tout […] citoyen des pays qui sont entrés dans une coalition contre l’État islamique, alors comptez sur Allah et tuez-le de n’importe quelle manière. (…) Tuez le mécréant qu’il soit civil ou militaire. (…) Frappez sa tête avec une pierre, égorgez-le avec un couteau, écrasez-le avec votre voiture, jetez-le d’un lieu en hauteur, étranglez-le ou empoisonnez-le. Abou Mohammed al-Adnani (porte-parole de l’EI)
Nous vous bénissons, nous bénissons les Mourabitoun (hommes) et les Mourabitat (femmes). Nous saluons toutes gouttes de sang versées à Jérusalem. C’est du sang pur, du sang propre, du sang qui mène à Dieu. Avec l’aide de Dieu, chaque djihadiste (shaheed) sera au paradis, et chaque blessé sera récompensé. Nous ne leur permettrons aucune avancée. Dans toutes ses divisions, Al-Aqsa est à nous et l’église du Saint Sépulcre est notre, tout est à nous. Ils n’ont pas le droit de les profaner avec leurs pieds sales, et on ne leur permettra pas non plus. Mahmoud Abbas
Je ne peux qu’imaginer ce qu’endurent ses parents. Et quand je pense à ce garçon, je pense à mes propres enfants. Si j’avais un fils, il ressemblerait à Trayvon. Obama
Et, bien sûr, ce qui est également la routine est que quelqu’un, quelque part, va commenter et dire, Obama a politisé cette question. Eh bien, cela est quelque chose que nous devrions politiser. Il est pertinent de notre vie commune ensemble, le corps politique. Obama
There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved. . . . After all we have been through. Just to think we can’t walk down our own streets, how humiliating. Jesse Jackson
How do we turn pain into power? How do we go from a moment to a movement that curries favor? (…) The blood of the innocent has power.  Jesse Jackson
Ce que je voulais dire, c’est que lorsque des tyrannies s’instaurent, elles essaient de désarmer le peuple d’abord, et c’est exactement ce qui s’est passé en Allemagne dans les années 1930. C’est pourquoi cela n’arrivera jamais aux Etats-Unis : parce que les (Américains) sont armés. Ben Carson
Savez-vous que les Noirs sont 10 pour cent de la population de Saint-Louis et sont responsables de 58% de ses crimes? Nous avons à faire face à cela. Et nous devons faire quelque chose au sujet de nos normes morales. Nous savons qu’il y a beaucoup de mauvaises choses dans le monde blanc, mais il y a aussi beaucoup de mauvaises choses dans le monde noir. Nous ne pouvons pas continuer à blâmer l’homme blanc. Il y a des choses que nous devons faire pour nous-mêmes. Martin Luther King (St Louis, 1961)
But what about all the other young black murder victims? Nationally, nearly half of all murder victims are black. And the overwhelming majority of those black people are killed by other black people. Where is the march for them? Where is the march against the drug dealers who prey on young black people? Where is the march against bad schools, with their 50% dropout rate for black teenaged boys? Those failed schools are certainly guilty of creating the shameful 40% unemployment rate for black teens? How about marching against the cable television shows constantly offering minstrel-show images of black youth as rappers and comedians who don’t value education, dismiss the importance of marriage, and celebrate killing people, drug money and jailhouse fashion—the pants falling down because the jail guard has taken away the belt, the shoes untied because the warden removed the shoe laces, and accessories such as the drug dealer’s pit bull. (…) There is no fashion, no thug attitude that should be an invitation to murder. But these are the real murderous forces surrounding the Martin death—and yet they never stir protests. The race-baiters argue this case deserves special attention because it fits the mold of white-on-black violence that fills the history books. Some have drawn a comparison to the murder of Emmett Till, a black boy who was killed in 1955 by white racists for whistling at a white woman. (…) While civil rights leaders have raised their voices to speak out against this one tragedy, few if any will do the same about the larger tragedy of daily carnage that is black-on-black crime in America. (…) Almost one half of the nation’s murder victims that year were black and a majority of them were between the ages of 17 and 29. Black people accounted for 13% of the total U.S. population in 2005. Yet they were the victims of 49% of all the nation’s murders. And 93% of black murder victims were killed by other black people, according to the same report. (…) The killing of any child is a tragedy. But where are the protests regarding the larger problems facing black America? Juan Williams
« More whites are killed by the police than blacks primarily because whites outnumber blacks in the general population by more than five to one, » Forst said. The country is about 63 percent white and 12 percent black. (…) A 2002 study in the American Journal of Public Health found that the death rate due to legal intervention was more than three times higher for blacks than for whites in the period from 1988 to 1997. (…) Candace McCoy is a criminologist at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York. McCoy said blacks might be more likely to have a violent encounter with police because they are convicted of felonies at a higher rate than whites. Felonies include everything from violent crimes like murder and rape, to property crimes like burglary and embezzlement, to drug trafficking and gun offenses. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that in 2004, state courts had over 1 million felony convictions. Of those, 59 percent were committed by whites and 38 percent by blacks. But when you factor in the population of whites and blacks, the felony rates stand at 330 per 100,000 for whites and 1,178 per 100,000 for blacks. That’s more than a three-fold difference. McCoy noted that this has more to do with income than race. The felony rates for poor whites are similar to those of poor blacks. « Felony crime is highly correlated with poverty, and race continues to be highly correlated with poverty in the USA, » McCoy said. « It is the most difficult and searing problem in this whole mess. » PunditFact
The absurdity of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton is that they want to make a movement out of an anomaly. Black teenagers today are afraid of other black teenagers, not whites. … Trayvon’s sad fate clearly sent a quiver of perverse happiness all across America’s civil rights establishment, and throughout the mainstream media as well. His death was vindication of the ‘poetic truth’ that these establishments live by. Shelby Steele
Before the 1960s the black American identity (though no one ever used the word) was based on our common humanity, on the idea that race was always an artificial and exploitive division between people. After the ’60s—in a society guilty for its long abuse of us—we took our historical victimization as the central theme of our group identity. We could not have made a worse mistake. It has given us a generation of ambulance-chasing leaders, and the illusion that our greatest power lies in the manipulation of white guilt. Shelby Steele
Ms. Harper, who divorced her husband a decade ago, appears to have been by far the most significant figure in her son’s troubled life; neighbors say he rarely left their apartment. Unlike his father, who said on television that he had no idea Mr. Harper-Mercer cared so deeply about guns, his mother was well aware of his fascination. In fact, she shared it: In a series of online postings over a decade, Ms. Harper, a nurse, said she kept numerous firearms in her home and expressed pride in her knowledge about them, as well as in her son’s expertise on the subject. She also opened up about her difficulties raising a son who used to bang his head against the wall, and said that both she and her son struggled with Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. (…) In an online forum, answering a question about state gun laws several years ago, Ms. Harper took a jab at “lame states” that impose limits on keeping loaded firearms in the home, and noted that she had AR-15 and AK-47 semiautomatic rifles, along with a Glock handgun. She also indicated that her son, who lived with her, was well versed in guns, citing him as her source of information on gun laws, saying he “has much knowledge in this field.” “I keep two full mags in my Glock case. And the ARs & AKs all have loaded mags,” Ms. Harper wrote. “No one will be ‘dropping’ by my house uninvited without acknowledgement.” Law enforcement officials have said they recovered 14 firearms and spare ammunition magazines that were purchased legally either by Mr. Harper-Mercer, 26, or an unnamed relative. Mr. Harper-Mercer had six guns with him when he entered a classroom building on Thursday and started firing on a writing class in which he was enrolled; the rest were found in the second-floor apartment he shared with his mother. (…) Neighbors in Southern California have said that Ms. Harper and her son would go to shooting ranges together, something Ms. Harper seemed to confirm in one of her online posts. She talked about the importance of firearms safety and said she learned a lot through target shooting, expressing little patience with unprepared gun owners: “When I’m at the range, I cringe every time the ‘wannabes’ show up.” NYT
According to data gathered by the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), deaths caused by cars in America are in long-term decline. Improved technology, tougher laws and less driving by young people have all led to safer streets and highways. Deaths by guns, though—the great majority suicides, accidents or domestic violence—have been trending slightly upwards. This year, if the trend continues, they will overtake deaths on the roads. The Centre for American Progress first spotted last February that the lines would intersect. Now, on its reading, new data to the end of 2012 support the view that guns will surpass cars this year as the leading killer of under 25s. Bloomberg Government has gone further. Its compilation of the CDC data in December concluded that guns would be deadlier for all age groups. (…) There are about 320m people in the United States, and nearly as many civilian firearms. And although the actual rate of gun ownership is declining, enthusiasts are keeping up the number in circulation. Black Friday on November 28th kicked off such a shopping spree that the FBI had to carry out 175,000 instant background checks (three checks a second), a record for that day, just for sales covered by the extended Brady Act of 1998, the only serious bit of gun-curbing legislation passed in recent history. Many sales escape that oversight, however. Everytown for Gun Safety, a movement backed by Mike Bloomberg, a former mayor of New York, has investigated loopholes in online gun sales and found that one in 30 users of Armslist classifieds has a criminal record that forbids them to own firearms. Private reselling of guns draws no attention, unless it crosses state lines. William Vizzard, a professor of criminal justice at California State University at Sacramento, points out that guns also don’t wear out as fast as cars. “I compare a gun to a hammer or a crowbar,” he says. “Even if you stopped making guns today, you might not see a real change in the number of guns for decades.”Motor vehicles, because they are operated on government-built roads, have been subject to licensing and registration, in the interests of public safety, for more than a century. But guns are typically kept at home. That private space is shielded by the Fourth Amendment just as “the right to bear arms” is protected by the Second, making government control difficult. Car technologies and road laws are ever-evolving: in 2014, for example, the National Highways Traffic Safety Administration announced its plan to phase in mandatory rear-view cameras on new light vehicles, while New York City lowered its speed limit for local roads. By contrast, safety features on firearms—such as smartguns unlocked by an owner’s thumbprint or a radio-frequency encryption—are opposed by the National Rifle Association, whose allies in Congress also block funding for the sort of public-health research that might show, in even clearer detail, the cost of America’s love affair with guns. The Economist
For the better part of a century, the machine most likely to kill an American has been the automobile. Car crashes killed 33,561 people in 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Firearms killed 32,251 people in the United States in 2011, the most recent year for which the Centers for Disease Control has data. But this year gun deaths are expected to surpass car deaths. That’s according to a Center for American Progress report, which cites CDC data that shows guns will kill more Americans under 25 than cars in 2015. Already more than a quarter of the teenagers—15 years old and up—who die of injuries in the United States are killed in gun-related incidents, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. A similar analysis by Bloomberg three years ago found shooting deaths in 2015 « will probably rise to almost 33,000, and those related to autos will decline to about 32,000, based on the 10-year average trend. »  The Atlantic
The law that barred the sale of assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 made little difference. It turns out that big, scary military rifles don’t kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year. Little handguns do. In 2012, only 322 people were murdered with any kind of rifle, F.B.I. data shows. The continuing focus on assault weapons stems from the media’s obsessive focus on mass shootings, which disproportionately involve weapons like the AR-15, a civilian version of the military M16 rifle. (…) This politically defined category of guns — a selection of rifles, shotguns and handguns with “military-style” features — only figured in about 2 percent of gun crimes nationwide before the ban. Handguns were used in more than 80 percent of gun murders each year, but gun control advocates had failed to interest enough of the public in a handgun ban. Handguns were the weapons most likely to kill you, but they were associated by the public with self-defense. (In 2008, the Supreme Court said there was a constitutional right to keep a loaded handgun at home for self-defense.) (…) Still, the majority of Americans continued to support a ban on assault weapons. One reason: The use of these weapons may be rare over all, but they’re used frequently in the gun violence that gets the most media coverage, mass shootings. The criminologist James Alan Fox at Northeastern University estimates that there have been an average of 100 victims killed each year in mass shootings over the past three decades. That’s less than 1 percent of gun homicide victims. But these acts of violence in schools and movie theaters have come to define the problem of gun violence in America. Most Americans do not know that gun homicides have decreased by 49 percent since 1993 as violent crime also fell, though rates of gun homicide in the United States are still much higher than those in other developed nations. A Pew survey conducted after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., found that 56 percent of Americans believed wrongly that the rate of gun crime was higher than it was 20 years ago. NYT
A 2-year-old Kentucky girl was accidentally killed by her 5-year-old brother who fired a rifle he had been given as a gift, officials said Wednesday. Cumberland County Coroner Gary L. White said (…) “Most everybody in town is pretty devastated by this,” White said. “Nobody wants to take anyone’s guns away, but you’ve got to keep them out of harm’s way for the kids. It’s a safety issue.”(…)  The mother had just stepped outside the house for a moment, White said. (…) The rifle used in the accident is a Crickett designed for children and sold under the slogan “My First Rifle,” according to the company’s website. It is a smaller weapon designed for children and comes with a shoulder stock in child-like colors including pink and swirls. “The little Crickett rifle is a single-shot rifle and it has a child safety,” White said. “This was just a tragic accident.” The child safety lock was in place and operational, White said. Officials believe a shell had been left in the weapon from the last use and no one realized it. “In my fifteen years as coroner, this is the first such case,” he said. “It is very, very rare.” It is legal in Kentucky to give a child a rifle as a gift, White said. Nor is it unusual for children to have rifles, often passed down from their parents, he said. Earlier this month, Brandon Holt, 6, was accidentally shot to death by a 4-year-old playmate in New Jersey. LA Times
Un petit Américain de 5 ans qui jouait avec un fusil qu’on lui avait offert a tué mardi sa petite sœur de 2 ans dans leur maison du Kentucky (centre-est). Selon le médecin légiste du comté rural de Cumberland, il s’agit d’un accident. «Ça fait partie de ces accidents insensés», a affirmé Gary White, interrogé par le journal local, The Lexington Herald-Leader. (…) Selon le médecin, la maman des enfants qui faisait le ménage, était momentanément sortie sur le porche de la maison. «Elle a dit que pas plus de 3 minutes s’étaient écoulées puis elle a entendu la détonation. Elle a couru dans la maison et a trouvé la petite fille», a expliqué Gary White à la télévision locale WKYT. Le fusil, un .22 long rifle spécialement conçu pour les enfants, était un cadeau que le petit garçon avait reçu l’année dernière. Il était stocké dans le coin d’une pièce et les parents ne savaient pas qu’il restait une munition à l’intérieur, a affirmé le médecin légiste. «C’est un petit fusil pour enfant, de marque Crickett. Le petit garçon avait l’habitude de tirer avec», a-t-il confié au Lexington Herald-Leader. Libération (01.05.13)
Après la récente fusillade dans une université américaine qui a coûté la vie à 9 étudiants, c’est un nouveau drame qui a endeuillé les Etats-Unis, d’autant plus terrible que l’assassin et sa victime sont des enfants : un jeune garçon âgé de 11 ans, originaire du Tennessee, a été formellement accusé d’avoir tué samedi par balle une fillette de 8 ans avec un fusil de calibre 12 après une dispute au sujet de chiots. Une voisine a dit à la chaine WBIR, affiliée à CBS, que la jeune fille, Makayla Dyer, jouait avec les voisins samedi soir à White Pine, à l’extérieur de Knoxville. Elle a ensuite commencé à discuter avec le garçon, qui n’avait alors pas été identifié, par une fenêtre ouverte de son domicile. « Il a demandé à la petite fille de voir ses chiots », a rapporté la voisine, Chasity Atwood, à WBID. « Elle a dit non et a ri et puis s’est retournée, a regardé son amie et dit ‘Allons chercher les…’. Mais elle n’a pas eu le temps de dire le mot ‘chiots’ ». Le garçon lui avait déjà tiré une balle dans la poitrine. French people daily
Un garçon américain de 11 ans abat une fillette de 8 ans après une dispute. (…) Il s’est servi du fusil calibre 12 de son père. Un garçon de 11 ans a tué par balle sa voisine, une fillette de 8 ans. La ville de White Pine (Tennessee, Etats-Unis), où le drame s’est déroulé, est sous le choc, rapporte la chaîne locale américaine WATE, lundi 5 octobre. Samedi, la petite fille prénommée McKayla jouait dehors. Son jeune voisin lui aurait demandé de voir son chiot. Elle lui aurait répondu « non ». Vers 19h30, il l’a abattue. (…) « Cette arme aurait dû être mise sous clé ou au moins hors de portée », a dénoncé une voisine, interrogée par la chaîne locale WBIR. Le débat sur le contrôle des armes à feu a été relancé aux Etats-Unis après la fusillade du 1er octobre sur un campus universitaire de l’Oregon. Francetvinfo
Un garçon de 11 ans a été inculpé d’assassinat dans l’Etat américain du Tennessee après avoir tué par balle McKayla Dyer, sa voisine, âgée de 8 ans, lors d’une dispute concernant un chiot. (…) Le débat sur le contrôle des armes à feu a été relancé aux Etats-Unis après la fusillade du 2 octobre sur un campus universitaire de l’Oregon, au cours de laquelle un jeune homme de 26 ans a abattu 9 personnes. (…) Selon le site Gun Violence Archive, 559 enfants de moins de 11 ans ont été tués ou blessés depuis le début de l’année aux Etats-Unis. Le Monde
Since 2002, St. Louis Children’s Hospital has cared for 771 children injured or killed by gunfire; 35 percent were younger than 15. These include the recent 12-year-old boy accidentally killed by his friend when playing with his grandfather’s pistol kept under his pillow, the 2-year-old boy paralyzed when his father accidentally discharged his gun during loading, the 5-year-old girl caught in a cross-fire as she sat on her front porch, the 10-year-old boy killed by his mother overwhelmed with mental illness, and the 4-year-old boy who found a handgun in a closet at home, placed the barrel into his mouth and pulled the trigger as he had often done to get a drink from his water-pistol. Many of these children died despite the heroic efforts of our highly trained pre-hospital, emergency, surgical and critical care staff. In 2010, seven American children age 19 and younger were killed every day. This is twice the number of children who die from cancer, five times the number from heart disease, and 15 times the number from infections. This is also the equivalent of 128 Newtown shootings. It has been estimated at least 38 percent of American households have a gun. In homes with children younger than 18, 22 percent store the gun loaded, 32 percent unlocked, and 8 percent unlocked and loaded. The children in these homes know the gun is present, and many handle the gun in the absence of their parents. Children who have received gun safety training are just as likely to play with and fire a real gun as children not trained. In one study, 8-to-12-year-old boys were observed via one-way mirror as they played for 15 minutes in a waiting room with a disabled .38 caliber handgun concealed in a desk drawer. Seventy two percent discovered the gun, and 48 percent pulled the trigger; 90 percent of those who handled the gun and/or pulled the trigger had prior gun safety instruction. Rather than confer protection, careful studies find guns stored in the home are more likely to be involved in an accidental death, homicide by a family member, or suicide than against an intruder. In 2009, suicide was the third leading cause of death for American youth, with firearms the most common method used. The American Academy of Pediatrics has concluded, “The most effective measure to prevent suicide, homicide, and unintentional firearm-related injuries to children and adolescents is the absence of guns from homes and communities.” (…)  It has been done in many other economically advanced countries, and we can do it in the United States. St Louis-Post dispatch
Drs. Kennedy, Jaffe & Keller (…) quote statistics that would lead the reader to believe that child gun deaths are a national public health crisis. They suggest that there is an epidemic of gun violence that threatens the safety, health and well-being of our children and devote considerable print to listing the number of children killed or treated for gunshot injuries at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. However, most of the individual cases they report suggest that accidental shootings are the main culprit for these injuries, and that inadequate gun storage at home is to blame. In reality, as is obvious from the daily reporting by the Post-Dispatch of area gun violence, most of the victims of these gun-related deaths and injuries are inner-city residents and their injuries are not accidental. According to reliable statistical data reported in 2009 covering the years 1904-2006, from the National Center for Health Statistics (1981 on) and the National Safety Council (prior to 1981), while the number of privately owned guns in the U.S. is at an all-time high, and rises by about 4.5 million per year, the firearm accident death rate is at an all-time annual low, 0.2 per 100,000 population, down 94 percent since the all-time high in 1904. Since 1930, the annual number of such deaths has decreased 80 percent, to an all-time low, while the U.S. population has more than doubled and the number of firearms has quintupled. Among children, such deaths have decreased 90 percent since 1975. Today, the odds are more than a million to one against a child in the U.S. dying in a firearm accident. According to the 2009 data, in reality among all child accidental deaths nationally, firearms were involved in 1.1 percent, compared to motor vehicles (41 percent), suffocation (21 percent), drowning (15 percent), fires (8 percent), pedal cycles (2 percent), poisoning (2 percent), falls (1.9 percent), environmental factors (1.5 percent), and medical mistakes (1 percent). Since the difference between accidental deaths due to medical mistakes (1 percent) and accidental deaths due to firearms (1.1 percent) is only 0.1 percentage points, perhaps we should consider a ban on pediatricians along with the ban they propose on firearms and large-capacity magazines. F.A. Ruecker
411 children (age 14 and under) died from gunfire in all of 2012 or slightly more than one per day. This includes homicides, accidents, and suicides combined. Gun facts
Il est en effet essentiel de mettre les choses en perspective : les tueries de masse, bien que tragiques, restent statistiquement extrêmement rares. Moins de 0,2% des homicides sont liés à des tueries de masse. De manière plus large et malgré la perception générale du contraire, le taux de crime aux États-Unis est en baisse constante depuis plus de 20 ans. Même le taux d’homicides par armes à feu est en baisse, de 49% depuis 1993. Ainsi, depuis plus de 20 ans aux États-Unis, le taux de crime diminue, et ce malgré un nombre record d’armes à feu détenus par des Américains. Dans le même temps, le nombre de permis de port d’arme en public (« concealed carry permit ») a lui aussi augmenté. « Plus d’armes = plus de crimes », vraiment ? Mais au-delà des crimes demeure un fait peu rappelé dans les débats qui suivent les tueries aux États-Unis : avec plus de 300 millions d’armes à feu en circulation, les citoyens américains utilisent massivement leurs armes pour des motifs légitimes. Parmi ceux-ci, on retrouve la collection, la chasse, le tir sportif ou encore la défense de soi et de son prochain. Ainsi, plus de 99,9% des Américains propriétaires légaux d’armes n’ont jamais utilisé celles-ci pour causer du tort à autrui. De quel droit viendrait-on restreindre leurs libertés parce qu’un dément a utilisé ses propres armes à feu pour nuire à autrui ? Non seulement l’immense majorité de ces détenteurs légaux d’armes à feu ne cause pas de tort à autrui, mais elle empêche des crimes et sauvent des vies. Combien de crimes n’ont jamais eu lieu parce que des criminels violents, de peur de se faire abattre, ont été dissuadés d’agresser autrui ? (…)  Par définition, un criminel ne respecte pas la loi. Un fou souhaitant commettre une tuerie trouvera toujours les outils nécessaires. Les seules personnes concernées par les lois sur les armes à feu sont les citoyens honnêtes et pacifiques. Toutefois malgré ces efforts, il paraît vain de souhaiter en finir avec la violence. Certaines personnes seront toujours promptes à agresser autrui. Et face à ces personnes-là, les citoyens honnêtes doivent pouvoir s’armer pour leur défense. Cela n’a pas été le cas sur le campus de l’université dans l’Oregon qui était une « gun free zone », une zone où les citoyens honnêtes en possession de permis de port d’arme ne peuvent la porter. Le tueur avait ainsi le champ libre, sachant que ses victimes seraient incapables de se défendre avant l’arrivée de la police.L’État américain doit en finir avec cette politique de « gun free zones » qui n’empêchent pas les tueurs de commettre leurs crimes, mais empêche une réponse rapide de citoyens qui pourraient stopper l’attaque. Edouard H.
Now, quick: Name the mass shooters at the Chattanooga military recruitment center; the Washington Navy Yard; the high school in Washington state; Fort Hood (the second time) and the Christian college in California. All those shootings also occurred during the last three years. The answers are: Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, Kuwaiti; Aaron Alexis, black, possibly Barbadian-American; Jaylen Ray Fryberg, Indian; Ivan Antonio Lopez, Hispanic; and One L. Goh, Korean immigrant. Ann Coulter
Our review of the academic literature found that a broad array of evidence indicates that gun availability is a risk factor for homicide, both in the United States and across high-income countries. Case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the US, where there are more guns, both men and women are at higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide. (…) Using survey data on rates of household gun ownership, we examined the association between gun availability and homicide across states, 2001-2003. We found that states with higher levels of household gun ownership had higher rates of firearm homicide and overall homicide. This relationship held for both genders and all age groups, after accounting for rates of aggravated assault, robbery, unemployment, urbanization, alcohol consumption, and resource deprivation (e.g., poverty). There was no association between gun prevalence and non-firearm homicide. Harvard Injury Control Research Center
We analyzed data for 50 states over 19 years to investigate the relationship between gun prevalence and accidental gun deaths across different age groups. For every age group, where there are more guns there are more accidental deaths. The mortality rate was 7 times higher in the four states with the most guns compared to the four states with the fewest guns. (…) Across states, both firearm prevalence AND questionable storage practices (i.e. storing firearms loaded and unlocked) were associated with higher rates of unintentional firearm deaths. (…) The majority of people killed in firearm accidents are under age 24, and most of these young people are being shot by someone else, usually someone their own age. The shooter is typically a friend or family member, often an older brother. By contrast, older adults are at far lower risk of accidental firearm death, and most often are shooting themselves. (…)  Harvard Injury Control Research Center
The central insight of the modern study of criminal violence is that all crime—even the horrific violent crimes of assault and rape—is at some level opportunistic. Building a low annoying wall against them is almost as effective as building a high impenetrable one. This is the key concept of Franklin Zimring’s amazing work on crime in New York; everyone said that, given the social pressures, the slum pathologies, the profits to be made in drug dealing, the ascending levels of despair, that there was no hope of changing the ever-growing cycle of violence. The right wing insisted that this generation of predators would give way to a new generation of super-predators. What the New York Police Department found out, through empirical experience and better organization, was that making crime even a little bit harder made it much, much rarer. This is undeniably true of property crime, and common sense and evidence tells you that this is also true even of crimes committed by crazy people (to use the plain English the subject deserves). Those who hold themselves together enough to be capable of killing anyone are subject to the same rules of opportunity as sane people. Even madmen need opportunities to display their madness, and behave in different ways depending on the possibilities at hand. Demand an extraordinary degree of determination and organization from someone intent on committing a violent act, and the odds that the violent act will take place are radically reduced, in many cases to zero. Look at the Harvard social scientist David Hemenway’s work on gun violence to see how simple it is; the phrase “more guns = more homicide” tolls through it like a grim bell. The more guns there are in a country, the more gun murders and massacres of children there will be. Even within this gun-crazy country, states with strong gun laws have fewer gun murders (and suicides and accidental killings) than states without them. (…) Summoning the political will to make it happen may be hard. But there’s no doubt or ambiguity about what needs to be done, nor that, if it is done, it will work. One would have to believe that Americans are somehow uniquely evil or depraved to think that the same forces that work on the rest of the planet won’t work here. It’s always hard to summon up political will for change, no matter how beneficial the change may obviously be. Summoning the political will to make automobiles safe was difficult; so was summoning the political will to limit and then effectively ban cigarettes from public places. At some point, we will become a gun-safe, and then a gun-sane, and finally a gun-free society. It’s closer than you think. (…) Gun control is not a panacea, any more than penicillin was. Some violence will always go on. What gun control is good at is controlling guns. Gun control will eliminate gun massacres in America as surely as antibiotics eliminate bacterial infections. As I wrote last week, those who oppose it have made a moral choice: that they would rather have gun massacres of children continue rather than surrender whatever idea of freedom or pleasure they find wrapped up in owning guns or seeing guns owned (…) On gun violence and how to end it, the facts are all in, the evidence is clear, the truth there for all who care to know it—indeed, a global consensus is in place, which, in disbelief and now in disgust, the planet waits for us to join. Those who fight against gun control, actively or passively, with a shrug of helplessness, are dooming more kids to horrible deaths and more parents to unspeakable grief just as surely as are those who fight against pediatric medicine or childhood vaccination. It’s really, and inarguably, just as simple as that. Adam Gopnik
Statistically, the United States is not a particularly violent society. Although gun proponents like to compare this country with hot spots like Colombia, Mexico, and Estonia (making America appear a truly peaceable kingdom), a more relevant comparison is against other high-income, industrialized nations. The percentage of the U.S. population victimized in 2000 by crimes like assault, car theft, burglary, robbery, and sexual incidents is about average for 17 industrialized countries, and lower on many indices than Canada, Australia, or New Zealand. « The only thing that jumps out is lethal violence, » Hemenway says. Violence, pace H. Rap Brown, is not « as American as cherry pie, » but American violence does tend to end in death. The reason, plain and simple, is guns. We own more guns per capita than any other high-income country— maybe even more than one gun for every man, woman, and child in the country. A 1994 survey numbered the U.S. gun supply at more than 200 million in a population then numbered at 262 million, and currently about 35 percent of American households have guns. (These figures count only civilian guns; Switzerland, for example, has plenty of military weapons per capita.) Craig Lambert
Why manufacture guns that go off when you drop them?. Kids play with guns. We put childproof safety caps on aspirin bottles because if kids take too many aspirin, they get sick. You could blame the parents for gun accidents but, as with aspirin, manufacturers could help. It’s very easy to make childproof guns. »The gun-control debate often makes it look like there are only two options: either take away people’s guns, or not. That’s not it at all. This is more like a harm-reduction strategy. Recognize that there are a lot of guns out there, and that reasonable gun policies can minimize the harm that comes from them. (…) It’s not as if a 19-year-old in the United States is more evil than a 19-year-old in Australia— there’s no evidence for that. But a 19-year-old in America can very easily get a pistol. That’s very hard to do in Australia. So when there’s a bar fight in Australia, somebody gets punched out or hit with a beer bottle. Here, they get shot. (…) What guns do is make crimes lethal. They also make suicide attempts lethal: about 60 percent of suicides in America involve guns. If you try to kill yourself with drugs, there’s a 2 to 3 percent chance of dying. With guns, the chance is 90 percent. (…) In Wyoming it’s hard to have big gang fights. Do you call up the other gang and drive 30 miles to meet up? (…) Handguns are the crime guns. They are the ones you can conceal, the guns you take to go rob somebody. You don’t mug people at rifle-point. (…) We have done four surveys on self-defense gun use. And one thing we know for sure is that there’s a lot more criminal gun use than self-defense gun use. And even when people say they pulled their gun in ‘self-defense,’ it usually turns out that there was just an escalating argument —at some point, people feel afraid and draw guns. (…) How often might you appropriately use a gun in self-defense?.  Answer: zero to once in a lifetime. How about inappropriately —because you were tired, afraid, or drunk in a confrontational situation? There are lots and lots of chances. When your anger takes over, it’s nice not to have guns lying around. (…)  « A determined criminal will always get a gun » (…) Yes, but a lot of people aren’t that determined. I’m sure there are some determined yacht buyers out there, but when you raise the price high enough, a lot of them stop buying yachts. (…)  « You can go to a gun show, flea market, the Internet, or classified ads and buy a gun— no questions asked. (…) For decades, there were no plaintiff victories beyond the appellate level » in the tobacco litigation. Reasonable suits might allege things that the manufacturers could do to make guns safer. (…) People say, ‘Teach kids not to pull the trigger,’ but kids will do it. (…)  You could make it hard to remove a serial number. You won’t eliminate the problem, but you can decrease it. (…) You can arrest speeders, but you can also put speed bumps or chicanes [curved, alternating-side curb extensions] into residential areas where children play….Just as…you can revoke the license of bad doctors, but also build [a medical] environment in which it’s harder to make an error, and the mistakes made are not serious or fatal. (…) We know what works. We know that speed kills, so if you raise speed limits, expect to see more highway deaths. Motorcycle helmets work; seat belts work. Car inspections and driver education have no effect. Right-on-red laws mean more pedestrians hit by cars. (…) The goal at home and abroad is to make sure the guns we have are safe, and that people use them properly. We’d like to create a world where it’s hard to make mistakes with guns— and when you do make a mistake, it’s not a terrible thing.  David Hemenway (Harvard)
Qui arrêtera ce nouveau massacre des innocents ?
En ces temps étranges où, brutalisation djihadiste ou victimisation médiatique oblige, le premier imbécile ou damné de la terre venu peut ou se sent obligé d’entrainer dans sa mort, y compris au couteau de boucher, à la voiture-bélier ou à l’avion-missile, des dizaines voire des centaines ou des milliers d’anonymes dans sa mort …
Et où après l’avoir si longtemps dénoncé, l’on se plaint, aujourd’hui que notre rêve de monde multipolaire est enfin exaucé, de l’absence sur la scène mondiale de plus en plus catastrophique du seul pays capable d’en jouer les gendarmes …
Pendant qu’au nom de normes écologiques toujours plus draconiennes, l’on pousse nos constructeurs automobiles à trafiquer nos moteurs …
Et qu’au lendemain, alors que malgré la baisse des dix dernières années les armes à feu pourraient dès cette année dépasser l’automobile comme première cause de décès, d’un énième massacre dans une école américaine (dans une zone interdite aux armes) suivi comme il se doit de deux autres presque simultanés mais heureusement beaucoup moins meurtriers), partisans et opposants se jettent les éternels mêmes arguments à la figure …
Entre un président et ses amis chasseurs d’ambulances incapables de résister à une occasion de récupération politique et un candidat républicain et brillant ex-neurochirurgien qui se sent obligé pour flatter le lobby des armes à feu d’invoquer le génocide juif …
 
Qui rappelle avec l’économiste de la santé américain et ancien nadérite David Hemenway

Qu’aussi tragiques et médiatiques qu’elles soient, ces tueries de masse ne constituent en fait qu’une infime partie du total des homicides (moins de 1% ) et que les armes de guerre qui  leur sont souvent associées n’entrent en jeu que dans 2% des cas ?

 Qui a l’honnêteté de signaler que l’évidence apparemment mathématique (plus d’armes entrainent plus de victimes) ne tient en fait que pour les pays développés (y compris à  l’intérieur même des Etats-Unis – Wyoming: 17,5 décès pour 60% de  possession vs. Massachussets: 3,18 pour 10,6), le cas des pays en développement démontrant largement qu’on peut faire (beaucoup) plus avec (très) peu (Honduras: about 64,8 décès /100 000 pour seulement 6, 2% de possession,  soit presque six fois plus de décès avec 18 fois moins d’armes que les EU), Venezuela: 50,9 pour 10,7%,  Jamaïque: 39,74 pour 8,1% contre 10,6 pour 112,6% pour les EU mais 3,1 pour  31,2% pour la France – mais des taux d’homicide volontaire de 13.3, 7.9, 2.7 et 1.8  % pour Guyane, Guadeloupe, Martinique et Réunion vs. 1.2 pour la France) ?
Qui osera alors en tirer l’évidente conclusion – éléphant dans la pièce qu’il devient de plus en plus difficile de voir, Hemenway compris – que l’on a en fait affaire à deux Amérique emboitées l’une dans l’autre,  les ghettos noirs, qui pour une population noire totale de 12% de la population totale concentre 41% des auteurs et près de 50% des victimes d’homicides, fonctionnant en fait comme des îlots de sous-développement à l’intérieur d’un pays par ailleurs à la pointe du développement ?
Mais en même temps qui prend la peine d’expliquer que c’est par ailleurs aussi  par effet d’opportunité et d’incitation que ce trop-plein d’armes principalement de poing (près de 113 armes à feu pour 100 habitants !) peut rendre catastrophiques et irréversibles, sans parler des rixes ou des simples vols, les moindres accidents, suicides ou disputes au sein même des familles ?
Qui aura enfin le courage d’exiger face au puissant lobby des fabricants mais aussi des fondamentalistes de la liberté à tout prix …

Un minimum, comme cela a été fait pour l’industrie de l’automobile ou du tabac notamment avec les fameuses « class actions », de sécurités et de contrôles pour les produits …

D’une industrie qui continue à tuer …
Entre homicides, accidents et suicides et certes aussi l’imprudence voire l’inconscience de nombreux parents mais aussi la brutalité de certains policiers
Et à l’instar, sans compter le bébé de 5 mois de Cleveland le même jour que la tuerie de l’Oregon, de ce petit garçon de 11 ans du Tennessee qui a tué sa petite voisine de 8 ans quatre jours après pour avoir refusé de lui montrer son petit chien …
Plus de 400 enfants par an et déjà 563 pour les 10 premiers mois de cette année ?
Ce qui ne fait certes, diront les critiques, que 40 fois moins que le bilan des accidents automobiles  pour lesdits enfants et qu’à peine 20 fois celui du massacre de Newtown …

Death by the Barrel
David Hemenway applies scientific method to the gun problem
Craig Lambert
Harvard magazine
September-October 2004
This particular gun story took place, ironically enough, at the 1997 convention of the American Public Health Association in Indianapolis. There, among a group of white-collar professionals and academics, a seemingly minor incident quickly led to mayhem. While eating dinner at the Planet Hollywood restaurant, a patron bent to pick something up from the floor. A small pistol fell from his pocket, hit the floor, and went off. The bullet struck and injured two convention delegates waiting to be seated; both women went to the hospital. »Why manufacture guns that go off when you drop them? » asks professor of health policy David Hemenway ’66, Ph.D. ’74. « Kids play with guns. We put childproof safety caps on aspirin bottles because if kids take too many aspirin, they get sick. You could blame the parents for gun accidents but, as with aspirin, manufacturers could help. It’s very easy to make childproof guns. »

Logic like this pervades Hemenway’s new book, Private Guns, Public Health (University of Michigan Press), which takes an original approach to an old problem by applying a scientific perspective to firearms. Hemenway, who directs the Harvard Injury Control Research Center at the School of Public Health (www.hsph.harvard.edu/hicrc), summarizes and interprets findings from hundreds of surveys and from epidemiological and field studies to deliver on the book’s subtitle: A Dramatic New Plan for Ending America’s Epidemic of Gun Violence. The empirical groundwork enables Hemenway, whose doctorate is in economics, to sidestep decades of political arm-wrestling over gun control. « The gun-control debate often makes it look like there are only two options: either take away people’s guns, or not, » he says. « That’s not it at all. This is more like a harm-reduction strategy. Recognize that there are a lot of guns out there, and that reasonable gun policies can minimize the harm that comes from them. »

Hemenway’s work on guns and violence is a natural evolution of his research on injuries of various kinds, which he has pursued for decades. (In fact, it could be traced as far back as the 1960s, when, working for Ralph Nader, LL.B. ’58, he investigated product safety as one of « Nader’s Raiders. ») Hemenway says he doesn’t have a personal issue with guns; he has shot firearms, but found the experience « loud and dirty—and there’s no exercise »—as opposed to the « paintball » survival games he enjoys, which involve not only shooting but « a lot of running. » He also happens to live in a state with strong gun laws. « It’s nice, » he says, « to have raised my son in Massachusetts, where he is so much safer. »

Statistically, the United States is not a particularly violent society. Although gun proponents like to compare this country with hot spots like Colombia, Mexico, and Estonia (making America appear a truly peaceable kingdom), a more relevant comparison is against other high-income, industrialized nations. The percentage of the U.S. population victimized in 2000 by crimes like assault, car theft, burglary, robbery, and sexual incidents is about average for 17 industrialized countries, and lower on many indices than Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.

« The only thing that jumps out is lethal violence, » Hemenway says. Violence, pace H. Rap Brown, is not « as American as cherry pie, » but American violence does tend to end in death. The reason, plain and simple, is guns. We own more guns per capita than any other high-income country—maybe even more than one gun for every man, woman, and child in the country. A 1994 survey numbered the U.S. gun supply at more than 200 million in a population then numbered at 262 million, and currently about 35 percent of American households have guns. (These figures count only civilian guns; Switzerland, for example, has plenty of military weapons per capita.)

« It’s not as if a 19-year-old in the United States is more evil than a 19-year-old in Australia—there’s no evidence for that, » Hemenway explains. « But a 19-year-old in America can very easily get a pistol. That’s very hard to do in Australia. So when there’s a bar fight in Australia, somebody gets punched out or hit with a beer bottle. Here, they get shot. »

In general, guns don’t induce people to commit crimes. « What guns do is make crimes lethal, » says Hemenway. They also make suicide attempts lethal: about 60 percent of suicides in America involve guns. « If you try to kill yourself with drugs, there’s a 2 to 3 percent chance of dying, » he explains. « With guns, the chance is 90 percent. »

Gun deaths fall into three categories: homicides, suicides, and accidental killings. In 2001, about 30,000 people died from gunfire in the United States. Set this against the 43,000 annual deaths from motor-vehicle accidents to recognize what startling carnage comes out of a barrel. The comparison is especially telling because cars « are a way of life, » as Hemenway explains. « People use cars all day, every day—and ‘motor vehicles’ include trucks. How many of us use guns? »

Suicides accounted for about 58 percent of gun fatalities, or 17,000 to 18,000 deaths, in 2001; another 11,000 deaths, or 37 percent, were homicides, and the remaining 800 to 900 gun deaths were accidental. For rural areas, the big problem is suicide; in cities, it’s homicide. (« In Wyoming it’s hard to have big gang fights, » Hemenway observes dryly. « Do you call up the other gang and drive 30 miles to meet up? ») Homicides follow a curve similar to that of motor-vehicle fatalities: rising steeply between ages 15 and 21, staying fairly level from there until age 65, then rising again with advanced age. Men between 25 and 55 commit the bulk of suicides, and younger males account for an inflated share of both homicides and unintentional shootings. (Males suffer all injuries, including gunshots, at much higher rates than females.)

Though assault weapons have attracted lots of publicity from Hollywood and Washington, and NRA stands for National Rifle Association, these facts mask the reality of the gun problem, which centers on pistols. « Handguns are the crime guns, » Hemenway says. « They are the ones you can conceal, the guns you take to go rob somebody. You don’t mug people at rifle-point. »

And America is awash in handguns. Canada, for example, has almost as many guns per capita as the United States, but Americans own far more pistols. « Where do Canadian criminals, and Mexican criminals, get their handguns? » asks Hemenway. « From the United States. » Gang members in Boston and New York get their handguns from other states with permissive gun laws; the firearms flow freely across state borders. Interstate 95, which runs from Florida to New England, even has a nickname among gun-runners: « the Iron Pipeline. »

The ways in which people die by guns would not make a good television cop show. Rarely does a suburban homeowner beat a burglar to the draw in his living room at 3 a.m. Few urban pedestrians thwart a mugger by brandishing a pistol. « We have done four surveys on self-defense gun use, » Hemenway says. « And one thing we know for sure is that there’s a lot more criminal gun use than self-defense gun use. And even when people say they pulled their gun in ‘self-defense,’ it usually turns out that there was just an escalating argument—at some point, people feel afraid and draw guns. »

Hemenway has collected stories of self-defense gun use by simply asking those who pulled guns what happened. A typical story might be: « We were in the park drinking. Drinking led to arguing. We ran to our cars and got our guns. » Or: « I was sitting on my porch. A neighbor came up and we got into a fight. He threw a beer at me. I went inside and got my gun. » Hemenway has sent verbatim accounts of such incidents to criminal-court judges, asking if the « self-defense » gun use described was legal. « Most of the time, » he says, « the answer was no. »

Ask criminals why they carried a gun while robbing the convenience store and frequently the answer is, « So I could get the money and not have to hurt anyone. » But as Hemenway explains, « Then something happens. Maybe somebody unexpectedly walks in, or the storeowner draws a gun. Your heart is racing. Next thing you know, somebody is dead. »

Researchers have interviewed adolescents in major urban centers, where many inner-city kids carry guns. When asked why, the reason they most often give is « self-defense, » adding that getting a gun is easy, something one can often do in less than an hour. Yet when researchers asked a group of teenagers, more than half of whom had already carried guns, what kind of world they would like to live in, Hemenway says that almost all of them replied, « One where it’s difficult or impossible to get a gun. »

Most murderers are not hired killers. Instead, killings happen during fights between rival gangs or angry spouses, or even from road rage, and leave deep regret in their wake. « How often might you appropriately use a gun in self-defense? » Hemenway asks rhetorically. « Answer: zero to once in a lifetime. How about inappropriately—because you were tired, afraid, or drunk in a confrontational situation? There are lots and lots of chances. When your anger takes over, it’s nice not to have guns lying around. »

Many suicides, similarly, are impulsive acts. Follow-up interviews with people who survived jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge reveal that few of them tried suicide again. One survivor volunteered this epiphany after jumping: « I realized that all the problems I had in life were solvable—except one: I’m in midair. » In the United States, suicide rates are high in states with an abundance of guns—southern and western mountain states, for example—and lower in places like New Jersey, New England, or Hawaii, where guns are relatively scarce. Nine case-control studies have shown that guns in the house are a risk factor for suicide. Firearms turn the agonizing into the irreversible.

Virtually all industrialized nations have stronger firearms laws than the United States. We have no national law, for example, requiring a license to own a gun (though some states require one). Almost all other countries have licensure laws, and many demand that gun owners undergo training, also not required here. Hemenway scoffs at the rote objection, « A determined criminal will always get a gun, » responding, « Yes, but a lot of people aren’t that determined. I’m sure there are some determined yacht buyers out there, but when you raise the price high enough, a lot of them stop buying yachts. »

In most of these United States, many types of gun sale trigger neither a background check nor a paper trail. « You can go to a gun show, flea market, the Internet, or classified ads and buy a gun—no questions asked, » Hemenway says. It is illegal to sell a firearm to a convicted felon or for criminal purposes, although sting operations have proved that some licensed vendors flout even this proscription. « In 1998, police officers from Chicago (where possessing a new handgun is illegal) posed as local gang members and went firearms shopping in the suburbs, » Hemenway writes. « In store after store, clerks willingly sold powerful handguns to these agents, who made it clear that they intended to use these guns to ‘take care of business’ on the streets of Chicago. »

Some civil lawsuits have targeted gun manufacturers, seeking damages for the death and disability resulting from the use of firearms. In one sense, such plaintiffs are in the bizarre position of suing manufacturers for making products that perform as advertised. Yet there may be parallels to the legal assault on tobacco, another product that can be lethal when used as directed. « For decades, there were no plaintiff victories beyond the appellate level » in the tobacco litigation, Hemenway notes. « Reasonable suits might allege things that the manufacturers could do to make guns safer. »

Many such changes are possible. Fairly small tweaks in design and engineering could save countless human lives—in much the same way that the 1985 law requiring a third brake light (the upper back light) on cars reduced rear-end collisions. For starters, making childproof guns is, well, child’s play. Even a century ago, gunsmiths made pistols that would not fire unless the shooter put extra pressure on the handle while pulling the trigger; this required strength beyond that of a child’s hand.

Many times a teenaged boy will find a gun such as a semi-automatic pistol in his home and, after taking out the ammunition clip, assume that the gun is unloaded. He then points the pistol at his best friend and playfully pulls the trigger, killing the other lad with the bullet that was already in the chamber. « People say, ‘Teach kids not to pull the trigger,’ but kids will do it, » Hemenway says. In a 2001 study, for example, small groups of boys from 8 to 12 years old spent 15 minutes in a room where a handgun was hidden in a drawer. More than two-thirds discovered the gun, more than half the groups handled it, and in more than a third of the groups someone pulled the trigger—despite the fact that more than 90 percent of the boys in the latter groups had received gun-safety instruction.

Hence product redesign may do more good than safety education. Hemenway suggests such changes as adding « a magazine safety, so that when you remove the clip, the gun does not work. Or make guns that visually indicate if they are loaded—just like you can tell if there is film in a camera. » A different design solution could help police, who often find that guns recovered from crime scenes are untraceable because it’s « pretty easy to obliterate the serial number, » Hemenway notes. « Often you can just file it off. You could make it hard to remove a serial number. You won’t eliminate the problem, but you can decrease it. »

One of Hemenway’s main goals is to help create a society in which it is harder to make fatal blunders. He compares it to cutting down on speeding autos. « You can arrest speeders, but you can also put speed bumps or chicanes [curved, alternating-side curb extensions] into residential areas where children play….Just as…you can revoke the license of bad doctors, but also build [a medical] environment in which it’s harder to make an error, and the mistakes made are not serious or fatal. »

Yet even if such interventions became public policy, there would be no way to evaluate their impact without meaningful data. Consider the 1994 law that bans assault weapons, which is due to expire this year. « We don’t know if homicides have gone up, down, or stayed the same as a result of this law, » Hemenway says. « Or take unintentional gun deaths, of which there are about two a day. We don’t know if they tend to occur indoors or outdoors, whether the victim is the shooter or another person, whether they involve long guns or handguns, if they occur in the city or country, or if patterns have changed over time. »

This ignorance about gun deaths stands in sharp contrast to the wealth of useful data available on motor-vehicle fatalities, for which more than 100 pieces of information per death are collected consistently in every state. Shortly after its creation in 1966, the predecessor of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began to record information like the make, model, and year of the car, speed limit and speed of car, where people were sitting, use of seatbelts and more recently airbags, weather conditions—these data and many more are available to researchers on the Web. Consequently, Hemenway says, « We know what works. We know that speed kills, so if you raise speed limits, expect to see more highway deaths. Motorcycle helmets work; seat belts work. Car inspections and driver education have no effect. Right-on-red laws mean more pedestrians hit by cars. »

This kind of detailed information allows researchers to statistically evaluate the effects of laws. Regarding those right-on-red laws, for example, Hemenway explains, « If you only [tracked] traffic deaths, you wouldn’t see this pattern. You need data on pedestrian deaths, and pedestrian deaths at intersections! »

In 1998, Hemenway and the Harvard Injury Control Research Center launched the pilot for what has become the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) in an attempt to assemble a similar database documenting violent deaths, including those by firearms. They funded 10 sites to organize a consistent, comparable set of data, using information that already existed. Vital statistics like age and sex were commonly available. The police have a good system for homicide data. Medical examiners’ (coroners’) reports are a rich source of information but are not part of any system and aren’t linked to anything else; the same is true of crime lab reports. The new system will also provide important suicide data. (Currently, once a death is defined as a suicide, the police investigation ends, so « all we have are death certificates, » says Hemenway. « They tell you nothing about the circumstances. »)

Two years ago, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) took over administration of NVDRS; Hemenway estimates that funding the whole system for all 50 states would cost about $20 million. He will continue this work, but he is also getting involved with international firearms problems. Although high-income countries (other than the United States) generally don’t have severe gun problems, the developing world faces major issues with guns in places like Jamaica, Colombia, and South Africa. The goal at home and abroad, he says, is « to make sure the guns we have are safe, and that people use them properly. We’d like to create a world where it’s hard to make mistakes with guns—and when you do make a mistake, it’s not a terrible thing. »
Craig A. Lambert ’69, Ph.D. ’78, is deputy editor of this magazine.December 19, 2012

Voir aussi:

The Simple Truth About Gun Control
Adam Gopnik
The New Yorker
December 19, 2012

We live, let’s imagine, in a city where children are dying of a ravaging infection. The good news is that its cause is well understood and its cure, an antibiotic, easily at hand. The bad news is that our city council has been taken over by a faith-healing cult that will go to any lengths to keep the antibiotic from the kids. Some citizens would doubtless point out meekly that faith healing has an ancient history in our city, and we must regard the faith healers with respect—to do otherwise would show a lack of respect for their freedom to faith-heal. (The faith healers’ proposition is that if there were a faith healer praying in every kindergarten the kids wouldn’t get infections in the first place.) A few Tartuffes would see the children writhe and heave in pain and then wring their hands in self-congratulatory piety and wonder why a good God would send such a terrible affliction on the innocent—surely he must have a plan! Most of us—every sane person in the city, actually—would tell the faith healers to go to hell, put off worrying about the Problem of Evil till Friday or Saturday or Sunday, and do everything we could to get as much penicillin to the kids as quickly we could.

We do live in such a city. Five thousand seven hundred and forty children and teens died from gunfire in the United States, just in 2008 and 2009. Twenty more, including Olivia Engel, who was seven, and Jesse Lewis, who was six, were killed just last week. Some reports say their bodies weren’t shown to their grief-stricken parents to identify them; just their pictures. The overwhelming majority of those children would have been saved with effective gun control. We know that this is so, because, in societies that have effective gun control, children rarely, rarely, rarely die of gunshots. Let’s worry tomorrow about the problem of Evil. Let’s worry more about making sure that when the Problem of Evil appears in a first-grade classroom, it is armed with a penknife.

There are complex, hand-wringing-worthy problems in our social life: deficits and debts and climate change. Gun violence, and the work of eliminating gun massacres in schools and movie houses and the like, is not one of them. Gun control works on gun violence as surely as antibiotics do on bacterial infections. In Scotland, after Dunblane, in Australia, after Tasmania, in Canada, after the Montreal massacre—in each case the necessary laws were passed to make gun-owning hard, and in each case… well, you will note the absence of massacre-condolence speeches made by the Prime Ministers of Canada and Australia, in comparison with our own President.

The laws differ from place to place. In some jurisdictions, like Scotland, it is essentially impossible to own a gun; in others, like Canada, it is merely very, very difficult. The precise legislation that makes gun-owning hard in a certain sense doesn’t really matter—and that should give hope to all of those who feel that, with several hundred million guns in private hands, there’s no point in trying to make America a gun-sane country.

As I wrote last January, the central insight of the modern study of criminal violence is that all crime—even the horrific violent crimes of assault and rape—is at some level opportunistic. Building a low annoying wall against them is almost as effective as building a high impenetrable one. This is the key concept of Franklin Zimring’s amazing work on crime in New York; everyone said that, given the social pressures, the slum pathologies, the profits to be made in drug dealing, the ascending levels of despair, that there was no hope of changing the ever-growing cycle of violence. The right wing insisted that this generation of predators would give way to a new generation of super-predators.

What the New York Police Department found out, through empirical experience and better organization, was that making crime even a little bit harder made it much, much rarer. This is undeniably true of property crime, and common sense and evidence tells you that this is also true even of crimes committed by crazy people (to use the plain English the subject deserves). Those who hold themselves together enough to be capable of killing anyone are subject to the same rules of opportunity as sane people. Even madmen need opportunities to display their madness, and behave in different ways depending on the possibilities at hand. Demand an extraordinary degree of determination and organization from someone intent on committing a violent act, and the odds that the violent act will take place are radically reduced, in many cases to zero.

Look at the Harvard social scientist David Hemenway’s work on gun violence to see how simple it is; the phrase “more guns = more homicide” tolls through it like a grim bell. The more guns there are in a country, the more gun murders and massacres of children there will be. Even within this gun-crazy country, states with strong gun laws have fewer gun murders (and suicides and accidental killings) than states without them. (Hemenway is also the scientist who has shown that the inflated figure of guns used in self-defense every year, running even to a million or two million, is a pure fantasy, even though it’s still cited by pro-gun enthusiasts. Those hundreds of thousands intruders shot by gun owners left no records in emergency wards or morgues; indeed, left no evidentiary trace behind. This is because they did not exist.) Hemenway has discovered, as he explained in this interview with Harvard Magazine, that what is usually presented as a case of self-defense with guns is, in the real world, almost invariably a story about an escalating quarrel. “How often might you appropriately use a gun in self-defense?” Hemenway asks rhetorically. “Answer: zero to once in a lifetime. How about inappropriately—because you were tired, afraid, or drunk in a confrontational situation? There are lots and lots of chances.”

So don’t listen to those who, seeing twenty dead six- and seven-year-olds in ten minutes, their bodies riddled with bullets designed to rip apart bone and organ, say that this is impossibly hard, or even particularly complex, problem. It’s a very easy one. Summoning the political will to make it happen may be hard. But there’s no doubt or ambiguity about what needs to be done, nor that, if it is done, it will work. One would have to believe that Americans are somehow uniquely evil or depraved to think that the same forces that work on the rest of the planet won’t work here. It’s always hard to summon up political will for change, no matter how beneficial the change may obviously be. Summoning the political will to make automobiles safe was difficult; so was summoning the political will to limit and then effectively ban cigarettes from public places. At some point, we will become a gun-safe, and then a gun-sane, and finally a gun-free society. It’s closer than you think. (I’m grateful to my colleague Jeffrey Toobin for showing so well that the idea that the Second Amendment assures individual possession of guns, so far from being deeply rooted in American law, is in truth a new and bizarre reading, one that would have shocked even Warren Burger.)

Gun control is not a panacea, any more than penicillin was. Some violence will always go on. What gun control is good at is controlling guns. Gun control will eliminate gun massacres in America as surely as antibiotics eliminate bacterial infections. As I wrote last week, those who oppose it have made a moral choice: that they would rather have gun massacres of children continue rather than surrender whatever idea of freedom or pleasure they find wrapped up in owning guns or seeing guns owned—just as the faith healers would rather watch the children die than accept the reality of scientific medicine. This is a moral choice; many faith healers make it to this day, and not just in thought experiments. But it is absurd to shake our heads sapiently and say we can’t possibly know what would have saved the lives of Olivia and Jesse.

On gun violence and how to end it, the facts are all in, the evidence is clear, the truth there for all who care to know it—indeed, a global consensus is in place, which, in disbelief and now in disgust, the planet waits for us to join. Those who fight against gun control, actively or passively, with a shrug of helplessness, are dooming more kids to horrible deaths and more parents to unspeakable grief just as surely as are those who fight against pediatric medicine or childhood vaccination. It’s really, and inarguably, just as simple as that.


Newtown and the Madness of Guns
Adam Gopnik

After the mass gun murders at Virginia Tech, I wrote about the unfathomable image of cell phones ringing in the pockets of the dead kids, and of the parents trying desperately to reach them. And I said (as did many others), This will go on, if no one stops it, in this manner and to this degree in this country alone—alone among all the industrialized, wealthy, and so-called civilized countries in the world. There would be another, for certain.

Then there were—many more, in fact—and when the latest and worst one happened, in Aurora, I (and many others) said, this time in a tone of despair, that nothing had changed. And I (and many others) predicted that it would happen again, soon. And that once again, the same twisted voices would say, Oh, this had nothing to do with gun laws or the misuse of the Second Amendment or anything except some singular madman, of whom America for some reason seems to have a particularly dense sample.

And now it has happened again, bang, like clockwork, one might say: Twenty dead children—babies, really—in a kindergarten in a prosperous town in Connecticut. And a mother screaming. And twenty families told that their grade-schooler had died. After the Aurora killings, I did a few debates with advocates for the child-killing lobby—sorry, the gun lobby—and, without exception and with a mad vehemence, they told the same old lies: it doesn’t happen here more often than elsewhere (yes, it does); more people are protected by guns than killed by them (no, they aren’t—that’s a flat-out fabrication); guns don’t kill people, people do; and all the other perverted lies that people who can only be called knowing accessories to murder continue to repeat, people who are in their own way every bit as twisted and crazy as the killers whom they defend. (That they are often the same people who pretend outrage at the loss of a single embryo only makes the craziness still crazier.)

So let’s state the plain facts one more time, so that they can’t be mistaken: Gun massacres have happened many times in many countries, and in every other country, gun laws have been tightened to reflect the tragedy and the tragic knowledge of its citizens afterward. In every other country, gun massacres have subsequently become rare. In America alone, gun massacres, most often of children, happen with hideous regularity, and they happen with hideous regularity because guns are hideously and regularly available.

The people who fight and lobby and legislate to make guns regularly available are complicit in the murder of those children. They have made a clear moral choice: that the comfort and emotional reassurance they take from the possession of guns, placed in the balance even against the routine murder of innocent children, is of supreme value. Whatever satisfaction gun owners take from their guns—we know for certain that there is no prudential value in them—is more important than children’s lives. Give them credit: life is making moral choices, and that’s a moral choice, clearly made.

All of that is a truth, plain and simple, and recognized throughout the world. At some point, this truth may become so bloody obvious that we will know it, too. Meanwhile, congratulate yourself on living in the child-gun-massacre capital of the known universe.

Voir encore:

St Louis Post dispatch

February 19, 2013

We are writing today as pediatric emergency and trauma physicians to share our concern about the epidemic of gun violence that threatens the safety, health, and well-being of our children in St. Louis and in the United States.

Since 2002, St. Louis Children’s Hospital has cared for 771 children injured or killed by gunfire; 35 percent were younger than 15. These include the recent 12-year-old boy accidentally killed by his friend when playing with his grandfather’s pistol kept under his pillow, the 2-year-old boy paralyzed when his father accidentally discharged his gun during loading, the 5-year-old girl caught in a cross-fire as she sat on her front porch, the 10-year-old boy killed by his mother overwhelmed with mental illness, and the 4-year-old boy who found a handgun in a closet at home, placed the barrel into his mouth and pulled the trigger as he had often done to get a drink from his water-pistol. Many of these children died despite the heroic efforts of our highly trained pre-hospital, emergency, surgical and critical care staff.

In 2010, seven American children age 19 and younger were killed every day. This is twice the number of children who die from cancer, five times the number from heart disease, and 15 times the number from infections. This is also the equivalent of 128 Newtown shootings.

It has been estimated at least 38 percent of American households have a gun. In homes with children younger than 18, 22 percent store the gun loaded, 32 percent unlocked, and 8 percent unlocked and loaded. The children in these homes know the gun is present, and many handle the gun in the absence of their parents.

Children who have received gun safety training are just as likely to play with and fire a real gun as children not trained. In one study, 8-to-12-year-old boys were observed via one-way mirror as they played for 15 minutes in a waiting room with a disabled .38 caliber handgun concealed in a desk drawer. Seventy two percent discovered the gun, and 48 percent pulled the trigger; 90 percent of those who handled the gun and/or pulled the trigger had prior gun safety instruction.

Rather than confer protection, careful studies find guns stored in the home are more likely to be involved in an accidental death, homicide by a family member, or suicide than against an intruder. In 2009, suicide was the third leading cause of death for American youth, with firearms the most common method used. The American Academy of Pediatrics has concluded, “The most effective measure to prevent suicide, homicide, and unintentional firearm-related injuries to children and adolescents is the absence of guns from homes and communities.”

We concur with recent recommendations from more than a dozen national pediatric professional organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, Academic Pediatric Association, and the American College of Surgeons in response to the Newtown school shooting. We called for action in three areas: reinstating and revising the ban on assault weapons and large ammunition magazines; improving quality and availability of mental health services; and reducing the exposure our children have to media violence. In addition, we called for increasing research on the relationship of these factors on the epidemic of death and injury to children caused by firearm violence and for ending restrictions to this research imposed by Congress.

We are gratified the plan President Obama recently announced addresses all of these issues. The president called for public support of these initiatives, and we strongly agree. As physicians who care for children and families devastated by gun violence, we know first-hand the importance of taking action that will begin to make the environment in St. Louis safer for our children. It has been done in many other economically advanced countries, and we can do it in the United States.

As Gabrielle Giffords said to Congress: “Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something. It will be hard, but the time is now. You must act. Be bold, be courageous. Americans are counting on you.” Our children are counting on us!

Voir de même:

Accidental gun deaths of children are far down on the list

St Louis Post dispatch

February 23, 2013

Regarding Drs. Kennedy, Jaffe & Keller’s editorial on child gun deaths, “Gun violence is a pediatric public health crisis” (Feb. 19):

They quote statistics that would lead the reader to believe that child gun deaths are a national public health crisis. They suggest that there is an epidemic of gun violence that threatens the safety, health and well-being of our children and devote considerable print to listing the number of children killed or treated for gunshot injuries at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. However, most of the individual cases they report suggest that accidental shootings are the main culprit for these injuries, and that inadequate gun storage at home is to blame. In reality, as is obvious from the daily reporting by the Post-Dispatch of area gun violence, most of the victims of these gun-related deaths and injuries are inner-city residents and their injuries are not accidental.

According to reliable statistical data reported in 2009 covering the years 1904-2006, from the National Center for Health Statistics (1981 on) and the National Safety Council (prior to 1981), while the number of privately owned guns in the U.S. is at an all-time high, and rises by about 4.5 million per year, the firearm accident death rate is at an all-time annual low, 0.2 per 100,000 population, down 94 percent since the all-time high in 1904. Since 1930, the annual number of such deaths has decreased 80 percent, to an all-time low, while the U.S. population has more than doubled and the number of firearms has quintupled. Among children, such deaths have decreased 90 percent since 1975.

Today, the odds are more than a million to one against a child in the U.S. dying in a firearm accident. According to the 2009 data, in reality among all child accidental deaths nationally, firearms were involved in 1.1 percent, compared to motor vehicles (41 percent), suffocation (21 percent), drowning (15 percent), fires (8 percent), pedal cycles (2 percent), poisoning (2 percent), falls (1.9 percent), environmental factors (1.5 percent), and medical mistakes (1 percent). Since the difference between accidental deaths due to medical mistakes (1 percent) and accidental deaths due to firearms (1.1 percent) is only 0.1 percentage points, perhaps we should consider a ban on pediatricians along with the ban they propose on firearms and large-capacity magazines.

F.A. Ruecker  •  Manchester

Homicide

1. Where there are more guns there is more homicide (literature review).

Our review of the academic literature found that a broad array of evidence indicates that gun availability is a risk factor for homicide, both in the United States and across high-income countries.  Case-control studies, ecological time-series and cross-sectional studies indicate that in homes, cities, states and regions in the US, where there are more guns, both men and women are at higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.

Hepburn, Lisa; Hemenway, David. Firearm availability and homicide: A review of the literature. Aggression and Violent Behavior: A Review Journal. 2004; 9:417-40.

2. Across high-income nations, more guns = more homicide.

We analyzed the relationship between homicide and gun availability using data from 26 developed countries from the early 1990s.  We found that across developed countries, where guns are more available, there are more homicides. These results often hold even when the United States is excluded.

Hemenway, David; Miller, Matthew. Firearm availability and homicide rates across 26 high income countries. Journal of Trauma. 2000; 49:985-88.

3. Across states, more guns = more homicide

Using a validated proxy for firearm ownership, we analyzed the relationship between firearm availability and homicide across 50 states over a ten year period (1988-1997).

After controlling for poverty and urbanization, for every age group, people in states with many guns have elevated rates of homicide, particularly firearm homicide.

Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah; Hemenway, David. Household firearm ownership levels and homicide rates across U.S. regions and states, 1988-1997. American Journal of Public Health. 2002: 92:1988-1993.

4. Across states, more guns = more homicide (2)

Using survey data on rates of household gun ownership, we examined the association between gun availability and homicide across states, 2001-2003. We found that states with higher levels of household gun ownership had higher rates of firearm homicide and overall homicide.  This relationship held for both genders and all age groups, after accounting for rates of aggravated assault, robbery, unemployment, urbanization, alcohol consumption, and resource deprivation (e.g., poverty). There was no association between gun prevalence and non-firearm homicide.

Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah; Hemenway, David. State-level homicide victimization rates in the U.S. in relation to survey measures of household firearm ownership, 2001-2003. Social Science and Medicine. 2007; 64:656-64.

Voir encore:

Tuerie dans l’Oregon et port d’arme : sachons raison garder

Edouard H.

Contrepoints

4 octobre 2015

Jeudi 1er octobre a lieu une nouvelle tuerie à l’Université Umpqua dans l’Oregon, faisant 10 morts. Comme à chaque nouvelle tuerie à l’aide d’une arme à feu, de nombreuses voix s’élèvent pour mettre en place des politiques restreignant le droit de détenir et de porter des armes. Portées par l’émotion, elles réclament toujours plus de politiques répressives et liberticides. Bien que compréhensibles, ces demandes n’en sont pas moins illégitimes, et il s’agit de défendre cette liberté fondamentale qu’est le droit de détenir et de porter des armes.

Jeudi dernier, le matin, Chris Harper Mercer amène 6 armes à feu sur le campus de l’Université Umpqua et ouvre le feu sur des étudiants, faisant 9 morts. Il meurt ensuite lors d’un échange de tirs avec la police. Face à cette nouvelle tragédie, nous ne pouvons qu’avoir dans notre cœur les familles des victimes, et leur assurer de nos condoléances les plus sincères.

Mais l’émotion générée par cette tuerie, bien que légitime, doit-elle servir de base à des restrictions sur des libertés fondamentales ? L’État américain devrait-il restreindre encore le droit de détention et de port d’armes des honnêtes citoyens américains, comme Barack Obama l’a suggéré ?

Comme dans tous les débats enflammés qui font suite à des événements tragiques, il s’agit de raison garder. La proposition simple consistant à dire « le tueur était armé, restreignons donc l’accès légal aux armes à feu » peut sembler logique au premier abord, mais en réalité, elle ignore complètement le contexte bien plus complexe de la question du port d’arme aux États-Unis. Car en matière d’armes à feu comme dans d’autres, il y a ce qu’on voit et ce qu’on ne voit pas.

Il est en effet essentiel de mettre les choses en perspective : les tueries de masse, bien que tragiques, restent statistiquement extrêmement rares. Moins de 0,2% des homicides sont liés à des tueries de masse.

De manière plus large et malgré la perception générale du contraire, le taux de crime aux États-Unis est en baisse constante depuis plus de 20 ans.

Même le taux d’homicides par armes à feu est en baisse, de 49% depuis 1993.

Ainsi, depuis plus de 20 ans aux États-Unis, le taux de crime diminue, et ce malgré un nombre record d’armes à feu détenus par des Américains. Dans le même temps, le nombre de permis de port d’arme en public (« concealed carry permit ») a lui aussi augmenté. « Plus d’armes = plus de crimes », vraiment ?

Mais au-delà des crimes demeure un fait peu rappelé dans les débats qui suivent les tueries aux États-Unis : avec plus de 300 millions d’armes à feu en circulation, les citoyens américains utilisent massivement leurs armes pour des motifs légitimes. Parmi ceux-ci, on retrouve la collection, la chasse, le tir sportif ou encore la défense de soi et de son prochain.

Ainsi, plus de 99,9% des Américains propriétaires légaux d’armes n’ont jamais utilisé celles-ci pour causer du tort à autrui. De quel droit viendrait-on restreindre leurs libertés parce qu’un dément a utilisé ses propres armes à feu pour nuire à autrui ?

Non seulement l’immense majorité de ces détenteurs légaux d’armes à feu ne cause pas de tort à autrui, mais elle empêche des crimes et sauvent des vies. Combien de crimes n’ont jamais eu lieu parce que des criminels violents, de peur de se faire abattre, ont été dissuadés d’agresser autrui ? Nous ne connaîtrons malheureusement jamais ce chiffre. À défaut, nous avons cependant des estimations du nombre de citoyens américains ayant en effet utilisé leurs armes pour se défendre d’un crime, et le chiffre est conséquent : d’après un rapport du National Research Council, les armes sont utilisées aux États-Unis pour se protéger d’un crime de 500.000 à 3.000.000 fois chaque année.

Ainsi, ce qu’on voit ce sont les crimes commis avec des armes à feu, qui font toujours grand bruit. Ce qu’on ne voit pas, ce sont les utilisations massivement plus nombreuses de ces mêmes armes pour des motifs légitimes, y compris la protection de la vie humaine. Jamais vous n’entendrez évoquer dans des médias traditionnels ces centaines de milliers de citoyens américains qui empêchent des crimes chaque année.

Mais si des mesures restrictives sur les armes à feu empêchaient effectivement leurs utilisations légitimes, elles permettraient au moins d’empêcher les dérangés de faire des tueries de masse, n’est-ce-pas ? On peut en douter. En France la détention d’armes à feu est strictement limitée, le port d’arme est interdit, et cela n’empêche aucunement les fusillades. Par définition, un criminel ne respecte pas la loi. Un fou souhaitant commettre une tuerie trouvera toujours les outils nécessaires. Les seules personnes concernées par les lois sur les armes à feu sont les citoyens honnêtes et pacifiques.

Le droit de détenir et de porter des armes est une liberté fondamentale. La vive émotion suscitée par une telle tragédie ne doit pas nous faire oublier que l’immense majorité des armes à feu aux États-Unis sont possédées par d’honnêtes citoyens ne voulant causer de tort à personne. De tels événements ne doivent pas être instrumentalisés pour restreindre des libertés, qu’il s’agisse de celle de la détention et du port d’armes ou celle du respect de notre vie privée face à la surveillance étatique.

Que faire alors pour empêcher ces tragédies ? Il paraît essentiel de se pencher sur l’origine réelle de ces tragédies : les tireurs et leurs motivations, et non l’outil qu’ils utilisent. Qu’est-ce qui les amène à commettre de telles atrocités, et que pouvons-nous changer à cela ?

Toutefois malgré ces efforts, il paraît vain de souhaiter en finir avec la violence. Certaines personnes seront toujours promptes à agresser autrui. Et face à ces personnes-là, les citoyens honnêtes doivent pouvoir s’armer pour leur défense. Cela n’a pas été le cas sur le campus de l’université dans l’Oregon qui était une « gun free zone », une zone où les citoyens honnêtes en possession de permis de port d’arme ne peuvent la porter. Le tueur avait ainsi le champ libre, sachant que ses victimes seraient incapables de se défendre avant l’arrivée de la police.

L’État américain doit en finir avec cette politique de « gun free zones » qui n’empêchent pas les tueurs de commettre leurs crimes, mais empêche une réponse rapide de citoyens qui pourraient stopper l’attaque.

Voir également:

Americans and their cars
Bangers v bullets
A gun is now more likely to kill you than a car is
The Economist
Jan 10th 2015
New York
ACCORDING to data gathered by the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), deaths caused by cars in America are in long-term decline. Improved technology, tougher laws and less driving by young people have all led to safer streets and highways. Deaths by guns, though—the great majority suicides, accidents or domestic violence—have been trending slightly upwards. This year, if the trend continues, they will overtake deaths on the roads.
The Centre for American Progress first spotted last February that the lines would intersect. Now, on its reading, new data to the end of 2012 support the view that guns will surpass cars this year as the leading killer of under 25s. Bloomberg Government has gone further. Its compilation of the CDC data in December concluded that guns would be deadlier for all age groups.
Comparing the two national icons, cars and guns, yields “a statistic that really resonates with people”, says Chelsea Parsons, co-author of the report for the Centre for American Progress. Resonance is certainly needed. There are about 320m people in the United States, and nearly as many civilian firearms. And although the actual rate of gun ownership is declining, enthusiasts are keeping up the number in circulation. Black Friday on November 28th kicked off such a shopping spree that the FBI had to carry out 175,000 instant background checks (three checks a second), a record for that day, just for sales covered by the extended Brady Act of 1998, the only serious bit of gun-curbing legislation passed in recent history.
Many sales escape that oversight, however. Everytown for Gun Safety, a movement backed by Mike Bloomberg, a former mayor of New York, has investigated loopholes in online gun sales and found that one in 30 users of Armslist classifieds has a criminal record that forbids them to own firearms. Private reselling of guns draws no attention, unless it crosses state lines.
William Vizzard, a professor of criminal justice at California State University at Sacramento, points out that guns also don’t wear out as fast as cars. “I compare a gun to a hammer or a crowbar,” he says. “Even if you stopped making guns today, you might not see a real change in the number of guns for decades.”
Motor vehicles, because they are operated on government-built roads, have been subject to licensing and registration, in the interests of public safety, for more than a century. But guns are typically kept at home. That private space is shielded by the Fourth Amendment just as “the right to bear arms” is protected by the Second, making government control difficult.
Car technologies and road laws are ever-evolving: in 2014, for example, the National Highways Traffic Safety Administration announced its plan to phase in mandatory rear-view cameras on new light vehicles, while New York City lowered its speed limit for local roads. By contrast, safety features on firearms—such as smartguns unlocked by an owner’s thumbprint or a radio-frequency encryption—are opposed by the National Rifle Association, whose allies in Congress also block funding for the sort of public-health research that might show, in even clearer detail, the cost of America’s love affair with guns.
Voir de même:
Technology
America’s Top Killing Machine
Gun deaths are poised to surpass automobile deaths in the United States this year.
Adrienne LaFrance
The Atlantic
Jan 12, 2015
For the better part of a century, the machine most likely to kill an American has been the automobile.

Car crashes killed 33,561 people in 2012, the most recent year for which data is available, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Firearms killed 32,251 people in the United States in 2011, the most recent year for which the Centers for Disease Control has data.

But this year gun deaths are expected to surpass car deaths. That’s according to a Center for American Progress report, which cites CDC data that shows guns will kill more Americans under 25 than cars in 2015. Already more than a quarter of the teenagers—15 years old and up—who die of injuries in the United States are killed in gun-related incidents, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

A similar analysis by Bloomberg three years ago found shooting deaths in 2015 « will probably rise to almost 33,000, and those related to autos will decline to about 32,000, based on the 10-year average trend. » And from The Economist, which wrote about the projection over the weekend:

Comparing the two national icons, cars and guns, yields “a statistic that really resonates with people, » says Chelsea Parsons, co-author of the report for the Centre for American Progress. Resonance is certainly needed. There are about 320 [million] people in the United States, and nearly as many civilian firearms. And although the actual rate of gun ownership is declining, enthusiasts are keeping up the number in circulation.

The figures may say more about a nation’s changing relationship with the automobile than they reveal about America’s ongoing obsession with guns.

The number of fatalities on the roads in the United States has been going down for years as fewer young people drive, car safety technology improves, and even as gas prices climb. (Lower gas prices are correlated with more deaths. A $2 drop in gasoline is linked to some 9,000 additional road fatalities per year in the United States, NPR recently reported.) Though even as fatal transportation incidents dropped in 2013, they accounted for two in five fatalities in the workplace in the United States that year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

CDC data on firearms offers a more complicated picture, in part because of how the agency categorizes causes of death. Gun deaths can include suicides, homicides, accidental firearms discharges, and even legal killings—but the overall data picture is incomplete. Since 2008, some county-level deaths have been left out to avoid inadvertent privacy breaches. And the number of police shootings—including arrest-related deaths, which are recorded but not made public, according to The Washington Post—are notoriously evasive.

The record of firearm deaths in the United States is murkier still because of how much is at stake politically. Firearm safety remains one of the most divisive issues in the country, with advocates on both sides cherry-picking data to support arguments about the extent to which gun regulation is necessary. It’s not even clear how many guns are out there in the first place, as the Pew Research Center pointed out in a 2013 study: « Respondent error or misstatement in surveys about gun ownership is a widely acknowledged concern of researchers. People may be reluctant to disclose ownership, especially if they are concerned that there may be future restrictions on gun possession or if they acquired their firearms illegally. »

We do know American gun ownership far outstrips gun ownership in other countries. “With less than 5 percent of the world’s population, the United States is home to 35-50 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns,” according to the Small Arms Survey.

And while the number of firearm homicides dropped dramatically over a 20-year period ending in 2011, the percentage of violent crimes involving firearms has stayed fairly constant, according to the 2013 survey. In other words, even when fewer people die from gun violence, violent crimes involving guns are still happening at the same rate. It’s also true that as the gun homicide rate has declined in the United States, suicides now account for the majority of gun deaths, according to Pew.

Data complexities aside, there is much to learn about a culture from the technologies that kill its people. In the 19th century, before modern labor laws were established, thousands of American workers died in textile mills and other factories. Heavy machinery was hazardous—and violent deaths often made headlines—but chemicals and asbestos killed many workers, too. Workers who made baked enamelware died after inhaling powdered glaze, and textile workers warned of the « kiss of death » from a loom that required its operator to suck a thread through the shuttle’s needle—which meant breathing toxic lint and dust, too.

Americans have been drawing connections between guns and cars for more than a century, since the dawn of the automobile age.

In 1911, The New York Times cited new traffic laws and gun regulations—including imprisonment rather than a monetary fine for people caught carrying pistols—as responsible for driving down the firearm and automobile death rates compared to the year before. But the larger public health risk in those days was infectious disease, which were responsible for almost half of the deaths among Americans in large cities at the turn of the century. It was around that time that officials began collecting reliable annual mortality statistics, according to a 2004 National Bureau of Economic Research paper about public health improvements.

Today, overall accidents are the fifth leading cause of death, according to CDC data. Americans are most likely to die from heart disease—followed by cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and stroke.

 Voir encore:

NBC news

The gun debate in the United States has changed a lot over the last 20 years. Support for gun control has declined sharply as support for gun rights has risen, as we noted earlier this week. Those trends are evident in data from a range of sources including Gallup and the Pew Research Center.

A complicated mix of emotions, attitudes and perceptions go into how people feel about guns, but when you look at the data, two points help explain the drop in support for gun control. Over the same period of time the violent crime rate has also dropped sharply. And the partisan divides that have come to define U.S. politics have pushed into the gun control debate.

The decline in violent crime over the past 25 years has been remarkable. In 1990, there were 729 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 people in the United States, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Statistics. The number got as high as 757 in 1992 – and then it began to fall steadily over the next 20 years.

By 2012, the figure was down to 386 violent crimes per 100,000 people.

Gun Homicide Rate Down 49% Since 1993 Peak; Public Unaware
Pace of Decline Slows in Past DecadeD’Vera Cohn, Paul Taylor, Mark Hugo Lopez, Catherine A. Gallagher, Kim Parker and Kevin T. Maass
Pew
May 7, 2013
Chapter 1: Overview
National rates of gun homicide and other violent gun crimes are strikingly lower now than during their peak in the mid-1990s, paralleling a general decline in violent crime, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data. Beneath the long-term trend, though, are big differences by decade: Violence plunged through the 1990s, but has declined less dramatically since 2000.Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew. The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75% lower in 2011 than in 1993. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall (with or without a firearm) also is down markedly (72%) over two decades.Nearly all the decline in the firearm homicide rate took place in the 1990s; the downward trend stopped in 2001 and resumed slowly in 2007. The victimization rate for other gun crimes plunged in the 1990s, then declined more slowly from 2000 to 2008. The rate appears to be higher in 2011 compared with 2008, but the increase is not statistically significant. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall also dropped in the 1990s before declining more slowly from 2000 to 2010, then ticked up in 2011.Despite national attention to the issue of firearm violence, most Americans are unaware that gun crime is lower today than it was two decades ago. According to a new Pew Research Center survey, today 56% of Americans believe gun crime is higher than 20 years ago and only 12% think it is lower.Looking back 50 years, the U.S. gun homicide rate began rising in the 1960s, surged in the 1970s, and hit peaks in 1980 and the early 1990s. (The number of homicides peaked in the early 1990s.) The plunge in homicides after that meant that firearm homicide rates in the late 2000s were equal to those not seen since the early 1960s.1 The sharp decline in the U.S. gun homicide rate, combined with a slower decrease in the gun suicide
rate, means that gun suicides now account for six-in-ten firearms deaths, the highest share since at least 1981.Trends for robberies followed a similar long-term trajectory as homicides (National Research Council, 2004), hitting a peak in the early 1990s before declining.This report examines trends in firearm homicide, non-fatal violent gun crime victimization and non-fatal violent crime victimization overall since 1993. Its findings on firearm crime are based mainly on analysis of data from two federal agencies. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using information from death certificates, are the source of rates, counts and trends for all firearm deaths, homicide and suicide, unless otherwise specified. The Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey, a household survey conducted by the Census Bureau, supplies annual estimates of non-fatal crime victimization, including those where firearms are used, regardless of whether the crimes were reported to police. Where relevant, this report also quotes from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (see text box at the end of this chapter and the Methodology appendix for more discussion about data sources).Researchers have studied the decline in firearm crime and violent crime for many years, and though there are theories to explain the decline, there is no consensus among those who study the issue as to why it happened.There also is debate about the extent of gun ownership in the U.S., although no disagreement that the U.S. has more civilian firearms, both total and per capita, than other nations. Compared with other developed nations, the U.S. has a higher homicide rate and higher rates of gun ownership, but not higher rates for all other crimes. (See Chapter 5 for more details.)In the months since the mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school in December, the public is paying close attention to the topic of firearms; according to a recent Pew Research Center survey (Pew Research Center, April 2013) no story received more public attention from mid-March to early April than the debate over gun control. Reducing crime has moved up as a priority for the public in polling this year.Mass shootings are a matter of great public interest and concern. They also are a relatively small share of shootings overall. According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics review, homicides that claimed at least three lives accounted for less than 1% of all homicide deaths from 1980 to 2008. These homicides, most of which are shootings, increased as a share of all homicides from 0.5% in 1980 to 0.8% in 2008, according to the bureau’s data. A Congressional Research Service report, using a definition of four deaths or more, counted 547 deaths from mass shootings in the U.S. from 1983 to 2012.2Looking at the larger topic of firearm deaths, there were 31,672 deaths from guns in the U.S. in 2010. Most (19,392) were suicides; the gun suicide rate has been higher than the gun homicide rate since at least 1981, and the gap is wider than it was in 1981.Knowledge About Crime
Despite the attention to gun violence in recent months, most Americans are unaware that gun crime is markedly lower than it was two decades ago. A new Pew Research Center survey (March 14-17) found that 56% of Americans believe the number of crimes involving a gun is higher than it was 20 years ago; only 12% say it is lower and 26% say it stayed the same. (An additional 6% did not know or did not answer.)Men (46%) are less likely than women (65%) to say long-term gun crime is up. Young adults, ages 18 to 29, are markedly less likely than other adults to say long-term crime is up—44% do, compared with more than half of other adults. Minority adults are more likely than non-Hispanic whites to say that long-term gun crime is up, 62% compared with 53%.Asked about trends in the number of gun crimes “in recent years,” a plurality of 45% believe the number has gone up, 39% say it is about the same and 10% say it has gone down. (An additional 5% did not know or did not answer.) As with long-term crime, women (57%) are more likely than men (32%) to say that gun crime has increased in recent years. So are non-white adults (54%) compared with whites (41%). Adults ages 50 and older (51%) are more likely than those ages 18-49 (42%) to believe gun crime is up.What is Behind the Crime Decline?
Researchers continue to debate the key factors behind changing crime rates, which is part of a larger discussion about the predictors of crime.3 There is consensus that demographics played some role: The outsized post-World War II baby boom, which produced a large number of people in the high-crime ages of 15 to 20 in the 1960s and 1970s, helped drive crime up in those years.A review by the National Academy of Sciences of factors driving recent crime trends (Blumstein and Rosenfeld, 2008) cited a decline in rates in the early 1980s as the young boomers got older, then a flare-up by mid-decade in conjunction with a rising street market for crack cocaine, especially in big cities. It noted recruitment of a younger cohort of drug seller with greater willingness to use guns. By the early 1990s, crack markets withered in part because of lessened demand, and the vibrant national economy made it easier for even low-skilled young people to find jobs rather than get involved in crime.At the same time, a rising number of people ages 30 and older were incarcerated, due in part to stricter laws, which helped restrain violence among this age group. It is less clear, researchers say, that innovative policing strategies and police crackdowns on use of guns by younger adults played a significant role in reducing crime.Some researchers have proposed additional explanations as to why crime levels plunged so suddenly, including increased access to abortion and lessened exposure to lead. According to one hypothesis, legalization of abortion after the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision resulted in fewer unwanted births, and unwanted children have an increased risk of growing up to become criminals. Another theory links reduced crime to 1970s-era reductions in lead in gasoline; children’s exposure to lead causes brain damage that could be associated with violent behavior. The National Academy of Sciences review said it was unlikely that either played a major role, but researchers continue to explore both factors.

The plateau in national violent crime rates has raised interest in the topic of how local differences might influence crime levels and trends. Crime reductions took place across the country in the 1990s, but since 2000, patterns have varied more by metropolitan area or city.4

One focus of interest is that gun ownership varies widely by region and locality. The National Academy of Sciences review of possible influences on crime trends said there is good evidence of a link between firearm ownership and firearm homicide at the local level; “the causal direction of this relationship remains in dispute, however, with some researchers maintaining that firearm violence elevates rates of gun ownership, but not the reverse.”

There is substantial variation within and across regions and localities in a number of other realms, which complicates any attempt to find a single cause for national trends. Among the variations of interest to researchers are policing techniques, punishment policies, culture, economics and residential segregation.

Internationally, a decline in crime, especially property crime, has been documented in many countries since the mid-1990s. According to the authors of a 30-country study on criminal victimization (Van Dijk et al., 2007), there is no general agreement on all the reasons for this decline. They say there is a general consensus that demographic change—specifically, the shrinking proportion of adolescents across Europe—is a common factor causing decreases across Western countries. They also cite wider use of security measures in homes and businesses as a factor in reducing property crime.

But other potential explanations—such as better policing or increased imprisonment—do not apply in Europe, where policies vary widely, the report noted

Among the major findings of this Pew Research Center report:

U.S. Firearm Deaths
In 2010, there were 3.6 gun homicides per 100,000 people, compared with 7.0 in 1993, according to CDC data.
In 2010, CDC data counted 11,078 gun homicide deaths, compared with 18,253 in 1993.5
Men and boys make up the vast majority (84% in 2010) of gun homicide victims. The firearm homicide rate also is more than five times as high for males of all ages (6.2 deaths per 100,000 people) as it is for females (1.1 deaths per 100,000 people).
By age group, 69% of gun homicide victims in 2010 were ages 18 to 40, an age range that was 31% of the population that year. Gun homicide rates also are highest for adults ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 40.
A disproportionate share of gun homicide victims are black (55% in 2010, compared with the 13% black share of the population). Whites were 25% of victims but 65% of the population in 2010. Hispanics were 17% of victims and 16% of the population in 2010.
The firearm suicide rate (6.3 per 100,000 people) is higher than the firearm homicide rate and has come down less sharply. The number of gun suicide deaths (19,392 in 2010) outnumbered gun homicides, as has been true since at least 1981.
U.S. Firearm Crime Victimization
In 2011, the NCVS estimated there were 181.5 gun crime victimizations for non-fatal violent crime (aggravated assault, robbery and sex crimes) per 100,000 Americans ages 12 and older, compared with 725.3 in 1993.
In terms of numbers, the NCVS estimated there were about 1.5 million non-fatal gun crime victimizations in 1993 among U.S. residents ages 12 and older, compared with 467,000 in 2011.
U.S. Other Non-fatal Crime
The victimization rate for all non-fatal violent crime among those ages 12 and older—simple and aggravated assaults, robberies and sex crimes, with or without firearms—dropped 53% from 1993 to 2000, and 49% from 2000 to 2010. It rose 17% from 2010 to 2011.
Although not the topic of this report, the rate of property crimes—burglary, motor vehicle theft and theft—also declined from 1993 to 2011, by 61%. The rate for these types of crimes was 351.8 per 100,000 people ages 12 and older in 1993, 190.4 in 2000 and 138.7 in 2011.
Context
The number of firearms available for sale to or possessed by U.S. civilians (about 310 million in 2009, according to the Congressional Research Service) has grown in recent years, and the 2009 per capita rate of one person per gun had roughly doubled since 1968. It is not clear, though, how many U.S. households own guns or whether that share has changed over time.
Crime stories accounted for 17% of the total time devoted to news on local television broadcasts in 2012, compared with 29% in 2005, according to Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. Crime trails only traffic and weather as the most common type of story on these newscasts.
About the Data
Findings in this report are based on two main data sources:

Data on homicides and other deaths are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on information from death certificates filed in state vital statistics offices, which includes causes of death reported by attending physicians, medical examiners and coroners. Data also include demographic information about decedents reported by funeral directors, who obtain that information from family members and other informants. Population data, used in constructing rates, come from the Census Bureau. Most statistics were obtained via the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS), available from URL: http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/wisqars. Data are available beginning in 1981; suitable population data do not exist for prior years. For more details, see Appendix 4.

Estimates of crime victimization are from the National Crime Victimization Survey, a sample survey conducted for the Bureau of Justice Statistics by the Census Bureau. Although the survey began in 1973, this report uses data since 1993, the first year employing an intensive methodological redesign. The survey collects information about crimes against people and households, but not businesses. It provides estimates of victimization for the population ages 12 and older living in households and non-institutional group quarters; therefore it does not include populations such as homeless people, visiting foreign tourists and business travelers, or those living in institutions such as military barracks or mental hospitals. The survey collects information about the crimes of rape, sexual assault, personal robbery, aggravated and simple assault, household burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft. For more details, see Appendix 4.

 Roadmap to the Report
The remainder of this report is organized as follows. Chapter 2 explores trends in firearm homicide and all firearm deaths, as well as patterns by gender, race and age. Chapter 3 analyzes trends in non-fatal violent gun crime victimizations, as well as patterns by gender, race and age. Chapter 4 looks at trends and subgroup patterns for non-fatal violent crime victimizations overall. Chapter 5 examines issues related to the topic of firearms: crime news, crime as a public priority, U.S. gun ownership data, and comparison of ownership and crime rates with those in other nations. Appendices 1-3 consist of detailed tables with annual data for firearm deaths, homicides and suicides, as well as non-fatal firearm and overall non-fatal violent crime victimization, for all groups and by subgroup. Appendix 4 explains the report’s methodology.Notes on Terminology
All references to whites, blacks and others are to the non-Hispanic components of those populations. Hispanics can be of any race.“Aggravated assault,” as defined by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, is an attack or attempted attack with a weapon, regardless of whether an injury occurred, and an attack without a weapon when serious injury results.The terms “firearm” and “gun” are used interchangeably.“Homicides,” which come from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, are fatal injuries inflicted by another person with intent to injure or kill. Deaths due to legal intervention or operations of war are excluded. Justifiable homicide is not identified.“Robbery,” as defined by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, is a completed or attempted theft, directly from a person, of property or cash by force or threat of force, with or without a weapon, and with or without injury.“Sex crime,” as defined by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, includes attempted rape, rape and sexual assault.“Simple assault,” as defined by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, is an attack (or attempted assault) without a weapon resulting either in no injury, minor injury (for example, bruises, black eyes, cuts, scratches or swelling) or in undetermined injury requiring less than two days of hospitalization.“Victimization” is based on self-reporting in the National Crime Victimization Survey, which includes Americans ages 12 and older. For personal crimes (which in this report include assault, robbery and sex crime), it is expressed as a rate based on the number of victimizations per 100,000 U.S. residents ages 12 and older. See the Methodology appendix for more details.Acknowledgments
Many researchers and scholars contributed to this report. Senior writer D’Vera Cohn wrote the body of the report. Paul Taylor, senior vice president of the Pew Research Center, provided editorial guidance. Mark Hugo Lopez, senior researcher and associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center, managed the report’s data analysis and wrote the report’s methodology appendix. Catherine A. Gallagher, director of the Cochrane Collaboration of the College for Policy at George Mason University, provided guidance on the report’s data analysis and comments on earlier drafts of the report. Lopez and Kim Parker, associate director of the Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project, managed the report’s development and production. Kevin T. Maass, research associate at the Cochrane Collaboration at George Mason University’s College for Policy, provided analysis of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports. Research Assistants Eileen Patten and Anna Brown number-checked the report and prepared charts and tables. Patten also conducted background research on trends in crime internationally. The report was copy-edited by Marcia Kramer of Kramer Editing Services.The report also benefited from a review by Professor Richard Felson of Pennsylvania State University. The authors also thank Andrew Kohut and Scott Keeter for their comments on an earlier draft of the report. In addition, the authors thank Kohut, Michael Dimock, Keeter and Alec Tyson, our colleagues at the Pew Research Center, for guidance on the crime knowledge public opinion survey questionnaire. Jeffrey Passel, senior demographer at the Pew Research Center, provided computational assistance for the report’s analysis of homicide rates by race and ethnicity.Finally, Michael Planty and Jennifer Truman of the Bureau of Justice Statistics at the U.S. Department of Justice provided data, invaluable guidance and advice on the report’s analysis of the National Crime Victimization Survey.See Cooper and Smith, 2011. The rate declined through at least 2010. ↩
A USA Today analysis in 2013 found that 934 people died since 2006 in mass shootings, defined as claiming at least four victims, and that most were killed by people they knew: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/02/21/mass-shootings-domestic-violence-nra/1937041/
Much of this section draws from Blumstein and Rosenfeld, 2008. ↩
The diversity of homicide trend by city was the topic of a recent forum, “Putting Homicide Rates in Their Place,” sponsored by the Urban Institute. ↩
There were 11,101 gun homicide deaths in 2011 and the gun homicide rate remained 3.6 per 100,000 people, according to preliminary CDC data. ↩

The Problem Isn’t Guns or White Men
The ticking time bombs that the Left lets loose among us
Ann Coulter
Front Page magazine
October 8, 2015

The media act as if they’re performing a public service by refusing to release details about the perpetrator of the recent mass shooting at a community college in Oregon. But we were given plenty of information about Dylan Roof, Adam Lanza, James Holmes and Jared Loughner.

Now, quick: Name the mass shooters at the Chattanooga military recruitment center; the Washington Navy Yard; the high school in Washington state; Fort Hood (the second time) and the Christian college in California. All those shootings also occurred during the last three years.

The answers are: Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, Kuwaiti; Aaron Alexis, black, possibly Barbadian-American; Jaylen Ray Fryberg, Indian; Ivan Antonio Lopez, Hispanic; and One L. Goh, Korean immigrant. (While I’m here: Why are we bringing in immigrants who are mentally unstable?)

There’s a rigid formula in media accounts of mass shootings: If possible, blame it on angry white men; when that won’t work, blame it on guns.

The perpetrator of the latest massacre, Chris Harper-Mercer, was a half-black immigrant, so the media are refusing to get too specific about him. They don’t want to reward the fiend with publicity!

But as people hear details the media are not anxious to provide, they realize that, once again: It’s a crazy person. How long is this going to go on?

When will the public rise up and demand that the therapeutic community stop loosing these nuts on the public? After the fact, scores of psychiatrists are always lining up to testify that the defendant was legally insane, unable to control his actions. That information would be a lot more helpful before the wanton slaughter.

Product manufacturers are required by law to anticipate that some idiot might try to dry his cat in the microwave. But a person whose job it is to evaluate mental illness can’t be required to ascertain whether the person sitting in his office might be unstable enough to kill?

Maybe at their next convention, psychiatrists could take up a resolution demanding an end to our absurd patient privacy and involuntary commitment laws.

True, America has more privately owned guns than most other countries, and mass shootings are, by definition, committed with guns. But we also make it a lot more difficult than any other country to involuntarily commit crazy people.

Since the deinstitutionalization movement of the 1960s, civil commitment in the United States almost always requires a finding of dangerousness — both imminent and physical — as determined by a judge. Most of the rest of the world has more reasonable standards — you might almost call them « common sense » — allowing family, friends and even acquaintances to petition for involuntarily commitment, with the final decision made by doctors.

The result of our laissez-faire approach to dangerous psychotics is visible in the swarms of homeless people on our streets, crazy people in our prison populations and the prevalence of mass shootings.

According to a 2002 report by Central Institute of Mental Health for the European Union, the number of involuntarily detained mental patients, per 100,000 people, in other countries looks like this:

— Austria, 175

— Finland, 218

— Germany, 175

— Sweden, 114

— England, 93

The absolute maximum number of mental patients per 100,000 people who could possibly be institutionalized by the state in the U.S. — voluntarily or involuntarily — is: 17. Yes, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center, there are a grand total of 17 psychiatric beds even available, not necessarily being used. In 1955, there were 340.

After every mass shooting, the left has a lot of fun forcing Republicans to defend guns. Here’s an idea: Why not force Democrats to defend the right of the dangerous mentally ill not to take their medicine?

Liberals will howl about « stigmatizing » the mentally ill, but they sure don’t mind stigmatizing white men or gun owners. About a third of the population consists of white men. Between a third and half of all Americans have guns in the home. If either white men or guns were the main cause of mass murder, no one would be left in the country.

But I notice that every mass murder is committed by someone who is mentally ill. When the common denominator is a characteristic found in about 0.1 percent of the population — I think we’ve found the crucial ingredient!

Democrats won’t be able to help themselves, but to instantly close ranks and defend dangerous psychotics, hauling out the usual meaningless statistics:

— Most mentally ill are not violent!

Undoubtedly true. BUT WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT ANOREXICS, AGORAPHOBICS OR OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVES. We were thinking of paranoid schizophrenics.

— The mentally ill are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violence!

I’ll wager that the percentage of the nation’s 310 million guns that are ever used in a crime is quite a bit lower than the percentage of mentally ill to ever engage in violence.

As with the « most Muslims are peaceful » canard, while a tiny percentage of mentally ill are violent, a gigantic percentage of mass shooters are mentally ill.

How can these heartless Democrats look the parents of dead children in the eye and defend the right of the mentally deranged to store their feces in a shoebox, menace library patrons — and, every now and then, commit mass murder?

Voir de plus:

The Reasons for the Decline in Support for Gun Control

The gun debate in the United States has changed a lot over the last 20 years. Support for gun control has declined sharply as support for gun rights has risen, as we noted earlier this week. Those trends are evident in data from a range of sources including Gallup and the Pew Research Center.
A complicated mix of emotions, attitudes and perceptions go into how people feel about guns, but when you look at the data, two points help explain the drop in support for gun control. Over the same period of time the violent crime rate has also dropped sharply. And the partisan divides that have come to define U.S. politics have pushed into the gun control debate.
The decline in violent crime over the past 25 years has been remarkable. In 1990, there were 729 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 people in the United States, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Statistics. The number got as high as 757 in 1992 – and then it began to fall steadily over the next 20 years.
By 2012, the figure was down to 386 violent crimes per 100,000 people.

Caldwell, Leigh (206448258) / NBC News

(This trend is also true for the U.S. murder rate. In 1990, there were 9.4 murders for every 100,000 people, according to the Uniform Crime Statistics. In 2012, there were only 4.7 for every 100,000.)
These numbers aren’t meant to suggest that people’s attitudes about guns affected the violent crime rate, but it could be the other way around.
Despite the headlines about mass shootings, like last week’s in Oregon, in terms of people’s day-to-day lives and the stories in local media, violent crime is less of an issue today than it was in the United States in 1994. The numbers are still high when compared to other developed countries, but low compared to where the country used to be.
That may have played a role in peoples’ attitudes about gun control. The epidemic of violence that dominated news coverage in the late-1980s and early-1990s gave way to news stories about dropping crime rates and safer cities. That’s become the dominant crime story over the past two decades. It’s one thing see coverage of a senseless horrific shooting somewhere far away from you. It’s another thing to see crime scene tape a few blocks away and personally know victims.
The latest data suggest those declines may be starting to reverse themselves, particularly in big cities and if that rising trend continues, attitudes on gun control may shift.
But there is also a political factor in the gun debate that could be harder to change. As the nation has become more politically polarized and voters have retreated into their red and blue camps, the partisan differences on gun control have become much more pronounced.
Overall, support for gun control has indeed dropped, but Democrats and Republicans have moved in different directions.
In 1993, 47% of Republicans and 65% of Democrats supported gun control, according to Pew Research data. That’s an 18-point gap between members of the two parties, with Republicans sitting near 50%.
In 2015, only 26% of Republicans support gun control, in the Pew Research data. But the Democrats have moved in the other direction – 73% now favor gun control. That’s an enormous 47-point gap with the parties at opposite ends of the spectrum on the question.
In other words, the gun control issue has become deeply intertwined with political identity and as we see on other issues – from abortion to gay marriage – overcoming factors tied to political identity to find consensus can be extremely difficult.
Even if Democratic support for gun control grows and even if independents, who tend to hover around the middle, move back above 50% supporting, it’s unlikely the numbers will show support for it climbing in a significant way.

Voir de même:

Voir aussi:

U.S. Gun Policy: Global Comparisons

Jonathan Masters, Deputy Editor

Council on Foreign Relations
June 24, 2015

Introduction
The debate over gun control in the United States has waxed and waned over the years, stirred by a series of mass killings by gunmen in civilian settings. In particular, the killing of twenty schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012 fueled a national discussion over gun laws and calls by the Obama administration to limit the availability of military-style weapons. However, compromise legislation that would have banned semiautomatic assault weapons and expanded background checks was defeated in the Senate in 2013, despite extensive public support.

Gun control advocates sought to rekindle the debate following the shooting deaths of nine people at a South Carolina church in June 2015. These advocates highlight the stricter gun laws and lower incidents of gun violence in several other democracies, like Japan and Australia, but many others say this correlation proves little and note that rates of gun crime in the United States have plunged over the last two decades.

United States
The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states: « A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. » Supreme Court rulings, citing this amendment, have upheld the right of states to regulate firearms. However, in a 2008 decision (District of Columbia v. Heller [PDF]) confirming an individual right to keep and bear arms, the court struck down Washington, DC, laws that banned handguns and required those in the home to be locked or disassembled.

A number of gun advocates consider ownership a birthright and an essential part of the nation’s heritage. The United States, with less than 5 percent of the world’s population, has about 35–50 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns, according to a 2007 report by the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey. It ranks number one in firearms per capita. The United States also has the highest homicide-by-firearm rate among the world’s most developed nations.

But many gun rights proponents say these statistics do not indicate a cause-and-effect relationship and note that the rates of gun homicide and other gun crimes in the United States have dropped since highs in the early 1990s.

Federal law sets the minimum standards for firearm regulation in the United States, but individual states have their own laws, some of which provide further restrictions, others which are more lenient. Some states, including Idaho, Alaska, and Kansas, have passed laws designed to circumvent federal policies, but the Constitution (Article VI, Paragraph 2) establishes the supremacy of federal law.

The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibited the sale of firearms to several categories of individuals, including persons under eighteen years of age, those with criminal records, the mentally disabled, unlawful aliens, dishonorably discharged military personnel, and others. In 1993, the law was amended by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which mandated background checks for all unlicensed persons purchasing a firearm from a federally licensed dealer.

However, critics maintain that a so-called « gun show loophole, » codified in the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986, effectively allows anyone, including convicted felons, to purchase firearms without a background check.

As of 2015, there were no federal laws banning semiautomatic assault weapons, military-style .50 caliber rifles, handguns, or large-capacity ammunition magazines, which can increase the potential lethality of a given firearm. There was a federal prohibition on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines between 1994 and 2004, but Congress allowed these restrictions to expire.

The United States, with less than 5 percent of the world’s population, has about 35–50 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns, according to a 2007 report by the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey.

Canada
Many analysts characterize Canada’s gun laws as strict in comparison to the United States, while others say recent developments have eroded safeguards. Ottawa, like Washington, sets federal gun restrictions that the provinces, territories, and municipalities can supplement. Federal regulations require all gun owners, who must be at least eighteen years of age, to obtain a license that includes a background check and a public safety course.

There are three classes of weapons: nonrestricted (e.g., ordinary rifles and shotguns), restricted (e.g., handguns, semiautomatic rifles/shotguns, and sawed-offs), and prohibited (e.g., automatics). A person wishing to acquire a restricted firearm must obtain a federal registration certificate, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Modern Canadian gun laws have been driven by prior gun violence. In December 1989, a disgruntled student walked into a Montreal engineering school with a semiautomatic rifle and killed fourteen students and injured over a dozen others. The incident is widely credited with driving subsequent gun legislation, including the 1995 Firearms Act, which required owner licensing and the registration of all long guns (i.e., rifles and shotguns) while banning more than half of all registered guns. However, in 2012, the government abandoned the long-gun registry, citing cost concerns.

Australia
The inflection point for modern gun control in Australia was the Port Arthur massacre of April 1996, when a young man killed thirty-five people and wounded twenty-three others. The rampage, perpetrated with a semiautomatic rifle, was the worst mass shooting in the nation’s history. Less than two weeks later, the conservative-led national government pushed through fundamental changes to the country’s gun laws in cooperation with the various states, which regulate firearms.

The National Agreement on Firearms all but prohibited automatic and semiautomatic assault rifles, stiffened licensing and ownership rules, and instituted a temporary gun buyback program that took some 650,000 assault weapons (about one-sixth of the national stock) out of public circulation. Among other things, the law also required licensees to demonstrate a « genuine need » for a particular type of gun and take a firearm safety course. After another high-profile shooting in Melbourne in 2002, Australia’s handgun laws were tightened as well.

Many analysts say these measures have been highly effective, citing declining gun-death rates, and the fact that there have been no gun-related mass killings in Australia since 1996. Many also suggest the policy response in the wake of Port Arthur could serve as a model for the United States.
Israel
Military service is compulsory in Israel and guns are very much a part of everyday life. By law, most eighteen-year-olds are drafted, psychologically screened, and receive at least some weapons training after high school. After serving typically two or three years in the armed forces, however, most Israelis are discharged and must abide by civilian gun laws.

The country has relatively strict gun regulations, including an assault-weapons ban and a requirement to register ownership with the government. To become licensed, an applicant must be an Israeli citizen or a permanent resident, be at least twenty-one-years-old, and speak at least some Hebrew, among other qualifications. Notably, a person must also show genuine cause to carry a firearm, such as self-defense or hunting.

However, some critics question the efficacy of these measures. « It doesn’t take much of an expert to realize that these restrictions, in and of themselves, do not constitute much by the way of gun control, » writes Liel Leibovitz for the Jewish magazine Tablet. He notes the relative ease with which someone can justify owning a gun, including residing in an Israeli settlement, employment as a security guard, or working with valuables or large sums of money. Furthermore, he explains that almost the entire population has indirect access to an assault weapon by either being a soldier or a reservist or a relative of one. Israel’s relatively low gun-related homicide rate is a product of the country’s unique « gun culture, » he says.
United Kingdom

Modern gun control efforts in the United Kingdom have been precipitated by extraordinary acts of violence that sparked public outrage and, eventually, political action. In August 1987, a lone gunman armed with two legally owned semiautomatic rifles and a handgun went on a six-hour shooting spree roughly seventy miles west of London, killing sixteen people and then himself. In the wake of the incident, known as the Hungerford massacre, Britain introduced the Firearms (Amendment) Act, which expanded the list of banned weapons, including certain semiautomatic rifles, and increased registration requirements for other weapons.

A gun-related tragedy in the Scottish town of Dunblane, in 1996, prompted Britain’s strictest gun laws yet. In March of that year, a middle-aged man armed with four legally purchased handguns shot and killed sixteen young schoolchildren and one adult before committing suicide in the country’s worst mass shooting to date. The incident sparked a public campaign known as the Snowdrop Petition, which helped drive legislation banning handguns, with few exceptions. The government also instituted a temporary gun buyback program, which many credit with taking tens of thousands of illegal or unwanted guns out of supply.

However, the effectiveness of Britain’s gun laws in gun-crime reduction over the last twenty-five years has stirred ongoing debate. Analysts note that the number of such crimes grew heavily in the late 1990s and peaked in 2004 before falling with each subsequent year. « While tighter gun control removes risk on an incremental basis, » said Peter Squires, a Brighton University criminologist, in an interview with CNN, « significant numbers of weapons remain in Britain. »
Norway
Gun control had rarely been much of a political issue in Norway—where gun laws are viewed as tough, but ownership rates are high—until right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed seventy-seven people in an attack on an island summer camp in July 2011. Though Norway ranked tenth worldwide in gun ownership, according to the Small Arms Survey, it placed near the bottom in gun-homicide rates. (The U.S. rate is roughly sixty-four times higher.) Most Norwegian police, much like the British, do not carry firearms.

In the wake of the tragedy, some analysts in the United States cited Breivik’s rampage as proof that strict gun laws—which in Norway include requiring applicants to be at least eighteen years of age, specify a « valid reason » for gun ownership, and obtain a government license—are ineffective. « Those who are willing to break the laws against murder do not care about the regulation of firearms, and will get a hold of weapons whether doing so is legal or not, » wrote Charles C. W. Cooke in National Review. Other gun-control critics have argued that had other Norwegians, including the police, been armed, Breivik might have been stopped earlier and killed fewer victims. An independent commission after the massacre recommended tightening Norway’s gun restrictions in a number of ways, including prohibiting pistols and semiautomatic weapons.

Japan
Gun-control advocates regularly cite Japan’s highly restrictive firearm regulations in tandem with its extraordinarily low gun-homicide rate, which is the lowest in the world at one in ten million, according to the latest data available. Most guns are illegal in the country and ownership rates, which are quite small, reflect this.

Under Japan’s firearm and sword law [PDF], the only guns permitted are shotguns, air guns, guns that have research or industrial purposes, or those used for competitions. However, before access to these specialty weapons is granted, one must obtain formal instruction and pass a battery of written, mental, and drug tests and a rigorous background check. Furthermore, owners must inform the authorities of how the weapon and ammunition is stored and provide the firearm for annual inspection.

Some analysts link Japan’s aversion to firearms with its demilitarization in the aftermath of World War II. Others say that because the overall crime rate in the country is so low, most Japanese see no need for firearms.

Voir par ailleurs:

Volkswagen, ce coupable qui en cache un autre
Contrepoints

25 septembre 2015

C’est à un tsunami de surprise feinte que nous avons eu droit la semaine passée : oh, vertuchou, Volkswagen a bricolé les logiciels embarqués dans ses voitures pour obtenir des résultats brillants aux tests anti-pollution aux États-Unis ! Le constructeur a menti, et il a même reconnu l’avoir fait ! Oh ! La pseudo-consternation a atteint rapidement la bourse, où l’action du constructeur a dévissé, et s’étend maintenant sur le marché européen, en touchant rapidement tous les autres constructeurs. Quel monde, mes amis, quel monde !

Ceci posé, revenons un peu sur Terre. Et si je parle de surprise feinte, c’est bien parce que les petites bidouilles des constructeurs pour faire passer leurs engins pour plus propres qu’ils ne le sont étaient connues de pas mal de monde. L’État, déjà, qui a savamment construit les normes, main dans la main avec les fabricants eux-mêmes, et qui devait bien se douter qu’il y aurait le cas des tests bâtis pour permettre aux modèles de remporter de bonnes notes, et les conditions réelles, franchement éloignées. Les automobilistes ensuite, dont l’écrasante majorité a pu constater l’écart entre la consommation affichée publicitairement, et qu’on ne peut obtenir que dans des conditions de roulage qui frôle la crédibilité par le mauvais côté de la tangente. Les associations écolo enfin, qui, toutes largement subventionnées par l’État, ont su tourner les yeux ailleurs le temps qu’il fallait pour ne pas voir les petits soucis de certaines motorisations.

Avant d’aller plus loin, cela ne retire, évidemment, absolument rien à la faute initiale de Volkswagen dans le cas qui nous occupe. Comme le précise avec raison Vincent Bénard dans son dernier article à ce sujet, le constructeur allemand a bel et bien fraudé, en masquant (de façon logicielle, donc) une production de gaz polluants (des oxydes d’azote, dans ce cas-là) bien au-dessus des normes admises en condition de conduite normale. Il mérite donc ce qui lui arrive actuellement.

Maintenant, ce constat ne permet pas d’éviter de rappeler quelques évidences bien trop vite oubliées tant par la plupart des journalistes que, surtout, par ces politiciens qui commentent l’actualité du haut de leur morale irréprochable et de leur parcours dans leur domaine généralement exempt de toute fraude.

On pourra ainsi pouffer en lisant la demande péremptoire et assez gonflée de « totale transparence » de la part de la ministre de l’Écologie, par exemple. C’est bien joli de réclamer la transparence, mais il faudrait aussi pousser les explications techniques un tantinet pour bien faire comprendre exactement l’enjeu, du côté des constructeurs, de respecter des normes anti-CO2 toujours plus drastiques.

En effet, et n’importe quel chimiste pourra le confirmer, l’apparition des oxydes d’azote (NOx) en combustion signifie que le carburant a été brûlé à des températures et des pressions élevées, qui certes contribuent à une diminution de la production de CO2, mais favorisent aussi l’augmentation de la production des NOx. Pour les constructeurs, chaque effort fait pour baisser la quantité de dioxyde de carbone aura donc tendance à augmenter la production des NOx. Cette augmentation est en partie absorbée par des systèmes de catalyse en sortie (notamment à base d’urée), mais on comprend qu’il est très complexe, chimiquement parlant, d’avoir à la fois une baisse constante des émissions d’un gaz qui, rappelons-le, n’est absolument pas nocif comme le CO2, et dans le même temps, une diminution des NOx (qui eux, sont effectivement nocifs pour la santé).

À ce point, on comprend que la course à l’homologation étatique des moteurs provoque le renchérissement des mécaniques vendues (avec l’introduction de systèmes progressivement de plus en plus complexes), ou, moins honnêtement, l’apparition de trucs et astuces pour réussir les conditions, bien calibrées, de tests connus à l’avance. Si la dernière option est clairement punissable, la première laisse songeur quant au bilan de l’action de l’État dans le domaine automobile.

On pourrait évoquer, par exemple, l’apparition de voitures électriques badigeonnées de massives subventions qui, si elles permettent à certains de frimer dans des Tesla agréables à regarder, n’ont toujours pas permis de régler les problèmes d’autonomie (et loin s’en faut), de recharges (longues et épuisantes pour le réseau électrique) ou de recyclage en fin de vie. D’autant que l’État qui subventionne les lubies électriques, c’est d’autant moins pour d’autres technologies, parfois prometteuses mais enterrées.

On pourrait rappeler que le développement en fanfare du diesel sur le sol européen ne doit à peu près rien au hasard et tout à la patte de l’État qui a sciemment encouragé son ascension par des taxations de plus en plus vexatoires sur l’essence. Ici, l’État stratège a bien frappé, et frappe encore : croyant soutenir une industrie automobile en concurrence avec le reste du monde en tabassant l’essence, l’État a introduit un biais énorme en faveur du diesel qui s’est effectivement révélé lucratif pour les constructeurs français… Jusqu’au moment où l’écart fiscal est devenu palpable (la Cour des Comptes évalue le – fameux – manque à gagner à 8 milliard d’euros) et où l’on s’est rendu compte que le diesel était particulièrement médiocre pour l’atmosphère.

On pourrait se rappeler qu’ensuite, l’écologie entrant dans les mœurs et la politique, les normes antipollution se sont mises à pulluler. L’État, toujours aussi stratège, s’est retrouvé avec d’un côté un diesel favorisé et de l’autre une atmosphère à dépolluer, à coup de normes de plus en plus drastiques, et des tests d’homologation idoines (et négociés avec les constructeurs). Là encore, on a du mal à oublier complètement la part de responsabilité de l’État. On pourrait en effet se rappeler qu’il n’y a pas de lobbying sans des individus, des administrations, des élus à « lobbyiser » surtout lorsqu’ils ont un grand pouvoir sur l’avenir d’une filière.

On pourrait enfin se rappeler que c’est encore l’État, au travers de la loi DMCA (protection des droits d’auteurs) qui a directement empêché que la tricherie soit révélée plus tôt : eh oui, selon cette loi, les constructeurs automobiles affirment qu’il est illégal pour des chercheurs indépendants de vérifier le code du logiciel contrôlant les véhicules, et ceci sans l’autorisation du fabricant, et cette interdiction a permis à Volkswagen de conserver ses manipulations à l’abri pendant des années.

L’État qui édicte des normes, l’État qui édicte des interdits, l’État qui pousse certaines motorisations au détriment d’autres … Volkswagen est évidemment coupable (et il l’a reconnu), mais oublier l’État n’est pas oublier un détail de la pièce qui s’est jouée, c’est oublier le décor, la musique et le metteur en scène.

Alors, quand, sur tout ce bazar déjà bien glauque, on apprend que l’État envisagerait de redresser les torts causés avec … une bonne grosse interdiction des diesels d’ici 2025 (parce que ça marche, ces trucs là, qu’on vous dit : c’est efficace et ça n’apporte jamais d’intéressants effets de bords), on sait que là, on tient la solution, c’est évident ! Bingo !

Toute cette affaire pue. Elle pue le capitalisme de connivence. Elle pue le lobbyisme débridé. Elle pue les petits arrangements, les compromis douteux, les arrangements entre copains et coquins. Elle pue de l’odeur âcre d’un diesel mal brûlé, elle pue d’une écologie politisée à mort et utilisée à des fins protectionnistes (ici, des USA contre l’Europe, jusqu’au prochain retour de bâton), elle pue l’interventionnisme de l’État à tous les niveaux.

Volkswagen paiera, cher, sa fraude, et c’est tant mieux. Mais cette affaire montre de façon éclatante l’incohérence des pouvoirs publics, tiraillés entre leurs lubies, leurs compromissions et les petits intérêts bien compris de ceux qui les dirigent. Tout ceci démontre encore une fois que la régulation étatique ne marche pas. Ceci montre à quel point on est éloigné d’un marché libre où les fraudeurs n’auraient jamais eu la possibilité de faire durer leurs manigances aussi longtemps, où l’État n’aurait jamais pu imposer des normes débiles et des tests ridicules, où le consommateur aurait pu se faire flouer sans rien pouvoir dire.

L’État stratège, quelle bouffonnerie !

Voir enfin:

UN Report 2014

Some 437,000 people murdered worldwide in 2012, according to new UNODC study.
Men made up almost 8 out of every 10 homicide victims, women accounted for vast majority of domestic violence fatalities
10 April 2014 – (London/Vienna)
– Almost half a million people (437,000) across the world lost their lives in 2012 as a result of intentional homicide, according to a new study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Launching the Global Study on Homicide 2013 in London today, Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs, said: “Too many lives are being tragically cut short, too many families and communities left shattered. There is an urgent need to understand how violent crime is plaguing countries around the world, particularly affecting young men but also taking a heavy toll on women.”
Globally, some 80 per cent of homicide victims and 95 per cent of perpetrators are men. Almost 15 per cent of all homicides stem from domestic violence (63,600). However, the overwhelming majority – almost 70 per cent – of domestic violence fatalities are women (43,600). “Home can be the most dangerous place for a woman,” said Mr. Lemahieu. “It is particularly heart-breaking when those who should be protecting their loved ones are the very people responsible for their murder.”Over half of all homicide victims are under 30 years of age, with children under the age of 15 accounting for just over 8 per cent of all homicides (36,000), the Study highlighted.
The regional picture
Almost 750 million people live in countries with the highest homicide rates in the world – namely the Americas and Africa –
meaning that almost half of a
ll homicide occurs in countries
that are home to just 11
per cent of the earth’s
population. At the opposite end of the spectrum, 3
billion people – mainly in Europe, Asia and Oceania- live in countries where homicide rates are
relatively low.
The global average murder rate stands at
6.2 per 100,000 population, but Southern Africa and
Central America recorded more than four
times that number (30 and 26 victims per 100,000
population respectively), the highest in the world. Meanwhile, with rates some five times lower
than the global average, East Asia, Southern
Europe and Western Europe recorded the lowest
homicide levels in 2012. Worryingl
y, homicide levels in North Af
rica, East Africa and parts of
South Asia are rising amid social
and political instability. In an
encouraging trend,
South Africa,
which has consistently high rates of homicide
, saw the homicide rate
halve from 64.5 per 100,000
in 1995 to 31.0 per 100,000 in 2012.
Homicides linked to gangs and organized crim
inal groups accounted for 30 per cent of all
homicides in the Americas compared to below
1 per cent in Asia, Europe and Oceania. While
surges in homicide are often linked to this type
of violence, the Americas saw homicide levels
five to eight times higher than Eu
rope and Asia since the 1950s.
2
The gender bias
Globally, the male homicide rate
is almost four times higher than for females (9.7 versus 2.7 per
100,000) and is highest in the Americas (29.3 pe
r 100,000 males), where it is almost seven times
higher than in Asia, Europe and Oceania (a
ll under 4.5 per 100,000 males). In particular, the
homicide rate for male victims aged 15-29 in S
outh and Central America is over four times the
global average rate for that age
group. More than 1 in 7 of a
ll homicide victims globally is a
young male aged 15-29 in the Americas.
While men are mostly killed by someone they ma
y not even know, almost half of all female
victims are killed by those closest to them. In As
ia, Europe and Oceania the share of victims from
domestic violence is particularly important. In a
ll these regions, the majority of female homicide
victims are killed at the hands of their intimat
e partners/family members (in Asia and Europe, 55
per cent, and in Oceania, 73 per cent). For example, in Asia, 19,700 women were killed by their
intimate partners or family members in 2012. When
only looking at intimat
e partner violence, the
overwhelming majority of homicide victim
s are women (79 per cent in Europe).
The causes of homicide
The consumption of alcohol and/or
illicit drugs increases the risk
of perpetrating homicide. In
some countries, over half of homicide offenders
acted under the influence of alcohol. Although
the effects of illicit drugs are less well docum
ented, cocaine and amphetamine-type stimulants
have been associated with vi
olent behaviour and homicide.
Firearms are the most widely used murder w
eapons, causing 4 in 10 homicides globally, whereas
about a quarter of victims are ki
lled with blades and sharp object
s and just over a third die though
other means (such as strangulation, poisoning etc.).
The use of firearms is particularly prevalent
in the Americas, where two thirds of homicide
s are committed with guns, while sharp objects are
used more frequently in Oceania and Europe.
Post-conflict societies awash in arms and gra
ppling with weak rule of law and impunity are
conducive to organized crime and interpersonal vi
olence. Haiti, for example, saw homicide rates
double from 5.1 in 2007 to 10.2 per 100,000 in 2012.
In South Sudan, the homicide rate in 2013
was, at over 60 per 100,000 people, among the highest
in the world. In contrast, in Sierra Leone
and Liberia, where reconciliation processes and anti
-crime strategies are taking root, security is
gradually improving.
Conviction rates
The global conviction rate for intentional hom
icide is of 43 convictions per 100 homicides.
However, disparities exist across regions, with a
conviction rate of 24 per cent in the Americas,
48 per cent in Asia and 81 per cent in Europe.
For more information please contact:
In Vienna: Preeta Bannerjee, Public
Information Officer, Phone: +43 699 1459 5764
Email:
preeta.bannerjee [at] unodc.org
For media interviews in London: Karen Davies
, Communications Officer for the UK and Ireland
United Nations Regional Information Centre (UNRIC),
Mobile: +32 473 26 22 55
Email:
davies [at] unric.org

Mariage pour tous: A quand la légalisation de la polygamie ? (Time to legalize polygamy: Why group marriage is the next horizon of social liberalism)

27 juin, 2015
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Tout ce qui n’est pas nouveau dans un temps d’innovation est pernicieux. Saint-Just
Voilà, Monseigneur, une fête toute napolitaine : nous dansons sur un volcan ! Narcisse-Achille de Salvandy (au roi des Deux-Siciles, 1830)
Il n’y a plus ni Juif ni Grec, il n’y a plus ni esclave ni libre, il n’y a plus ni homme ni femme; car tous vous êtes un en Jésus Christ. Paul (Galates 3: 28)
La loi naturelle n’est pas un système de valeurs possible parmi beaucoup d’autres. C’est la seule source de tous les jugements de valeur. Si on la rejette, on rejette toute valeur. Si on conserve une seule valeur, on la conserve tout entier. (. . .) La rébellion des nouvelles idéologies contre la loi naturelle est une rébellion des branches contre l’arbre : si les rebelles réussissaient, ils découvriraient qu’ils se sont détruits eux-mêmes. L’intelligence humaine n’a pas davantage le pouvoir d’inventer une nouvelle valeur qu’il n’en a d’imaginer une nouvelle couleur primaire ou de créer un nouveau soleil avec un nouveau firmament pour qu’il s’y déplace. (…) Tout nouveau pouvoir conquis par l’homme est aussi un pouvoir sur l’homme. Tout progrès le laisse à la fois plus faible et plus fort. Dans chaque victoire, il est à la fois le général qui triomphe et le prisonnier qui suit le char triomphal . (…) Le processus qui, si on ne l’arrête pas, abolira l’homme, va aussi vite dans les pays communistes que chez les démocrates et les fascistes. Les méthodes peuvent (au premier abord) différer dans leur brutalité. Mais il y a parmi nous plus d’un savant au regard inoffensif derrière son pince-nez, plus d’un dramaturge populaire, plus d’un philosophe amateur qui poursuivent en fin de compte les mêmes buts que les dirigeants de l’Allemagne nazie. Il s’agit toujours de discréditer totalement les valeurs traditionnelles et de donner à l’humanité une forme nouvelle conformément à la volonté (qui ne peut être qu’arbitraire) de quelques membres ″chanceux″ d’une génération ″chanceuse″ qui a appris comment s’y prendre. C.S. Lewis (L’abolition de l’homme, 1943)
Le monde moderne n’est pas mauvais : à certains égards, il est bien trop bon. Il est rempli de vertus féroces et gâchées. Lorsqu’un dispositif religieux est brisé (comme le fut le christianisme pendant la Réforme), ce ne sont pas seulement les vices qui sont libérés. Les vices sont en effet libérés, et ils errent de par le monde en faisant des ravages ; mais les vertus le sont aussi, et elles errent plus férocement encore en faisant des ravages plus terribles. Le monde moderne est saturé des vieilles vertus chrétiennes virant à la folie.  G.K. Chesterton
Muhammad révéla à Médine des qualités insoupçonnées de dirigeant politique et de chef militaire. Il devait subvenir aux ressources de la nouvelle communauté (umma) que formaient les émigrés (muhadjirun) mekkois et les « auxiliaires » (ansar) médinois qui se joignaient à eux. Il recourut à la guerre privée, institution courante en Arabie où la notion d’État était inconnue. Muhammad envoya bientôt des petits groupes de ses partisans attaquer les caravanes mekkoises, punissant ainsi ses incrédules compatriotes et du même coup acquérant un riche butin. En mars 624, il remporta devant les puits de Badr une grande victoire sur une colonne mekkoise venue à la rescousse d’une caravane en danger. Cela parut à Muhammad une marque évidente de la faveur d’Allah. Elle l’encouragea sans doute à la rupture avec les juifs, qui se fit peu à peu. Le Prophète avait pensé trouver auprès d’eux un accueil sympathique, car sa doctrine monothéiste lui semblait très proche de la leur. La charte précisant les droits et devoirs de chacun à Médine, conclue au moment de son arrivée, accordait une place aux tribus juives dans la communauté médinoise. Les musulmans jeûnaient le jour de la fête juive de l’Expiation. Mais la plupart des juifs médinois ne se rallièrent pas. Ils critiquèrent au contraire les anachronismes du Coran, la façon dont il déformait les récits bibliques. Aussi Muhammad se détourna-t-il d’eux. Le jeûne fut fixé au mois de ramadan, le mois de la victoire de Badr, et l’on cessa de se tourner vers Jérusalem pour prier. Maxime Rodinson
Cela fait un an maintenant qu’est apparu au grand jour l’Etat islamique (EI). Et l’on ne peut que constater qu’il a lancé les « festivités » de cet anniversaire, malgré les bombardements qu’il subit. Tout cela accompagne le début du ramadan la semaine dernière. L’EI a appelé la quasi-totalité de ses sympathisants à fêter cette première année par tous les moyens et partout dans le monde. Selon moi, les attentats perpétrés à Saint-Quentin-Fallavier (Isère), à Sousse et à Koweït City s’inscrivent dans cette macabre célébration. C’est un terrible pied de nez adressé à la communauté internationale. Et ce n’est que le début.(…) Souvenons-nous : l’EI a commencé son offensive au début du ramadan 2014. Il a déclaré le califat le 30 juin 2014. Je pense donc que cela risque de culminer dans les semaines à venir. En outre, le mois de ramadan est considéré comme propice au jihad. Je crains donc que nous soyons face au lancement d’une campagne d’attentats. (…) on n’est pas assez conscients de la portée symbolique des dates et des lieux. Désormais, l’EI se considère comme un Etat, gère les territoires comme tel, avec un gouvernement, une administration et un agenda. Nous sommes bel et bien face à un Etat terroriste. Mathieu Guidère
Je m’ennuie follement dans la monogamie, même si mon désir et mon temps peuvent être reliés à quelqu’un et que je ne nie pas le caractère merveilleux du dévelopement d’une intimité. Je suis monogame de temps en temps mais je préfère la polygamie et la polyandrie. Carla Bruni
A 80 ans, le cuisinier livre l’un de ses secrets : depuis près de quatre décennies, il partage sa vie entre trois femmes, déjeunant chez l’une, prenant le thé chez l’autre, dînant avec la dernière. (…) Ses trois femmes, en restant à ses côtés en toute connaissance de cause, font la démonstration qu’elles l’acceptent comme il est, depuis presque quarante ans, à partager sa vie en trois, ses journées en trois. Déjeunant chez l’une, prenant le thé chez l’autre, dînant avec la dernière. Partant à la montagne avec l’une, au Japon avec la deuxième, restant au coin du feu avec la troisième. Elevant une fille avec la première. Un fils avec la deuxième. Confiant à la fille de la troisième la rédaction de ce livre testament. Libération
Avec la crise économique dans mon pays, peu d’hommes peuvent entretenir plusieurs épouses. En France, c’est différent, tous ces enfants sont une source de revenus. Oumar Dicko (ministre chargé des Maliens de l’extérieur)
Is it just wishful thinking to imagine the end of liberalism? Few things in politics are permanent. Conservatism and liberalism didn’t become the central division in our politics until the middle of the 20th century. Before that, American politics revolved around such issues as states’ rights, the wars, slavery, the tariff, and suffrage. Parties have come and gone in our history. You won’t find many Federalists, Whigs, or Populists lining up at the polls these days. Britain’s Liberal Party faded from power in the 1920s. The Canadian Liberal Party collapsed in 2011. Recently, within a decade of its maximum empire at home and abroad, a combined intellectual movement, political party, and form of government crumbled away, to be swept up and consigned to the dustbin of history. Communism, which in a very different way from American liberalism traced its roots to Hegel, Social Darwinism, and leadership by a vanguard group of intellectuals, vanished before our eyes, though not without an abortive coup or two. If Communism, armed with millions of troops and thousands of megatons of nuclear weapons, could collapse of its own dead weight and implausibility, why not American liberalism? The parallel is imperfect, of course, because liberalism and its vehicle, the Democratic Party, remain profoundly popular, resilient, and changeable. Elections matter to them. What’s more, the egalitarian impulse, centralized government (though not centralized administration), and the Democratic Party have deep roots in the American political tradition—and reflect permanent aspects of modern democracy itself, as Tocqueville testifies. Some elements of liberalism are inherent in American democracy, then, but the compound, the peculiar combination that is contemporary liberalism, is not. Compounded of the Hegelian philosophy of history, Social Darwinism, the living constitution, leadership, the cult of the State, the rule of administrative experts, entitlements and group rights, and moral creativity, modern liberalism is something new and distinctive, despite the presence in it, too, of certain American constants like the love of equality and democratic individualism. Under the pressure of ideas and events, that compound could come apart. Liberals’ confidence in being on the right, the winning side of history could crumble, perhaps has already begun to crumble. Trust in government, which really means in the State, is at all-time lows. A majority of Americans oppose a new entitlement program—in part because they want to keep the old programs unimpaired, but also because the economic and moral sustainability of the whole welfare state grows more and more doubtful. The goodwill and even the presumptive expertise of many government experts command less and less respect. Obama’s speeches no longer send the old thrill up the leg, and his leadership, whether for one or two terms, may yet help to discredit the respectability of following the Leader. The Democratic Party is unlikely to go poof, but it’s possible that modern liberalism will. A series of nasty political defeats and painful repudiations of its impossible dreams might do the trick. At the least, it will have to downsize its ambitions and get back in touch with political, moral, and fiscal reality. It will have to—all together now—turn back the clock. Much will depend, too, on what conservatives say and do in the coming years. Will they have the prudence and guile to elevate the fight to the level of constitutional principle, to expose the Tory credentials of their opponents? President Obama’s decision to double down aggressively on the reach and cost of big government just as the European model of social democracy is hitting the skids provides the perfect opportunity for conservatives to exploit. His course makes the problems of liberalism worse and more urgent, as though he is eager for a crisis. Sooner or later, the crisis will come. If the people remain attached to their government and laws and American statesmen do their part, the country may yet take the path leading up from liberalism. (October 15, 2012)
La limitation du mariage aux couples de sexe opposé a pu longtemps sembler naturel et juste, mais son incompatibilité avec la signification centrale du droit fondamental de se marier est désormais manifeste. Cour suprême américaine
Aucune union n’est plus profonde que le mariage, car le mariage incarne les plus hauts idéaux de l’amour, la fidélité, la dévotion, le sacrifice et la famille. En formant une union maritale, deux personnes deviennent quelque chose de plus grand que ce qu’elles étaient auparavant. Le mariage incarne un amour qui peut perdurer malgré la mort. Ce serait ne pas comprendre ces hommes et ces femmes que de dire qu’ils manquent de respect à l’idée du mariage. Leur plaidoyer consiste à dire que justement ils le respectent, le respectent si profondément qu’ils cherchent eux-mêmes s’accomplir grâce à lui. Ils demandent une dignité égale aux yeux de la loi. La Constitution leur donne ce droit. Cour suprême américaine
 Le destin des homosexuels n’est pas d’être condamnés à la solitude, exclus de l’une des plus anciennes institutions de la civilisation. Ils demandent à bénéficier de la même dignité aux yeux de la loi. La Constitution leur garantit ce droit. Juge Anthony Kennedy
C’est une victoire pour les alliés, les amis et les soutiens du mariage gay qui ont passé des années, voire des décennies, à travailler et prier pour que le changement intervienne. Et cette décision est une victoire pour l’Amérique. Barack Hussein Obama
Les faucons affirment (…) que le président Ahmadinejad a déclaré vouloir « rayer Israël de la carte ». Mais cet argument repose sur une mauvaise traduction de ses propos. La traduction juste est qu’Israël « devrait disparaître de la page du temps ». Cette expression (empruntée à un discours de l’ayatollah Khomeiny) n’est pas un appel à la destruction physique d’Israël. Bien que très choquant, son propos n’était pas un appel à lancer une attaque, encore moins une attaque nucléaire, contre Israël. Aucun État sensé ne peut partir en guerre sur la foi d’une mauvaise traduction.  John J. Mearsheimer et Stephen M. Walt

Realists should celebrate gay marriage. Today’s Supreme Court ruling will help create a better, stronger America.
Stephen M. Walt
Do you want to fight the Islamic State and the forces of Islamic extremist terrorism? I’ll tell you the best way to send a message to those masked gunmen in Iraq and Syria and to everyone else who gains power by sowing violence and fear. Just keep posting that second set of images. Post them on Facebook and Twitter and Reddit and in comments all over the Internet. Send them to your friends and your family. Send them to your pen pal in France and your old roommate in Tunisia. Send them to strangers. Yes, it’s sappy. But this has always been the dream of America:(…) And I still have faith that this dream is the one that will prevail, in the end. That’s the lesson of history: Brutality and fear can keep people down for only so long. The Nazis learned this; the Soviets learned it; the Ku Klux Klan learned it; Pol Pot learned it; the Rwandan génocidaires learned it. One of these days, the Islamic State and al Qaeda will learn it too. I’m not a big fan of Twitter, but for once there’s a Twitter hashtag worth quoting, though it took my 13-year-old daughter to point it out to me: #LoveWins. Tweet it. Shout it. Sing it. Rosa Brooks
Major U.S. defense contractors stand to earn a windfall if President Barack Obama’s administration secures a nuclear deal with Iran that sends jittery, oil-rich Persian Gulf countries seeking advanced new weapons. But the contractors likely will also do just fine if the negotiations unexpectedly collapse. Fueling the coming spending is a controversial provision in the framework agreement, struck in April between Tehran and world powers, that largely left Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities untouched in the ongoing negotiations. The move angered White House critics on Capitol Hill and in parts of Europe. More urgently, it left Gulf states like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) particularly uneasy because they are well within range of Iran’s increasingly advanced ballistic missiles. That means deal or no deal, the Gulf countries — already some of the world’s biggest weapons buyers — will be opening their wallets even wider in the years ahead. American defense contractors have long recognized the lucrative opportunity in the region, and they are counting on increased weapons sales to the Middle East to counteract a U.S. market that has slowed due to the relative flattening of the domestic defense budget. Paul McLeary
The whites didn’t want to come out against Obama since he endorsed it so strongly and they didn’t want to be called bigots — and the blacks didn’t want to say they were betraying a black man. (…) I absolutely would not do a gay marriage. (…) I think of our children. What it’s going to do to our children. What kind of world are they going to grow up in? I’ve said for two years that we’re going to have to have civil disobedience. They were very cunning in the way they did it. (…) The homosexual community has not shown all of what it’s going to do. They have a game plan that, now that the Supreme Court has ruled, will take this country down a very immoral path. (…) I knew that he was going to do it the second term. His deal was, ‘Get me elected the first time, and I’ll come out for same-sex marriage in my second term.’ He deceived the American people, because the black community would not have backed him had he come out the first time for same-sex marriage. Some people just didn’t want to speak against Obama.  (…) It’s going to be much harder, because we’re going to have to go from state to state. It’s going to be hard to do, but it can be done. Remember, blacks worked for 300 years for civil rights in the courts. Three-hundred long years. It’s not something that we’re going to win overnight. There is no quick fix, but I think now the church will rise up. All the Christian churches in the United States that believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, they need to rise up. (…) We’re asking people to rise up and be ready to go to jail. Why go to jail? To let it be known that we will not bow down, we will not give up, whatever the costs. It’s the new civil rights movement, because they are taking away our rights. They are taking away the Christian’s rights. This is just a start. We have nothing against homosexuals, but when you start talking about marriage, and then indoctrinating children, where are we going? Where is this society headed? Rev. Bill Owens (Coalition of African-American Pastors)
This morning’s ruling rejects not only thousands of years of time-honored marriage but also the rule of law in the United States. In states across the nation, voters acted through the democratic process to protect marriage and the family. Yet, courts around the country chose to disregard the will of the people in favor of political correctness and social experimentation. And we witnessed firsthand the consequences, as individuals were repeatedly targeted by the government for not actively supporting homosexual marriage. Sadly, our nation’s highest Court, which should be a symbol of justice, has chosen instead to be a tool of tyranny, elevating judicial will above the will of the people. There is no doubt that this morning’s ruling will imperil religious liberty in America, as individuals of faith who uphold time-honored marriage and choose not to advocate for same-sex unions will now be viewed as extremists. AFA President Tim Wildmon
Nationwide, according to the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg, just over 3.3 million individuals voted for same-sex marriage in three states—Maine, Maryland and Washington State—compared to more than 41 million who voted for marriage protection amendments or bans on same-sex marriage in 31 states—a ratio of more than 12 to 1. American Family Association
We should just start calling this law SCOTUScare. Anton Scalia
The decision will also have other important consequences. It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy. In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. (…) Today’s decision shows that decades of attempts to restrain this Court’s abuse of its authority have failed. Samuel Alito
[T]his Court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be. The people who ratified the Constitution authorized courts to exercise “neither force nor will but merely judgment.” (…) Although the policy arguments for extending marriage to same-sex couples may be compelling, the legal arguments for requiring such an extension are not. The fundamental right to marry does not include a right to make a State change its definition of marriage. And a State’s decision to maintain the meaning of marriage that has persisted in every culture throughout human history can hardly be called irrational. In short, our Constitution does not enact any one theory of marriage. The people of a State are free to expand marriage to include same-sex couples, or to retain the historic definition. Today, however, the Court takes the extraordinary step of ordering every State to license and recognize same-sex marriage. Many people will rejoice at this decision, and I begrudge none their celebration. But for those who believe in a government of laws, not of men, the majority’s approach is deeply disheartening. Supporters of same-sex marriage have achieved considerable success persuading their fellow citizens—through the democratic process—to adopt their view. That ends today. Five lawyers have closed the debate and enacted their own vision of marriage as a matter of constitutional law. Stealing this issue from the people will for many cast a cloud over same-sex marriage, making a dramatic social change that much more difficult to accept. The majority’s decision is an act of will, not legal judgment. The right it announces has no basis in the Constitution or this Court’s precedent. The majority expressly disclaims judicial “caution” and omits even a pretense of humility, openly relying on its desire to remake society according to its own “new insight” into the “nature of injustice.” As a result, the Court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the States and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs. Just who do we think we are? (…) Understand well what this dissent is about: It is not about whether, in my judgment, the institution of marriage should be changed to include same-sex couples. It is instead about whether, in our democratic republic, that decision should rest with the people acting through their elected representatives, or with five lawyers who happen to hold commissions authorizing them to resolve legal disputes according to law. The Constitution leaves no doubt about the answer. (…) The premises supporting th[e] concept of [natural] marriage are so fundamental that they rarely require articulation. The human race must procreate to survive. Procreation occurs through sexual relations between a man and a woman. When sexual relations result in the conception of a child, that child’s prospects are generally better if the mother and father stay together rather than going their separate ways. Therefore, for the good of children and society, sexual relations that can lead to procreation should occur only between a man and a woman committed to a lasting bond. (…) The Constitution itself says nothing about marriage, and the Framers thereby entrusted the States with “[t]he whole subject of the domestic relations of husband and wife. (…) This Court’s precedents have repeatedly described marriage in ways that are consistent only with its traditional meaning. (…) Stripped of its shiny rhetorical gloss, the majority’s argument is that the Due Process Clause gives same-sex couples a fundamental right to marry because it will be good for them and for society. If I were a legislator, I would certainly consider that view as a matter of social policy. But as a judge, I find the majority’s position indefensible as a matter of constitutional law. (…) The truth is that today’s decision rests on nothing more than the majority’s own conviction that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry because they want to, and that “it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right.” Whatever force that belief may have as a matter of moral philosophy, it has no more basis in the Constitution than did the naked policy preferences adopted in Lochner. (…) Although the majority randomly inserts the adjective “two” in various places, it offers no reason at all why the two-person element of the core definition of marriage may be preserved while the man-woman element may not. Indeed, from the standpoint of history and tradition, a leap from opposite-sex marriage to same-sex marriage is much greater than one from a two-person union to plural unions, which have deep roots in some cultures around the world. If the majority is willing to take the big leap, it is hard to see how it can say no to the shorter one. It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage. (…) When asked about a plural marital union at oral argument, petitioners asserted that a State “doesn’t have such an institution.” But that is exactly the point: the States at issue here do not have an institution of same-sex marriage, either. (…) Nowhere is the majority’s extravagant conception of judicial supremacy more evident than in its description—and dismissal—of the public debate regarding same-sex marriage. Yes, the majority concedes, on one side are thousands of years of human history in every society known to have populated the planet. But on the other side, there has been “extensive litigation,” “many thoughtful District Court decisions,” “countless studies, papers, books, and other popular and scholarly writings,” and “more than 100” amicus briefs in these cases alone. What would be the point of allowing the democratic process to go on? It is high time for the Court to decide the meaning of marriage, based on five lawyers’ “better informed understanding” of “a liberty that remains urgent in our own era.” The answer is surely there in one of those amicus briefs or studies. Those who founded our country would not recognize the majority’s conception of the judicial role. They after all risked their lives and fortunes for the precious right to govern themselves. They would never have imagined yielding that right on a question of social policy to unaccountable and unelected judges. And they certainly would not have been satisfied by a system empowering judges to override policy judgments so long as they do so after “a quite extensive discussion. (…) Those who founded our country would not recognize the majority’s conception of the judicial role … They would never have imagined yielding that right on a question of social policy to unaccountable and unelected judges. (…) If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it. Chief Justice Roberts
The most striking aspect of Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, which created a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, was its deep emotion. This was no mere legal opinion. Indeed, the law and Constitution had little to do with it. (To Justice Kennedy, the most persuasive legal precedents were his own prior opinions protecting gay rights.) This was a statement of belief, written with the passion of a preacher, meant to inspire. Consider the already much-quoted closing: As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. Or this: “Marriage responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there.” This isn’t constitutional law, it’s theology — a secular theology of self-actualization — crafted in such a way that its adherents will no doubt ask, “What decent person can disagree?” This is about love, and the law can’t fight love. Justice Kennedy’s opinion was nine parts romantic poetry and one part legal analysis (if that). And that’s what makes it so dangerous for religious liberty and free speech. Practitioners of constitutional law know that there is no such thing as an “absolute” right to free speech or religious freedom in any context — virtually all cases involve balancing the asserted right against the asserted state interest, with “compelling” state interests typically trumping even the strongest assertions of First Amendment rights. And what is more compelling than this ode to love? (…) This is the era of sexual liberty — the marriage of hedonism to meaning — and the establishment of a new civic religion. The black-robed priesthood has spoken. Will the church bow before their new masters? David French
Most dispiriting, and least convincing, are those arguments that simply reconstitute the slippery slope arguments that have been used for so long against same sex marriage. “If we allow group marriage,” the thinking seems to go, “why wouldn’t marriage with animals or children come next?” The difference is, of course, consent. In recent years, a progressive and enlightened movement has worked to insist that consent is the measure of all things in sexual and romantic practice: as long as all involved in any particular sexual or romantic relationship are consenting adults, everything is permissible; if any individual does not give free and informed consent, no sexual or romantic engagement can be condoned. This bedrock principle of mutually-informed consent explains exactly why we must permit polygamy and must oppose bestiality and child marriage. Animals are incapable of voicing consent; children are incapable of understanding what it means to consent. In contrast, consenting adults who all knowingly and willfully decide to enter into a joint marriage contract, free of coercion, should be permitted to do so, according to basic principles of personal liberty. The preeminence of the principle of consent is a just and pragmatic way to approach adult relationships in a world of multivariate and complex human desires. Progressives have always flattered themselves that time is on their side, that their preferences are in keeping with the arc of history. In the fight for marriage equality, this claim has been made again and again. Many have challenged our politicians and our people to ask themselves whether they can imagine a future in which opposition to marriage equality is seen as a principled stance. I think it’s time to turn the question back on them: given what you know about the advancement of human rights, are you sure your opposition to group marriage won’t sound as anachronistic as opposition to gay marriage sounds to you now? And since we have insisted that there is no legitimate way to oppose gay marriage and respect gay love, how can you oppose group marriage and respect group love?   I suspect that many progressives would recognize, when pushed in this way, that the case against polygamy is incredibly flimsy, almost entirely lacking in rational basis and animated by purely irrational fears and prejudice. What we’re left with is an unsatisfying patchwork of unconvincing arguments and bad ideas, ones embraced for short-term convenience at long-term cost. We must insist that rights cannot be dismissed out of short-term interests of logistics and political pragmatism. The course then, is clear: to look beyond political convenience and conservative intransigence, and begin to make the case for extending legal marriage rights to more loving and committed adults. It’s time. Fredrik deBoer

Attention: un drapeau peut en cacher un autre !

Au lendemain du triple attentat sous drapeau djihadiste qui entre la France, le Koweit et la Tunisie et en l’honneur de la première victoire musulmane du Ramadan et du premier anniversaire de l’Etat islamique, fera  une soixantaine de victimes …

Et à l’heure où après le véritable putsch juridique de la Cour suprême américaine, et de la Maison Blanche à l’Empire State Building, des chutes du Niagara aux frontons des mairies de San Francisco, Tel Aviv ou Paris ou des porte de Brandebourg, château de Disney World au pont de Minneapolis …

Entre les logos et les slogans les plus vides et les plus démagogiques (LoveWins/l’amour triomphe) de nos médias ou des entreprises de l’informatique et de l’Internet comme de nos prétendues lumières, d’Obama à Hillary Clinton et de Madonna, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift ou Justin Timberlake, de la politique et du monde du spectacle …

Pendant qu’après l’abandon de l’Irak et bientôt de l’Afghanistan et l’autorisation de l’arme nucléaire accordée à un pays qui ne prône rien de moins que  la Solution finale  …

Et sans parler de l’irrédentisme russe ou de l’aventurisme chinois

Nos marchands de canons se frottent les mains et nos nouveaux croisés de « l’amour » prônent, pour contrer la barbarie islamiste et au nom s’il vous plait du « réalisme », le nouveau Grand mensonge   …

Le drapeau homo flotte désormais sur la quasi-totalité du Monde dit libre …

Comment ne pas repenser au mot fameux du comte de Salvandry au roi des Deux-Siciles à la veille de la Révolution de Juillet …

Et ne pas voir avec le juge de la Cour suprême John Roberts et  une tribune de l’hebdomadaire américain Foreign Policy

La logique et prochaine étape de l’ubérisation sociétale que nous vivons …

A savoir la légalisation de la polygamie ?

Politics
It’s Time to Legalize Polygamy
Why group marriage is the next horizon of social liberalism.
Fredrik Deboer
June 26, 2015

Welcome to the exciting new world of the slippery slope. With the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling this Friday legalizing same sex marriage in all 50 states, social liberalism has achieved one of its central goals. A right seemingly unthinkable two decades ago has now been broadly applied to a whole new class of citizens. Following on the rejection of interracial marriage bans in the 20th Century, the Supreme Court decision clearly shows that marriage should be a broadly applicable right—one that forces the government to recognize, as Friday’s decision said, a private couple’s “love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family.”

The question presents itself: Where does the next advance come? The answer is going to make nearly everyone uncomfortable: Now that we’ve defined that love and devotion and family isn’t driven by gender alone, why should it be limited to just two individuals? The most natural advance next for marriage lies in legalized polygamy—yet many of the same people who pressed for marriage equality for gay couples oppose it.

This is not an abstract issue. In Chief Justice John Roberts’ dissenting opinion, he remarks, “It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage.” As is often the case with critics of polygamy, he neglects to mention why this is a fate to be feared. Polygamy today stands as a taboo just as strong as same-sex marriage was several decades ago—it’s effectively only discussed as outdated jokes about Utah and Mormons, who banned the practice over 120 years ago.

Yet the moral reasoning behind society’s rejection of polygamy remains just as uncomfortable and legally weak as same-sex marriage opposition was until recently.

That’s one reason why progressives who reject the case for legal polygamy often don’t really appear to have their hearts in it. They seem uncomfortable voicing their objections, clearly unused to being in the position of rejecting the appeals of those who would codify non-traditional relationships in law. They are, without exception, accepting of the right of consenting adults to engage in whatever sexual and romantic relationships they choose, but oppose the formal, legal recognition of those relationships. They’re trapped, I suspect, in prior opposition that they voiced from a standpoint of political pragmatism in order to advance the cause of gay marriage.

In doing so, they do real harm to real people. Marriage is not just a formal codification of informal relationships. It’s also a defensive system designed to protect the interests of people whose material, economic and emotional security depends on the marriage in question. If my liberal friends recognize the legitimacy of free people who choose to form romantic partnerships with multiple partners, how can they deny them the right to the legal protections marriage affords?

Polyamory is a fact. People are living in group relationships today. The question is not whether they will continue on in those relationships. The question is whether we will grant to them the same basic recognition we grant to other adults: that love makes marriage, and that the right to marry is exactly that, a right.

Why the opposition, from those who have no interest in preserving “traditional marriage” or forbidding polyamorous relationships? I think the answer has to do with political momentum, with a kind of ad hoc-rejection of polygamy as necessary political concession. And in time, I think it will change.

The marriage equality movement has been both the best and worst thing that could happen for legally sanctioned polygamy. The best, because that movement has required a sustained and effective assault on “traditional marriage” arguments that reflected no particular point of view other than that marriage should stay the same because it’s always been the same. In particular, the notion that procreation and child-rearing are the natural justification for marriage has been dealt a terminal injury. We don’t, after all, ban marriage for those who can’t conceive, or annul marriages that don’t result in children, or make couples pinkie swear that they’ll have kids not too long after they get married. We have insisted instead that the institution exists to enshrine in law a special kind of long-term commitment, and to extend certain essential logistical and legal benefits to those who make that commitment. And rightly so.

But the marriage equality movement has been curiously hostile to polygamy, and for a particularly unsatisfying reason: short-term political need. Many conservative opponents of marriage equality have made the slippery slope argument, insisting that same-sex marriages would lead inevitably to further redefinition of what marriage is and means. See, for example, Rick Santorum’s infamous “man on dog” comments, in which he equated the desire of two adult men or women to be married with bestiality. Polygamy has frequently been a part of these slippery slope arguments. Typical of such arguments, the reasons why marriage between more than two partners would be destructive were taken as a given. Many proponents of marriage equality, I’m sorry to say, went along with this evidence-free indictment of polygamous matrimony. They choose to side-step the issue by insisting that gay marriage wouldn’t lead to polygamy. That legally sanctioned polygamy was a fate worth fearing went without saying.

To be clear: our lack of legal recognition of group marriages is not the fault of the marriage equality movement. Rather, it’s that the tactics of that movement have made getting to serious discussions of legalized polygamy harder. I say that while recognizing the unprecedented and necessary success of those tactics. I understand the political pragmatism in wanting to hold the line—to not be perceived to be slipping down the slope. To advocate for polygamy during the marriage equality fight may have seemed to confirm the socially conservative narrative, that gay marriage augured a wholesale collapse in traditional values. But times have changed; while work remains to be done, the immediate danger to marriage equality has passed. In 2005, a denial of the right to group marriage stemming from political pragmatism made at least some sense. In 2015, after this ruling, it no longer does.

While important legal and practical questions remain unresolved, with the Supreme Court’s ruling and broad public support, marriage equality is here to stay. Soon, it will be time to turn the attention of social liberalism to the next horizon. Given that many of us have argued, to great effect, that deference to tradition is not a legitimate reason to restrict marriage rights to groups that want them, the next step seems clear. We should turn our efforts towards the legal recognition of marriages between more than two partners. It’s time to legalize polygamy.

***

Conventional arguments against polygamy fall apart with even a little examination. Appeals to traditional marriage, and the notion that child rearing is the only legitimate justification of legal marriage, have now, I hope, been exposed and discarded by all progressive people. What’s left is a series of jerry-rigged arguments that reflect no coherent moral vision of what marriage is for, and which frequently function as criticisms of traditional marriage as well.

Many argue that polygamous marriages are typically sites of abuse, inequality in power and coercion. Some refer to sociological research showing a host of ills that are associated with polygamous family structures. These claims are both true and beside the point. Yes, it’s true that many polygamous marriages come from patriarchal systems, typically employing a “hub and spokes” model where one husband has several wives who are not married to each other. These marriages are often of the husband-as-boss variety, and we have good reason to suspect that such models have higher rates of abuse, both physical and emotional, and coercion. But this is a classic case of blaming a social problem on its trappings rather than on its actual origins.

After all, traditional marriages often foster abuse. Traditional marriages are frequently patriarchal. Traditional marriages often feature ugly gender and power dynamics. Indeed, many would argue that marriage’s origins stem from a desire to formalize patriarchal structures within the family in the first place. We’ve pursued marriage equality at the same time as we’ve pursued more equitable, more feminist heterosexual marriages, out of a conviction that the franchise is worth improving, worth saving. If we’re going to ban marriages because some are sites of sexism and abuse, then we’d have to start with the old fashioned one-husband-and-one-wife model. If polygamy tends to be found within religious traditions that seem alien or regressive to the rest of us, that is a function of the very illegality that should be done away with. Legalize group marriage and you will find its connection with abuse disappears.

Another common argument, and another unsatisfying one, is logistical. In this telling, polygamous marriages would strain the infrastructure of our legal systems of marriage, as they are not designed to handle marriage between more than two people. In particular, the claim is frequently made that the division of property upon divorce or death would be too complicated for polygamous marriages. I find this argument eerily reminiscent of similar efforts to dismiss same-sex marriage on practical grounds. (The forms say husband and wife! What do you want us to do, print new forms?) Logistics, it should go without saying, are insufficient reason to deny human beings human rights.

If current legal structures and precedents aren’t conducive to group marriage, then they will be built in time. The comparison to traditional marriage is again instructive. We have, after all, many decades of case law and legal organization dedicated to marriage, and yet divorce and family courts feature some of the most bitterly contested cases imaginable. Complication and dispute are byproducts of human relationships and human commitment. We could, as a civil society, create a legal expectation that those engaging in a group marriage create binding documents and contracts that clearly delineate questions of inheritance, alimony, and the like. Prenups are already a thing.

Most dispiriting, and least convincing, are those arguments that simply reconstitute the slippery slope arguments that have been used for so long against same sex marriage. “If we allow group marriage,” the thinking seems to go, “why wouldn’t marriage with animals or children come next?” The difference is, of course, consent. In recent years, a progressive and enlightened movement has worked to insist that consent is the measure of all things in sexual and romantic practice: as long as all involved in any particular sexual or romantic relationship are consenting adults, everything is permissible; if any individual does not give free and informed consent, no sexual or romantic engagement can be condoned.

This bedrock principle of mutually-informed consent explains exactly why we must permit polygamy and must oppose bestiality and child marriage. Animals are incapable of voicing consent; children are incapable of understanding what it means to consent. In contrast, consenting adults who all knowingly and willfully decide to enter into a joint marriage contract, free of coercion, should be permitted to do so, according to basic principles of personal liberty. The preeminence of the principle of consent is a just and pragmatic way to approach adult relationships in a world of multivariate and complex human desires.

Progressives have always flattered themselves that time is on their side, that their preferences are in keeping with the arc of history. In the fight for marriage equality, this claim has been made again and again. Many have challenged our politicians and our people to ask themselves whether they can imagine a future in which opposition to marriage equality is seen as a principled stance. I think it’s time to turn the question back on them: given what you know about the advancement of human rights, are you sure your opposition to group marriage won’t sound as anachronistic as opposition to gay marriage sounds to you now? And since we have insisted that there is no legitimate way to oppose gay marriage and respect gay love, how can you oppose group marriage and respect group love?

I suspect that many progressives would recognize, when pushed in this way, that the case against polygamy is incredibly flimsy, almost entirely lacking in rational basis and animated by purely irrational fears and prejudice. What we’re left with is an unsatisfying patchwork of unconvincing arguments and bad ideas, ones embraced for short-term convenience at long-term cost. We must insist that rights cannot be dismissed out of short-term interests of logistics and political pragmatism. The course then, is clear: to look beyond political convenience and conservative intransigence, and begin to make the case for extending legal marriage rights to more loving and committed adults. It’s time.

Fredrik deBoer is a writer and academic. He lives in Indiana.

Voir aussi:

Voice
Why Realists Should Celebrate Gay Marriage
Today’s Supreme Court ruling will help create a better, stronger America.
Stephen M. Walt
Foreign policy
June 26, 2015

Regular readers know I am often critical of the U.S. government because I believe pointing to flaws that could be corrected is part of my job. But it is also important to highlight those moments when my country does the right thing, and today’s SCOTUS decision on gay marriage is one of them.

For starters, the decision is consistent with the defining feature of American democracy: its emphasis on individual freedom and personal choice. As the court made clear, if consenting adults are not free to fall in love with whomever they are drawn to and to express that love openly in the institution of marriage, then they are being denied the full rights that other citizens enjoy and they are not in fact truly free. Today’s decision eliminated this obvious contradiction between our ideals and our practices, and it should be celebrated for that reason alone.

Second, along with U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to permit gay Americans to serve openly in the armed forces, the decision is a blow in favor of fairness and efficiency. Prejudice and bigotry are bad in and of themselves, but they also impede the optimal use of human resources. When gay people could not serve openly in the military, our country was denied the talents that these patriotic individuals could have brought to important national security tasks. Similarly, when gay Americans could not marry or live together openly without fearing persecution, and when companies discriminated against gay employees, it meant that our society could not reap the full benefits of their unfettered participation. Whenever we remove another plank of prejudice, we help the best people rise as far as their abilities can take them, and all of us benefit as a result.

Today’s decision is also a tribute to the power of America’s oft maligned democratic institutions and the ability of reasoned discourse to triumph over ancient stigmas. Gay marriage did not come about by accident or just because two gay people decided to file a lawsuit a few years ago. It came about because courageous writers like Andrew Sullivan wrote powerfully in its favor, because an array of people — both gay and straight — organized to carry these arguments forward, and because more and more gay people came out and the straight world learned to relish their friendship and see them as equals. Once these things happened, the contradiction between our values and our laws — and the obvious injustice of the latter — was increasingly apparent. The American political system does not change direction quickly or easily, but it is open to reasoned discourse and responsive to changing sentiments. Even a Supreme Court dominated by conservatives could not fail to see that the ground had shifted, and today’s decision reflects that welcome reality.

Finally, establishing gay marriage as a fundamental right removes one of the practices that has separated the United States from many of its democratic partners (the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Spain, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Argentina, Iceland, Portugal, Denmark, Brazil, England, Wales, France, New Zealand, Uruguay, Luxembourg, Scotland, and Finland). It will increase pressure on some other countries to follow suit, especially within Western Europe. At the same time, it is likely to broaden the gulf between states where homosexuality is becoming a nonissue and those where it is still persecuted and even same-sex unions are illegal. For gay people around the world, the struggle is far from over.

The struggle for human rights of different kinds is long and slow. But today, the arc of history bent.

 Voir également:

Voice
Can Gay Marriage Defeat the Islamic State?
A few — admittedly sappy — thoughts on the power of #LoveWins.
Rosa Brooks
Foreign Policy
June 26, 2015

I was thinking about two sets of images this morning: one from an Islamic State-controlled city in Iraq, the other from the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

The first set of images, from early June, shows masked gunmen surrounding a crowd of people, mostly men. Some of the faces in the crowd show fear or hatred; others are studiously blank. But all eyes are fixed on the rooftop of a nearby building, where a blindfolded man is dangling upside down, his ankle held tightly by another masked man. Next image: The blindfolded man’s body plummets headfirst toward the pavement below. Final image: a crumpled, bloody heap on the ground, surrounded by a sea of faces. Headline and caption, from Fox News: “ISIS conducts more executions of men for being gay.… On June 3, 2015, Islamic State (ISIS) operatives in Iraq’s Ninveh province published photos of a public execution in Mosul of three men convicted of acts of homosexuality. The three men were blindfolded and dropped head first from the roof of a tall building in front of a large crowd of spectators, including children.”

The second set of images shows another crowd, thousands of miles away from the first. This crowd is full of men and women, all ages and all races, and they’re waving American flags and rainbow-colored flags. This crowd isn’t flanked by gunmen; no one looks frightened or enraged. This crowd is laughing and embracing; a few people are weeping, their faces lit with relief and joy. Caption from the Washington Post: “Gay rights supporters celebrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington after justices ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry, no matter where they live.”

I know which crowd I’d rather be in.

Do you want to fight the Islamic State and the forces of Islamic extremist terrorism? I’ll tell you the best way to send a message to those masked gunmen in Iraq and Syria and to everyone else who gains power by sowing violence and fear. Just keep posting that second set of images. Post them on Facebook and Twitter and Reddit and in comments all over the Internet. Send them to your friends and your family. Send them to your pen pal in France and your old roommate in Tunisia. Send them to strangers.

Yes, it’s sappy. But this has always been the dream of America: a dream of freedom, of a land where no one would force their religious beliefs on anyone else. A land where all people would have the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. A land where we could seek change peacefully and trust our laws and institutions to respond to our deepest hopes.

The fulfillment of that dream has always been just a little bit beyond our reach, and we can approach it only through ceaseless struggle against the forces of darkness and reaction. This country has seen its share of hate-filled crowds. It has seen its share of whippings, lynchings, and beatings.

But it’s a dream that has brought untold millions of immigrants to our shores over the years, fleeing religious persecution and war and repression and a thousand different brands of hatred. It’s a dream that helped make the United States emulated and admired around the world. And it’s a dream that isn’t dead, as the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage reminds us.

Yes, America still has gunmen who shoot up churches and schools and bombers intent on turning crowds of smiling athletes and spectators into bloody bodies. We still have plenty of bigots and bullies. But we also still have that dream.

And I still have faith that this dream is the one that will prevail, in the end. That’s the lesson of history: Brutality and fear can keep people down for only so long. The Nazis learned this; the Soviets learned it; the Ku Klux Klan learned it; Pol Pot learned it; the Rwandan génocidaires learned it.

One of these days, the Islamic State and al Qaeda will learn it too.

I’m not a big fan of Twitter, but for once there’s a Twitter hashtag worth quoting, though it took my 13-year-old daughter to point it out to me: #LoveWins.

Tweet it. Shout it.

Sing it.

Voir encore:

The Supreme Court Ratifies a New Civic Religion That Is Incompatible with Christianity
David French
National Review
June 26, 2015

The most striking aspect of Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, which created a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, was its deep emotion. This was no mere legal opinion. Indeed, the law and Constitution had little to do with it. (To Justice Kennedy, the most persuasive legal precedents were his own prior opinions protecting gay rights.) This was a statement of belief, written with the passion of a preacher, meant to inspire. Consider the already much-quoted closing: As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right. Or this: “Marriage responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there.” This isn’t constitutional law, it’s theology — a secular theology of self-actualization — crafted in such a way that its adherents will no doubt ask, “What decent person can disagree?” This is about love, and the law can’t fight love. Justice Kennedy’s opinion was nine parts romantic poetry and one part legal analysis (if that). And that’s what makes it so dangerous for religious liberty and free speech. Practitioners of constitutional law know that there is no such thing as an “absolute” right to free speech or religious freedom in any context — virtually all cases involve balancing the asserted right against the asserted state interest, with “compelling” state interests typically trumping even the strongest assertions of First Amendment rights. And what is more compelling than this ode to love? RELATED: Supreme Court Forces States to Perform Gay Marriage, 5-4

The challenge for orthodox religious believers is now abundantly clear: For years, they’ve been standing against “history,” “equality,” and — yes — love itself. Now, all of that rhetoric has been constitutionalized, embedded in the secular scripture of our land. To be sure, Justice Kennedy did at least nod in the direction of the orthodox, declaring: Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. But this rhetoric, as he knows, is legally meaningless in the face of the potent combination of emotion and legal doctrines that have long deemphasized religious freedom. Justice Kennedy’s rhetoric will slide neatly into existing balancing tests, leaving defenders of religious liberty grasping for persuasive rhetoric to counter the irresistible tide of the new, civic religion. More marriage The Supreme Court Has Legalized Same-Sex Marriage: Now What? Sweeping Aside Madison’s Handiwork Constitutional Remedies to a Lawless Supreme Court For many believers, this new era will present a unique challenge. Christians often strive to be seen as the “nicest” or “most loving” people in their communities. Especially among Evangelicals, there is a naïve belief that if only we were winsome enough, kind enough, and compassionate enough, the culture would welcome us with open arms. But now our love — expressed in the fullness of a Gospel that identifies homosexual conduct as sin but then provides eternal hope through justification and sanctification — is hate. Christians who’ve not suffered for their faith often romanticize persecution. They imagine themselves willing to lose their jobs, their liberty, or even their lives for standing up for the Gospel. Yet when the moment comes, at least here in the United States, they often find that they simply can’t abide being called “hateful.” It creates a desperate, panicked response. “No, you don’t understand. I’m not like those people — the religious right.” Thus, at the end of the day, a church that descends from apostles who withstood beatings finds itself unable to withstand tweetings. Social scorn is worse than the lash. This is the era of sexual liberty — the marriage of hedonism to meaning — and the establishment of a new civic religion. The black-robed priesthood has spoken. Will the church bow before their new masters?

— David French is an attorney and a staff writer at National Review.

Voir encore:

Report
Iran’s Missiles Are a Windfall for U.S. Defense Contractors
Nuclear deal or not, Tehran is keeping its ballistic missiles. And American firms are betting on a buyer’s market in the Persian Gulf.
Paul McLeary
Foreign Policy
June 26, 2015

Major U.S. defense contractors stand to earn a windfall if President Barack Obama’s administration secures a nuclear deal with Iran that sends jittery, oil-rich Persian Gulf countries seeking advanced new weapons. But the contractors likely will also do just fine if the negotiations unexpectedly collapse.

Fueling the coming spending is a controversial provision in the framework agreement, struck in April between Tehran and world powers, that largely left Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities untouched in the ongoing negotiations. The move angered White House critics on Capitol Hill and in parts of Europe. More urgently, it left Gulf states like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) particularly uneasy because they are well within range of Iran’s increasingly advanced ballistic missiles.

That means deal or no deal, the Gulf countries — already some of the world’s biggest weapons buyers — will be opening their wallets even wider in the years ahead.

American defense contractors have long recognized the lucrative opportunity in the region, and they are counting on increased weapons sales to the Middle East to counteract a U.S. market that has slowed due to the relative flattening of the domestic defense budget.

At defense giant Lockheed Martin, Chief Executive Officer Marillyn Hewson wants the company to boost its foreign sales to about 20 percent of the firm’s revenues by the end of 2015, up from 17 percent currently. Most of that growth is expected to come from its sales of missile defense systems. The company already sells about $8 billion in missiles and fire controls annually, with close to half going to America’s allies in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.

“With the regional instability that’s going on [in the Mideast], we’ve seen a fairly large appetite for a layered air-defense capability,” said Joe Garland, vice president of international business development at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.
“With the regional instability that’s going on [in the Mideast], we’ve seen a fairly large appetite for a layered air-defense capability,” said Joe Garland, vice president of international business development at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

In an attempt to deepen ties in the region, Lockheed in December set up what it has dubbed the Center for Innovation and Security Solutions in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Garland described it as an effort to collaborate with the UAE on “what type of systems they want to develop for their security,” while exploring new ideas for working with allies in the region.

It is not the number of deals that drives up profits, but the huge cost of fielding just a few systems. Over the past several years, the UAE has signed $1.9 billion in deals to buy two of Lockheed’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile systems. Qatar and Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, also are reportedly working to acquire the mobile, truck-mounted firing system, as well as an associated radar made by Raytheon.

Last year, an estimated 10 percent of Raytheon’s $23 billion in global sales went to the Middle East. The company has sold billions of dollars’ worth of Patriot missile systems to Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and the UAE, along with multiple big-dollar follow-on contracts for maintenance work and a constant stream of upgrades. The company booked a $2 billion sale of Patriots to Saudi Arabia this year.

The Saudi military joined a select club of countries that have deployed the Patriot missile in combat, knocking down a Scud missile fired over the border by Houthi rebels in Yemen this spring.

Raytheon officials declined to comment for this story. But in April, CEO Thomas Kennedy said international business amounted to 28 percent of the company’s revenues for the first quarter of 2015.

Those numbers should go up in coming years, regardless of the outcome of the Iran negotiations.

“The Saudis and Emiratis don’t trust the deal, no matter what the deal is,” Grant Rogan, CEO of Blenheim Capital and a military sales expert, told Foreign Policy.
“The Saudis and Emiratis don’t trust the deal, no matter what the deal is,” Grant Rogan, CEO of Blenheim Capital and a military sales expert, told Foreign Policy. He predicted more sales of Patriot missiles and advanced radar systems “happening in Saudi substantially faster if there’s no deal — or if it’s a deal that doesn’t defang Iran.”

The expected surge won’t make a huge difference on the ground right away, since missile defense systems take years to contract and produce. But as they wait for the expected deals to go through, the six countries that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have started to talk about pooling their missile defense and surveillance assets into a shared network to gain a clearer picture of what is flying through the region’s airspace.

But it is very much a work in progress.

“The problem there has been a political one,” said Thomas Karako, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Following a May summit of GCC leaders in Washington, the Gulf nations issued a hopeful joint statement for progress on the network they described as a regionwide early-warning system — ostensibly as a safeguard against Iran.

Yet real questions remain over the Gulf states’ ability to overcome deeply entrenched political issues that have previously kept them from sharing intelligence. There’s also the issue of long-term technological investment. Building a networked radar and missile system is not merely about putting interceptors in the desert and pointing them toward the sky. “It’s about stitching those assets together and stitching the networks together,” Karako said.

Currently, there is no regionwide shared system to ensure that incoming attacks or other errant airspace objects aren’t missed. And that raises the overall threat for the Gulf nations.

Lockheed has “talked to a number of these GCC countries about how we can help them tie together” missile defense assets, Garland said. “It’s not there yet.”

While talk of selling more missile defense systems to the Middle East may seem a relatively easy way to blunt the Iranian missile threat, Washington should be cautious about how it balances its priorities.

Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy for the Arms Control Association, said focusing too much on Tehran’s missiles ignores the true range of threats posed by Iran.

“To the extent that the U.S. [is] considering increasing arms sales, it should be focused on things like cyber and greater coordination on countering cyberthreats, which we know Iran is capable of,” Reif said.

But anti-ballistic missile systems are, to some degree, easier to sell to Gulf allies than other military weapons. The Defense Department has so far ruled out selling F-35 fighter jets, for example, since that would rile Israel and upset the qualitative military edge that Washington, by law, affords its staunchest ally in the region.

The growing distrust among some Gulf allies of Washington’s tentative agreement with Iran also risks changing the nature of some U.S. relationships in the region. Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen and airstrikes by both Riyadh and the UAE against jihadis in Libya are two examples of attacks launched without either Washington’s support or prior knowledge.

But the relationship will likely fray only so much, no matter the outcome of the eleventh-hour talks in Vienna between world powers and Iran. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies have suggested turning to France and even Russia for future arms, but the American defense industry, as well as Washington’s economic clout, still matters.

Following the May summit, GCC Assistant Secretary-General Abdel Aziz Abu Hamad Aluwaisheg told reporters the meeting “exceeded the expectations of most of us” in that it reasserted Washington’s commitment to Gulf security and containing Iran.

Obama assured Gulf states that a nuclear deal with Iran doesn’t reflect a “pivot” toward Tehran, Aluwaisheg said.

Obama “succeeded very well in putting those questions to rest,” he said.

At the same time, the Gulf is not about to let its guard down. Because Iran already fields a ballistic missile capability that has largely been left outside the nuclear negotiation process, any deal — or lack of a deal — still leaves a serious threat in place.

“Missile defense will continue to grow in the region, regardless,” Rogan said.

Voir de plus:

Over the rainbow
Mariage gay : déferlante de drapeaux arc-en-ciel dans le monde
Delphine Cuny | Rédactrice en chef adjointe
Rue 89
27/06/2015

Politiques et entreprises se sont emparé des symboles du mouvement LGBT au lendemain de la légalisation du mariage gay aux USA et à la veille de plusieurs Gay Prides. Entre joie sincère et récupération.
Au lendemain de la légalisation du mariage homosexuel aux Etats-Unis, le drapeau arc-en-ciel, emblème du mouvement LGBT, a inondé les « timelines » sur Twitter et s’est invité sur de nombreux monuments de grandes capitales, où avait aussi lieu la Marche des fiertés (Gay Pride), à Paris notamment.

Le fronton de l’Hôtel de Ville avait hissé haut les fameuses couleurs, comme l’a tweeté la maire de Paris, Anne Hidalgo, reprenant le hashtag #LoveWins (l’amour triomphe) qui a fait florès sur la Toile. L’ambassadrice des Etats-Unis en France, Jane Hartley, était d’ailleurs ce samedi au côté d’Anne Hidalgo dans la Marche des fiertés à Paris.

La Maison Blanche, bien sûr, avait prévu un éclairage de nuit spécial, tout comme l’Empire State Building à New York, l’hôtel de ville de San Francisco, le pont de Minneapolis, mais aussi la porte de Brandebourg à Berlin ou la mairie de Tel Aviv, comme le rapporte le site d’architecture Arch Daily.

On a vu aussi quelques monuments ou lieux plus inattendus, comme par exemple, le château de Cendrillon à Disney World (Floride) ou même les chutes du Niagara. Mais pas la Tour Eiffel.

Les politiques, à l’image de Hillary Clinton, qui a repeint sa photo de profil sur Twitter aux couleurs arc-en-ciel, ont été les plus prompts à surfer sur la vague #LoveWins mais pas les seuls. Quelques célébrités comme Madonna, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift ou Justin Timberlake, se sont aussi associées à cette journée historique.

Taylor Swift s’autocite dans sa chanson ‘Welcome to New York’ : ‘Et tu veux qui tu veux, garçons et garçons et filles et filles’
De nombreux médias ont aussi modifié leur logo pour l’occasion, comme les sites spécialisés en high tech comme The Verge, Mashable ou The Next Web, le site de la Bible de Hollywood, Variety. Mais pas les grands journaux comme le New York Times ou le Washington Post, restés plus sobres, même s’ils ont largement couvert l’événement et joué un rôle dans l’évolution des mentalités.

Ce sont surtout les marques qui se sont emparées du hashtag et du drapeau, en particulier les entreprises de la Silicon Valley, où le mouvement est en pointe : Twitter elle-même, Yahoo ou YouTube (Google) et bien sûr Apple, par la voix de Tim Cook, son directeur général, qui avait fait son coming-out et milité contre la discrimination.

‘Les Etats-Unis ont fait un pas dans la bonne direction aujourd’hui. #Fierd’Aimer’
On pourra citer aussi Uber, dont on parle tant en ce moment, qui publie un Gif montrant vraisemblablement des salariés ‘réjouis’ et ‘fiers’.
De grandes entreprises américaines comme Visa, la compagnie aérienne Delta, la chaîne de supermarchés Target, les bonbons Skittles ont également surfé sur la décision, relève USA Today. Les céréales Kellogg’s n’ont pas hésité se faire un coup de pub, en mettant en avant ses bonnes notes en matière de diversité, quitte à être accusé de faire de la récup. D’autres marques comme la chaîne de restos mexicains Chipotle, qui emballe un burrito d’alu arc-en-ciel, se sont risquées aux jeux de mots de plus ou moins bon goût.

Como Estas (comment ça va) devient Homo Estas chez Chipotle
Au total, Twitter a recensé plus de 10 millions de tweets en six heures sur la légalisation du mariage des couples de même sexe, dont plus de 2,6 millions avec la mention #LoveWins. Un record de 35 000 messages par minute a été atteint dans la nuit (peu avant minuit heure de New York).
A titre de comparaison, en novembre 2014, lors des émeutes à Ferguson, la décision de relaxer le policier ayant tué le jeune noir Michael Brown avait déclenché une tempête de 3,5 millions de tweets en 24 heures. En janvier dernier, il y avait eu 2,1 millions de tweets #JeSuisCharlie dans les six heures suivant l’attaque de l’hebdomadaire satirique.

Voir encore:

Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism
Charles R. Kesler, Ph.D.
The Heritage Foundation
October 15, 2012

Abstract: Liberalism as we know it today in America is on the verge of exhaustion. Facing a fiscal crisis that it has precipitated and no longer sure of its purpose, liberalism will either go out of business or be forced to reinvent itself as something quite different from what it has been. In this careful analysis of Barack Obama’s political thought, Charles R. Kesler shows that the President, though intent on reinvigorating the liberal faith, nonetheless fails to understand its fatal contradictions—a shortsightedness that may prove to be liberalism’s undoing. This essay is adapted from Kesler’s new book, I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism.

Barack Obama had the distinction of being the most liberal member of the United States Senate when he ran for President in 2008. The title had been conferred by National Journal, an inside-the-Beltway watchdog that annually assigns Senators (and Congressmen) an ideological rank based on their votes on economic, social, and foreign policy issues.

Since then, we have learned a lot more about his political leanings as a young man, which were fashionably leftist, broadly in keeping with the climate of opinion on the campuses where he found himself—Occidental College, Columbia University, Harvard Law School.

As a senior at Columbia, he attended the 1983 Socialist Scholars Conference, sponsored by the Democratic Socialists of America. Though a meeting of democratic socialists and, yes, community organizers, the conference as well as his long-running friendships with radicals of various sorts would have drawn more sustained attention if the Cold War were still raging. But it was not, and Obama pleaded youthful indiscretion and drift; and of course his campaign did its best to keep the details from coming out.

He still had to answer, in some measure, for his ties to William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright, but the issue with, say, the good reverend concerned his sermons about race and Middle East politics, not his penchant for visiting and honoring Fidel Castro, not to mention the Marxist Sandinistas in Nicaragua.[1] Partly by avoiding the worst of the old anti-Communist gauntlet, Obama became the most left-wing liberal to be elected to national executive office since Henry Wallace.

Still, the President is not a self-proclaimed socialist—nor, like Wallace, a self-deceived fellow traveler or worse. Obama never went so far, so openly—whether out of inertia, political calculation, or good sense—and therefore never had to make a public apostasy. As a result, we know less about his evolving views than we might like, though probably more than he would like.

He calls himself a progressive or liberal, and we should take him at his word, at least until we encounter a fatal contradiction. That’s only reasonable and fair; and it avoids the desperate shortcut, gratifying as it may be, of unmasking him as—take your pick—a Third-World daddy’s boy, Alinskyist agitator, deep-cover Muslim, or undocumented alien. Conservatives, of all people, should know to beware instant gratification, especially when it comes wrapped in a conspiracy theory. In any case, hypocrisy, as Rochefoucauld wrote, is the tribute that vice pays to virtue, and Obama seems to think it would be a virtuous thing to have been a lifelong liberal, even if he wasn’t.

And so the question arises: What does it mean anymore to be a liberal? To answer it, we must first retrace the history of liberalism over the course of the past century.

The Four Waves of Liberalism
The 20th century was, as the late Tom Silver used to say, “the liberal century.” Conservatism was a late arrival, debuting as a self-conscious intellectual movement only in the 1950s and lacking significant political success until the 1980s. By contrast, the liberal storm was already gathering in the 1880s and broke upon the land in the new century’s second decade. It had made deep, decisive changes in American politics long before conservatism as we know it came on the scene.

It didn’t, however, win these victories all at once. Modern liberalism spread across the country in three powerful waves, interrupted by wars and by rather haphazard reactions to its excesses. Each wave of liberalism featured a different aspect of it—call them, for short, political liberalism, economic liberalism, and cultural liberalism—and each deposited on our shores a distinctive type of politics—the politics of progress, the politics of entitlements, and the politics of meaning.

These terms are conceptual rather than, strictly speaking, historical. They help to organize our thinking more so than our record-keeping, inasmuch as elements of all three were mixed up in each stage. Although it wasn’t inevitable that one wave should follow the next, a certain logic connected the New Freedom, the New Deal, and the Great Society. Each attempted to transform America, as their names suggest, and the second and third waves worked out themes implicit in the first. But the special flavor of each period owed much to the issues and forces involved, the legacy of previous reform, the character of the political leaders, and the disagreements within and between the generations of reformers. The third wave, centered on the Sixties, showed just how fratricidal liberalism could become.

The first and most disorienting wave was political liberalism, which began as a critique of the Constitution and the morality underlying it. That morality, Woodrow Wilson charged, the natural rights doctrine of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, was based on an outmoded account of human nature, an atomistic and egoistic view that needed to be corrected by a more well-rounded or social view, made plausible by the recent discovery that human nature was necessarily progressive or perfectible. So-called natural rights were actually historical or prescriptive, evolving with the times toward a final and rational truth. The 18th century Constitution, based on the 18th century notion of a fixed human nature with static rights, had in turn to be transcended by a modern or living constitution based on the evolutionary view. Drawing on a curious and unstable mixture of Social Darwinism, German idealism, and English historicism, Wilson outlined the new State that liberals would ever after be building, the goal of which would be nothing less than man’s complete spiritual fulfillment.

The second wave explicitly adopted the name of liberalism, laying aside the old banner of Progressivism. It championed liberality or generosity in the form of a new doctrine of socioeconomic rights and tried to connect the new rights to the old, the Second Bill of Rights (as FDR called it) to the First. Instead of rights springing from the individual, the New Deal reconceived individualism as springing from a new kind of rights created by the State. The new entitlement-style rights posed as personal rights, even though they effectually attached to groups; but due to the slight family resemblance, they allowed Roosevelt to present himself and the New Deal as the loyal servants and successors of the American Revolution, of the old social compact suitably updated.

Liberalism’s third wave, cultural or lifestyle liberalism, hit in the 1960s. It was only when this wave crashed around them that the radical character of liberalism became clear to the American people; only then that conservatism became, at least temporarily, a majority movement, insofar as it stood for America against its cultured despisers and reformers. The Great Society agreed with the New Deal that government had to provide for Americans’ necessities in order that they may live in freedom, but it denied that freedom from want and freedom from fear (along with freedom of speech and worship) were any longer sufficient for all-around human liberation. Freedom required not merely living comfortably but also creatively, a demand that the New Left took several steps further than poor Lyndon Johnson was willing or able to go.

In the Sixties, the “peculiar” character of the radicalism bound up with contemporary liberalism began to tear it apart as its constituent elements began to clash. When social morality collided with personal liberation, and the State’s authority clashed with the people’s rights, and the assumptions of rational progress were denied by protestors who preferred to make history by following their authentic selves rather than admire history as it came to an end—then liberalism began to unravel. For conflicting reasons, liberals lost faith that they were on the right side of history and that the State could ever provide the conditions for complete self-development or spiritual fulfillment.

Obama inherited that frayed liberalism. Against long odds, he’s tried to reunite its dissonant parts and restore its political élan. He brought America to the verge of a fourth wave of political and social transformation, something that neither Democrats nor Republicans thought possible. But as the latest embodiment of the visionary prophet-statesmen he hasn’t been able to sustain the deep connection to the American people that his election in 2008 seemed to promise and that his desire to restore liberalism as the country’s dominant public philosophy required. Perhaps after the debacle of the Great Society, three decades in the political shadow of Ronald Reagan, and the current protracted economic doldrums, Americans have grown suspicious of the liberal vision of the future as a kind of Brigadoon—a land of wonders that voters glimpse every four years but that quickly fades into the mists, and from which no one has ever returned.

Unlike any of his liberal predecessors, Obama’s tortuous doubts about American exceptionalism lead to a sense of his estrangement from his own country, a disability not relieved by his profession, in Berlin, that he is a citizen of the world as well. He seems to lack both the citizen’s pride and the immigrant’s gratitude.

Tempting as it might be to write off the President, it would be a big mistake. Whatever else he may accomplish, his staggering victory on health care reform has earned him a future place on the Mount Rushmore of liberalism, alongside those other supreme hero-statesmen of the creed, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Assuming that his signature achievement is not unceremoniously repealed and replaced, Obama will almost certainly become one of the Democratic immortals, the giants who built and expanded the modern liberal state.

The New Progressivism of Barack Obama
Obama is neither an old-fashioned Progressive nor a radical postmodernist. Part of what makes him interesting is how he handles the conflicting strains of his own thought. As a decent man, he believes in justice and identifies with the civil rights movement’s insistence that Jim Crow was manifestly wrong and the cause of black equality manifestly right. As a self-described progressive, he believes in change; that is, he believes that change is almost always synonymous with improvement, that history has a direction and destination, that it’s crucial to be on the right side of history, not the wrong, and that it’s the leader’s job to discern which is the right side and to lead his people to that promised land of social equality and social justice.

Yet he’s skeptical of the simple-minded progressive equation of history with the inevitable triumph of justice; he fears that the foreknowledge of success or the optimistic certitude of victory would detract from the honor of standing up against Jim Crow, for example. It would also create a free-rider problem: Why risk opposing segregation if its fall is inevitable? He shares the civil rights movement’s sense that you have to make history, not just wait for it to make you. Yet if men can make history and history makes morality, then don’t human beings create their own morality?

As the product of a very liberal education, alas, Obama never discovered that this quandary could be resolved by returning from history to nature as the unchanging ground of our changing experience, as the foundation of morality and politics. Returning, say, to Lincoln’s and the Founders’ own understanding of themselves, reconsidering their argument for the Declaration’s principles, never occurred to him as a serious possibility. The progressivist assumptions, though decadent, were still too strong. He thought the only way was forward.

In his capacity as a political leader, Obama’s favorite formulation is that he seeks to “shape” history. But shaping history leaves ambiguous just how much freedom or influence human beings actually have—whether we shape history decisively or only marginally. As he declared in Iowa in 2010 after his health care victory: “Our future is what we make it. Our future is what we make it.”

That’s the deeper meaning of his slogan, “Yes, we can,” which he elsewhere called “a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people.” In itself, the phrase sounds like a reply to “No, you can’t.” But was the nay-sayer denying us permission to do something or doubting our ability to do it? If the former, “Yes, we can” is an assertion of moral right or autonomy; if the latter, it’s an assertion of power or competence. For Obama, in Progressive fashion, the two appear to go together. Obama says, “Yes, we can” to slaves, abolitionists, immigrants, western pioneers, suffragettes, the space program, healing this nation, and repairing the world—and that’s in one speech.[2]

In a strange way, “Yes, we can” takes the place in his thought that “all men are created equal” held in Lincoln’s thought. Insofar as it is America’s national creed, it affirms that America is what we make it at any given time: America stands for the ability to change, openness to change, the willingness to constantly remake ourselves—but apparently for no particular purpose. Jon Stewart, the comedian, caught the dilemma perfectly when, joshing the President over his equivocations on the Ground Zero mosque, he said Obama’s slogan, as amended, now read: “Yes, we can…. But…should we?”

The country’s saving principle, then, is openness to change. “The genius of our founders is that they designed a system of government that can be changed,” Obama said in 2007 when announcing his presidential candidacy. In short, ours is the kind of country that always says, “Yes, we can” to the principle of “Yes, we can.” We affirm our right to change by always changing; we shape history by reshaping ourselves.

For all his openness to change, there is one to which Obama consistently answers, “No, we can’t.” Any change that would move the country backward, in his view, is anathema. “What I’m not willing to do is go back to the days when…” is a phrase that begins many a sentence in his repertory. When dealing with conservatives, his confidence in history’s purpose and beneficence is miraculously raised to almost Wilsonian levels. He may not be exactly sure where history is going, but somehow he knows it’s not going there. A certain impatience and irritability creep into his voice. If people reject his vision, he can’t be a leader—and that makes it personal. His tone turns petulant, and he begins to issue orders to follow him.

The main target of his scoldings is, of course, the House Republicans, who tend to obstruct his measures. But in a larger sense, Obama displays the Progressive impatience with politics itself. It’s not merely the separation of powers, checks and balances, and other constitutional devices that often stalemate change to which liberals object. It’s human nature in its present state, still so inclined to praise God rather than man, to venerate the past, and to be guided by a healthy self-love.

Eventually, man will be worthy of liberalism, assuming it has its way with him and conditions him to love the State as the bee loves the hive. In the meantime, it’s a constant struggle to bear with this unreconstructed individualist who would rather govern his potty little self (in Chesterton’s great phrase) according to his own lights than be well governed by experts for his own (purported) good.

Obama, like most liberal thinkers, dreams of overcoming man’s stubbornly political nature in two ways, by assimilating politics either to the family or to the military. He began his 2011 State of the Union address by invoking the first theme: “We are part of the American family,” and together as one we’re going to “win the future”—a slogan with deeply Social Darwinist roots, by the way.

After the future business didn’t pan out so well in numerous scrapes with the House GOP, his frustration took a different direction a year later. In his 2012 State of the Union, after celebrating Osama bin Laden’s killing and the withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq, the President focused on the “courage, selflessness, and teamwork of America’s armed forces”:

At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together…. Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example.
Yes, if politics were rigidly hierarchical, if we had to follow orders from above without question, and if living together as a free people were as unequivocal and straightforward an affair as pumping bullets into bin Laden, then we could accomplish a lot more—or a lot less, depending on how highly you value democratic self-government as an accomplishment. And the truth is that the leadership paradigm values freedom and self-rule much less than it does getting things done, attacking social problems, and making sure that liberal programs survive the struggle for existence on Capitol Hill.

Leadership is a term from the military side of politics, and one of the reasons the Founders resisted it was their determination to preserve republican politics as a civilian forum, as the activity of a free people ruling itself. A standing army might be necessary for that people’s defense, but citizens had no business longing to exchange political debate and deliberation for military solidarity and discipline.

On his better days, President Obama knows that, but this wasn’t one of them. He went on: “When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian or Latino; conservative or liberal; rich or poor; gay or straight.” Nor does it matter, by the way, whether you think the war is just or unjust, prudent or imprudent.

It might seem that liberals have come a long way from the protest days of the 1960s when many of them lustily denounced the American war machine; but in fact, they’re still compensating or overcompensating for their contempt of the U.S. military back then. At the same time, they are returning to an older Progressive tradition, highly visible in the New Deal, of trying vainly to make politics the moral equivalent of war. In any event, no one has to put on a uniform to be an equal citizen with equal rights under our Constitution.

Progressivism Without Progress?
To make possible a governing liberal majority, Obama has to rehabilitate liberalism’s reputation, to separate it as much as possible from the radical politics of the Sixties and the burden of defending big government.

President Clinton began this renewal in the 1990s. In some ways, Obama continues and sharpens Clinton’s efforts, wringing all the benefits he can out of the appearance of post-partisanship while making few sacrifices of substance. He far outshines Clinton, however, in telling the story of America in a way that reinforces a resurgent liberalism. More than any other Democratic President since FDR, Obama has an impressive interpretation of American history that culminates in him and that reworks and counters Reagan’s view of our history as the working out of American exceptionalism (including divine favor), individualism, limited government, free-market economics, and time-tested morals.

As a writer, Obama’s strength is telling stories, and his account of America is a kind of story, mixing social, intellectual, and political history. It begins with the Founding—with the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. He tries to construct a new consensus view of the country that acknowledges and then contextualizes traditional views in a way meant to be reassuring but that points to very untraditional conclusions. For instance, in The Audacity of Hope, in a chapter titled “Values,” he quotes the Declaration’s famous sentence on self-evident truths and then comments:

Those simple words are our starting point as Americans; they describe not only the foundations of our government but the substance of our common creed. Not every American may be able to recite them; few, if asked, could trace the genesis of the Declaration of Independence to its roots in eighteenth-century liberal and republican thought. But the essential idea behind the Declaration—that we are born into this world free, all of us; that each of us arrives with a bundle of rights that can’t be taken away by any person or any state without just cause; that through our own agency we can, and must, make of our lives what we will—is one that every American understands.[3]
It sounds almost Lincolnian until one notices that the rights in this bundle are not said to be natural, exactly, nor true and certainly not self-evident; they are an outgrowth of 18th century political thought, too recondite for most Americans to know or remember. Abraham Lincoln, when explaining the Declaration, traced its central idea to God and nature, not to 18th century ideologies. He called for “all honor to Jefferson” for introducing “into a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times.” When Jefferson was asked about the document’s source and purpose, he looked to common sense as well as to a much older and richer philosophical tradition.[4]

A commonsense argument harmonious with the political principles of Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, and Sidney and proceeding from an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, could hardly be a simple distillation of 18th century ideologies—unless, of course, Jefferson and Lincoln didn’t know what they were talking about. If they spoke for their age without knowing so, if they were men of their times but didn’t realize it, then like their 21st century countrymen, they too would have been ignorant of their 18th century wellsprings, but precisely because they were living in or at least not long after the 18th century!

Returning to Obama’s American story, we see that it blends two themes: individualism (symbolized in the Declaration) and “unity” (symbolized in the Constitution’s commitment to “a more perfect Union”). The latter phrase, plucked from the Preamble, has long been a favorite of liberals from Wilson to Bill Clinton. For Obama, unity means being your brother’s and sister’s keeper; it means coming together “as one American family.” “If fate causes us to stumble or fall, our larger American family will be there to lift us up,” he explains.

In real life, he hasn’t exactly been there to lift up his aunt in Boston or his hut-dwelling half brother in Kenya, but then families in real life often disappoint. Even so, the family’s failings only leave more work for the State. Membership in it confers or protects our “dignity,” Obama argues, in the sense of guaranteeing “a basic standard of living” and effectively sharing “life’s risks and rewards for the benefit of each and the good of all.” And no one can enjoy “dignity and respect” without a society that guarantees both “social justice” and “economic justice.”

These ramify widely, demanding, in Obama’s words, that “if you work in America you should not be poor”; that a college education should be every child’s “birthright”; and that every American should have broadband access. Lately, he’s feeling even more generous. The “basic American promise,” he said in his 2012 State of the Union address, was and should be again that “if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement.”[5]

That sounds more like winning life’s lottery than a promise that anyone could justly demand be fulfilled. Notice how craftily, however, Obama shifts his examples of social duty from picking up the fallen to sending someone else’s kids to college. How easily liberal magicians transform needs into desires and desires into rights. They do it right before our eyes and never explain the secret of the trick. Still, it’s revealing that he doesn’t go whole hog, turning such socioeconomic goods explicitly into rights and cataloging them for our wonderment. Chastened by the right-wing and middle-class backlash against welfare rights, he follows Bill Clinton in silently recasting, say, the right to go to college on someone else’s money as an “investment” in “opportunity.” As Obama presents it:

…opportunity is yours if you’re willing to reach for it and work for it. It’s the idea that while there are few guarantees in life, you should be able to count on a job that pays the bills; health care for when you need it; a pension for when you retire; an education for your children that will allow them to fulfill their God-given potential.
Actually, there are quite a few “guarantees” in a life lived in Obama’s America. Even as he’s wary of rights talk after the Sixties’ implosion, he also denies any fondness for “big government.” Newfangled rights would imply a big government to provide them. He’s not in favor of that; he supports “active government.” These aren’t blank-check rights because the recipient has some reciprocal responsibilities—filling out the enrollment forms, showing up at class, making passing grades, and the like. But the obligations are usually minimal, and besides, don’t responsibilities and rights usually keep a house together? So these are rights of a sort, and Obama said so explicitly a month before the 2008 election in a CNN debate with John McCain. Asked whether health care was a privilege, a responsibility, or a right, he replied, “Well, I think it should be a right for every American.”[6] But he had avoided saying so up to that point.

Obama leaves the relationship between individualism and “a more perfect union” up in the air, to be settled pragmatically. Every society has a similar tension between “autonomy and solidarity,” he writes, and “it has been one of the blessings of America that the circumstances of our nation’s birth allowed us to negotiate these tensions better than most.” The circumstances, not the principles, of our nation were key, because the wide-open continent allowed individuals to head west and form new communities to their liking whenever they wanted to.

But the continent filled up; big corporations gradually took over from the family farm, just as Wilson and FDR had explained generations before; and soon our “values” were in a more serious conflict that required a bigger government to help reconcile. Unfortunately, that government proved enduringly unpopular with conservatives, who refused to adjust to the new times; and so finding the proper balance between the individual and the community continues to stoke our increasingly polarized and polarizing political debates.

Though he hails the Constitution as a mechanism of “deliberative democracy,” Obama doesn’t mean by that a back-and-forth on public policy conducted by the executive and legislative branches with input from the people. Deliberation of that kind, endorsed by The Federalist and consistent with natural rights, would seek means to the ends of constitutional government. That’s too narrow for Obama, who seeks deliberation about the ends, or at least about what our rights will be and what the Constitution should mean in the age that is dawning. He wants to turn all of the Constitution’s mechanisms—separation of powers, federalism, checks and balances—into ways of forcing a “conversation” about our identity. In such a conversation, “all citizens are required to engage in a process of testing their ideas against an external reality, persuading others of their point of view, and building shifting alliances of consent.”[7]

Required? An external reality? And who judges whether the resulting conversation meets the requirements of democracy or not? Obama deplores the bile in our contemporary politics, and it must puzzle him that he causes so much of it. But he’s asking for it. As Bill Buckley used to say, liberals always talk about their tolerance and eagerness to engage with other views, but they’re always surprised to find that there are other views.

Obama expects 21st century people to have, roughly speaking, 21st century views, as he does. What then of Jefferson and his 18th century compeers? Obama soon makes clear that despite their fine words, Jefferson and the other Founders were less than faithful to the liberal and republican inferences of the principles they proclaimed. Like a good law school professor, in The Audacity of Hope, Obama lines up evidence and argument on both sides before concluding that, in fact, the Founders probably did not understand their principles as natural and universal, despite their language, but rather as confined to the white race. The Declaration of Independence “may have been,” he says, a transformative moment in world history, a great breakthrough for freedom, but “that spirit of liberty didn’t extend, in the minds of the Founders, to the slaves who worked their fields, made their beds, and nursed their children.” As a result, the Constitution “provided no protection to those outside the constitutional circle,” to those who were not “deemed members of America’s political community”: “the Native American whose treaties proved worthless before the court of the conqueror, or the black man Dred Scott, who would walk into the Supreme Court a free man and leave a slave.”

Obama doesn’t argue, as Lincoln did, that the Supreme Court majority was in error, that Dred Scott was wrongly and unjustly returned to slavery, and that Chief Justice Roger Taney’s dictum—that, in the Founders’ view, the black man had no rights that the white man was bound to respect—was a profound solecism. On the contrary, Obama accepts Dred Scott as rightly decided according to the standards of the time. He agrees, in effect, with Taney’s reading of the Declaration and the Constitution, and with Stephen Douglas’s as well. Despite his admiration for Lincoln, Obama sides with Lincoln’s opponents in their interpretation of Jefferson and the Declaration as pro-slavery.[8] Obama regards the original intention of both the Declaration and the Constitution to be racist and even pro-slavery, but he refrains from making the point explicit.

His understanding of the past thus pays lip service to such things as self-evident truths, original intent, and first principles but quickly changes the subject to values, visions, dreams, ideals, myths, and narratives. This is a postmodern “move.” We can’t know or share truth, postmodernists assert, because there is no truth “out there,” but we can share stories and thus construct a community of shared meaning. It’s these ideas that mark his furthest departure from old-fashioned liberalism.

More and less radical, more and less nihilist—Obama comes in on the “less” side, but then a little bit of nihilism goes a long way. “Implicit…in the very idea of ordered liberty,” he writes in The Audacity of Hope, is “a rejection of absolute truth, the infallibility of any idea or ideology or theology or ‘ism,’ any tyrannical consistency that might lock future generations into a single, unalterable course, or drive both majorities and minorities into the cruelties of the Inquisition, the pogrom, the gulag, or the jihad.” There is no absolute truth—and that’s the absolute truth, he argues. Such feeble, self-contradictory reasoning is at the heart of Obama’s very private and yet very public struggle with himself to determine whether there is anything anywhere that can truly be known, or even that is rational to have faith in. Anyone who believes, really believes, in absolute truth, he asserts, is a fanatic or in imminent danger of becoming a fanatic; absolute truth is the mother of extremism everywhere.

Although it’s certainly a good thing that America avoided religious and political tyranny, no previous President has ever credited this achievement to the Founders’ rejection of absolute truth, previously known as “truth.” Is the idea that human freedom is right, slavery wrong, thus to be rejected lest we embrace an “absolute truth”? What becomes of the “universal truths” Obama himself celebrates on occasion? Surely the problem is not with the degree of belief, but with the falseness of the causes for which the Inquisition, the pogrom, the gulag, and the jihad stood. A fervent belief in religious liberty is not equivalent to a fervent belief in religious tyranny any more than a passionate belief in democracy is equivalent to a passionate longing for dictatorship.

In The Audacity of Hope, within two pages of his criticism of the Founders for allegedly excluding black Americans from constitutional protection as equal human beings and citizens, he warns against all such sweeping truth claims and indeed praises the Founders for being “suspicious of abstraction.” On every major question in America’s early history, he writes, “theory yielded to fact and necessity…. It may be the vision of the Founders that inspires us, but it was their realism, their practicality and flexibility and curiosity, that ensured the Union’s survival.”[9] Obama cannot decide whether to blame the Founders as racists or to celebrate them as relativists; to assail them for not applying their truths absolutely to blacks and Indians along with whites or to praise them for compromising their too absolute principles for the sake of something concrete.

His attempt to resolve this contradiction carries him into still deeper and murkier waters. Obama turns for inspiration to the abolitionists, drawing no distinction between a superb publicist and reasoner like Frederick Douglass and a butcher like John Brown, who was happy “to spill blood and not just words on behalf of his visions.” Both were “absolutists,” which, by Obama’s definition, means they were “unreasonable” but willing to fight for “a new order.” He goes on to confess he has a soft spot for “those possessed of similar certainty today”—for example, the “antiabortion activist” or the “animal rights activist” who’s willing to break the law. He seems to suffer from certainty envy. He respects passionate, even fanatic commitment as such. Though he may “disagree with their views,” he admits that “I am robbed even of the certainty of uncertainty—for sometimes absolute truths may well be absolute.” Not true, necessarily, but absolute. It’s hard to know what he means exactly. That the “truths” are fit for the times, are destined to win out and forge a “new order”? That they are willed absolutely, not pragmatically or contingently? Even his rejection of absolute truth is now uncertain.

So, finally, in his perplexity, he turns again to Lincoln. Like “no man before or since,” Lincoln “understood both the deliberative function of our democracy and the limits of such deliberation.” His presidency combined firm convictions with practicality or expediency. Obama seems never to have heard of prudence, the way a statesman (and a reasonable and decent person) moves from universal principles to particular conclusions in particular circumstances. The 16th President, he ventures, was humble and self-aware, “maintaining within himself the balance between two contradictory ideas,” that we are all imperfect and thus must reach for “common understandings” and that at times “we must act nonetheless, as if we are certain, protected from error only by providence.”

For a man like Lincoln, there is no such thing, he says in effect, as acting with moral certainty, only acting “as if we are certain,” God help us. Unlike John Brown, Lincoln was an absolutist who realized the limitations of absolutism yet still brought forth a new order. “Lincoln, and those buried at Gettysburg,” Obama concludes, “remind us that we should pursue our own absolute truths only if we acknowledge that there may be a terrible price to pay.”[10] Our own absolute truths? Those words ought to send a shudder down Americans’ constitutional spine, assuming we still have one.

The Liberal Crisis
Liberals like crises, and one shouldn’t spoil them by handing them another on a silver salver. The kind of crisis that is approaching, however, is probably not their favorite kind—an emergency that presents an opportunity to enlarge government—but one that will find liberalism at a crossroads, a turning point. Liberalism can’t go on as it is, not for very long. It faces difficulties both philosophical and fiscal that will compel it either to go out of business or to become something quite different from what it has been.

For most of the past century, liberalism was happy to use relativism as an argument against conservatism. Those self-evident truths that the old American constitutional order rested on were neither logically self-evident nor true, Woodrow Wilson and his followers argued, but merely rationalizations for an immature, subjective form of right that enshrined selfishness as national morality. What was truly evident was the relativity of all past views of morality, each a reflection of its society’s stage of development. But there was a final stage of development when true morality would be actualized and its inevitability made abundantly clear—that is, self-evident.

Disillusionment came when the purported end or near end of history coincided not with idealism justified and realized, but with what many liberals in the 1960s, especially the young, despaired of as the infinite immorality of poverty, racial injustice, Vietnam, the System, and the threat of nuclear annihilation. Relativism rounded on liberalism. Having promised so much, liberalism was peculiarly vulnerable to the charge that the complete spiritual fulfillment it once promised was neither complete nor fulfilling.

As Obama’s grappling shows, intelligent and morally sensitive liberals may try to suppress or internalize the problem of relativism, but it cannot be forgotten or ignored. Despite his investment in deliberative democracy, communitarianism, and pragmatic decision making, he’s willing to throw it all aside at the moment of decision because it doesn’t satisfy his love of justice, or rather his love of a certain kind of courage or resolute action. “The blood of slaves reminds us that our pragmatism can sometimes be moral cowardice,” he writes.[11] In a moment like that, a great man must follow his own absolute truth, and the rest of us are left hoping it is Lincoln and not John Brown, much less Jefferson Davis, whose will is triumphant. The great man doesn’t anticipate or follow or approximate history’s course; he creates it, wills it according to his own absolute will, not absolute knowledge.

When combined with liberalism’s lust for strong leaders, this openness to Nietzschean creativity looms dangerously over the liberal future. If we are lucky, if liberalism is lucky, no one will ever apply for the position of liberal “superhero,” in Michael Tomasky’s term, and the role will remain vacant. But as Lincoln asked in the Lyceum speech, “Is it unreasonable then to expect, that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time, spring up among us?”

And when such a one does, it will require the people to be united with each other, attached to the government and laws, and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his designs. Distinction will be his paramount object; and although he would as willingly, perhaps more so, acquire it by doing good as harm; yet, that opportunity being past, and nothing left to be done in the way of building up, he would set boldly to the task of pulling down.
More worrisome even than the danger of a superman able to promise that everything desirable will soon be possible is a people unattached to its constitution and laws; and for that, liberalism has much to answer.

In one crucial respect, our situation would seem more perilous than the future danger Lincoln sketched insofar as the very definitions of political “good” and “harm” are now uncertain. Avant-garde liberalism used to be about progress; now it’s about nothingness. You call that progress? Perhaps, paradoxically, that’s why Obama prefers to be called a progressive rather than a liberal. It’s better to believe in something than in nothing, even if the something, Progress, is not as believable as it used to be. His residual progressivism helps insure him against his instinctual postmodernism. Still, liberalism is in a bad way when it has lost confidence in its own truth, and it’s an odd sort of “progress” to go back to a name it surrendered 80 years ago.

Adding to liberal self-doubt is that liberalism’s monopoly on the social sciences, long since broken, has been supplanted by a multiple-front argument with conservative scholars in economics, political science, and other fields. In the beginning, Progressivism commanded all the social sciences because it had invented or imported them all. Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson could be confident in the inevitability of progress, despite temporary setbacks, because the social sciences backed them up. An expertise in administering progress existed, and experts in public administration, Keynesian economics, national planning, urban affairs, modernization theory, development studies, and a half-dozen other specialties beavered away at bringing the future to life.

What a difference a half-century makes. The vogue for national planning disappeared under the pressure of ideas and events. Friedrich Hayek demonstrated why socialist economic planning, lacking free-market pricing information, could not succeed. In a side-by-side experiment, West Germany far outpaced East Germany in economic development, and all the people escaping across the Wall traveled from east to west, leaving their workers’ paradise behind. Keynesianism flunked the test of the 1970s stagflation. The Reagan boom, with its repeated tax cuts, flew in the face of the orthodoxy at the Harvard Department of Economics but was cheered by the Chicago School. Milton Friedman’s advice to Chile proved far sounder than Jeffrey Sachs’s to Russia. Monetarism, rational choice economics, supply-side, “government failure,” “regulatory capture,” “incentive effects”—the intellectual discoveries were predominantly on the Right. Conservative and libertarian think tanks multiplied, carrying the new insights directly into the fray.

The scholarly counterattack proceeded in political science and the law, too. Rational choice and “law and economics” changed the agenda to some degree. Both politics and the law became increasingly “originalist” in bearing, enriched by a new appreciation for 18th century sources and the original intent of the Founders and the Framers of the Constitution. Above all, the Progressives’ attempt to replace political philosophy with social science foundered.

After World War II, an unanticipated and at first unheralded revival of political philosophy began, associated above all with Leo Strauss, questioning historicism and nihilism in the name of a broadly Socratic understanding of nature and natural right. New studies of the tradition yielded some very untraditional results. Though there were left-wing as well as right-wing aspects to this revival, the latter proved more influential and liberating. The unquestionability of both progress and relativism died quietly in classrooms around the country. Economics is an instrumental science, studying means not ends, and so much of the successes of free-market economics could be swallowed pragmatically by liberalism’s maw. The developments in political philosophy challenged the ends of Progressivism, proving far more damaging to it.

In sheer numbers, the academy remained safely, overwhelmingly in the hands of the Left, whose members in fact grew more radical, with some notable exceptions, in these years. But they gradually lost the unchallenged intellectual ascendancy, though not the prestige, they once had enjoyed.

Thanks to this intellectual rebirth, the case against Progressivism and in favor of the Constitution is stronger and deeper than it has ever been. Progressivism has never been in a fair fight, an equal fight, until now, because its political opponents had largely been educated in the same ideas, had lost touch, like Antaeus, with the ground of the Constitution in natural right, and so tended to offer only Progressivism Lite as an alternative.

The sheer superficiality of Progressive scholarship is now evident. Progressives could never take the ideas of the Declaration and Constitution seriously for many of the same reasons that Obama cannot ultimately take them seriously. Wilson never demonstrated that the Constitution was inadequate to the problems of his age—he asserted it, or rather assumed it. His references to The Federalist are shallow and general, never betraying a close familiarity with any paper or papers, and willfully ignorant of the separation of powers as an instrument to energize and hone, not merely limit, the national government. Though he thought of himself as picking up where Hamilton, Webster, and Lincoln had left off, Wilson never investigated where they left off and why. Neither he nor his main contemporaries asked how far The Federalist’s or Lincoln’s reading of national powers and duties might take them, because they assumed it would not take them very far, that it reflected the political forces of its age and had to be superseded by new doctrines for a new age. They weren’t interested in Lincoln’s reasons, only in his results. Not right but historical might was the Progressives’ true focus.

Today liberalism looks increasingly, well, elderly. Hard of hearing, irascible, enamored of past glories, forgetful of mistakes and promises, prone to repeat the same stories over and over—it isn’t the youthful voice of tomorrow it once imagined itself to be. Only a rhetorician of Obama’s youth and artfulness could breathe life into the old tropes again.

Even he can’t repeat the performance in 2012. With a track record to defend, he will have to speak more prose and less poetry. With a century-old track record, liberalism will find it harder than ever to paint itself as the disinterested champion of the public good. Long ago, it became an Establishment, one of the estates of the realm, with its court-party of notoriously self-interested constituencies: the public employee unions, the trial lawyers, the feminists, the environmentalists, and the corporations aching to be public utilities paying private-sector salaries. Not visions of the future, but visions of plunder come to mind. This is one side of what Walter Russell Mead means when he criticizes the “blue state social model” as outmoded and heavy-handed.[12]

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is about as sleek and innovative as the several phone books’ worth of paper it takes up in printed form. Can one imagine Steve Jobs’s reaction if he had been tasked with reading, much less implementing, the PPACA? It is exhibit A in the case for the intellectual obsolescence of liberalism.

Finally, we come to the fiscal embarrassments confronting contemporary liberals. Again, Obamacare is wonderfully emblematic. President Obama’s solution to the problem of two health care entitlement programs quickly going bankrupt—Medicare and Medicaid—is to add a third? Perhaps it is a stratagem. More likely it is simply the reflexive liberal solution to any social problem: Spend more.

From Karl Marx to John Rawls, if you’ll excuse the juxtaposition, left-wing critics of capitalism have often paid it the supreme compliment of presuming it so productive an economic system that it has overcome permanently the problem of scarcity in human life. Capitalism has generated a “plenty.” It has distributional problems, which produce intolerable social and economic instability; but eliminate or control those inconveniences and it could produce wealth enough not only to provide for every man’s necessities, but also to lift him into the realm of freedom. To some liberals, that premise implied that socioeconomic rights could be paid for without severe damage to the economy and without oppressive taxation, at least of the majority.

Obama is the first liberal to suggest that even capitalism cannot pay for all the benefits promised by the American welfare state, particularly regarding health care. Granted, his solution is counterintuitive in the extreme, which makes one wonder if he is sincere. To the extent that liberalism is the welfare state, and the welfare state is entitlement spending, and entitlements are mostly spent effecting the right to health care, the insolvency of the health care entitlement programs is rightly regarded as a major part of the economic and moral crisis of liberalism. “Simply put,” Yuval Levin writes, “we cannot afford to preserve our welfare state in anything like its present form.” According to the Congressional Budget Office, by 2025, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the interest on the federal debt will consume all—all—federal revenues, leaving defense and all other expenditures to be paid for by borrowing; and the debt will be approaching twice the country’s annual GDP.[13]

Conclusion
If something can’t go on forever, Herbert Stein noted sagely, it won’t. It would be possible to increase federal revenues by raising taxes, but the kind of money that’s needed could only be raised by taxing the middle class (defined, let us say, as all those families making less than $250,000 a year) very heavily. Like every other Democratic candidate since Walter Mondale, who made the mistake of confessing to the American people that he was going to raise their taxes, Obama swore not to do that.

If the bankruptcy of the entitlement programs were handled just the right way, with world-class cynicism and opportunism, in an emergency demanding quick, painful action lest Grandma descend into an irreversible diabetic coma, then liberalism might succeed in maneuvering America into a Scandinavia-style überwelfare state, fueled by massive and regressive taxes cheerfully accepted by the citizenry. But odds are we stand instead at the twilight of the liberal welfare state. As it sinks, a new, more conservative system will likely rise that will feature some combination of more means-testing of benefits, a switch from defined-benefit to defined-contribution programs, greater devolution of authority to the states and localities, a new budget process that will force welfare expenditures to compete with other national priorities, and the redefinition of the welfare function away from fulfilling socioeconomic “rights” and toward charitably taking care of the truly needy as best the community can afford when private efforts have failed or proved inadequate.

Currently, the welfare state operates almost independently alongside the general government. Taken together, these reforms will work to reintegrate the welfare state into the government, curtailing its state-within-a-state status and, even more important, integrating it back into the constitutional system that stands on natural rights and consent.

Is it just wishful thinking to imagine the end of liberalism? Few things in politics are permanent. Conservatism and liberalism didn’t become the central division in our politics until the middle of the 20th century. Before that, American politics revolved around such issues as states’ rights, the wars, slavery, the tariff, and suffrage. Parties have come and gone in our history. You won’t find many Federalists, Whigs, or Populists lining up at the polls these days. Britain’s Liberal Party faded from power in the 1920s. The Canadian Liberal Party collapsed in 2011.

Recently, within a decade of its maximum empire at home and abroad, a combined intellectual movement, political party, and form of government crumbled away, to be swept up and consigned to the dustbin of history. Communism, which in a very different way from American liberalism traced its roots to Hegel, Social Darwinism, and leadership by a vanguard group of intellectuals, vanished before our eyes, though not without an abortive coup or two. If Communism, armed with millions of troops and thousands of megatons of nuclear weapons, could collapse of its own dead weight and implausibility, why not American liberalism?

The parallel is imperfect, of course, because liberalism and its vehicle, the Democratic Party, remain profoundly popular, resilient, and changeable. Elections matter to them. What’s more, the egalitarian impulse, centralized government (though not centralized administration), and the Democratic Party have deep roots in the American political tradition—and reflect permanent aspects of modern democracy itself, as Tocqueville testifies.

Some elements of liberalism are inherent in American democracy, then, but the compound, the peculiar combination that is contemporary liberalism, is not. Compounded of the Hegelian philosophy of history, Social Darwinism, the living constitution, leadership, the cult of the State, the rule of administrative experts, entitlements and group rights, and moral creativity, modern liberalism is something new and distinctive, despite the presence in it, too, of certain American constants like the love of equality and democratic individualism.

Under the pressure of ideas and events, that compound could come apart. Liberals’ confidence in being on the right, the winning side of history could crumble, perhaps has already begun to crumble. Trust in government, which really means in the State, is at all-time lows. A majority of Americans oppose a new entitlement program—in part because they want to keep the old programs unimpaired, but also because the economic and moral sustainability of the whole welfare state grows more and more doubtful. The goodwill and even the presumptive expertise of many government experts command less and less respect. Obama’s speeches no longer send the old thrill up the leg, and his leadership, whether for one or two terms, may yet help to discredit the respectability of following the Leader.

The Democratic Party is unlikely to go poof, but it’s possible that modern liberalism will. A series of nasty political defeats and painful repudiations of its impossible dreams might do the trick. At the least, it will have to downsize its ambitions and get back in touch with political, moral, and fiscal reality. It will have to—all together now—turn back the clock. Much will depend, too, on what conservatives say and do in the coming years. Will they have the prudence and guile to elevate the fight to the level of constitutional principle, to expose the Tory credentials of their opponents?

President Obama’s decision to double down aggressively on the reach and cost of big government just as the European model of social democracy is hitting the skids provides the perfect opportunity for conservatives to exploit. His course makes the problems of liberalism worse and more urgent, as though he is eager for a crisis. Sooner or later, the crisis will come. If the people remain attached to their government and laws and American statesmen do their part, the country may yet take the path leading up from liberalism.

—Charles R. Kesler, Ph.D., is a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, editor of the Claremont Review of Books, and professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. He is the author of I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism (Broadside Books, 2012), from which this essay was adapted.
Hide References

[1]Stanley Kurtz, Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism (New York: Threshold Editions, 2010), pp. 1–11, 21–60, 71–77, 86.
[2]See Barack Obama, Remarks Following the Iowa Caucuses, January 3, 2008, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=76232&st=&st1=#axzz1lvulJr36.
[3]Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (New York: Crown Publishers, 2006), p. 53.
[4]Abraham Lincoln, Letter to H. L. Pierce and Others, April 6, 1859, in The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, ed. Roy P. Basler (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1953), vol. 3, p. 376; Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Henry Lee, May 8, 1825, and Letter to Roger Weightman, June 24, 1826, in Thomas Jefferson: Writings, ed. Merrill D. Peterson (New York: Library of America, 1984), pp. 1501, 1517. For a commentary, see Harry V. Jaffa, A New Birth of Freedom (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000), ch. 2.
[5]Barack Obama, “A Hope to Fulfill,” Remarks of Senator Barack Obama at the National Press Club, April 26, 2005, http://obamaspeeches.com/014-National-Press-Club-Speech.htm; Remarks Following the Wisconsin Primary, February 19, 2008, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=76558&st=&st1=#axzz1lvulJr36; Remarks in St. Paul, Minnesota, Claiming the Democratic Presidential Nomination Following the Montana and South Dakota Primaries, June 3, 2008, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=77409&st=&st1=#axzz1lvulJr36; Address Before a Joint Session of Congress on the State of the Union, January 24, 2012, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index/index.php?pid=99000#axzz1lvulJr36; and James T. Kloppenberg, Reading Obama: Dreams, Hope, and the American Political Tradition (Princeton, N.J.; Princeton University Press, 2011), pp. 89–110, 139–40.
[6]Barack Obama, Comments at Presidential Debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, October 7, 2008, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=84482&st=&st1=#axzz1lvulJr36.
[7]Obama, The Audacity of Hope, pp. 55, 92.
[8]Ibid., p. 95.
[9]Ibid., pp. 93–96. Obama echoes, and radicalizes, Woodrow Wilson’s distinction between the Founders as time-bound theorists and as competent statesmen.
[10]Ibid., pp. 97–98.
[11]Ibid., p. 98.
[12]See, for example, Walter Russell Mead, “Beyond the Blue Part One: The Crisis of the American Dream,” American Interest, January 29, 2012, http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/01/29/beyond-blue-part-one-the-crisis-of-the-american-dream/.
[13]Yuval Levin, “Beyond the Welfare State,” National Affairs, Spring 2011, pp. 21–38, 30, 32.

Voir également:

He was the change

James Piereson

The Criterion

A review of I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism by Charles R. Kesler

Four years ago, in the excited aftermath of the 2008 election, Barack Obama was widely viewed as a liberal messiah who would engineer a new era of liberal reform and cement a Democratic majority for decades to come. He would prove to be, as many pundits predicted, a Franklin Delano Roosevelt, or perhaps even an Abraham Lincoln, for our time. They were not alone in saying this: Obama himself said much the same thing.

These forecasts seemed grandiose at the time; today, after four years of an Obama presidency, they look positively silly. In contrast to 2008, 2012 Obama looks less like a transformational president and more like a typically embattled politician trying to survive a tight contest for reelection. Even some of his strongest supporters are now “defining Obama down” as just another Democratic “pol” making compromises and paying off constituencies in order to keep his coalition together. Extravagant hopes have given way to a scramble for survival. Few continue to believe that Obama will establish the foundations for a new era of liberal governance. Some are beginning to point toward a more surprising turn of events: Far from bringing about a renewal of liberalism, Obama is actually presiding over its disintegration and collapse.

This is the thesis of Charles R. Kesler’s fascinating and insightful new book, I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism.1 Mr. Kesler, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College and editor of The Claremont Review, is a well-known conservative scholar and authority on the history of liberal thought. Professor Kesler presents a critical yet nuanced portrayal of Obama and his rise to power. From his perspective as scholar and theorist, Kesler sees Obama as a conventional liberal or, better yet, as a progressive, and not as a socialist or anti-American subversive (as some of the President’s critics would have it). Viewed through a wide historical lens, Obama appears as the most recent—and perhaps the last—of a line of liberal presidents beginning with Woodrow Wilson a century ago and running through FDR to Lyndon Johnson and beyond to Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. A signal virtue of this book is that it shows how the Obama presidency fits into the evolution of modern liberalism from its origins in the Progressive movement more than a century ago.1

The great political battles in the United States during the nineteenth century were never ideological contests in the modern sense but rather controversies fought over the meaning of the Constitution and the intentions of the founding fathers. Political contests over expansion, the Bank of the United States, slavery, secession, and the regulation of commerce were fought out along constitutional lines. The politicians and statesmen of that era were not divided into liberal and conservative camps; those terms had little meaning in nineteenth-century America. Abraham Lincoln was not thought of as a “liberal,” nor were slave owners derided as “conservatives.” Both sides of that controversy appealed to the Constitution or to the Declaration of Independence to defend their positions.

The Progressives introduced an ideological element into American politics by detaching their arguments from the Constitution and grounding them instead in claims about progress and historical development. Progressives (they were not yet called “liberals”) asserted that the Constitution, with its complex framework designed to limit government, was out of date in the modern age of science, industrialism, and large trusts and corporations. Constitutionalists looked backwards to the founding fathers; Progressives looked forward to a vast future of never-ending progress and change. The founding fathers and their nineteenth-century successors anchored popular government in a philosophy of natural rights; Progressives looked to different foundations in history and development. Progressives could not get rid of the Constitution, but they could reinterpret it to allow for more federal action to regulate the trusts, resolve industrial disputes, and engineer progress. Thus was born the idea of a “living Constitution,” an open-ended and flexible document readily adapted to changing conditions.

The Progressives were proponents of scientific government, not necessarily of popular or representative government. They disdained legislative bodies with their vote-trading and petty disputes over constituent interests; thus, they looked to the presidency rather than to the Congress for national leadership in the direction of reform and progress. The president spoke for the people or the nation, Congress spoke for special interests. Progressives wanted to delegate power to administrative bodies, commissions, and bureaus staffed by disinterested experts who could apply up-to-date knowledge to solve new problems. The Interstate Commerce Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Federal Reserve Board were Progressive initiatives. The Progressives dreamed of a time when political contests among rival interests would give way to impartial administration by experts and judges trained by and recruited from the best colleges and universities in the land. Academic institutions, as Mr. Kesler points out, would go on to play a major role in the evolution of liberalism.

Professor Kesler identifies Woodrow Wilson as the chief architect of this vision in American politics, helping to lay the intellectual foundations for progressivism and then beginning to put them in place during his term as president. As a research scholar and university president, Wilson brought some of the abstract qualities of a college professor to the study of politics. He wrote an influential study of the US Congress without visiting the US Capitol. While he admired the founding fathers, he criticized them for leaving behind a constitutional structure that was disorderly and inefficient, and encouraged conflict rather than cooperation. Thus he claimed that the separation of powers in the Constitution was a mischievous invention designed to limit the powers of government and to prevent cooperation among the branches (which was partly true). Wilson wanted to bring the branches closer together through presidential leadership and responsible party government. He favored a parliamentary system like that in place in Great Britain in which the executive and legislative branches are unified under the control of a single party and led by the Prime Minister.

Most fundamentally of all, Wilson claimed that the vision of the founding fathers did not lead to progress but to endless division and factional infighting. The Constitution was a Newtonian machine designed to balance conflicting forces when what was now required was a Darwinian instrument flexible enough to evolve in response to changes in its environment. It was not necessary to change the Constitution itself in order to bring about such a fundamental change; it was only necessary for Americans to think about it in a new way. After all, Washington, Jefferson, and Madison led a revolution and wrote the Constitution in response to the challenges of their time: Why should not Americans in the twentieth century do the same? Thus Wilson and his associates in the Progressive movement looked to an intellectual revolution as the means by which Americans would liberate themselves from the constricted and obsolete doctrines of the founding fathers, and in the process free themselves from the limits the founders placed upon government.

Given his vast ambitions, Wilson could not hope to implement much of this agenda in eight short years in office. Yet he established the foundations for an influential and long-running movement based upon progress and change as a way of life, presidential leadership and executive power, trust in experts, and disdain for traditional constitutional forms. Mr. Kesler does not spend much time on Wilson’s path-breaking approach to international diplomacy, his role in the Paris Peace Conference, and his aborted personal campaign “to make the world safe for democracy.” Yet these may be understood as logical extensions from his broader philosophy that traditional forms of governance had reached a dead end and that new ones had to be built through inspired leadership.

It was FDR who began to use the term “liberalism” in place of “progressivism” in order to distinguish the New Deal from the Progressive Party that flamed out in the 1920s and, in contrast to the progressives, to associate his program with the founding ideals of the nation. It was also Roosevelt who hijacked the term from the classical liberals in order to associate it with reform and the welfare state in opposition to free markets and limited government. FDR, as Professor Kesler suggests in an illuminating chapter in the book, kept the language and rhetoric of the founders while not so subtly changing their meaning and purposes. This has also been true of the liberal presidents who have succeeded him.

The Republican victories during the 1920s demonstrated to Roosevelt just how fleeting and transient Wilson’s victories turned out to be. “Think of the great liberal achievements of Woodrow Wilson’s New Freedom,” he said in one of his radio addresses during the 1930s, “and how quickly they were liquidated under President Harding.” Roosevelt formulated programs (like Social Security and the Wagner Act) that had popular followings but were also grounded in the language of rights and liberty such that no one could claim that they were “un-American.” FDR paid homage to Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence, but also said that the basic rights outlined in that document were subject to redefinition in light of changes in the social order. Jefferson wrote about natural rights and liberty while FDR spoke of positive rights as a foundation for security. In his Second Bill of Rights, FDR outlined a vast agenda of such positive rights, including a right to adequate medical care, to a good education, to a decent home, to a “remunerative” job, and to adequate protection from “the fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.” The pursuit and perfection of these rights provided modern liberalism—and the Democratic Party—with an almost unlimited agenda of reform.

Among FDR’s successors, no one tried harder to emulate him and more miserably failed to do so than Lyndon Baines Johnson. Johnson began his political career in the 1930s as a New Deal functionary and then as a young member of the House of Representatives. “FDR was my hero; he was like a father to me,” Johnson told a reporter during his White House years. Johnson mastered the art of using public patronage to build political support. “He wanted to out-Roosevelt Roosevelt,” according to one of his aides. “We’re in favor of a lot of things and against mighty few,” he said during his 1964 campaign, thereby giving voters a taste of things to come.

Johnson, as Professor Kesler explains, sought to complete the agenda of quantitative liberalism by passing federal health insurance programs for the aged (Medicare) and the poor (Medicaid), and expanded welfare and food stamp programs to assist the underprivileged. Yet, given the insatiable spirit of modern liberalism, Johnson was not content to rest there. In his Great Society speech, he proclaimed a new agenda of qualitative liberalism through which government would elevate the spirit and quality of life of the American people. The Great Society, he said, “is a place where the city of man serves not only the needs of the body and the demands of commerce but the desire for beauty and the hunger for humanity.” Johnson launched a “war on poverty” and a campaign to end urban decay, passed civil rights bills, funded the arts and education, and gave the federal government license to enter into every area of American life.

Yet, by a cruel irony, Johnson’s high hopes and grand expectations soon turned into disappointment and tragedy as the country was torn apart by crime, riots in nearly every major urban center, and violent protests against the war in Vietnam. His vast expansion of domestic expenditures turned loose an ugly stampede for federal dollars that only incited demands for more. Far from being an era of spiritual fulfillment, the 1960s was one of anger, alienation, and escape through drugs and violence. Mr. Kesler writes that the enduring legacy of the 1960s is “the strange combination, still very much with us, of a more ambitious state and a less trusted government than ever before.” The more patronage the government handed out, the less satisfied its beneficiaries became.

If the New Deal stands out as the great triumph of modern liberalism, then the Great Society represents its signal tragedy and failure. This was the period, as Mr. Kesler writes, when “the radicalism that was latent all along in liberalism broke free of its faith in progress, science, and the democratic process itself.” Johnson’s failures arose from overreaching ambitions and the delusion that all human problems, even those of the spirit, must find solutions in politics and government programs. Yet, as the author argues, this kind of over-reaching is endemic to modern liberalism. It was already present, for example, in Wilson’s claims about progress and change and also in FDR’s unlimited agenda of positive rights. Liberalism both lives and dies off promises it cannot fulfill.

Barack Obama is the latest liberal president to attempt to harmonize grand hopes with the messy realities of programmatic reform. In this sense, he is a worthy heir to the legacy of Wilson, FDR, and LBJ, all of whom addressed the same challenge. Yet of the three, only one of them may be said to have ended his presidency on a positive note. Obama hopes to join FDR/span> as one of the successful presidents of the liberal era, but Mr. Kesler doubts his prospects for success.

Like FDR, who distinguished the New Deal from the New Freedom, Obama tried to make his break from the rancorous politics of the 1960s. He celebrates the flag, observes patriotic holidays, and praises the military. He is a solid family man. He even extolls the founding fathers, up to a point. In his view, the founders made a good start in laying down some noble principles, even if they did not live up to them and perhaps did not really believe them.

Obama was also aware that many of the bold initiatives of the 1960s were eventually discredited and, for the most part, rejected by the American people. No liberal today could possibly run for office citing the model of the Great Society. Without an ambitious programmatic agenda on which to run, Obama had little choice but to organize his campaign around “hope and change.” Few asked what exactly that might mean. One answer was that Obama himself, as a biracial and multicultural candidate, son of a Kenyan father and middle-class American mother, personified the change he and others were seeking. It was proof that America could overcome its racially scarred past. “I am the change,” as he has suggested on more than one occasion.

Here, then, according to Mr. Kesler, is one terminus of the liberal project. Where can it go beyond Barack Obama and the personal politics of hope and change? Another end point is fiscal and budgetary. With Obama’s signature health care legislation, an ambitious stimulus package, a series of trillion dollar plus deficits, and the impending retirement of the baby boomers, there is no more money left to fund further liberal projects. There is not even enough money left to fund those already in place. Will Obama’s presidency mark the end of the politics of public spending and thus the end of a movement that came into its own a full century ago with the election of Woodrow Wilson? That is a distinct possibility, and one brought into clear focus in this most illuminating and gracefully argued book.

1 I Am the Change: Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism by Charles R. Kesler; Broadside Books, 276 pages. $25.00.

Voir encore:

« Les attentats sont la macabre célébration du premier anniversaire de l’Etat islamique »
Mathieu Guidère, spécialiste du terrorisme islamiste, craint que les attaques perpétrées vendredi en Isère, à Sousse (Tunisie) et à Koweït City ne soient le début d’une vague d’attentats lancée par l’organisation jihadiste.
Propos recueillis par Hervé Brusin
Francetvinfo
27/06/2015

Un homme a tiré à la kalachnikov sur une plage de Sousse, tuant 38 personnes, vendredi 26 juin. Trois mois après le massacre du musée du Bardo, la Tunisie plonge à nouveau dans le cauchemar terroriste. Mathieu Guidère, spécialiste de géopolitique et du terrorisme islamiste, est justement originaire de ce pays. Pour francetv info, il analyse l’attentat commis à Sousse et le rapproche des autres attaques perpétrées en France et au Koweït le même jour.

Francetv info : Que vous inspire cette série d’attaques en France, en Tunisie et au Koweït ?

Mathieu Guidère : Cela fait un an maintenant qu’est apparu au grand jour l’Etat islamique (EI). Et l’on ne peut que constater qu’il a lancé les « festivités » de cet anniversaire, malgré les bombardements qu’il subit. Tout cela accompagne le début du ramadan la semaine dernière. L’EI a appelé la quasi-totalité de ses sympathisants à fêter cette première année par tous les moyens et partout dans le monde. Selon moi, les attentats perpétrés à Saint-Quentin-Fallavier (Isère), à Sousse et à Koweït City s’inscrivent dans cette macabre célébration. C’est un terrible pied de nez adressé à la communauté internationale. Et ce n’est que le début.

Pourquoi cela ?

Souvenons-nous : l’EI a commencé son offensive au début du ramadan 2014. Il a déclaré le califat le 30 juin 2014. Je pense donc que cela risque de culminer dans les semaines à venir. En outre, le mois de ramadan est considéré comme propice au jihad. Je crains donc que nous soyons face au lancement d’une campagne d’attentats.

En Tunisie spécifiquement, y a-t-il une continuité entre l’attentat du musée du Bardo en mars et la tuerie de Sousse ?

Absolument. A Sousse, l’action a été conduite par un groupe qui a fait allégeance à l’EI. Et il a clairement décidé de détruire le tourisme tunisien. Il l’a lui-même affirmé en déclarant : vous accueillez trop d’étrangers, la Tunisie n’est pas une terre pour héberger des étrangers, qui de surcroît bombardent nos frères en Syrie et en Irak. D’où la décision qui a été prise de s’attaquer systématiquement aux infrastructures du tourisme tunisien et donc, dans un premier temps, au musée du Bardo. Ce groupe s’intitule « les soldats du califat en Tunisie ».

Comment prévenir la vague d’attentats dont vous parlez ?

Par une prévention active, concrète. En Tunisie, par exemple, il faut installer des caméras de vidéosurveillance, pratiquer des contrôles d’accès aux lieux publics. En France, il faut sécuriser les lieux par ce même genre de dispositifs. En revanche, je suis très réticent sur la présence de soldats en faction devant les lieux sensibles. Ils peuvent à leur tour devenir des cibles.

Les pouvoirs publics sont-ils conscients des risques qui, selon vous, nous guettent ?

Je ne le crois pas. Le fait de bombarder l’EI et de le dire publiquement peut pousser des individus à commettre des attentats en France. Mais surtout, on n’est pas assez conscients de la portée symbolique des dates et des lieux. Désormais, l’EI se considère comme un Etat, gère les territoires comme tel, avec un gouvernement, une administration et un agenda. Nous sommes bel et bien face à un Etat terroriste.

Voir enfin:

La Chine construit des îles artificielles pour revendiquer des zones maritimes
Julien Licourt
Le Figaro
10/02/2015

La République populaire entend asseoir son influence sur des ilôts inhabités mais stratégiques de la mer de Chine.
Une île artificielle en forme de porte-avion. La Chine est en train d’agglomérer des milliers de tonnes de terre sur un récif corallien afin de le transformer en piste d’atterrissage. L’objectif: asseoir sa domination sur une zone stratégique très disputée, la mer de Chine.

Jusqu’à présent, la majeure partie de l’île de Fiery Cross, ou Yongshu, en Chinois, se trouvait sous l’eau, à l’exception de quelques rochers et d’une surface de béton artificielle, servant à héberger une petite garnison de soldats. Des images satellites, analysées par des experts anglo-saxons de l’IHS, ont montré que depuis quelques mois, des navires chinois draguaient les fonds environnants. Les images ont également montré que ces derniers rassemblent les sédiments sur la barrière de corail, afin de faire émerger des eaux une piste de 3000 mètres de long sur 300 mètres, au plus, de large. Un port, à l’est de l’île, serait également en train d’être créé par les dragues chinoises. Il serait suffisamment grand pour «accueillir des pétroliers ou de grands navires de guerre», selon les experts de l’IHS.

Yongshu est située dans l’archipel des Spratleys, un territoire en plein milieu de la mer de Chine dont les récifs confettis, d’une superficie totale de 5 km2, sont répartis sur une zone de 410.000 km2. Quelques bouts de terre disputés entre le Brunei, la Malaisie, les Philippines, Taïwan et la Chine, dernière puissance à ne pas disposer de piste d’atterrissage dans les environs.

Une zone très stratégique
Dans un rapport, le ministère de la Défense français rappelle que les prétentions de Pékin sont fondées sur des arguments historiques: «La Chine prétend que des pêcheurs chinois fréquentent la mer de Chine du Sud depuis des époques aussi reculées que la période des Trois Royaumes (220-265).» Selon le rapport, il faut en réalité attendre les années 1980 pour qu’elle s’intéresse réellement à ces îles perdues. En 1987, la Chine en occupe 7. Cinq ans plus tard, elle revendique la totalité de l’archipel.

Si la Chine s’y intéresse autant, ce n’est pas en souvenir de quelques pêcheurs ancestraux. Cette zone, inconnue du grand public, est d’un intérêt géostratégique majeur. Elle est le point de passage entre l’Océan indien et l’Océan pacifique et permet la communication de l’Europe et de l’Asie orientale. Près d’un tiers du trafic maritime commercial du monde y passe, 90% de celui de la Chine. La Corée du Sud, le Japon et Taïwan y font transiter plus de la moitié de leurs ressources énergétiques. Si les éventuelles réserves de pétrole semblent pour le moment limitées, celles de gaz semblent au contraire très importantes: la zone pourrait comporter 13% des réserves mondiales, selon le rapport du ministère de la Défense.

Le précédent des Paracels
Outre l’évidente menace que représente la militarisation chinoise, la création de cette nouvelle terre vient asseoir la revendication de souveraineté chinoise: au regard du droit international, l’attribution d’une zone économique exclusive est déterminée par la possession d’un territoire côtier.

La Chine reproduit ici une tactique déjà éprouvée un peu plus au nord, dans l’archipel inhabité des Paracels, situé en face du Vietnam, qui revendique également ces territoires. Pékin y a créé une piste et un port. Dans les années 1970, un bref engagement entre la Chine et le Sud-Vietnam avait coûté la vie à 70 marins et envoyé par le fond trois navires vietnamiens. Seulement, après cet épisode, la présence chinoise avait été confortée dans l’archipel. En mai 2014, la Chine se servait de cette base territoriale pour justifier l’installation d’une plate-forme pétrolière dans les eaux des Paracels, entraînant une importante crise diplomatique avec le Vietnam.

Voir par ailleurs:

Memo to Supreme Court: State Marriage Laws Are Constitutional
Gene Schaerr and Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D.
The Heritage Foundation
March 10, 2015

Abstract
There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that requires all 50 states to redefine marriage. The only way one can establish the unconstitutionality of man–woman marriage laws is to adopt a view of marriage that sees it as an essentially genderless, adult-centric institution and then declare that the Constitution requires that the states (re)define marriage in such a way. In other words, one needs to establish that the vision of marriage our law has long applied is wrong and that the Constitution requires a different vision. There is, however, no basis in the Constitution for reaching that conclusion. Marriage is based on the anthropological truth that men and women are distinct and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children deserve a mother and a father, and states have constitutional authority to make marriage policy based on these truths.
Over the past year, four federal circuit courts—the Fourth, Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits—have ruled that the states and their people lack the ability under the federal Constitution to define marriage as it has always been defined: as the legal union of a man and a woman.[1] In their breathtaking sweep, those four rulings are reminiscent of the U.S. Supreme Court’s now-discredited decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford,[2] which likewise limited the people’s right to decide an issue of fundamental importance: whether their representatives in Congress had the constitutional authority to abolish slavery in the federal territories.[3]

Last fall, the Supreme Court allowed those four circuit decisions to go into effect, thereby overriding the votes of tens of millions of citizens in many parts of the nation. Fortunately, however, the Court has now agreed to revisit the issue in the context of a decision issued by the Sixth Circuit, which reaffirmed the right of a state’s people to choose the traditional man–woman definition of marriage.

The overarching question before the Supreme Court in the four cases that were consolidated before the Sixth Circuit and for purposes of review by the Supreme Court—Obergefell v. Hodges, Tanco v. Haslam, DeBoer v. Snyder, and Bourke v. Beshear—is not whether an exclusively male–female marriage policy is the best, but only whether it is allowed by the U.S. Constitution.[4] In other words, the question is not whether government-recognized same-sex marriage is good or bad policy, but only whether it is required by the U.S. Constitution.

To resolve that overarching question, the Supreme Court has directed the parties in those cases to address two precise questions:

Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state?
Those suing to overturn the marriage laws in the four states covered by the Sixth Circuit (Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee) thus have to prove that the man–woman marriage policy that has existed in the United States throughout our entire history is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.

The only way someone could succeed in such an argument is to adopt a view of marriage that sees it as an essentially genderless institution based only on the emotional needs of adults and then declare that the U.S. Constitution requires that the states (re)define marriage in such a way. Equal protection alone is not enough. To strike down marriage laws, the Court would need to say that the vision of marriage that our law has long applied equally is just wrong: that the Constitution requires a different vision entirely.

The U.S. Constitution, however, is silent on what marriage is and what policy goals the states should design it to serve, and there are good policy arguments on both sides. Judges should not insert their own policy preferences about marriage and declare them to be required by the U.S. Constitution any more than the Justices in Dred Scott should have written into the Constitution their own policy preferences in support of slavery.

That, of course, is not to suggest that same-sex marriage is itself comparable to slavery. The point is simply that, as in Dred Scott, this is a debate about whether citizens or judges will decide an important and sensitive policy issue—in this case, the very nature of civil marriage.

The Fourteenth Amendment’s Original Meaning
A legal challenge to these state marriage laws cannot appeal successfully to the text or original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. The text, invoking American citizens’ “privileges or immunities,” the “equal protection of the laws,” and the “due process of law,” nowhere mentions marriage. Back in the 1860s, could anyone who drafted that amendment or any of the citizens who voted to ratify it have reasonably thought that it could be used to invalidate state marriage laws defining marriage as a man–woman union?

Imagine, for example, how President Lincoln—an accomplished lawyer and an ardent opponent of Dred Scott—would have reacted if the amendment had been introduced before his death and someone had suggested that it might one day be interpreted to require states to recognize same-sex marriages. He would have viewed that suggestion as preposterous. There has never been any general right, he would have said, to marry anyone you claim to love, so a state’s rejection of that claimed “right” could not possibly be a denial of due process.

Lincoln would also have noted the similarities between Dred Scott and a decision imposing same-sex marriage. As distinguished law professor Michael Stokes Paulsen has elegantly argued, “in the structure and logic of the legal arguments made for judicial imposition of an across-the-board national rule requiring every state to accept the institutions [of slavery and the redefinition of marriage], the two situations appear remarkably similar.”[5]

Moreover, unlike miscegenation laws, the man–woman definition of marriage does not offend the Amendment’s equal-protection guarantee because it allows any otherwise qualified man and woman to marry, regardless of their sexual orientation or other circumstances. The fact that the institution of marriage, rightly understood, may be more attractive to some of a state’s citizens than others does not mean that a state violates the Fourteenth Amendment simply by refusing to redefine the institution to make it more attractive to more romantic partnerships.

Indeed, as the Sixth Circuit pointed out, all sides agree that the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment does not require the redefinition of marriage: “Nobody…argues that the people who adopted the 14th Amendment understood it to require the States to change the definition of marriage.”[6] The Sixth Circuit continued: “From the founding of the republic to 2003, every state defined marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman, meaning that the 14th Amendment permits, though it does not require, states to define marriage in that way.”[7]

The opinion closes by noting that “not a single U.S. Supreme Court Justice in American history has written an opinion maintaining that the traditional definition of marriage violates the 14th Amendment.”[8]

United States v. Windsor
Nor can a challenge reasonably appeal to the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision, which was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy and applied the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections in striking down a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Whether it was right or wrong as to DOMA, Windsor strongly supports the authority of states to define marriage: Every single time that Windsor talks about the harm of DOMA, it mentions that the state had chosen to recognize the bond that the federal government was excluding. Every single time, Justice Kennedy expressly said it was Congress’s deviation from the default of deference to state definitions that drove his opinion.

Kennedy’s opinion for the Court hinged on the reality that “[t]he significance of state responsibilities for the definition and regulation of marriage dates to the Nation’s beginning.”[9] “The definition of marriage,” Windsor explained, is “the foundation of the State’s broader authority to regulate the subject of domestic relations with respect to the ‘[p]rotection of offspring, property interests, and the enforcement of marital responsibilities.’”[10]

United States District Judge Juan Pérez-Giménez recently highlighted this feature of Windsor:

The Windsor opinion did not create a fundamental right to same gender marriage nor did it establish that state opposite-gender marriage regulations are amenable to federal constitutional challenges. If anything, Windsor stands for the opposite proposition: it reaffirms the States’ authority over marriage, buttressing Baker’s conclusion that marriage is simply not a federal question.[11]
Windsor also taught that federal power may not “put a thumb on the scales and influence a state’s decision as to how to shape its own marriage laws.”[12] Yet since that time, the federal government—through federal judges—has repeatedly put its thumb on the scales to influence a state’s decision about its own marriage laws—all the while claiming that Windsor required them to do so.

Judge Pérez-Giménez bemoaned this reality, noting that “[i]t takes inexplicable contortions of the mind or perhaps even willful ignorance—this Court does not venture an answer here—to interpret Windsor’s endorsement of the state control of marriage as eliminating the state control of marriage.”[13]

Fundamental Right Under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause
Just as neither the actual text nor the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, nor the Windsor decision, requires the redefinition of state marriage laws, nothing in the Supreme Court’s Fourteenth Amendment jurisprudence requires states to abandon the male–female definition of marriage. Consider first the Court’s “fundamental rights” doctrine under the Due Process Clause, where, if the Court finds a law infringing upon a fundamental right, the law is subject to “strict scrutiny,” meaning that the government must provide a compelling interest in having the law and the law must be narrowly designed to promote that interest. Not surprisingly, laws almost always fail strict scrutiny.

Glucksberg. As the Supreme Court held in Glucksberg in rejecting a fundamental right to assisted suicide, fundamental rights must be “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty” such that “neither liberty nor justice would exist if they were sacrificed.”[14]

Clearly, a right to marry someone of the same sex does not fit this description. As the Supreme Court explained in Windsor, including same-sex couples in marriage is “a new perspective, a new insight.”[15] Same-sex marriage is not deeply rooted in the nation’s history and tradition; thus—whatever its policy merits—it cannot be a fundamental right under the Due Process Clause. Windsor correctly observed that “until recent years…marriage between a man and a woman no doubt had been thought of by most people as essential to the very definition of that term and to its role and function throughout the history of civilization.”[16]

Whenever the Supreme Court has recognized marriage as a fundamental right, it has always been marriage understood as the union of a man and woman, and the rationale for the fundamental right has emphasized the procreative and social ordering aspects of male–female marriage. None of the cases that mention a fundamental right to marry deviate from this understanding, including decisions that struck down laws limiting marriage based on failure to pay child support,[17] incarceration,[18] and race.[19] Those decisions took for granted the historic, common law, and statutory understanding of marriage as a male–female union having something to do with family life. Thus, a challenge to state male–female marriage laws cannot appeal successfully to the fundamental-rights doctrine under Glucksberg.

Loving. Comparisons to interracial marriage fare no better.[20] As Fourth Circuit Judge Paul Niemeyer explained in his dissent in Bostic v. Schaefer, in Loving v. Virginia, where the Supreme Court found laws that prohibit interracial marriage to be unconstitutional, the couple was “asserting a right to enter into a traditional marriage of the type that has always been recognized since the beginning of the Nation—a union between one man and one woman.”[21] He concluded:

Loving simply held that race, which is completely unrelated to the institution of marriage, could not be the basis of marital restrictions. To stretch Loving’s holding to say that the right to marry is not limited by gender…is to ignore the inextricable, biological link between marriage and procreation that the Supreme Court has always recognized.[22]
In Loving, the Supreme Court defined marriage as one of the “‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival.”[23] Professor John Eastman of Chapman Law School has helpfully explained why the Supreme Court did so:

Marriage is “fundamental to our very existence” only because it is rooted in the biological complementarity of the sexes, the formal recognition of the unique union through which children are produced—a point emphasized by the fact that the Supreme Court cited a case dealing with the right to procreate for its holding that marriage was a fundamental right.[24]
Thus, a challenge to state male–female marriage laws cannot properly rely upon Loving.

Limiting Principle? To be sure, the Supreme Court has ruled that entering into and having the government recognize a marriage—understood as a union of husband and wife—is a fundamental right, but if this right is redefined to be understood simply as the committed, care-giving relationship of one’s choice, where does the logic lead? Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked this of Ted Olson, the lawyer for the same-sex couples, during oral argument in California’s Proposition 8 case, and he had no answer. If marriage is a fundamental right understood as consenting adult love, Justice Sotomayor asked, “what State restrictions could ever exist,” for example, “with respect to the number of people…that could get married?”[25]

The Sixth Circuit saw Justice Sotomayor’s logic. With respect to those who would redefine marriage, the court observed that:

Their definition does too little because it fails to account for plural marriages, where there is no reason to think that three or four adults, whether gay, bisexual, or straight, lack the capacity to share love, affection, and commitment, or for that matter lack the capacity to be capable (and more plentiful) parents to boot.[26]
The Sixth Circuit concluded that “if it is constitutionally irrational to stand by the man–woman definition of marriage, it must be constitutionally irrational to stand by the monogamous definition of marriage. Plaintiffs have no answer to the point.”[27] Just so. And for that reason too, a challenge to state male–female marriage laws cannot properly invoke the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.

The Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause
Equal protection jurisprudence likewise does not require the redefinition of marriage.

Animus. Although a couple of Supreme Court decisions have relied upon the concept of “animus” in invalidating on equal-protection grounds state laws that impinged upon the interests of gays and lesbians,[28] anyone with passing familiarity with the history of marriage knows that the institution did not arise because of animus toward gays and lesbians. Ancient thinkers as well as the political society in Greece and Rome, without being influenced by Judeo–Christian teaching, affirmed that marriage is a male–female union even as they embraced same-sex sexual relations.[29]

Even in Windsor, Justice Kennedy did not claim that the man–woman definition of marriage was fueled by animus. Rather, as noted, he held that the federal government’s refusal to recognize state-sanctioned same-sex marriages was based on animus. One need not agree with Justice Kennedy on DOMA to see that the holding in Windsor does not undermine state marriage laws.

The Sixth Circuit acknowledged that same-sex couples have experienced unjust discrimination but noted that marriage laws are not part of that phenomenon:

But we also cannot deny that the institution of marriage arose independently of this record of discrimination. The traditional definition of marriage goes back thousands of years and spans almost every society in history. By contrast, “American laws targeting same-sex couples did not develop until the last third of the 20th century.” (citing Lawrence).[30]
While Lawrence struck down laws that prohibited sex between persons of the same gender, it did not—and does not—require the redefinition of marriage. Laws that banned homosexual sodomy are radically different from laws that define marriage as the union of husband and wife. The Supreme Court found that the former infringed a privacy and liberty right, while the latter specify which unions will be eligible for public recognition and benefits. A right to liberty or privacy is a right to be left alone by the government, not a right to have the government recognize or subsidize the relationship of one’s choice.

Protected Class. Other advocates of same-sex marriage, including the Ninth Circuit,[31] have argued that the denial of marriage to same-sex couples infringes the rights of a protected class: namely, gays and lesbians. But the Supreme Court, including in Windsor, has never held sexual orientation to be a suspect class and thus has not applied “heightened scrutiny” to laws implicating their interests.[32] In contrast, the Court has held that race is a suspect class and gender a quasi-suspect class (which invokes heightened scrutiny but not quite strict scrutiny).[33]

Even if the Supreme Court did find sexual orientation to be a suspect class, as liberal scholars like Andrew Koppelman have recognized, marriage laws do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation anyway. They have a disparate impact on gays, but that is not the Court’s test. The reason Koppelman believes—correctly—that they do not discriminate based on orientation is that they simply do not require checking someone’s orientation at all in determining whether that person will receive the benefits of civil marriage.[34] Thus, under man–woman marriage laws, a gay man may marry a lesbian woman, while two heterosexual men cannot receive a marriage certificate from the state.

Nevertheless, if one were to argue that sexual orientation should be a protected class under equal protection jurisprudence, one would have to establish that sexual orientation creates a “class…[which] exhibit[s] obvious, immutable, or distinguishing characteristics that define them as a discrete group.”[35] Gays and lesbians do not satisfy that requirement.

The American Psychological Association (APA) describes sexual orientation as a “range of behaviors and attractions” and reports that “[r]esearch over several decades has demonstrated that sexual orientation ranges along a continuum, from exclusive attraction to the other sex to exclusive attraction to the same sex.”[36] The APA also reports that “there is no consensus among scientists” on why particular orientations develop and that, despite extensive research, scientists cannot conclude whether sexual orientation is determined by “genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, [or] cultural influences.”[37]

The APA, in short, says that no one can agree on the causes or even the definition of homosexuality, so it is not a readily identifiable group. These APA findings fatally undermine the idea that sexual orientation describes a “discrete group” for suspect-class purposes.

This point is confirmed by Dr. Paul McHugh, former chief of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital and former chairman of the psychiatry department at Hopkins medical school, and legal scholar Gerard Bradley:

“Sexual orientation” should not be recognized as a newly protected characteristic of individuals under federal law.… In contrast with other characteristics, it is neither discrete nor immutable. There is no scientific consensus on how to define sexual orientation, and the various definitions proposed by experts produce substantially different groups of people.
Nor is there any convincing evidence that sexual orientation is biologically determined; rather, research tends to show that for some persons and perhaps for a great many, “sexual orientation” is plastic and fluid; that is, it changes over time. What we do know with certainty about sexual orientation is that it is affective and behavioral—a matter of desire and/or behavior.[38]
In a February 2015 interview, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg admitted as much. While asserting incorrectly that it would not be a major adjustment for the American public to accept same-sex marriage, she correctly observed that:

[Americans have] looked around, and we discovered it’s our next door neighbor, we’re very fond of them. Or it’s our child’s best friend. Or even our child. I think that as more and more people came out and said, “This is who I am,” and the rest of us recognized that they are one of us, that there—there was a familiarity with people that didn’t exist in the beginning when the race problem was on the burner, because we lived in segregated communities and it was truly a we/they kind of thing. But not so, I think, of the gay-rights movement.[39]
A better argument why gays and lesbians are not discrete and insular minorities—not easily identifiable or clustered together apart from the rest of society—could not be offered.

Furthermore, to be a protected class under equal protection jurisprudence, a group must be “politically powerless in the sense that they have no ability to attract the attention of the lawmakers.”[40] Yet, as Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out during oral arguments in Windsor, “political figures are falling over themselves” to support gay marriage.[41] Indeed, support for same-sex marriage and for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) non-discrimination laws has been embraced by the President of the United States and the Democratic Party—the largest political party in the nation.[42]

In short, it is hard to say that gays and lesbians are politically powerless. It is therefore impossible for the Court to find that they are a suspect class.

Rational Basis: Social Function. One could also argue, as the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth Circuits have held, that there is simply no rational basis for man–woman marriage laws, meaning either that there is no legitimate purpose in such laws or that the laws are not rationally related to a legitimate purpose.[43] This argument fails completely as it ignores the universal historical record witnessing to the rational basis of man–woman marriage laws based on the social function that marriage plays.

From a policy perspective, marriage is about attaching a man and a woman to each other as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their sexual union may produce. When a baby is born, there is always a mother nearby: That is a fact of biology. The policy question is whether a father will be close by and, if so, for how long. Marriage, rightly understood, increases the odds that a man will be committed to both the children that he helps to create and to the woman with whom he does so.[44] The man–woman definition of marriage reinforces the idea—the social norm—that a man should be so committed.

The man–woman definition, moreover, is based on the anthropological truth that men and women are distinct and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children deserve a mother and a father. Even President Barack Obama admits that children deserve a mother and a father:

We know the statistics—that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.[45]
In short, fathers matter, and marriage helps to connect fathers to mothers and children. But you do not have to think this marriage policy is ideal to think it constitutionally permissible. Unless gays and lesbians are a suspect class, for an equal protection challenge to succeed, this simple analysis of the social function of marriage would have to be proved not just misguided, but positively irrational. Universal human experience, however, confirms the rationality of that policy.

Compelling Interest and Narrowly Tailored: Constitutional at Any Level of Scrutiny. Even if one (implausibly) granted that sexual orientation was a suspect class and that marriage laws thus had to be held to heightened scrutiny, man–woman marriage would still be constitutional. A strong marriage culture is a compelling interest because it affects virtually every other state interest, and defining marriage as the permanent and exclusive union of a husband and wife is a narrowly tailored means of allowing it to fulfill its social function.

As noted, there is no dispute that marriage plays a fundamental role in society by encouraging men and women to commit permanently and exclusively to each other and to take responsibility for their children. As the Sixth Circuit concluded, “[b]y creating a status (marriage) and by subsidizing it (e.g., with tax-filing privileges and deductions), the States create[] an incentive for two people who procreate together to stay together for purposes of rearing offspring.”[46]

In addition to financial incentives, as ample social science confirms, this combination of state-sanctioned status and benefits also reinforces certain child-centered norms or expectations that form part of the social institution of marriage. Those norms—such as the value of gender-diverse parenting and of biological connections between children and the adults who raise them—independently encourage man–woman couples “to stay together for purposes of rearing offspring.” Given the importance of those norms to the welfare of the children of such couples, the state has a compelling interest in reinforcing and maintaining them.

Most of those norms, moreover, arise from and/or depend upon the man–woman understanding that has long been viewed as central to the social institution of marriage.[47] For example, because only man–woman couples (as a class) have the ability to provide dual biological connections to the children they raise together, the state’s decision—implemented by the man–woman definition—to limit marital status and benefits to such couples reminds society of the value of those biological connections. It thereby gently encourages man–woman couples to rear their biological children together, and it does so without denigrating other arrangements—such as adoption or assisted reproductive technologies—that such couples might choose when, for whatever reason, they are unable to have biological children of their own.

Like other social norms traditionally associated with the man–woman definition of marriage, the biological connection norm will be diluted or destroyed if the man–woman definition (and associated social understanding) is abandoned in favor of a definition that allows marriage between “any two otherwise qualified persons”—which is what same-sex marriage requires. And just as those norms benefit the state and society, their dilution or destruction can be expected to harm the interests of the state and its citizens.

For example, over time, as fewer heterosexual parents embrace the biological connection norm, more of their children will be raised without a mother or a father. After all, it will be very difficult for the law to send a message that fathers and mothers are essential if it has redefined marriage to make fathers or mothers optional, and that in turn will mean more children of heterosexuals raised in poverty, doing poorly in school, experiencing psychological or emotional problems, having abortions, and committing crimes—all at significant cost to the state.

In short, law affects culture. Culture affects beliefs. Beliefs affect actions. The law teaches, and it will shape not just a handful of marriages, but the public understanding of what marriage is. Consider the impact of no-fault divorce laws, which are widely acknowledged to have disserved, on balance, the interests of the very children they were supposedly designed to help. By providing easy exits from marriage and its responsibilities, no-fault divorce helped to change the perception of marriage from a permanent institution designed for the needs of children to a temporary one designed for the desires of adults. Thus, not only was it technically much easier to leave one’s spouse, but it was psychologically much easier as well, and the percentage of children growing up with just one parent in the home skyrocketed, with all of the attendant negative consequences.

This analysis also explains why a state’s decision to retain the man–woman definition of marriage should not be seen as demeaning to gay and lesbian citizens or their children and why it satisfies any form of heightened scrutiny. In the early 2000s, in the face of state judicial decisions seeking to impose same-sex marriage under state law, the definitional choice a state faced was a binary one: Either preserve the man–woman definition and the benefits it provides to the children (and the state) or replace it with an “any two qualified persons” definition and risk losing those benefits.

There is no middle ground. A state’s choice to preserve the man–woman definition is thus narrowly tailored—indeed, it is perfectly tailored—to the state’s interests in preserving those benefits and in avoiding the enormous societal risks that accompany a genderless-marriage regime. Under a proper means–ends analysis, therefore, a state’s choice to preserve the man–woman definition passes muster under any constitutional standard.[48]

Recognizing Same-Sex Marriages from Out of State
If the points made above succeed—on the rational basis of state marriage laws defining marriage as the union of husband and wife and the reasonableness of thinking that redefining marriage will undermine the public policy purpose of such marriage laws—then a state should not be required to recognize other state marriage laws that would undermine its own public policy.

This conclusion follows from Article IV of the Constitution, which requires that “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.”[49] This clause enabled the sovereign states to come together to form one union without everything having to be relitigated when parties moved to a new state,[50] but the Full Faith and Credit Clause does not require a state to recognize the policies of another state when doing so would undermine that state’s own public policy. Full Faith and Credit “does not compel a state to substitute the statutes of other states for its own statutes dealing with a subject matter concerning which it is competent to legislate.”[51]

Windsor points out that “[m]arriage laws vary in some respects from State to State,” such as “the required minimum age” and “the permissible degree of consanguinity.”[52] If a state has good policy reasons for promoting marriage as the union of a man and a woman, then it does not have to accept out-of-state marriages that undermine its own policy preferences.[53] A state may apply its own marriage laws in preference to an out-of-state policy that it judges would undermine its own policy, because “as a sovereign [it] has a rightful and legitimate concern in the marital status of persons domiciled within its borders.”[54]

Moreover, given that the Full Faith and Credit Clause deals specifically with the recognition of official acts in other states, there is no sound basis for invoking the Fourteenth Amendment as a stand-alone basis for requiring a state to recognize a marriage performed in another state.

Conclusion
At the end of the day, there simply is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that requires all 50 states to redefine marriage. Part of the design of federalism is that experimentation can take place in the states: As the Sixth Circuit noted, “federalism…permits laboratories of experimentation—accent on the plural—allowing one State to innovate one way, another State another, and a third State to assess the trial and error over time.”[55]

To a make a plausible case to the contrary, as we have seen, one cannot reasonably appeal to the authority of Windsor, to the text or original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, to the fundamental rights protected by the Due Process Clause, or to Loving v. Virginia. So, too, one cannot properly appeal to the Equal Protection Clause or to animus or Lawrence. Nor can one say that gays and lesbians are politically powerless, so one cannot claim they are a suspect class. Nor can one say that male–female marriage laws lack a rational basis or that they do not serve a compelling state interest in a narrowly tailored way.

The only way one can establish the unconstitutionality of man–woman marriage laws is to adopt a view of marriage that sees it as an essentially genderless, adult-centric institution and then declare that the Constitution requires that the states (re)define marriage in that way. In other words, one needs to establish that the vision of marriage our law has long applied is just wrong and that the Constitution requires a different vision entirely.

There is, however, no basis in the Constitution for reaching that conclusion any more than there was a basis in the Constitution for concluding—as Dred Scott did—that the people of the United States lacked the power to abolish slavery in their territories. Accordingly, any decision requiring states to redefine marriage is as much a usurpation of the people’s authority as Dred Scott was.

—Gene Schaerr is a Washington, D.C.-based attorney who specializes in constitutional and appellate litigation. He has previously served as Associate Counsel to the President and as law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia and has handled dozens of cases (including six he personally argued) before the U.S. Supreme Court. Ryan T. Anderson, PhD, co-author of the book What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense, is William E. Simon Fellow in the Richard and Helen DeVos Center, of the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity, at The Heritage Foundation.
Hide References

[1] Bostic v. Schaefer, 760 F.3d 352 (4th Cir. 2014); Baskin v. Bogan, 766 F.3d 648 (7th Cir. 2014); Latta v. Otter, 771 F.3d 456 (9th Cir. 2014); Kitchen v. Herbert, 755 F.3d 1193 (10th Cir. 2014); Bishop v. Smith, 760 F.3d 1070 (10th Cir. 2014).

[2] 60 U.S. 393 (1857).

[3] For more on the legal parallel, see Michael Stokes Paulsen, Abraham Lincoln and Same-Sex Marriage, Public Discourse (Feb. 20, 2015), http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/02/14443/.

[4] DeBoer v. Snyder, 772 F.3d 388 (6th Cir. 2014), cert. granted, 83 U.S.L.W. 3315 (U.S. Jan. 16, 2015) (No. 14-571); see also Obergefell v. Hodges (No. 14-556); Tanco v. Haslam (No. 14-562); Bourke v. Beshear (No. 14-574).

[5] Paulsen, supra note 3.

[6] DeBoer, 772 F.3d at 403.

[7] Id. at 404.

[8] Id. at 416.

[9] United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. ___, 133 S.Ct. 2675, 2692 (2013).

[10] Id. at 2691 (quoting Williams v. North Carolina, 317 U.S. 287, 298 (1942)).

[11] Conde-Vidal v. Garcia-Padilla (D.P.R.) (D.P.R. Oct. 21, 2014) (No. 14-1253), 2014 WL 5361987. See also Baker v. Nelson, 409 U.S. 810 (1972) (summarily dismissing “for want of a substantial federal question” an appeal that argued that Minnesota’s man–woman only marriage laws violated the Fourteenth Amendment).

[12] Windsor, 133 S.Ct. at 2693 (citations omitted).

[13] Conde-Vidal, 2014 WL 5361987 at 8*.

[14] Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702, 721 (1997). Besides the right to marry (with marriage always understood as a union of husband and wife), examples of fundamental rights the Court has found are the right to procreate, the right to have sexual autonomy, the right to buy and use birth control and abortion, the right to travel freely among the states, the right to raise one’s children as one sees fit, the right to vote, and the right to the freedoms protected by the First Amendment (speech, religion, and association).

[15] Windsor, 133 S.Ct. at 2689.

[16] Id.

[17] Zablocki v. Redhall, 434 U.S. 374, 385–87 (1987).

[18] Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 95–98 (1987).

[19] Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 11 (1967).

[20] For an extended analysis, see Ryan T. Anderson, Marriage, Reason, and Religious Liberty: Much Ado About Sex, Nothing to Do with Race, Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2894 (Apr. 4, 2014), available at http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2014/04/marriage-reason-and-religious-liberty-much-ado-about-sex-nothing-to-do-with-race.

[21] Bostic, 760 F.3d at 390 (Niemeyer, J., dissenting).

[22] Id. at 392.

[23] Loving, 388 U.S. at 18.

[24] John Eastman, The Constitutionality of Traditional Marriage, Heritage Foundation Legal Memorandum No. 90 (Jan. 25, 2013), available at http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/01/the-constitutionality-of-traditional-marriage.

[25] Transcript of Oral Argument at 46:25, 47:1–3, Hollingsworth v. Perry, 133 S.Ct. 2652 (2013) (No. 12-144) (2010).

[26] DeBoer, 772 F.3d at 407.

[27] Id.

[28] See, e.g., Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003); Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996).

[29] John Finnis, The Collected Essays of John Finnis: Volume III: Human Rights and Common Good 340 (Oxford Univ. Press, 2011).

[30] DeBoer, 772 F.3d at 413.

[31] Latta, 771 F.3d at 468.

[32] But see SmithKline Beecham Corp. v. Abbott Laboratories, 740 F.3d 471 (9th Cir. 2014) (holding that sexual orientation was a suspect class triggering heightened scrutiny).

[33] The heightened scrutiny of gender classifications is often called “intermediate scrutiny” because it falls between the lower rational basis review and the higher strict scrutiny review.

[34] Andrew Koppelman, Response: Sexual Disorientation, 100 Geo. L.J. 1083, 1087 (2012).

[35] Bowen v. Gilliard, 483 U.S. 587, 603 (1987) (quoting Massachusetts B. of Retirement v. Murgia, 427 U.S. 307, 313–14 (1976)) (emphasis added).

[36] Answers to Your Questions: For a Better Understanding of Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality American Psychological Association (2008), http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/orientation.aspx?item=4.

[37] Id.

[38] Paul McHugh & Gerard Bradley, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Employment Law, Public Discourse (July 25, 2013), http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/07/10636/.

[39] Interview by Greg Stohr and Matthew Winkler, Ginsburg: Doubt Gay Marriage Won’t Be Widely Accepted, Bloomberg (Feb. 12, 2015), http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2015-02-12/ginsburg-doubt-gay-marriage-won-t-be-widely-accepted.

[40] City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, 473 U.S. 432, 445 (1985).

[41] Transcript of Oral Argument at 108:13–14, Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675 (2013) (No. 12-307).

[42] Election Trends by Group: Party Affiliation, Gallup, available at http://www.gallup.com/poll/15370/party-affiliation.aspx.

[43] When courts find animus against a group, then laws fail rational basis review, though it is a more searching standard of review and so is often referred to as “rational basis with bite.”

[44] Ryan T. Anderson, “Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2775 (Mar. 11, 2013), available at http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/03/marriage-what-it-is-why-it-matters-and-the-consequences-of-redefining-it.

[45] President Barack Obama, Father’s Day Remarks, N.Y. Times, July 15, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/15/us/politics/15text-obama.html?pagewanted=print.

[46] DeBoer, 772 F.3d at 405.

[47] See Windsor, 133 S.Ct. at 2718.

[48] See Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 982 (2003) (holding that affirmative action programs satisfied strict scrutiny and that the courts were required to defer to legislative facts found by decision-makers).

[49] U.S. Const. art. IV, § 1.

[50] See Erin O’Hara O’Connor, Full Faith and Credit Clause, in The Heritage Guide to the Constitution (2d ed.), available at http://www.heritage.org/constitution#!/articles/4/essays/121/full-faith-and-credit-clause.

[51] Baker v. Gen. Motors Corp., 522 U.S. 222, 232–33 (1998) (quotes omitted).

[52] Windsor, 133 S.Ct. at 2691–92.

[53] The Supreme Court has required “a significant contact or significant aggregation of contacts, creating state interests, such that choice of its law is neither arbitrary nor fundamentally unfair.” Franchise Tax Bd. of Cal. v. Hyatt, 538 U.S. 488, 494–95 (2003) (quotes omitted).

[54] Williams, 317 U.S. at 298.

[55] DeBoer, 772 F.3d at 406.

Voir de plus:

Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It
Ryan T. Anderson, Ph.D.
The Heritage Foundation
March 11, 2013

Abstract
Marriage is based on the truth that men and women are complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the reality that children need a mother and a father. Redefining marriage does not simply expand the existing understanding of marriage; it rejects these truths. Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. By encouraging the norms of marriage—monogamy, sexual exclusivity, and permanence—the state strengthens civil society and reduces its own role. The future of this country depends on the future of marriage. The future of marriage depends on citizens understanding what it is and why it matters and demanding that government policies support, not undermine, true marriage.
At the heart of the current debates about same-sex marriage are three crucial questions: What is marriage, why does marriage matter for public policy, and what would be the consequences of redefining marriage to exclude sexual complementarity?

Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union produces. It is based on the anthropological truth that men and women are different and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children need both a mother and a father. Marriage predates government. It is the fundamental building block of all human civilization. Marriage has public purposes that transcend its private purposes. This is why 41 states, with good reason, affirm that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Government recognizes marriage because it is an institution that benefits society in a way that no other relationship does. Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. State recognition of marriage protects children by encouraging men and women to commit to each other and take responsibility for their children. While respecting everyone’s liberty, government rightly recognizes, protects, and promotes marriage as the ideal institution for childbearing and childrearing.

Promoting marriage does not ban any type of relationship: Adults are free to make choices about their relationships, and they do not need government sanction or license to do so. All Americans have the freedom to live as they choose, but no one has a right to redefine marriage for everyone else.

In recent decades, marriage has been weakened by a revisionist view that is more about adults’ desires than children’s needs. This reduces marriage to a system to approve emotional bonds or distribute legal privileges.

Redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships is the culmination of this revisionism, and it would leave emotional intensity as the only thing that sets marriage apart from other bonds. Redefining marriage would further distance marriage from the needs of children and would deny, as a matter of policy, the ideal that a child needs both a mom and a dad. Decades of social science, including the latest studies using large samples and robust research methods, show that children tend to do best when raised by a mother and a father. The confusion resulting from further delinking childbearing from marriage would force the state to intervene more often in family life and expand welfare programs. Redefining marriage would legislate a new principle that marriage is whatever emotional bond the government says it is.

Redefining marriage does not simply expand the existing understanding of marriage. It rejects the anthropological truth that marriage is based on the complementarity of man and woman, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children need a mother and a father. Redefining marriage to abandon the norm of male–female sexual complementarity would also make other essential characteristics—such as monogamy, exclusivity, and permanency—optional. Marriage cannot do the work that society needs it to do if these norms are further weakened.

Redefining marriage is also a direct and demonstrable threat to religious freedom because it marginalizes those who affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman. This is already evident in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., among other locations.

Concern for the common good requires protecting and strengthening the marriage culture by promoting the truth about marriage.

What Is Marriage?
Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union produces.

At its most basic level, marriage is about attaching a man and a woman to each other as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their sexual union produces. When a baby is born, there is always a mother nearby: That is a fact of reproductive biology. The question is whether a father will be involved in the life of that child and, if so, for how long. Marriage increases the odds that a man will be committed to both the children that he helps create and to the woman with whom he does so.

Marriage connects people and goods that otherwise tend to fragment. It helps to connect sex with love, men with women, sex with babies, and babies with moms and dads.[1] Social, cultural, and legal signals and pressures can support or detract from the role of marriage in this regard.

Maggie Gallagher captures this insight with a pithy phrase: “[S]ex makes babies, society needs babies, and children need mothers and fathers.”[2] Connecting sex, babies, and moms and dads is the social function of marriage and helps explain why the government rightly recognizes and addresses this aspect of our social lives. Gallagher develops this idea:

The critical public or “civil” task of marriage is to regulate sexual relationships between men and women in order to reduce the likelihood that children (and their mothers, and society) will face the burdens of fatherlessness, and increase the likelihood that there will be a next generation that will be raised by their mothers and fathers in one family, where both parents are committed to each other and to their children.[3]
Marriage is based on the anthropological truth that men and women are complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children need a mother and a father.

Marriage is a uniquely comprehensive union. It involves a union of hearts and minds, but also—and distinctively—a bodily union made possible by sexual complementarity. As the act by which a husband and wife make marital love also makes new life, so marriage itself is inherently extended and enriched by family life and calls for all-encompassing commitment that is permanent and exclusive. In short, marriage unites a man and a woman holistically—emotionally and bodily, in acts of conjugal love and in the children such love brings forth—for the whole of life.[4]

Just as the complementarity of a man and a woman is important for the type of union they can form, so too is it important for how they raise children. There is no such thing as “parenting.” There is mothering, and there is fathering, and children do best with both. While men and women are each capable of providing their children with a good upbringing, there are, on average, differences in the ways that mothers and fathers interact with their children and the functional roles that they play.

Dads play particularly important roles in the formation of both their sons and their daughters. As Rutgers University sociologist David Popenoe explains, “The burden of social science evidence supports the idea that gender-differentiated parenting is important for human development and that the contribution of fathers to childrearing is unique and irreplaceable.”[5] Popenoe concludes:

We should disavow the notion that “mommies can make good daddies,” just as we should disavow the popular notion…that “daddies can make good mommies.”… The two sexes are different to the core, and each is necessary—culturally and biologically—for the optimal development of a human being.[6]
Marriage as the union of man and woman is true across cultures, religions, and time. The government recognizes but does not create marriage.

Marriage is the fundamental building block of all human civilization. The government does not create marriage. Marriage is a natural institution that predates government. Society as a whole, not merely any given set of spouses, benefits from marriage. This is because marriage helps to channel procreative love into a stable institution that provides for the orderly bearing and rearing of the next generation.

This understanding of marriage as the union of man and woman is shared by the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions; by ancient Greek and Roman thinkers untouched by these religions; and by various Enlightenment philosophers. It is affirmed by both common and civil law and by ancient Greek and Roman law. Far from having been intended to exclude same-sex relationships, marriage as the union of husband and wife arose in many places, over several centuries, in which same-sex marriage was nowhere on the radar. Indeed, it arose in cultures that had no concept of sexual orientation and in some that fully accepted homoeroticism and even took it for granted.[7]

As with other public policy issues, religious voices on marriage should be welcomed in the public square. Yet one need not appeal to distinctively religious arguments to understand why marriage—as a natural institution—is the union of man and woman.

Marriage has been weakened by a revisionist view of marriage that is more about adults’ desires than children’s needs.

In recent decades, marriage has been weakened by a revisionist view of marriage that is more about adults’ desires than children’s needs. This view reduces marriage primarily to emotional bonds or legal privileges. Redefining marriage represents the culmination of this revisionism and would leave emotional intensity as the only thing that sets marriage apart from other bonds.

However, if marriage were just intense emotional regard, marital norms would make no sense as a principled matter. There is no reason of principle that requires an emotional union to be permanent. Or limited to two persons. Or sexual, much less sexually exclusive (as opposed to “open”). Or inherently oriented to family life and shaped by its demands. Couples might live out these norms where temperament or taste motivated them, but there would be no reason of principle for them to do so and no basis for the law to encourage them to do so.

In other words, if sexual complementarity is optional for marriage, present only where preferred, then almost every other norm that sets marriage apart is optional. Although some supporters of same-sex marriage would disagree, this point can be established by reason and, as documented below, is increasingly confirmed by the rhetoric and arguments used in the campaign to redefine marriage and by the policies that many of its leaders increasingly embrace.

Why Marriage Matters for Policy
Government recognizes marriage because it is an institution that benefits society in a way that no other relationship does.

Virtually every political community has regulated male–female sexual relationships. This is not because government cares about romance as such. Government recognizes male–female sexual relationships because these alone produce new human beings. For highly dependent infants, there is no path to physical, moral, and cultural maturity—no path to personal responsibility—without a long and delicate process of ongoing care and supervision to which mothers and fathers bring unique gifts. Unless children mature, they never will become healthy, upright, productive members of society. Marriage exists to make men and women responsible to each other and to any children that they might have.

Marriage is thus a personal relationship that serves a public purpose in a political community. As the late sociologist James Q. Wilson wrote, “Marriage is a socially arranged solution for the problem of getting people to stay together and care for children that the mere desire for children, and the sex that makes children possible, does not solve.”[8]

Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. Marital breakdown weakens civil society and limited government.

Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. Government recognition of marriage protects children by incentivizing men and women to commit to each other and take responsibility for their children.

Social science confirms the importance of marriage for children. According to the best available sociological evidence, children fare best on virtually every examined indicator when reared by their wedded biological parents. Studies that control for other factors, including poverty and even genetics, suggest that children reared in intact homes do best on educational achievement, emotional health, familial and sexual development, and delinquency and incarceration.[9]

A study published by the left-leaning research institution Child Trends concluded:

[I]t is not simply the presence of two parents…but the presence of two biological parents that seems to support children’s development.[10]
[R]esearch clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage. Children in single-parent families, children born to unmarried mothers, and children in stepfamilies or cohabiting relationships face higher risks of poor outcomes.… There is thus value for children in promoting strong, stable marriages between biological parents.[11]
According to another study, “[t]he advantage of marriage appears to exist primarily when the child is the biological offspring of both parents.”[12] Recent literature reviews conducted by the Brookings Institution, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, the Center for Law and Social Policy, and the Institute for American Values corroborate the importance of intact households for children.[13]

These statistics have penetrated American life to such a great extent that even President Barack Obama refers to them as well known:

We know the statistics—that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.[14]
Fathers matter, and marriage helps to connect fathers to mothers and children.

Social science claiming to show that there are “no differences” in outcomes for children raised in same-sex households does not change this reality. In fact, the most recent, sophisticated studies suggest that prior research is inadequate to support the assertion that it makes “no difference” whether a child was raised by same-sex parents.[15] A survey of 59 of the most prominent studies often cited for this claim shows that they drew primarily from small convenience samples that are not appropriate for generalizations to the whole population.[16]

Meanwhile, recent studies using rigorous methods and robust samples confirm that children do better when raised by a married mother and father. These include the New Family Structures Study by Professor Mark Regnerus at the University of Texas–Austin [17] and a report based on Census data recently released in the highly respected journal Demography.[18]

Still, the social science on same-sex parenting is a matter of significant ongoing debate, and it should not dictate choices about marriage. Recent studies using robust methods suggest that there is a lot more to learn about how changing family forms affects children and that social science evidence offers an insufficient basis for redefining marriage.

Marital breakdown costs taxpayers.

Marriage benefits everyone because separating childbearing and childrearing from marriage burdens innocent bystanders: not just children, but the whole community. Often, the community must step in to provide (more or less directly) for their well-being and upbringing. Thus, by encouraging the marriage norms of monogamy, sexual exclusivity, and permanence, the state is strengthening civil society and reducing its own role.

By recognizing marriage, the government supports economic well-being. The benefits of marriage led Professor W. Bradford Wilcox to summarize a study he led as part of the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project in this way: “The core message…is that the wealth of nations depends in no small part on the health of the family.”[19] The same study suggests that marriage and fertility trends “play an underappreciated and important role in fostering long-term economic growth, the viability of the welfare state, the size and quality of the workforce, and the health of large sectors of the modern economy.”[20]

Given its economic benefits, it is no surprise that the decline of marriage most hurts the least well-off. A leading indicator of whether someone will know poverty or prosperity is whether, growing up, he or she knew the love and security of having a married mother and father. For example, a recent Heritage Foundation report by Robert Rector points out: “Being raised in a married family reduced a child’s probability of living in poverty by about 82 percent.”[21]

The erosion of marriage harms not only the immediate victims, but also society as a whole. A Brookings Institution study found that $229 billion in welfare expenditures between 1970 and 1996 can be attributed to the breakdown of the marriage culture and the resulting exacerbation of social ills: teen pregnancy, poverty, crime, drug abuse, and health problems.[1] A 2008 study found that divorce and unwed childbearing cost taxpayers $112 billion each year,[23] and Utah State University scholar David Schramm has estimated that divorce alone costs local, state, and federal-level government $33 billion each year.[24]

Civil recognition of the marriage union of a man and a woman serves the ends of limited government more effectively, less intrusively, and at less cost than does picking up the pieces from a shattered marriage culture.

Government can treat people equally—and leave them free to live and love as they choose—without redefining marriage.

While respecting everyone’s liberty, government rightly recognizes, protects, and promotes marriage as the ideal institution for childbearing and childrearing. Adults are free to make choices about their relationships without redefining marriage and do not need government sanction or license to do so.

Government is not in the business of affirming our love. Rather, it leaves consenting adults free to live and love as they choose. Contrary to what some say, there is no ban on same-sex marriage. Nothing about it is illegal. In all 50 states, two people of the same sex may choose to live together, choose to join a religious community that blesses their relationship, and choose a workplace offering joint benefits. There is nothing illegal about this.

What is at issue is whether the government will recognize such relationships as marriages—and then force every citizen, house of worship, and business to do so as well. At issue is whether policy will coerce and compel others to recognize and affirm same-sex relationships as marriages. All Americans have the freedom to live as they choose, but they do not have the right to redefine marriage for everyone else.

Appeals to “marriage equality” are good sloganeering, but they exhibit sloppy reasoning. Every law makes distinctions. Equality before the law protects citizens from arbitrary distinctions, from laws that treat them differently for no good reason. To know whether a law makes the right distinctions—whether the lines it draws are justified—one has to know the public purpose of the law and the nature of the good being advanced or protected.

If the law recognized same-sex couples as spouses, would some argue that it fails to respect the equality of citizens in multiple-partner relationships? Are those inclined to such relationships being treated unjustly when their consensual romantic bonds go unrecognized, their children thereby “stigmatized” and their tax filings unprivileged?

This is not hypothetical. In 2009, Newsweek reported that there were over 500,000 polyamorous households in America.[25] Prominent scholars and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) activists have called for “marriage equality” for multipartner relationships since at least 2006.[26]

If sexual complementarity is eliminated as an essential characteristic of marriage, then no principle limits civil marriage to monogamous couples.

Supporters of redefinition use the following analogy: Laws defining marriage as a union of a man and a woman are unjust—fail to treat people equally—exactly like laws that prevented interracial marriage. Yet such appeals beg the question of what is essential to marriage. They assume exactly what is in dispute: that gender is as irrelevant as race in state recognition of marriage. However, race has nothing to with marriage, and racist laws kept the races apart. Marriage has everything to do with men and women, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers and children, and that is why principle-based policy has defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Marriage must be color-blind, but it cannot be gender-blind. The color of two people’s skin has nothing to do with what kind of marital bond they have. However, the sexual difference between a man and a woman is central to what marriage is. Men and women regardless of their race can unite in marriage, and children regardless of their race need moms and dads. To acknowledge such facts requires an understanding of what, at an essential level, makes a marriage.

We reap the civil society benefits of marriage only if policy gets marriage right.

The state has an interest in marriage and marital norms because they serve the public good by protecting child well-being, civil society, and limited government. Marriage laws work by embodying and promoting a true vision of marriage, which makes sense of those norms as a coherent whole. There is nothing magical about the word “marriage.” It is not just the legal title of marriage that encourages adherence to marital norms.

What does the work are the social reality of marriage and the intelligibility of its norms. These help to channel behavior. Law affects culture. Culture affects beliefs. Beliefs affect actions. The law teaches, and it will shape not just a handful of marriages, but the public understanding of what marriage is.

Government promotes marriage to make men and women responsible to each other and to any children they might have. Promoting marital norms serves these same ends. The norms of monogamy and sexual exclusivity encourage childbearing within a context that makes it most likely that children will be raised by their mother and father. These norms also help to ensure shared responsibility and commitment between spouses, provide sufficient attention from both a mother and a father to their children, and avoid the sexual and kinship jealousy that might otherwise be present.

The norm of permanency ensures that children will at least be cared for by their mother and father until they reach maturity. It also provides kinship structure for interaction across generations as elderly parents are cared for by their adult children and as grandparents help to care for their grandchildren without the complications of fragmented stepfamilies.

If the law taught a falsehood about marriage, it would make it harder for people to live out the norms of marriage because marital norms make no sense, as matters of principle, if marriage is just intense emotional feeling. No reason of principle requires an emotional union to be permanent or limited to two persons, much less sexually exclusive. Nor should it be inherently oriented to family life and shaped by its demands. This does not mean that a couple could not decide to live out these norms where temperament or taste so motivated them, just that there is no reason of principle to demand that they do so. Legally enshrining this alternate view of marriage would undermine the norms whose link to the common good is the basis for state recognition of marriage in the first place.

Insofar as society weakens the rational foundation for marriage norms, fewer people would live them out, and fewer people would reap the benefits of the marriage institution. This would affect not only spouses, but also the well-being of their children. The concern is not so much that a handful of gay or lesbian couples would be raising children, but that it would be very difficult for the law to send a message that fathers matter when it has redefined marriage to make fathers optional.

This highlights the link between the central questions in this debate: What is marriage, and why does the state promote it? It is not that the state should not achieve its basic purpose while obscuring what marriage is. Rather, it cannot. Only when policy gets the nature of marriage right can a political community reap the civil society benefits of recognizing it.

Finally, support for marriage between a man and a woman is no excuse for animus against those with same-sex attractions or for ignoring the needs of individuals who, for whatever reason, may never marry. They are no less worthy than others of concern and respect. Yet this same diligent concern for the common good requires protecting and strengthening the marriage culture by promoting the truth about marriage.

The Consequences of Redefining Marriage
Redefining marriage would further distance marriage from the needs of children and deny the importance of mothers and fathers.

Redefining marriage would further disconnect childbearing from marriage. That would hurt children, especially the most vulnerable. It would deny as a matter of policy the ideal that children need a mother and a father. Traditional marriage laws reinforce the idea that a married mother and father is the most appropriate environment for rearing children, as the best available social science suggests.

Recognizing same-sex relationships as marriages would legally abolish that ideal. It would deny the significance of both mothering and fathering to children: that boys and girls tend to benefit from fathers and mothers in different ways. Indeed, the law, public schools, and media would teach that mothers and fathers are fully interchangeable and that thinking otherwise is bigoted.

Redefining marriage would diminish the social pressures and incentives for husbands to remain with their wives and biological children and for men and women to marry before having children. Yet the resulting arrangements—parenting by single parents, divorced parents, remarried parents, cohabiting couples, and fragmented families of any kind—are demonstrably worse for children.[27] Redefining marriage would destabilize marriage in ways that are known to hurt children.

Leading LGBT advocates admit that redefining marriage changes its meaning. E. J. Graff celebrates the fact that redefining marriage would change the “institution’s message” so that it would “ever after stand for sexual choice, for cutting the link between sex and diapers.” Enacting same-sex marriage, she argues, “does more than just fit; it announces that marriage has changed shape.”[28] Andrew Sullivan says that marriage has become “primarily a way in which two adults affirm their emotional commitment to one another.”[29]

Government exists to create the conditions under which individuals and freely formed communities can thrive. The most important free community—the one on which all others depend—is the marriage-based family. The conditions for its thriving include the accommodations and pressures that marriage law provides for couples to stay together. Redefining marriage would further erode marital norms, thrusting government further into leading roles for which it is poorly suited: parent and discipliner to the orphaned; provider to the neglected; and arbiter of disputes over custody, paternity, and visitation. As the family weakened, welfare programs and correctional bureaucracies would grow.

Redefining marriage would put into the law the new principle that marriage is whatever emotional bond the government says it is.

Redefining marriage does not simply expand the existing understanding of marriage. It rejects the truth that marriage is based on the complementarity of man and woman, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children need a mother and a father.

Redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships is not ultimately about expanding the pool of people who are eligible to marry. Redefining marriage is about cementing a new idea of marriage in the law—an idea whose baleful effects conservatives have fought for years. The idea that romantic-emotional union is all that makes a marriage cannot explain or support the stabilizing norms that make marriage fitting for family life. It can only undermine those norms.

Indeed, that undermining already has begun. Disastrous policies such as “no-fault” divorce were also motivated by the idea that a marriage is made by romantic attachment and satisfaction—and comes undone when these fade. Same-sex marriage would require a more formal and final redefinition of marriage as simple romantic companionship, obliterating the meaning that the marriage movement had sought to restore to the institution.

Redefining marriage would weaken monogamy, exclusivity, and permanency—the norms through which marriage benefits society.

Government needs to get marriage policy right because it shapes the norms associated with this most fundamental relationship. Redefining marriage would abandon the norm of male–female sexual complementarity as an essential characteristic of marriage. Making that optional would also make other essential characteristics of marriage—such as monogamy, exclusivity, and permanency—optional.[30] Weakening marital norms and severing the connection of marriage with responsible procreation are the admitted goals of many prominent advocates of redefining marriage.

The Norm of Monogamy. New York University Professor Judith Stacey has expressed hope that redefining marriage would give marriage “varied, creative, and adaptive contours,” leading some to “question the dyadic limitations of Western marriage and seek…small group marriages.”[31] In their statement “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage,” more than 300 “LGBT and allied” scholars and advocates call for legally recognizing sexual relationships involving more than two partners.[32]University of Calgary Professor Elizabeth Brake thinks that justice requires using legal recognition to “denormalize[] heterosexual monogamy as a way of life” and “rectif[y] past discrimination against homosexuals, bisexuals, polygamists, and care networks.” She supports “minimal marriage,” in which “individuals can have legal marital relationships with more than one person, reciprocally or asymmetrically, themselves determining the sex and number of parties, the type of relationship involved, and which rights and responsibilities to exchange with each.”[33]

In 2009, Newsweek reported that the United States already had over 500,000 polyamorous households.[34] The author concluded:

[P]erhaps the practice is more natural than we think: a response to the challenges of monogamous relationships, whose shortcomings…are clear. Everyone in a relationship wrestles at some point with an eternal question: can one person really satisfy every need? Polyamorists think the answer is obvious—and that it’s only a matter of time before the monogamous world sees there’s more than one way to live and love.[35]
A 2012 article in New York Magazine introduced Americans to “throuple,” a new term akin to a “couple,” but with three people whose “throuplehood is more or less a permanent domestic arrangement. The three men work together, raise dogs together, sleep together, miss one another, collect art together, travel together, bring each other glasses of water, and, in general, exemplify a modern, adult relationship. Except that there are three of them.”[36]

The Norm of Exclusivity. Andrew Sullivan, who has extolled the “spirituality” of “anonymous sex,” also thinks that the “openness” of same-sex unions could enhance the bonds of husbands and wives:Same-sex unions often incorporate the virtues of friendship more effectively than traditional marriages; and at times, among gay male relationships, the openness of the contract makes it more likely to survive than many heterosexual bonds.… [T]here is more likely to be greater understanding of the need for extramarital outlets between two men than between a man and a woman.… [S]omething of the gay relationship’s necessary honesty, its flexibility, and its equality could undoubtedly help strengthen and inform many heterosexual bonds.[37]
“Openness” and “flexibility” are Sullivan’s euphemisms for sexual infidelity. Similarly, in a New York Times Magazine profile, gay activist Dan Savage encourages spouses to adopt “a more flexible attitude” about allowing each other to seek sex outside their marriage. The New York Times recently reported on a study finding that exclusivity was not the norm among gay partners: “‘With straight people, it’s called affairs or cheating,’ said Colleen Hoff, the study’s principal investigator, ‘but with gay people it does not have such negative connotations.’”[38]

A piece in The Advocate candidly admits where the logic of redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships leads:

Anti-equality right-wingers have long insisted that allowing gays to marry will destroy the sanctity of “traditional marriage,” and, of course, the logical, liberal party-line response has long been “No, it won’t.” But what if—for once—the sanctimonious crazies are right? Could the gay male tradition of open relationships actually alter marriage as we know it? And would that be such a bad thing?[39]
We often protest when homophobes insist that same sex marriage will change marriage for straight people too. But in some ways, they’re right.[40]
Some advocates of redefining marriage embrace the goal of weakening the institution of marriage in these very terms. “[Former President George W.] Bush is correct,” says Victoria Brownworth, “when he states that allowing same-sex couples to marry will weaken the institution of marriage…. It most certainly will do so, and that will make marriage a far better concept than it previously has been.”[41] Professor Ellen Willis celebrates the fact that “conferring the legitimacy of marriage on homosexual relations will introduce an implicit revolt against the institution into its very heart.”[42]

Michelangelo Signorile urges same-sex couples to “demand the right to marry not as a way of adhering to society’s moral codes but rather to debunk a myth and radically alter an archaic institution.”[43] Same-sex couples should “fight for same-sex marriage and its benefits and then, once granted, redefine the institution of marriage completely, because the most subversive action lesbians and gay men can undertake…is to transform the notion of ‘family’ entirely.”[44]

It is no surprise that there is already evidence of this occurring. A federal judge in Utah allowed a legal challenge to anti-bigamy laws.[45] A bill that would allow a child to have three legal parents passed both houses of the California state legislature in 2012 before it was vetoed by the governor, who claimed he wanted “to take more time to consider all of the implications of this change.”[46] The impetus for the bill was a lesbian same-sex relationship in which one partner was impregnated by a man. The child possessed a biological mother and father, but the law recognized the biological mother and her same-sex spouse, a “presumed mother,” as the child’s parents.[47]

Those who believe in monogamy and exclusivity—and the benefits that these bring to orderly procreation and child well-being—should take note.

Redefining marriage threatens religious liberty.

Redefining marriage marginalizes those with traditional views and leads to the erosion of religious liberty. The law and culture will seek to eradicate such views through economic, social, and legal pressure. If marriage is redefined, believing what virtually every human society once believed about marriage—a union of a man and woman ordered to procreation and family life—would be seen increasingly as a malicious prejudice to be driven to the margins of culture. The consequences for religious believers are becoming apparent.

The administrative state may require those who contract with the government, receive governmental monies, or work directly for the state to embrace and promote same-sex marriage even if it violates their religious beliefs. Nondiscrimination law may make even private actors with no legal or financial ties to the government—including businesses and religious organizations—liable to civil suits for refusing to treat same-sex relationships as marriages. Finally, private actors in a culture that is now hostile to traditional views of marriage may discipline, fire, or deny professional certification to those who express support for traditional marriage.

In fact, much of this is already occurring. Heritage Foundation Visiting Fellow Thomas Messner has documented multiple instances in which redefining marriage has already become a nightmare for religious liberty.[48] If marriage is redefined to include same-sex relationships, then those who continue to believe the truth about marriage—that it is by nature a union of a man and a woman—would face three different types of threats to their liberty: the administrative state, nondiscrimination law, and private actors in a culture that is now hostile to traditional views.[49]

After Massachusetts redefined marriage to include same-sex relationships, Catholic Charities of Boston was forced to discontinue its adoption services rather than place children with same-sex couples against its principles.[50] Massachusetts public schools began teaching grade-school students about same-sex marriage, defending their decision because they are “committed to teaching about the world they live in, and in Massachusetts same-sex marriage is legal.” A Massachusetts appellate court ruled that parents have no right to exempt their children from these classes.[51]

The New Mexico Human Rights Commission prosecuted a photographer for declining to photograph a same-sex “commitment ceremony.” Doctors in California were successfully sued for declining to perform an artificial insemination on a woman in a same-sex relationship. Owners of a bed and breakfast in Illinois who declined to rent their facility for a same-sex civil union ceremony and reception were sued for violating the state nondiscrimination law. A Georgia counselor was fired after she referred someone in a same-sex relationship to another counselor.[52] In fact, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty reports that “over 350 separate state anti-discrimination provisions would likely be triggered by recognition of same-sex marriage.”[53]

The Catholic bishop of Springfield, Illinois, explains how a bill, which was offered in that state’s 2013 legislative session, to redefine marriage while claiming to protect religious liberty was unable to offer meaningful protections:

[It] would not stop the state from obligating the Knights of Columbus to make their halls available for same-sex “weddings.” It would not stop the state from requiring Catholic grade schools to hire teachers who are legally “married” to someone of the same sex. This bill would not protect Catholic hospitals, charities, or colleges, which exclude those so “married” from senior leadership positions…. This “religious freedom” law does nothing at all to protect the consciences of people in business, or who work for the government. We saw the harmful consequences of deceptive titles all too painfully last year when the so-called “Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act” forced Catholic Charities out of foster care and adoption services in Illinois.[54]
In fact, the lack of religious liberty protection seems to be a feature of such bills:

There is no possible way—none whatsoever—for those who believe that marriage is exclusively the union of husband and wife to avoid legal penalties and harsh discriminatory treatment if the bill becomes law. Why should we expect it be otherwise? After all, we would be people who, according to the thinking behind the bill, hold onto an “unfair” view of marriage. The state would have equated our view with bigotry—which it uses the law to marginalize in every way short of criminal punishment.[55]
Georgetown University law professor Chai Feldblum, an appointee to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, argues that the push to redefine marriage trumps religious liberty concerns:

[F]or all my sympathy for the evangelical Christian couple who may wish to run a bed and breakfast from which they can exclude unmarried, straight couples and all gay couples, this is a point where I believe the “zero-sum” nature of the game inevitably comes into play. And, in making that decision in this zero-sum game, I am convinced society should come down on the side of protecting the liberty of LGBT people.[56]
Indeed, for many supporters of redefining marriage, such infringements on religious liberty are not flaws but virtues of the movement.

The Future of Marriage
Long before the debate about same-sex marriage, there was a debate about marriage. It launched a “marriage movement” to explain why marriage was good both for the men and women who were faithful to its responsibilities and for the children they reared. Over the past decade, a new question emerged: What does society have to lose by redefining marriage to exclude sexual complementarity?

Many citizens are increasingly tempted to think that marriage is simply an intense emotional union, whatever sort of interpersonal relationship consenting adults, whether two or 10 in number, want it to be—sexual or platonic, sexually exclusive or open, temporary or permanent. This leaves marriage with no essential features, no fixed core as a social reality. It is simply whatever consenting adults want it to be.

Yet if marriage has no form and serves no social purpose, how will society protect the needs of children—the prime victim of our non-marital sexual culture—without government growing more intrusive and more expensive?

Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union produces. Marriage benefits everyone because separating the bearing and rearing of children from marriage burdens innocent bystanders: not just children, but the whole community. Without healthy marriages, the community often must step in to provide (more or less directly) for their well-being and upbringing. Thus, by encouraging the norms of marriage—monogamy, sexual exclusivity, and permanence—the state strengthens civil society and reduces its own role.

Government recognizes traditional marriage because it benefits society in a way that no other relationship or institution does. Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. State recognition of marriage protects children by encouraging men and women to commit to each other and take responsibility for their children.

Promoting marriage does not ban any type of relationship: Adults are free to make choices about their relationships, and they do not need government sanction or license to do so. All Americans have the freedom to live as they choose, but no one has a right to redefine marriage for everyone else.

The future of this country depends on the future of marriage, and the future of marriage depends on citizens understanding what it is and why it matters and demanding that government policies support, not undermine, true marriage.

Some might appeal to historical inevitability as a reason to avoid answering the question of what marriage is—as if it were an already moot question. However, changes in public opinion are driven by human choice, not by blind historical forces. The question is not what will happen, but what we should do.

—Ryan T. Anderson is William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society in the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation.
Hide References

[1] John Corvino and Maggie Gallagher, Debating Same-Sex Marriage (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2012), p. 94.

[2] Ibid., p. 116.

[3] Ibid., p. 96.

[4] Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson, and Robert P. George, What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense (New York: Encounter Books, 2012).

[5] David Popenoe, Life Without Father: Compelling New Evidence That Fatherhood and Marriage Are Indispensable for the Good of Children and Society (New York: The Free Press, 1996), p. 146.

[6] Ibid., p. 197. See also W. Bradford Wilcox, “Reconcilable Differences: What Social Sciences Show About the Complementarity of the Sexes & Parenting,” Touchstone, November 2005, p. 36.

[7] Girgis et al., What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.

[8] James Q. Wilson, The Marriage Problem (New York: HapperCollins Publishers, 2002), p. 41.

[9] For the relevant studies, see Witherspoon Institute, “Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles,” August 2008, pp. 9–19, http://www.winst.org/family_marriage_and_democracy/WI_Marriage.pdf (accessed March 4, 2013). “Marriage and the Public Good,” signed by some 70 scholars, corroborates the philosophical case for marriage with extensive evidence from the social sciences about the welfare of children and adults.

[10] Kristin Anderson Moore, Susan M. Jekielek, and Carol Emig, “Marriage from a Child’s Perspective: How Does Family Structure Affect Children, and What Can We Do About It?” Child Trends Research Brief, June 2002, p. 1, http://www.childtrends.org/files/MarriageRB602.pdf (accessed March 4, 2013) (original emphasis).

[11] Ibid., p. 6.

[12] Wendy D. Manning and Kathleen A. Lamb, “Adolescent Well-Being in Cohabiting, Married, and Single-Parent Families,” Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 65, No. 4 (November 2003), pp. 876 and 890.

[13] See Sara McLanahan, Elisabeth Donahue, and Ron Haskins, “Introducing the Issue,” Marriage and Child Wellbeing, Vol. 15, No. 2 (Fall 2005), http://futureofchildren.org/futureofchildren/publications/journals/article/index.xml?journalid=37&articleid=103 (accessed March 4, 2013); Mary Parke, “Are Married Parents Really Better for Children?” Center for Law and Social Policy Policy Brief, May 2003, http://www.clasp.org/admin/site/publications_states/files/0086.pdf (accessed March 4, 2013); and W. Bradford Wilcox et al., Why Marriage Matters: Twenty-Six Conclusions from the Social Sciences, 2nd ed. (New York: Institute for American Values, 2005), p. 6, http://americanvalues.org/pdfs/why_marriage_matters2.pdf (accessed March 4, 2013).

[14] Barack Obama, “Obama’s Speech on Fatherhood,” Apostolic Church of God, Chicago, June 15, 2008, http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/06/obamas_speech_on_fatherhood.html (accessed March 4, 2013).

[15] See Jason Richwine and Jennifer A. Marshall, “The Regnerus Study: Social Science and New Family Structures Met with Intolerance,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2726, October 2, 2012, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/10/the-regnerus-study-social-science-on-new-family-structures-met-with-intolerance.

[16] Loren Marks, “Same-Sex Parenting and Children’s Outcomes: A Closer Examination of the American Psychological Association’s Brief on Lesbian and Gay Parenting,” Social Science Research, Vol. 41, No. 4 (July 2012), http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0049089X12000580 (accessed March 4, 2013).

[17] See Children from Different Families, http://www.familystructurestudies.com/ (accessed March 4, 2013).

[18] Douglas W. Allen, Catherine Pakaluk, and Joseph Price, “Nontraditional Families and Childhood Progress Through School: A Comment on Rosenfeld,” Demography, November 2012.

[19] Social Trends Institute, “The Sustainable Demographic Dividend: What Do Marriage and Fertility Have to Do with the Economy?” 2011, http://sustaindemographicdividend.org/articles/the-sustainable-demographic (accessed March 4, 2013).

[20] H. Brevy Cannon, “New Report: Falling Birth, Marriage Rates Linked to Global Economic Slowdown,” UVA Today, October 3, 2011, http://www.virginia.edu/uvatoday/newsRelease.php?id=16244 (accessed March 4, 2013).

[21] Robert Rector, “Marriage: America’s Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty,” Heritage Foundation Special Report No. 117, September 5, 2012, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/09/marriage-americas-greatest-weapon-against-child-poverty.

[22] Isabel V. Sawhill, “Families at Risk,” in Henry J. Aaron and Robert D. Reischauer, eds., Setting National Priorities: The 2000 Election and Beyond (Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 1999), pp. 97 and 108. See also Witherspoon Institute, “Marriage and the Public Good,” p. 15.

[23] Institute for American Values et al., “The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing: First-Ever Estimates for the Nation and for All Fifty States,” 2008, http://www.americanvalues.org/pdfs/COFF.pdf (accessed March 6, 2013).

[24] David G. Schramm, “Preliminary Estimates of the Economic Consequences of Divorce,” Utah State University, 2003.

[25] Jessica Bennett, “Only You. And You. And You,” Newsweek, July 28, 2009, http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/07/28/only-you-and-you-and-you.html (accessed March 6, 2013).

[26] Ryan T. Anderson, “Beyond Gay Marriage,” The Weekly Standard, August 17, 2008, http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/591cxhia.asp (accessed March 6, 2013).

[27] For the relevant studies, see Witherspoon Institute, “Marriage and the Public Good.” See also Moore et al., “Marriage from a Child’s Perspective,” p. 1; Manning and Lamb, “Adolescent Well-Being in Cohabiting, Married, and Single-Parent Families”; McLanahan et al., “Introducing the Issue”; Parke, “Are Married Parents Really Better for Children?”; and Wilcox et al., Why Marriage Matters, p. 6.

[28] E. J. Graff, “Retying the Knot,” in Andrew Sullivan, ed., Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con: A Reader (New York: Vintage Books, 1997), pp. 134, 136, and 137.

[29] Andrew Sullivan, “Introduction,” in Sullivan, ed., Same-Sex Marriage, pp. xvii and xix.

[30] See Girgis et al., What Is Marriage?

[31] See Maggie Gallagher, “(How) Will Gay Marriage Weaken Marriage as a Social Institution: A Reply to Andrew Koppelman,” University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1 (2004), p. 62, http://ir.stthomas.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1047&context=ustlj (accessed March 6, 2013).

[32] BeyondMarriage.org, “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision for All Our Families and Relationships,” July 26, 2006, http://beyondmarriage.org/full_statement.html (accessed March 6, 2013).

[33] Elizabeth Brake, “Minimal Marriage: What Political Liberalism Implies for Marriage Law,” Ethics, Vol. 120, No. 2 (January 2010), pp. 302, 303, 323, and 336.

[34] Bennett, “Only You.”

[35] Ibid.

[36] Molly Young, “He & He & He,” New York Magazine, July 29, 2012, http://nymag.com/news/features/sex/2012/benny-morecock-throuple/ (accessed March 6, 2013).

[37] Andrew Sullivan, Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality (New York: Vintage Books, 1996), pp. 202–203.

[38] Scott James, “Many Successful Gay Marriages Share an Open Secret,” The New York Times, January 28, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/us/29sfmetro.html (accessed March 6, 2013).

[39] Ari Karpel, “Monogamish,” The Advocate, July 7, 2011, http://www.advocate.com/Print_Issue/Features/Monogamish/ (accessed March 6, 2013).

[40] Ari Karpel, “Features: Monogamish,” The Advocate, July 7, 2011, http://www.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/features?page=7 (accessed March 7, 2013).

[41] Victoria A. Brownworth, “Something Borrowed, Something Blue: Is Marriage Right for Queers?” in Greg Wharton and Ian Philips, eds., I Do/I Don’t: Queers on Marriage (San Francisco: Suspect Thoughts Press, 2004), pp. 53 and 58–59.

[42] Ellen Willis, “Can Marriage Be Saved? A Forum,” The Nation, July 5, 2004, p. 16, http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-118670288.html (accessed March 6, 2013).

[43] Michelangelo Signorile, “Bridal Wave,” Out, December 1993/January 1994, pp. 68 and 161.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Julia Zebley, “Utah Polygamy Law Challenged in Federal Lawsuit,” Jurist, July 13, 2011, http://jurist.org/paperchase/2011/07/utah-polygamy-law-challenged-in-federal-lawsuit.php (accessed March 6, 2013).

[46] Jim Sanders, “Jerry Brown Vetoes Bill Allowing More Than Two Parents,” The Sacramento Bee, September 30, 2012, http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/09/jerry-brown-vetoes-bill-allowing-more-than-two-parents.html (accessed March 6, 2013).

[47] For more on this, see Jennifer Roback Morse, “Why California’s Three-Parent Law Was Inevitable,” Witherspoon Institute Public Discourse, September 10, 2012, http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/09/6197 (accessed March 6, 2013).

[48] Thomas M. Messner, “Same-Sex Marriage and the Threat to Religious Liberty,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2201, October 30, 2008, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2008/10/same-sex-marriage-and-the-threat-to-religious-liberty; “Same-Sex Marriage and Threats to Religious Freedom: How Nondiscrimination Laws Factor In,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2589, July 29, 2011, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/07/same-sex-marriage-and-threats-to-religious-freedom-how-nondiscrimination-laws-factor-in; and “From Culture Wars to Conscience Wars: Emerging Threats to Conscience,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2532, April 13, 2011, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/04/from-culture-wars-to-conscience-wars-emerging-threats-to-conscience.

[49] For more on this, see Messner, “Same-Sex Marriage and the Threat to Religious Liberty.”

[50] Maggie Gallagher, “Banned in Boston,” The Weekly Standard, May 5, 2006, p. 20, http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/191kgwgh.asp (accessed March 6, 2013).

[51] For example, see Parker v. Hurley, 514 F.3d 87 (1st Cir. 2008).

[52] Walden v. Centers for Disease Control, Case No. 1:08-cv-02278-JEC, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, March 18, 2010, http://www.telladf.org/UserDocs/WaldenSJorder.pdf (accessed March 6, 2013).

[53] Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, “Same-Sex Marriage and State Anti-Discrimination Laws,” Issue Brief, January 2009, p. 2, http://www.becketfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Same-Sex-Marriage-and-State-Anti-Discrimination-Laws-with-Appendices.pdf (accessed March 7, 2013). See also Messner, “Same-Sex Marriage and Threats to Religious Freedom,” p. 4.

[54] Thomas John Paprocki, letter to priests, deacons, and pastoral facilitators in the Diocese of Springfield, January 3, 2013, http://www.dio.org/blog/item/326-bishop-paprockis-letter-on-same-sex-marriage.html#sthash.CPXLw6Gt.dpbs (accessed March 6, 2013).

[55] Ibid.

[56] Chai R. Feldblum, “Moral Conflict and Liberty: Gay Rights and Religion,” Brooklyn Law Review, Vol. 72, No. 1 (Fall 2006), p. 119, http://www.brooklaw.edu/~/media/PDF/LawJournals/BLR_PDF/blr_v72i.ashx (accessed March 6, 2013).


Emeutes de Baltimore: Attention, un casseur peut en cacher un autre ! (As crime falls and policing shifts more towards social work, America’s police culture at pains to catch up)

2 mai, 2015
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CD3V4WFWMAEdRHY.jpg:largehttps://i1.wp.com/36.media.tumblr.com/5487a52eb3c4305ec0a2603cdb581552/tumblr_nnh3260nyH1qi4t89o1_1280.jpg A rioter stands atop a burning car as another man pours fuel onto the fire while Baltimore firefighters behind them fight fires in multiple burning buildings set ablaze by rioters during clashes in Baltimore on April 27, 2015. Fan riot after San Francisco Giants 2014 World Series win
Michael Chikliss (The Shield, US TV series, 2002-2008)

Do I look like a social worker ?

https://scontent-cdg.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xtp1/v/t1.0-9/s480x480/11068304_1083447255015533_7201690011362494321_n.jpg?oh=1d4c8ca789db853b58b402182f8674d3&oe=55D193F1

We gonna be burning an a-looting tonight (…) burning all illusion tonight … Bob Marley
Do you know that Negroes are 10 percent of the population of St. Louis and are responsible for 58% of its crimes? We’ve got to face that. And we’ve got to do something about our moral standards. We know that there are many things wrong in the white world, but there are many things wrong in the black world, too. We can’t keep on blaming the white man. There are things we must do for ourselves. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (St Louis, 1961)
La notion des années 1960 selon laquelle les mouvements sociaux seraient une réponse légitime à une injustice sociale a créé l’impression d’une certaine rationalité des émeutes. Les foules ne sont toutefois pas des entités rationnelles. Les émeutes de Londres ont démontré l’existence d’un manque de pensée rationnelle des événements du fait de leur caractère tout à fait spontané et irrationnel. Les pillards ont pillé pour piller et pour beaucoup ce n’était pas nécessairement l’effet d’un sentiment d’injustice. Au cours des émeutes danoises il y avait d’un côté un sens de la rationalité dans les manifestations de jeunes dans la mesure où ils étaient mus par une motivation politique. Cependant, les autres jeunes qui n’étaient pas normalement affiliés à  l’organisation « Ungdomshuset » se sont impliqués dans le  conflit et ont participé aux émeutes sans en partager les objectifs. Ils étaient là pour s’amuser et l’adrénaline a fait le reste. Les émeutes peuvent assumer une dynamique auto-entretenue qui n’est pas mue par des motifs rationnels. Lorsque les individus forment une foule, ils peuvent devenir irrationnels et être motivés par des émotions que génèrent  les émeutes elles-mêmes. L’aspect intéressant des émeutes  de Londres était de confirmer l’inutilité du traitement du phénomène de foule par  une stratégie de communication. La méthode rationnelle n’aboutit à rien contrairement à la forme traditionnelle de confinement. Cela montre bien qu’à certains moments, la solution efficace est de ne pas gérer les foules par le dialogue. Christian Borch
Le discours de l’excuse s’est alors trouvé survalorisé, les prises de position normatives ont été rejetées comme politiquement incorrectes et les policiers ont fait office de boucs émissaires. Lucienne Bui Trong
J’ai participé aux émeutes, j’ai renversé une voiture, fracassé la Banque de Montréal, les arrêts d’autobus… Une grosse soirée! Sienna St-Laurent (14 ans)
Je ne sais pas, je voulais me sentir cool. Sienna St-Laurent (émeutière de Vancouver, juin 2011)
Tous sur les Champs, on va tout casser. Cris de casseurs du Trocadéro (mai 2013)
Je ne peux qu’imaginer ce qu’endurent ses parents. Et quand je pense à ce garçon, je pense à mes propres enfants. Si j’avais un fils, il ressemblerait à Trayvon. Obama
How do we turn pain into power? How do we go from a moment to a movement that curries favor? (…) The blood of the innocent has power.  Jesse Jackson
Les gens pensaient que parce que nous avions élu Obama, la société américaine était devenue post-raciale, que la couleur de la peau n’avait plus aucune importance. Avec l’affaire Trayvon Martin, nous assistons à un réveil et à une mobilisation. Geraldine Thompson (historienne et représentante démocrate de l’Etat de Floride)
C’est une honte que l’homme n’ai pas été ligoté à une voiture avant d’être traîné le long de la rue. C’est la seule rétribution à offrir à ce genre d’individu (…) Nous devons continuer à twitter, à marcher et à lutter pour Trayvon Martin afin que demain cela n’arrive pas à nos enfants. Ce crime ne doit pas rester impuni (…) Oubliez son arrestation. Le fait qu’il n’ait pas encore été abattu est une vraie honte. Voilà ce que je ressens personnellement à propos de ce sujet. Mike Tyson
Nous avons également donné de l’espace à ceux qui voulaient détruire.  Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (maire de Baltimore)
But what about all the other young black murder victims? Nationally, nearly half of all murder victims are black. And the overwhelming majority of those black people are killed by other black people. Where is the march for them? Where is the march against the drug dealers who prey on young black people? Where is the march against bad schools, with their 50% dropout rate for black teenaged boys? Those failed schools are certainly guilty of creating the shameful 40% unemployment rate for black teens? How about marching against the cable television shows constantly offering minstrel-show images of black youth as rappers and comedians who don’t value education, dismiss the importance of marriage, and celebrate killing people, drug money and jailhouse fashion—the pants falling down because the jail guard has taken away the belt, the shoes untied because the warden removed the shoe laces, and accessories such as the drug dealer’s pit bull. (…) There is no fashion, no thug attitude that should be an invitation to murder. But these are the real murderous forces surrounding the Martin death—and yet they never stir protests. The race-baiters argue this case deserves special attention because it fits the mold of white-on-black violence that fills the history books. Some have drawn a comparison to the murder of Emmett Till, a black boy who was killed in 1955 by white racists for whistling at a white woman. (…) While civil rights leaders have raised their voices to speak out against this one tragedy, few if any will do the same about the larger tragedy of daily carnage that is black-on-black crime in America. (…) Almost one half of the nation’s murder victims that year were black and a majority of them were between the ages of 17 and 29. Black people accounted for 13% of the total U.S. population in 2005. Yet they were the victims of 49% of all the nation’s murders. And 93% of black murder victims were killed by other black people, according to the same report. (…) The killing of any child is a tragedy. But where are the protests regarding the larger problems facing black America? Juan Williams
 … virtual hailstorms of racist graffiti and nooses materializ[ed] on college campuses, all of which invariably end up having been put there by the alleged victims, the [mainstream media] didn’t even pause before conjuring a racist plot in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida last month. Like Captain Ahab searching for the Great White Whale, the [MSM] is constantly on the hunt for proof of America as « Mississippi Burning. »Over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, the month after Martin was killed, gangs in Chicago shot 10 people dead, including a 6-year-old girl, Aliyah Shell, who was sitting with her mother on their front porch. One imagines MSNBC hosts heaving a sign of relief that little Aliyah was not shot by a white man, and was thus spared the horror of being a victim of racism. As it happens, Trayvon Martin wasn’t shot by a white man either, but by George Zimmerman, a mixed-race Hispanic who lives in a diverse (47 percent white) gated community and tutors black kids. But Hispanic is close enough for the NFM. They’re chasing the Great White Whale of racist America and don’t have time to check to see if the whale is actually a guppy.… On the basis of little else, the media conjured a Hollywood script: A « white » man was « stalking » a little black kid — who could be Obama’s son! — confronted him, beat him senseless as the small black child screamed for help, and finally shot the kid dead, « just because he was black. »Two weeks of nonstop hysteria later, it turns out that every part of that gripping plot is based on nothing that could be called a reasonable assumption, much less a fact. Ann Coulter
The absurdity of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton is that they want to make a movement out of an anomaly. Black teenagers today are afraid of other black teenagers, not whites. … Trayvon’s sad fate clearly sent a quiver of perverse happiness all across America’s civil rights establishment, and throughout the mainstream media as well. His death was vindication of the ‘poetic truth’ that these establishments live by. Shelby Steele
Would Trayvon be alive today had he been walking home—Skittles and ice tea in hand—wearing a polo shirt with an alligator logo? Possibly. And does this make the ugly point that dark skin late at night needs to have its menace softened by some show of Waspy Americana? Possibly. (…) Before the 1960s the black American identity (though no one ever used the word) was based on our common humanity, on the idea that race was always an artificial and exploitive division between people. After the ’60s—in a society guilty for its long abuse of us—we took our historical victimization as the central theme of our group identity. We could not have made a worse mistake. It has given us a generation of ambulance-chasing leaders, and the illusion that our greatest power lies in the manipulation of white guilt. Shelby Steele
We can’t ignore the fact that the city is burning, but we need to be talking about why it’s burning and not romanticize peace and not romanticize marching as the only way to function. I’m not saying we should be hurting, I’m not saying we should be killing people, but we do have to understand that resistance looks different ways to different people and part of what it means to say black lives matter, is to assert our right to have rage – righteous rage, righteous indignation in the face of state violence and extrajudicial killing. Freddie Gray is dead. That’s why the city is burning and let’s make that clear. It’s not burning because of these protesters. The city is burning because the police killed Freddie Gray and that’s a distinction we have to make.(…) I’m not saying we should see the destruction of black communities as positive. I’m saying that we can’t have too narrow a perception of what the destruction of black communities mean and it seems we exhausted more of our moral outrage tonight and not the 364 days before tonight. I think we should be strategic in how we riot. Marc Lamont Hill
The public want us to come up and deal with a neighbour who is mowing their lawn at 3am. They want us to deal with their disruptive child. They want us to deal with the crazy person who is walking down the street shouting. American police officer
We’ve never had a population who are so well-armed. Ron Teachman (chief of police in South Bend, Indiana)
When you go to a police academy, the first thing they say to you is that it’s dangerous and you could get killed out there. Jim Bueermann (retired police chief and head of the Police Foundation)
The public needs to be educated better. We can’t let our guard down because we’re making ourselves less safe. Lieutenant
At some point, Americans decided that the best answer to every social ill lay in the power of the criminal-justice system. (…) Peel back the layers of most of the recent police shootings that have captured attention and you will find a broad societal problem that we have looked at, thrown our hands up, and said to the criminal-justice system, ‘You deal with this’.  Ta Nehisi Coates (The Atlantic)
The ten seconds you see of a man being hit with a baton, it looks horrible, but you don’t always know what that man was doing. Any use of force looks horrible even if it’s completely necessary. American police officer
The media take one incident and they magnify it to the point where people think that must be all law enforcement and it really hurts officers. American police officer
If I take a punch and I’m knocked out, they could take my gun. We need to stay a step ahead of them, so we sometimes use a higher-level of force. American police officer
Another worries that the fear of being criticised or indicted for using force may make cops put themselves in danger. “I think what’s happening now is that some younger officers are more reluctant to use force and they might lose a tactical advantage and be killed. American police officer
If the person is not receptive and is not willing to be coherent, all of the training in the world will fail. American police officer
Sometimes an officer feels they are left with no other choice to use force and they find out after the fact that the person was bipolar or whatever and they didn’t recognise it. American police officer
If somebody is fighting with the police and they end up getting shot, I guarantee you, there is a point where the officer gave lawful orders and you have to stop resisting. American police officer
It’s all about numbers now. Does an officer spend two shifts working on a burglary or does he go out and write 20 speeding tickets? American police officer
The people who get promotions, the people who get specialised jobs, are the people who get arrests. American police officer
It seems to me that the biggest challenge will involve changing America’s police culture. In Britain, and across Europe, police officers also spend a lot of time dealing with mental illness, drug use and the rest of it. But the number of deaths in custody per year across Britain is rarely more than handful. The annual number of people shot and killed by police has, in recent years, typically been zero. Some of this cannot be replicated: Britain is a small country with extremely tight gun-control laws and, as a result, extremely little gun crime. But some of it I think is the result of a better police culture. Since the early 1990s, when the Metropolitan Police in London was accused of being institutionally racist in an official inquiry, police services in Britain have become much more community-oriented. Problems remain, but cops increasingly do think of themselves as performing a social service. Not all of America’s 18,000 police forces suffer from the same problems, and there are certainly good examples of reform. Still, America’s police forces are largely made up of people who think of themselves as “a thin blue line (wand) ” against the bad guys. Only when that mentality changes will policing really be able to move past these scandals. The Economist
The bigger problem for Baltimore is that lawnessness is not limited to nights like tonight. As one young woman standing taking photos said to me, West Baltimore is “always like this. Well not like this, but you know, shootings”. This is a city where a young black man is killed almost every day—not by police officers, but by other young black men. The failure of the police in this city is that they cannot enforce the law even at the best of times. At their worst, as the death of Mr Gray seems to suggest, Baltimore’s police are simply another source of the lawlessness. The Economist
The reality of the job (…) is far less glamorous. (…) As crime has fallen across America since the 1990s, policing has shifted more towards social work than the drama seen on TV. Police culture, however, has not caught up. The gap may help to explain why American police are so embattled. (…) No one knows how many people die in contact with America’s roughly 18,000 law-enforcement agencies. The FBI publishes reports, but police forces are not required to submit data. The incomplete FBI figures show that at least 461 people died in “justifiable homicides” in 2013, an increase of 33% since 2005. Other sources suggest the true number could be as high as twice that. In Britain, by contrast, police shot and killed precisely no one in 2013. American police resort to violence more partly because they meet it more. (…) Twenty-six police officers were killed with guns in the line of duty in 2013, far more than in any other rich country. Yet fewer police officers are killed now than in the past, and the number who are shot is less than the number who die in traffic accidents. Over time, suggests Mr Bueermann, a justified alertness to danger may have warped into a belief that the swift use of force is the only thing keeping cops safe. (…) force is often used to subdue low-level offenders (…), not just dangerous