Populisme: Les sionistes ont même inventé le nationalisme ! (From the Tower of Babel to the latest anti-Israeli UN resolution, the independent national state, as an alternative to empire and tribalism, begins with the Hebrew Bible, but is again threatened by transnational elites, says Israeli political philosopher Yoram Hazony)

28 juillet, 2019

 

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Toi qui as fixé les frontières, dressé les bornes de la terre, tu as créé l’été, l’hiver !  Psaumes 74: 17
Où tu iras j’irai, où tu demeureras je demeurerai; ton peuple sera mon peuple, et ton Dieu sera mon Dieu. Ruth (Ruth 1: 16)
Un peuple connait, aime et défend toujours plus ses moeurs que ses lois. Montesquieu
L’arbre de la liberté doit être revivifié de temps en temps par le sang des patriotes et des tyrans. Jefferson
Condamner le nationalisme parce qu’il peut mener à la guerre, c’est comme condamner l’amour parce qu’il peut conduire au meurtre. C.K. Chesterton
Le patriotisme est l’exact contraire du nationalisme. Le nationalisme est l’exact contraire du patriotisme, il en est sa trahison. Emmanuel Macron
Les démocrates radicaux veulent remonter le temps, rendre de nouveau le pouvoir aux mondialistes corrompus et avides de pouvoir. Vous savez qui sont les mondialistes? Le mondialiste est un homme qui veut qu’il soit bon de vivre dans le monde entier sans, pour dire le vrai, se soucier de notre pays. Cela ne nous convient pas. (…) Vous savez, il y a un terme devenu démodé dans un certain sens, ce terme est « nationaliste ». Mais vous savez qui je suis? Je suis un nationaliste. OK? Je suis nationaliste. Saisissez-vous de ce terme! Donald Trump
We have a very clear policy. We want to preserve Hungary as a Hungarian country. We have a right for that. It’s a sovereign right of Hungary to decide whom we would like to allow to enter the territory of the country, and with whom we would like to live together. That must be a national decision … a matter of national sovereignty, and we don’t want to give that up. And we do not accept either Brussels, New York or Geneva taking these kinds of decisions instead of us. (…) We think that the illegal migration is a threat to the European future, a threat to the European culture and to the European civilization. We are a country which sticks strictly to national identity, which would like to preserve religious heritage, historic heritage and cultural heritage. We do not want to lose them. Péter Szijjártó (Hungary’s foreign minister)
So apparently Donald Trump wants to make this an election about what it means to be American. He’s got his vision of what it means to be American, and he’s challenging the rest of us to come up with a better one. In Trump’s version, “American” is defined by three propositions. First, to be American is to be xenophobic. The basic narrative he tells is that the good people of the heartland are under assault from aliens, elitists and outsiders. Second, to be American is to be nostalgic. America’s values were better during some golden past. Third, a true American is white. White Protestants created this country; everybody else is here on their sufferance. When you look at Trump’s American idea you realize that it contradicts the traditional American idea in every particular. In fact, Trump’s national story is much closer to the Russian national story than it is toward our own. It’s an alien ideology he’s trying to plant on our soil. ​ Trump’s vision is radically anti-American.​ The real American idea is not xenophobic, nostalgic or racist; it is pluralistic, future-oriented and universal. America is exceptional precisely because it is the only nation on earth that defines itself by its future, not its past. America is exceptional because from the first its citizens saw themselves in a project that would have implications for all humankind. America is exceptional because it was launched with a dream to take the diverse many and make them one — e pluribus unum.​ (…) Trump’s campaign is an attack on that dream. The right response is to double down on that ideal. The task before us is to create the most diverse mass democracy in the history of the planet — a true universal nation. It is precisely to weave the social fissures that Trump is inclined to tear. David Brooks
In the matter of immigration, mark this conservative columnist down as strongly pro-deportation. The United States has too many people who don’t work hard, don’t believe in God, don’t contribute much to society and don’t appreciate the greatness of the American system. They need to return whence they came. I speak of Americans whose families have been in this country for a few generations. Complacent, entitled and often shockingly ignorant on basic points of American law and history, they are the stagnant pool in which our national prospects risk drowning.​ (…) Bottom line: So-called real Americans are screwing up America. Maybe they should leave, so that we can replace them with new and better ones: newcomers who are more appreciative of what the United States has to offer, more ambitious for themselves and their children, and more willing to sacrifice for the future. In other words, just the kind of people we used to be — when “we” had just come off the boat.​ O.K., so I’m jesting about deporting “real Americans” en masse. (Who would take them in, anyway?) But then the threat of mass deportations has been no joke with this administration.​ On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security seemed prepared to extend an Obama administration program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which allows the children of illegal immigrants — some 800,000 people in all — to continue to study and work in the United States. The decision would have reversed one of Donald Trump’s ugly campaign threats to deport these kids, whose only crime was to have been brought to the United States by their parents. Yet the administration is still committed to deporting their parents, and on Friday the D.H.S. announced that even DACA remains under review — another cruel twist for young immigrants wondering if they’ll be sent back to “home” countries they hardly ever knew, and whose language they might barely even speak.​ Beyond the inhumanity of toying with people’s lives this way, there’s also the shortsightedness of it. We do not usually find happiness by driving away those who would love us. Businesses do not often prosper by firing their better employees and discouraging job applications. So how does America become great again by berating and evicting its most energetic, enterprising, law-abiding, job-creating, idea-generating, self-multiplying and God-fearing people?​ Because I’m the child of immigrants and grew up abroad, I have always thought of the United States as a country that belongs first to its newcomers — the people who strain hardest to become a part of it because they realize that it’s precious; and who do the most to remake it so that our ideas, and our appeal, may stay fresh.​ That used to be a cliché, but in the Age of Trump it needs to be explained all over again. We’re a country of immigrants — by and for them, too. Americans who don’t get it should get out.​ Bret Stephens
Obama est le premier président américain élevé sans attaches culturelles, affectives ou intellectuelles avec la Grande-Bretagne ou l’Europe. Les Anglais et les Européens ont été tellement enchantés par le premier président américain noir qu’ils n’ont pu voir ce qu’il est vraiment: le premier président américain du Tiers-Monde. The Daily Mail
Culturellement, Obama déteste la Grande-Bretagne. Il a renvoyé le buste de Churchill sans la moindre feuille de vigne d’une excuse. Il a insulté la Reine et le Premier ministre en leur offrant les plus insignifiants des cadeaux. A un moment, il a même refusé de rencontrer le Premier ministre. Dr James Lucier (ancien directeur du comité des Affaire étrangères du sénat américain)
We want our country back ! Marion Maréchal
La jeune génération n’est pas encouragée à aimer notre héritage. On leur lave le cerveau en leur faisant honte de leur pays. (…) Nous, Français, devons nous battre pour notre indépendance. Nous ne pouvons plus choisir notre politique économique ou notre politique d’immigration et même notre diplomatie. Notre liberté est entre les mains de l’Union européenne. (…) Notre liberté est maintenant entre les mains de cette institution qui est en train de tuer des nations millénaires. Je vis dans un pays où 80%, vous m’avez bien entendu, 80% des lois sont imposées par l’Union européenne. Après 40 ans d’immigration massive, de lobbyisme islamique et de politiquement correct, la France est en train de passer de fille aînée de l’Eglise à petite nièce de l’islam. On entend maintenant dans le débat public qu’on a le droit de commander un enfant sur catalogue, qu’on a le droit de louer le ventre d’une femme, qu’on a le droit de priver un enfant d’une mère ou d’un père. (…) Aujourd’hui, même les enfants sont devenus des marchandises (…) Un enfant n’est pas un droit (…) Nous ne voulons pas de ce monde atomisé, individualiste, sans sexe, sans père, sans mère et sans nation. (…) Nous devons faire connaitre nos idées aux médias et notre culture, pour stopper la domination des libéraux et des socialistes. C’est la raison pour laquelle j’ai lancé une école de sciences politiques. (…) Nous devons faire connaitre nos idées aux médias et notre culture, pour stopper la domination des libéraux et des socialistes. C’est la raison pour laquelle j’ai lancé une école de sciences politiques. (…) La Tradition n’est pas la vénération des cendres, elle est la passation du feu. (…)Je ne suis pas offensée lorsque j’entends le président Donald Trump dire ‘l’Amérique d’abord’. En fait, je veux l’Amérique d’abord pour le peuple américain, je veux la Grande-Bretagne d’abord pour le peuple britannique et je veux la France d’abord pour le peuple français. Comme vous, nous voulons reprendre le contrôle de notre pays. Vous avez été l’étincelle, il nous appartient désormais de nourrir la flamme conservatrice. Marion Maréchal
En Europe comme aux Etats-Unis, la contestation émerge sur les territoires les plus éloignés des métropoles mondialisées. La « France périphérique » est celle des petites villes, des villes moyennes et des zones rurales. En Grande-Bretagne, c’est aussi la « Grande-Bretagne périphérique » qui a voté pour le Brexit. Attention : il ne s’agit pas d’un rapport entre « urbains » et « ruraux ». La question est avant tout sociale, économique et culturelle. Ces territoires illustrent la sortie de la classe moyenne des catégories qui en constituaient hier le socle : ouvriers, employés, petits paysans, petits indépendants. Ces catégories ont joué le jeu de la mondialisation, elles ont même au départ soutenu le projet européen. Cependant, après plusieurs décennies d’adaptation aux normes de l’économie-monde, elles font le constat d’une baisse ou d’une stagnation de leur niveau de vie, de la précarisation des conditions de travail, du chômage de masse et, in fine, du blocage de l’ascenseur social. Sans régulation d’un libre-échange qui défavorise prioritairement ces catégories et ces territoires, le processus va se poursuivre. C’est pourquoi la priorité est de favoriser le développement d’un modèle économique complémentaire (et non alternatif) sur ces territoires qui cumulent fragilités socio-économiques et sédentarisation des populations. Cela suppose de donner du pouvoir et des compétences aux élus et collectivités de ces territoires. En adoptant le système économique mondialisé, les pays développés ont accouché de son modèle sociétal : le multiculturalisme. En la matière, la France n’a pas fait mieux (ni pire) que les autres pays développés. Elle est devenue une société américaine comme les autres, avec ses tensions et ses paranoïas identitaires. Il faut insister sur le fait que sur ces sujets, il n’y a pas d’un côté ceux qui seraient dans l’ouverture et de l’autre ceux qui seraient dans le rejet. Si les catégories supérieures et éduquées ne basculent pas dans le populisme, c’est parce qu’elles ont les moyens de la frontière invisible avec l’Autre. Ce sont d’ailleurs elles qui pratiquent le plus l’évitement scolaire et résidentiel. La question du rapport à l’autre n’est donc pas seulement posée pour les catégories populaires. Poser cette question comme universelle – et qui touche toutes les catégories sociales – est un préalable si l’on souhaite faire baisser les tensions. Cela implique de sortir de la posture de supériorité morale que les gens ne supportent plus. J’avais justement conçu la notion d’insécurité culturelle pour montrer que, notamment en milieu populaire, ce n’est pas tant le rapport à l’autre qui pose problème qu’une instabilité démographique qui induit la peur de devenir minoritaire et de perdre un capital social et culturel très important. Une peur qui concerne tous les milieux populaires, quelles que soient leurs origines. C’est en partant de cette réalité qu’il convient de penser la question du multiculturalisme. Christophe Guilluy
Pour la première fois, le modèle mondialisé des classes dominantes, dont Hillary Clinton était le parangon, a été rejeté dans le pays qui l’a vu naître. Fidèles à leurs habitudes, les élites dirigeantes déprécient l’expression de la volonté populaire quand elles en perdent le contrôle. Ainsi, les médias, à travers le cas de la Pennsylvanie – l’un des swing states qui ont fait le succès de Trump -, ont mis l’accent sur le refus de mobilité de la working class blanche, les fameux « petits Blancs », comme cause principale de la précarité et du déclassement. Le « bougisme », qui est la maladie de Parkinson de la mondialisation, confond les causes et les conséquences. Il est incapable de comprendre que, selon la formule de Christopher Lasch, « le déracinement déracine tout, sauf le besoin de racines ». L’élection de Trump, c’est le cri de révolte des enracinés du local contre les agités du global. (…) La gauche progressiste n’a eu de cesse, depuis les années 1980, que d’évacuer la question sociale en posant comme postulat que ce n’est pas la pauvreté qui interdit d’accéder à la réussite ou à l’emploi, mais uniquement l’origine ethnique. Pourtant, l’actuelle dynamique des populismes ne se réduit pas à la seule révolte identitaire. En contrepoint de la protestation du peuple-ethnos, il y a la revendication du peuple-démos, qui aspire à être rétabli dans ses prérogatives de sujet politique et d’acteur souverain de son destin. Le populisme est aussi et peut-être d’abord un hyperdémocratisme, selon le mot de Taguieff, une demande de démocratie par quoi le peuple manifeste sa volonté d’être représenté et gouverné selon ses propres intérêts. Or notre postdémocratie oscille entre le déni et le détournement de la volonté populaire. (…) Au XIXe siècle, la bourgeoisie a eu recours à la loi pour imposer le suffrage censitaire. Aujourd’hui, les classes dominantes n’en éprouvent plus la nécessité, elles l’obtiennent de facto : il leur suffit de neutraliser le vote populiste en l’excluant de toute représentation par le mode de scrutin et de provoquer l’abstention massive de l’électorat populaire, qui, convaincu de l’inutilité du vote, se met volontairement hors jeu. Ne vont voter lors des élections intermédiaires que les inclus, des fonctionnaires aux cadres supérieurs, et surtout les plus de 60 ans, qui, dans ce type de scrutin, représentent autour de 35 % des suffrages exprimés, alors qu’ils ne sont que 22 % de la population. Ainsi, l’écosystème de la génération de 68 s’est peu à peu transformé en un egosystème imposé à l’ensemble de la société. Dans notre postdémocratie, c’est le cens qui fait sens et se traduit par une surreprésentation des classes favorisées aux dépens de la France périphérique, de la France des invisibles. (…) On est arrivé à une situation où la majorité n’est plus une réalité arithmétique, mais un concept politique résultant d’une application tronquée du principe majoritaire. Dans l’Assemblée élue en 2012 avec une participation de 55 %, la majorité parlementaire socialiste ne représente qu’un peu plus de 16 % des inscrits. La majorité qui fait et défait les lois agit au nom d’à peine plus de 1 Français sur 6 ! Nous vivons sous le régime de ce qu’André Tardieu appelait déjà avant-guerre le « despotisme d’une minorité légale ». On assiste, avec le système de l’alternance unique entre les deux partis de gouvernement, à une privatisation du pouvoir au bénéfice d’une partitocratie dont la légitimité ne cesse de s’éroder. (…) Plus les partis ont perdu en légitimité, plus s’est imposée à eux l’obligation de verrouiller le système de crainte que la sélection des candidats à l’élection présidentielle ne leur échappe. Avec la crise de la représentation, le système partisan n’a plus ni l’autorité ni la légitimité suffisante pour imposer ses choix sans un simulacre de démocratie. Les primaires n’ont pas d’autre fonction que de produire une nouvelle forme procédurale de légitimation. En pratique, cela revient à remettre à une minorité partisane le pouvoir de construire l’offre politique soumise à l’ensemble du corps électoral. Entre 3 et 4 millions de citoyens vont préorienter le choix des 46 millions de Français en âge de voter. Or la sociologie des électeurs des primaires à droite comme à gauche ne fait guère de doute : il s’agit des catégories supérieures ou moyennes, qui entretiennent avec la classe politique un rapport de proximité. Les primaires auront donc pour effet d’aggraver la crise de représentation en renforçant le poids politique des inclus au moment même où il faudrait rouvrir le jeu démocratique. (…) D’un tel processus de sélection ne peuvent sortir que des produits de l’endogamie partisane, des candidats façonnés par le conformisme de la doxa et gouvernés par l’économisme. Des candidats inaccessibles à la dimension symbolique du pouvoir et imperméables aux legs de la tradition et de l’Histoire nationale. Sarkozy et Hollande ont illustré l’inaptitude profonde des candidats sélectionnés par le système à se hisser à la hauteur de la fonction. Dans ces conditions, il est à craindre que, quel que soit l’élu, l’élection de 2017 ne soit un coup à blanc, un coup pour rien. D’autant que les hommes de la classe dirigeante n’ont ni les repères historiques ni les bases culturelles pour défendre les sociabilités protectrices face aux ravages de la mondialisation. En somme, ils ne savent pas ce qu’ils font parce qu’ils ne savent pas ce qu’ils défont. Quant au FN, privé de toute espérance du pouvoir, contrairement à ce qu’on voudrait nous faire croire, il offre un repoussoir utile à la classe dirigeante, qui lui permet de se survivre à bon compte. Il est à ce jour encore la meilleure assurance-vie du système. Patrick Buisson
Les «élites» françaises, sous l’inspiration et la domination intellectuelle de François Mitterrand, on voulu faire jouer au Front National depuis 30 ans, le rôle, non simplement du diable en politique, mais de l’Apocalypse. Le Front National représentait l’imminence et le danger de la fin des Temps. L’épée de Damoclès que se devait de neutraliser toute politique «républicaine». Cet imaginaire de la fin, incarné dans l’anti-frontisme, arrive lui-même à sa fin. Pourquoi? Parce qu’il est devenu impossible de masquer aux Français que la fin est désormais derrière nous. La fin est consommée, la France en pleine décomposition, et la république agonisante, d’avoir voulu devenir trop bonne fille de l’Empire multiculturel européen. Or tout le monde comprend bien qu’il n’a nullement été besoin du Front national pour cela. Plus rien ou presque n’est à sauver, et c’est pourquoi le Front national fait de moins en moins peur, même si, pour cette fois encore, la manœuvre du «front républicain», orchestrée par Manuel Valls, a été efficace sur les électeurs socialistes. Les Français ont compris que la fin qu’on faisait incarner au Front national ayant déjà eu lieu, il avait joué, comme rôle dans le dispositif du mensonge généralisé, celui du bouc émissaire, vers lequel on détourne la violence sociale, afin qu’elle ne détruise pas tout sur son passage. Remarquons que le Front national s’était volontiers prêté à ce dispositif aussi longtemps que cela lui profitait, c’est-à-dire jusqu’à aujourd’hui. Le parti anti-système a besoin du système dans un premier temps pour se légitimer. Nous approchons du point où la fonction de bouc émissaire, théorisée par René Girard  va être entièrement dévoilée et où la violence ne pourra plus se déchaîner vers une victime extérieure. Il faut bien mesurer le danger social d’une telle situation, et la haute probabilité de renversement qu’elle secrète: le moment approche pour ceux qui ont désigné la victime émissaire à la vindicte du peuple, de voir refluer sur eux, avec la vitesse et la violence d’un tsunami politique, la frustration sociale qu’ils avaient cherché à détourner. Les élections régionales sont sans doute un des derniers avertissements en ce sens. Les élites devraient anticiper la colère d’un peuple qui se découvre de plus en plus floué, et admettre qu’elles ont produit le système de la victime émissaire, afin de détourner la violence et la critique à l’égard de leur propre action. Pour cela, elles devraient cesser d’ostraciser le Front national, et accepter pleinement le débat avec lui, en le réintégrant sans réserve dans la vie politique républicaine française. Y-a-t-il une solution pour échapper à une telle issue? Avouons que cette responsabilité est celle des élites en place, ayant entonné depuis 30 ans le même refrain. A supposer cependant que nous voulions les sauver, nous pourrions leur donner le conseil suivant: leur seule possibilité de survivre serait d’anticiper la violence refluant sur elles en faisant le sacrifice de leur innocence. Elles devraient anticiper la colère d’un peuple qui se découvre de plus en plus floué, et admettre qu’elles ont produit le système de la victime émissaire, afin de détourner la violence et la critique à l’égard de leur propre action. Pour cela, elles devraient cesser d’ostraciser le Front national, et accepter pleinement le débat avec lui, en le réintégrant sans réserve dans la vie politique républicaine française. Pour cela, elles devraient admettre de déconstruire la gigantesque hallucination collective produite autour du Front national, hallucination revenant aujourd’hui sous la forme inversée du Sauveur. Ce faisant, elles auraient tort de se priver au passage de souligner la participation du Front national au dispositif, ce dernier s’étant prêté de bonne grâce, sous la houlette du Père, à l’incarnation de la victime émissaire. Il faut bien avouer que nos élites du PS comme des Républicains ne prennent pas ce chemin, démontrant soit qu’elles n’ont strictement rien compris à ce qui se passe dans ce pays depuis 30 ans, soit qu’elles l’ont au contraire trop bien compris, et ne peuvent plus en assumer le dévoilement, soit qu’elles espèrent encore prospérer ainsi. Il n’est pas sûr non plus que le Front national soit prêt à reconnaître sa participation au dispositif. Il y aurait intérêt pourtant pour pouvoir accéder un jour à la magistrature suprême. Car si un tel aveu pourrait lui faire perdre d’un côté son «aura» anti-système, elle pourrait lui permettre de l’autre, une alliance indispensable pour dépasser au deuxième tour des présidentielles le fameux «plafond de verre». Il semble au contraire après ces régionales que tout changera pour que rien ne change. Deux solutions qui ne modifient en rien le dispositif mais le durcissent au contraire se réaffirment. La première solution, empruntée par le PS et désirée par une partie des Républicains, consiste à maintenir coûte que coûte le discours du front républicain en recherchant un dépassement du clivage gauche/droite. Une telle solution consiste à aller plus loin encore dans la désignation de la victime émissaire, et à s’exposer à un retournement encore plus dévastateur. (…) Car sans même parler des effets dévastateurs que pourrait avoir, a posteriori, un nouvel attentat, sur une telle déclaration, comment ne pas remarquer que les dernières décisions du gouvernement sur la lutte anti-terroriste ont donné rétrospectivement raison à certaines propositions du Front national? On voit mal alors comment on pourrait désormais lui faire porter le chapeau de ce dont il n’est pas responsable, tout en lui ôtant le mérite des solutions qu’il avait proposées, et qu’on n’a pas hésité à lui emprunter! La deuxième solution, défendue par une partie des Républicains suivant en cela Nicolas Sarkozy, consiste à assumer des préoccupations communes avec le Front national, tout en cherchant à se démarquer un peu par les solutions proposées. Mais comment faire comprendre aux électeurs un tel changement de cap et éviter que ceux-ci ne préfèrent l’original à la copie? Comment les électeurs ne remarqueraient-ils pas que le Front national, lui, n’a pas changé de discours, et surtout, qu’il a précédé tout le monde, et a eu le mérite d’avoir raison avant les autres, puisque ceux-ci viennent maintenant sur son propre terrain? Comment d’autre part concilier une telle proximité avec un discours diabolisant le Front national et cherchant l’alliance au centre? Curieuses élites, qui ne comprennent pas que la posture «républicaine», initiée par Mitterrand, menace désormais de revenir comme un boomerang les détruire. Christopher Lasch avait écrit La révolte des élites, pour pointer leur sécession d’avec le peuple, c’est aujourd’hui le suicide de celles-ci qu’il faudrait expliquer, dernière conséquence peut-être de cette sécession. Vincent Coussedière
With their politicization of their victory, their expletive-filled speech, and their publicly expressed contempt for half their fellow citizens, the women of the U.S. women’s soccer team succeeded in endearing themselves to America’s left. But they earned the rest of the country’s disdain, which is sad. We really wanted to love the team. What we have here is yet another example of perhaps the most important fact in the contemporary world: Everything the left touches, it ruins. Dennis Prager
The San Francisco Board of Education recently voted to paint over, and thus destroy, a 1,600-square-foot mural of George Washington’s life in San Francisco’s George Washington High School. Victor Arnautoff, a communist Russian-American artist and Stanford University art professor, had painted “Life of Washington” in 1936, commissioned by the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration. A community task force appointed by the school district had recommended that the board address student and parent objections to the 83-year-old mural, which some viewed as racist for its depiction of black slaves and Native Americans. Nike pitchman and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick recently objected to the company’s release of a special Fourth of July sneaker emblazoned with a 13-star Betsy Ross flag. The terrified Nike immediately pulled the shoe off the market. The New York Times opinion team issued a Fourth of July video about “the myth of America as the greatest nation on earth.” The Times’ journalists conceded that the United States is “just OK.” During a recent speech to students at a Minnesota high school, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) offered a scathing appraisal of her adopted country, which she depicted as a disappointment whose racism and inequality did not meet her expectations as an idealistic refugee. Omar’s family had fled worn-torn Somalia and spent four-years in a Kenyan refugee camp before reaching Minnesota, where Omar received a subsidized education and ended up a congresswoman. The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team won the World Cup earlier this month. Team stalwart Megan Rapinoe refused to put her hand over heart during the playing of the national anthem, boasted that she would never visit the “f—ing White House” and, with others, nonchalantly let the American flag fall to the ground during the victory celebration. The city council in St. Louis Park, a suburb of Minneapolis, voted to stop reciting the Pledge of Allegiance before its meeting on the rationale that it wished not to offend a “diverse community.” The list of these public pushbacks at traditional American patriotic customs and rituals could be multiplied. They follow the recent frequent toppling of statues of 19th-century American figures, many of them from the South, and the renaming of streets and buildings to blot out mention of famous men and women from the past now deemed illiberal enemies of the people. Such theater is the street version of what candidates in the Democratic presidential primary have been saying for months. They want to disband border enforcement, issue blanket amnesties, demand reparations for descendants of slaves, issue formal apologies to groups perceived to be the subjects of discrimination, and rail against American unfairness, inequality, and a racist and sexist past. In their radical progressive view — shared by billionaires from Silicon Valley, recent immigrants and the new Democratic Party — America was flawed, perhaps fatally, at its origins. Things have not gotten much better in the country’s subsequent 243 years, nor will they get any better — at least not until America as we know it is dismantled and replaced by a new nation predicated on race, class and gender identity-politics agendas. In this view, an “OK” America is no better than other countries. As Barack Obama once bluntly put it, America is only exceptional in relative terms, given that citizens of Greece and the United Kingdom believe their own countries are just as exceptional. In other words, there is no absolute standard to judge a nation’s excellence. About half the country disagrees. It insists that America’s sins, past and present, are those of mankind. But only in America were human failings constantly critiqued and addressed. (…) The traditionalists see American history as a unique effort to overcome human weakness, bias and sin. That effort is unmatched by other cultures and nations, and explains why millions of foreign nationals swarm into the United States, both legally and illegally. (…) If progressives and socialists can at last convince the American public that their country was always hopelessly flawed, they can gain power to remake it based on their own interests. These elites see Americans not as unique individuals but as race, class and gender collectives, with shared grievances from the past that must be paid out in the present and the future. Victor Davis Hanson
America is changing. By 2043, we’ll be a nation [that’s] majority people of color, and that’s — that is the game here — that’s what folks don’t want to understand what’s happening in this country. Roland Martin (African-American journalist)
How’d we lose the working class? Ask yourself, what did we do for them? You called them stupid. You marginalized them, took them for granted and you didn’t talk to them. For 20 years, the right wing has invested tremendous amounts of money in talk radio, in television, in every possible platform to be in their ears, before their eyes, and on their minds. And they don’t call them stupid. Rick Smith (talk-show host)
On several polarizing issues, Democrats are refusing to offer the reassurances to moderate opinion that they once did. They’re not saying: We will secure the border and insist on an orderly asylum process, but do it in a humane way; we will protect the right to abortion while working to make it less common; we will protect gun rights while setting sensible limits on them. The old rhetorical guardrails — trust us, there’s a hard stop on how far left we’ll go — are gone. Ramesh Ponnuru
Trump also highlighted a basic fact about the nature of leftist ideology. Just as the Iranian regime views the United States and Israel as two sides of the same coin, with the ayatollahs dubbing the U.S. “the Great Satan” and Israel, “the Little Satan,” so the radical left views the U.S. and Israel – the most powerful democracy in the world and the only democracy in the Middle East – as states with no moral foundation for existing. Although other presidents have spoken out against hatred of Jews and Israel on the one hand and hatred of America on the other, it is hard to think of another example of a U.S. leader making the case that the two hatreds are linked as Trump did this week. This is important, because they are linked. The haters see both America and the Jews as all-powerful forces who use their power to bend the world to their nefarious, avaricious, greedy aims. They stereotype both Americans and pro-Israel and traditional Jews as vulgar and fascist. Pew Research Center studies of European perspectives on Jews and Americans show a massive overlap between anti-Semitic attitudes and anti-American ones. As the American left has become more radical, it has also become more aligned with those toxic European attitudes towards both the United States and Israel. One example is evident at the U.S.-Mexico border. The left’s opposition to enforcing American immigration laws goes hand-in-hand with the view that the Jewish people have no right to national self-determination in their homeland and that the Jewish state has no right to exist. As political philosopher Yoram Hazony argued in his book, The Virtue of Nationalism, nationalism — and, indeed, the concept of a nation itself — is a biblical concept. The nation of Israel is the first nation. And the American Founding Fathers’ conception of the United States and the American nation was rooted in the biblical concept of nationhood and nationalism of the Jews. Hazony contends that anti-nationalism is both inherently antisemitic and anti-American. And it is also imperialist. Anti-nationalists support international and transnational legal constructs and institutions that deny distinct nations large and small the ability to determine their own unique course in the world. As repositories of the concept of distinct nations, nation-states are, in Hazony’s view, inherently freer and more cohesive societies than imperialist societies that insist that one-size-fits-all and that there are people better equipped than the people themselves to decide what is good for them. As Trump tweeted, the four sirens of the socialist revolution are a dire threat to the Democratic Party. By embracing the likes of Reps. Omar and Tlaib with their repeated statements against the United States, Jews and Israel and their tolerance for terrorist groups and terrorists, and by embracing Ocasio-Cortez who likens America to Nazi Germany, replete with “concentration camps,” the Democratic Party is indeed embracing anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism. And, as Trump tweeted, it is the Democrats, not the Republicans — and certainly not the president — who are making Israel a partisan issue. They are doing so by abandoning Israel and embracing antisemitic conceptions of nationalism and of the Jewish and American nations. Trump’s tweet storm, however controversial, showed that he is personally committed to fighting hatred of Jews and Israel. As he was being targeted as a racist by Democrats, the Department of Justice was holding a conference on combatting antisemitism. The conference, which placed a spotlight on campus antisemitism, did not shy away from discussing and condemning antisemitism on the left as well as on the right, and Islamic antisemitism. In his remarks before the conference, Attorney General Willian Barr discussed the galloping hostility Jewish students face in U.S. universities today. In his words, “On college campuses today, Jewish students who support Israel are frequently targeted for harassment, Jewish student organizations are marginalized, and progressive Jewish students are told they must denounce their beliefs and their heritage in order to be part of ‘intersectional’ causes.” (…) It is a testament to the left’s increasing embrace of anti-Jewish bigotry, and its rejection of America’s right to borders, — and through them, to self-government and self-determination — that Trump is being branded a racist for standing up to these distressing trends. And it is a testament to Trump’s moral courage that he is willing to speak the truth about antisemitism and anti-Americanism even at the cost of wall-to-wall calumny by Democrats and the media. Caroline Glick
This month, Netroots Nation met in Philadelphia. The choice was no accident. Pennsylvania will probably be the key swing state in 2020. Donald Trump won it by only 44,000 votes or seven-tenths of a percentage point. He lost the prosperous Philadelphia suburbs by more than Mitt Romney did in 2012 but more than made up for it with new support in “left behind” blue-collar areas such as Erie and Wilkes-Barre. You’d think that this history would inform activists at Netroots Nation about the best strategy to follow in 2020. Not really. Instead, Netroots events seemed to alternate between pandering presentations by presidential candidates and a bewildering array of “intersectionality” and identity-politics seminars. Senator Elizabeth Warren pledged that, if elected, she would immediately investigate crimes committed by border-control agents. Julian Castro, a former Obama-administration cabinet member, called for decriminalizing illegal border crossings. But everyone was topped by Washington governor Jay Inslee. “My first act will be to ask Megan Rapinoe to be my secretary of State,” he promised. Naming the woke, purple-haired star of the championship U.S. Women’s Soccer team, he said, would return “love rather than hate” to the center of America’s foreign policy. It is true that a couple of panels tried to address how the Left could appeal to voters who cast their ballots for Barack Obama in 2012 but switched to Trump in 2016. (…)  But that kind of introspection was rare at Netroots Nation. Elizabeth Warren explicitly rejected calls to keep Democrats from moving too far to the left in the next campaign (…) Warren and her supporters point to polls showing that an increasing number of Americans are worried about income inequality, climate change, and America’s image around the world. But are those the issues that actually motivate people to vote, or are they peripheral issues that aren’t central to the decision most voters make? Consider a Pew Research poll taken last year that asked respondents to rank 23 “policy priorities” from terrorism to global trade in order of importance. Climate change came in 22nd out of 23. There is a stronger argument that Democrats will have trouble winning over independent voters if they sprinting so far to the left that they go over a political cliff. (…) Many leftists acknowledge that Democrats are less interested than they used to be in trimming their sails to appeal to moderates. Such trimming is no longer necessary, as they see it, because the changing demographics of the country give them a built-in advantage. Almost everyone I encountered at Netroots Nation was convinced that President Trump would lose in 2020. (…) It’s a common mistake on both the right and the left to assume that minority voters will a) always vote in large numbers and b) will vote automatically for Democrats. Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 in part because black turnout fell below what Barack Obama was able to generate. There is no assurance that black turnout can be restored in 2020. As for other ethnic groups, a new poll by Politico/Morning Consult this month found that Trump’s approval among Hispanics is at 42 percent. An Economist/YouGov poll showed Trump at 32 percent among Hispanics; another poll from The Hill newspaper and HarrisX has it at 35 percent. In 2016, Trump won only 29 to 32 percent of the Hispanic vote. Netroots Nation convinced me that progressive activists are self-confident, optimistic about the chances for a progressive triumph, and assured that a Trump victory was a freakish “black swan” event. But they are also deaf to any suggestion that their PC excesses had anything to do with Trump’s being in the White House. That is apt to be the progressive blind spot going into the 2020 election. John Fund
The immigrant is the pawn of Latin American governments who view him as inanimate capital, someone who represents thousands of dollars in future foreign-exchange remittances, as well as one less mouth to feed at home — if he crosses the border, legality be damned. If that sounds a cruel or cynical appraisal, then why would the Mexican government in 2005 print a comic booklet (“Guide for the Mexican Migrant”) with instructions to its citizens on how best to cross into the United States — urging them to break American law and assuming that they could not read? Yet for all the savagery dealt out to the immigrant — the callousness of his government, the shakedowns of the coyotes and cartels, the exploitation of his labor by new American employers — the immigrant himself is not entirely innocent. He knows — or does not care to know — that by entering the U.S., he has taken a slot from a would-be legal immigrant, one, unlike himself, who played by the rules and waited years in line for his chance to become an American. He knowingly violates U.S. immigration law. And when the first act of an immigrant is to enter the U.S. illegally, the second to reside there unlawfully, and the third so often to adopt false identities, he undermines American law on the expectation that he will receive exemptions not accorded to U.S. citizens, much less to other legal immigrants. In terms of violations of federal law, and crimes such as hit-and-run accidents and identity theft, the illegal immigrant is overrepresented in the criminal-justice system, and indeed in federal penitentiaries. Certainly, no Latin American government would allow foreigners to enter, reside, and work in their own country in the manner that they expect their own citizens to do so in America. Historically, the Mexican constitution, to take one example, discriminates in racial terms against both the legal and illegal immigrants, in medieval terms of ethnic essence. Some $30 billion in remittances are sent back by mostly illegal aliens to Central American governments and roughly another $30 billion to Mexico. But the full implications of that exploitation are rarely appreciated. Most impoverished illegal aliens who send such staggering sums back not only entered the United States illegally and live here illegally, but they often enjoy some sort of local, state, or federal subsidy. They work at entry-level jobs with the understanding that they are to scrimp and save, with the assistance of the American taxpayer, whose laws they have shredded, so that they can send cash to their relatives and friends back home. In other words, the remitters are like modern indentured servants, helots in hock to their governments that either will not or cannot help their families and are excused from doing so thanks to such massive remittances. In sum, they promote illegal immigration to earn such foreign exchange, to create an expatriate community in the United States that will romanticize a Guatemala or Oaxaca — all the more so,  the longer and farther they are away from it. Few of the impoverished in Mexico paste a Mexican-flag sticker on their window shield; many do so upon arrival in the United States. Illegal immigration is a safety valve, by which dissidents are thanked for marching north rather than on their own nations’ capitals. Latin American governments really do not care that much that their poor are raped while crossing the Mexican desert, or sold off by the drug cartels, or that they drown in the Rio Grande, but they suddenly weep when they reach American detention centers — a cynicism that literally cost hundreds their lives. America is increasingly becoming not so much a nonwhite nation as an assimilated, integrated, and intermarried country. Race, skin color, and appearance, if you will, are becoming irrelevant. The construct of “Latino” — Mexican-American? Portuguese? Spanish? Brazilian? — is becoming immaterial as diverse immigrants soon cannot speak Spanish, lose all knowledge of Latin America, and become indistinguishable in America from the descendants of southern Europeans, Armenians, or any other Mediterranean immigrant group. In other words, a Lopez or Martinez was rapidly becoming as relevant or irrelevant in terms of grievance politics, or perceived class, as a Pelosi, Scalise, De Niro, or Pacino. If Pelosi was named “Ocasio-Cortez” and AOC “Pelosi,” then no one would know, or much care, from their respective superficial appearance, who was of Puerto Rican background and who of Italian ancestry. Such a melting-pot future terrifies the ethnic activists in politics, academia, and the media who count on replenishing the numbers of unassimilated “Latinos,” in order to announce themselves the champions of collective grievance and disparity and thereby find careerist advantage. When 1 million of some of the most impoverished people on the planet arrive without legality, a high-school diploma, capital, or English, then they are likely to remain poor for a generation. And their poverty then offers supposed proof that America is a nativist or racist society for allowing such asymmetry to occur — a social-justice crime remedied best the by Latino caucus, the Chicano-studies department, the La Raza lawyers association, or the former National Council of La Raza. Yet, curb illegal immigration, and the entire Latino race industry goes the way of the Greek-, Armenian-, or Portuguese-American communities that have all found parity once massive immigration of their impoverished countrymen ceased and the formidable powers of the melting pot were uninterrupted. Democrats once were exclusionists — largely because they feared that illegal immigration eroded unionization and overtaxed the social-service resources of their poor citizen constituents. Cesar Chavez, for example, sent his thugs to the border to club illegal aliens and drive them back into Mexico, as if they were future strike breakers. Until recently, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton called for strict border enforcement, worried that the wages of illegal workers were driving down those of inner-city or barrio American youth. What changed? Numbers. Once the pool of illegal aliens reached a likely 20 million, and once their second-generation citizen offspring won anchor-baby legality and registered to vote, a huge new progressive constituency rose in the American Southwest — one that was targeted by Democrats, who alternately promised permanent government subsidies and sowed fears with constant charges that right-wing Republicans were abject racists, nativists, and xenophobes. Due to massive influxes of immigrants, and the flight of middle-class citizens, the California of Ronald Reagan, George Deukmejian, and Pete Wilson long ago ceased to exist. Indeed, there are currently no statewide Republican office-holders in California, which has liberal supermajorities in both state legislatures and a mere seven Republicans out of 53 congressional representatives. Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado are becoming Californized. Soon open borders will do the same to Arizona and Texas. No wonder that the Democratic party has been willing to do almost anything to become the enabler of open borders, whether that is setting up over 500 sanctuary-city jurisdictions, suing to block border enforcement in the courts, or extending in-state tuition, free medical care, and driver’s licenses to those who entered and reside in America illegally. If most immigrants were right-wing, middle-class, Latino anti-Communists fleeing Venezuela or Cuba, or Eastern European rightists sick of the EU, or angry French and Germans who were tired of their failed socialist governments, the Democratic party would be the party of closed borders and the enemy of legal, meritocratic, diverse, and measured immigration. Employers over the past 50 years learned fundamental truths about illegal immigrants. The impoverished young male immigrant, arriving without English, money, education, and legality, will take almost any job to survive, and so he will work all the harder once he’s employed. For 20 years or so, young immigrant workers remain relatively healthy. But once physical labor takes its toll on the middle-aged immigrant worker, the state always was expected to step in to assume the health care, housing, and sustenance cost of the injured, ill, and aging worker — thereby empowering the employer’s revolving-door use of a new generation of young workers. Illegality — at least until recently, with the advent of sanctuary jurisdictions — was seen as convenient, ensuring asymmetry between the employee and the employer, who could always exercise the threat of deportation for any perceived shortcoming in his alien work force. Note that those who hire illegal aliens claim that no Americans will do such work, at least at the wages they are willing to, or can, pay. That is the mea culpa that employers voice when accused of lacking empathy for out-of-work Americans. If employers were fined for hiring illegal aliens, or held financially responsible for their immigrant workers’ health care and retirements, or if they found that such workers were not very industrious and made poor entry-level laborers, then both the Wall Street Journal and the Chamber of Commerce would be apt to favor strict enforcement of immigration laws.  Wealthy progressives favor open borders and illegal immigration for a variety of reasons. The more immigrants, the cheaper, more available, and more industrious are nannies, housekeepers, caregivers, and gardeners — the silent army that fuels the contemporary, two-high-income, powerhouse household. Championing the immigrant poor, without living among them and without schooling one’s children with them or socializing among them, is the affluent progressive’s brand. And to the degree that the paradox causes any guilt, the progressive virtue-signals his loud outrage at border detentions, at separations between parents in court and children in custody, and at the contrast between the burly ICE officers and vulnerable border crossers. In medieval fashion, the farther the liberal advocate of open borders is from the objects of his moral concern, the louder and more empathetic he becomes. Most progressives also enjoy a twofer: inexpensive immigrant “help” and thereby enough brief exposure to the Other to authenticate their 8-to-5 caring. If border crossers were temporarily housed in vacant summer dorms at Stanford, Harvard, or Yale, or were accorded affordable-housing tracts for immigrant communities in the vast open spaces of Portola Valley and the Boulder suburbs, or if immigrant children were sent en masse to language-immersion programs at St. Paul’s, Sidwell Friends, or the Menlo School, then the progressive social-justice warrior would probably go mute. Victor Davis Hanson
À bien des égards, ce que l’on pourrait appeler la classe intellectuelle conservatrice s’est trouvée à la traîne et même parfois à contre-courant de la dernière campagne. Le Weekly Standard, hebdomadaire néoconservateur fondé par Bill Kristol — l’une des voix de droite les plus violemment critiques de l’administration —, en a payé le prix en cessant il y a peu de paraître. Une fois Trump élu, le pragmatisme a toutefois dominé l’attitude de cette galaxie d’institutions vis-à-vis de la Maison Blanche. Ne leur devant pas sa victoire ni son programme, le président a, quant à lui, su utiliser leurs ressources et leurs compétences quand elles lui étaient utiles. L’illustration la plus frappante de cette relation fut la place centrale qu’il donna aux recommandations de la Heritage Foundation (le plus grand think tank conservateur à Washington) et de la Federalist Society (une association influente rassemblant plus de 40 000 juristes conservateurs) pour la nomination des juges à la Cour Suprême (Neil Gorsuch et Brett Kavanaugh) et dans les degrés inférieurs du système judiciaire. Malgré un style de gouvernement indéniablement nouveau, Trump ne semblait donc pas avoir profondément affecté l’infrastructure institutionnelle d’où s’élaborent la majorité des politiques publiques aux États-Unis. Envisagé comme un phénomène personnel qui disparaîtrait avec lui, certains pouvaient encore penser qu’il ne laisserait avec son départ pas d’héritage profond sur les plans institutionnels et intellectuels. Une conférence comme il s’en organise pourtant des dizaines chaque année à Washington DC vient peut-être de changer la donne. Et si, de manière pour le moins inattendue, Trump s’avérait être depuis Reagan le président ayant eu le plus d’impact sur la fabrique des idées et des élites dans son pays? Le chercheur israélien à l’origine de l’événement, Yoram Hazony, s’est fait connaître à l’automne dernier en publiant The Virtue of Nationalism [La vertu du nationalisme], un livre où il s’emploie à critiquer l’idéal post-national qui a dominé l’éducation politique des élites ces dernières décennies. En organisant ce rassemblement d’intellectuels, de journalistes et d’hommes politiques, il entend désormais jeter les bases d’un mouvement intellectuel, le «conservatisme national», dont il propagera les idées au travers de la Edmund Burke Foundation — créée en janvier en vue de préparer l’événement. Le programme mélange des invités prestigieux (l’entrepreneur Peter Thiel, le présentateur de Fox News Tucker Carlson), des étoiles montantes (le jeune sénateur Josh Hawley et J. D. Vance, l’auteur du best-seller Hillbilly Elegy) et des figures établies (Rusty Reno de la revue First Things ou encore Christopher DeMuth, l’ancien responsable du think tank AEI). S’il est évident que de nombreuses divergences existent entre ces invités, notamment sur les questions de politique étrangère, ils s’accordent assez largement autour de certains points fondamentaux qui constituent à des degrés divers des changements d’orientation profonds par rapport au consensus conservateur antérieur. Ce consensus, aussi connu sous le nom de «fusionnisme», reposait sur la compatibilité de la défense du marché et du libre-échange avec celle des valeurs familiales et religieuses. Libertariens et conservateurs pouvaient ainsi agir côte à côte afin de laisser d’un côté l’État hors de l’entreprise et de l’autre, hors de la famille — attitude résumée par la formule lapidaire de Reagan: «Le gouvernement n’est pas la solution à nos problèmes. Le gouvernement est le problème.» Pour les tenants du «conservatisme national» le danger vient non plus principalement de l’État mais du secteur privé, et plus particulièrement des GAFA et de Wall Street. C’est également à l’État qu’ils s’en remettent pour préserver l’existence nationale de l’ingérence croissante des institutions supranationales. Étonnante dans le paysage politique américain, cette défense de l’État réaffirme la primauté du politique et avec lui du vecteur d’action collective qu’est la nation. La question n’est plus de savoir si l’intervention de l’État est intrinsèquement mauvaise et la liberté du marché intrinsèquement bonne, mais de déterminer dans chaque cas laquelle des deux correspond à l’intérêt et à la volonté de la nation. Le critère permettant de juger une mesure politique n’est plus sa conformité à l’intérêt économique ou aux droits de l’homme mais sa capacité à protéger et renforcer la citoyenneté. Car les normes au fondement de l’État de droit, les principes économiques du capitalisme, n’ont de validité pratique qu’en raison des sentiments communs et des qualités partagées qui constituent les modes de vie des populations qui les adoptent. En déconnectant l’individu de ses solidarités concrètes, une pratique aveugle du libéralisme a selon eux dépossédé les citoyens de ce mode de vie et de leur capacité d’action sur les plans individuels et collectifs. L’objectif du «conservatisme national» est de leur restituer ces deux choses. Or, des hommes que ne relie rien d’autre que le fait d’être porteurs des mêmes droits ne suffisent pas à faire une nation. Et c’est parce que l’existence de cette dernière ne peut plus être prise pour acquis que le danger qui pèse sur elle nécessite une action politique spécifique en rupture avec le consensus des libéraux et conservateurs traditionnels. Les réflexions sur le devenir des nations ne sont pas nouvelles, surtout en France, où des auteurs comme Pierre Manent ont depuis les années 90 mené une critique écoutée des conservateurs américains à l’égard du projet post-national. Ce qui est inédit, c’est qu’une action aussi structurée émerge en vue de former une nouvelle classe dirigeante sur le fondement de ces constats. Adversaires ou alliés de l’actuel président feraient bien de surveiller cette initiative. Si elle réalise son ambition la Edmund Burke Foundation pourrait parvenir à associer au changement immédiat impulsé par Donald Trump une éducation politique susceptible d’affecter sur le long terme la formation des élites américaines, ce à quoi son style de gouvernement et les techniques de communication qui le caractérisent ne sauraient parvenir à eux seuls. Le sénateur Josh Hawley, âgé de 39 ans (ancien procureur général de l’état du Missouri), fait figure de symbole de cette classe politique en devenir: «Une nation républicaine requiert une économie républicaine […] Une économie fondée sur les échanges monétaires à Wall Street ne bénéficie en dernier ressort qu’à ceux qui possèdent déjà de l’argent. Une telle économie ne saurait soutenir une grande nation.» Hostile à l’inflation des diplômes universitaires et aux multinationales, favorable aux droits de douane, défenseur de «l’Amérique moyenne», il représente peut-être ce que pourrait devenir le «trumpisme» sans Trump. Alexis Carré
President Trump is often accused of creating a needless rift with America’s European allies. The secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Jens Stoltenberg, expressed a different view recently when he told a joint session of Congress: “Allies must spend more on defense—this has been the clear message from President Trump, and this message is having a real impact.” Mr. Stoltenberg’s remarks reflect a growing recognition that strategic and economic realities demand a drastic change in the way the U.S. conducts foreign policy. The unwanted cracks in the Atlantic alliance are primarily a consequence of European leaders, especially in Germany and France, wishing to continue living in a world that no longer exists. The U.S. cannot serve as the enforcer for the Europeans’ beloved “rules-based international order” any more. Even in the 1990s, it was doubtful the U.S. could indefinitely guarantee the security of all nations, paying for George H.W. Bush’s “new world order” principally with American soldiers’ lives and American taxpayers’ dollars. Today a $22 trillion national debt and the voting public’s indifference to the dreams of world-wide liberal empire have depleted Washington’s ability to wage pricey foreign wars. At a time of escalating troubles at home, America’s estimated 800 overseas bases in 80 countries are coming to look like a bizarre misallocation of resources. And the U.S. is politically fragmented to an extent unseen in living memory, with uncertain implications in the event of a major war. This explains why the U.S. has not sent massive, Iraq-style expeditionary forces to defend Ukraine’s integrity or impose order in Syria. If there’s trouble on Estonia’s border with Russia, would the U.S. have the will to deploy tens of thousands of soldiers on an indefinite mission 85 miles from St. Petersburg? Although Estonia joined NATO in 2004, the certainties of 15 years ago have broken down. On paper, America has defense alliances with dozens of countries. But these are the ghosts of a rivalry with the Soviet Union that ended three decades ago, or the result of often reckless policies adopted after 9/11. These so-called allies include Turkey and Pakistan, which share neither America’s values nor its interests, and cooperate with the U.S. only when it serves their purposes. Other “allies” refuse to develop a significant capacity for self-defense, and are thus more accurately regarded as American dependencies or protectorates. Liberal internationalists are right about one thing, however: America cannot simply turn its back on the world. Pearl Harbor and 9/11 demonstrated that the U.S. can and will be targeted on its own soil. An American strategic posture aimed at minimizing the danger from rival powers needs to focus on deterring Russia and China from wars of expansion; weakening China relative to the U.S. and thereby preventing it from attaining dominance over the world economy; and keeping smaller hostile powers such as North Korea and Iran from obtaining the capacity to attack America or other democracies. To attain these goals, the U.S. will need a new strategy that is far less costly than anything previous administrations contemplated. Mr. Trump has taken a step in the right direction by insisting that NATO allies “pay their fair share” of the budget for defending Europe, increasing defense spending to 2% of gross domestic product in accordance with NATO treaty obligations. But this framing of the issue doesn’t convey the problem’s true nature or its severity. The real issue is that the U.S. can no longer afford to assume responsibility for defending entire regions if the people living in them aren’t willing and able to build up their own credible military deterrent. The U.S. has a genuine interest, for example, in preventing the democratic nations of Eastern Europe from being absorbed into an aggressive Russian imperial state. But the principal interested parties aren’t Americans. The members of the Visegrád Group—the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia—have a combined population of 64 million and a 2017 GDP of $2 trillion (about 50% of Russia’s, according to CIA estimates). The principal strategic question is therefore whether these countries are willing to do what is necessary to maintain their own national independence. If they are—at a cost that could well exceed the 2% figure devised by NATO planners—then they could eventually shed their dependent status and come to the table as allies of the kind the U.S. could actually use: strong frontline partners in deterring Russian expansion. The same is true in other regions. Rather than carelessly accumulate dependencies, the U.S. must ask where it can develop real allies—countries that share its commitment to a world of independent nations, pursue democratic self-determination (although not necessarily liberalism) at home, and are willing to pay the price for freedom by taking primary responsibility for their own defense and shouldering the human and economic costs involved. Nations that demonstrate a commitment to these shared values and a willingness to fight when necessary should benefit from relations that may include the supply of advanced armaments and technologies, diplomatic cover in dealing with shared enemies, preferred partnership in trade, scientific and academic cooperation, and the joint development of new technologies. Fair-weather friends and free-riding dependencies should not. Perhaps the most important candidate for such a strategic alliance is India. Long a dormant power afflicted by poverty, socialism and an ideology of “nonalignment,” India has become one of the world’s largest and fastest-expanding economies. In contrast to the political oppression of the Chinese communist model, India has succeeded in retaining much of its religious conservatism while becoming an open and diverse country—by far the world’s most populous democracy—with a solid parliamentary system at both the federal and state levels. India is threatened by Islamist terrorism, aided by neighboring Pakistan; as well as by rapidly increasing Chinese influence, emanating from the South China Sea, the Pakistani port of Gwadar, and Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, where the Chinese navy has established its first overseas base. India’s values, interests and growing wealth could establish an Indo-American alliance as the central pillar of a new alignment of democratic national states in Asia, including a strengthened Japan and Australia. But New Delhi remains suspicious of American intentions, and with good reason: Rather than unequivocally bet on an Indian partnership, the U.S. continues to play all sides, haphazardly switching from confrontation to cooperation with China, and competing with Beijing for influence in fanaticism-ridden Pakistan. The rationalizations for these counterproductive policies tend to focus on Pakistan’s supposed logistical contributions to the U.S. war in Afghanistan—an example of how tactical considerations and the demands of bogus allies can stand in the way of meeting even the most pressing strategic needs. A similar confusion characterizes America’s relationship with Turkey. A U.S. ally during the Cold War, Turkey is now an expansionist Islamist power that has assisted the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, al Qaeda and even ISIS; threatened Greece and Cyprus; sought Russian weapons; and recently expressed its willingness to attack U.S. forces in Syria. In reality, Turkey is no more an ally than Russia or China. Yet its formal status as the second-largest military in NATO guarantees that the alliance will continue to be preoccupied with pretense and make-believe, rather than the interests of democratic nations. Meanwhile, America’s most reliable Muslim allies, the Kurds, live under constant threat of Turkish invasion and massacre. The Middle East is a difficult region, in which few players share American values and interests, although all of them—including Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and even Iran—are willing to benefit from U.S. arms, protection or cash. Here too Washington should seek alliances with national states that share at least some key values and are willing to shoulder most of the burden of defending themselves while fighting to contain Islamist radicalism. Such natural regional allies include Greece, Israel, Ethiopia and the Kurds. A central question for a revitalized alliance of democratic nations is which way the winds will blow in Western Europe. For a generation after the Berlin Wall’s fall in 1989, U.S. administrations seemed willing to take responsibility for Europe’s security indefinitely. European elites grew accustomed to the idea that perpetual peace was at hand, devoting themselves to turning the EU into a borderless utopia with generous benefits for all. But Europe has been corrupted by its dependence on the U.S. Germany, the world’s fifth-largest economic power (with a GDP larger than Russia’s), cannot field more than a handful of operational combat aircraft, tanks or submarines. Yet German leaders steadfastly resist American pressure for substantial increases in their country’s defense capabilities, telling interlocutors that the U.S. is ruining a beautiful friendship. None of this is in America’s interest—and not only because the U.S. is stuck with the bill. When people live detached from reality, they develop all sorts of fanciful theories about how the world works. For decades, Europeans have been devising “transnationalist” fantasies to explain how their own supposed moral virtues, such as their rejection of borders, have brought them peace and prosperity. These ideas are then exported to the U.S. and the rest of the democratic world via international bodies, universities, nongovernmental organizations, multinational corporations and other channels. Having subsidized the creation of a dependent socialist paradise in Europe, the U.S. now has to watch as the EU’s influence washes over America and other nations. For the moment, it is hard to see Germany or Spain becoming American allies in the new, more realistic sense of the term we have proposed. France is a different case, maintaining significant military capabilities and a willingness to deploy them at times. But the governments of these and other Western European countries remain ideologically committed to transferring ever-greater powers to international bodies and to the concomitant degradation of national independence. That doesn’t make them America’s enemies, but neither are they partners in defending values such as national self-determination. It is difficult to foresee circumstances under which they would be willing or able to arm themselves in keeping with the actual security needs of an emerging alliance of independent democratic nations. The prospects are better with respect to Britain, whose defense spending is already significantly higher, and whose public asserted a desire to regain independence in the Brexit referendum of 2016. With a population of more than 65 million and a GDP of $3 trillion (75% of Russia’s), the U.K. may yet become a principal partner in a leaner but more effective security architecture for the democratic world. Isolationists are also right about one thing: The U.S. cannot be, and should not try to be, the world’s policeman. Yet it does have a role to play in awakening democratic nations from their dependence-induced torpor, and assisting those that are willing to make the transition to a new security architecture based on self-determination and self-reliance. An alliance including the U.S., the U.K. and the frontline Eastern European nations, as well as India, Israel, Japan and Australia, among others, would be strong enough to exert sustained pressure on China, Russia and hostile Islamist groups. Helping these democratic nations become self-reliant regional actors would reduce America’s security burden, permitting it to close far-flung military installations and making American military intervention the exception rather than the rule. At the same time, it would free American resources for the long struggle to deny China technological superiority, as well as for unforeseen emergencies that are certain to arise. Yoram Hazony and Ofir Haivry
In a universal political order . . . in which a single standard of right is held to be in force everywhere, tolerance for diverse political and religious standpoints must necessarily decline. (…) We should not let a hairbreadth of our freedom be given over to foreign bodies under any name whatsoever, or to foreign systems of law that are not determined by our own nations. (…) “the European Union has caused severe damage to the principle that originally granted legitimacy to Israel as an independent national state: the principle of national freedom and self-determination. Yoram Hazony
Aujourd’hui, on ne cesse de nous répéter que le nationalisme a provoqué les deux guerres mondiales, et on lui impute même la responsabilité de la Shoah. Mais cette lecture historique n’est pas satisfaisante. J’appelle «nationaliste» quelqu’un qui souhaite vivre dans un monde constitué de nations indépendantes. De sorte qu’à mes yeux, Hitler n’était pas le moins du monde nationaliste. Il était même tout le contraire: Hitler méprisait la vision nationaliste, et il appelle dans Mein Kampf à détruire les autres Etats-nations européens pour que les Allemands soient les maîtres du monde. Dès son origine, le nazisme est une entreprise impérialiste, pas nationaliste. Quant à la Première Guerre mondiale, le nationalisme est loin de l’avoir déclenchée à lui seul! Le nationalisme serbe a fourni un prétexte, mais en réalité c’est la visée impérialiste des grandes puissances européennes (l’Allemagne, la France, l’Angleterre) qui a transformé ce conflit régional en une guerre planétaire. Ainsi, le principal moteur des deux guerres mondiales était l’impérialisme, pas le nationalisme. (…) Le nationalisme est en effet en vogue en ce moment: c’est du jamais-vu depuis 1990, date à laquelle Margaret Thatcher a été renversée par son propre camp à cause de son hostilité à l’Union européenne. Depuis plusieurs décennies, les principaux partis politiques aux Etats-Unis et en Europe, de droite comme de gauche, ont souscrit à ce que l’on pourrait appeler «l’impérialisme libéral», c’est-à-dire l’idée selon laquelle le monde entier devrait être régi par une seule et même législation, imposée si besoin par la contrainte. Mais aujourd’hui, une génération plus tard, une demande de souveraineté nationale émerge et s’est exprimée avec force aux Etats-Unis, au Royaume-Uni, en Italie, en Europe de l’Est et ailleurs encore. Avec un peu de chance et beaucoup d’efforts, cet élan nationaliste peut aboutir à un nouvel ordre politique, fondé sur la cohabitation de nations indépendantes et souveraines. Mais nous devons aussi être lucides: les élites «impérialistes libérales» n’ont pas disparu, elles sont seulement affaiblies. Si, en face d’eux, le camp nationaliste ne parvient pas à faire ses preuves, elles ne tarderont pas à revenir dans le jeu. (…) Historiquement, le «nationalisme» décrit une vision du monde où le meilleur système de gouvernement serait la coexistence de nations indépendantes, et libres de tracer leur propre route comme elles l’entendent. On l’oppose à «l’impérialisme», qui cherche à apporter au monde la paix et la prospérité en unifiant l’humanité, autant que possible, sous un seul et même régime politique. Les dirigeants de l’Union européenne, de même que la plupart des élites américaines, croient dur comme fer en l’impérialisme. Ils pensent que la démocratie libérale est la seule forme admissible de gouvernement, et qu’il faut l’imposer progressivement au monde entier. C’est ce que l’on appelle souvent le «mondialisme», et c’est précisément ce que j’entends par «nouvel empire libéral». (…) En Europe, on se désolidarise du militarisme américain: les impérialistes allemands ou bruxellois préfèrent d’autres formes de coercition… mais leur objectif est le même. Regardez comment l’Allemagne cherche à imposer son programme économique à la Grèce ou à l’Italie, ou sa vision immigrationniste à la République tchèque, la Hongrie ou la Pologne. En Italie, le budget a même été rejeté par la Commission européenne! (…) Le conflit entre nationalisme et impérialisme est aussi vieux que l’Occident lui-même. La vision nationaliste est l’un des enseignements politiques fondamentaux de la Bible hébraïque: le Dieu d’Israël fut le premier qui donna à son peuple des frontières, et Moïse avertit les Hébreux qu’ils seraient punis s’ils tentaient de conquérir les terres de leurs voisins, car Yahvé a donné aussi aux autres nations leur territoire et leur liberté. Ainsi, la Bible propose le nationalisme comme alternative aux visées impérialistes des pharaons, mais aussi des Assyriens, des Perses ou, bien sûr, des Babyloniens. Et l’histoire du Moyen Âge ou de l’époque moderne montre que la plupart des grandes nations européennes – la France, l’Angleterre, les Pays-Bas… – se sont inspirées de l’exemple d’Israël. Mais le nationalisme de l’Ancien Testament ne fut pas tout de suite imité par l’Occident. La majeure partie de l’histoire occidentale est dominée par un modèle politique inverse: celui de l’impérialisme romain. C’est de là qu’est né le Saint Empire romain germanique, qui a toujours cherché à étendre sa domination, tout comme le califat musulman. Les Français aussi ont par moments été tentés par l’impérialisme et ont cherché à conquérir le monde: Napoléon, par exemple, était un fervent admirateur de l’Empire romain et n’avait pour seul but que d’imposer son modèle de gouvernement «éclairé» à tous les pays qu’il avait conquis. Ainsi a-t-il rédigé de nouvelles constitutions pour nombre d’entre eux: les Pays-Bas, l’Allemagne, l’Italie, l’Espagne… Son projet, en somme, était le même que celui de l’Union européenne aujourd’hui : réunir tous les peuples sous une seule et même législation. (…) [le modèle nationaliste] permet à chaque nation de décider ses propres lois en vertu de ses traditions particulières. Un tel modèle assure une vraie diversité politique, et permet à tous les pays de déployer leur génie à montrer que leurs institutions et leurs valeurs sont les meilleures. Un tel équilibre international ressemblerait à celui qui s’est établi en Europe après les traités de Westphalie signés en 1648, et qui ont permis l’existence d’une grande diversité de points de vue politiques, institutionnels et religieux. Ces traités ont donné aux nations européennes un dynamisme nouveau: grâce à cette diversité, les nations sont devenues autant de laboratoires d’idées dans lesquels ont été expérimentés, développés et éprouvés les théories philosophiques et les systèmes politiques que l’on associe aujourd’hui au monde occidental. À l’évidence, toutes ces expériences ne se valent pas et certaines n’ont bien sûr pas été de grands succès. Mais la réussite de l’une seule d’entre elles – la France, par exemple – suffit pour que les autres l’imitent et apprennent grâce à son exemple. Tandis que, par contraste, un gouvernement impérialiste comme celui de l’Union européenne tue toute forme de diversité dans l’œuf. Les élites bruxelloises sont persuadées de savoir déjà avec exactitude la façon dont le monde entier doit vivre. Il est pourtant manifeste que ce n’est pas le cas… (…) La diversité des points de vue, et, partant, chacun de ces désaccords, sont une conséquence nécessaire de la liberté humaine, qui fait que chaque nation a ses propres valeurs et ses propres intérêts. La seule manière d’éviter ces désaccords est de faire régner une absolue tyrannie – et c’est du reste ce dont l’Union européenne se rend peu à peu compte: seules les mesures coercitives permettent d’instaurer une relative uniformité entre les États membres. (…) Mais nous devons alors reconnaître, tout aussi humblement, que les mouvements universalistes ne sont pas exempts non plus d’une certaine inclination à la haine ou au sectarisme. Chacun des grands courants universels de l’histoire en a fait montre, qu’il s’agisse du christianisme, de l’islam ou du marxisme. En bâtissant leur empire, les universalistes ont souvent rejeté les particularismes nationaux qui se sont mis en travers de leur chemin et ont refusé d’accepter leur prétention à apporter à l’humanité entière la paix et la prospérité. Cette détestation du particulier, qui est une constante dans tous les grands universalismes, est flagrante aujourd’hui dès lors qu’un pays sort du rang: regardez le torrent de mépris et d’insultes qui s’est répandu contre les Britanniques qui ont opté pour le Brexit, contre Trump, contre Salvini, contre la Hongrie, l’Autriche et la Pologne, contre Israël… Les nouveaux universalistes vouent aux gémonies l’indépendance nationale. (…) un nationaliste ne prétend pas savoir ce qui est bon pour n’importe qui, n’importe où dans le monde. Il fait preuve d’une grande humilité, lui, au moins. N’est-ce pas incroyable de vouloir dicter à tous les pays qui ils doivent choisir pour ministre, quel budget ils doivent voter, et qui sera en droit de traverser leurs frontières? Face à cette arrogance vicieuse, je considère en effet le nationalisme comme une vertu. (…) le nationaliste est vertueux, car il limite sa propre arrogance et laisse les autres conduire leur vie à leur guise. (…) Si les différents gouvernements nationalistes aujourd’hui au pouvoir dans le monde parviennent à prouver leur capacité à diriger un pays de manière responsable, et sans engendrer de haine ou de tensions, alors ils viendront peut-être à bout de l’impérialisme libéral. Ils ont une chance de restaurer un ordre du monde fondé sur la liberté des nations. Il ne tient désormais qu’à eux de la saisir, et je ne peux prédire s’ils y parviendront: j’espère seulement qu’ils auront assez de sagesse et de talent pour cela. Yoram Hazony
Custom quite often wears the mask of nature, and we are taken in [by this] to the point that the practices adopted by nations, based solely on custom, frequently come to seem like natural and universal laws of mankind. John Selden
Selden, and the other profoundly learned men, who drew this petition of right, were as well acquainted, at least, with all the general theories concerning the “rights of men” [as any defenders of the revolution in France]. . . . But, for reasons worthy of that practical wisdom which superseded their theoretic science, they preferred this positive, recorded, hereditary title to all which can be dear to the man and the citizen, to that vague speculative right, which exposed their sure inheritance to be scrambled for and torn to pieces by every wild, litigious spirit. Edmund Burke
I believe the British government forms the best model the world ever produced. Hamilton
Experience must be our only guide. Reason may mislead us. It was not reason that discovered the singular and admirable mechanism of the English constitution…. Accidents probably produced these discoveries, and experience has given a sanction to them. John Dickinson
It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs, whether any free government can be permanent, where the public worship of God, and the support of religion, constitute no part of the policy or duty of the state in any assignable shape. John Story
The liberty of the whole earth was depending on the issue of the contest. . . . Rather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated. Thomas Jefferson
The year 2016 marked a dramatic change of political course for the English-speaking world, with Britain voting for independence from Europe and the United States electing a president promising a revived American nationalism. Critics see both events as representing a dangerous turn toward “illiberalism” and deplore the apparent departure from “liberal principles” or “liberal democracy,” themes that surfaced repeatedly in conservative publications over the past year. Perhaps the most eloquent among the many spokesmen for this view has been William Kristol, who, in a series of essays in the Weekly Standard, has called for a new movement to arise “in defense of liberal democracy.” In his eyes, the historic task of American conservatism is “to preserve and strengthen American liberal democracy,” and what is needed now is “a new conservatism based on old conservative—and liberal—principles.” Meanwhile, the conservative flagship Commentary published a cover story by the Wall Street Journal’s Sohrab Ahmari entitled “Illiberalism: The Worldwide Crisis,” seeking to raise the alarm about the dangers to liberalism posed by Brexit, Trump, and other phenomena. (…) But we see this confusion of conservatism with liberalism as historically and philosophically misguided. Anglo-American conservatism is a distinct political tradition—one that predates Locke by centuries. Its advocates fought for and successfully established most of the freedoms that are now exclusively associated with Lockean liberalism, although they did so on the basis of tenets very different from Locke’s. Indeed, when Locke published his Two Treatises of Government in 1689, offering the public a sweeping new rationale for the traditional freedoms already known to Englishmen, most defenders of these freedoms were justly appalled. They saw in this new doctrine not a friend to liberty but a product of intellectual folly that would ultimately bring down the entire edifice of freedom. Thus, liberalism and conservatism have been opposed political positions in political theory since the day liberal theorizing first set foot in England. Today’s confusion of conservative political thought with liberalism is in a way understandable, however. In the great twentieth-century battles against totalitarianism, conservatives and liberals were allies: They fought together, along with the Communists, against Nazism. After 1945, conservatives and liberals remained allies in the war against Communism. Over these many decades of joint struggle, what had for centuries been a distinction of vital importance was treated as if it were not terribly important, and in fact, it was largely forgotten. But since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, these circumstances have changed. The challenges facing the Anglo-American tradition are now coming from other directions entirely. Radical Islam, to name one such challenge, is a menace that liberals, for reasons internal to their own view of the political world, find difficult to regard as a threat and especially difficult to oppose in an effective manner. But even more important is the challenge arising from liberalism itself. It is now evident that liberal principles contribute little or nothing to those institutions that were for centuries the bedrock of the Anglo-American political order: nationalism, religious tradition, the Bible as a source of political principles and wisdom, and the family. Indeed, as liberalism has emerged victorious from the battles of the last century, the logic of its doctrines has increasingly turned liberals against all of these conservative institutions. On both of these fronts, the conservative and liberal principles of the Anglo-American tradition are now painfully at cross-purposes. The twentieth-century alliance between conservatism and liberalism is proving increasingly difficult to maintain. Among the effects of the long alliance between conservatism and liberalism has been a tendency of political figures, journalists, and academics to slip back and forth between conservative terms and ideas and liberal ones as if they were interchangeable. And until recently, there seemed to be no great harm in this. Now, however, it is becoming obvious that this lack of clarity is crippling our ability to think about a host of issues, from immigration and foreign wars to the content of the Constitution and the place of religion in education and public life. (…) Living in very different periods, these individuals nevertheless shared common ideas and principles and saw themselves as part of a common tradition of English, and later Anglo-American, constitutionalism. A politically traditionalist outlook of this kind was regarded as the mainstream in both England and America up until the French Revolution and only came to be called “conservative” during the nineteenth century, as it lost ground and became one of two rival camps. Because the name conservative dates from this time of decline, it is often wrongly asserted that those who continued defending the Anglo-American tradition after the revolution—men such as Burke and Hamilton—were the “first conservatives.” (…) The emergence of the Anglo-American conservative tradition can be identified with the words and deeds of a series of towering political and intellectual figures, among whom we can include individuals such as Sir John Fortescue, Richard Hooker, Sir Edward Coke, John Selden, Sir Matthew Hale, Sir William Temple, Jonathan Swift, Josiah Tucker, Edmund Burke, John Dickinson, and Alexander Hamilton. Men such as George Washington, John Adams, and John Marshall, often hastily included among the liberals, would also have placed themselves in this conservative tradition rather than with its opponents, whom they knew all too well.According to Fortescue, the English constitution provides for what he calls “political and royal government,” by which he means that English kings do not rule by their own authority alone (i.e., “royal government”), but together with the representatives of the nation in Parliament and in the courts (i.e., “political government”). In other words, the powers of the English king are limited by the traditional laws of the English nation, in the same way—as Fortescue emphasizes—that the powers of the Jewish king in the Mosaic constitution in Deuteronomy are limited by the traditional laws of the Israelite nation. This is in contrast with the Holy Roman Empire of Fortescue’s day, which was supposedly governed by Roman law, and therefore by the maxim that “what pleases the prince has the force of law,” and in contrast with the kings of France, who governed absolutely. Among other things, the English law is described as providing for the people’s representatives, rather than the king, to determine the laws of the realm and to approve requests from the king for taxes. In addition to this discussion of what later tradition would call the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances, Fortescue also devotes extended discussion to the guarantee of due process under law, which he explores in his discussion of the superior protections afforded to the individual under the English system of trial by jury. Crucially, Fortescue consistently connects the character of a nation’s laws and their protection of private property to economic prosperity, arguing that limited government bolsters such prosperity, while an absolute government leads the people to destitution and ruin. In another of his writings, The Difference between an Absolute and a Limited Monarchy (also known as The Governance of England, c. 1471), he starkly contrasts the well-fed and healthy English population living under their limited government with the French, whose government was constantly confiscating their property and quartering armies in their towns—at the residents’ expense—by unilateral order of the king. (…) Like later conservative tradition, Fortescue does not believe that either scripture or human reason can provide a universal law suitable for all nations. We do find him drawing frequently on the Mosaic constitution and the biblical “Four Books of Kings” (1–2 Samuel and 1–2 Kings) to assist in understanding the political order and the English constitution. Nevertheless, Fortescue emphasizes that the laws of each realm reflect the historic experience and character of each nation, just as the English common law is in accord with England’s historic experience. Thus, for example, Fortescue argues that a nation that is self-disciplined and accustomed to obeying the laws voluntarily rather than by coercion is one that can productively participate in the way it is governed. This, Fortescue proposes, was true of the people of England, while the French, who were of undisciplined character, could be governed only by the harsh and arbitrary rule of absolute royal government. On the other hand, Fortescue also insisted, again in keeping with biblical precedent and later conservative tradition, that this kind of national character was not set in stone, and that such traits could be gradually improved or worsened over time. (…) Fortescue wrote in the decades before the Reformation, and as a firm Catholic. But every page of his work breathes the spirit of English nationalism—the belief that through long centuries of experience, and thanks to a powerful ongoing identification with Hebrew Scripture, the English had succeeded in creating a form of government more conducive to human freedom and flourishing than any other known to man. First printed around 1545, Fortescue’s Praise of the Laws of England spoke in a resounding voice to that period of heightened nationalist sentiment in which English traditions, now inextricably identified with Protestantism, were pitted against the threat of invasion by Spanish-Catholic forces aligned with the Holy Roman Emperor. This environment quickly established Fortescue as England’s first great political theorist, paving the way for him to be read by centuries of law students in both England and America and by educated persons wherever the broader Anglo-American conservative tradition struck root. (…) the decisive chapter in the formation of modern Anglo-American conservatism: the great seventeenth-century battle between defenders of the traditional English constitution against political absolutism on one side, and against the first advocates of a Lockean universalist rationalism on the other (…) is dominated by the figure of John Selden (1584–1654), probably the greatest theorist of Anglo-American conservatism. (…) In 1628, Selden played a leading role in drafting and passing an act of Parliament called the Petition of Right, which sought to restore and safeguard “the divers rights and liberties of the subjects” that had been known under the traditional English constitution. Among other things, it asserted that “your subjects have inherited this freedom, that they should not be compelled to contribute to any tax . . . not set by common consent in Parliament”; that “no freeman may be taken or imprisoned or be disseized of his freehold or liberties, or his free customs . . . but by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land”; and that no man “should be put out of his land or tenements, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disinherited nor put to death without being brought to answer by due process of law.” In the Petition of Right, then, we find the famous principle of “no taxation without representation,” as well as versions of the rights enumerated in the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Amendments of the American Bill of Rights—all declared to be ancient constitutional English freedoms and unanimously approved by Parliament, before Locke was even born. Although not mentioned in the Petition explicitly, freedom of speech had likewise been reaffirmed by Coke as “an ancient custom of Parliament” in the 1590s and was the subject of the so-called Protestation of 1621 that landed Coke, then seventy years old, in the Tower of London for nine months. In other words, Coke, Eliot, and Selden risked everything to defend the same liberties that we ourselves hold dear in the face of an increasingly authoritarian regime. (…) But they did not do so in the name of liberal doctrines of universal reason, natural rights, or “self-evident” truths. These they explicitly rejected because they were conservatives, not liberals. (…) Selden sought to defend conservative traditions, including the English one, not only against the absolutist doctrines of the Stuarts but also against the claims of a universalist rationalism, according to which men could simply consult their own reason, which was the same for everyone, to determine the best constitution for mankind. This rationalist view had begun to collect adherents in England among followers of the great Dutch political theorist Hugo Grotius, whose On the Law of War and Peace (1625) suggested that it might be possible to do away with the traditional constitutions of nations by relying only on the rationality of the individual. (…) Selden responds to the claims of universal reason by arguing for a position that can be called historical empiricism. On this view, our reasoning in political and legal matters should be based upon inherited national tradition. This permits the statesman or jurist to overcome the small stock of observation and experience that individuals are able to accumulate during their own lifetimes (“that kind of ignorant infancy, which our short lives alone allow us”) and to take advantage of “the many ages of former experience and observation,” which permit us to “accumulate years to us, as if we had lived even from the beginning of time.” In other words, by consulting the accumulated experience of the past, we overcome the inherent weakness of individual judgement, bringing to bear the many lifetimes of observation by our forebears, who wrestled with similar questions under diverse conditions. (…)  Recalling the biblical Jeremiah’s insistence on an empirical study of the paths of old (Jer. 6:16), Selden argues that the correct method is that “all roads must be carefully examined. We must ask about the ancient paths, and only what is truly the best may be chosen.”  (…) Selden recognizes that, in making these selections from the traditions of the past, we tacitly rely upon a higher criterion for selection, a natural law established by God, which prescribes “what is truly best” for mankind in the most elementary terms. In his Natural and National Law, Selden explains that this natural law has been discovered over long generations since the biblical times and has come down to us in various versions. Of these, the most reliable is that of the Talmud, which describes the seven laws of the children of Noah prohibiting murder, theft, sexual perversity, cruelty to beasts, idolatry and defaming God, and requiring courts of law to enforce justice. The experience of thousands of years has taught us that these laws frame the peace and prosperity that is the end of all nations, and that they are the unseen root from which the diverse laws of all the nations ultimately derive. (…) In doing so, he seeks to gradually approach, by trial and error, the best that is possible for each nation. (…)  But (…) Stuart absolutism eventually pressed England toward civil war and, finally, to a Puritan military dictatorship that not only executed the king but destroyed Parliament and the constitution as well. Selden did not live to see the constitution restored. The regicide regime subsequently offered England several brand-new constitutions, none of which proved workable, and within eleven years it had collapsed. In 1660, two eminent disciples of Selden, Edward Hyde (afterward Earl of Clarendon) and Sir Matthew Hale, played a leading role in restoring the constitution and the line of Stuart kings. When the Catholic James II succeeded to the throne in 1685, fear of a relapse into papism and even of a renewed attempt to establish absolutism moved the rival political factions of the country to unite in inviting the next Protestants in line to the throne. The king’s daughter Mary and her husband, Prince William of Orange, the Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, crossed the channel to save Protestant England and its constitution. Parliament, having confirmed the willingness of the new joint monarchs to protect the English from “all other attempts upon their religion, rights and liberties,” in 1689 established the new king and queen on the throne and ratified England’s famous Bill of Rights. This new document reasserted the ancient rights invoked in the earlier Petition of Right, among other things affirming the right of Protestant subjects to “have arms for their defense” and the right of “freedom of speech and debates” in Parliament, and that “excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”—the basis for the First, Second, and Eighth Amendments of the American Bill of Rights. Freedom of speech was quickly extended to the wider public, with the termination of English press licensing laws a few years later. The restoration of a Protestant monarch and the adoption of the Bill of Rights were undertaken by a Parliament united around Seldenian principles. What came to be called the “Glorious Revolution” was glorious precisely because it reaffirmed the traditional English constitution and protected the English nation from renewed attacks on “their religion, rights and liberties.” Such attacks came from absolutists like Sir Robert Filmer on the one hand, whose Patriarcha (published posthumously, 1680) advocated authoritarian government as the only legitimate one, and by radicals like John Locke on the other. Locke’s Two Treatises of Government (1689) responded to the crisis by arguing for the right of the people to dissolve the traditional constitution and reestablish it according to universal reason. Over the course of the seventeenth century, English conservatism was formed into a coherent and unmistakable political philosophy utterly opposed both to the absolutism of the Stuarts, Hobbes, and Filmer (what would later be called “the Right”), as well as to liberal theories of universal reason advanced first by Grotius and then by Locke (“the Left”). The centrist conservative view was to remain the mainstream understanding of the English constitution for a century and a half, defended by leading Whig intellectuals in works from William Atwood’s Fundamental Constitution of the English Government (1690) to Josiah Tucker’s A Treatise of Civil Government (1781), which strongly opposed both absolutism and Lockean theories of universal rights. This is the view upon which men like Blackstone, Burke, Washington, and Hamilton were educated. Not only in England but in British America, lawyers were trained in the common law by studying Coke’s Institutes of the Lawes of England (1628–44) and Hale’s History of the Common Law of England (1713). In both, the law of the land was understood to be the traditional English constitution and common law, amended as needed for local purposes. (…)  We have described the Anglo-American conservative tradition as subscribing to a historical empiricism, which proposes that political knowledge is gained by examining the long history of the customary laws of a given nation and the consequences when these laws have been altered in one direction or another. Conservatives understand that a jurist must exercise reason and judgment, of course. But this reasoning is about how best to adapt traditional law to present circumstances, making such changes as are needed for the betterment of the state and of the public, while preserving as much as possible the overall frame of the law. To this we have opposed a standpoint that can be called rationalist. Rationalists have a different view of the role of reason in political thought, and in fact a different understanding of what reason itself is. Rather than arguing from the historical experience of nations, they set out by asserting general axioms that they believe to be true of all human beings, and that they suppose will be accepted by all human beings examining them with their native rational abilities. From these they deduce the appropriate constitution or laws for all men. (…) Locke is known philosophically as an empiricist. But his reputation in this regard is based largely on his Essay concerning Human Understanding (1689), which is an influential exercise in empirical psychology. His Second Treatise of Government is not, however, a similar effort to bring an empirical standpoint to the theory of the state. Instead, it begins with a series of axioms that are without any evident connection to what can be known from the historical and empirical study of the state. Among other things, Locke asserts that, (1) prior to the establishment of government, men exist in a “state of nature,” in which (2) “all men are naturally in a state of perfect freedom,” as well as in (3) a “state of perfect equality, where naturally there is no superiority or jurisdiction of one over another.” Moreover, (4) this state of nature “has a law of nature to govern it”; and (5) this law of nature is, as it happens, nothing other than human “reason” itself, which “teaches all mankind, who will but consult it.” It is this universal reason, the same among all mankind, that leads them to (6) terminate the state of nature, “agreeing together mutually to enter into . . . one body politic” by an act of free consent. From these six axioms, Locke then proceeds to deduce the proper character of the political order for all nations on earth. (…)  Faced with this mass of unverifiable assertions, empiricist political theorists such as Hume, Smith, and Burke rejected all of Locke’s axioms and sought to rebuild political philosophy on the basis of things that can be known from history and from an examination of actual human societies and governments. (…) While Locke’s rationalist theories made limited headway in England, they were all the rage in France. Rousseau’s On the Social Contract (1762) went where others had feared to tread, embracing Locke’s system of axioms for correct political thought and calling upon mankind to consent only to the one legitimate constitution dictated by reason. Within thirty years, Rousseau, Voltaire, and the other French imitators of Locke’s rationalist politics received what they had demanded in the form of the French Revolution. The 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was followed by the Reign of Terror for those who would not listen to reason. Napoleon’s imperialist liberalism rapidly followed, bringing universal reason and the “rights of man” to the whole of continental Europe by force of arms, at a cost of millions of lives. In 1790, a year after the beginning of the French Revolution, the Anglo-Irish thinker and Whig parliamentarian Edmund Burke composed his famous defense of the English constitutional tradition against the liberal doctrines of universal reason and universal rights, entitled Reflections on the Revolution in France. Burke’s argument is frequently quoted today by conservatives who assume that his target was Rousseau and his followers in France. But Burke’s attack was not primarily aimed at Rousseau, who had few enthusiasts in Britain or America at the time. The actual target of his attack was contemporary followers of Grotius and Locke—individuals such as Richard Price, Joseph Priestley, Charles James Fox, Charles Grey, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson. Price, who was the explicit subject of Burke’s attack in the first pages of Reflections on the Revolution in France, had opened his Observations on the Nature of Civil Liberty (1776) with the assertion that “the principles on which I have argued form the foundation of every state as far as it is free; and are the same with those taught by Mr. Locke.” And much the same could be said of the others, all of whom followed Locke in claiming that the only true foundation for political and constitutional thought was precisely in those “general theories concerning the rights of men” that Burke believed would bring turmoil and death to one country after another. The carnage taking place in France triggered a furious debate in England. It pitted supporters of the conservatism of Coke and Selden (both Whigs and Tories) against admirers of Locke’s universal rights theories (the so-called New Whigs). The conservatives insisted that these theories would uproot every traditional political and religious institution in England, just as they were doing in France. (…) Burke’s conservative defense of the traditional English constitution enjoyed a large measure of success in Britain, where it was continued after his death by figures such as Canning, Wellington, and Disraeli. That this is so is obvious from the fact that institutions such as the monarchy, the House of Lords, and the established Church of England, not to mention the common law itself, were able to withstand the gale winds of universal reason and universal rights, and to this day have their staunch supporters. But what of America? Was the American revolution an upheaval based on Lockean universal reason and universal rights? To hear many conservatives talk today, one would think this were so, and that there never were any conservatives in the American mainstream, only liberals of different shades. The reality, however, was rather different. When the American English, as Burke called them, rebelled against the British monarch, there were already two distinct political theories expressed among the rebels, and the opposition between these two camps only grew with time. First, there were those who admired the English constitution that they had inherited and studied. Believing they had been deprived of their rights under the English constitution, their aim was to regain these rights. Identifying themselves with the tradition of Coke and Selden, they hoped to achieve a victory against royal absolutism comparable to what their English forefathers had achieved in the Petition of Right and Bill of Rights. To individuals of this type, the word revolution still had its older meaning, invoking something that “revolves” and would, through their efforts, return to its rightful place—in effect, a restoration. Alexander Hamilton was probably the best-known exponent of this kind of conservative politics (…) And it is evident that they were quietly supported behind the scenes by other adherents of this view, among them the president of the convention, General George Washington. Second, there were true revolutionaries, liberal followers of Locke such as Jefferson, who detested England and believed—just as the French followers of Rousseau believed—that the dictates of universal reason made the true rights of man evident to all. For them, the traditional English constitution was not the source of their freedoms but rather something to be swept away before the rights dictated by universal reason. And indeed, during the French Revolution, Jefferson and his supporters embraced it as a purer version of what the Americans had started. (…) The tension between these conservative and liberal camps finds rather dramatic expression in America’s founding documents: The Declaration of Independence, drafted by Jefferson in 1776, is famous for resorting, in its preamble, to the Lockean doctrine of universal rights as “self-evident” before the light of reason. Similarly, the Articles of Confederation, negotiated the following year as the constitution of the new United States of America, embody a radical break with the traditional English constitution. These Articles asserted the existence of thirteen independent states, at the same time establishing a weak representative assembly over them without even the power of taxation, and requiring assent by nine of thirteen states to enact policy. The Articles likewise made no attempt at all to balance the powers of this assembly, effectively an executive, with separate legislative or judicial branches of government. The Articles of Confederation came close to destroying the United States. After a decade of disorder in both foreign and economic affairs, the Articles were replaced by the Constitution, drafted at a convention initiated by Hamilton and James Madison, and presided over by a watchful Washington, while Jefferson was away in France. Anyone comparing the Constitution that emerged with the earlier Articles of Confederation immediately recognizes that what took place at this convention was a reprise of the Glorious Revolution of 1689. Despite being adapted to the American context, the document that the convention produced proposed a restoration of the fundamental forms of the English constitution: a strong president, designated by an electoral college (in place of the hereditary monarchy); the president balanced in strikingly English fashion by a powerful bicameral legislature with the power of taxation and legislation; the division of the legislature between a quasi-aristocratic, appointed Senate and a popularly elected House; and an independent judiciary. Even the American Bill of Rights of 1789 is modeled upon the Petition of Right and the English Bill of Rights, largely elaborating the same rights that had been described by Coke and Selden and their followers, and breathing not a word anywhere about universal reason or universal rights. The American Constitution did depart from the traditional English constitution, however, adapting it to local conditions on certain key points. The Americans, who had no nobility and no tradition of hereditary office, declined to institute these now. Moreover, the Constitution of 1787 allowed slavery, which was forbidden in England—a wretched innovation for which America would pay a price the framers could not have imagined in their wildest nightmares. Another departure—or apparent departure—was the lack of a provision for a national church, enshrined in the First Amendment in the form of a prohibition on congressional legislation “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The English constitutional tradition, of course, gave a central role to the Protestant religion, which was held to be indispensable and inextricably tied to English identity (although not incompatible with a broad measure of toleration). But the British state, in certain respects federative, permitted separate, officially established national churches in Scotland and Ireland. This British acceptance of a diversity of established churches is partially echoed in the American Constitution, which permitted the respective states to support their own established churches, or to require that public offices in the state be held by Protestants or by Christians, well into the nineteenth century. When these facts are taken into account, the First Amendment appears less an attempt to put an end to established religion than a provision for keeping the peace among the states by delegating forms of religious establishment to the state level. As early as 1802, however, Jefferson, now president, announced  that the First Amendment’s rejection of a national church in fact should be interpreted as an “act of the whole American people . . . building a wall of separation between church and state.” This characterization of the American Constitution as endorsing a “separation of church and state” was surely overwrought, and more compatible with French liberalism—which regarded public religion as abhorrent to reason—than with the actual place of state religion among “the whole American people” at the time. Yet on this point, Jefferson has emerged victorious. In the years that followed, his “wall of separation between church and state” interpretation was increasingly considered to be an integral part of the American Constitution, even if one that had not been included in the actual text. Lockean liberalism grew increasingly dominant in America after Jefferson’s election. Hamilton’s death in a duel in 1804, at the age of 47, was an especially heavy blow that left American conservatism without its most able spokesman. Nevertheless, the tradition of Selden and Burke was taken up by Americans of the next generation, including two of the country’s most prominent jurists, New York chancellor James Kent (1763–1847) and Supreme Court justice Joseph Story (1779–1845). Story’s influence was especially significant. Although appointed to the Supreme Court by Jefferson in the hope of undermining Chief Justice John Marshall, Story’s opinions almost immediately displayed the opposite inclination, and continued to do so throughout his thirty-four-year tenure on the court. Perhaps Story’s greatest contribution to the American conservative tradition is his famous Commentaries on the Constitution (3 vols., 1833), which were dedicated to Marshall and went on to be the most important and influential interpretation of the American constitutional tradition in the nineteenth century. These were overtly conservative in spirit, citing Burke with approval and repeatedly criticizing not only Locke’s theories but Jefferson himself. Among other things, Story forcefully rejected Jefferson’s claim that the American founding had been based on universal rights determined by reason, emphasizing that it was the rights of the English traditional law that Americans had always recognized and continued to recognize. (…) With Selden, we believe that, in their campaign for universal “liberal democracy,” liberals have confused certain historical-empirical principles of the traditional Anglo-American constitution, painstakingly developed and inculcated over centuries (Principle 1), for universal truths that are equally accessible to all human beings, regardless of historical or cultural circumstances. This means that, like all rationalists, they are engaged in applying local truths, which may hold good under certain conditions, to quite different situations and circumstances, where they often go badly wrong. For conservatives, these failures—for example, the repeated collapse of liberal constitutions in places such as Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, Nigeria, Russia, and Iraq, among many others—suggest that the principles in question have been overextended and should be regarded as true only within a narrower range of conditions. Liberals, on the other hand, explain such failures as a result of “poor implementation,” leaving liberal democracy as a universal truth that remains untouched by experience and unassailable, no matter what the circumstances. (…) Burke and Hamilton belonged to a generation that was still educated in the significance of the Anglo-American tradition as a whole. Only a few decades later, this had begun to change, and by the end of the nineteenth century, conservative views were increasingly in the minority and defensive both in Britain and America. But conservatism was really only broken in a decisive way by Franklin Roosevelt in America in 1932, and by Labour in Britain in 1945. At this point, socialism displaced liberalism as the worldview of the parties of the “Left,” driving some liberals to join with the last vestiges of the conservative tradition in the parties of the “Right.” In this environment, new leaders and movements did arise and succeed from time to time in raising the banner of Anglo-American conservatism once more. But these conservatives were living on a shattered political and philosophical landscape, having lost much of the chain of transmission that had connected earlier conservatives to their forefathers. Thus their roots remained shallow, and their victories, however impressive, brought about no long-term conservative restoration. The most significant of these conservative revivals was, of course, the one that reached its peak in the 1980s under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan. Thatcher and Reagan were genuine and instinctive conservatives, displaying traditional Anglo-American conservative attachments to nation and religion, as well as to limited government and individual freedom. They also recognized and gave voice to the profound “special relationship” that binds Britain and America together. Coming to power at a time of deep crisis in the struggle against Communism, their renewed conservatism succeeded in winning the Cold War and freeing foreign nations from oppression, in addition to liberating their own economies, which had long been shackled by socialism. In both countries, these triumphs shifted political discourse rightward for a generation. Yet the Reagan-Thatcher moment, for all its success, failed to touch the depths of the political culture in America and Britain. Confronted by a university system devoted almost exclusively to socialist and liberal theorizing, their movement at no point commanded the resources needed to revive Anglo-American conservatism as a genuine force in fundamental arenas such as jurisprudence, political theory, history, philosophy, and education—disciplines without which a true restoration was impossible. Throughout the conservative revival of the 1980s, academic training in government and political theory, for instance, continued to maintain its almost complete boycott of conservative thinkers such as Fortescue, Coke, Selden, and Hale, just as it continued its boycott of the Bible as a source of English and American political principles. Similarly, academic jurisprudence remained a subject that is taught as a contest among abstract liberal theories. Education of this kind meant that a degree from a prestigious university all but guaranteed one’s ignorance of the Anglo-American conservative tradition, but only a handful of conservative intellectual figures, most visibly Russell Kirk and Irving Kristol, seem to have been alert to the seriousness of this problem. On the whole, the conservative revival of those years remained resolutely focused on the pressing policy issues of the day, leaving liberalism virtually unchallenged as the worldview that conservatives were taught at university or when they picked up a book on the history of ideas. (…) There may have been genuine advantages to soft-pedaling differences between conservatives and liberals until the 1980s, when all the strength that could be mustered had to be directed toward defeating Communism abroad and socialism at home. But we are no longer living in the 1980s. Those battles were won, and today we face new dangers. The most important among these is the inability of countries such as America and Britain, having been stripped of the nationalist and religious traditions that held them together for centuries, to sustain themselves while a universalist liberalism continues, year after year, to break down these historic foundations of their strength. Under such conditions of internal disintegration, there is a palpable danger that liberal rationalism, having established itself in a monopoly position in the state, will drive a broad public that cannot accept its regimented view of the world into the hands of genuinely authoritarian movements. Liberals of various persuasions have, in their own way, sought to warn us about this, from Fareed Zakaria’s “The Rise of Illiberal Democracy” in Foreign Affairs (1997) to the Economist’s “Illiberalism: Playing with Fear” (2016) and Commentary’s “Illiberalism: The Worldwide Crisis,” mentioned earlier. These and many other publications have made intensive use of the term illiberal as an epithet to describe those who have strayed from the path of Lockean liberalism. In so doing, they divide the political universe into two: there are liberals—those decent persons who are willing to exercise reason in the universally accepted manner and come to the appropriate liberal conclusions; and there are those others—the “illiberals,” who, out of ignorance, resentment, or some atavistic hatred, will not get with the program. When things are divided up this way, the latter group ends up including everyone from Brexiteers, Trump supporters, Evangelical Christians, and Orthodox Jews to dictators, Iranian ayatollahs, and Nazis. Once things are framed in this way, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that everyone in that second group is in some degree a threat that must be combated. We conservatives, however, have our own preferred division of the political universe: one in which Anglo-American conservatism appears as a distinct political category that is obviously neither authoritarian nor liberal. With the rest of the Anglo-American conservative tradition, we uphold the principles of limited government and individual liberties. But we also see clearly (again, in keeping with our conservative tradition) that the only forces that give the state its internal coherence and stability, holding limited government in place while staving off authoritarianism, are our nationalist and religious traditions. These nationalist and religious principles are not liberal. They are prior to liberalism, in conflict with liberalism, and presently being destroyed by liberalism. Our world desperately needs to hear a clear conservative voice. Any continued confusion of conservative principles with the liberalism on our Left, or with the authoritarianism on our Right, can only do harm. The time has arrived when conservatives must speak in our own voice again. In doing so, we will discover that we can provide the political foundations that so many now seek, but have been unable to find.
In our own day, we recognize the clash between conservatism and liberalism in the following areas, among others (here described only very briefly, and so in overly simple terms): Liberal Empire. Because liberalism is thought to be a dictate of universal reason, liberals tend to believe that any country not already governed as a liberal democracy should be pressed—or even coerced—to adopt this form of government. Conservatives, on the other hand, recognize that different societies are held together and kept at peace in different ways, so that the universal application of liberal doctrines often brings collapse and chaos, doing more harm than good. International Bodies. Similarly, liberals believe that, since liberal principles are universal, there is little harm done in reassigning the powers of government to international bodies. Conservatives, on the other hand, believe that such international organizations possess no sound governing traditions and no loyalty to particular national populations that might restrain their spurious theorizing about universal rights. They therefore see such bodies as inevitably tending to arbitrariness and autocracy. Immigration. Liberals believe that, since liberal principles are accessible to all, there is nothing to be feared in large-scale immigration from countries with national and religious traditions very different from ours. Conservatives see successful large-scale immigration as possible only where the immigrants are strongly motivated to integrate and assisted in assimilating the national traditions of their new home country. In the absence of these conditions, the result will be chronic intercultural tension and violence. Law. Liberals regard the laws of a nation as emerging from the tension between positive law and the pronouncements of universal reason, as expressed by the courts. Conservatives reject the supposed universal reason of judges, which often amounts to little more than their succumbing to passing fashion. But conservatives also oppose an excessive regard for written documents, which leads, for example, to the liberal mythology of America as a “creedal nation” (or a “propositional nation”) created and defined solely by the products of abstract reason that are supposedly found in the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Economy. Liberals regard the universal market economy, operating without regard to borders, as a dictate of universal reason and applicable equally to all nations. They therefore recognize no legitimate economic aims other than the creation of a “level field” on which all nations participate in accordance with universal, rational rules. Conservatives regard the market economy and free enterprise as indispensable for the advancement of the nation in its wealth and wellbeing. But they see economic arrangements as inevitably varying from one country to another, reflecting the particular historical experiences and innovations of each nation as it competes to gain advantage for its people. Education. Liberals believe that schools should teach students to recognize the Lockean goods of liberty and equality as the universal aims of political order, and to see America’s founding political documents as having largely achieved these aims. Conservatives believe education should focus on the particular character of the Anglo-American constitutional and religious tradition, with its roots in the Bible, and on the way in which this tradition has given rise to a unique family of nations with a distinctive political thought and practice that has influenced the world. Public Religion. Liberals believe that universal reason is the necessary and sufficient basis for just and moral government. This means that the religious traditions of the nation, which had earlier been the basis for a public understanding of justice and right, can be replaced in public discourse by universal reason itself. In its current form, liberalism asserts that all governments should embrace a Jeffersonian “wall separating church and state,” whose purpose is to banish the influence of religion from public life, relegating it to the private sphere. Conservatives hold that none of this is true. They see human reason as producing a constant profusion of ever-changing views concerning justice and morals—a fact that is evident today in the constant assertion of new and rapidly multiplying human rights. Conservatives hold that the only stable basis for national independence, justice, and public morals is a strong biblical tradition in government and public life. They reject the doctrine of separation of church and state, instead advocating an integration of religion into public life that also offers broad toleration of diverse religious views.
Hazony reviews the history of the conflict between nationalism and imperialism, from the Tower of Babel to the latest anti-Israeli U.N. resolution. The political concept of the independent national state, as an alternative to empire and tribalism, begins with the Hebrew Bible. Ancient Israel was a national state posed against empires in Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Persia, and Rome. Hazony de­clares that the Israelite nation was not based on race but on a “shared understanding of history, language, and religion.” He cites Exodus, noting that some Egyptians joined the Hebrews in fleeing Pharaoh, and points out that other foreigners joined the Jewish people once they had accepted “Israel’s God, laws, and understanding of history.” In Hazony’s telling, after the fall of the Roman imperium, the ideal of a universal empire lived on in the papacy and in the German-led Holy Roman Empire. The emergence of Protestantism resurrected the Hebrew Bible’s concept of the national state. For example, Dutch Protestant rebels in their war with imperial Spain modeled themselves on ancient Israelis fighting for national freedom against the Egyptian and Babylonian empires. The Thirty Years’ War was not simply a religious conflict but a struggle that pitted nationalism against imperialism, with the states of France (Catholic), the Netherlands (Calvinist), and Sweden (Lutheran) fighting against the German-Spanish Hapsburg empire.  Hazony describes a new “Protestant construction” of the West inspired by the Hebrew Bible. It was based on two core principles: national self-determination and a “moral minimum” order, roughly corresponding to recognizing the Ten Commandments as natural law. This Protestant construction has been challenged by a “liberal construction” based on individual rights and a universal order. Beginning in the Enlightenment with Locke and Kant, but particularly since World War II, the liberal construction has largely replaced the Protestant construction among Western elites, though Hazony optimistically remarks that the ideas of the Protestant construction are still strong in the U.S. and Britain. Further, the liberal construction has proved to be illiberal, leading to the suppression of free speech, “public shaming” campaigns, and “heresy hunts.” Hazony laments that “Western democracies are rapidly becoming one big university campus.” Hazony asserts that the “neutral state is a myth.” While the national state has historically been successful, a purely “neutral” or “civic” state based only on formal law and abstract principles and without attachments to a particular culture, language, religion, tradition, history, or shared sacrifice is unable to inspire the necessary mutual loyalty and national cohesion required for a free society to survive. He identifies the United States, Britain, and France as national, as opposed to neutral or civic, states.  One of Hazony’s most powerful insights is his understanding of the role that hatred plays in the conflict between nationalists and globalists. One hears repeatedly that nationalism means hatred of the “other.” Hazony, however, successfully flips the argument. He notes that “anti-nationalist hate” is as great as or greater than the hatred emanating from nationalists. In fact, the forces supporting universalism hate the particular, especially when particularist resistance to globalist homogenization “proves itself resilient and enduring.” Thus, “liberal internationalism is not merely a positive agenda. . . . It is an imperialist ideology that incites against . . . nationalists, seeking their delegitimization wherever they appear” throughout the West. Nowhere is this clearer than in the intense antipathy such liberal internationalists feel towards Israel. (…) He concludes that since World War II, and particularly since the 1990s, in elite circles in the West, a Kantian post-national moral paradigm has replaced the old liberal-nationalist paradigm of a world of independent states in which the Zionist dream was born.  This new paradigm insists that national states should increasingly cede sovereignty to supranational institutions, especially in matters of war and peace. In the new paradigm, Israel’s use of force to defend itself is seen as morally illegitimate. The leadership of the European Union and American progressives, for the most part, adheres to the new post-national paradigm; hence, they constantly excoriate Israeli attempts at self-defense.  Hazony declares that “the European Union has caused severe damage to the principle that originally granted legitimacy to Israel as an independent national state: the principle of national freedom and self-determination.” (There is also a faction of Americans, Hazony writes, who favor a different, more muscular type of imperialist project: the establishment of a pax Americana in which America would serve as a contemporary Roman empire, providing peace and security for the entire world and policing the internal affairs of recalcitrant national states that are insufficiently liberal.)  For the EU and Western progressives, Hazony explains, the horror of Auschwitz was the result of atrocities committed by a national state, Germany, infused with a fanatical nationalism. But, as Hazony argues, Hitler’s genocide was inspired by a belief in Aryan racial superiority and imperialism. Hitler cared little for the German nation per se. For example, near the end of World War II, he told his confidant Albert Speer not to “worry” about the “German people”; they might as well perish, for “they had proven to be the weaker [nation] and the future belongs solely to the stronger eastern nation.” Not exactly the sentiments of a true nationalist. On the other hand, Hazony says, for Israelis, Auschwitz was the result of powerlessness: Jews did not have their own national state and the requisite military capability to protect themselves. (…) It is exactly this very human aspiration for national independence hailed by the liberal nationalists of yesteryear (e.g., Garibaldi, Kossuth, Herzl) that the new imperialists of 21st-century globalism (Merkel, Juncker, Soros) scorn. Hazony writes that other nations too have been subject to campaigns of vilification from European and transnational elites when they have ignored supranational authority and acted as independent national states. The United States, in particular, has been excoriated (since long before the Trump administration) for refusing to join the Interna­tional Criminal Court and the Kyoto Protocol and for deciding for itself when its national interest requires the use of force. Recently, globalist wrath “has been extended to Britain” because it returned “to a course of national independence and self-determination and to nations such as Czechia, Hungary, and Poland that insist on maintaining an immigration policy of their own that does not conform to the European Union’s theories concerning refugee resettlement. John Fonte
Aujourd’hui, on ne cesse de nous répéter que le nationalisme a provoqué les deux guerres mondiales, et on lui impute même la responsabilité de la Shoah. Mais cette lecture historique n’est pas satisfaisante. J’appelle «nationaliste» quelqu’un qui souhaite vivre dans un monde constitué de nations indépendantes. De sorte qu’à mes yeux, Hitler n’était pas le moins du monde nationaliste. Il était même tout le contraire: Hitler méprisait la vision nationaliste, et il appelle dans Mein Kampf à détruire les autres Etats-nations européens pour que les Allemands soient les maîtres du monde. Dès son origine, le nazisme est une entreprise impérialiste, pas nationaliste. Quant à la Première Guerre mondiale, le nationalisme est loin de l’avoir déclenchée à lui seul! Le nationalisme serbe a fourni un prétexte, mais en réalité c’est la visée impérialiste des grandes puissances européennes (l’Allemagne, la France, l’Angleterre) qui a transformé ce conflit régional en une guerre planétaire. Ainsi, le principal moteur des deux guerres mondiales était l’impérialisme, pas le nationalisme. (…) Le nationalisme est en effet en vogue en ce moment: c’est du jamais-vu depuis 1990, date à laquelle Margaret Thatcher a été renversée par son propre camp à cause de son hostilité à l’Union européenne. Depuis plusieurs décennies, les principaux partis politiques aux Etats-Unis et en Europe, de droite comme de gauche, ont souscrit à ce que l’on pourrait appeler «l’impérialisme libéral», c’est-à-dire l’idée selon laquelle le monde entier devrait être régi par une seule et même législation, imposée si besoin par la contrainte. Mais aujourd’hui, une génération plus tard, une demande de souveraineté nationale émerge et s’est exprimée avec force aux Etats-Unis, au Royaume-Uni, en Italie, en Europe de l’Est et ailleurs encore. Avec un peu de chance et beaucoup d’efforts, cet élan nationaliste peut aboutir à un nouvel ordre politique, fondé sur la cohabitation de nations indépendantes et souveraines. Mais nous devons aussi être lucides: les élites «impérialistes libérales» n’ont pas disparu, elles sont seulement affaiblies. Si, en face d’eux, le camp nationaliste ne parvient pas à faire ses preuves, elles ne tarderont pas à revenir dans le jeu. (…) Historiquement, le «nationalisme» décrit une vision du monde où le meilleur système de gouvernement serait la coexistence de nations indépendantes, et libres de tracer leur propre route comme elles l’entendent. On l’oppose à «l’impérialisme», qui cherche à apporter au monde la paix et la prospérité en unifiant l’humanité, autant que possible, sous un seul et même régime politique. Les dirigeants de l’Union européenne, de même que la plupart des élites américaines, croient dur comme fer en l’impérialisme. Ils pensent que la démocratie libérale est la seule forme admissible de gouvernement, et qu’il faut l’imposer progressivement au monde entier. C’est ce que l’on appelle souvent le «mondialisme», et c’est précisément ce que j’entends par «nouvel empire libéral». (…) En Europe, on se désolidarise du militarisme américain: les impérialistes allemands ou bruxellois préfèrent d’autres formes de coercition… mais leur objectif est le même. Regardez comment l’Allemagne cherche à imposer son programme économique à la Grèce ou à l’Italie, ou sa vision immigrationniste à la République tchèque, la Hongrie ou la Pologne. En Italie, le budget a même été rejeté par la Commission européenne! (…) Le conflit entre nationalisme et impérialisme est aussi vieux que l’Occident lui-même. La vision nationaliste est l’un des enseignements politiques fondamentaux de la Bible hébraïque: le Dieu d’Israël fut le premier qui donna à son peuple des frontières, et Moïse avertit les Hébreux qu’ils seraient punis s’ils tentaient de conquérir les terres de leurs voisins, car Yahvé a donné aussi aux autres nations leur territoire et leur liberté. Ainsi, la Bible propose le nationalisme comme alternative aux visées impérialistes des pharaons, mais aussi des Assyriens, des Perses ou, bien sûr, des Babyloniens. Et l’histoire du Moyen Âge ou de l’époque moderne montre que la plupart des grandes nations européennes – la France, l’Angleterre, les Pays-Bas… – se sont inspirées de l’exemple d’Israël. Mais le nationalisme de l’Ancien Testament ne fut pas tout de suite imité par l’Occident. La majeure partie de l’histoire occidentale est dominée par un modèle politique inverse: celui de l’impérialisme romain. C’est de là qu’est né le Saint Empire romain germanique, qui a toujours cherché à étendre sa domination, tout comme le califat musulman. Les Français aussi ont par moments été tentés par l’impérialisme et ont cherché à conquérir le monde: Napoléon, par exemple, était un fervent admirateur de l’Empire romain et n’avait pour seul but que d’imposer son modèle de gouvernement «éclairé» à tous les pays qu’il avait conquis. Ainsi a-t-il rédigé de nouvelles constitutions pour nombre d’entre eux: les Pays-Bas, l’Allemagne, l’Italie, l’Espagne… Son projet, en somme, était le même que celui de l’Union européenne aujourd’hui : réunir tous les peuples sous une seule et même législation. (…) [le modèle nationaliste] permet à chaque nation de décider ses propres lois en vertu de ses traditions particulières. Un tel modèle assure une vraie diversité politique, et permet à tous les pays de déployer leur génie à montrer que leurs institutions et leurs valeurs sont les meilleures. Un tel équilibre international ressemblerait à celui qui s’est établi en Europe après les traités de Westphalie signés en 1648, et qui ont permis l’existence d’une grande diversité de points de vue politiques, institutionnels et religieux. Ces traités ont donné aux nations européennes un dynamisme nouveau: grâce à cette diversité, les nations sont devenues autant de laboratoires d’idées dans lesquels ont été expérimentés, développés et éprouvés les théories philosophiques et les systèmes politiques que l’on associe aujourd’hui au monde occidental. À l’évidence, toutes ces expériences ne se valent pas et certaines n’ont bien sûr pas été de grands succès. Mais la réussite de l’une seule d’entre elles – la France, par exemple – suffit pour que les autres l’imitent et apprennent grâce à son exemple. Tandis que, par contraste, un gouvernement impérialiste comme celui de l’Union européenne tue toute forme de diversité dans l’œuf. Les élites bruxelloises sont persuadées de savoir déjà avec exactitude la façon dont le monde entier doit vivre. Il est pourtant manifeste que ce n’est pas le cas… (…) La diversité des points de vue, et, partant, chacun de ces désaccords, sont une conséquence nécessaire de la liberté humaine, qui fait que chaque nation a ses propres valeurs et ses propres intérêts. La seule manière d’éviter ces désaccords est de faire régner une absolue tyrannie – et c’est du reste ce dont l’Union européenne se rend peu à peu compte: seules les mesures coercitives permettent d’instaurer une relative uniformité entre les États membres. (…) Mais nous devons alors reconnaître, tout aussi humblement, que les mouvements universalistes ne sont pas exempts non plus d’une certaine inclination à la haine ou au sectarisme. Chacun des grands courants universels de l’histoire en a fait montre, qu’il s’agisse du christianisme, de l’islam ou du marxisme. En bâtissant leur empire, les universalistes ont souvent rejeté les particularismes nationaux qui se sont mis en travers de leur chemin et ont refusé d’accepter leur prétention à apporter à l’humanité entière la paix et la prospérité. Cette détestation du particulier, qui est une constante dans tous les grands universalismes, est flagrante aujourd’hui dès lors qu’un pays sort du rang: regardez le torrent de mépris et d’insultes qui s’est répandu contre les Britanniques qui ont opté pour le Brexit, contre Trump, contre Salvini, contre la Hongrie, l’Autriche et la Pologne, contre Israël… Les nouveaux universalistes vouent aux gémonies l’indépendance nationale. (…) un nationaliste ne prétend pas savoir ce qui est bon pour n’importe qui, n’importe où dans le monde. Il fait preuve d’une grande humilité, lui, au moins. N’est-ce pas incroyable de vouloir dicter à tous les pays qui ils doivent choisir pour ministre, quel budget ils doivent voter, et qui sera en droit de traverser leurs frontières? Face à cette arrogance vicieuse, je considère en effet le nationalisme comme une vertu. (…) le nationaliste est vertueux, car il limite sa propre arrogance et laisse les autres conduire leur vie à leur guise. (…) Si les différents gouvernements nationalistes aujourd’hui au pouvoir dans le monde parviennent à prouver leur capacité à diriger un pays de manière responsable, et sans engendrer de haine ou de tensions, alors ils viendront peut-être à bout de l’impérialisme libéral. Ils ont une chance de restaurer un ordre du monde fondé sur la liberté des nations. Il ne tient désormais qu’à eux de la saisir, et je ne peux prédire s’ils y parviendront: j’espère seulement qu’ils auront assez de sagesse et de talent pour cela. Yoram Hazony

Après l’école, Supermanl’humourla fête nationale, Thanksgiving, les droits civiques, les Harlem globetrotters et le panier à trois points, le soft power, l’Amérique, le génocide et même eux-mêmes  et sans parler des chansons de Noël et de la musique pop ou d’Hollywood, la littérature, les poupées Barbie… le look WASP, … la nation  !

Y a-t-il une élite intellectuelle trumpiste?
Alexis Carré

FIGAROVOX/TRIBUNE – La tenue de la National Conservatism Conference réunissant des intellectuels conservateurs américains invite le politologue Alexis Carré à se demander s’il existe une élite intellectuelle représentative des idées de Donald Trump.

Alexis Carré est doctorant en philosophie politique à l’École normale supérieure. Il travaille sur les mutations de l’ordre libéral. Suivez-le sur Twitter et sur son site.


La victoire de Donald J. Trump ne fut pas exactement celle d’un intellectuel. Contrairement à celle de Ronald Reagan, elle n’a pas non plus été précédée par la création ou la mobilisation de think tanks et autres organismes de recherche qui structurent habituellement la discussion publique aux États-Unis, tout en servant d’écurie de formation pour les futurs cadres gouvernementaux. À bien des égards, ce que l’on pourrait appeler la classe intellectuelle conservatrice s’est trouvée à la traîne et même parfois à contre-courant de la dernière campagne. Le Weekly Standard, hebdomadaire néoconservateur fondé par Bill Kristol — l’une des voix de droite les plus violemment critiques de l’administration —, en a payé le prix en cessant il y a peu de paraître.

Une fois Trump élu, le pragmatisme a toutefois dominé l’attitude de cette galaxie d’institutions vis-à-vis de la Maison Blanche. Ne leur devant pas sa victoire ni son programme, le président a, quant à lui, su utiliser leurs ressources et leurs compétences quand elles lui étaient utiles. L’illustration la plus frappante de cette relation fut la place centrale qu’il donna aux recommandations de la Heritage Foundation (le plus grand think tank conservateur à Washington) et de la Federalist Society (une association influente rassemblant plus de 40 000 juristes conservateurs) pour la nomination des juges à la Cour Suprême (Neil Gorsuch et Brett Kavanaugh) et dans les degrés inférieurs du système judiciaire. Malgré un style de gouvernement indéniablement nouveau, Trump ne semblait donc pas avoir profondément affecté l’infrastructure institutionnelle d’où s’élaborent la majorité des politiques publiques aux États-Unis. Envisagé comme un phénomène personnel qui disparaîtrait avec lui, certains pouvaient encore penser qu’il ne laisserait avec son départ pas d’héritage profond sur les plans institutionnels et intellectuels. Une conférence comme il s’en organise pourtant des dizaines chaque année à Washington DC vient peut-être de changer la donne. Et si, de manière pour le moins inattendue, Trump s’avérait être depuis Reagan le président ayant eu le plus d’impact sur la fabrique des idées et des élites dans son pays?

Une force de frappe en devenir

Le chercheur israélien à l’origine de l’événement, Yoram Hazony, s’est fait connaître à l’automne dernier en publiant The Virtue of Nationalism [La vertu du nationalisme], un livre où il s’emploie à critiquer l’idéal post-national qui a dominé l’éducation politique des élites ces dernières décennies. En organisant ce rassemblement d’intellectuels, de journalistes et d’hommes politiques, il entend désormais jeter les bases d’un mouvement intellectuel, le «conservatisme national», dont il propagera les idées au travers de la Edmund Burke Foundation — créée en janvier en vue de préparer l’événement.

Le programme mélange des invités prestigieux (l’entrepreneur Peter Thiel, le présentateur de Fox News Tucker Carlson), des étoiles montantes (le jeune sénateur Josh Hawley et J. D. Vance, l’auteur du best-seller Hillbilly Elegy) et des figures établies (Rusty Reno de la revue First Things ou encore Christopher DeMuth, l’ancien responsable du think tank AEI). S’il est évident que de nombreuses divergences existent entre ces invités, notamment sur les questions de politique étrangère, ils s’accordent assez largement autour de certains points fondamentaux qui constituent à des degrés divers des changements d’orientation profonds par rapport au consensus conservateur antérieur.

La fin du consensus libéral et conservateur à droite 

Ce consensus, aussi connu sous le nom de «fusionnisme», reposait sur la compatibilité de la défense du marché et du libre-échange avec celle des valeurs familiales et religieuses. Libertariens et conservateurs pouvaient ainsi agir côte à côte afin de laisser d’un côté l’État hors de l’entreprise et de l’autre, hors de la famille — attitude résumée par la formule lapidaire de Reagan: «Le gouvernement n’est pas la solution à nos problèmes. Le gouvernement

est le problème.» Pour les tenants du «conservatisme national» le danger vient non plus principalement de l’État mais du secteur privé, et plus particulièrement des GAFA et de Wall Street. C’est également à l’État qu’ils s’en remettent pour préserver l’existence nationale de l’ingérence croissante des institutions supranationales. Étonnante dans le paysage politique américain, cette défense de l’État réaffirme la primauté du politique et avec lui du vecteur d’action collective qu’est la nation.

La question n’est plus de savoir si l’intervention de l’État est intrinsèquement mauvaise et la liberté du marché intrinsèquement bonne, mais de déterminer dans chaque cas laquelle des deux correspond à l’intérêt et à la volonté de la nation. Le critère permettant de juger une mesure politique n’est plus sa conformité à l’intérêt économique ou aux droits de l’homme mais sa capacité à protéger et renforcer la citoyenneté. Car les normes au fondement de l’État de droit, les principes économiques du capitalisme, n’ont de validité pratique qu’en raison des sentiments communs et des qualités partagées qui constituent les modes de vie des populations qui les adoptent.

En déconnectant l’individu de ses solidarités concrètes, une pratique aveugle du libéralisme a selon eux dépossédé les citoyens de ce mode de vie et de leur capacité d’action sur les plans individuels et collectifs. L’objectif du «conservatisme national» est de leur restituer ces deux choses. Or, des hommes que ne relie rien d’autre que le fait d’être porteurs des mêmes droits ne suffisent pas à faire une nation. Et c’est parce que l’existence de cette dernière ne peut plus être prise pour acquis que le danger qui pèse sur elle nécessite une action politique spécifique en rupture avec le consensus des libéraux et conservateurs traditionnels.

Vers une nouvelle élite?

Les réflexions sur le devenir des nations ne sont pas nouvelles, surtout en France, où des auteurs comme Pierre Manent ont depuis les années 90 mené une critique écoutée des conservateurs américains à l’égard du projet post-national. Ce qui est inédit, c’est qu’une action aussi structurée émerge en vue de former une nouvelle classe dirigeante sur le fondement de ces constats. Adversaires ou alliés de l’actuel président feraient bien de surveiller cette initiative. Si elle réalise son ambition la Edmund Burke Foundation pourrait parvenir à associer au changement immédiat impulsé par Donald Trump une éducation politique susceptible d’affecter sur le long terme la formation des élites américaines, ce à quoi son style de gouvernement et les techniques de communication qui le caractérisent ne sauraient parvenir à eux seuls.

Le sénateur Josh Hawley, âgé de 39 ans (ancien procureur général de l’état du Missouri), fait figure de symbole de cette classe politique en devenir: «Une nation républicaine requiert une économie républicaine […] Une économie fondée sur les échanges monétaires à Wall Street ne bénéficie en dernier ressort qu’à ceux qui possèdent déjà de l’argent. Une telle économie ne saurait soutenir une grande nation.» Hostile à l’inflation des diplômes universitaires et aux multinationales, favorable aux droits de douane, défenseur de «l’Amérique moyenne», il représente peut-être ce que pourrait devenir le «trumpisme» sans Trump.

Voir aussi:

Yoram Hazony : «Les nouveaux universalistes vouent aux gémonies l’indépendance nationale»
Paul Sugy
Le Figaro

21/12/2018

FIGAROVOX/GRAND ENTRETIEN – Le nationalisme est sur toutes les lèvres, et pourtant, affirme Yoram Hazony, ce concept n’a jamais été aussi mal compris. Le philosophe entend réhabiliter la «vertu du nationalisme», qu’il oppose à la «tentation impérialiste», et promouvoir la vision d’un monde fondé sur l’indépendance et la liberté des nations.

Yoram Hazony est spécialiste de la Bible et docteur en philosophie politique.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoram_Hazony

Il a fondé le Herzl Institute et enseigne la philosophie et la théologie à Jérusalem.

Ce penseur de la droite israélienne est également auteur de nombreux articles publiés dans les journaux américains les plus prestigieux, du New York Times au Wall Street Journal.

Presque inconnu en France, son livre The Virtue of Nationalism a suscité un vif débat aux Etats-Unis.

LE FIGARO MAGAZINE. – Le 11 novembre dernier, Emmanuel Macron déclarait aux chefs d’Etat du monde entier: «Le nationalisme est la trahison du patriotisme.» Qu’en pensez-vous?

Yoram HAZONY. –

Aujourd’hui, on ne cesse de nous répéter que le nationalisme a provoqué les deux guerres mondiales, et on lui impute même la responsabilité de la Shoah.

Mais cette lecture historique n’est pas satisfaisante.

J’appelle «nationaliste» quelqu’un qui souhaite vivre dans un monde constitué de nations indépendantes.

De sorte qu’à mes yeux, Hitler n’était pas le moins du monde nationaliste.

Il était même tout le contraire: Hitler méprisait la vision nationaliste, et il appelle dans Mein Kampf à détruire les autres Etats-nations européens pour que les Allemands soient les maîtres du monde.

Dès son origine, le nazisme est une entreprise impérialiste, pas nationaliste.

Quant à la Première Guerre mondiale, le nationalisme est loin de l’avoir déclenchée à lui seul!

Le nationalisme serbe a fourni un prétexte, mais en réalité c’est la visée impérialiste des grandes puissances européennes (l’Allemagne, la France, l’Angleterre) qui a transformé ce conflit régional en une guerre planétaire.

Ainsi, le principal moteur des deux guerres mondiales était l’impérialisme, pas le nationalisme.

Donald Trump, lui, avait déclaré il y a quelques semaines: «Je suis nationaliste.» Y a-t-il aujourd’hui un retour du nationalisme?

Le nationalisme est en effet en vogue en ce moment: c’est du jamais-vu depuis 1990, date à laquelle Margaret Thatcher a été renversée par son propre camp à cause de son hostilité à l’Union européenne.

Depuis plusieurs décennies, les principaux partis politiques aux Etats-Unis et en Europe, de droite comme de gauche, ont souscrit à ce que l’on pourrait appeler «l’impérialisme libéral», c’est-à-dire l’idée selon laquelle le monde entier devrait être régi par une seule et même législation, imposée si besoin par la contrainte.

Mais aujourd’hui, une génération plus tard, une demande de souveraineté nationale émerge et s’est exprimée avec force aux Etats-Unis, au Royaume-Uni, en Italie, en Europe de l’Est et ailleurs encore.

Avec un peu de chance et beaucoup d’efforts, cet élan nationaliste peut aboutir à un nouvel ordre politique, fondé sur la cohabitation de nations indépendantes et souveraines.

Mais nous devons aussi être lucides: les élites «impérialistes libérales» n’ont pas disparu, elles sont seulement affaiblies.

Si, en face d’eux, le camp nationaliste ne parvient pas à faire ses preuves, elles ne tarderont pas à revenir dans le jeu.

Quel est ce «nouvel empire libéral» dont vous parlez? Et qu’entendez-vous exactement par «impérialisme»?

Historiquement, le «nationalisme» décrit une vision du monde où le meilleur système de gouvernement serait la coexistence de nations indépendantes, et libres de tracer leur propre route comme elles l’entendent.

On l’oppose à «l’impérialisme», qui cherche à apporter au monde la paix et la prospérité en unifiant l’humanité, autant que possible, sous un seul et même régime politique.

Les dirigeants de l’Union européenne, de même que la plupart des élites américaines, croient dur comme fer en l’impérialisme.

Ils pensent que la démocratie libérale est la seule forme admissible de gouvernement, et qu’il faut l’imposer progressivement au monde entier.

C’est ce que l’on appelle souvent le «mondialisme», et c’est précisément ce que j’entends par «nouvel empire libéral».

Bien sûr, tous les «impérialistes libéraux» ne sont pas d’accord entre eux sur la stratégie à employer!

L’impérialisme américain a voulu imposer de force la démocratie dans un certain nombre de pays, comme en Yougoslavie, en Irak, en Libye ou en Afghanistan.

En Europe, on se désolidarise du militarisme américain: les impérialistes allemands ou bruxellois préfèrent d’autres formes de coercition… mais leur objectif est le même.

Regardez comment l’Allemagne cherche à imposer son programme économique à la Grèce ou à l’Italie, ou sa vision immigrationniste à la République tchèque, la Hongrie ou la Pologne.

En Italie, le budget a même été rejeté par la Commission européenne!

Est-ce que, selon vous, le nationalisme et l’impérialisme sont deux visions de l’ordre mondial qui s’affrontaient déjà dans la Bible?

Le conflit entre nationalisme et impérialisme est aussi vieux que l’Occident lui-même.

La vision nationaliste est l’un des enseignements politiques fondamentaux de la Bible hébraïque: le Dieu d’Israël fut le premier qui donna à son peuple des frontières, et Moïse avertit les Hébreux qu’ils seraient punis s’ils tentaient de conquérir les terres de leurs voisins, car Yahvé a donné aussi aux autres nations leur territoire et leur liberté.

Ainsi, la Bible propose le nationalisme comme alternative aux visées impérialistes des pharaons, mais aussi des Assyriens, des Perses ou, bien sûr, des Babyloniens.

Et l’histoire du Moyen Âge ou de l’époque moderne montre que la plupart des grandes nations européennes – la France, l’Angleterre, les Pays-Bas… – se sont inspirées de l’exemple d’Israël.

Mais le nationalisme de l’Ancien Testament ne fut pas tout de suite imité par l’Occident.

La majeure partie de l’histoire occidentale est dominée par un modèle politique inverse: celui de l’impérialisme romain.

C’est de là qu’est né le Saint Empire romain germanique, qui a toujours cherché à étendre sa domination, tout comme le califat musulman.

Les Français aussi ont par moments été tentés par l’impérialisme et ont cherché à conquérir le monde: Napoléon, par exemple, était un fervent admirateur de l’Empire romain et n’avait pour seul but que d’imposer son modèle de gouvernement «éclairé» à tous les pays qu’il avait conquis.

Ainsi a-t-il rédigé de nouvelles constitutions pour nombre d’entre eux: les Pays-Bas, l’Allemagne, l’Italie, l’Espagne…

Son projet, en somme, était le même que celui de l’Union européenne aujourd’hui : réunir tous les peuples sous une seule et même législation.

Pourquoi le modèle nationaliste est-il meilleur, selon vous?

Parce que ce modèle permet à chaque nation de décider ses propres lois en vertu de ses traditions particulières.

Un tel modèle assure une vraie diversité politique, et permet à tous les pays de déployer leur génie à montrer que leurs institutions et leurs valeurs sont les meilleures.

Un tel équilibre international ressemblerait à celui qui s’est établi en Europe après les traités de Westphalie signés en 1648, et qui ont permis l’existence d’une grande diversité de points de vue politiques, institutionnels et religieux.

Ces traités ont donné aux nations européennes un dynamisme nouveau: grâce à cette diversité, les nations sont devenues autant de laboratoires d’idées dans lesquels ont été expérimentés, développés et éprouvés les théories philosophiques et les systèmes politiques que l’on associe aujourd’hui au monde occidental.

À l’évidence, toutes ces expériences ne se valent pas et certaines n’ont bien sûr pas été de grands succès.

Mais la réussite de l’une seule d’entre elles – la France, par exemple – suffit pour que les autres l’imitent et apprennent grâce à son exemple.

Tandis que, par contraste, un gouvernement impérialiste comme celui de l’Union européenne tue toute forme de diversité dans l’œuf.

Les élites bruxelloises sont persuadées de savoir déjà avec exactitude la façon dont le monde entier doit vivre.

Il est pourtant manifeste que ce n’est pas le cas…

Mais ce «nouvel ordre international» n’a-t-il pas permis, malgré tout, un certain nombre de progrès en facilitant les échanges marchands ou en créant une justice pénale internationale, par exemple?

Peut-être, mais nous n’avons pas besoin d’un nouvel impérialisme pour permettre l’essor du commerce international ou pour traîner en justice les criminels.

Des nations indépendantes sont tout à fait capables de se coordonner entre elles.

Alors, certes, il y aura toujours quelques désaccords à surmonter, et il faudra pour cela un certain nombre de négociations.

Et je suis tout à fait capable de comprendre que d’aucuns soient tentés de se dire que, si on crée un gouvernement mondial, on s’épargne toutes ces frictions.

Mais c’est là une immense utopie.

La diversité des nations rend strictement impossible de convenir, universellement, d’une vision unique en matière de commerce et d’immigration, de justice, de religion, de guerre ou de paix.

La diversité des points de vue, et, partant, chacun de ces désaccords, sont une conséquence nécessaire de la liberté humaine, qui fait que chaque nation a ses propres valeurs et ses propres intérêts.

La seule manière d’éviter ces désaccords est de faire régner une absolue tyrannie – et c’est du reste ce dont l’Union européenne se rend peu à peu compte: seules les mesures coercitives permettent d’instaurer une relative uniformité entre les États membres.

Ne redoutez-vous pas la compétition accrue à laquelle se livreraient les nations dans un monde tel que vous le souhaitez? Au risque de renforcer le rejet ou la haine de ses voisins?

Dans mon livre, je consacre un chapitre entier à cette objection qui m’est souvent faite.

Il arrive parfois qu’à force de vouloir le meilleur pour les siens, on en vienne à haïr les autres, lorsque ceux-ci sont perçus comme des rivaux.

Mais nous devons alors reconnaître, tout aussi humblement, que les mouvements universalistes ne sont pas exempts non plus d’une certaine inclination à la haine ou au sectarisme.

Chacun des grands courants universels de l’histoire en a fait montre, qu’il s’agisse du christianisme, de l’islam ou du marxisme. En bâtissant leur empire, les universalistes ont souvent rejeté les particularismes nationaux qui se sont mis en travers de leur chemin et ont refusé d’accepter leur prétention à apporter à l’humanité entière la paix et la prospérité.

Cette détestation du particulier, qui est une constante dans tous les grands universalismes, est flagrante aujourd’hui dès lors qu’un pays sort du rang: regardez le torrent de mépris et d’insultes qui s’est répandu contre les Britanniques qui ont opté pour le Brexit, contre Trump, contre Salvini, contre la Hongrie, l’Autriche et la Pologne, contre Israël…

Les nouveaux universalistes vouent aux gémonies l’indépendance nationale.

En quoi le nationalisme est-il une «vertu»?

Dans le sens où un nationaliste ne prétend pas savoir ce qui est bon pour n’importe qui, n’importe où dans le monde.

Il fait preuve d’une grande humilité, lui, au moins.

N’est-ce pas incroyable de vouloir dicter à tous les pays qui ils doivent choisir pour ministre, quel budget ils doivent voter, et qui sera en droit de traverser leurs frontières?

Face à cette arrogance vicieuse, je considère en effet le nationalisme comme une vertu.

Le nationaliste, lui, dessine une frontière par terre et dit au reste du monde: «Au-delà de cette limite, je renonce à faire imposer ma volonté. Je laisse mes voisins libres d’être différents.»

Un universaliste répondra que c’est immoral, car c’est la marque d’une profonde indifférence à l’égard des autres.

Mais c’est en réalité tout l’inverse: le nationaliste est vertueux, car il limite sa propre arrogance et laisse les autres conduire leur vie à leur guise.

Que vous inspirent les difficultés qu’ont les Britanniques à mettre en œuvre le Brexit? N’est-il pas déjà trop tard pour revenir en arrière?

Non, il n’est pas trop tard.

Si les différents gouvernements nationalistes aujourd’hui au pouvoir dans le monde parviennent à prouver leur capacité à diriger un pays de manière responsable, et sans engendrer de haine ou de tensions, alors ils viendront peut-être à bout de l’impérialisme libéral.

Ils ont une chance de restaurer un ordre du monde fondé sur la liberté des nations.

Il ne tient désormais qu’à eux de la saisir, et je ne peux prédire s’ils y parviendront: j’espère seulement qu’ils auront assez de sagesse et de talent pour cela.

Voir également:

In Defense of Nations
John Fonte
National Review
September 13, 2018

The Virtue of Nationalism, by Yoram Hazony (Basic, 304 pp., $18.99)

If the great struggle of the 20th century was between Western liberal democracy and totalitarianism, the major fault line of the 21st century is within the democratic family, pitting those who believe nations should be self-governing and sovereign against powerful forces advancing “global governance” by supranational authorities.

In a new book that will become a classic, Israeli political philosopher Yoram Hazony identifies this conflict as one “between nationalism and imperialism,” which he describes as “two irreconcilably opposed ways of thinking about political order.” Further, “the debate between nationalism and imperialism is upon us.” This “fault line” at “the heart of Western public life is not going away,” and one must “choose.”

Hazony poses the question: What would the best political order for the world look like? A universal empire with global law? A collection of autonomous tribes? Or an order of independent national states? He chooses the last model over universalism (i.e., empire, including the soft “global governance” variety) and tribalism. He explains that, first, unlike the rule of tribes, the national state establishes internal security and order and reduces the threat of violence. Second, unlike empire, the scope of the national state is limited, because it is confined to exercising authority within its borders.

Third, it provides for what Bill Buckley’s Yale mentor Willmoore Kendall called the greatest right of all, national freedom, the collective right of a free people to rule themselves. Fourth, national freedom permits nations to develop their own institutions “that may be tested through painstaking trial and error over centuries.” Thus, what might be called the sovereigntist option tends toward a realistic empirical style of governance as opposed to a utopian rationalist outlook. Hazony contrasts Margaret Thatcher’s empirical approach to economics, for example, with an overly rationalistic perspective that often leads to unworkable utopianism (e.g., socialist economics in practice).

Fifth, Hazony, quoting John Stuart Mill, argues that, historically, individual rights have been protected best in national states, particularly in England and America. He maintains that in a “universal political order . . . in which a single standard of right is held to be in force everywhere, tolerance for diverse political and religious standpoints must necessarily decline.” This is exactly what has happened as transnational progressive elites, including organs of the EU, the U.N., and, significantly, the American Bar Association, have promoted a “global rule of law” that is intolerant of longstanding religious and patriotic beliefs.

Hazony boldly declares that we should resist all efforts to establish supranational global institutions: “We should not let a hairbreadth of our freedom be given over to foreign bodies under any name whatsoever, or to foreign systems of law that are not determined by our own nations.” 

Hazony reviews the history of the conflict between nationalism and imperialism, from the Tower of Babel to the latest anti-Israeli U.N. resolution. The political concept of the independent national state, as an alternative to empire and tribalism, begins with the Hebrew Bible. Ancient Israel was a national state posed against empires in Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Persia, and Rome. Hazony de­clares that the Israelite nation was not based on race but on a “shared understanding of history, language, and religion.” He cites Exodus, noting that some Egyptians joined the Hebrews in fleeing Pharaoh, and points out that other foreigners joined the Jewish people once they had accepted “Israel’s God, laws, and understanding of history.”

In Hazony’s telling, after the fall of the Roman imperium, the ideal of a universal empire lived on in the papacy and in the German-led Holy Roman Empire. The emergence of Protestantism resurrected the Hebrew Bible’s concept of the national state. For example, Dutch Protestant rebels in their war with imperial Spain modeled themselves on ancient Israelis fighting for national freedom against the Egyptian and Babylonian empires. The Thirty Years’ War was not simply a religious conflict but a struggle that pitted nationalism against imperialism, with the states of France (Catholic), the Netherlands (Calvinist), and Sweden (Lutheran) fighting against the German-Spanish Hapsburg empire.

Hazony describes a new “Protestant construction” of the West inspired by the Hebrew Bible. It was based on two core principles: national self-determination and a “moral minimum” order, roughly corresponding to recognizing the Ten Commandments as natural law. This Protestant construction has been challenged by a “liberal construction” based on individual rights and a universal order. Beginning in the Enlightenment with Locke and Kant, but particularly since World War II, the liberal construction has largely replaced the Protestant construction among Western elites, though Hazony optimistically remarks that the ideas of the Protestant construction are still strong in the U.S. and Britain. Further, the liberal construction has proved to be illiberal, leading to the suppression of free speech, “public shaming” campaigns, and “heresy hunts.” Hazony laments that “Western democracies are rapidly becoming one big university campus.”

Hazony asserts that the “neutral state is a myth.” While the national state has historically been successful, a purely “neutral” or “civic” state based only on formal law and abstract principles and without attachments to a particular culture, language, religion, tradition, history, or shared sacrifice is unable to inspire the necessary mutual loyalty and national cohesion required for a free society to survive. He identifies the United States, Britain, and France as national, as opposed to neutral or civic, states. 

One of Hazony’s most powerful insights is his understanding of the role that hatred plays in the conflict between nationalists and globalists. One hears repeatedly that nationalism means hatred of the “other.” Hazony, however, successfully flips the argument. He notes that “anti-nationalist hate” is as great as or greater than the hatred emanating from nationalists. In fact, the forces supporting universalism hate the particular, especially when particularist resistance to globalist homogenization “proves itself resilient and enduring.”

Thus, “liberal internationalism is not merely a positive agenda. . . . It is an imperialist ideology that incites against . . . nationalists, seeking their delegitimization wherever they appear” throughout the West. Nowhere is this clearer than in the intense antipathy such liberal internationalists feel towards Israel.

As a proud nationalist, Hazony de­clares, “My first concern is for Israel.” He examines the hostility directed at the Jewish state by “many” in Europe and, increasingly, in America. He concludes that since World War II, and particularly since the 1990s, in elite circles in the West, a Kantian post-national moral paradigm has replaced the old liberal-nationalist paradigm of a world of independent states in which the Zionist dream was born. 

This new paradigm insists that national states should increasingly cede sovereignty to supranational institutions, especially in matters of war and peace. In the new paradigm, Israel’s use of force to defend itself is seen as morally illegitimate. The leadership of the European Union and American progressives, for the most part, adheres to the new post-national paradigm; hence, they constantly excoriate Israeli attempts at self-defense.

Hazony declares that “the European Union has caused severe damage to the principle that originally granted legitimacy to Israel as an independent national state: the principle of national freedom and self-determination.” (There is also a faction of Americans, Hazony writes, who favor a different, more muscular type of imperialist project: the establishment of a pax Americana in which America would serve as a contemporary Roman empire, providing peace and security for the entire world and policing the internal affairs of recalcitrant national states that are insufficiently liberal.)

For the EU and Western progressives, Hazony explains, the horror of Auschwitz was the result of atrocities committed by a national state, Germany, infused with a fanatical nationalism. But, as Hazony argues, Hitler’s genocide was inspired by a belief in Aryan racial superiority and imperialism. Hitler cared little for the German nation per se. For example, near the end of World War II, he told his confidant Albert Speer not to “worry” about the “German people”; they might as well perish, for “they had proven to be the weaker [nation] and the future belongs solely to the stronger eastern nation.” Not exactly the sentiments of a true nationalist.

On the other hand, Hazony says, for Israelis, Auschwitz was the result of powerlessness: Jews did not have their own national state and the requisite military capability to protect themselves. Hazony quotes David Ben-Gurion’s famous World War II address in November 1942. He noted that there was “no Jewish army” and declared: Give us the right to fight and die as Jews. . . . We demand the right . . . to a homeland and independence.” It is exactly this very human aspiration for national independence hailed by the liberal nationalists of yesteryear (e.g., Garibaldi, Kossuth, Herzl) that the new imperialists of 21st-century globalism (Merkel, Juncker, Soros) scorn. 

Hazony writes that other nations too have been subject to campaigns of vilification from European and transnational elites when they have ignored supranational authority and acted as independent national states. The United States, in particular, has been excoriated (since long before the Trump administration) for refusing to join the Interna­tional Criminal Court and the Kyoto Protocol and for deciding for itself when its national interest requires the use of force. Recently, globalist wrath “has been extended to Britain” because it returned “to a course of national independence and self-determination and to nations such as Czechia, Hungary, and Poland that insist on maintaining an immigration policy of their own that does not conform to the European Union’s theories concerning refugee resettlement.”

A serious scholar, Hazony is a consistent thinker and is intellectually honest to a fault. As a result, many potential allies in the political-ideological struggle against transnational progressivism might well object to his critical portrayal of, for example, Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Ayn Rand, John Locke, Immanuel Kant, Konrad Adenauer, Charles Krauthammer, the British Empire, a pax Americana, the papacy, and medieval Christianity, to say nothing of the World Trade Organi­zation and President George H. W. Bush’s “new world order.”

My only serious substantive difference with Hazony concerns his interpretation of John Locke and natural rights, a subject directly related to the American Founding and, therefore, to the crux of American nationalism. Hazony presents Locke as overly focused on individual autonomy and detached from the national state and the culture necessary to sustain it. However, in his famous Second Treatise, Locke explicitly favors the nationalist over the imperialist perspective, lauding “an entire, free, independent society, to be governed by its own laws” and decrying “the delivery . . . of the people into the subjection of a foreign power, either by the prince or the legislature.”

Locke in his other writing also emphasizes the centrality of morality, religion, and family, as well as individual rights, thereby supporting Hazony’s “moral minimum” for the well-being of any independent commonwealth. In any case, it should be stressed that the philosophical basis of the American Founding is much more than the theories of John Locke (as Hazony agrees). Leo Strauss, Harry Jaffa, and, recently, Thomas G. West in his brilliant and definitive work The Political Theory of the American Founding have argued that from the beginning, the American regime has contained pre-Enlighten­ment, pre-liberal, non-rational elements that are essential to its vitality and success.

Further, the law of nature and the natural rights envisioned by the American Founders were held to be accompanied by an equal set of duties and virtues commensurate with those rights, including the republican virtue of patriotism. Neither Locke nor, certainly, the Founders were utopian, but instead they balanced a belief in reason with an empirical outlook and a realistic view of human nature.

Caveats aside, Yoram Hazony has written a magnificent affirmation of democratic nationalism and sovereignty. The book is a tour de force that has the potential to significantly shape the debate between the supporters of supranational globalism and those of national-state democracy. The former will attempt to marginalize Hazony. Crucial will be the response of the Western (particularly American) center-right intelligentsia. Will mainstream conservatives embrace Hazony’s core thesis (with requisite qualifications) and recognize that they have been given a powerful intellectual and moral argument, or will this opportunity be squandered in sectarian squabbling over exactly what Locke meant and how to redefine “liberalism” in the 21st-century global world? 

Voir de plus:

What Is Conservatism?

May 20, 2017

The year 2016 marked a dramatic change of political course for the English-speaking world, with Britain voting for independence from Europe and the United States electing a president promising a revived American nationalism. Critics see both events as representing a dangerous turn toward “illiberalism” and deplore the apparent departure from “liberal principles” or “liberal democracy,” themes that surfaced repeatedly in conservative publications over the past year. Perhaps the most eloquent among the many spokesmen for this view has been William Kristol, who, in a series of essays in the Weekly Standard, has called for a new movement to arise “in defense of liberal democracy.” In his eyes, the historic task of American conservatism is “to preserve and strengthen American liberal democracy,” and what is needed now is “a new conservatism based on old conservative—and liberal—principles.” Meanwhile, the conservative flagship Commentary published a cover story by the Wall Street Journal’s Sohrab Ahmari entitled “Illiberalism: The Worldwide Crisis,” seeking to raise the alarm about the dangers to liberalism posed by Brexit, Trump, and other phenomena.

These and similar examples demonstrate once again that more than a few prominent conservatives in America and Britain today consider themselves to be not only conservatives but also liberals at the same time. Or, to get to the heart of the matter, they see conservatism as a branch or species of liberalism—to their thinking, the “classical” and most authentic form of liberalism. According to this view, the foundations of conservatism are to be found, in significant measure, in the thought of the great liberal icon John Locke and his followers. It is to this tradition, they say, that we must turn for the political institutions—including the separation of powers, checks and balances, and federalism—that secure the freedoms of religion, speech, and the press; the right of private property; and due process under law. In other words, if we want limited government and, ultimately, the American Constitution, then there is only one way to go: Lockean liberalism provides the theoretical basis for the ordered freedom that conservatives strive for, and liberal democracy is the only vehicle for it.

Many of those who have been most outspoken on this point have been our long-time friends. We admire and are grateful for their tireless efforts on behalf of conservative causes, including some in which we have worked together as partners. But we see this confusion of conservatism with liberalism as historically and philosophically misguided. Anglo-American conservatism is a distinct political tradition—one that predates Locke by centuries. Its advocates fought for and successfully established most of the freedoms that are now exclusively associated with Lockean liberalism, although they did so on the basis of tenets very different from Locke’s. Indeed, when Locke published his Two Treatises of Government in 1689, offering the public a sweeping new rationale for the traditional freedoms already known to Englishmen, most defenders of these freedoms were justly appalled. They saw in this new doctrine not a friend to liberty but a product of intellectual folly that would ultimately bring down the entire edifice of freedom. Thus, liberalism and conservatism have been opposed political positions in political theory since the day liberal theorizing first set foot in England.

Today’s confusion of conservative political thought with liberalism is in a way understandable, however. In the great twentieth-century battles against totalitarianism, conservatives and liberals were allies: They fought together, along with the Communists, against Nazism. After 1945, conservatives and liberals remained allies in the war against Communism. Over these many decades of joint struggle, what had for centuries been a distinction of vital importance was treated as if it were not terribly important, and in fact, it was largely forgotten.

But since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, these circumstances have changed. The challenges facing the Anglo-American tradition are now coming from other directions entirely. Radical Islam, to name one such challenge, is a menace that liberals, for reasons internal to their own view of the political world, find difficult to regard as a threat and especially difficult to oppose in an effective manner. But even more important is the challenge arising from liberalism itself. It is now evident that liberal principles contribute little or nothing to those institutions that were for centuries the bedrock of the Anglo-American political order: nationalism, religious tradition, the Bible as a source of political principles and wisdom, and the family. Indeed, as liberalism has emerged victorious from the battles of the last century, the logic of its doctrines has increasingly turned liberals against all of these conservative institutions. On both of these fronts, the conservative and liberal principles of the Anglo-American tradition are now painfully at cross-purposes. The twentieth-century alliance between conservatism and liberalism is proving increasingly difficult to maintain.

Among the effects of the long alliance between conservatism and liberalism has been a tendency of political figures, journalists, and academics to slip back and forth between conservative terms and ideas and liberal ones as if they were interchangeable. And until recently, there seemed to be no great harm in this. Now, however, it is becoming obvious that this lack of clarity is crippling our ability to think about a host of issues, from immigration and foreign wars to the content of the Constitution and the place of religion in education and public life. In these and other areas, America, Britain, and their allies can neither recognize the difficulties ahead nor develop appropriate responses to them without a strong and intellectually capable conservatism. But to have a strong and intellectually capable conservatism, we must be able to see clearly what the Anglo-American conservative tradition is and what it is about. And to do this, we have to disentangle it from its old opponent—liberalism.

In this essay, we seek to clarify the historical and philosophical differences between the two major Anglo-American political traditions, conservative and liberal. We will begin by looking at some important events in the emergence of Anglo-American conservatism and its conflict with liberalism. After that, we will use these historical events as a basis for drawing some political distinctions that will be highly relevant for our own political context.

Fortescue and the Birth of Anglo-American Conservatism

The emergence of the Anglo-American conservative tradition can be identified with the words and deeds of a series of towering political and intellectual figures, among whom we can include individuals such as Sir John Fortescue, Richard Hooker, Sir Edward Coke, John Selden, Sir Matthew Hale, Sir William Temple, Jonathan Swift, Josiah Tucker, Edmund Burke, John Dickinson, and Alexander Hamilton. Men such as George Washington, John Adams, and John Marshall, often hastily included among the liberals, would also have placed themselves in this conservative tradition rather than with its opponents, whom they knew all too well.

Living in very different periods, these individuals nevertheless shared common ideas and principles and saw themselves as part of a common tradition of English, and later Anglo-American, constitutionalism. A politically traditionalist outlook of this kind was regarded as the mainstream in both England and America up until the French Revolution and only came to be called “conservative” during the nineteenth century, as it lost ground and became one of two rival camps.

Because the name conservative dates from this time of decline, it is often wrongly asserted that those who continued defending the Anglo-American tradition after the revolution—men such as Burke and Hamilton—were the “first conservatives.” But one has to view history in a peculiar and distorted way to see these men as having founded the tradition they were defending. In fact, neither the principles they upheld nor the arguments with which they defended them were new. They read them in the books of earlier thinkers and political figures such as Fortescue, Coke, Selden, and Hale. These men, the intellectual and political forefathers of Burke and Hamilton, are conservatives in just the same way that John Locke is a liberal. The term was not yet in use, but the ideas that it designates are easily recognizable in their writings, their speeches, and their deeds.

Where does the tradition of Anglo-American conservatism begin? Any date one chooses will be somewhat arbitrary. Even the earliest surviving English legal compilations, dating from the twelfth century, are arguably recognizable as forerunners of this conservative tradition. But we will not make the case for this claim here. Instead, we will begin on what seems to us indisputable ground—with the writings of Sir John Fortescue, which date from the late fifteenth century. Fortescue (c. 1394–1479) occupies a position in the Anglo-American conservative tradition somewhat analogous to Locke in the later liberal tradition: although not the founder of this tradition, he is nonetheless its first truly outstanding expositor and the model in light of which the entire subsequent tradition developed.1 It is here that any conservative should begin his or her education in the Anglo-American tradition.

For eight years during the Wars of the Roses, beginning in 1463, John Fortescue lived in France with the court of the young prince Edward of Lancaster, the “Red Rose” claimant to the English throne, who had been driven into exile by the “White Rose” king Edward IV of York. Fortescue had been a member of Parliament and for nearly two decades chief justice of the King’s Bench, the English Supreme Court. In the exiled court, he became the nominal chancellor of England. While in exile, Fortescue composed several treatises on the constitution and laws of England, foremost among them a small book entitled Praise of the Laws of England.

Although Praise of the Laws of England is often mischaracterized as a work on law, anyone picking it up will immediately recognize it for what it is: an early great work of English political philosophy. Far from being a sterile rehearsal of existing law, it is written as a dialogue between the chancellor of England and the young prince he is educating, so that he may wisely rule his realm. It offers a theorist’s explanation of the reasons for regarding the English constitution as the best model of political government known to man. (Those who have been taught that it was Montesquieu who first argued that, of all constitutions, the English constitution is the one best suited for human freedom will be dismayed to find that this argument is presented more clearly by Fortescue nearly three hundred years earlier, in a work with which Montesquieu was probably familiar.)

According to Fortescue, the English constitution provides for what he calls “political and royal government,” by which he means that English kings do not rule by their own authority alone (i.e., “royal government”), but together with the representatives of the nation in Parliament and in the courts (i.e., “political government”). In other words, the powers of the English king are limited by the traditional laws of the English nation, in the same way—as Fortescue emphasizes—that the powers of the Jewish king in the Mosaic constitution in Deuteronomy are limited by the traditional laws of the Israelite nation. This is in contrast with the Holy Roman Empire of Fortescue’s day, which was supposedly governed by Roman law, and therefore by the maxim that “what pleases the prince has the force of law,” and in contrast with the kings of France, who governed absolutely. Among other things, the English law is described as providing for the people’s representatives, rather than the king, to determine the laws of the realm and to approve requests from the king for taxes.

In addition to this discussion of what later tradition would call the separation of powers and the system of checks and balances, Fortescue also devotes extended discussion to the guarantee of due process under law, which he explores in his discussion of the superior protections afforded to the individual under the English system of trial by jury. Crucially, Fortescue consistently connects the character of a nation’s laws and their protection of private property to economic prosperity, arguing that limited government bolsters such prosperity, while an absolute government leads the people to destitution and ruin. In another of his writings, The Difference between an Absolute and a Limited Monarchy (also known as The Governance of England, c. 1471), he starkly contrasts the well-fed and healthy English population living under their limited government with the French, whose government was constantly confiscating their property and quartering armies in their towns—at the residents’ expense—by unilateral order of the king. The result of such arbitrary taxation and quartering is, as Fortescue writes, that the French people have been “so impoverished and destroyed that they may hardly live. . . . Verily, they live in the most extreme poverty and misery, and yet they dwell in one of the most fertile parts of the world.”

Like later conservative tradition, Fortescue does not believe that either scripture or human reason can provide a universal law suitable for all nations. We do find him drawing frequently on the Mosaic constitution and the biblical “Four Books of Kings” (1–2 Samuel and 1–2 Kings) to assist in understanding the political order and the English constitution. Nevertheless, Fortescue emphasizes that the laws of each realm reflect the historic experience and character of each nation, just as the English common law is in accord with England’s historic experience. Thus, for example, Fortescue argues that a nation that is self-disciplined and accustomed to obeying the laws voluntarily rather than by coercion is one that can productively participate in the way it is governed. This, Fortescue proposes, was true of the people of England, while the French, who were of undisciplined character, could be governed only by the harsh and arbitrary rule of absolute royal government. On the other hand, Fortescue also insisted, again in keeping with biblical precedent and later conservative tradition, that this kind of national character was not set in stone, and that such traits could be gradually improved or worsened over time.

Fortescue was eventually permitted to return to England, but his loyalty to the defeated House of Lancaster meant that he never returned to power. He was to play the part of chancellor of England only in his philosophical dialogue, Praise of the Laws of England. His book, however, went on to become one of the most influential works of political thought in history. Fortescue wrote in the decades before the Reformation, and as a firm Catholic. But every page of his work breathes the spirit of English nationalism—the belief that through long centuries of experience, and thanks to a powerful ongoing identification with Hebrew Scripture, the English had succeeded in creating a form of government more conducive to human freedom and flourishing than any other known to man. First printed around 1545, Fortescue’s Praise of the Laws of England spoke in a resounding voice to that period of heightened nationalist sentiment in which English traditions, now inextricably identified with Protestantism, were pitted against the threat of invasion by Spanish-Catholic forces aligned with the Holy Roman Emperor. This environment quickly established Fortescue as England’s first great political theorist, paving the way for him to be read by centuries of law students in both England and America and by educated persons wherever the broader Anglo-American conservative tradition struck root.

The Greatest Conservative: John Selden

We turn now to the decisive chapter in the formation of modern Anglo-American conservatism: the great seventeenth-century battle between defenders of the traditional English constitution against political absolutism on one side, and against the first advocates of a Lockean universalist rationalism on the other. This chapter in the story is dominated by the figure of John Selden (1584–1654), probably the greatest theorist of Anglo-American conservatism.

Under the reign of Elizabeth Tudor, Fortescue’s account of the virtues of England’s traditional institutions had become an integral part of the self-understanding of a politically independent English nation. But in 1603, Elizabeth died childless and was succeeded by her distant relative, the king of Scotland, James Stuart. The Stuart kings had little patience for English theories of “political and royal rule.” In fact, James, himself a thinker of some ability, had four years earlier penned a political treatise of his own, in which he explained that kings rule by divine right and the laws of the realm are, as the title of his book suggested, a Basilikon Doron (Greek for “Royal Gift”). In other words, the laws are the king’s freely given gift, which he can choose to make or revoke as he pleases. James was too prudent a man to openly press for his absolutist theories among his English subjects, and he insisted that he meant to respect their traditional constitution. But the English, who had bought thousands of copies of the king’s book when he ascended to their throne, were never fully convinced. Indeed, the policies of James and, later, his son Charles I constantly rekindled suspicions that the Stuarts’ aim was a creeping authoritarianism that would eventually leave England as bereft of freedom as France.

When this question finally came to a head, most of the members of the English Parliament and common lawyers proved willing to risk their careers, their freedom, and even their lives in the defense of Fortescue’s “political and royal rule.” Among these were eminent names such as Sir John Eliot and the chief justice of the King’s Bench, Sir Edward Coke. But in the generation that bore the full brunt of the new absolutist ideas, it was John Selden who stood above all others. The most important common lawyer of his generation, he was also a formidable political philosopher and polymath who knew more than twenty languages. Selden became a prominent leader in Parliament, where he joined the older Coke in a series of clashes with the king. In this period, Parliament denied the king’s right to imprison Englishmen without showing cause, to impose taxes and forced loans without the approval of Parliament, to quarter soldiers in private homes, and to wield martial law in order to circumvent the laws of the land.

In 1628, Selden played a leading role in drafting and passing an act of Parliament called the Petition of Right, which sought to restore and safeguard “the divers rights and liberties of the subjects” that had been known under the traditional English constitution. Among other things, it asserted that “your subjects have inherited this freedom, that they should not be compelled to contribute to any tax . . . not set by common consent in Parliament”; that “no freeman may be taken or imprisoned or be disseized of his freehold or liberties, or his free customs . . . but by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land”; and that no man “should be put out of his land or tenements, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disinherited nor put to death without being brought to answer by due process of law.”

In the Petition of Right, then, we find the famous principle of “no taxation without representation,” as well as versions of the rights enumerated in the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Amendments of the American Bill of Rights—all declared to be ancient constitutional English freedoms and unanimously approved by Parliament, before Locke was even born. Although not mentioned in the Petition explicitly, freedom of speech had likewise been reaffirmed by Coke as “an ancient custom of Parliament” in the 1590s and was the subject of the so-called Protestation of 1621 that landed Coke, then seventy years old, in the Tower of London for nine months.

In other words, Coke, Eliot, and Selden risked everything to defend the same liberties that we ourselves hold dear in the face of an increasingly authoritarian regime. (In fact, John Eliot was soon to die in the king’s prison.) But they did not do so in the name of liberal doctrines of universal reason, natural rights, or “self-evident” truths. These they explicitly rejected because they were conservatives, not liberals. Let’s try to understand this.

Selden saw himself as an heir to Fortescue and, in fact, was involved in republishing the Praise for the Laws of England in 1616. His own much more extensive theoretical defense of English national traditions appeared in the form of short historical treatises on English law, as well as in a series of massive works (begun while Selden was imprisoned on ill-defined sedition charges for his activities in the 1628–29 Parliament) examining political theory and law in conversation with classical rabbinic Judaism. The most famous of these was his monumental Natural and National Law (1640). In these works, Selden sought to defend conservative traditions, including the English one, not only against the absolutist doctrines of the Stuarts but also against the claims of a universalist rationalism, according to which men could simply consult their own reason, which was the same for everyone, to determine the best constitution for mankind. This rationalist view had begun to collect adherents in England among followers of the great Dutch political theorist Hugo Grotius, whose On the Law of War and Peace (1625) suggested that it might be possible to do away with the traditional constitutions of nations by relying only on the rationality of the individual.

Then as now, conservatives could not understand how such a reliance on alleged universal reason could be remotely workable, and Selden’s Natural and National Law includes an extended attack on such theories in its first pages. There Selden argues that, everywhere in history, “unrestricted use of pure and simple reason” has led to conclusions that are “intrinsically inconsistent and dissimilar among men.” If we were to create government on the basis of pure reason alone, this would not only lead to the eventual dissolution of government but to widespread confusion, dissention, and perpetual instability as one government is changed for another that appears more reasonable at a given moment. Indeed, following Fortescue, Selden rejects the idea that a universally applicable system of rights is even possible. As he writes in an earlier work, what “may be most convenient or just in one state may be as unjust and inconvenient in another, and yet both excellently as well framed as governed.” With regard to those who believe that their reasoning has produced the universal truths that should be evident to all men, he shrewdly warns that

custom quite often wears the mask of nature, and we are taken in [by this] to the point that the practices adopted by nations, based solely on custom, frequently come to seem like natural and universal laws of mankind.

Selden responds to the claims of universal reason by arguing for a position that can be called historical empiricism. On this view, our reasoning in political and legal matters should be based upon inherited national tradition. This permits the statesman or jurist to overcome the small stock of observation and experience that individuals are able to accumulate during their own lifetimes (“that kind of ignorant infancy, which our short lives alone allow us”) and to take advantage of “the many ages of former experience and observation,” which permit us to “accumulate years to us, as if we had lived even from the beginning of time.” In other words, by consulting the accumulated experience of the past, we overcome the inherent weakness of individual judgement, bringing to bear the many lifetimes of observation by our forebears, who wrestled with similar questions under diverse conditions.

This is not to say that Selden is willing to accept the prescription of the past blindly. He pours scorn on those who embrace errors originating in the distant past, which, he says, have often been accepted as true by entire communities and “adopted without protest, and loaded onto the shoulders of posterity like so much baggage.” Recalling the biblical Jeremiah’s insistence on an empirical study of the paths of old (Jer. 6:16), Selden argues that the correct method is that “all roads must be carefully examined. We must ask about the ancient paths, and only what is truly the best may be chosen.” But for Selden, the instrument for such examination and selection is not the wild guesswork of individual speculation concerning various hypothetical possibilities. In the life of a nation, the inherited tradition of legal opinions and legislation preserves a multiplicity of perspectives from different times and circumstances, as well as the consequences for the nation when the law has been interpreted one way or another. Looking back upon these varied and changing positions within the tradition, and considering their real-life results, one can distinguish the true precepts of the law from the false turns that have been taken in the past. As Selden explains:

The way to find out the Truth is by others’ mistakings: For if I [wish] to go to such [and such] a place, and [some]one had gone before me on the right-hand [side], and he was out, [while] another had gone on the left-hand, and he was out, this would direct me to keep the middle way that peradventure would bring me to the place I desired to go.

Selden thus turns, much as the Hebrew Bible does, to a form of pragmatism to explain what is meant when statesmen and jurists speak of truth. The laws develop through a process of trial and error over generations, as we come to understand how peace and prosperity (“what is truly best,” “the place I desired to go”) arise from one turn rather than another.

Selden recognizes that, in making these selections from the traditions of the past, we tacitly rely upon a higher criterion for selection, a natural law established by God, which prescribes “what is truly best” for mankind in the most elementary terms. In his Natural and National Law, Selden explains that this natural law has been discovered over long generations since the biblical times and has come down to us in various versions. Of these, the most reliable is that of the Talmud, which describes the seven laws of the children of Noah prohibiting murder, theft, sexual perversity, cruelty to beasts, idolatry and defaming God, and requiring courts of law to enforce justice. The experience of thousands of years has taught us that these laws frame the peace and prosperity that is the end of all nations, and that they are the unseen root from which the diverse laws of all the nations ultimately derive.

Nonetheless, Selden emphasizes that no nation can govern itself by directly appealing to such fundamental law, because “diverse nations, as diverse men, have their diverse collections and inferences, and so make their diverse laws to grow to what they are, out of one and the same root.” Each nation thus builds its own unique effort to implement the natural law according to an understanding based on its own unique experience and conditions. It is thus wise to respect the different laws found among nations, both those that appear right to us and those that appear mistaken, for different perspectives may each have something to contribute to our pursuit of the truth. (Selden’s treatment of the plurality of human knowledge is cited by Milton as a basis for his defense of freedom of speech in Areopagitica.)

Selden thus offers us a picture of a philosophical parliamentarian or jurist. He must constantly maintain the strength and stability of the inherited national edifice as a whole—but also recognize the need to make repairs and improvements where these are needed. In doing so, he seeks to gradually approach, by trial and error, the best that is possible for each nation.

Selden’s view of the underlying principles of what was to become the Anglo-American traditional constitution is perhaps the most balanced and sophisticated ever written. But neither his intellectual powers nor his personal bravery, nor that of his colleagues in Parliament, were enough to save the day. Stuart absolutism eventually pressed England toward civil war and, finally, to a Puritan military dictatorship that not only executed the king but destroyed Parliament and the constitution as well. Selden did not live to see the constitution restored. The regicide regime subsequently offered England several brand-new constitutions, none of which proved workable, and within eleven years it had collapsed.

In 1660, two eminent disciples of Selden, Edward Hyde (afterward Earl of Clarendon) and Sir Matthew Hale, played a leading role in restoring the constitution and the line of Stuart kings. When the Catholic James II succeeded to the throne in 1685, fear of a relapse into papism and even of a renewed attempt to establish absolutism moved the rival political factions of the country to unite in inviting the next Protestants in line to the throne. The king’s daughter Mary and her husband, Prince William of Orange, the Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic, crossed the channel to save Protestant England and its constitution. Parliament, having confirmed the willingness of the new joint monarchs to protect the English from “all other attempts upon their religion, rights and liberties,” in 1689 established the new king and queen on the throne and ratified England’s famous Bill of Rights. This new document reasserted the ancient rights invoked in the earlier Petition of Right, among other things affirming the right of Protestant subjects to “have arms for their defense” and the right of “freedom of speech and debates” in Parliament, and that “excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”—the basis for the First, Second, and Eighth Amendments of the American Bill of Rights. Freedom of speech was quickly extended to the wider public, with the termination of English press licensing laws a few years later.

The restoration of a Protestant monarch and the adoption of the Bill of Rights were undertaken by a Parliament united around Seldenian principles. What came to be called the “Glorious Revolution” was glorious precisely because it reaffirmed the traditional English constitution and protected the English nation from renewed attacks on “their religion, rights and liberties.” Such attacks came from absolutists like Sir Robert Filmer on the one hand, whose Patriarcha (published posthumously, 1680) advocated authoritarian government as the only legitimate one, and by radicals like John Locke on the other. Locke’s Two Treatises of Government (1689) responded to the crisis by arguing for the right of the people to dissolve the traditional constitution and reestablish it according to universal reason.

The Challenge from Locke and Liberalism

Over the course of the seventeenth century, English conservatism was formed into a coherent and unmistakable political philosophy utterly opposed both to the absolutism of the Stuarts, Hobbes, and Filmer (what would later be called “the Right”), as well as to liberal theories of universal reason advanced first by Grotius and then by Locke (“the Left”). The centrist conservative view was to remain the mainstream understanding of the English constitution for a century and a half, defended by leading Whig intellectuals in works from William Atwood’s Fundamental Constitution of the English Government (1690) to Josiah Tucker’s A Treatise of Civil Government (1781), which strongly opposed both absolutism and Lockean theories of universal rights. This is the view upon which men like Blackstone, Burke, Washington, and Hamilton were educated. Not only in England but in British America, lawyers were trained in the common law by studying Coke’s Institutes of the Lawes of England (1628–44) and Hale’s History of the Common Law of England (1713). In both, the law of the land was understood to be the traditional English constitution and common law, amended as needed for local purposes.

Because Locke is today recognized as the decisive figure in the liberal tradition, it is worth looking more carefully at why his political theory was so troubling for conservatives. We have described the Anglo-American conservative tradition as subscribing to a historical empiricism, which proposes that political knowledge is gained by examining the long history of the customary laws of a given nation and the consequences when these laws have been altered in one direction or another. Conservatives understand that a jurist must exercise reason and judgment, of course. But this reasoning is about how best to adapt traditional law to present circumstances, making such changes as are needed for the betterment of the state and of the public, while preserving as much as possible the overall frame of the law. To this we have opposed a standpoint that can be called rationalist. Rationalists have a different view of the role of reason in political thought, and in fact a different understanding of what reason itself is. Rather than arguing from the historical experience of nations, they set out by asserting general axioms that they believe to be true of all human beings, and that they suppose will be accepted by all human beings examining them with their native rational abilities. From these they deduce the appropriate constitution or laws for all men.

Locke is known philosophically as an empiricist. But his reputation in this regard is based largely on his Essay concerning Human Understanding (1689), which is an influential exercise in empirical psychology. His Second Treatise of Government is not, however, a similar effort to bring an empirical standpoint to the theory of the state. Instead, it begins with a series of axioms that are without any evident connection to what can be known from the historical and empirical study of the state. Among other things, Locke asserts that, (1) prior to the establishment of government, men exist in a “state of nature,” in which (2) “all men are naturally in a state of perfect freedom,” as well as in (3) a “state of perfect equality, where naturally there is no superiority or jurisdiction of one over another.” Moreover, (4) this state of nature “has a law of nature to govern it”; and (5) this law of nature is, as it happens, nothing other than human “reason” itself, which “teaches all mankind, who will but consult it.” It is this universal reason, the same among all mankind, that leads them to (6) terminate the state of nature, “agreeing together mutually to enter into . . . one body politic” by an act of free consent. From these six axioms, Locke then proceeds to deduce the proper character of the political order for all nations on earth.

Three important things should be noticed about this set of axioms. The first is that the elements of Locke’s political theory are not known from experience. The “perfect freedom” and “perfect equality” that define the state of nature are ideal forms whose relationship with empirical reality is entirely unclear. Nor can the identity of natural law with reason, or the assertion that the law dictated by reason “teaches all mankind,” or the establishment of the state by means of purely consensual social contract, be known empirically. All of these things are stipulated as when setting out a mathematical system.

The second thing to notice is that there is no reason to think that any of Locke’s axioms are in fact true. Faced with this mass of unverifiable assertions, empiricist political theorists such as Hume, Smith, and Burke rejected all of Locke’s axioms and sought to rebuild political philosophy on the basis of things that can be known from history and from an examination of actual human societies and governments.

Third, Locke’s theory not only dispenses with the historical and empirical basis for the state, it also implies that such inquiries are, if not entirely unnecessary, then of secondary importance. If there exists a form of reason that is accessible to “all mankind, who will but consult it,” and that reveals to all the universal laws of nature governing the political realm, then there will be little need for the historically and empirically grounded reasoning of men such as Fortescue, Coke, and Selden. All men, if they will just gather together and consult with their own reason, can design a government that will be better than anything that “the many ages of experience and observation” produced in England. On this view, the Anglo-American conservative tradition—far from having brought into being the freest and best constitution ever known to mankind—is in fact shot through with unwarranted prejudice and an obstacle to a better life for all. Locke’s theory thus pronounces, in other words, the end of Anglo-American conservatism, and the end of the traditional constitution that conservatives still held to be among the most precious things on earth.

While Locke’s rationalist theories made limited headway in England, they were all the rage in France. Rousseau’s On the Social Contract (1762) went where others had feared to tread, embracing Locke’s system of axioms for correct political thought and calling upon mankind to consent only to the one legitimate constitution dictated by reason. Within thirty years, Rousseau, Voltaire, and the other French imitators of Locke’s rationalist politics received what they had demanded in the form of the French Revolution. The 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was followed by the Reign of Terror for those who would not listen to reason. Napoleon’s imperialist liberalism rapidly followed, bringing universal reason and the “rights of man” to the whole of continental Europe by force of arms, at a cost of millions of lives.2

In 1790, a year after the beginning of the French Revolution, the Anglo-Irish thinker and Whig parliamentarian Edmund Burke composed his famous defense of the English constitutional tradition against the liberal doctrines of universal reason and universal rights, entitled Reflections on the Revolution in France. In one passage, Burke asserted that

Selden, and the other profoundly learned men, who drew this petition of right, were as well acquainted, at least, with all the general theories concerning the “rights of men” [as any defenders of the revolution in France]. . . . But, for reasons worthy of that practical wisdom which superseded their theoretic science, they preferred this positive, recorded, hereditary title to all which can be dear to the man and the citizen, to that vague speculative right, which exposed their sure inheritance to be scrambled for and torn to pieces by every wild, litigious spirit.

In this passage, Burke correctly emphasizes that Selden and the other great conservative figures of his day had been quite familiar with the “general theories concerning the ‘rights of men’” that had now been used to overthrow the state in France. He then goes on to endorse Selden’s argument that universal rights, since they are based only on reason rather than “positive, recorded, hereditary title,” can be said to give everyone a claim to absolutely anything. Adopting a political theory based on such universal rights has one obvious meaning: that the “sure inheritance” of one’s nation will immediately be “scrambled for and torn to pieces” by “every wild litigious spirit” who knows how to use universal rights to make ever new demands.

Burke’s argument is frequently quoted today by conservatives who assume that his target was Rousseau and his followers in France. But Burke’s attack was not primarily aimed at Rousseau, who had few enthusiasts in Britain or America at the time. The actual target of his attack was contemporary followers of Grotius and Locke—individuals such as Richard Price, Joseph Priestley, Charles James Fox, Charles Grey, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson. Price, who was the explicit subject of Burke’s attack in the first pages of Reflections on the Revolution in France, had opened his Observations on the Nature of Civil Liberty (1776) with the assertion that “the principles on which I have argued form the foundation of every state as far as it is free; and are the same with those taught by Mr. Locke.” And much the same could be said of the others, all of whom followed Locke in claiming that the only true foundation for political and constitutional thought was precisely in those “general theories concerning the rights of men” that Burke believed would bring turmoil and death to one country after another.

The carnage taking place in France triggered a furious debate in England. It pitted supporters of the conservatism of Coke and Selden (both Whigs and Tories) against admirers of Locke’s universal rights theories (the so-called New Whigs). The conservatives insisted that these theories would uproot every traditional political and religious institution in England, just as they were doing in France. It is against the backdrop of this debate that Burke reportedly stated in Parliament that, of all the books ever written, the Second Treatise was “one of the worst.”

 Liberalism and Conservatism in America

Burke’s conservative defense of the traditional English constitution enjoyed a large measure of success in Britain, where it was continued after his death by figures such as Canning, Wellington, and Disraeli. That this is so is obvious from the fact that institutions such as the monarchy, the House of Lords, and the established Church of England, not to mention the common law itself, were able to withstand the gale winds of universal reason and universal rights, and to this day have their staunch supporters.

But what of America? Was the American revolution an upheaval based on Lockean universal reason and universal rights? To hear many conservatives talk today, one would think this were so, and that there never were any conservatives in the American mainstream, only liberals of different shades. The reality, however, was rather different. When the American English, as Burke called them, rebelled against the British monarch, there were already two distinct political theories expressed among the rebels, and the opposition between these two camps only grew with time.

First, there were those who admired the English constitution that they had inherited and studied. Believing they had been deprived of their rights under the English constitution, their aim was to regain these rights. Identifying themselves with the tradition of Coke and Selden, they hoped to achieve a victory against royal absolutism comparable to what their English forefathers had achieved in the Petition of Right and Bill of Rights. To individuals of this type, the word revolution still had its older meaning, invoking something that “revolves” and would, through their efforts, return to its rightful place—in effect, a restoration. Alexander Hamilton was probably the best-known exponent of this kind of conservative politics, telling the assembled delegates to the constitutional convention of 1787, for example, that “I believe the British government forms the best model the world ever produced.” Or, as John Dickinson told the convention: “Experience must be our only guide. Reason may mislead us. It was not reason that discovered the singular and admirable mechanism of the English constitution…. Accidents probably produced these discoveries, and experience has given a sanction to them.” And it is evident that they were quietly supported behind the scenes by other adherents of this view, among them the president of the convention, General George Washington.

Second, there were true revolutionaries, liberal followers of Locke such as Jefferson, who detested England and believed—just as the French followers of Rousseau believed—that the dictates of universal reason made the true rights of man evident to all. For them, the traditional English constitution was not the source of their freedoms but rather something to be swept away before the rights dictated by universal reason. And indeed, during the French Revolution, Jefferson and his supporters embraced it as a purer version of what the Americans had started. As he wrote in a notorious letter in 1793 justifying the revolution in France: “The liberty of the whole earth was depending on the issue of the contest. . . . [R]ather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated.”

The tension between these conservative and liberal camps finds rather dramatic expression in America’s founding documents: The Declaration of Independence, drafted by Jefferson in 1776, is famous for resorting, in its preamble, to the Lockean doctrine of universal rights as “self-evident” before the light of reason. Similarly, the Articles of Confederation, negotiated the following year as the constitution of the new United States of America, embody a radical break with the traditional English constitution. These Articles asserted the existence of thirteen independent states, at the same time establishing a weak representative assembly over them without even the power of taxation, and requiring assent by nine of thirteen states to enact policy. The Articles likewise made no attempt at all to balance the powers of this assembly, effectively an executive, with separate legislative or judicial branches of government.

The Articles of Confederation came close to destroying the United States. After a decade of disorder in both foreign and economic affairs, the Articles were replaced by the Constitution, drafted at a convention initiated by Hamilton and James Madison, and presided over by a watchful Washington, while Jefferson was away in France. Anyone comparing the Constitution that emerged with the earlier Articles of Confederation immediately recognizes that what took place at this convention was a reprise of the Glorious Revolution of 1689. Despite being adapted to the American context, the document that the convention produced proposed a restoration of the fundamental forms of the English constitution: a strong president, designated by an electoral college (in place of the hereditary monarchy); the president balanced in strikingly English fashion by a powerful bicameral legislature with the power of taxation and legislation; the division of the legislature between a quasi-aristocratic, appointed Senate and a popularly elected House; and an independent judiciary. Even the American Bill of Rights of 1789 is modeled upon the Petition of Right and the English Bill of Rights, largely elaborating the same rights that had been described by Coke and Selden and their followers, and breathing not a word anywhere about universal reason or universal rights.

The American Constitution did depart from the traditional English constitution, however, adapting it to local conditions on certain key points. The Americans, who had no nobility and no tradition of hereditary office, declined to institute these now. Moreover, the Constitution of 1787 allowed slavery, which was forbidden in England—a wretched innovation for which America would pay a price the framers could not have imagined in their wildest nightmares.

Another departure—or apparent departure—was the lack of a provision for a national church, enshrined in the First Amendment in the form of a prohibition on congressional legislation “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The English constitutional tradition, of course, gave a central role to the Protestant religion, which was held to be indispensable and inextricably tied to English identity (although not incompatible with a broad measure of toleration). But the British state, in certain respects federative, permitted separate, officially established national churches in Scotland and Ireland. This British acceptance of a diversity of established churches is partially echoed in the American Constitution, which permitted the respective states to support their own established churches, or to require that public offices in the state be held by Protestants or by Christians, well into the nineteenth century. When these facts are taken into account, the First Amendment appears less an attempt to put an end to established religion than a provision for keeping the peace among the states by delegating forms of religious establishment to the state level.

As early as 1802, however, Jefferson, now president, announced  that the First Amendment’s rejection of a national church in fact should be interpreted as an “act of the whole American people . . . building a wall of separation between church and state.” This characterization of the American Constitution as endorsing a “separation of church and state” was surely overwrought, and more compatible with French liberalism—which regarded public religion as abhorrent to reason—than with the actual place of state religion among “the whole American people” at the time. Yet on this point, Jefferson has emerged victorious. In the years that followed, his “wall of separation between church and state” interpretation was increasingly considered to be an integral part of the American Constitution, even if one that had not been included in the actual text.

Lockean liberalism grew increasingly dominant in America after Jefferson’s election. Hamilton’s death in a duel in 1804, at the age of 47, was an especially heavy blow that left American conservatism without its most able spokesman. Nevertheless, the tradition of Selden and Burke was taken up by Americans of the next generation, including two of the country’s most prominent jurists, New York chancellor James Kent (1763–1847) and Supreme Court justice Joseph Story (1779–1845). Story’s influence was especially significant. Although appointed to the Supreme Court by Jefferson in the hope of undermining Chief Justice John Marshall, Story’s opinions almost immediately displayed the opposite inclination, and continued to do so throughout his thirty-four-year tenure on the court. Perhaps Story’s greatest contribution to the American conservative tradition is his famous Commentaries on the Constitution (3 vols., 1833), which were dedicated to Marshall and went on to be the most important and influential interpretation of the American constitutional tradition in the nineteenth century. These were overtly conservative in spirit, citing Burke with approval and repeatedly criticizing not only Locke’s theories but Jefferson himself. Among other things, Story forcefully rejected Jefferson’s claim that the American founding had been based on universal rights determined by reason, emphasizing that it was the rights of the English traditional law that Americans had always recognized and continued to recognize. As he wrote:

[This] has been the uniform doctrine in America ever since the settlement of the colonies. The universal principle (and the practice has conformed to it) has been, that the common law is our birthright and inheritance, and that our ancestors brought hither with them upon their emigration all of it, which was applicable to their situation. The whole structure of our present jurisprudence stands upon the original foundations of the common law.

Regarding the American Constitution’s deviation from English tradition in the matter of a national religion, Story’s view was appropriately balanced. On the one hand, he confirmed “the right of private judgment in matters of religion, and of the freedom of public worship according to the dictates of one’s conscience” as an integral part of the nation’s constitutional heritage. At the same time, he asserted the traditional Anglo-American conservative view that “the right of a society or government to interfere in matters of religion will hardly be contested by any persons, who believe that piety, religion, and morality are intimately connected with the well-being of the state, and indispensable to the administration of civil justice.” For this reason, he was confident that the ongoing circumstances of his day, in which some of the states continued to “support and sustain, in some form, the Christian religion,” as being “without the slightest suspicion that it was against the principles of public law or republican liberty.” Story thus recognized no wall of separation between the government and religion at the state level as being either required by the American constitution or desirable.

As for the breach in conservative principles that had opened up with the barring of an establishment of religion at the national level, Story wrote with prescient concern:

It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs, whether any free government can be permanent, where the public worship of God, and the support of religion, constitute no part of the policy or duty of the state in any assignable shape.

Principles of the Conservative Tradition

As we have seen, the period between John Selden and Edmund Burke gave rise to two highly distinct and conflicting Anglo-American political traditions, conservative and liberal. Both were opposed to royal absolutism and devoted to freedom. But they were bitterly divided on theoretical grounds, as well as on a wide range of policy matters. Indeed, many of the principal issues that divided these two traditions continue to divide liberals and conservatives today.

What is the substance of the Anglo-American conservative political tradition? We can summarize the principles of conservatism as they appeared in the writings and deeds of the early architects of this tradition as follows:

(1) Historical Empiricism. The authority of government derives from constitutional traditions known, through the long historical experience of a given nation, to offer stability, well-being, and freedom. These traditions are refined through trial and error over many centuries, with repairs and improvements being introduced where necessary, while maintaining the integrity of the inherited national edifice as a whole. Such empiricism entails a skeptical standpoint with regard to the divine right of the rulers, the universal rights of man, or any other abstract, universal systems. Written documents express and consolidate the constitutional traditions of the nation, but they can neither capture nor define this political tradition in its entirety.

(2) Nationalism. The diversity of national experiences means that different nations will have different constitutional and religious traditions. The Anglo-American tradition harkens back to principles of a free and just national state, charting its own course without foreign interference, whose origin is in the Bible. These include a conception of the nation as arising out of diverse tribes, its unity anchored in common traditional law and religion. Such nationalism is not based on race, embracing new members who declare that “your people is my people, and your God is my God” (Ruth 1:16).

(3) Religion. The state upholds and honors the biblical God and religious practices common to the nation. These are the centerpiece of the national heritage and indispensable for justice and public morals. At the same time, the state offers wide toleration to religious and social views that do not endanger the integrity and well-being of the nation as a whole.

(4) Limited Executive Power. The powers of the king (or president) are limited by the laws of the nation, which he neither determines nor adjudicates. The powers of the king (or president) are limited by the representatives of the people, whose advice and consent he must obtain both respecting the laws and taxation.

(5) Individual Freedoms. The security of the individual’s life and property is mandated by God as the basis for a society that is both peaceful and prosperous, and is to be protected against arbitrary actions of the state. The ability of the nation to seek truth and conduct sound policy depends on freedom of speech and debate. These and other fundamental rights and liberties are guaranteed by law, and may be infringed upon only by due process of law.

These principles can serve as a useful summary of the conservative political tradition as it existed long before Locke and long before liberalism, serving as the basis for the restoration of the English constitution in 1689, and for the restoration that was the ratification of the American Constitution of 1787. Moreover, we see them as principles that we can affirm today, and which can serve as a sound basis for political conservatism in Britain, America, and other countries in our time.

Conservatism versus Liberalism in Current Affairs

How do these conservative principles conflict with those of liberalism? We understand the crucial differences between ourselves and our liberal friends in the following way:

Liberalism is a political doctrine based on the assumption that reason is everywhere the same and accessible, in principle, to all individuals; and that one need only consult reason to arrive at the one form of government that is everywhere the best, for all mankind. In its current form, liberalism asserts that this one best form of government is “liberal democracy.” This is a term popularized in the 1920s to describe a type kind of government that borrows certain principles from the earlier Anglo-American conservative tradition, including those limiting executive power and guaranteeing individual freedoms (Principles 4 and 5 above). But liberalism regards these principles as stand-alone entities, detachable from the broader Anglo-American tradition in which they arose. Liberals thus tend to have few, if any, qualms about discarding the national and religious foundations of Anglo-American government (Principles 2 and 3), regarding these as unnecessary, if not simply contrary to universal reason.

With Selden, we believe that, in their campaign for universal “liberal democracy,” liberals have confused certain historical-empirical principles of the traditional Anglo-American constitution, painstakingly developed and inculcated over centuries (Principle 1), for universal truths that are equally accessible to all human beings, regardless of historical or cultural circumstances. This means that, like all rationalists, they are engaged in applying local truths, which may hold good under certain conditions, to quite different situations and circumstances, where they often go badly wrong. For conservatives, these failures—for example, the repeated collapse of liberal constitutions in places such as Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, Nigeria, Russia, and Iraq, among many others—suggest that the principles in question have been overextended and should be regarded as true only within a narrower range of conditions. Liberals, on the other hand, explain such failures as a result of “poor implementation,” leaving liberal democracy as a universal truth that remains untouched by experience and unassailable, no matter what the circumstances.

The liberal assertion that Principles 4 and 5 are universal truths that are readily recognized by all human beings has had far-reaching consequences even in the United States and Britain. The fact is that what is now called “liberal democracy” refers not to the traditional Anglo-American constitution but to a rationalist reconstruction of it that has been entirely detached from the Protestant religion and the Anglo-American nationalist tradition.  Far from being a time-tested form of government, this liberal-democratic ideal is something new to both America and Britain, dating only from the mid-twentieth century. The claim that liberal-democratic regimes of this kind can be maintained for long without the conservative principles they have blithely discarded is a hypothesis now being tested for the first time. Those who believe that a favorable outcome of this experiment is assured draw this conclusion not from historical or empirical evidence, for we have none. Rather, their confidence derives from the closed Lockean-rationalist system that holds them captive, preventing them from being able to anticipate any of the other quite possible outcomes before us.

These pronounced differences between conservatives and liberals do not, of course, remain at the rarified level of political theory. They quickly lead to disagreements over proposed policy, expressed in somewhat different ways from one generation to the next. In our own day, we recognize the clash between conservatism and liberalism in the following areas, among others (here described only very briefly, and so in overly simple terms):

Liberal Empire. Because liberalism is thought to be a dictate of universal reason, liberals tend to believe that any country not already governed as a liberal democracy should be pressed—or even coerced—to adopt this form of government. Conservatives, on the other hand, recognize that different societies are held together and kept at peace in different ways, so that the universal application of liberal doctrines often brings collapse and chaos, doing more harm than good.

International Bodies. Similarly, liberals believe that, since liberal principles are universal, there is little harm done in reassigning the powers of government to international bodies. Conservatives, on the other hand, believe that such international organizations possess no sound governing traditions and no loyalty to particular national populations that might restrain their spurious theorizing about universal rights. They therefore see such bodies as inevitably tending to arbitrariness and autocracy.

Immigration. Liberals believe that, since liberal principles are accessible to all, there is nothing to be feared in large-scale immigration from countries with national and religious traditions very different from ours. Conservatives see successful large-scale immigration as possible only where the immigrants are strongly motivated to integrate and assisted in assimilating the national traditions of their new home country. In the absence of these conditions, the result will be chronic intercultural tension and violence.

Law. Liberals regard the laws of a nation as emerging from the tension between positive law and the pronouncements of universal reason, as expressed by the courts. Conservatives reject the supposed universal reason of judges, which often amounts to little more than their succumbing to passing fashion. But conservatives also oppose an excessive regard for written documents, which leads, for example, to the liberal mythology of America as a “creedal nation” (or a “propositional nation”) created and defined solely by the products of abstract reason that are supposedly found in the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

Economy. Liberals regard the universal market economy, operating without regard to borders, as a dictate of universal reason and applicable equally to all nations. They therefore recognize no legitimate economic aims other than the creation of a “level field” on which all nations participate in accordance with universal, rational rules. Conservatives regard the market economy and free enterprise as indispensable for the advancement of the nation in its wealth and wellbeing. But they see economic arrangements as inevitably varying from one country to another, reflecting the particular historical experiences and innovations of each nation as it competes to gain advantage for its people.

Education. Liberals believe that schools should teach students to recognize the Lockean goods of liberty and equality as the universal aims of political order, and to see America’s founding political documents as having largely achieved these aims. Conservatives believe education should focus on the particular character of the Anglo-American constitutional and religious tradition, with its roots in the Bible, and on the way in which this tradition has given rise to a unique family of nations with a distinctive political thought and practice that has influenced the world.

Public Religion. Liberals believe that universal reason is the necessary and sufficient basis for just and moral government. This means that the religious traditions of the nation, which had earlier been the basis for a public understanding of justice and right, can be replaced in public discourse by universal reason itself. In its current form, liberalism asserts that all governments should embrace a Jeffersonian “wall separating church and state,” whose purpose is to banish the influence of religion from public life, relegating it to the private sphere. Conservatives hold that none of this is true. They see human reason as producing a constant profusion of ever-changing views concerning justice and morals—a fact that is evident today in the constant assertion of new and rapidly multiplying human rights. Conservatives hold that the only stable basis for national independence, justice, and public morals is a strong biblical tradition in government and public life. They reject the doctrine of separation of church and state, instead advocating an integration of religion into public life that also offers broad toleration of diverse religious views.

The Restoration of Conservatism?

Burke and Hamilton belonged to a generation that was still educated in the significance of the Anglo-American tradition as a whole. Only a few decades later, this had begun to change, and by the end of the nineteenth century, conservative views were increasingly in the minority and defensive both in Britain and America. But conservatism was really only broken in a decisive way by Franklin Roosevelt in America in 1932, and by Labour in Britain in 1945. At this point, socialism displaced liberalism as the worldview of the parties of the “Left,” driving some liberals to join with the last vestiges of the conservative tradition in the parties of the “Right.” In this environment, new leaders and movements did arise and succeed from time to time in raising the banner of Anglo-American conservatism once more. But these conservatives were living on a shattered political and philosophical landscape, having lost much of the chain of transmission that had connected earlier conservatives to their forefathers. Thus their roots remained shallow, and their victories, however impressive, brought about no long-term conservative restoration.

The most significant of these conservative revivals was, of course, the one that reached its peak in the 1980s under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan. Thatcher and Reagan were genuine and instinctive conservatives, displaying traditional Anglo-American conservative attachments to nation and religion, as well as to limited government and individual freedom. They also recognized and gave voice to the profound “special relationship” that binds Britain and America together. Coming to power at a time of deep crisis in the struggle against Communism, their renewed conservatism succeeded in winning the Cold War and freeing foreign nations from oppression, in addition to liberating their own economies, which had long been shackled by socialism. In both countries, these triumphs shifted political discourse rightward for a generation.

Yet the Reagan-Thatcher moment, for all its success, failed to touch the depths of the political culture in America and Britain. Confronted by a university system devoted almost exclusively to socialist and liberal theorizing, their movement at no point commanded the resources needed to revive Anglo-American conservatism as a genuine force in fundamental arenas such as jurisprudence, political theory, history, philosophy, and education—disciplines without which a true restoration was impossible. Throughout the conservative revival of the 1980s, academic training in government and political theory, for instance, continued to maintain its almost complete boycott of conservative thinkers such as Fortescue, Coke, Selden, and Hale, just as it continued its boycott of the Bible as a source of English and American political principles. Similarly, academic jurisprudence remained a subject that is taught as a contest among abstract liberal theories. Education of this kind meant that a degree from a prestigious university all but guaranteed one’s ignorance of the Anglo-American conservative tradition, but only a handful of conservative intellectual figures, most visibly Russell Kirk and Irving Kristol, seem to have been alert to the seriousness of this problem. On the whole, the conservative revival of those years remained resolutely focused on the pressing policy issues of the day, leaving liberalism virtually unchallenged as the worldview that conservatives were taught at university or when they picked up a book on the history of ideas.

This is why conservative discourse today is so often just a pastiche of liberal themes and principles, with the occasional reference to Burke or Hamilton thrown in as a rhetorical ornament. We have not made the effort necessary to understand the intellectual and political heritage for which these great Anglo-American conservatives stood their ground, to know what it was and what it was about. As a consequence, conservatives remain uprooted from the wisdom of past generations and speak so unpersuasively when they talk of passing the tradition to future generations. For one cannot pass on what one does not have.

There may have been genuine advantages to soft-pedaling differences between conservatives and liberals until the 1980s, when all the strength that could be mustered had to be directed toward defeating Communism abroad and socialism at home. But we are no longer living in the 1980s. Those battles were won, and today we face new dangers. The most important among these is the inability of countries such as America and Britain, having been stripped of the nationalist and religious traditions that held them together for centuries, to sustain themselves while a universalist liberalism continues, year after year, to break down these historic foundations of their strength. Under such conditions of internal disintegration, there is a palpable danger that liberal rationalism, having established itself in a monopoly position in the state, will drive a broad public that cannot accept its regimented view of the world into the hands of genuinely authoritarian movements.

Liberals of various persuasions have, in their own way, sought to warn us about this, from Fareed Zakaria’s “The Rise of Illiberal Democracy” in Foreign Affairs (1997) to the Economist’s “Illiberalism: Playing with Fear” (2016) and Commentary’s “Illiberalism: The Worldwide Crisis,” mentioned earlier. These and many other publications have made intensive use of the term illiberal as an epithet to describe those who have strayed from the path of Lockean liberalism. In so doing, they divide the political universe into two: there are liberals—those decent persons who are willing to exercise reason in the universally accepted manner and come to the appropriate liberal conclusions; and there are those others—the “illiberals,” who, out of ignorance, resentment, or some atavistic hatred, will not get with the program. When things are divided up this way, the latter group ends up including everyone from Brexiteers, Trump supporters, Evangelical Christians, and Orthodox Jews to dictators, Iranian ayatollahs, and Nazis. Once things are framed in this way, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that everyone in that second group is in some degree a threat that must be combated.

We conservatives, however, have our own preferred division of the political universe: one in which Anglo-American conservatism appears as a distinct political category that is obviously neither authoritarian nor liberal. With the rest of the Anglo-American conservative tradition, we uphold the principles of limited government and individual liberties. But we also see clearly (again, in keeping with our conservative tradition) that the only forces that give the state its internal coherence and stability, holding limited government in place while staving off authoritarianism, are our nationalist and religious traditions. These nationalist and religious principles are not liberal. They are prior to liberalism, in conflict with liberalism, and presently being destroyed by liberalism.

Our world desperately needs to hear a clear conservative voice. Any continued confusion of conservative principles with the liberalism on our Left, or with the authoritarianism on our Right, can only do harm. The time has arrived when conservatives must speak in our own voice again. In doing so, we will discover that we can provide the political foundations that so many now seek, but have been unable to find.

This article originally appeared in American Affairs Volume I, Number 2 (Summer 2017): 219–46.

Notes

Fortescue is now available in an easily readable edition, transcribed in modern English spelling. See John Fortescue, On the Laws and Governance of England, ed. Shelley Lockwood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).2 Our account diverges here from that of Leo Strauss, who presents Rousseau as a critic of Locke and asserts that “the first crisis of modernity occurred in the thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.” See Natural Right and History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953), 252. Strauss is right in seeing Rousseau, especially in his Discourses, as demanding a return to the cohesive community of classical antiquity, as well as to the virtues that are required to maintain such social cohesion and to wage wars in defense of the community. But it is a mistake to regard this demand as initiating “the first crisis of modernity.” What is now regarded as political modernity is more accurately regarded as emerging from the conservative tradition represented by Fortescue, Coke, and Selden. The first crisis of modernity is that which universalist-rationalists such as Grotius and Locke initiate against this conservative tradition. In certain ways, Rousseau does side with earlier conservative tradition, which likewise held that Lockean rationalism would make social cohesion impossible and destroy the possibility of virtue. But while Rousseau believed he could revive social cohesion and virtue while retaining Locke’s liberal axioms as a point of departure, Anglo-American conservatism regards this entire effort as futile. The intractable contradictions in Rousseau’s thought derive from the fact that there is no way to square this circle. Once liberal axioms are accepted, there is neither any need for, nor any possibility of, the social cohesion and virtue that Rousseau insists are necessary. Rousseau’s “civil religion” and his nation-state have no hope of playing the role that the traditional religion and nation play in conservative thought. These are ersatz creations of the Lockean universe, in which Rousseau’s thought remains imprisoned.

Voir par ailleurs:

Why America Needs New Alliances

Yoram Hazony and Ofir Haivry
Wal Street Journal
June 11, 2019

President Trump is often accused of creating a needless rift with America’s European allies. The secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Jens Stoltenberg, expressed a different view recently when he told a joint session of Congress: “Allies must spend more on defense—this has been the clear message from President Trump, and this message is having a real impact.”

Mr. Stoltenberg’s remarks reflect a growing recognition that strategic and economic realities demand a drastic change in the way the U.S. conducts foreign policy. The unwanted cracks in the Atlantic alliance are primarily a consequence of European leaders, especially in Germany and France, wishing to continue living in a world that no longer exists. The U.S. cannot serve as the enforcer for the Europeans’ beloved “rules-based international order” any more. Even in the 1990s, it was doubtful the U.S. could indefinitely guarantee the security of all nations, paying for George H.W. Bush’s “new world order” principally with American soldiers’ lives and American taxpayers’ dollars.

Today a $22 trillion national debt and the voting public’s indifference to the dreams of world-wide liberal empire have depleted Washington’s ability to wage pricey foreign wars. At a time of escalating troubles at home, America’s estimated 800 overseas bases in 80 countries are coming to look like a bizarre misallocation of resources. And the U.S. is politically fragmented to an extent unseen in living memory, with uncertain implications in the event of a major war.

This explains why the U.S. has not sent massive, Iraq-style expeditionary forces to defend Ukraine’s integrity or impose order in Syria. If there’s trouble on Estonia’s border with Russia, would the U.S. have the will to deploy tens of thousands of soldiers on an indefinite mission 85 miles from St. Petersburg? Although Estonia joined NATO in 2004, the certainties of 15 years ago have broken down.

On paper, America has defense alliances with dozens of countries. But these are the ghosts of a rivalry with the Soviet Union that ended three decades ago, or the result of often reckless policies adopted after 9/11. These so-called allies include Turkey and Pakistan, which share neither America’s values nor its interests, and cooperate with the U.S. only when it serves their purposes. Other “allies” refuse to develop a significant capacity for self-defense, and are thus more accurately regarded as American dependencies or protectorates.

Liberal internationalists are right about one thing, however: America cannot simply turn its back on the world. Pearl Harbor and 9/11 demonstrated that the U.S. can and will be targeted on its own soil. An American strategic posture aimed at minimizing the danger from rival powers needs to focus on deterring Russia and China from wars of expansion; weakening China relative to the U.S. and thereby preventing it from attaining dominance over the world economy; and keeping smaller hostile powers such as North Korea and Iran from obtaining the capacity to attack America or other democracies.

To attain these goals, the U.S. will need a new strategy that is far less costly than anything previous administrations contemplated. Mr. Trump has taken a step in the right direction by insisting that NATO allies “pay their fair share” of the budget for defending Europe, increasing defense spending to 2% of gross domestic product in accordance with NATO treaty obligations.

But this framing of the issue doesn’t convey the problem’s true nature or its severity. The real issue is that the U.S. can no longer afford to assume responsibility for defending entire regions if the people living in them aren’t willing and able to build up their own credible military deterrent.

The U.S. has a genuine interest, for example, in preventing the democratic nations of Eastern Europe from being absorbed into an aggressive Russian imperial state. But the principal interested parties aren’t Americans. The members of the Visegrád Group—the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia—have a combined population of 64 million and a 2017 GDP of $2 trillion (about 50% of Russia’s, according to CIA estimates). The principal strategic question is therefore whether these countries are willing to do what is necessary to maintain their own national independence. If they are—at a cost that could well exceed the 2% figure devised by NATO planners—then they could eventually shed their dependent status and come to the table as allies of the kind the U.S. could actually use: strong frontline partners in deterring Russian expansion.

The same is true in other regions. Rather than carelessly accumulate dependencies, the U.S. must ask where it can develop real allies—countries that share its commitment to a world of independent nations, pursue democratic self-determination (although not necessarily liberalism) at home, and are willing to pay the price for freedom by taking primary responsibility for their own defense and shouldering the human and economic costs involved.

Nations that demonstrate a commitment to these shared values and a willingness to fight when necessary should benefit from relations that may include the supply of advanced armaments and technologies, diplomatic cover in dealing with shared enemies, preferred partnership in trade, scientific and academic cooperation, and the joint development of new technologies. Fair-weather friends and free-riding dependencies should not.

Perhaps the most important candidate for such a strategic alliance is India. Long a dormant power afflicted by poverty, socialism and an ideology of “nonalignment,” India has become one of the world’s largest and fastest-expanding economies. In contrast to the political oppression of the Chinese communist model, India has succeeded in retaining much of its religious conservatism while becoming an open and diverse country—by far the world’s most populous democracy—with a solid parliamentary system at both the federal and state levels. India is threatened by Islamist terrorism, aided by neighboring Pakistan; as well as by rapidly increasing Chinese influence, emanating from the South China Sea, the Pakistani port of Gwadar, and Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, where the Chinese navy has established its first overseas base.

India’s values, interests and growing wealth could establish an Indo-American alliance as the central pillar of a new alignment of democratic national states in Asia, including a strengthened Japan and Australia. But New Delhi remains suspicious of American intentions, and with good reason: Rather than unequivocally bet on an Indian partnership, the U.S. continues to play all sides, haphazardly switching from confrontation to cooperation with China, and competing with Beijing for influence in fanaticism-ridden Pakistan. The rationalizations for these counterproductive policies tend to focus on Pakistan’s supposed logistical contributions to the U.S. war in Afghanistan—an example of how tactical considerations and the demands of bogus allies can stand in the way of meeting even the most pressing strategic needs.

A similar confusion characterizes America’s relationship with Turkey. A U.S. ally during the Cold War, Turkey is now an expansionist Islamist power that has assisted the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, al Qaeda and even ISIS; threatened Greece and Cyprus; sought Russian weapons; and recently expressed its willingness to attack U.S. forces in Syria. In reality, Turkey is no more an ally than Russia or China. Yet its formal status as the second-largest military in NATO guarantees that the alliance will continue to be preoccupied with pretense and make-believe, rather than the interests of democratic nations. Meanwhile, America’s most reliable Muslim allies, the Kurds, live under constant threat of Turkish invasion and massacre.

The Middle East is a difficult region, in which few players share American values and interests, although all of them—including Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and even Iran—are willing to benefit from U.S. arms, protection or cash. Here too Washington should seek alliances with national states that share at least some key values and are willing to shoulder most of the burden of defending themselves while fighting to contain Islamist radicalism. Such natural regional allies include Greece, Israel, Ethiopia and the Kurds.

A central question for a revitalized alliance of democratic nations is which way the winds will blow in Western Europe. For a generation after the Berlin Wall’s fall in 1989, U.S. administrations seemed willing to take responsibility for Europe’s security indefinitely. European elites grew accustomed to the idea that perpetual peace was at hand, devoting themselves to turning the EU into a borderless utopia with generous benefits for all.

But Europe has been corrupted by its dependence on the U.S. Germany, the world’s fifth-largest economic power (with a GDP larger than Russia’s), cannot field more than a handful of operational combat aircraft, tanks or submarines. Yet German leaders steadfastly resist American pressure for substantial increases in their country’s defense capabilities, telling interlocutors that the U.S. is ruining a beautiful friendship.

None of this is in America’s interest—and not only because the U.S. is stuck with the bill. When people live detached from reality, they develop all sorts of fanciful theories about how the world works. For decades, Europeans have been devising “transnationalist” fantasies to explain how their own supposed moral virtues, such as their rejection of borders, have brought them peace and prosperity. These ideas are then exported to the U.S. and the rest of the democratic world via international bodies, universities, nongovernmental organizations, multinational corporations and other channels. Having subsidized the creation of a dependent socialist paradise in Europe, the U.S. now has to watch as the EU’s influence washes over America and other nations.

For the moment, it is hard to see Germany or Spain becoming American allies in the new, more realistic sense of the term we have proposed. France is a different case, maintaining significant military capabilities and a willingness to deploy them at times. But the governments of these and other Western European countries remain ideologically committed to transferring ever-greater powers to international bodies and to the concomitant degradation of national independence. That doesn’t make them America’s enemies, but neither are they partners in defending values such as national self-determination. It is difficult to foresee circumstances under which they would be willing or able to arm themselves in keeping with the actual security needs of an emerging alliance of independent democratic nations.

The prospects are better with respect to Britain, whose defense spending is already significantly higher, and whose public asserted a desire to regain independence in the Brexit referendum of 2016. With a population of more than 65 million and a GDP of $3 trillion (75% of Russia’s), the U.K. may yet become a principal partner in a leaner but more effective security architecture for the democratic world.

Isolationists are also right about one thing: The U.S. cannot be, and should not try to be, the world’s policeman. Yet it does have a role to play in awakening democratic nations from their dependence-induced torpor, and assisting those that are willing to make the transition to a new security architecture based on self-determination and self-reliance. An alliance including the U.S., the U.K. and the frontline Eastern European nations, as well as India, Israel, Japan and Australia, among others, would be strong enough to exert sustained pressure on China, Russia and hostile Islamist groups.

Helping these democratic nations become self-reliant regional actors would reduce America’s security burden, permitting it to close far-flung military installations and making American military intervention the exception rather than the rule. At the same time, it would free American resources for the long struggle to deny China technological superiority, as well as for unforeseen emergencies that are certain to arise.

Voir aussi:

Jaco Gericke’s ‘The Hebrew Bible and Philosophy of Religion’

Yoram Hazony
Jerusalem letters
November 7, 2013

The universities are no “ivory tower.” They are more like radio towers, broadcasting certain ways of looking at the world into the society we live in. Of course, radio waves are difficult to detect. If you don’t know what to look for, you’ll think there’s nothing going on at all. And the same thing is true for the academic transmission of ideas, which takes place through the medium of our children. While at university, our children are immersed in a particular range of ideas, and it is ideas within this range that they usually end up seeing as normal and legitimate. Show me the ideas that are ascendant in the universities of America and Europe today, and I will show you the thoughts that will dominate public discourse throughout the Western world—including Israel, of course—a generation or two from now.

That’s why I like to keep track of trends in ideas at the universities, even in disciplines far removed from the things I am presently writing about myself. I like to know what is going to happen in the world. I like to know what everyone is going to be thinking a generation from now.

Perhaps surprisingly, one of the most important intellectual trends taking place in the universities right now is a pronounced shift toward a greater openness to the Hebrew Bible (“Tanach”), belief in God, and religion generally. This is happening slowly, but the indicators are clear. In a previous letter, I wrote about the rise of Christian theology as a legitimate discipline in mainstream philosophy departments. In this letter, I want to touch on another significant indicator in the same direction.

As is well known, university treatments of the Bible have for generations focused on attempts at reconstructing the compositional histories of various biblical texts. The devotion of vast resources to this project over the last two hundred years has yielded little in the way of firm answers as to how the Bible was really composed. But what it has done is to divert attention from what I take to be the most interesting and important parts of Biblical Studies: Figuring out the ideas that the Hebrew Scriptures were meant to bring into the world, and working out their place in the intellectual history of mankind down to our own day.

In the last generation, however, there has been a growing interest in academic scholarship aimed at trying to understand the ideas of the Bible—the metaphysics, theory of knowledge, ethics, and political thought that are in fact characteristic of the biblical worldview. Among the most recent entries in this project are my own The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture(Cambridge 2012)which has just won the second place award for best book in Theology and Religion in 2012 given by the Association of American Publishers, academic division; Dru Johnson’s Biblical Knowing (Wipf and Stock, 2013); and Jaco Gericke’s The Hebrew Bible and Philosophy of Religion (Society of Biblical Literature, 2012). The interest in such books by leading academic presses, at academic conferences, in academic journals, and on prize committees is a clear indication that something new and potentially quite significant is taking place.

Below is a review of Gericke’s book that I wrote at the request of the German theological journal Theologische Literaturzeitung, and which appeared in print a few weeks ago. But before getting into my thoughts on the book itself, I’d like to say a few words about its author, Jaco Gericke. Jaco (pronounced “Yaku”) is a young Old Testament scholar at North-West University in South Africa. He entered a graduate program in theology in order to become a Christian minister, but academic Bible study ended up destroying his Christian faith rather than deepening it. When he finished his Ph.D. in 2003, Jaco added an appendix to his doctoral dissertation called “Autobiography of a Died-Again Christian,” in which he declared the end of his allegiance with Christianity.

It is fascinating and painful reading. But perhaps more fascinating is what happened afterward. Over the next decade, Jaco gradually constructed a new agenda for his intellectual life. Boldly declaring that university “biblical scholars have not made a beginning in coming to terms with the conceptual content” of the Hebrew Scriptures—an assessment that is surely right—Jaco remade himself into an intellectual historian of the ideas of the Bible. His aim now is to try to initiate a “new era” in academic research and instruction into the Hebrew Bible by seeking an objective clarification of the philosophy explicit and implicit in the biblical texts.

I very much admire this fellow, whom I met this summer for the first time at a Bible conference organized by my new institute, the Herzl Institute / Machon Herzl in Jerusalem. I admire the fact that, unlike others who have broken with Christianity, Jaco has rebuilt his life so as to try and contribute something truly positive to our understanding of the Bible. He is back in the game, lecturing with a winning gentleness that masks an extraordinary passion to understand what the Bible really was all about.

Moved by his life’s journey and his academic work, I invited Jaco over for Shabbat and had him tell his story to my children. Changing what the Western world thinks of the Bible is a prodigious undertaking. It means moving a mountain. Yet in face to face conversation, you get the feeling that despite the disappointments he has experienced, or perhaps because of them, Jaco Gericke is someone who may be able to pull this off.

So here is my review of Gericke’s book, The Hebrew Bible and the Philosophy of Religion. His next book is going to be about the biblical God.

II.

In academia, philosophy and Bible studies tend to react to one another like oil and water. Each discipline possesses a finely tuned repertoire of arguments for why the other is not really relevant to its concerns. Some of these arguments go back centuries and speak to deeply held premises that guide scholars in each field. But Jacko Gericke wants to change all that, and his new book The Hebrew Bible and Philosophy of Religion presents a compelling case for why we would be better off if the wall separating the study of Hebrew Scripture from philosophical investigation were torn down.

Gericke’s book is in two parts: The first argues that philosophy (or more exactly, “philosophy of religion”) is crucial to the study of the Hebrew Bible. The second consists of case studies in the theology, metaphysics, epistemology and ethics of Hebrew Scripture, which seek to show that the theoretical discussion in the first half of the book is more than just talk. Both parts reflect a staggering quantity of reading in the relevant disciplines, and Gericke’s careful citations are going to be a crucial roadmap for anyone approaching the question of the relationship between Bible and philosophy from now on.

Are philosophical tools really crucial for the study of the Hebrew Bible? Gericke’s argument is refreshingly candid: The biblical texts, he says, are riddled with concepts and assumptions—“metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical assumptions about the nature of reality, existence, life, knowledge, truth, belief, good and evil, value, and so on”—that are different from our own. Without a conscious effort to reconstruct these concepts and assumptions, we cannot “prevent ourselves from reading our own anachronistic philosophical-theological assumptions into and onto the biblical discourse.” Tools for engaging in such philosophical reconstruction are familiar and are commonly employed by scholars who seek to describe the views of other ancient philosophies and religions, but “for a number of historical reasons, the study of ancient Israelite religion has been one of the few” such areas of study that have remained “utterly lacking in a philosophical approach.” Consequently, there exists a “yawning philosophical gap in research on the Hebrew Bible.”

Gericke believes that Old Testament scholars have frequently expended their energies on anachronistic readings that have forced the texts to express late theological conceptions that were entirely unknown to the biblical authors. His hope is that with the introduction of philosophical techniques for reconstructing the actual ideas found in the biblical texts, we can enter into a “new era” in the academic study of the Bible—“one in which both believer and skeptic can together read the ancient texts” from a “relatively neutral” perspective such as that which is normally accepted when approaching the study of Greek philosophy or any other ancient culture.

Gericke is at his best when he is cataloguing and demolishing various anachronisms that have been dragged into current readings of the Hebrew Bible from medieval or modern theology. Among these are “dualist metaphysical assumptions,” including the distinctions between supernatural and naturaltranscendent and immanentreality and appearance,religious and secular. The absence of such oppositions means, for example, that the Bible knows of no “other” world, and that gods, far from being “ineffable,” are for the biblical authors a “natural kind.” Similarly, Gericke turns time and again to debunking the claims of “perfect being” theology to be describing the God of Hebrew Scripture. He shows that medieval conceptions of God’s perfection are responsible for creating the so-called “problem of evil,” and that theodicy in the modern sense is unknown in the Hebrew Scriptures because the biblical God is not assumed to be all-powerful, all-knowing, or all-good. Gericke also questions whether the biblical authors would have recognized a distinction between “revelation” and “nature,” and suggests that in biblical narrative, worldly events may have been accepted as evidence that God has “spoken.”

Gericke offers some powerful constructive arguments, especially in the area of ethics. He rejects the common belief that the biblical ethics is a form of “divine command theory” (i.e., that God’s will defines what is morally right), and shows convincingly that the Bible assumes a standard of right that is independent of God’s will. But he is not as confident in his claims about biblical metaphysics and epistemology. For instance, Gericke makes a great case for the need for a careful clarification of the biblical concept of a “god,” but the results of his study on the subject are inconclusive. His tentative suggestion that the authors of the biblical narratives may have known that what they were writing was fiction covers old ground, and I don’t think Gericke’s version of this proposal is any more persuasive than its predecessors. A more credible and interesting suggestion, also presented tentatively, is that the biblical texts tend to rely on an evidentialist theory of knowledge—that is, the view that one’s beliefs can only be justified by evidence.

Overall, Gericke’s case studies are more successful in clarifying what the Bible does not say than in reconstructing what it does. I don’t see this as an objection to the book. Gericke says his constructive proposals are preliminary. His principal aim is to propose a research agenda that will introduce profound changes in the way the Hebrew Bible is studied and taught in the university setting, and to describe methods by which this agenda can be pursued. And this he does in a manner that is compelling and much needed.

I do have some questions about the way Gericke frames his vision for a “new era” in Bible scholarship. In particular, I wonder at Gericke’s references to the “folk philosophical presuppositions” of the biblical texts, and to their “precritical” or “prephilosophical” character. Occasionally, he will also mention that the texts are “naïve” or “primitive” as well. All of this makes it sound as though the authors of the Bible were only capable of dim premonitions concerning the metaphysical or ethical issues that we later readers are fortunate enough to have firmly in our grasp.

But if Gericke is right that modern “biblical scholars have not made a beginning in coming to terms with the conceptual content” of the Hebrew Bible, then all these judgments about the supposedly naïve and uncritical nature of biblical thought may be premature. Perhaps an impartial philosophical elucidation of the Hebrew Bible such as Gericke proposes will lead to the conclusion that the prophets and scholars who assembled these texts were in fact quite conscious of the positions they were advancing in opposition to their surroundings and to one another? Perhaps what Gericke is calling the “philosophical assumptions” of the biblical texts, or at least some of them, are actually the intended philosophical teachings of these works? Indeed, the fact that such a possibility is so foreign to so many scholars may be a consequence of the very same prejudices that Gericke is at such pains to combat.

This is a wonderful book, brimming with intellectual energy. I cannot help marveling at the love of the Hebrew Bible that Gericke continues to exhibit, given the pain and disappointments in his personal spiritual life, which he is trusting enough to mention to his readers in passing. I have no doubt that there will be others who will be moved by the vision he articulates, and who will wish to take part in pursuing it.

Voir enfin:

Trump’s Tweetstorm Correctly Linked Anti-Americanism to Antisemitism
President Donald Trump’s tweets on Sunday drew predictable condemnation. But aside from the partisan debate about whether they were racist, they contained an important truth: hatred of Jews and hatred of America are linked
Caroline Glick
Breitbart
17 Jul 2019

Trump told the so-called “squad” of radical Democrats — Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — they could leave the country if they hate it so much. He drew criticism because he said that they came from foreign countries; in fact, only Omar did.

But Trump also highlighted a basic fact about the nature of leftist ideology. Just as the Iranian regime views the United States and Israel as two sides of the same coin, with the ayatollahs dubbing the U.S. “the Great Satan” and Israel, “the Little Satan,” so the radical left views the U.S. and Israel – the most powerful democracy in the world and the only democracy in the Middle East – as states with no moral foundation for existing.

Although other presidents have spoken out against hatred of Jews and Israel on the one hand and hatred of America on the other, it is hard to think of another example of a U.S. leader making the case that the two hatreds are linked as Trump did this week.

This is important, because they are linked. The haters see both America and the Jews as all-powerful forces who use their power to bend the world to their nefarious, avaricious, greedy aims. They stereotype both Americans and pro-Israel and traditional Jews as vulgar and fascist.

Pew Research Center studies of European perspectives on Jews and Americans show a massive overlap between anti-Semitic attitudes and anti-American ones. As the American left has become more radical, it has also become more aligned with those toxic European attitudes towards both the United States and Israel.

One example is evident at the U.S.-Mexico border. The left’s opposition to enforcing American immigration laws goes hand-in-hand with the view that the Jewish people have no right to national self-determination in their homeland and that the Jewish state has no right to exist. As political philosopher Yoram Hazony argued in his book, The Virtue of Nationalism, nationalism — and, indeed, the concept of a nation itself — is a biblical concept. The nation of Israel is the first nation. And the American Founding Fathers’ conception of the United States and the American nation was rooted in the biblical concept of nationhood and nationalism of the Jews.

Hazony contends that anti-nationalism is both inherently antisemitic and anti-American. And it is also imperialist. Anti-nationalists support international and transnational legal constructs and institutions that deny distinct nations large and small the ability to determine their own unique course in the world. As repositories of the concept of distinct nations, nation-states are, in Hazony’s view, inherently freer and more cohesive societies than imperialist societies that insist that one-size-fits-all and that there are people better equipped than the people themselves to decide what is good for them.

As Trump tweeted, the four sirens of the socialist revolution are a dire threat to the Democratic Party. By embracing the likes of Reps. Omar and Tlaib with their repeated statements against the United States, Jews and Israel and their tolerance for terrorist groups and terrorists, and by embracing Ocasio-Cortez who likens America to Nazi Germany, replete with “concentration camps,” the Democratic Party is indeed embracing anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism.

And, as Trump tweeted, it is the Democrats, not the Republicans — and certainly not the president — who are making Israel a partisan issue. They are doing so by abandoning Israel and embracing antisemitic conceptions of nationalism and of the Jewish and American nations.

Trump’s tweet storm, however controversial, showed that he is personally committed to fighting hatred of Jews and Israel. As he was being targeted as a racist by Democrats, the Department of Justice was holding a conference on combatting antisemitism. The conference, which placed a spotlight on campus antisemitism, did not shy away from discussing and condemning antisemitism on the left as well as on the right, and Islamic antisemitism.

In his remarks before the conference, Attorney General Willian Barr discussed the galloping hostility Jewish students face in U.S. universities today.

In his words, “On college campuses today, Jewish students who support Israel are frequently targeted for harassment, Jewish student organizations are marginalized, and progressive Jewish students are told they must denounce their beliefs and their heritage in order to be part of ‘intersectional’ causes.”

He added: “We must ensure for the future of our country and our society – that college campuses remain open to ideological diversity and respectful of people of all faiths.”

In her remarks at the Justice Department conference, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos championed Israel, and discussed actions her department is taking to combat campus antisemitism and specifically the so-called “boycott, divestment, sanctions” (BDS) movement against Israel and its American supporters.

In DeVos’s words, the BDS campaign is “one of the most pernicious threats” of antisemitism on college campuses.

“These bullies claim they stand for human rights, but we all known that BDS stands for antisemitism,” she said.

She noted that education department intervention forced Williams College to cancel an antisemitic ruling against a Jewish campus group, and that the department is currently investigating the use of federal funds by Duke University and the University of North Carolina to finance a conference featuring antisemitic and pro-terror speakers.

It is a testament to the left’s increasing embrace of anti-Jewish bigotry, and its rejection of America’s right to borders, — and through them, to self-government and self-determination — that Trump is being branded a racist for standing up to these distressing trends.

And it is a testament to Trump’s moral courage that he is willing to speak the truth about antisemitism and anti-Americanism even at the cost of wall-to-wall calumny by Democrats and the media.


Présidence Trump: Le pire des présidents (What if Trump’s very flaws were his strengths and his unpresidentiality the very quality needed to bring long-overdue changes to America and the world ?)

13 juillet, 2019

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Là où le péché abonde, la grâce surabonde. Paul (Romains 5 : 20)
Où est le péril, croît, le salutaire aussi. Hölderlin
La vertu même devient vice, étant mal appliquée, et le vice est parfois ennobli par l’action. Frère Laurent (Roméo et Juliette, Shakespeare)
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
Comme une réponse, les trois slogans inscrits sur la façade blanche du ministère de la Vérité lui revinrent à l’esprit. La guerre, c’est la paix. La liberté, c’est l’esclavage. L’ignorance, c’est la force. 1984 (George Orwell)
La liberté, c’est la liberté de dire que deux et deux font quatre. Lorsque cela est accordé, le reste suit. George Orwell (1984)
Il est des idées d’une telle absurdité que seuls les intellectuels peuvent y croire. George Orwell
Les intellectuels sont portés au totalitarisme bien plus que les gens ordinaires. George Orwell
Le langage politique est destiné à rendre vraisemblables les mensonges, respectables les meurtres, et à donner l’apparence de la solidité à ce qui n’est que vent. George Orwell
Parler de liberté n’a de sens qu’à condition que ce soit la liberté de dire aux gens ce qu’ils n’ont pas envie d’entendre. George Orwell
I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal. General Curtis LeMay
La démocratie est le pire système de gouvernement, à l’exception de tous les autres qui ont pu être expérimentés dans l’histoire. Winston Churchill (1947)
To label him a great or good or even a weak president misses the point. He was merely necessary. Herbert Parmet (Eisenhower, 1972)
Sur les plans géographique, culturel et social, il existe bien des points communs entre les situations françaises et américaines, à commencer par le déclassement de la classe moyenne. C’est « l’Amérique périphérique » qui a voté Trump, celle des territoires désindustrialisés et ruraux qui est aussi celle des ouvriers, employés, travailleurs indépendants ou paysans. Ceux qui étaient hier au cœur de la machine économique en sont aujourd’hui bannis. Le parallèle avec la situation américaine existe aussi sur le plan culturel, nous avons adopté un modèle économique mondialisé. Fort logiquement, nous devons affronter les conséquences de ce modèle économique mondialisé : l’ouvrier – hier à gauche –, le paysan – hier à droite –, l’employé – à gauche et à droite – ont aujourd’hui une perception commune des effets de la mondialisation et rompent avec ceux qui n’ont pas su les protéger. La France est en train de devenir une société américaine, il n’y a aucune raison pour que l’on échappe aux effets indésirables du modèle. (…) Dans l’ensemble des pays développés, le modèle mondialisé produit la même contestation. Elle émane des mêmes territoires (Amérique périphérique, France périphérique, Angleterre périphérique… ) et de catégories qui constituaient hier la classe moyenne, largement perdue de vue par le monde d’en haut. (…) Faire passer les classes moyennes et populaires pour « réactionnaires », « fascisées », « pétinisées » est très pratique. Cela permet d’éviter de se poser des questions cruciales. Lorsque l’on diagnostique quelqu’un comme fasciste, la priorité devient de le rééduquer, pas de s’interroger sur l’organisation économique du territoire où il vit. L’antifascisme est une arme de classe. Pasolini expliquait déjà dans ses Écrits corsaires que depuis que la gauche a adopté l’économie de marché, il ne lui reste qu’une chose à faire pour garder sa posture de gauche : lutter contre un fascisme qui n’existe pas. C’est exactement ce qui est en train de se passer. Christophe Guilluy
Madame Hidalgo persécute l’artisan qui roule dans une vieille camionnette, mais elle rêve d’attirer toujours plus de touristes dont les autocars font trembler les pavés parisiens, elle veut une ville verte et cycliste pour accueillir des foules livrées par Airbus. Bref, elle psalmodie avec la même conviction l’urgence écologique et l’impératif touristique, ce qui est à hurler de rire. (…) On ne cesse de nous rappeler que la planète n’est pas renouvelable, mais les vieilles pierres, les églises, les temples ne le sont pas non plus. Il est tout de même curieux qu’on trouve normal de pénaliser un travailleur qui n’a pas les moyens de se payer une voiture propre mais qu’on refuse toute mesure de restriction touristique au prétexte que les classes moyennes brésiliennes ou indiennes ont aussi le droit de visiter Chambord. Du reste, cet argument est d’une rare hypocrisie: si nous nous mettons en quatre pour recevoir le touriste, même modeste, ce n’est évidemment pas par esprit démocratique mais parce que, pauvre ou pas, nous pourrons le soulager de quelques devises. Rassurez-vous, je ne prétends pas qu’il faudrait interdire le tourisme, mais au moins le réguler. On somme les Chinois de modérer leurs émissions de carbone, pourquoi serait-il intolérable de leur demander de réduire leurs voyages? Alors oui, peut-être faudra-t-il à l’avenir attendre plus longtemps et payer plus cher pour visiter nos monuments. Mais si on ne restreint pas les flux, ces générations futures pour lesquelles on nous demande de changer nos habitudes n’auront plus rien à visiter. (…) On a (…) vendu la mobilité, la flexibilité, la désaffiliation comme des idéaux à des classes populaires ou moyennes qui non seulement n’ont pas les moyens financiers et culturels de passer leur vie à sauter les frontières ou à s’installer ailleurs que dans l’endroit où ils ont acheté une maison invendable, mais qui, en plus, semblent assez largement rétives aux beautés du nomadisme. (…) Le tourisme éthique et citoyen inventé par les marchands de voyages et le «guide du Roublard» (encore Muray) n’étaient pas mal non plus. Encore une fois, le tourisme écologique est un oxymore. Ou pour le dire autrement, une vaste blague. Cependant, aujourd’hui, certains écolos (et les technos du ministère) rêvent de «valoriser» la nature et d’en faire à son tour un patrimoine touristique bien plus profitable que l’élevage qui occupe actuellement les déserts français. Les promoteurs de ce Yellowstone à la française, sur lequel Causeur publie une enquête, aimeraient donc se débarrasser du pastoralisme, cette activité humaine ancestrale, pour implanter des loups et des ours. Le calcul est simple: des touristes fortunés susceptibles de payer pour voir des prédateurs, il y en a beaucoup, alors que ces éleveurs nous coûtent un pognon de dingue. En somme, cette écologie de l’ensauvagement lutte contre l’homme et pour le touriste. (…) Je ne me moque nullement de ces bénéfices, je me désole que nous acceptions de n’être plus qu’un pays où on vient passer ses vacances ou, pire encore, un pays qu’on traverse pour aller en Italie ou en Espagne. Nous sommes fiers de notre médaille d’or du nombre de touristes mais ce chiffre masque le fait que beaucoup ne dépensent chez nous que le prix de deux pleins et de trois sandwiches. Par ailleurs, on oublie toujours, quand on parle des recettes du tourisme, de compter le coût des nuisances qu’il occasionne et des investissements qu’il nécessite, dont une partie notable est à la charge de la collectivité. Cela dit, je ne me désole pas que des milliards d’étrangers rêvent de visiter Paris, je me désole du fait que «la ville de demain», comme dit la maire, soit d’abord conçue pour eux et si peu pour ceux qui y vivent. Et aussi que nous renoncions à être une grande nation industrielle pour être la première destination touristique du monde. Comme si nous n’avions plus rien d’autre à vendre que notre passé débité en visites guidées et produits dérivés. (…) Quand Paris a «gagné» les JO, – contre personne car il n’y avait pas d’autres candidats – nous avons été les seuls à dénoncer cette catastrophe. On nous disait: vous n’aimez rien, ce sera formidable pour la ville, la grande fête du sport, et tout ce baratin. Plus l’échéance approche et plus on se rend compte que ce sera, comme toujours, la grande fête du business, de la pub, de la vente de bière, de la fête obligatoire et du bruit. Paris va se transformer en ville-sandwich mais joue les vertueuses en refusant Total, un peu comme une prostituée qui refuserait les hommes mariés. Et je ne vous parle même pas des retards dans les chantiers et des dépassements de budget qui s’annoncent. Dans quatre ans, tous ceux qui nous sommaient hier de nous enthousiasmer hurleront au scandale. (…) Muray était un prophète, il a deviné toutes les potentialités diaboliques et comiques de notre époque sans autre et sans ailleurs bien avant qu’elles soient accomplies. Autant dire que les occasions de lui rendre hommage ne manquent pas. Il est impossible de comprendre ce qui se joue dans l’arraisonnement touristique du monde sans le lire. Elisabeth Lévy
I don’t believe only in reproductive freedom, I believe in reproductive justice. And what that means is just because a woman, or let’s also not forget someone in the trans community — a trans female — is poor, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t exercise that right to choose. So I absolutely would cover that right to have an abortion. Julian Castro
Let me just be very clear: we have to have a secure border. But I am in favor of saying that we’re not going to treat people who are undocumented [and] cross the borders as criminals, that is correct. What we cannot do is have any more policy like we have under this current president that is about inhumane conduct, that is about putting babies in cages, that is about separating children from their parents and we have got to have policy that is about passing comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway toward citizenship. I would not make it punishable by jail. It should be a civil enforcement issue, but not a criminal enforcement issue. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)
I’ve been to that facility, where they talk about cages. That facility was built under President Obama under (Homeland Security) Secretary Jeh Johnson. I was there because I was there when it was built. The kids are being house in the same facility built under the Obama administration.’ If you want to call them cages, call them cages. But if the left wants to call them cages and the Democrats want to call them cages then they have to accept the fact that they were built and funded in FY 2015. It’s chain link dividers that keeps children separate from unrelated adults. It’s about protecting children. Thomas Homan (Obama’s executive associate director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement)
Ne fermez pas les portes à ceux qui frappent. Le monde des migrants et des réfugiés est la croix de l’humanité. Pape François
Des associations comme SOS Méditerranée et Sea Watch nous honorent et nous obligent face à l’inertie des gouvernements européens. Carola Rackete et Pia Klemp sont les emblèmes de ce combat, porteuses des valeurs européennes auxquelles la Ville de Paris appelle une nouvelle fois notre continent à rester fidèle. Patrick Klugman (adjoint à la maire de Paris chargé des Relations internationales)
L’Eglise est dans son rôle quand elle fait preuve de compassion et de charité pour les plus vulnérables. Elle sort de ses fonctions quand elle fait de la politique, par son opposition aux Etats qui entendent contrôler leurs frontières. Une chose est d’aider des migrants qui risquent la mort. Une autre est de rester indifférent aux peuples d’Europe qui voient l’immigration de masse comme une force potentielle de déstabilisation de leur civilisation fatiguée. François se comporte comme s’il avait déjà tiré un trait sur la vieille Europe infertile et décadente, pour lui préférer la plus prolifique clientèle du tiers-monde. Et se plaçant en chef de file des humanitaires, sans manifester de curiosité particulière pour leurs arrangements avec les passeurs en Méditerranée, le Pape est en train de transformer l’Eglise catholique en une super-ONG à la George Soros. Il est également en train de vider de sa substance le subtil message religieux, qui s’adresse à chaque croyant soucieux de sa rédemption, au profit de lourds slogans humanitaires culpabilisant les Etats. Le plus grave est que François ne semble pas vouloir mesurer la force conquérante de l’islam au contact de l’Occident, et la faiblesse de l’Europe oublieuse de ses propres racines. Le cardinal Robert Sarah remarque avec justesse : « L’Europe veut s’ouvrir à toutes les cultures – ce qui peut être louable et source de richesse – et à toutes les religions du monde, mais elle ne s’aime plus« . Le pape, non plus, n’aime pas l’Europe. Ivan Rioufol
Arrêtée par la police italienne, le capitaine du bateau Sea Watch, Carola Rackete, semble être devenue l’héroïne de toute une gauche européenne dont l’activisme humanitaire et victimiste pro-migrants sert en réalité une idéologie anti-nationale, anti-frontières et viscéralement hostile à la civilisation européenne-occidentale assimilée au Mal et dont les « fautes » passées et présentes ne pourraient être expiées qu’en acceptant l’auto-submersion migratoire et islamique… Rappelons que le Sea-Watch 3, navire de 600 tonnes battant pavillon hollandais et cofinancé par les fonds de George Soros et autres riches contributeurs, a non seulement « récupéré » des migrants illégaux acheminés par des passeurs nord-africains, ce qui est en soi un viol de la loi, mais a délibérément forcé le blocus des eaux territoriales italiennes, donc violé la souveraineté de ce pays. De ce fait, son capitaine, l’Allemande Carola Rackete, va être présentée à un juge en début de semaine, à Agrigente, dans le sud de la Sicile, puis répondra des faits « d’aide à l’immigration clandestine » (punie de prison par la loi italienne et le « décret-sécurité » (decreto-sicurezza) du gouvernement / Ligue (5 étoiles de Rome), puis de « résistance à un bateau de guerre ». Quant aux 42 migrants clandestins de la Sea Watch 3 débarqués après l’arrestation de la capitaine-activiste allemande (11 migrants plus « vulnérables » avaient déjà été débarqués légalement), ils ont fini par débarquer à Lampedusa après que la France, l’Allemagne, le Portugal, le Luxembourg et la Finlande ont accepté un plan de répartition visant à en accueillir chacun quelques-uns. (…) Pendant ce temps, des petites embarcations moins identifiables et qui ne font pas la une des médias continuent d’arriver chaque jour à Lampedusa et au sud d’Agrigente (200 ces derniers jours). Et d’autres navires affrétés par des ONG pro-migrants continuent de défier les autorités italiennes ou d’autres pays (Malte, Espagne, Grèce, etc.) dans l’indifférence générale et en violation banalisée de la loi et du principe de protection des frontières. On peut citer par exemple l’ONG espagnole Proactiva open arms, qui patrouille au large de la Libye malgré la menace d’une amende de 200 000 à 900 000 euros brandie par les autorités espagnoles. « Si je dois payer par la prison ou par une amende le fait de sauver les vies de quelques personnes, je le ferais », a d’ailleurs assuré Oscar Camps, fondateur de l’ONG. Utilisant la même rhétorique de « résistance » et de « désobéissance civile » face à une autorité étatique « répressive », Carola Rackette expliquait elle aussi au Spiegel, quelques jours seulement avant d’accoster à Lampedusa : « Si nous ne sommes pas acquittés par un tribunal, nous le serons dans les livres d’histoire. » (…) La stratégie d’intimidation psychologique des ONG et lobbies subversifs pro-migrants consiste en fait à adopter une rhétorique victimaire et hautement culpabilisatrice qui a pour but de faire passer pour des horribles racistes / fascistes les défenseurs des frontières et des lois sécuritaires pourtant démocratiquement adoptées. Carola Rackete a ainsi déclaré au journal italien La Repubblica : « J’ai la peau blanche, j’ai grandi dans un pays riche, j’ai le bon passeport, j’ai pu faire trois universités différentes et j’ai fini mes études à 23 ans. Mon obligation morale est d’aider les gens qui n’ont pas bénéficié des mêmes conditions que moi (…). Les pauvres, ils ne se sentent pas bienvenus, imaginez leur souffrance (…), j’ai voulu accoster de force car beaucoup risquaient de se suicider sur la bateau et étaient en danger depuis 17 jours d’immobilisation ». (…) Très fier de lui et de son « coup », Chris Grodotzki, le président de l’ONG Sea Watch, se réjouit que « dans toute l’Europe, Carole est devenue un symbole. Nous n’avons jamais reçu autant de dons », indiquant qu’en Italie une cagnotte a recueilli dimanche 400 000 euros. Samedi, en Allemagne, deux stars de la télévision, Jan Böhmermann et Klaas Heufer-Umlauf, ont lancé quant à eux une cagnotte et 500 000 euros ont été récoltés en moins de vingt-quatre heures. En fait, l’aide aux migrants clandestins est une activité lucrative pour les ONG, et pas seulement pour les passeurs et les établissements payés pour offrir le gîte et l’accueil avec les deniers publics. (…) D’après Matteo Salvini, Carola Rackete serait une « criminelle » qui aurait tenté de « tuer des membres des forces de l’ordre italienne ». Il est vrai que la vedette de la Guarda della Finanza, (12 mètres), très légère, n’aurait pas résisté au choc du navire de la Sea Watch (600 tonnes) si elle ne s’était pas retirée. Inculpée par le procureur d’Agrigente, la capitaine de la Sea Watch risque jusqu’à dix ans de prison pour « résistance ou violence envers un navire de guerre ». En fait, bien moins que dans de nombreux autres pays du monde, y compris démocratiques comme l’Australie, les Etats-Unis ou la Hongrie. Le procureur d’Agrigente, Luigi Patronaggio, qui est pourtant connu pour ne pas être du tout favorable à la Ligue de Matteo Salvini, a d’ailleurs qualifié le geste de Carola Rackete de « violence inadmissible » et placé la capitaine du navire humanitaire aux « arrêts domiciliaires » (contrôle judiciaire avec assignation à résidence), avant le lancement d’une procédure de flagrant délit. L’intéressée a répondu via le Corriere della Sera, en affirmant que « ce n’était pas un acte de violence, seulement de désobéissance ». (…) Depuis, de Rome à Berlin, et au sein de toute la gauche et l’extrême-gauche européenne, « Carola » est devenue une nouvelle « héroïne de la désobéissance civile », le concept clef de la gauche marxiste ou libertaire pour justifier moralement le fait de bafouer délibérément les règles des Etats et de violer les lois démocratiques qui font obstacle à leur idéologie anti-nationale. Et la désinformation médiatique consiste justement à faire passer l’appui que Carola Rackete a reçu – de la part de stars de TV, de politiques bien-pensants et de lobbies pro-migrants chouchoutés par les médias – pour un « soutien de l’Opinion publique ». En Allemagne, du président de l’Église évangélique, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, au PDG de Siemens, Joe Kaeser, de nombreuses voix se sont élevées pour prendre sa défense comme si elle était une nouvelle Pasionaria « antifasciste / antinazie », 90 ans plus tard… (…) En Italie, outre la figure de Leo Luca Orlando, le maire de Palerme, qui accorde régulièrement la « citoyenneté d’honneur » de sa ville aux dirigeants d’ONG pro-migrants et qui assimile les « cartes de séjours » et contrôles aux frontières à des « instruments de torture », l’ensemble de la gauche (hors le parti 5 étoiles allié de la Ligue), et surtout le parti démocrate, (PD), jouent cette carte de « l’illégalité légitime » et appuie les ONG anti-frontières. « Par nécessité, vous pouvez enfreindre la loi », ont déclaré aux membres de la Sea Watch les députés de gauche montés à bord du bateau Sea Watch 3 avant l’arrestation de Carole Rackete. Premier à être monté à bord du Sea Watch 3, l’élu du PD Graziano Delrio ose lancer : « Dans certains cas, vous ne pouvez pas respecter les lois et vous pouvez même au contraire, dans des cas de nécessité, enfreindre les lois. » (..;) Détail stupéfiant, les représentants du PD venus manifester leur solidarité avec la capitaine (étrangère) d’un navire (étranger) faisant le travail de passeurs / trafiquants d’êtres humains, n’ont pas même condamné ou regretté le fait que la « militante humanitaire Carole » a failli tuer les policiers de la vedette de la Guardia di Finanza qui bloquait le Sea Watch 3. Estimant qu’il ne pouvait manquer ce « coup médiatique » afin de complaire aux lobbies et médias immigrationnistes dominant, l’ex-Premier ministre (PD) Matteo Renzi était lui aussi sur le pont du Sea Watch 3 lorsque Carola Rackete a décidé de forcer le blocus. Avec lui, d’autres parlementaires de gauche (Matteo Orfini, Davide Faraone, Nicola Fratoianni et Riccardo Magi) ont carrément « béni » cette action illégale et violente qui a pourtant mis en danger les membres des forces de leur propre pays. (..;) Étaient également venus applaudir la capitaine allemande et son action illégale : le curé de Lampedusa, Don Carmelo La Magra ; l’ancien maire de l’île Giusi Nicolini, le médecin et député européen Pietro Bartolo, et le secrétaire local du parti PD Peppino Palmeri, lequel a déclaré pompeusement que « l’humanité a gagné, (…). Je pense que oui, nous devons être unis dans une fraternité universelle »… Plutôt que de respecter la légalité des lois approuvées démocratiquement par le Parlement de leur propre pays dont ils sont élus, ces représentants de la gauche ont accusé le gouvernement Ligue / 5 étoiles d’avoir « laissé au milieu de la mer pendant 16 jours un bateau qui avait besoin d’un refuge » (Matteo Orfini), alors qu’en réalité, sur les 53 migrants illégaux au départ présents sur le Sea Watch 3, onze avaient été débarqués en Italie en raison de leur état vulnérable, les autres étant nourris et auscultés par des médecins envoyés par l’Etat italien. (..;) Dès qu’elle est descendue du navire accompagnée des policiers italiens venus l’arrêter, Carola Rackete a été saluée par les ovations d’un groupe d’activistes ainsi que par le curé de la paroisse de Lampedusa, Carmelo La Magra, lequel dormait dans le cimetière de sa paroisse depuis une semaine « en signe de solidarité ». Rivalisant avec les plus virulents pro-migrants d’extrême-gauche, le curé de Lampedusa a exulté : « Noël vient quand il arrive. Bienvenue aux migrants à Porto Salvo di Lampedusa. » Le prêtre de l’église de San Gerlando di Lampedusa s’est ainsi joint à l’appel de l’Action catholique italienne « à permettre le débarquement immédiat des 42 personnes à bord du Sea Watch ». (..;) Au début du mois de mai dernier, lors de son voyage en Bulgarie, le Pape avait donné le ton et répondu ainsi à la politique des « ports fermés » de Matteo Salvini : « Ne fermez pas les portes à ceux qui frappent. Le monde des migrants et des réfugiés est la croix de l’humanité. » Preuve que les curés pro-migrants et l’Église catholique de plus en plus immigrationniste sont, comme la gauche anti-nationale post-ouvrière, totalement déconnectés des peuples et de leurs ouailles : rappelons qu’à Lampedusa la Ligue de Salvini est arrivée en tête avec 45 % des voix aux dernières élections européennes ; que plus de 65 % des Italiens (catholiques) approuvent ses lois et actions visant à combattre l’immigration clandestine ; et que le Pape François, certes populaire auprès des médias quand il défend les migrants, exaspère de plus en plus et a même rendu antipapistes des millions d’Italiens qui se sentent trahis par un souverain Pontife qui semble préférer les musulmans aux chrétiens et les Africains aux Européens. A tort ou à raison d’ailleurs. (…) Il est vrai que la Sicile et en particulier Lampedusa sont plus que jamais en première ligne face à l’immigration clandestine : rien que pendant les deux dernières semaines durant lesquelles le Sea Watch est resté bloqué au large de l’île, Lampedusa a assisté impuissante, malgré la politique des « ports fermés » de Matteo Salvini et de son nouveau « décret sécurité », plus de 200 clandestins (majoritairement tunisiens et aucunement des « réfugiés » politiques syriens) acheminés par des barques de fortunes plus difficiles à repérer que les navires des ONG. Depuis des années, la ville est littéralement défigurée, l’arrivée de migrants entraînant des faits quotidiens de violences, d’agressions, de vols et destructions de commerces. (…) Malgré cela, le médiatique curé de Lampedusa, grand adepte du pape François, martèle qu’il faut « accueillir, protéger, promouvoir et intégrer les migrants et les réfugiés ». Dans une autre ville de Sicile, Noto, où nous nous sommes rendus le 27 juin dernier, une immense croix en bois a été construite à partir de morceaux d’une embarcation de migrants et a été carrément érigée dans l’entrée de la plus grande église du centre-ville. A Catania, ville très catholique-conservatrice et de droite – où se déroule chaque année début février la troisième plus grande fête chrétienne au monde, la Santa Agata – la cathédrale a été prise d’assauts par des sit-in pro-migrants en défense de Carola Rackete et de la Sea Watch. (…) Quant à Palerme, l’alliance entre l’Église catholique et le maire de la Ville, Leo Luca Orlando, chef de file de la lutte contre la politique migratoire de Matteo Salvini, est totale, alors même que Orlando est un anticlérical patenté à la fois islamophile et pro-LGBT. Sa dernière trouvaille a consisté à proposer d’éliminer le terme même de « migrant », puisque « nous sommes tous des personnes ». D’après lui, le terme « migrants » devrait être supprimé, tout comme la gauche a réussi à faire supprimer celui de « clandestin », remplacé dans le jargon journalistique par celui, trompeur, mais plus valorisant, de « migrant ». Cette manipulation sémantique visant à abolir la distinction migrant régulier / illégal est également très présente dans le pacte de Marrakech des Nations-unies. (..;) Récemment, à l’occasion de la rupture du jeûne du ramadan, le médiatique maire palermitain s’est affiché en train de prier avec une assemblée de musulmans, consacrant même une « journée consacrée à l’islam » en rappelant le « glorieux passé arabo-islamique » de la Sicile (en réalité envahie et libérée deux siècles plus tard par les Normands). Orlando utilise lui aussi à merveille l’arme de la culpabilisation lorsqu’il ne cesse de justifier l’immigration illimitée au nom du fait que les Siciliens « ont eu eux aussi des grands-parents qui ont décidé d’aller vivre dans un autre pays en demandant à être considérés comme des personnes humaines ». Bref, « on est tous des migrants ». Une musique bien connue aussi en France. (…) A chaque nouvelle affaire de blocage de bateaux d’ONG pro-migrants par les autorités italiennes obéissant à la politique de la Ligue, le maire de Palerme se déclare prêt à accueillir des navires dans le port de Palerme. Lors de notre visite, le 26 juin dernier, Orlando nous a d’ailleurs remis une brochure consacrée à l’accueil des migrants, « chez eux chez nous ». Comme le Pape ou l’ex-maire de Lampedusa, Leoluca Orlando est depuis quelques années tellement obsédé par « l’impératif d’accueil » des migrants, alors que la Sicile connaît encore une grande pauvreté et un chômage de masse, qu’il suscite une réaction de rejet et d’exaspération, d’autant que de nombreuses initiatives en faveur des migrants sont financées par des citoyens italiens-siciliens hyper-taxés et précarisés. (…) Le 28 juin, lorsque nous avons parlé de la question migratoire au maire de la seconde ville de Sicile, Catania, Salvatore Pogliese, ex-membre d’Alleanza nazionale élu député européen et maire sous les couleurs de Forza Italia, celui-ci nous confiait qu’il jugeait absurdes et extrêmes les vues du maire de Palerme ou du curé de Lampedusa. Et il rappelait que lorsque des maires pro-migrants jouent aux « héros » en réclamant l’ouverture sans limites des ports pour accueillir les « réfugiés » du monde entier, ils mentent puisque l’ouverture des ports relève, comme en France, non pas des maires, mais de l’Etat central (ministères des Transports et de l’Intérieur). (..;) Une autre alliance de forces « progressistes » / pro-migrants n’a pas manqué de surprendre les analystes de la vie politique italienne, notamment à l’occasion de la Gay Pride, organisée à Milan le 28 juin, par le maire de gauche, Beppe Sala, champion de la « diversité » et des minorités en tout genre : l’alliance de la gauche et des multinationales et des Gafam. C’est ainsi que certains journaux italiens de droite ont relevé le fait que les sponsors de la Gay Pride, officiellement indiqués sur le site de l’événement – Google, Microsoft, eBay, Coca-Cola, PayPal, RedBull, Durex, Benetton, etc. – ont tenu et obtenu que soient associées à la cause des gays celle des migrants afin de « prendre en compte toutes les différences, pas seulement liées à l’identité et à l’orientation sexuelle (immigration, handicap, appartenance ethnique, etc.) ». (..;) Les « migrants » illégaux et autres faux réfugiés secourus par les ONG immigrationnistes, adeptes des « ports ouverts », ont donc eu droit à un traitement de faveur et ont pu officiellement venir « exprimer toute sa solidarité avec le capitaine du navire (Sea Watch 3) Carola Rackete, avec les membres de l’équipage et avec toutes les personnes à bord », écrit sur Facebook « Ensemble sans murs », qui « participera avec enthousiasme au défilé de mode de Milan ». L’idéologie diversitaire est si puissante, et l’accueil des migrants est tellement devenu la « cause des causes » capable de surpasser les autres, qu’elle s’invite même chez les lobbies LGBT, pourtant la « minorité » la plus directement persécutée – avec les juifs – par l’islamisme. (..;) Or, une grande majorité d’immigrés clandestins est de confession musulmane : Subsahariens, Erythréens, Soudanais, Égyptiens, Syriens, Turcs, Maghrébins ou Pakistanais et Afghans qui émigrent en masse dans la Vieille Europe de façon tant légale (regroupement familial, migrations économiques, visas étudiants, mineurs non-accompagnés…) qu’illégale. (..;) Pour bien comprendre « d’où parlent » les défenseurs des migrants clandestins qui ne cessent d’apostropher Victor Orban, Matteo Salvini ou encore le « diable en chef » Donald Trump pour leurs politiques de contrôle de l’immigration, il suffit de constater le deux poids deux mesures et l’indignation sélective de la gauche et de l’Église catholique qui dénoncent les « populistes européens xénophobes / islamophobes / racistes » mais très peu le néo-Sultan Erdogan et encore moins les pays d’Afrique, du Maghreb, d’Amérique latine ou d’Asie qui répriment extrêmement sévèrement et violemment l’immigration clandestine et / ou l’islamisme. (…) Deux exemples flagrants suffiront à s’en convaincre : l’ONU a récemment condamné « l’islamophobie » européenne et occidentale, notamment de la France et de l’Italie, mais pas les massacres de masse de musulmans en Chine ou en Inde. Ensuite, le 5 septembre 2018, lorsque la marine marocaine a fait tirer sur une embarcation de migrants clandestins, faisant un mort et un blessé grave, puis fait arrêter le capitaine espagnol du bateau, l’ONU n’a pas bronché. Pas plus dans de nombreux cas de mauvais traitements, persécutions de migrants subsahariens ou de chrétiens dans l’ensemble des pays d’Afrique du Nord et arabes. (..;) Les Etats européens et les « militants » antifascistes hostiles aux « populistes » n’ont pas manifesté la moindre indignation face à ces phénomènes récurrents. Pas plus que les antiracistes français et leurs alliés féministes et pro-LGBT ne dénoncent la misogynie et l’homophobie islamiques, de facto exonérées par primat xénophile et auto-racisme anti-occidental. Ce dernier exemple est significatif : loin de se laisser culpabiliser, les autorités marocaines ont pourtant assumé le fait qu’une « unité de combat de la Marine royale » a ouvert le feu sur l’embarcation (un « go-fast » léger) en tuant une passagère. Comme Carola Rackete, le capitaine de la vedette de clandestins n’avait pas obéi aux ordres des militaires marocains l’intimant de stopper sa course. (..;) Morale de l’histoire : l’immigrationnisme des ONG comme la Sea Watch et autres « No Borders » est – comme l’antiracisme à sens unique – une arme subversive tournée contre les seuls peuples blancs-judéo-chrétiens-occidentaux et leurs Etats-Nations souverains. D’évidence, les forces cosmopolitiquement correctes (gauche internationaliste-marxiste ; libéraux-multiculturalistes ; multinationales / Mc Word ; Église catholique ; fédéralistes européens et autres instances onusiennes) veulent détruire en premier lieu les vieilles nations européennes culpabilisées et vieillissantes, sorte de terra nullius en devenir conçue comme le laboratoire de leurs projets néo-impériaux / mondialistes respectifs. (..) Ces différentes forces ne sont pas amies, mais elles convergent dans un même projet de destruction des Etats-souverains occidentaux. Voilà d’où parlent les No Borders. Et à l’aune de ce constat, le fait que le milliardaire Soros et les multinationales précitées sponsorisent des opérations pro-migrants, pourtant exécutées par des ONG et forces de gauche et d’extrême-gauche ou chrétiennes / tiersmondistes, en dit long sur la convergence des forces cosmopolitiquement correctes hostiles à l’Etat-Nation et à la défense de l’identité occidentale. Alexandre del Valle
Cela s’inscrit dans la ligne politique engagée par l’Iran depuis quarante ans. Ils déploient une politique de chantage sans pour autant l’assumer. Ils déploient une politique de chantage sans pour autant l’assumer. Ils jettent de l’huile sur le feu, mais de manière modérée. La seule chose qui leur reste, c’est leur pouvoir de nuisance. Mahnaz Shirali
Le Président américain Donald Trump est présenté comme un abruti erratique guidé par ses impulsions, ignorant et dangereux. Bien que le rapport Mueller ait montré qu’il n’y a jamais eu aucune «collusion» entre Trump et la Russie, les journalistes français en leur grande majorité se refusent à le dire explicitement et à reconnaître qu’ils ont pratiqué la désinformation à dose intensive pendant deux ans. Les résultats obtenus par ­Trump, tant sur le plan intérieur que sur le plan extérieur, sont à peine notés et ne le sont parfois pas du tout. Quand ils le sont, le nom de Trump est le plus souvent omis, comme si le citer positivement, ne serait-ce qu’une seule fois, était absolument impensable. Ce n’est, en soi, pas grave: ­Trump gouverne sans se préoccuper de ce que diront des journalistes français. Cela contribue néanmoins à entraver la compréhension des choses de tous ceux qui ne s’informeraient que grâce à la presse française, et nombre de gens seront dès lors surpris lorsque Trump sera réélu en novembre 2020 (car tout l’indique: il sera réélu). On leur expliquera sans doute que c’est parce que le peuple américain est lui-même ignorant et dangereux. Cela contribue aussi à empêcher de voir que l’action et les idées de Trump ont un impact beaucoup plus vaste, et qui excède de beaucoup les frontières des États-Unis. La politique économique menée par Donald Trump – qui ajoute à une forte baisse des impôts et à une déréglementation radicale, un refus de se soumettre aux lubies écologistes et un nationalisme économique basé sur la renégociation de tous les accords internationaux antécédemment négociés et sur la création de rapports de force – porte ses fruits et mène divers gouvernements sur la planète à adopter des mesures allant dans la même direction. Sa politique intérieure – basée sur un retour à une immigration strictement contrôlée et sur la réaffirmation des valeurs qui fondent la civilisation occidentale – porte, elle aussi, ses fruits, même si elle est, dans plusieurs États du pays, entravée par les décisions délétères de la gauche américaine qui entend protéger les immigrants illégaux (criminels compris). Plusieurs gouvernements sur la planète adoptent des mesures allant dans le même sens. Au Proche-Orient, Donald ­Trump conduit une asphyxie du régime iranien qui progresse et, n’en déplaise à ceux qui refusent de le voir, diminue la dangerosité de celui-ci. Il met en place un rapprochement entre les pays du monde arabe sunnite et Israël qui modifie profondément la donne régionale et, n’en déplaise là encore à ceux qui refusent de le voir, fait apparaître pour la première fois des espoirs réels qu’émerge une paix durable. L’anéantissement de l’État islamique permet de juguler le terrorisme islamique sur les cinq continents. L’action d’endiguement de la Chine communiste déstabilise celle-ci et freine les ambitions hégémoniques nourries par Xi Jinping. La Corée du Nord n’est plus une menace pour la Corée du Sud et le Japon. L’arrivée au pouvoir de Jaïr Bolsonaro au Brésil est au cœur d’un changement majeur dans toute l’Amérique latine. En Europe, Trump ne cesse d’appuyer les dirigeants «populistes» d’Europe centrale contre les orientations anti-démocratiques et islamophiles de l’Union européenne, et la perspective d’une Europe des nations souveraines fait son chemin. L’ère Trump est en son aurore. La grande presse du monde qui parle anglais le dit explicitement. Ne comptez pas sur la grande presse française pour vous le dire! Guy Millière
Trump ne voulait pas du rôle de policier mondial, mais il se trouve obligé de l’assumer, puisqu’il n’y a aucune puissance capable de remplacer les États-Unis dans ce domaine-clé. C’est l’Amérique, pas l’ONU impotente et corrompue, qui maintient les routes commerciales, et le monde entier en profite, gratuitement – comme si cela allait de soi. Or, non seulement, cela ne va pas de soi, mais beaucoup d’obligés geignent contre un pseudo «impérialisme américain», sans jamais se remettre en question. Si l’Amérique trouve certes son compte dans ce service planétaire assuré à grands frais par sa flotte et ses services de surveillance, ce n’est pas elle qui en a le plus besoin, mais ses alliés qui, eux, ne sont pas sevrés du brut que leur vend l’OPEP. C’est aussi l’Amérique qui en assume les risques comme on vient de voir avec la descente en flammes d’un drone de 100 millions de dollars, heureusement sans pilote, qui croisait dans l’espace international et non iranien. Cela, après des attaques iraniennes, sans raison non plus, sur des pétroliers norvégien et japonais. Alors, «l’opinion internationale» (c’est-à-dire la gauche mondialiste et ses médias désinformateurs) se dit «soulagée» que Trump n’ait pas poursuivi «son escalade», mais tous ces trolls qui renversent ignominieusement les responsabilités, déplorent à présent son «manque de stratégie». Qu’est-ce que des anti-américains et anti-militaristes primaires peuvent comprendre aux questions de stratégie avec leur logiciel bloqué? La véritable question est: pourquoi l’ayatollah Khamenei décide-t-il maintenant de provoquer Trump? Les sanctions asphyxient son économie de rente, d’autant que l’aide concoctée par les Européens cupides, hypocrites et lâches, tarde à se matérialiser. Les dirigeants de l’UE, qui mar­chent au pas de l’oie avec Merkel, entretiennent une cécité criminelle vis-à-vis de l’Iran. Sous Merkel, l’Allemagne oublie qu’elle doit tout aux États-Unis. Elle remercie par une politique teigneuse de tarifs douaniers. Elle se targue cyniquement d’être la plus mauvaise payeuse de l’OTAN, achète le gaz de la Russie et refuse le gaz américain. Et voici qu’elle pactise avec les ayatollahs contre les USA. L’Allemagne et l’UE illustrent tout ce qui est inacceptable pour Trump: l’archétype de l’allié félon aux prétentions disproportionnées au vu de la réalité. Et elles sont coupables de négligence inadmissible envers notre sécurité collective en dissimulant le danger pour l’Occident qu’est la République islamique, nullement différente (dans ses visées hégémoniques et ses méthodes internes brutales) de l’État islamique que l’Iran aidait et que Trump a éradiqué. L’Iran n’a jamais cessé l’enrichissement d’uranium et continue d’alimenter le terrorisme islamique. Les sanctions ne sont que justice et, malgré leur dureté renforcée, Trump espère des Iraniens éclairés un énième et décisif soulèvement contre ses dirigeants. Car il n’en a qu’après ce régime meurtrier et sympathise avec les Iraniens, mais il leur rappelle qu’il ne peut intervenir militairement, sauf attaque avec victimes américaines, auquel cas la réponse serait foudroyante. Loin de vouloir la guerre, il veut «redonner à l’Iran sa grandeur». Khamenei sait qu’à la Maison Blanche, Trump s’est entouré volontairement de conseillers aux vues opposées qui représentent chacun une partie de la base de Trump et qui constituent un «brain-trust». Il table sur le fait que Trump est tenu par l’impératif de sa réélection. Les « deux côtés de l’équation », comme Trump les appelle, sont parfaitement honorables et défendent des arguments que l’on ne peut négliger. Pour le moment, le côté «colombe» exulte, les isolationnistes, les libertariens, et toute la mouvance du «The American Conservative». Les «faucons» comprennent que l’heure de l’action militaire n’est pas venue. Mais ce serait mal connaître ­Trump que de penser qu’il ne va pas trouver le moyen de faire payer aux criminels de Téhéran leurs méfaits. Il doit, seul, parvenir à empêcher les ayatollahs d’accéder au nucléaire et faire cesser leur financement du terrorisme, sans engager de troupes et sans dépenser des milliards. C’est une tâche de police mondiale à laquelle les Européens devraient participer. La stratégie de Trump, c’est de voir venir, de ne pas dévoiler son jeu et de se tenir prêt à frapper. Ceux qui lui font confiance ne sont pas inquiets et savourent un divertissement politique quotidien de qualité. Evelyne Joslain
Critics describe President Donald Trump’s foreign policy as a muddled, unpredictable collection of impulses, with the one organizing principle being the coddling of like-minded, ruthless dictators. But there is, in fact, a defining diplomatic strategy: He is cleaning up the messes left by his predecessors. Trump, regularly derided as the most irresponsible of presidents, is actually taking ownership of the most terrifying problems the country faces and trying to solve them in a direct way that his recent predecessors avoided. With respect to Iran, China, North Korea and even Russia, Trump is taking tough stances. He is getting cozy with dictators because the man who considers himself an artist of the deal understands that those are the people he must strike bargains with. Under Trump, China has finally been recognized as a long-term strategic opponent and potential enemy, rather than a nation of billions yearning for democracy. Capitalism has indeed taken hold in China — though without economic nor political liberalization. Instead, authoritarian China is using its newfound riches to expand its economic, political and military influence. Since Clinton permanently normalized trade relations with China in 2000, American manufacturing has relocated to China for its cheap labor, the Chinese have consistently cheated on trade and the annual U.S. trade deficit with China has soared from $83 billion to a record $419 billion in 2018. Recognizing that placating China and quietly nudging it to play fair is not going to work; Trump has taken a more direct approach and assessed tariffs on Chinese imports while threatening even more. The Chinese are now at the table, talking, and Washington may at last secure a more equitable deal. After two and a half decades of Washington dithering, by 2017 the North Koreans were on the cusp of being able to load their bombs on missiles that could reach the continental United States. So Trump decided to try something different. (…) Trump likely cannot succeed in disarming Kim of his weapons by disarming him personally. The North Korean dictator is probably just buying more time. But Trump is at least taking an unconventional approach rather than re-enacting the failures of the past. Since Clinton, administrations have fostered quixotic illusions of reasonable moderates within the Tehran leadership. But there was little change in that country’s behavior — which has included supporting terrorist groups like Hezbollah and killing more than 600 U.S. troops in Iraq through militia surrogates. Obama’s 2015 Iran deal was the ultimate can-kicking exercise, granting Iran sanctions relief in return for limits on its nuclear program that would expire over the next dozen years. The arrangement could have given Iran the cash it would need to complete its nuclear ambitions once sunset clauses allowing it to enrich more uranium were invoked. (…) But Trump has reasoned the time to get tough with Iran is now, not in a dozen years when they are stronger and have perfected technologies related to nuclear weapons. U.S. policy toward Russia pre-Trump had also been marked by years of complacency — remember Russian President Vladimir Putin convincing Bush there was a soul behind his eyes? During the 2012 presidential campaign, Obama dismissed Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s concerns about Russia with a quip about the 1980s wanting its foreign policy back. Obama was also caught on an open mic whispering to Russia’s then-President Dmitri Medvedev that he’d have more “flexibility” after the election. (…) Trump’s administration, Foreign Policy explained, “has held a tough line on Russia, building on his predecessor’s policies by layering on further sanctions, expelling dozens of Russian diplomats, and providing lethal weapons support to Ukraine — a step that former President Barack Obama had been unwilling to take.” Trump’s demand that European nations pay their North Atlantic Treaty Organization obligations — another can regularly kicked down the road — might seem hostile toward long-time allies, but ensures they have skin in the game when it comes to confronting Russia. The Washington establishment, so used to conventional ways, is aghast. But business as usual has strengthened our enemies. Trump’s iconoclasm is worth a try. Keith Koffler
Presidents are drawn to intellectuals — thinkers who can elevate their impulses, distill coherence from chaos and sometimes write the very history they helped shape. It is not always a fruitful partnership. John F. Kennedy had wordsmiths and chroniclers in Ted Sorensen and Arthur Schlesinger Jr., as well as the whiz kids who authored Vietnam. George W. Bush met with historians, philosophers and theologians during dark times in his presidency, when the fiasco of Iraq weighed heavy. Ronald Reagan leaned on the governing plans of the Heritage Foundation, while Bill Clinton combined endless policy salons with the centrist blueprints of the Democratic Leadership Council. Barack Obama had, well, himself. And recall how Jimmy Carter took inspiration from the writings of Christopher Lasch for his ill-fated “malaise” speech in 1979. Yes, surrounding yourself with the brightest does not always prove best. Being a Trump intellectual is an entirely different task. Donald Trump won the White House campaigning against established expertise. He doesn’t like to read beyond a page or so. His brain trust is more “Fox & Friends” than American Enterprise Institute, his influences more Bannon than Buckley. (…) Presidents and intellectuals are always an awkward love affair, especially so when one side seems desperate and the other indifferent. Trump has seemed more concerned about retaining the affections of conservative media figures such as Fox News host Sean Hannity or commentator Ann Coulter, whose 2015 book “Adios, America” likely inspired his attack on Mexican immigrants in the speech announcing his presidential bid. Yet, for all their declared high principle, Trump’s intellectuals have tied themselves to the whims and feuds of their leader, captive minds to that indefinable mix of ideology, impulse and invective known as Trumpism. Hanson, to his credit, attempts to define it in broad terms. Trumpism, he concludes, “was the idea that there were no longer taboo subjects. Everything was open for negotiation; nothing was sacred.” A useful interpretation, but a partial one. Even if nothing is sacred, must everything be profane? (…)  In September 2016, Michael Anton, a former aide in the George W. Bush White House, published “The Flight 93 Election,” a pseudonymous essay that previewed this adversarial fixation in melodramatic terms. Voting for Trump, he wrote in the Claremont Review of Books, was like charging the cockpit of a hijacked plane on Sept. 11, 2001. You might die, but if you do nothing, death is certain. A Hillary Clinton presidency would constitute an extinction-level event for American freedom and true conservatism; it would be “pedal-to-the-metal on the entire progressive-Left agenda.” Or, as Anton put it in an excess of metaphor, “Russian Roulette with a semi-auto.” The essay drew criticism for its imagery, anonymity and hostility toward conventional conservatives as well as immigrants — Anton decried America’s “ceaseless importation of Third World foreigners” — thus making the writer a perfect candidate for a job in the Trump White House. Anton, whose identity was revealed by the late Weekly Standard, served for 14 months as a National Security Council official. Then-White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon dubbed him “one of the most significant intellects in this nationalist movement.” So with his new book, “After the Flight 93 Election,” Anton would seem well-positioned to move beyond the election and argue a more concrete case for the president, drawing on the administration’s first two years and on the author’s experience in the Trump White House. Except Anton doesn’t even try; the “After” of his title is an afterthought. Instead, he reprints his original essay, plus a follow-up “restatement” that was posted a week later, arguing that Trump constituted “the first serious national-political defense of the Constitution in a generation” and that concerns over despotism were pointless because the candidate was more “buffoon” than tyrant. Also, Hillary was still way worse. The book’s only new material is the preface and a lengthy rumination (titled “Pre-Statement on Flight 93”) that purports to explain “the essences of conservatism, Americanism, and Western civilization, and to review the main threats to their survival.” The system of federalism, separation of powers and limited government bequeathed to us by the founders is under siege, Anton writes, and the barbarians rattling the gate are the latest iteration of early-20th-century progressives and 1960s radicals, justifying an ever-expanding administrative state with social-justice mantras of personal identity. “The post-1960s Left co-opts the language of ‘justice’ and ‘rights’ as a rhetorical device to get what it wants: the transfer of power, honor, and wealth between groups as retribution for past offenses.” The result, Anton contends, is crime, family dissolution, weak foreign policy, limitless government and restricted speech. (…) In “The Case for Trump,” historian Victor Davis Hanson also treats 2016 as a reaction by voters tired of progressive orthodoxy, globalization and left-wing identity politics. “Trump did not create these divides,” Hanson writes. “He simply found existing sectarianism politically useful.” Trump’s insults, vile language and incessant denigration of opponents are just part of his “uncouth authenticity,” which appeals to supporters and enrages the rest. From the start of his campaign, Trump displayed “an uncanny ability to troll and create hysteria among his media and political critics,” Hanson marvels. “In their anti-Trump rage, they revealed their own character flaws.” Hanson relishes those flaws, and, despite the title, his book focuses less on the case for Trump than on the case against everyone else. Hillary Clinton’s infamous “basket of deplorables” line typified the “toxic venom” with which liberals regard the nation’s interior, he writes, while Clinton’s past misdeeds, real or alleged, provided “scandal vaccination” for Trump’s bankruptcies, sexual misconduct and endless lawsuits. Clinton’s problem, Hanson explains, was threefold: She lied so much that her various deceptions could not be reconciled; she never learned from her past scandals; and she thought herself exempt from accountability. The fact that this trifecta nicely describes Trump’s behavior while in office does not seem to occur to Hanson. He’d rather indulge in casual sexism, criticizing Clinton’s “shrill” voice and her “signature off-putting laugh,” and inexplicably suggesting that while “Trump’s bulk fueled a monstrous energy; Hillary’s girth sapped her strength.” Hanson, a senior fellow with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, assails the “deep state,” even while acknowledging that Trump’s use of the term is so vague as to be meaningless. He praises the “inspired” and “impressive” Cabinet members Trump has assembled, largely forgetting their high-profile scandals, conflicts of interest, obeisance and resignations. “The Case for Trump” is notable for such omissions. (…) Stephen Moore and Arthur Laffer disagree with some of Trump’s hard-line positions on immigration and worry about his trade protectionism. “To say the least, Donald Trump is a work in progress on trade,” they admit. “He is playing a high-stakes game of poker here with a big upside. But if it doesn’t work, the ramifications scare us to death.” So why did the veteran conservative economists sign on as advisers for Trump’s 2016 campaign, and why did they write a book — titled “Trumponomics” and published late last year — enthusiastically defending the economic policies and instincts of a leader who thinks trade wars are good and easy to win? The answer is simple: “We liked his tax plan.” Forget single-issue voters; Moore and Laffer are single-issue thinkers. Cutting taxes is the siren that lured them to Trump, and for which they appear willing to make any substantive or intellectual sacrifices. The authors recount their role in helping shape the 2017 tax bill — they’re especially proud of their op-eds, which they quote extensively in the book, along with praise thereof — and reiterate their belief that tax cuts and deregulation will unleash so much economic activity that hard choices melt away. “We have always believed that the shrewdest way to make entitlement programs solvent is to restore rapid growth,” they write. And they swoon over Trump’s “unyielding optimism” about the nation’s economic potential, even when he embraces growth projections that the two economists consider unrealistic. Washington Post
Hanson himself calls Trump “flawed,” but his presidency exemplary. Hanson is a retired classics professor from California State University, Fresno, and senior fellow in military history at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and he has written two dozen books on topics ranging from the ancient world to the Second World War. He lives on a working farm in a multiracial, rural area in the interior of California, southeast of San Francisco. He doesn’t live in an Ivory Tower. He also uses his hometown of Selma as a classic example of why America elected Trump. Once prosperous with family-run farms and food-processing plants and other manufacturing jobs, now most jobs are gone, unemployment high, crime and drug abuse commonplace. “In 1970, we did not have keys for our outside doors; in 2018, I have six guard dogs,” he writes.  While he is a conservative with an upfront agenda, his critics come from the left and the right. One of the nastiest attacks upon Hanson comes from a Republican who worked on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and calls him a “Nazi sympathizer,” “racist enabler” and a “treasonous sophist.” A liberal writer says it’s oxymoronic to call Hanson a “pro-Trump intellectual.” If his ideas are ticking off both ends of the spectrum, they must have some merit, or, at the very least, be interesting. In defending his book, Hanson’s tone is civil. He tells stories from antiquity to make a point; or he acknowledges that Trump is a blowhard like the character Rodney Dangerfield played in the movie Caddyshack. But that doesn’t mean Trump’s policies aren’t working, he says. When one defends a position with reasoned thought, instead of rants and personal attacks like so many Trump supporters and detractors, it’s a welcome change. Some of Hanson’s observations are disagreeable, others are worthy of pointing out and giving Trump his due.  For example, Trump’s stand towards China and its murky trade practices is a reprieve from the appeasement of recent years. His support of the Catholic and Jewish faiths is also admirable. Ultimately, though, The Case for Trump crumbles on two fundamental points. It is disingenuous to separate the man from the presidency, but Hanson does. “Trump’s own uncouthness,” he writes, “was in its own manner contextualized by his supporters as a long overdue pushback to the elite disdain and indeed hatred shown them.”  Hanson also points out character flaws in former presidents as somehow a reason to hand Trump a “get-out-of-jail-free-card” for his extracurricular activities with hookers and porn stars. “It doesn’t mean Donald Trump is a saint,” Hanson said during a recorded book tour event, “but he’s not an aberration either.” My mother often said “two wrongs don’t make a right” and that applies here, along with Trump’s penchant to surround himself with hucksters, grifters, con men, liars and felons. Then there are the relentless and often vicious personal tweets and attacks on the Constitution. Sorry, but these character cancers cannot be ignored simply because one likes Trump’s tax cuts and deregulation that may or may not have boosted economic growth. Besides, Hanson doesn’t make the case — with hard facts — that Trump’s policies are actually working. Has picking on allies like Canada really helped Wisconsin dairy farmers? Has he really tamed Kim Jong Un and his nuclear aspirations? Have Trump policies really boosted growth more than simply the cyclical nature of the economy itself? The list goes on and on. Trump opponents probably won’t read the book, but it’s not your regular right-wing diatribe camouflaged as a book. It’s readable and, at times, highly entertaining in how he skewers Trump’s adversaries. But, in the end, the book can’t make a case that electing a status quo disruptor like Donald Trump is any more than a Pyrrhic victory in the classical tragic sense. Bob Brehl
Securing national borders seems pretty orthodox. In an age of anti-Western terrorism, placing temporary holds on would-be immigrants from war-torn zones until they can be vetted is hardly radical. Expecting “sanctuary cities” to follow federal laws rather than embrace the nullification strategies of the secessionist Old Confederacy is a return to the laws of the Constitution. Using the term “radical Islamic terror” in place of “workplace violence” or “man-caused disasters” is sensible, not subversive. Insisting that NATO members meet their long-ignored defense-spending obligations is not provocative but overdue. Assuming that both the European Union and the United Nations are imploding is empirical, not unhinged. Questioning the secret side agreements of the Iran deal or failed Russian reset is facing reality. Making the Environmental Protection Agency follow laws rather than make laws is the way it always was supposed to be. Unapologetically siding with Israel, the only free and democratic country in the Middle East, used to be standard U.S. policy until Obama was elected. (…) Expecting the media to report the news rather than massage it to fit progressive agendas makes sense. In the past, proclaiming Obama a “sort of god” or the smartest man ever to enter the presidency was not normal journalistic practice. (…) Half the country is having a hard time adjusting to Trumpism, confusing Trump’s often unorthodox and grating style with his otherwise practical and mostly centrist agenda. In sum, Trump seems a revolutionary, but that is only because he is loudly undoing a revolution. Victor Davis Hanson
What makes such men and women both tragic and heroic is their knowledge that the natural expression of their personas can lead only to their own destruction or ostracism from an advancing civilization that they seek to protect. And yet they willingly accept the challenge to be of service . . . Yet for a variety of reasons, both personal and civic, their characters not only should not be altered, but could not be, even if the tragic hero wished to change . . . In the classical tragic sense, Trump likely will end in one of two fashions, both not particularly good: either spectacular but unacknowledged accomplishments followed by ostracism . . . or, less likely, a single term due to the eventual embarrassment of his beneficiaries. Victor Davis Hanson
Trump’s own uncouthness was in its own manner contextualized by his supporters as a long overdue pushback to the elite disdain and indeed hatred shown them. (…) Trumpism was the idea that there were no longer taboo subjects. Everything was open for negotiation; nothing was sacred. Victor Davis Hanson
The very idea that Donald Trump could, even in a perverse way, be heroic may appall half the country. Nonetheless, one way of understanding both Trump’s personal excesses and his accomplishments is that his not being traditionally presidential may have been valuable in bringing long-overdue changes in foreign and domestic policy. Tragic heroes, as they have been portrayed from Sophocles’ plays (e.g., Ajax, Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Philoctetes) to the modern western film, are not intrinsically noble. Much less are they likeable. Certainly, they can often be obnoxious and petty, if not dangerous, especially to those around them. These mercurial sorts never end well — and on occasion neither do those in their vicinity. Oedipus was rudely narcissistic, Hombre’s John Russell (Paul Newman) arrogant and off-putting. Tragic heroes are loners, both by preference and because of society’s understandable unease with them. Ajax’s soliloquies about a rigged system and the lack of recognition accorded his undeniable accomplishments are Trumpian to the core — something akin to the sensational rumors that at night Trump is holed up alone, petulant, brooding, eating fast food, and watching Fox News shows. Outlaw leader Pike Bishop (William Holden), in director Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, is a killer whose final gory sacrifice results in the slaughter of the toxic General Mapache and his corrupt local Federales. A foreboding Ethan Edwards (John Wayne), of John Ford’s classic 1956 film The Searchers, alone can track down his kidnapped niece. But his methods and his recent past as a Confederate renegade make him suspect and largely unfit for a civilizing frontier after the expiration of his transitory usefulness. These characters are not the sorts that we would associate with Bob Dole, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, or Mitt Romney. The tragic hero’s change of fortune — often from good to bad, as Aristotle reminds us — is due to an innate flaw (hamartia), or at least in some cases an intrinsic and usually uncivilized trait that can be of service to the community, albeit usually expressed fully only at the expense of the hero’s own fortune. The problem for civilization is that the creation of those skill sets often brings with it past baggage of lawlessness and comfortability with violence. Trump’s cunning and mercurialness, honed in Manhattan real estate, global salesmanship, reality TV, and wheeler-dealer investments, may have earned him ostracism from polite Washington society. But these talents also may for a time be suited for dealing with many of the outlaws of the global frontier. (…) So what makes such men and women both tragic and heroic is their full knowledge that the natural expression of their personas can lead only to their own destruction or ostracism. Yet for a variety of reasons, both personal and civic, their characters not only should not be altered but could not be, even if the tragic hero wished to change, given his megalomania and Manichean views of the human experience. Clint Eastwood’s Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan cannot serve as the official face of the San Francisco police department. But Dirty Harry alone has the skills and ruthlessness to ensure that the mass murderer Scorpio will never harm the innocent again. So, in the finale, he taunts and then shoots the psychopathic Scorpio, ending both their careers, and walks off — after throwing his inspector’s badge into the water. Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) of High Noon did about the same thing, but only after gunning down (with the help of his wife) four killers whom the law-abiding but temporizing elders of Hadleyville proved utterly incapable of stopping. (…) In other words, tragic heroes are often simply too volatile to continue in polite society. In George Stevens’s classic 1953 western Shane, even the reforming and soft-spoken gunslinger Shane (Alan Ladd) understands his own dilemma all too well: He alone possesses the violent skills necessary to free the homesteaders from the insidious threats of hired guns and murderous cattle barons. (And how he got those skills worries those he plans to help.) Yet by the time of his final resort to lethal violence, Shane has sacrificed all prior chances of reform and claims on reentering the civilized world of the stable “sodbuster” community. (…) Trump could not cease tweeting, not cease his rallies, not cease his feuding, and not cease his nonstop motion and unbridled speech if he wished to. It is his brand, and such overbearing made Trump, for good or evil, what he is — and will likely eventually banish him from establishment Washington, whether after or during his elected term. His raucousness can be managed, perhaps mitigated for a time — thus the effective tenure of his sober cabinet choices and his chief of staff, the ex–Marine general, no-nonsense John Kelly — but not eliminated. His blunt views cannot really thrive, and indeed can scarcely survive, in the nuance, complexity, and ambiguity of Washington. Trump is not a mannered Mitt Romney, who would never have left the Paris climate agreement. He is not a veteran who knew the whiz of real bullets and remains a Washington icon, such as John McCain, who would never have moved the American embassy to Jerusalem. Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush certainly would never have waded into no-win controversies such as the take-a-knee NFL debacle and unvetted immigration from suspect countries in the Middle East and Africa, or called to account sanctuary cities that thwarted federal law. Our modern Agamemnon, Speaker Paul Ryan, is too circumspect to get caught up with Trump’s wall or a mini-trade war with China. Trump does not seem to care whether he is acting “presidential.” The word — as he admits — is foreign to him. He does not worry whether his furious tweets, his revolving-door firing and hiring, and his rally counterpunches reveal a lack of stature or are becoming an embarrassing window into his own insecurities and apprehensions as a Beltway media world closes in upon him in the manner that, as the trapped western hero felt, the shrinking landscape was increasingly without options in the new 20th century. The real moral question is not whether the gunslinger Trump could or should become civilized (again, defined in our context as becoming normalized as “presidential”) but whether he could be of service at the opportune time and right place for his country, crude as he is. After all, despite their decency, in extremis did the frontier farmers have a solution without Shane, or the Mexican peasants a realistic alternative to the Magnificent Seven, or the town elders a viable plan without Will Kane? Perhaps we could not withstand the fire and smoke of a series of Trump presidencies, but given the direction of the country over the last 16 years, half the population, the proverbial townspeople of the western, wanted some outsider, even with a dubious past, to ride in and do things that most normal politicians not only would not but could not do — before exiting stage left or riding off into the sunset, to the relief of most and the regrets of a few. The best and the brightest résumés of the Bush and Obama administrations had doubled the national debt — twice. Three prior presidents had helped to empower North Korea, now with nuclear-tipped missiles pointing at the West Coast. Supposedly refined and sophisticated diplomats of the last quarter century, who would never utter the name “Rocket Man” or stoop to call Kim Jong-un “short and fat,” nonetheless had gone through the “agreed framework,” “six-party talks,” and “strategic patience,” in which three administrations gave Pyongyang quite massive aid to behave and either not to proliferate or at least to denuclearize. And it was all a failure, and a deadly one at that. For all of Obama’s sophisticated discourse about “spread the wealth around” and “You didn’t build that,” quantitative easing, zero interest rates, massive new regulations, the stimulus, and shovel-ready, government-inspired jobs, he could not achieve 3 percent annualized economic growth. Half the country, the more desperate half, believed that the remedy for a government in which the IRS, the FBI, the DOJ, and the NSA were weaponized, often in partisan fashion and without worry about the civil liberties of American citizens, was not more temporizing technicians but a pariah who cleaned house and moved on. Certainly Obama was not willing to have a showdown with the Chinese over their widely acknowledged cheating and coerced expropriation of U.S. technology, with the NATO allies over their chronic welching on prior defense commitments, with the North Koreans after they achieved the capability of hitting U.S. West Coast cities, or with the European Union over its mostly empty climate-change accords. Moving on, sometimes fatally so, is the tragic hero’s operative exit. Antigone certainly makes her point about the absurdity of small men’s sexism and moral emptiness in such an uncompromising way that her own doom is assured. Tom Doniphon (John Wayne), in John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, unheroically kills the thuggish Liberty Valance, births the career of Ranse Stoddard and his marriage to Doniphon’s girlfriend, and thereby ensures civilization is Shinbone’s frontier future. His service done, he burns down his house and degenerates from feared rancher to alcoholic outcast. (…) He knows that few appreciate that the tragic heroes in their midst are either tragic or heroic — until they are safely gone and what they have done in time can be attributed to someone else. Worse, he knows that the tragic hero’s existence is solitary and without the nourishing networks and affirmation of the peasant’s agrarian life. (…) By his very excesses Trump has already lost, but in his losing he might alone be able to end some things that long ago should have been ended. Victor Davis Hanson
That is how human nature is. (…) if you talk to people in the military, the diplomatic corps, the academic world, and, just to take one example, China, they will tell you in the last two years they have had an awakening. They feel that Chinese military superiority is now to deny help to America’s allies. They believe that the trade deficit is unsustainable. They will tell you all of that, and you are almost listening to Donald Trump in 2015, but they won’t mention the word “Trump,” because to do so would contaminate that argument. What I am getting at is he looked at the world empirically. (…) he said, “This is what’s wrong, and this is what we would have to do to address this problem.” And he said it in such a way—whether he wanted to say it in that way or whether he was forced to say it in that way, I don’t know—but he said it in such a way that was designed to grab attention, to be polarizing, to get through bureaucratic doublespeak. So now he succeeded, but if I were to ask anybody at Stanford University, or anybody that I know is a four-star general or a diplomat, “What caused your sudden change about China?,” they would not say Donald Trump, and yet we know who it was. [Like a hero out of Greek myth] as long as we understand the word “hero.” Americans don’t know what that word means. They think it means you live happily ever after or you are selfless. Whether it is Achilles or Sophocles’s Ajax or Antigone, they can act out of insecurity, they can act out of impatience—they can act out of all sorts of motives that are less than what we say in America are heroic. But the point that they are making is, I see a skill that I have. I see a problem. I want to solve that problem, and I want to solve that problem so much that the ensuing reaction to that solution may not necessarily be good for me. And they accept that. (…) I tried to use as many examples as I could of the classic Western, whether it was “Shane” or “High Noon” or “The Magnificent Seven.” They all are the same—the community doesn’t have the skills or doesn’t have the willpower or doesn’t want to stoop to the corrective method to solve the existential problem, whether it is cattle barons or banditos. So they bring in an outsider, and immediately they start to be uneasy because he is uncouth—his skills, his attitude—and then he solves the problem, and they declare to him, whether it is Gary Cooper in “High Noon” or Alan Ladd in “Shane,” “I think it’s better you leave. We don’t need you anymore. We feel dirty that we ever had to call you in.” I think that is what is awaiting Trump. (…) I think Trump really did think that there were certain problems and he had particular skills that he could solve. Maybe in a naïve fashion. But I think he understood, for all the emoluments-clause hysteria, that he wasn’t going to make a lot of money from it or be liked for it. (…) I look at everything empirically. I know what the left said, and the media said, but I ask myself, “What actually happened?” There are a billion Muslims in the world, and he has, I think, six countries who were not able to substantiate that their passports were vetted. [Trump’s final travel plan limits or prevents travel from seven countries.] We didn’t even, in the final calibration, base it on religion. I think we have two countries that are not predominantly Muslim. (…) As far as separation, I remember very carefully that the whole child separation was started during Barack Obama. (…) It was unapologetically said this came from Obama and we are going to continue to practice deterrence. As someone who lives in a community that is ninety per cent Hispanic, probably forty per cent undocumented, I can tell you that it’s a very different world from what people are talking about in Washington. I have had people knock on my door and ask me where the ob-gyn lives, because they got her name in Oaxaca. And the woman in the car is six months pregnant and living across the border and given the name of a nice doctor in Selma, California, that will deliver the baby. (…) It has happened once, but I know people who come from Mexico with the names of doctors and clinics in Fresno County where they know they will get, for free, twenty to thirty thousand dollars of medical care and an anchor baby. I know that’s supposed to be an uncouth thing to say. (…) As I am talking right now, I have a guy, a U.S. citizen, tiling my kitchen, and he does not like the idea that people hire people illegally for twelve dollars an hour in cash, when he should be getting eighteen, nineteen, twenty dollars. But, when you make these arguments, they are just brushed aside by the left or the media, by saying, oh, these are anecdotal or racist or stereotype. (…) [Trump saying there were good people on both sides] was very clumsy (…) But there wasn’t a monolithic white racist protest movement. There were collections of people. Some of them were just out there because maybe they are deluded and maybe they are not. I don’t know what their hearts are like, but they did not want statues torn down or defaced. (…) You can argue that what was O.K. in 2010 suddenly was racist in 2017. But, in today’s polarized climate, Trump should have said, “While both groups are demonstrating, we can’t have a group on any side that identifies by race.” He should have said that. He just said there were good people on both sides. It was clumsy. (…) I was trying to look at Trump in classical terms, so words like eirôneia, or irony—how could it be that the Republican Party supposedly was empathetic, but a millionaire, a billionaire Manhattanite started using terms I had never heard Romney or McCain or Paul Ryan say? He started saying “our.” Our miners. And then, on the left, every time Hillary Clinton went before a Southern audience, she started speaking in a Southern accent. And Barack Obama, I think you would agree, when he gets before an inner-city audience, he suddenly sounded as if he spoke in a black patois. When Trump went to any of these groups, he had the same tie, the same suit, the same accent. What people thought was that, whatever he is, he is authentic. (…) I read a great deal about the Mar-a-Lago project, and I was shocked that the people who opposed that on cultural and social grounds were largely anti-Semitic. Trump had already announced that he was not going to discriminate against Jews and Mexicans and other people. He said, “I want wealthy people.” I went to Palm Beach and talked to wealthy Jewish donors and Cubans, and they said the same thing to me—“He likes rich people. He doesn’t care what you look like.” (…) I don’t know what the driving force was, but I found that he was indifferent. And I think the same thing is true of blacks and Hispanics. (…)  [using birtherism as a way of discrediting Obama]  was absurd. I think it was demonstrable that Obama was born in the United States. The only ambiguity was that two things gave rise to the conspiracy theorists. One was—and I think this is a hundred-per-cent accurate—an advertising group that worked in concert with his publisher put on a booklet that Obama was born in Kenya. That gave third-world cachet to “Dreams from My Father.” And he didn’t look at it or didn’t change it. [In 1991, four years before Obama’s first book was published, his literary agency incorrectly stated on a client list that Obama was born in Kenya.] And he left as a young kid and went to Indonesia and applied when he came back as a Fulbright Fellow, and I don’t know if this is substantiated or just rumor, but he probably was given dual citizenship. [The claim that Obama was a Fulbright Fellow from Indonesia, and therefore had Indonesian citizenship, originated in a hoax e-mail, from April 1, 2009, and has been discredited.] (…) What I am getting at is, here you have a guy named Barack Obama, who grew up in Hawaii, and there were indications in his past that there was ambiguity. (…) I think Trump was doing what Trump does, which is trying to sensationalize it. I don’t think it was racial. I think it was political. (…) I mean carefully calibrated in a political sense. That’s my point. Not that it was careful in the sense of being humane or sympathetic. By that I mean, there were elements in Ted Cruz’s personality that offended people. And he got Ted Cruz really angry, and Ted Cruz doesn’t come across well. (…) if you go back and look at the worst tweets, they are retaliatory. What he does is he waits like a coiled cobra until people attack him, and then he attacks them in a much cruder, blunter fashion. And he has an uncanny ability to pick people that have attacked him, whether it’s Rosie O’Donnell, Megyn Kelly—there were elements in all those people’s careers that were starting to bother people, and Trump sensed that out. I don’t think he would have gotten away with taking on other people that were completely beloved. Colin Kaepernick. People were getting tired of him, so he took him on. All that stuff was calibrated. Trump was replying and understood public sympathy would be at least fifty-fifty, if not in his favor. Victor Davis Hanson

Et si, à l’instar de la démocratie selon Churchill, Donald Trump était le pire des présidents – à l’exception de tous les autres ?

En ces temps proprement orwelliens

Où des élus démocrates assimilent aux camps nazis les camps de rétention pour migrants clandestins …

Ou, entre deux subventions de l’avortement à quasi-terme ou des transsexuels, des candidats du même parti proposent de décriminaliser l’immigration illégale …

Pendant que de l’autre côté de l’Atlantique, on célèbre avec le maître-démagoque du Vatican et une Mairie de Paris plus touristophile que jamais le trafic d’êtres humains …

Et après 30 ou 40 ans de tolérance …

D’une Corée du nord finalement capable d’atteindre avec ses missiles nucléaires la totalité du territoire américain

D’un Iran menaçant un de ses voisins de rayage de la carte et mettant l’ensemble de la région à feu et à sang …

D’une Chine empilant les surplus commerciaux grâce au pillage des secrets industriels de ses partenaires tout en militarisant les eaux territoriales de ses voisins

D’une Allemagne accumulant elle aussi les excédents commerciaux tout en réduisant à 1,25% sa contribution à ses défenses militaires …

Comment brusquement ne pas voir …

Avec l’historien américain Victor Davis Hanson

Ou les politologues français Guy Millière ou Evelyne Joslain

Et avec ses électeurs de 2016 comme probablement de 2020 …

La véritable force finalement des si nombreuses faiblesses …

D’un président aussi peu « présidentiel » que l’actuel président américain ?

Donald Trump, Tragic Hero
His very flaws may be his strengths
Victor Davis Hanson
April 12, 2018

The very idea that Donald Trump could, even in a perverse way, be heroic may appall half the country. Nonetheless, one way of understanding both Trump’s personal excesses and his accomplishments is that his not being traditionally presidential may have been valuable in bringing long-overdue changes in foreign and domestic policy.

Tragic heroes, as they have been portrayed from Sophocles’ plays (e.g., Ajax, Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Philoctetes) to the modern western film, are not intrinsically noble. Much less are they likeable. Certainly, they can often be obnoxious and petty, if not dangerous, especially to those around them. These mercurial sorts never end well — and on occasion neither do those in their vicinity. Oedipus was rudely narcissistic, Hombre’s John Russell (Paul Newman) arrogant and off-putting.

Tragic heroes are loners, both by preference and because of society’s understandable unease with them. Ajax’s soliloquies about a rigged system and the lack of recognition accorded his undeniable accomplishments are Trumpian to the core — something akin to the sensational rumors that at night Trump is holed up alone, petulant, brooding, eating fast food, and watching Fox News shows.

Outlaw leader Pike Bishop (William Holden), in director Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, is a killer whose final gory sacrifice results in the slaughter of the toxic General Mapache and his corrupt local Federales. A foreboding Ethan Edwards (John Wayne), of John Ford’s classic 1956 film The Searchers, alone can track down his kidnapped niece. But his methods and his recent past as a Confederate renegade make him suspect and largely unfit for a civilizing frontier after the expiration of his transitory usefulness. These characters are not the sorts that we would associate with Bob Dole, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, or Mitt Romney.

The tragic hero’s change of fortune — often from good to bad, as Aristotle reminds us — is due to an innate flaw (hamartia), or at least in some cases an intrinsic and usually uncivilized trait that can be of service to the community, albeit usually expressed fully only at the expense of the hero’s own fortune. The problem for civilization is that the creation of those skill sets often brings with it past baggage of lawlessness and comfortability with violence. Trump’s cunning and mercurialness, honed in Manhattan real estate, global salesmanship, reality TV, and wheeler-dealer investments, may have earned him ostracism from polite Washington society. But these talents also may for a time be suited for dealing with many of the outlaws of the global frontier.

At rare times, a General George S. Patton (“Give me an army of West Point graduates and I’ll win a battle. Give me a handful of Texas Aggies and I’ll win a war”) could be harnessed to serve the country in extremis. General Curtis LeMay did what others could not — and would not: “I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal. . . . Every soldier thinks something of the moral aspects of what he is doing. But all war is immoral and if you let that bother you, you’re not a good soldier.” Later, the public exposure given to the mentalities and behaviors of such controversial figures would only ensure that they would likely be estranged from or even caricatured by their peers — once, of course, they were no longer needed by those whom they had benefited. When one is willing to burn down with napalm 75 percent of the industrial core of an often-genocidal wartime Japan, and thereby help bring a vicious war to an end, then one looks for sorts like Curtis LeMay and his B-29s. In the later calm of peace, one is often shocked that one ever had. A sober and judicious General Omar Bradley grows on us in peace even if he was hardly Patton in war.

So what makes such men and women both tragic and heroic is their full knowledge that the natural expression of their personas can lead only to their own destruction or ostracism. Yet for a variety of reasons, both personal and civic, their characters not only should not be altered but could not be, even if the tragic hero wished to change, given his megalomania and Manichean views of the human experience. Clint Eastwood’s Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan cannot serve as the official face of the San Francisco police department. But Dirty Harry alone has the skills and ruthlessness to ensure that the mass murderer Scorpio will never harm the innocent again. So, in the finale, he taunts and then shoots the psychopathic Scorpio, ending both their careers, and walks off — after throwing his inspector’s badge into the water. Marshal Will Kane (Gary Cooper) of High Noon did about the same thing, but only after gunning down (with the help of his wife) four killers whom the law-abiding but temporizing elders of Hadleyville proved utterly incapable of stopping.

The out-of-place Ajax in Sophocles’ tragedy of the same name cannot function apart from the battlefield. Unlike Odysseus, he lacks the tact and fluidity to succeed in a new world of nuanced civic rules. So he would rather “live nobly, or nobly die” — “nobly” meaning according to an obsolete black-and-white code that is no longer compatible with the ascendant polis.

In other words, tragic heroes are often simply too volatile to continue in polite society. In George Stevens’s classic 1953 western Shane, even the reforming and soft-spoken gunslinger Shane (Alan Ladd) understands his own dilemma all too well: He alone possesses the violent skills necessary to free the homesteaders from the insidious threats of hired guns and murderous cattle barons. (And how he got those skills worries those he plans to help.) Yet by the time of his final resort to lethal violence, Shane has sacrificed all prior chances of reform and claims on reentering the civilized world of the stable “sodbuster” community. As Shane tells young Joey after gunning down the three villains of the film and thereby saving the small farming community: “Can’t break the mold. I tried it, and it didn’t work for me. . . . Joey, there’s no living with . . . a killing. There’s no going back from one. Right or wrong, it’s a brand. A brand sticks. There’s no going back.”

Trump could not cease tweeting, not cease his rallies, not cease his feuding, and not cease his nonstop motion and unbridled speech if he wished to. It is his brand, and such overbearing made Trump, for good or evil, what he is — and will likely eventually banish him from establishment Washington, whether after or during his elected term. His raucousness can be managed, perhaps mitigated for a time — thus the effective tenure of his sober cabinet choices and his chief of staff, the ex–Marine general, no-nonsense John Kelly — but not eliminated. His blunt views cannot really thrive, and indeed can scarcely survive, in the nuance, complexity, and ambiguity of Washington.

Trump is not a mannered Mitt Romney, who would never have left the Paris climate agreement. He is not a veteran who knew the whiz of real bullets and remains a Washington icon, such as John McCain, who would never have moved the American embassy to Jerusalem. Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush certainly would never have waded into no-win controversies such as the take-a-knee NFL debacle and unvetted immigration from suspect countries in the Middle East and Africa, or called to account sanctuary cities that thwarted federal law. Our modern Agamemnon, Speaker Paul Ryan, is too circumspect to get caught up with Trump’s wall or a mini-trade war with China.

Trump does not seem to care whether he is acting “presidential.” The word — as he admits — is foreign to him. He does not worry whether his furious tweets, his revolving-door firing and hiring, and his rally counterpunches reveal a lack of stature or are becoming an embarrassing window into his own insecurities and apprehensions as a Beltway media world closes in upon him in the manner that, as the trapped western hero felt, the shrinking landscape was increasingly without options in the new 20th century.

The real moral question is not whether the gunslinger Trump could or should become civilized (again, defined in our context as becoming normalized as “presidential”) but whether he could be of service at the opportune time and right place for his country, crude as he is. After all, despite their decency, in extremis did the frontier farmers have a solution without Shane, or the Mexican peasants a realistic alternative to the Magnificent Seven, or the town elders a viable plan without Will Kane?

Perhaps we could not withstand the fire and smoke of a series of Trump presidencies, but given the direction of the country over the last 16 years, half the population, the proverbial townspeople of the western, wanted some outsider, even with a dubious past, to ride in and do things that most normal politicians not only would not but could not do — before exiting stage left or riding off into the sunset, to the relief of most and the regrets of a few.

The best and the brightest résumés of the Bush and Obama administrations had doubled the national debt — twice. Three prior presidents had helped to empower North Korea, now with nuclear-tipped missiles pointing at the West Coast. Supposedly refined and sophisticated diplomats of the last quarter century, who would never utter the name “Rocket Man” or stoop to call Kim Jong-un “short and fat,” nonetheless had gone through the “agreed framework,” “six-party talks,” and “strategic patience,” in which three administrations gave Pyongyang quite massive aid to behave and either not to proliferate or at least to denuclearize. And it was all a failure, and a deadly one at that.

For all of Obama’s sophisticated discourse about “spread the wealth around” and “You didn’t build that,” quantitative easing, zero interest rates, massive new regulations, the stimulus, and shovel-ready, government-inspired jobs, he could not achieve 3 percent annualized economic growth. Half the country, the more desperate half, believed that the remedy for a government in which the IRS, the FBI, the DOJ, and the NSA were weaponized, often in partisan fashion and without worry about the civil liberties of American citizens, was not more temporizing technicians but a pariah who cleaned house and moved on. Certainly Obama was not willing to have a showdown with the Chinese over their widely acknowledged cheating and coerced expropriation of U.S. technology, with the NATO allies over their chronic welching on prior defense commitments, with the North Koreans after they achieved the capability of hitting U.S. West Coast cities, or with the European Union over its mostly empty climate-change accords.

Moving on, sometimes fatally so, is the tragic hero’s operative exit. Antigone certainly makes her point about the absurdity of small men’s sexism and moral emptiness in such an uncompromising way that her own doom is assured. Tom Doniphon (John Wayne), in John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, unheroically kills the thuggish Liberty Valance, births the career of Ranse Stoddard and his marriage to Doniphon’s girlfriend, and thereby ensures civilization is Shinbone’s frontier future. His service done, he burns down his house and degenerates from feared rancher to alcoholic outcast.

The remnants of The Magnificent Seven would no longer be magnificent had they stayed on in the village, settled down to age, and endlessly rehashed the morality and utility of slaughtering the outlaw Calvera and his banditos. As Chris rides out, he sums up to Vin their dilemma: “The old man was right. Only the farmers won. We lost. We always lose.” He knows that few appreciate that the tragic heroes in their midst are either tragic or heroic — until they are safely gone and what they have done in time can be attributed to someone else. Worse, he knows that the tragic hero’s existence is solitary and without the nourishing networks and affirmation of the peasant’s agrarian life.

John Ford’s most moving scene in his best film, The Searchers, is Ethan Edwards’s final exit from a house of shadows, swinging open the door and walking alone into sunlit oblivion. If he is lucky, Trump may well experience the same self-inflicted fate.

By his very excesses Trump has already lost, but in his losing he might alone be able to end some things that long ago should have been ended.

Voir aussi:

Q & A
The Classicist Who Sees Donald Trump as a Tragic Hero
Isaac Chotiner
The New Yorker
February 20, 2019

Many of the books written in support of Donald Trump’s Presidency have been authored by Trump family hangers-on or charlatans looking to make a buck. (Examples include “Trump’s Enemies: How the Deep State Is Undermining the Presidency,” by Corey Lewandowski and David N. Bossie, and “The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump,” by Gregg Jarrett.) “The Case for Trump,” by Victor Davis Hanson, is different. (There isn’t even a subtitle.) Hanson, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, is a classicist and military historian, who was awarded the National Humanities Medal by George W. Bush, in 2007. His previous book, “The Second World Wars,” was respectfully reviewed by the Times and The New Yorker.

But Hanson has another side, one that is well suited for the age of Trump. A longtime contributor to the National Review, he has a history of hostility to undocumented Mexican and Central American immigrants, who he claims are undermining American culture, and to African-Americans who speak about the persistence of racism, including Barack Obama, whom he has described as a leading member of “the new segregationists.” In his new book, which will be published by Basic Books, in March, Hanson explains why he thinks Trump was elected, and why he views the President as akin to a classically tragic hero, whom America needs but will never fully appreciate.

I recently spoke by phone with Hanson, who was in his home, in California. During our conversation, which has been edited and condensed for clarity, we discussed whether Trump should be compared to heroes of Greek myth, Hanson’s view of the Charlottesville protesters, and whether the President is carefully choosing the people he attacks.

I want to start with a quote from your book. You compare the President to others you admire in American history, writing, “What makes such men and women both tragic and heroic is their knowledge that the natural expression of their personas can lead only to their own destruction or ostracism from an advancing civilization that they seek to protect. And yet they willingly accept the challenge to be of service . . . Yet for a variety of reasons, both personal and civic, their characters not only should not be altered, but could not be, even if the tragic hero wished to change . . . In the classical tragic sense, Trump likely will end in one of two fashions, both not particularly good: either spectacular but unacknowledged accomplishments followed by ostracism . . . or, less likely, a single term due to the eventual embarrassment of his beneficiaries.” I wonder how your training as a classicist informs this passage, but I also want to ask, is our flawed, sinful country not worthy of Donald Trump?

No, I don’t mean that, as to the latter. I mean that that is how human nature is. So, if you talk to people in the military, the diplomatic corps, the academic world, and, just to take one example, China, they will tell you in the last two years they have had an awakening. They feel that Chinese military superiority is now to deny help to America’s allies. They believe that the trade deficit is unsustainable. They will tell you all of that, and you are almost listening to Donald Trump in 2015, but they won’t mention the word “Trump,” because to do so would contaminate that argument. What I am getting at is he looked at the world empirically.

Empirically?

Yes, empirically, and he said, “This is what’s wrong, and this is what we would have to do to address this problem.” And he said it in such a way—whether he wanted to say it in that way or whether he was forced to say it in that way, I don’t know—but he said it in such a way that was designed to grab attention, to be polarizing, to get through bureaucratic doublespeak. So now he succeeded, but if I were to ask anybody at Stanford University, or anybody that I know is a four-star general or a diplomat, “What caused your sudden change about China?,” they would not say Donald Trump, and yet we know who it was.

Do you feel that in some ways he is a hero out of Greek myth?

Yeah, as long as we understand the word “hero.” Americans don’t know what that word means. They think it means you live happily ever after or you are selfless. Whether it is Achilles or Sophocles’s Ajax or Antigone, they can act out of insecurity, they can act out of impatience—they can act out of all sorts of motives that are less than what we say in America are heroic. But the point that they are making is, I see a skill that I have. I see a problem. I want to solve that problem, and I want to solve that problem so much that the ensuing reaction to that solution may not necessarily be good for me. And they accept that.

It reminds me of Trump saying that people will get sick of winning. It seems like you are saying we have gotten sick of it, and that is the tragedy of Trump.

I think so. I tried to use as many examples as I could of the classic Western, whether it was “Shane” or “High Noon” or “The Magnificent Seven.” They all are the same—the community doesn’t have the skills or doesn’t have the willpower or doesn’t want to stoop to the corrective method to solve the existential problem, whether it is cattle barons or banditos. So they bring in an outsider, and immediately they start to be uneasy because he is uncouth—his skills, his attitude—and then he solves the problem, and they declare to him, whether it is Gary Cooper in “High Noon” or Alan Ladd in “Shane,” “I think it’s better you leave. We don’t need you anymore. We feel dirty that we ever had to call you in.” I think that is what is awaiting Trump.

How does this fit, in a Greek sense, with the man we are often confronted with—constantly tweeting, spending much of his day watching cable news, obsessed with small slights. Do these things, allowing for the modern context, also remind you of great heroes of myth?

Have you read Sophocles’s Ajax ever? It’s one of his best plays.

No, I haven’t.

You have a neurotic hero who cannot get over the fact that he was by all standards the successor to Achilles and deserves Achilles’s armor, and yet he was outsmarted by this wily, lesser Odysseus, who rigged the contest and got the armor. All he does is say, “This wasn’t fair. I’m better. Doesn’t anybody know this?” It’s true, but you want to say to Ajax, “Shut up and just take it.” Achilles has elements of a tragic hero. He says, at the beginning of the Iliad, “I do all the work. I kill all the Trojans. But when it comes to assigning booty, you always give it to mediocrities—deep-state, administrative nothings.” So he stalks off. And the gods tell him, “If you come back in, you will win fame, but you are going to end up dead.” So he makes a tragic, heroic decision that he is going to do that.

I think Trump really did think that there were certain problems and he had particular skills that he could solve. Maybe in a naïve fashion. But I think he understood, for all the emoluments-clause hysteria, that he wasn’t going to make a lot of money from it or be liked for it.

You don’t have much to say about child separation, the ban on certain Muslims, Charlottesville—the more controversial aspects of his Presidency. Are these nicks on a glorious record, or are they actually accomplishments?

I look at everything empirically. I know what the left said, and the media said, but I ask myself, “What actually happened?” There are a billion Muslims in the world, and he has, I think, six countries who were not able to substantiate that their passports were vetted. [Trump’s final travel plan limits or prevents travel from seven countries.] We didn’t even, in the final calibration, base it on religion. I think we have two countries that are not predominantly Muslim.

It was very clever how they did that.

Yeah. And so that’s one thing. As far as separation, I remember very carefully that the whole child separation was started during Barack Obama.

The policy of separating was a Trump thing.

It was used by Trump. It was unapologetically said this came from Obama and we are going to continue to practice deterrence. As someone who lives in a community that is ninety per cent Hispanic, probably forty per cent undocumented, I can tell you that it’s a very different world from what people are talking about in Washington. I have had people knock on my door and ask me where the ob-gyn lives, because they got her name in Oaxaca. And the woman in the car is six months pregnant and living across the border and given the name of a nice doctor in Selma, California, that will deliver the baby.

This has happened once? More than once?

It has happened once, but I know people who come from Mexico with the names of doctors and clinics in Fresno County where they know they will get, for free, twenty to thirty thousand dollars of medical care and an anchor baby. I know that’s supposed to be an uncouth thing to say.

Just a bit.

And they will be here. As I am talking right now, I have a guy, a U.S. citizen, tiling my kitchen, and he does not like the idea that people hire people illegally for twelve dollars an hour in cash, when he should be getting eighteen, nineteen, twenty dollars. But, when you make these arguments, they are just brushed aside by the left or the media, by saying, oh, these are anecdotal or racist or stereotype.

Right, people hear a story about someone knocking on your door wanting an ob-gyn and they say that is anecdotal. Charlottesville was the last one you are going to address, Trump saying there were good people on both sides.

That was very clumsy to say. But there wasn’t a monolithic white racist protest movement. There were collections of people. Some of them were just out there because maybe they are deluded and maybe they are not. I don’t know what their hearts are like, but they did not want statues torn down or defaced.

History buffs, really.

Yeah. You can argue that what was O.K. in 2010 suddenly was racist in 2017. But, in today’s polarized climate, Trump should have said, “While both groups are demonstrating, we can’t have a group on any side that identifies by race.” He should have said that. He just said there were good people on both sides. It was clumsy.

This is what you were saying about Greek heroes. You don’t get the perfect person who will phrase everything or do everything perfectly.

You don’t. You don’t. I was trying to look at Trump in classical terms, so words like eirôneia, or irony—how could it be that the Republican Party supposedly was empathetic, but a millionaire, a billionaire Manhattanite started using terms I had never heard Romney or McCain or Paul Ryan say? He started saying “our.” Our miners. And then, on the left, every time Hillary Clinton went before a Southern audience, she started speaking in a Southern accent. And Barack Obama, I think you would agree, when he gets before an inner-city audience, he suddenly sounded as if he spoke in a black patois. When Trump went to any of these groups, he had the same tie, the same suit, the same accent. What people thought was that, whatever he is, he is authentic.

Honest, authentic.

I don’t know about honest, but authentic and genuine. Honest in the sense that . . .

The larger sense.

Yeah.

Race has been a big part of Trump’s Presidency. There is not a lot of that in your book. The index contains an entry for “blacks,” which just says, when you turn to the page, that “African-Americans increasingly began to control big-city governments.” But there wasn’t a larger discussion of race. Where do you think Trump stands on racial issues?

When I wrote the book, I was interested, so I actually looked at things. I read a great deal about the Mar-a-Lago project, and I was shocked that the people who opposed that on cultural and social grounds were largely anti-Semitic. Trump had already announced that he was not going to discriminate against Jews and Mexicans and other people. He said, “I want wealthy people.” I went to Palm Beach and talked to wealthy Jewish donors and Cubans, and they said the same thing to me—“He likes rich people. He doesn’t care what you look like.”

Egalitarian, yeah.

I don’t know what the driving force was, but I found that he was indifferent. And I think the same thing is true of blacks and Hispanics.

What did you think about him using birtherism as a way of discrediting Obama?

You mean when he was a private citizen? He dropped that.

Well, what do you think about it?

I think it was absurd. I think it was demonstrable that Obama was born in the United States. The only ambiguity was that two things gave rise to the conspiracy theorists. One was—and I think this is a hundred-per-cent accurate—an advertising group that worked in concert with his publisher put on a booklet that Obama was born in Kenya. That gave third-world cachet to “Dreams from My Father.” And he didn’t look at it or didn’t change it. [In 1991, four years before Obama’s first book was published, his literary agency incorrectly stated on a client list that Obama was born in Kenya.] And he left as a young kid and went to Indonesia and applied when he came back as a Fulbright Fellow, and I don’t know if this is substantiated or just rumor, but he probably was given dual citizenship. [The claim that Obama was a Fulbright Fellow from Indonesia, and therefore had Indonesian citizenship, originated in a hoax e-mail, from April 1, 2009, and has been discredited.]

Rumors are fine.

Yeah. While in Indonesia. What I am getting at is, here you have a guy named Barack Obama, who grew up in Hawaii, and there were indications in his past that there was ambiguity.

You don’t think Trump was using it as a racially—

No, no, I think Trump was doing what Trump does, which is trying to sensationalize it. I don’t think it was racial. I think it was political.

You write, “Trump picked his targets carefully. His epithets even more carefully.” On the other hand, you have him making fun of Mika Brzezinski’s looks or saying that Ted Cruz’s dad had a role in the J.F.K. assassination.

I mentioned how that was crude in the book.

O.K., so do we think he picks his targets carefully, or maybe not?

If you go back and look at that, I mean carefully calibrated in a political sense. That’s my point. Not that it was careful in the sense of being humane or sympathetic. By that I mean, there were elements in Ted Cruz’s personality that offended people. And he got Ted Cruz really angry, and Ted Cruz doesn’t come across well.

Right, if someone accused your dad of killing J.F.K., or said that your wife was unattractive, you might get a little—

I think so. But if you go back and look at the worst tweets, they are retaliatory.

What he does is he waits like a coiled cobra until people attack him, and then he attacks them in a much cruder, blunter fashion. And he has an uncanny ability to pick people that have attacked him, whether it’s Rosie O’Donnell, Megyn Kelly—there were elements in all those people’s careers that were starting to bother people, and Trump sensed that out. I don’t think he would have gotten away with taking on other people that were completely beloved. Colin Kaepernick. People were getting tired of him, so he took him on. All that stuff was calibrated. Trump was replying and understood public sympathy would be at least fifty-fifty, if not in his favor.

No, I mean, if you are going to attack a woman as ugly you want to make sure you at least have public sympathy on your side.

I think so. There are certain women that may be homely.

Voir également:

Book paints Trump as tragic hero
Robert Brehl
The Catholic register
March 26, 2019

In a new book, The Case for Trump, scholarly classicist Victor Davis Hanson paints the U.S. president as a tragic hero like Achilles or Ajax from classic Greek literature.

“What makes such men and women both tragic and heroic is their knowledge that the natural expression of their personas can lead only to their own destruction or ostracism from an advancing civilization that they seek to protect. And yet they willingly accept the challenge to be of service,” Hanson writes.

“Yet for a variety of reasons, both personal and civic, their characters not only should not be altered, but could not be, even if the tragic hero wished to change. … In the classical tragic sense, Trump likely will end in one of two fashions, both not particularly good: either spectacular but unacknowledged accomplishments followed by ostracism … or, less likely, a single term due to the eventual embarrassment of his beneficiaries.”

Donald Trump, with metaphorical sword and shield in hand, slaying 21st century dragons like illegal immigrants or foreign despots threatening America; all the while, his selfless bravery misunderstood. It’s quite an image.

But it would be wrong to swiftly dismiss Hanson’s ideas and his book, especially by those opposed to the president and his policies. Hanson himself calls Trump “flawed,” but his presidency exemplary.

Hanson is a retired classics professor from California State University, Fresno, and senior fellow in military history at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and he has written two dozen books on topics ranging from the ancient world to the Second World War. He lives on a working farm in a multiracial, rural area in the interior of California, southeast of San Francisco. He doesn’t live in an Ivory Tower.

He also uses his hometown of Selma as a classic example of why America elected Trump. Once prosperous with family-run farms and food-processing plants and other manufacturing jobs, now most jobs are gone, unemployment high, crime and drug abuse commonplace. “In 1970, we did not have keys for our outside doors; in 2018, I have six guard dogs,” he writes. 

While he is a conservative with an upfront agenda, his critics come from the left and the right. One of the nastiest attacks upon Hanson comes from a Republican who worked on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and calls him a “Nazi sympathizer,” “racist enabler” and a “treasonous sophist.” A liberal writer says it’s oxymoronic to call Hanson a “pro-Trump intellectual.”

If his ideas are ticking off both ends of the spectrum, they must have some merit, or, at the very least, be interesting.

In defending his book, Hanson’s tone is civil. He tells stories from antiquity to make a point; or he acknowledges that Trump is a blowhard like the character Rodney Dangerfield played in the movie Caddyshack. But that doesn’t mean Trump’s policies aren’t working, he says. When one defends a position with reasoned thought, instead of rants and personal attacks like so many Trump supporters and detractors, it’s a welcome change.

Some of Hanson’s observations are disagreeable, others are worthy of pointing out and giving Trump his due. 

For example, Trump’s stand towards China and its murky trade practices is a reprieve from the appeasement of recent years. His support of the Catholic and Jewish faiths is also admirable.

Ultimately, though, The Case for Trump crumbles on two fundamental points.

It is disingenuous to separate the man from the presidency, but Hanson does. “Trump’s own uncouthness,” he writes, “was in its own manner contextualized by his supporters as a long overdue pushback to the elite disdain and indeed hatred shown them.” 

Hanson also points out character flaws in former presidents as somehow a reason to hand Trump a “get-out-of-jail-free-card” for his extracurricular activities with hookers and porn stars. 

“It doesn’t mean Donald Trump is a saint,” Hanson said during a recorded book tour event, “but he’s not an aberration either.”

My mother often said “two wrongs don’t make a right” and that applies here, along with Trump’s penchant to surround himself with hucksters, grifters, con men, liars and felons. Then there are the relentless and often vicious personal tweets and attacks on the Constitution. 

Sorry, but these character cancers cannot be ignored simply because one likes Trump’s tax cuts and deregulation that may or may not have boosted economic growth.

Besides, Hanson doesn’t make the case — with hard facts — that Trump’s policies are actually working. Has picking on allies like Canada really helped Wisconsin dairy farmers? Has he really tamed Kim Jong Un and his nuclear aspirations? Have Trump policies really boosted growth more than simply the cyclical nature of the economy itself? The list goes on and on.

Trump opponents probably won’t read the book, but it’s not your regular right-wing diatribe camouflaged as a book. It’s readable and, at times, highly entertaining in how he skewers Trump’s adversaries.

But, in the end, the book can’t make a case that electing a status quo disruptor like Donald Trump is any more than a Pyrrhic victory in the classical tragic sense.

Voir de même:

Trump’s policies on Iran, North Korea and Russia are cleaning up messes left by Obama, Bush and Clinton

Business as usual has strengthened our enemies for decades. Trump’s iconoclasm is worth a try.
Keith Koffler

Trump, however, has decided a nuclear Iran is not acceptable — neither now nor 12 years from now. He withdrew from the deal and re-invoked sanctions in the hope that the Iranians will renegotiate the terms that legally could have put them on a path toward nuclear weapons.

Of course, this path too has drawbacks — Iran responded by claiming it will increase its uranium enrichment. But Trump has reasoned the time to get tough with Iran is now, not in a dozen years when they are stronger and have perfected technologies related to nuclear weapons.

U.S. policy toward Russia pre-Trump had also been marked by years of complacency — remember Russian President Vladimir Putin convincing Bush there was a soul behind his eyes? During the 2012 presidential campaign, Obama dismissed Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s concerns about Russia with a quip about the 1980s wanting its foreign policy back. Obama was also caught on an open mic whispering to Russia’s then-President Dmitri Medvedev that he’d have more “flexibility” after the election.

In key ways, the White House has been strengthening U.S. posture toward Russia — even if Trump seems to be buddying up to Putin. The Brookings Institution noted this, asserting, “The Trump administration’s policy actions often seem at odds with the president’s rhetoric,” and listing a series of Trump policy actions toward Russia.

Trump’s administration, Foreign Policy explained, “has held a tough line on Russia, building on his predecessor’s policies by layering on further sanctions, expelling dozens of Russian diplomats, and providing lethal weapons support to Ukraine — a step that former President Barack Obama had been unwilling to take.”

Trump’s demand that European nations pay their North Atlantic Treaty Organization obligations — another can regularly kicked down the road — might seem hostile toward long-time allies, but ensures they have skin in the game when it comes to confronting Russia.

The Washington establishment, so used to conventional ways, is aghast. But business as usual has strengthened our enemies. Trump’s iconoclasm is worth a try.

Guy Milliere

Les 4 vérités
02 juillet , 2019

Les semaines se suivent et se ressemblent dans la grande presse française.

Le Président américain Donald Trump est présenté comme un abruti erratique guidé par ses impulsions, ignorant et dangereux.

Bien que le rapport Mueller ait montré qu’il n’y a jamais eu aucune «collusion» entre Trump et la Russie, les journalistes français en leur grande majorité se refusent à le dire explicitement et à reconnaître qu’ils ont pratiqué la désinformation à dose intensive pendant deux ans.

Les résultats obtenus par ­Trump, tant sur le plan intérieur que sur le plan extérieur, sont à peine notés et ne le sont parfois pas du tout. Quand ils le sont, le nom de Trump est le plus souvent omis, comme si le citer positivement, ne serait-ce qu’une seule fois, était absolument impensable.

Ce n’est, en soi, pas grave: ­Trump gouverne sans se préoccuper de ce que diront des journalistes français. Cela contribue néanmoins à entraver la compréhension des choses de tous ceux qui ne s’informeraient que grâce à la presse française, et nombre de gens seront dès lors surpris lorsque Trump sera réélu en novembre 2020 (car tout l’indique: il sera réélu).

On leur expliquera sans doute que c’est parce que le peuple américain est lui-même ignorant et dangereux.

Cela contribue aussi à empêcher de voir que l’action et les idées de Trump ont un impact beaucoup plus vaste, et qui excède de beaucoup les frontières des États-Unis.

J’ai écrit en 2017 un premier livre sur l’action et les idées de ­Trump et j’y disais que la révolution Trump venait de commencer.

Depuis, la révolution Trump suit son cours, aux États-Unis et sur le reste de la planète.

J’ai écrit en 2018 un deuxième livre expliquant la doctrine ­Trump («Ce que veut Trump»).

Je publierai un troisième livre en 2020 qui portera sur l’ère Trump. Car nous sommes dans l’ère ­Trump.

La politique économique menée par Donald Trump – qui ajoute à une forte baisse des impôts et à une déréglementation radicale, un refus de se soumettre aux lubies écologistes et un nationalisme économique basé sur la renégociation de tous les accords internationaux antécédemment négociés et sur la création de rapports de force – porte ses fruits et mène divers gouvernements sur la planète à adopter des mesures allant dans la même direction.

Sa politique intérieure – basée sur un retour à une immigration strictement contrôlée et sur la réaffirmation des valeurs qui fondent la civilisation occidentale – porte, elle aussi, ses fruits, même si elle est, dans plusieurs États du pays, entravée par les décisions délétères de la gauche américaine qui entend protéger les immigrants illégaux (criminels compris).

Plusieurs gouvernements sur la planète adoptent des mesures allant dans le même sens.

La façon de Trump d’affronter la gauche et les médias désinformateurs contribue à donner à d’autres dirigeants conservateurs le courage d’affronter la gauche et les médias désinformateurs d’une même façon.
La politique étrangère menée par Donald Trump change le monde.

Au Proche-Orient, Donald ­Trump conduit une asphyxie du régime iranien qui progresse et, n’en déplaise à ceux qui refusent de le voir, diminue la dangerosité de celui-ci.

Il met en place un rapprochement entre les pays du monde arabe sunnite et Israël qui modifie profondément la donne régionale et, n’en déplaise là encore à ceux qui refusent de le voir, fait apparaître pour la première fois des espoirs réels qu’émerge une paix durable.

L’anéantissement de l’État islamique permet de juguler le terrorisme islamique sur les cinq continents.

L’action d’endiguement de la Chine communiste déstabilise celle-ci et freine les ambitions hégémoniques nourries par Xi Jinping. La Corée du Nord n’est plus une menace pour la Corée du Sud et le Japon.

L’arrivée au pouvoir de Jaïr Bolsonaro au Brésil est au cœur d’un changement majeur dans toute l’Amérique latine.

En Europe, Trump ne cesse d’appuyer les dirigeants «populistes» d’Europe centrale contre les orientations anti-démocratiques et islamophiles de l’Union européenne, et la perspective d’une Europe des nations souveraines fait son chemin.

L’ère Trump est en son aurore. La grande presse du monde qui parle anglais le dit explicitement. Ne comptez pas sur la grande presse française pour vous le dire!

Voir encore:

Evelyne Joslain

02 juillet, 2019

Trump ne voulait pas du rôle de policier mondial, mais il se trouve obligé de l’assumer, puisqu’il n’y a aucune puissance capable de remplacer les États-Unis dans ce domaine-clé.

C’est l’Amérique, pas l’ONU impotente et corrompue, qui maintient les routes commerciales, et le monde entier en profite, gratuitement – comme si cela allait de soi. Or, non seulement, cela ne va pas de soi, mais beaucoup d’obligés geignent contre un pseudo «impérialisme américain», sans jamais se remettre en question.

Si l’Amérique trouve certes son compte dans ce service planétaire assuré à grands frais par sa flotte et ses services de surveillance, ce n’est pas elle qui en a le plus besoin, mais ses alliés qui, eux, ne sont pas sevrés du brut que leur vend l’OPEP.

C’est aussi l’Amérique qui en assume les risques comme on vient de voir avec la descente en flammes d’un drone de 100 millions de dollars, heureusement sans pilote, qui croisait dans l’espace international et non iranien. Cela, après des attaques iraniennes, sans raison non plus, sur des pétroliers norvégien et japonais.

Alors, «l’opinion internationale» (c’est-à-dire la gauche mondialiste et ses médias désinformateurs) se dit «soulagée» que Trump n’ait pas poursuivi «son escalade», mais tous ces trolls qui renversent ignominieusement les responsabilités, déplorent à présent son «manque de stratégie».

Qu’est-ce que des anti-américains et anti-militaristes primaires peuvent comprendre aux questions de stratégie avec leur logiciel bloqué?

La véritable question est: pourquoi l’ayatollah Khamenei décide-t-il maintenant de provoquer Trump?

Les sanctions asphyxient son économie de rente, d’autant que l’aide concoctée par les Européens cupides, hypocrites et lâches, tarde à se matérialiser.
Les dirigeants de l’UE, qui mar­chent au pas de l’oie avec Merkel, entretiennent une cécité criminelle vis-à-vis de l’Iran.

Sous Merkel, l’Allemagne oublie qu’elle doit tout aux États-Unis. Elle remercie par une politique teigneuse de tarifs douaniers. Elle se targue cyniquement d’être la plus mauvaise payeuse de l’OTAN, achète le gaz de la Russie et refuse le gaz américain. Et voici qu’elle pactise avec les ayatollahs contre les USA.

L’Allemagne et l’UE illustrent tout ce qui est inacceptable pour Trump: l’archétype de l’allié félon aux prétentions disproportionnées au vu de la réalité. Et elles sont coupables de négligence inadmissible envers notre sécurité collective en dissimulant le danger pour l’Occident qu’est la République islamique, nullement différente (dans ses visées hégémoniques et ses méthodes internes brutales) de l’État islamique que l’Iran aidait et que Trump a éradiqué.

L’Iran n’a jamais cessé l’enrichissement d’uranium et continue d’alimenter le terrorisme islamique. Les sanctions ne sont que justice et, malgré leur dureté renforcée, Trump espère des Iraniens éclairés un énième et décisif soulèvement contre ses dirigeants. Car il n’en a qu’après ce régime meurtrier et sympathise avec les Iraniens, mais il leur rappelle qu’il ne peut intervenir militairement, sauf attaque avec victimes américaines, auquel cas la réponse serait foudroyante. Loin de vouloir la guerre, il veut «redonner à l’Iran sa grandeur».

Khamenei sait qu’à la Maison Blanche, Trump s’est entouré volontairement de conseillers aux vues opposées qui représentent chacun une partie de la base de Trump et qui constituent un «brain-trust». Il table sur le fait que Trump est tenu par l’impératif de sa réélection. Les « deux côtés de l’équation », comme Trump les appelle, sont parfaitement honorables et défendent des arguments que l’on ne peut négliger.
Pour le moment, le côté «colombe» exulte, les isolationnistes, les libertariens, et toute la mouvance du «The American Conservative».

Les «faucons» comprennent que l’heure de l’action militaire n’est pas venue. Mais ce serait mal connaître ­Trump que de penser qu’il ne va pas trouver le moyen de faire payer aux criminels de Téhéran leurs méfaits.

Il doit, seul, parvenir à empêcher les ayatollahs d’accéder au nucléaire et faire cesser leur financement du terrorisme, sans engager de troupes et sans dépenser des milliards.

C’est une tâche de police mondiale à laquelle les Européens devraient participer.

La stratégie de Trump, c’est de voir venir, de ne pas dévoiler son jeu et de se tenir prêt à frapper.

Ceux qui lui font confiance ne sont pas inquiets et savourent un divertissement politique quotidien de qualité.

Voir par ailleurs:

Alexandre del Valle

Valeurs actuelles

1 juillet 2019

De retour de Sicile, Alexandre del Valle revient sur l’affaire du bateau de l’ONG pro-migrants Sea Watch qui avait « secouru » 53 clandestins dans les eaux internationales au large de la Libye, mi-juin et dont le capitaine fait la une des journaux depuis que son navire a risqué, dans la nuit du 28 juin, d’écraser une vedette de la Guardia della Finanza qui l’empêchait d’accoster.

Arrêtée par la police italienne, le capitaine du bateau Sea Watch, Carola Rackete, semble être devenue l’héroïne de toute une gauche européenne dont l’activisme humanitaire et victimiste pro-migrants sert en réalité une idéologie anti-nationale, anti-frontières et viscéralement hostile à la civilisation européenne-occidentale assimilée au Mal et dont les « fautes » passées et présentes ne pourraient être expiées qu’en acceptant l’auto-submersion migratoire et islamique…

La stratégie culpabilisatrice et victimaire des ONG / lobbies pro-Migrants

Rappelons que le Sea-Watch 3, navire de 600 tonnes battant pavillon hollandais et cofinancé par les fonds de George Soros et autres riches contributeurs, a non seulement « récupéré » des migrants illégaux acheminés par des passeurs nord-africains, ce qui est en soi un viol de la loi, mais a délibérément forcé le blocus des eaux territoriales italiennes, donc violé la souveraineté de ce pays. De ce fait, son capitaine, l’Allemande Carola Rackete, va être présentée à un juge en début de semaine, à Agrigente, dans le sud de la Sicile, puis répondra des faits « d’aide à l’immigration clandestine » (punie de prison par la loi italienne et le « décret-sécurité » (decreto-sicurezza) du gouvernement / Ligue (5 étoiles de Rome), puis de « résistance à un bateau de guerre ». Quant aux 42 migrants clandestins de la Sea Watch 3 débarqués après l’arrestation de la capitaine-activiste allemande (11 migrants plus « vulnérables » avaient déjà été débarqués légalement), ils ont fini par débarquer à Lampedusa après que la France, l’Allemagne, le Portugal, le Luxembourg et la Finlande ont accepté un plan de répartition visant à en accueillir chacun quelques-uns.

Pendant ce temps, des petites embarcations moins identifiables et qui ne font pas la une des médias continuent d’arriver chaque jour à Lampedusa et au sud d’Agrigente (200 ces derniers jours). Et d’autres navires affrétés par des ONG pro-migrants continuent de défier les autorités italiennes ou d’autres pays (Malte, Espagne, Grèce, etc.) dans l’indifférence générale et en violation banalisée de la loi et du principe de protection des frontières. On peut citer par exemple l’ONG espagnole Proactiva open arms, qui patrouille au large de la Libye malgré la menace d’une amende de 200 000 à 900 000 euros brandie par les autorités espagnoles. « Si je dois payer par la prison ou par une amende le fait de sauver les vies de quelques personnes, je le ferais », a d’ailleurs assuré Oscar Camps, fondateur de l’ONG. Utilisant la même rhétorique de « résistance » et de « désobéissance civile » face à une autorité étatique « répressive », Carola Rackette  expliquait elle aussi au Spiegel, quelques jours seulement avant d’accoster à Lampedusa : « Si nous ne sommes pas acquittés par un tribunal, nous le serons dans les livres d’histoire. » Niente di meno !

Mon obligation morale est d’aider les gens qui n’ont pas bénéficié des mêmes conditions que moi.

La stratégie d’intimidation psychologique des ONG et lobbies subversifs pro-migrants consiste en fait à adopter une rhétorique victimaire et hautement culpabilisatrice qui a pour but de faire passer pour des horribles racistes / fascistes les défenseurs des frontières et des lois sécuritaires pourtant démocratiquement adoptées. Carola Rackete a ainsi déclaré au journal italien La Repubblica : « J’ai la peau blanche, j’ai grandi dans un pays riche, j’ai le bon passeport, j’ai pu faire trois universités différentes et j’ai fini mes études à 23 ans. Mon obligation morale est d’aider les gens qui n’ont pas bénéficié des mêmes conditions que moi (…). Les pauvres, ils ne se sentent pas bienvenus, imaginez leur souffrance (…), j’ai voulu accoster de force car beaucoup risquaient de se suicider sur la bateau et étaient en danger depuis 17 jours d’immobilisation ».

Très fier de lui et de son « coup », Chris Grodotzki, le président de l’ONG Sea Watch, se réjouit que « dans toute l’Europe, Carole est devenue un symbole. Nous n’avons jamais reçu autant de dons », indiquant qu’en Italie une cagnotte a recueilli dimanche 400 000 euros. Samedi, en Allemagne, deux stars de la télévision, Jan Böhmermann et Klaas Heufer-Umlauf, ont lancé quant à eux une cagnotte et 500 000 euros ont été récoltés en moins de vingt-quatre heures. En fait, l’aide aux migrants clandestins est une activité lucrative pour les ONG, et pas seulement pour les passeurs et les établissements payés pour offrir le gîte et l’accueil avec les deniers publics.

Quand la gauche italienne et européenne appelle à violer les lois des Etats souverains

D’après Matteo Salvini, Carola Rackete serait une « criminelle » qui aurait tenté de « tuer des membres des forces de l’ordre italienne ». Il est vrai que la vedette de la Guarda della Finanza, (12 mètres), très légère, n’aurait pas résisté au choc du navire de la Sea Watch (600 tonnes) si elle ne s’était pas retirée. Inculpée par le procureur d’Agrigente, la capitaine de la Sea Watch risque jusqu’à dix ans de prison pour « résistance ou violence envers un navire de guerre ». En fait, bien moins que dans de nombreux autres pays du monde, y compris démocratiques comme l’Australie, les Etats-Unis ou la Hongrie. Le procureur d’Agrigente, Luigi Patronaggio, qui est pourtant connu pour ne pas être du tout favorable à la Ligue de Matteo Salvini, a d’ailleurs qualifié le geste de Carola Rackete de « violence inadmissible » et placé la capitaine du navire humanitaire aux « arrêts domiciliaires » (contrôle judiciaire avec assignation à résidence), avant le lancement d’une procédure de flagrant délit. L’intéressée a répondu via le Corriere della Sera, en affirmant que « ce n’était pas un acte de violence, seulement de désobéissance ».

Depuis, de Rome à Berlin, et au sein de toute la gauche et l’extrême-gauche européenne, « Carola » est devenue une nouvelle « héroïne de la désobéissance civile », le concept clef de la gauche marxiste ou libertaire pour justifier moralement le fait de bafouer délibérément les règles des Etats et de violer les lois démocratiques qui font obstacle à leur idéologie anti-nationale. Et la désinformation médiatique consiste justement à faire passer l’appui que Carola Rackete a reçu – de la part de stars de TV, de politiques bien-pensants et de lobbies pro-migrants chouchoutés par les médias – pour un « soutien de l’Opinion publique ». En Allemagne, du président de l’Église évangélique, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, au PDG de Siemens, Joe Kaeser, de nombreuses voix se sont élevées pour prendre sa défense comme si elle était une nouvelle Pasionaria « antifasciste / antinazie », 90 ans plus tard…

Dans certains cas, vous ne pouvez pas respecter les lois et vous pouvez même au contraire, dans des cas de nécessité, enfreindre les lois.

En Italie, outre la figure de Leo Luca Orlando, le maire de Palerme, qui accorde régulièrement la « citoyenneté d’honneur » de sa ville aux dirigeants d’ONG pro-migrants et qui assimile les « cartes de séjours » et contrôles aux frontières à des « instruments de torture », l’ensemble de la gauche (hors le parti 5 étoiles allié de la Ligue), et surtout le parti démocrate, (PD), jouent cette carte de « l’illégalité légitime » et appuie les ONG anti-frontières. « Par nécessité, vous pouvez enfreindre la loi », ont déclaré aux membres de la Sea Watch les députés de gauche montés à bord du bateau Sea Watch 3 avant l’arrestation de Carole Rackete. Premier à être monté à bord du Sea Watch 3, l’élu du PD Graziano Delrio ose lancer : « Dans certains cas, vous ne pouvez pas respecter les lois et vous pouvez même au contraire, dans des cas de nécessité, enfreindre les lois. »

Détail stupéfiant, les représentants du PD venus manifester leur solidarité avec la capitaine (étrangère) d’un navire (étranger) faisant le travail de passeurs / trafiquants d’êtres humains, n’ont pas même condamné ou regretté le fait que la « militante humanitaire Carole » a failli tuer les policiers de la vedette de la Guardia di Finanza qui bloquait le Sea Watch 3. Estimant qu’il ne pouvait manquer ce « coup médiatique » afin de complaire aux lobbies et médias immigrationnistes dominant, l’ex-Premier ministre (PD) Matteo Renzi était lui aussi sur le pont du Sea Watch 3 lorsque Carola Rackete a décidé de forcer le blocus. Avec lui, d’autres parlementaires de gauche (Matteo Orfini, Davide Faraone, Nicola Fratoianni et Riccardo Magi) ont carrément « béni » cette action illégale et violente qui a pourtant mis en danger les membres des forces de leur propre pays.

Étaient également venus applaudir la capitaine allemande et son action illégale : le curé de Lampedusa, Don Carmelo La Magra ; l’ancien maire de l’île Giusi Nicolini, le médecin et député européen Pietro Bartolo, et le secrétaire local du parti PD Peppino Palmeri, lequel a déclaré pompeusement que « l’humanité a gagné, (…). Je pense que oui, nous devons être unis dans une fraternité universelle »… Plutôt que de respecter la légalité des lois approuvées démocratiquement par le Parlement de leur propre pays dont ils sont élus, ces représentants de la gauche ont accusé le gouvernement Ligue / 5 étoiles d’avoir « laissé au milieu de la mer pendant 16 jours un bateau qui avait besoin d’un refuge » (Matteo Orfini), alors qu’en réalité, sur les 53 migrants illégaux au départ présents sur le Sea Watch 3, onze avaient été débarqués en Italie en raison de leur état vulnérable, les autres étant nourris et auscultés par des médecins envoyés par l’Etat italien.

L’alliance immigrationniste entre la gauche anti-nationale ; l’Eglise catholique et le grand Capital !

Dès qu’elle est descendue du navire accompagnée des policiers italiens venus l’arrêter, Carola Rackete a été saluée par les ovations d’un groupe d’activistes ainsi que par le curé de la paroisse de Lampedusa, Carmelo La Magra, lequel dormait dans le cimetière de sa paroisse depuis une semaine « en signe de solidarité ». Rivalisant avec les plus virulents pro-migrants d’extrême-gauche, le curé de Lampedusa a exulté : « Noël vient quand il arrive. Bienvenue aux migrants à Porto Salvo di Lampedusa. » Le prêtre de l’église de San Gerlando di Lampedusa s’est ainsi joint à l’appel de l’Action catholique italienne « à permettre le débarquement immédiat des 42 personnes à bord du Sea Watch ».

Au début du mois de mai dernier, lors de son voyage en Bulgarie, le Pape avait donné le ton et répondu ainsi à la politique des « ports fermés » de Matteo Salvini : « Ne fermez pas les portes à ceux qui frappent. Le monde des migrants et des réfugiés est la croix de l’humanité. » Preuve que les curés pro-migrants et l’Église catholique de plus en plus immigrationniste sont, comme la gauche anti-nationale post-ouvrière, totalement déconnectés des peuples et de leurs ouailles : rappelons qu’à Lampedusa la Ligue de Salvini est arrivée en tête avec 45 % des voix aux dernières élections européennes ; que plus de 65 % des Italiens (catholiques) approuvent ses lois et actions visant à combattre l’immigration clandestine ; et que le Pape François, certes populaire auprès des médias quand il défend les migrants, exaspère de plus en plus et a même rendu antipapistes des millions d’Italiens qui se sentent trahis par un souverain Pontife qui semble préférer les musulmans aux chrétiens et les Africains aux Européens. A tort ou à raison d’ailleurs.

Il est vrai que la Sicile et en particulier Lampedusa sont plus que jamais en première ligne face à l’immigration clandestine : rien que pendant les deux dernières semaines durant lesquelles le Sea Watch est resté bloqué au large de l’île, Lampedusa a assisté impuissante, malgré la politique des « ports fermés » de Matteo Salvini et de son nouveau « décret sécurité », plus de 200 clandestins (majoritairement tunisiens et aucunement des « réfugiés » politiques syriens) acheminés par des barques de fortunes plus difficiles à repérer que les navires des ONG. Depuis des années, la ville est littéralement défigurée, l’arrivée de migrants entraînant des faits quotidiens de violences, d’agressions, de vols et destructions de commerces.

Nous sommes tous des personnes.

Malgré cela, le médiatique curé de Lampedusa, grand adepte du pape François, martèle qu’il faut « accueillir, protéger, promouvoir et intégrer les migrants et les réfugiés ». Dans une autre ville de Sicile, Noto, où nous nous sommes rendus le 27 juin dernier, une immense croix en bois a été construite à partir de morceaux d’une embarcation de migrants et a été carrément érigée dans l’entrée de la plus grande église du centre-ville. A Catania, ville très catholique-conservatrice et de droite – où se déroule chaque année début février la troisième plus grande fête chrétienne au monde, la Santa Agata – la cathédrale a été prise d’assauts par des sit-in pro-migrants en défense de Carola Rackete et de la Sea Watch.

Quant à Palerme, l’alliance entre l’Église catholique et le maire de la Ville, Leo Luca Orlando, chef de file de la lutte contre la politique migratoire de Matteo Salvini, est totale, alors même que Orlando est un anticlérical patenté à la fois islamophile et pro-LGBT. Sa dernière trouvaille a consisté à proposer d’éliminer le terme même de « migrant », puisque « nous sommes tous des personnes ». D’après lui, le terme « migrants » devrait être supprimé, tout comme la gauche a réussi à faire supprimer celui de « clandestin », remplacé dans le jargon journalistique par celui, trompeur, mais plus valorisant, de « migrant ». Cette manipulation sémantique visant à abolir la distinction migrant régulier / illégal est également très présente dans le pacte de Marrakech des Nations-unies.

Récemment, à l’occasion de la rupture du jeûne du ramadan, le médiatique maire palermitain s’est affiché en train de prier avec une assemblée de musulmans, consacrant même une « journée consacrée à l’islam » en rappelant le « glorieux passé arabo-islamique » de la Sicile (en réalité envahie et libérée deux siècles plus tard par les Normands). Orlando utilise lui aussi à merveille l’arme de la culpabilisation lorsqu’il ne cesse de justifier l’immigration illimitée au nom du fait que les Siciliens « ont eu eux aussi des grands-parents qui ont décidé d’aller vivre dans un autre pays en demandant à être considérés comme des personnes humaines ». Bref, « on est tous des migrants ». Une musique bien connue aussi en France.

A chaque nouvelle affaire de blocage de bateaux d’ONG pro-migrants par les autorités italiennes obéissant à la politique de la Ligue, le maire de Palerme se déclare prêt à accueillir des navires dans le port de Palerme. Lors de notre visite, le 26 juin dernier, Orlando nous a d’ailleurs remis une brochure consacrée à l’accueil des migrants, « chez eux chez nous ». Comme le Pape ou l’ex-maire de Lampedusa, Leoluca Orlando est depuis quelques années tellement obsédé par « l’impératif d’accueil » des migrants, alors que la Sicile connaît encore une grande pauvreté et un chômage de masse, qu’il suscite une réaction de rejet et d’exaspération, d’autant que de nombreuses initiatives en faveur des migrants sont financées par des citoyens italiens-siciliens hyper-taxés et précarisés.

Le 28 juin, lorsque nous avons parlé de la question migratoire au maire de la seconde ville de Sicile, Catania, Salvatore Pogliese, ex-membre d’Alleanza nazionale élu député européen et maire sous les couleurs de Forza Italia, celui-ci nous confiait qu’il jugeait absurdes et extrêmes les vues du maire de Palerme ou du curé de Lampedusa. Et il rappelait que lorsque des maires pro-migrants jouent aux « héros » en réclamant l’ouverture sans limites des ports pour accueillir les « réfugiés » du monde entier, ils mentent puisque l’ouverture des ports relève, comme en France, non pas des maires, mais de l’Etat central (ministères des Transports et de l’Intérieur).

L’alliance de la gauche et des multinationales

Une autre alliance de forces « progressistes » / pro-migrants n’a pas manqué de surprendre les analystes de la vie politique italienne, notamment à l’occasion de la Gay Pride, organisée à Milan le 28 juin, par le maire de gauche, Beppe Sala, champion de la « diversité » et des minorités en tout genre : l’alliance de la gauche et des multinationales et des Gafam. C’est ainsi que certains journaux italiens de droite ont relevé le fait que les sponsors de la Gay Pride, officiellement indiqués sur le site de l’événement – Google, Microsoft, eBay, Coca-Cola, PayPal, RedBull, Durex, Benetton, etc. – ont tenu et obtenu que soient associées à la cause des gays celle des migrants afin de « prendre en compte toutes les différences, pas seulement liées à l’identité et à l’orientation sexuelle (immigration, handicap, appartenance ethnique, etc.) ».

Les « migrants » illégaux et autres faux réfugiés secourus par les ONG immigrationnistes, adeptes des « ports ouverts », ont donc eu droit à un traitement de faveur et ont pu officiellement venir « exprimer toute sa solidarité avec le capitaine du navire (Sea Watch 3) Carola Rackete, avec les membres de l’équipage et avec toutes les personnes à bord », écrit sur Facebook « Ensemble sans murs », qui « participera avec enthousiasme au défilé de mode de Milan ». L’idéologie diversitaire est si puissante, et l’accueil des migrants est tellement devenu la « cause des causes » capable de surpasser les autres, qu’elle s’invite même chez les lobbies LGBT, pourtant la « minorité » la plus directement persécutée – avec les juifs – par l’islamisme.

Or, une grande majorité d’immigrés clandestins est de confession musulmane : Subsahariens, Erythréens, Soudanais, Égyptiens, Syriens, Turcs, Maghrébins ou Pakistanais et Afghans qui émigrent en masse dans la Vieille Europe de façon tant légale (regroupement familial, migrations économiques, visas étudiants, mineurs non-accompagnés…) qu’illégale.

Deux poids deux mesures

Pour bien comprendre « d’où parlent » les défenseurs des migrants clandestins qui ne cessent d’apostropher Victor Orban, Matteo Salvini ou encore le « diable en chef » Donald Trump pour leurs politiques de contrôle de l’immigration, il suffit de constater le deux poids deux mesures et l’indignation sélective de la gauche et de l’Église catholique qui dénoncent les « populistes européens xénophobes / islamophobes / racistes » mais très peu le néo-Sultan Erdogan et encore moins les pays d’Afrique, du Maghreb, d’Amérique latine ou d’Asie qui répriment extrêmement sévèrement et violemment l’immigration clandestine et / ou l’islamisme.

Deux exemples flagrants suffiront à s’en convaincre : l’ONU a récemment condamné « l’islamophobie » européenne et occidentale, notamment de la France et de l’Italie, mais pas les massacres de masse de musulmans en Chine ou en Inde. Ensuite, le 5 septembre 2018, lorsque la marine marocaine a fait tirer sur une embarcation de migrants clandestins, faisant un mort et un blessé grave, puis fait arrêter le capitaine espagnol du bateau, l’ONU n’a pas bronché. Pas plus dans de nombreux cas de mauvais traitements, persécutions de migrants subsahariens ou de chrétiens dans l’ensemble des pays d’Afrique du Nord et arabes.

Les Etats européens et les « militants » antifascistes hostiles aux « populistes » n’ont pas manifesté la moindre indignation face à ces phénomènes récurrents. Pas plus que les antiracistes français et leurs alliés féministes et pro-LGBT ne dénoncent la misogynie et l’homophobie islamiques, de facto exonérées par primat xénophile et auto-racisme anti-occidental. Ce dernier exemple est significatif : loin de se laisser culpabiliser, les autorités marocaines ont pourtant assumé le fait qu’une « unité de combat de la Marine royale » a ouvert le feu sur l’embarcation (un « go-fast » léger) en tuant une passagère. Comme Carola Rackete, le capitaine de la vedette de clandestins n’avait pas obéi aux ordres des militaires marocains l’intimant de stopper sa course.

Morale de l’histoire : l’immigrationnisme des ONG comme la Sea Watch et autres « No Borders » est – comme l’antiracisme à sens unique – une arme subversive tournée contre les seuls peuples blancs-judéo-chrétiens-occidentaux et leurs Etats-Nations souverains. D’évidence, les forces cosmopolitiquement correctes (gauche internationaliste-marxiste ; libéraux-multiculturalistes ; multinationales / Mc Word ; Église catholique ; fédéralistes européens et autres instances onusiennes) veulent détruire en premier lieu les vieilles nations européennes culpabilisées et vieillissantes, sorte de terra nullius en devenir conçue comme le laboratoire de leurs projets néo-impériaux / mondialistes respectifs.

Ces différentes forces ne sont pas amies, mais elles convergent dans un même projet de destruction des Etats-souverains occidentaux. Voilà d’où parlent les No Borders. Et à l’aune de ce constat, le fait que le milliardaire Soros et les multinationales précitées sponsorisent des opérations pro-migrants, pourtant exécutées par des ONG et forces de gauche et d’extrême-gauche ou chrétiennes / tiersmondistes, en dit long sur la convergence des forces cosmopolitiquement correctes hostiles à l’Etat-Nation et à la défense de l’identité occidentale.


Etats-Unis/Crise migratoire: Quel déni démocrate ? (Déjà vu: Did the Democrats learn anything from 2016 ?)

30 juin, 2019

Image may contain: one or more people, crowd, meme and outdoor, text that says 'HERE IS THE LINE TO GET INTO TRUMP'S "CONCENTRATION CAMPS"'Image may contain: 5 people, textPolitical Cartoons by Steve Kelley (Jul. 1, 2019)

Lorsque l’esprit impur est sorti d’un homme, il va par des lieux arides, cherchant du repos, et il n’en trouve point. Alors il dit: Je retournerai dans ma maison d’où je suis sorti; et, quand il arrive, il la trouve vide, balayée et ornée. Il s’en va, et il prend avec lui sept autres esprits plus méchants que lui; ils entrent dans la maison, s’y établissent, et la dernière condition de cet homme est pire que la première. Jésus (Matthieu 12 : 43-45)
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
Notre monde est de plus en plus imprégné par cette vérité évangélique de l’innocence des victimes. L’attention qu’on porte aux victimes a commencé au Moyen Age, avec l’invention de l’hôpital. L’Hôtel-Dieu, comme on disait, accueillait toutes les victimes, indépendamment de leur origine. Les sociétés primitives n’étaient pas inhumaines, mais elles n’avaient d’attention que pour leurs membres. Le monde moderne a inventé la « victime inconnue », comme on dirait aujourd’hui le « soldat inconnu ». Le christianisme peut maintenant continuer à s’étendre même sans la loi, car ses grandes percées intellectuelles et morales, notre souci des victimes et notre attention à ne pas nous fabriquer de boucs émissaires, ont fait de nous des chrétiens qui s’ignorent. René Girard
L’inauguration majestueuse de l’ère « post-chrétienne » est une plaisanterie. Nous sommes dans un ultra-christianisme caricatural qui essaie d’échapper à l’orbite judéo-chrétienne en « radicalisant » le souci des victimes dans un sens antichrétien. (…) Jusqu’au nazisme, le judaïsme était la victime préférentielle de ce système de bouc émissaire. Le christianisme ne venait qu’en second lieu. Depuis l’Holocauste , en revanche, on n’ose plus s’en prendre au judaïsme, et le christianisme est promu au rend de bouc émissaire numéro un. (…) Le mouvement antichrétien le plus puissant est celui qui réassume et « radicalise » le souci des victimes pour le paganiser. (…) Comme les Eglises chrétiennes ont pris conscience tardivement de leurs manquements à la charité, de leur connivence avec l’ordre établi, dans le monde d’hier et d’aujourd’hui, elles sont particulièrement vulnérables au chantage permanent auquel le néopaganisme contemporain les soumet. René Girard
Notre message est sans équivoque: n’envoyez pas vos enfants seuls, sur des trains ou par des passeurs. S’ils réussissent à arriver ici, ils seront renvoyés. Mais surtout, ils risquent de ne pas arriver. Barack Obama (09/07/2014)
La Maison-Blanche a demandé mardi au Congrès américain le déblocage en urgence de 3,7 milliards de dollars pour faire face à l’entrée illégale de dizaines de milliers d’enfants. Le président américain reconnaît lui-même que son pays fait face à «une situation humanitaire d’urgence». Barack Obama a demandé formellement au Congrès mardi de débloquer 3,7 milliards de dollars (2,7 milliards d’euros) pour répondre à l’afflux croissant d’enfants clandestins à la frontière avec le Mexique. L’objectif: augmenter les capacités d’accueil des sans-papiers et le nombre de juges gérant leurs dossiers, renforcer la surveillance de la frontière… mais surtout améliorer les conditions de détention de ces enfants arrêtés à la frontière après avoir tenté la traversée du Rio Grande au péril de leur vie. «Sans crédits supplémentaires, à moins de prendre des mesures extraordinaires, les agences ne disposeront pas des ressources suffisantes pour répondre à la situation de façon appropriée», a insisté la Maison-Blanche. Car sur le terrain, les besoins sont colossaux. Depuis le mois d’octobre, pas moins de 52.000 sans-papiers mineurs venus seuls, surtout d’Amérique centrale (Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador), ont été interpellés à la frontière entre le Mexique et les États-Unis. Sans compter les milliers d’autres arrêtés en compagnie de leurs proches. Le phénomène est loin d’être nouveau, mais les chiffres ont doublé par rapport à l’an dernier. Au total, plus de 90.000 enfants pourraient être interpellés cette année, soit 15 fois plus qu’en 2011, selon une note officielle. Ces enfants, parfois âgés de 3 ou 4 ans seulement, arrivent affamés, déshydratés, après un périple de plusieurs milliers de kilomètres. Ils se retrouvent dans «des conditions terribles», «n’ont pas de lit et dorment par terre», déplore auprès de l’AFP Domingo Gonzalo, membre de l’association Campaña Fronteriza qui oeuvre au Texas. La Croix-Rouge américaine a même dû venir en aide aux autorités en fournissant des couvertures et des kits d’hygiène pour les jeunes détenus, tandis que des bases militaires sont transformées en centres d’accueil d’urgence, en Californie ou au Texas. Parmi ces mineurs, beaucoup fuient la pauvreté, la violence liée au narcotrafic de leur pays. (…) Mais s’ils affluent à la frontière américaine, c’est que beaucoup disent être venus profiter d’une «nouvelle» loi qui leur donnerait des «permisos», des permis de séjour pour mineurs, une rumeur qui se répand depuis des mois dans ces pays d’Amérique centrale, à en croire des migrants interrogés par le New York Times. Rumeur alimentée par les passeurs qui profitent de ce trafic. Pour les républicains toutefois, le principal responsable de cet afflux massif s’appelle Barack Obama: avec son message pro-immigration, il a selon eux donné des espoirs aux jeunes clandestins. La reforme que défend le président prévoit en effet de faciliter un peu l’accès à la nationalité pour les enfants sans-papiers, contre un renforcement du contrôle de la frontière mexicaine. «Apparemment, on se passe le mot qu’une fois appréhendé par les agents à la frontière, grâce au laxisme de cette administration, on ne sera jamais expulsé», accuse ainsi le représentant républicain Bob Goodlatte. Le gouverneur du Texas Rick Perry estime que cette «crise humanitaire» menace la sécurité intérieure du pays. «La bonne décision est de mon point de vue d’expulser immédiatement» ces enfants. Comme l’a rappelé sur CNN un élu démocrate du Texas, Henry Cuellar, «si vous êtes Mexicain, vous êtes renvoyés (…) mais si vous venez d’un pays qui n’est pas frontalier avec les Etats-Unis comme les pays d’Amérique centrale, alors la loi dit que vous devez être pris en charge par les services fédéraux de la Santé et qu’ils vont vous placer» dans un centre d’accueil ou une famille. Or pour le républicain Rick Perry, «leur permettre de rester ne fera qu’encourager le prochain groupe à entreprendre ce très dangereux voyage». (…) Les démocrates rappellent aussi que leur plan prévoyait la construction de centaines de kilomètres de nouvelles barrières frontalières et le renforcement du nombre de policiers. Visiblement dépassée par l’ampleur du phénomène, l’administration Obama répète que la plupart de ces enfants clandestins ne seront pas autorisés à rester dans le pays. Le président s’est même adressé aux parents d’Amérique centrale le mois dernier dans une interview télévisée: «Notre message est sans équivoque: n’envoyez pas vos enfants seuls, sur des trains ou par des passeurs», a-t-il déclaré sur la chaîne américaine ABC. «S’ils réussissent à arriver ici, ils seront renvoyés. Mais surtout, ils risquent de ne pas arriver». Malgré ses efforts, des centaines de mineurs clandestins continuent de gagner la frontière chaque jour. Le Figaro (09/07/2014)
On peut parler aujourd’hui d’invasion arabe. C’est un fait social. Combien d’invasions l’Europe a connu tout au long de son histoire ! Elle a toujours su se surmonter elle-même, aller de l’avant pour se trouver ensuite comme agrandie par l’échange entre les cultures. Pape François
Je ne crois pas qu’il y ait aujourd’hui une peur de l’islam, en tant que tel, mais de Daech et de sa guerre de conquête, tirée en partie de l’islam. L’idée de conquête est inhérente à l’âme de l’islam, il est vrai. Mais on pourrait interpréter, avec la même idée de conquête, la fin de l’Évangile de Matthieu, où Jésus envoie ses disciples dans toutes les nations. (…) Devant l’actuel terrorisme islamiste, il conviendrait de s’interroger sur la manière dont a été exporté un modèle de démocratie trop occidentale dans des pays où il y avait un pouvoir fort, comme en Irak. Ou en Libye, à la structure tribale. On ne peut avancer sans tenir compte de cette culture.  (…) Sur le fond, la coexistence entre chrétiens et musulmans est possible. Je viens d’un pays où ils cohabitent en bonne familiarité. (…) En Centrafrique, avant la guerre, chrétiens et musulmans vivaient ensemble et doivent le réapprendre aujourd’hui. Le Liban aussi montre que c’est possible. Pape François
It is what our country is, it is a country of immigrants. We have not recently done a very good job of remembering who we are. My family were treated terribly and were not accepted and America learned to accept all these ideas. Being here talking with you is important to remind them of who we are and who we have always been which is you. You forget that these are people who didn’t just leave their country for no reason at all. These are people who left because a terrible tragedy. We always look around at the end of these tragedies and say if we knew, we would have done something and the reality is, of course we know. What is shocking to me is not that it happened but its continuing to happen for five years. It’s actually easy to dismiss giant numbers but it’s very hard to dismiss a young child sitting on the ground crying as her mother said, ‘If we die. I rather we die by a bullet because it would be quicker.’ George Clooney
When he became president he expressed America first. That is wrong; When I saw pictures of some of those young children, I was sad. America… should take a global responsibility. [But] European countries should take these refugees and give them education and training, and the aim is return to their own land with certain skills. (…) A limited number is OK, but the whole of Europe [will] eventually become Muslim country, African country – impossible. Dalai Lama
Je me qualifie de droite nationale, souverainiste, populaire, conservatrice. Le conservatisme tel que je l’entends et tel que l’entend François-Xavier Bellamy, et dans lequel peuvent se retrouver beaucoup de Français, est une sorte de disposition d’esprit qui consiste à vouloir conserver des héritages séculaires. Marion Maréchal
La scène est impressionnante. Dans la nuit de jeudi à vendredi, le commissariat de Val-de-Reuil-Louviers (Eure), au sud de Rouen, a été pris d’assaut par une bande de jeunes. Aux alentours de deux heures du matin, une quinzaine d’individus cagoulés ont attaqué l’établissement en lançant des projectiles en nombre, tirant également des mortiers, selon les rapports de police, consultés par Le Figaro. Sur les images de vidéosurveillance que nous avons pu consulter, on aperçoit deux agents de garde tenter de contenir les tirs des assaillants à l’aide de boucliers. En chemisette, les fonctionnaires ne semblent pas du tout préparés à un tel assaut. Des fumigènes, des «éléments pyrotechniques» de toutes les couleurs ainsi que des pavés sont jetés sur les policiers. Lors de l’assaut, plusieurs d’entre eux ont crié «Allah Akbar», d’autres insultant les forces de l’ordre. Les individus semblent déterminés à pénétrer dans le commissariat. Leurs attaques durent pendant environ une demie heure, à la fois contre les fonctionnaires et le bâtiment. Ceux-ci répliquent à l’aide de gaz lacrymogènes, avant que des policiers de la Brigade anticriminalité (BAC) et de la Direction départementale de la sécurité publique (DDSP) n’arrivent en renfort. Vers 2 heures 30, le calme est finalement revenu. Si aucun agent n’a été blessé, quelques dégâts matériels ont été constatés: trois vitres ont été touchées, un véhicule endommagé. Selon les premières investigations, les auteurs des faits sont des jeunes âgés de 15-20 ans. Lors de l’assaut, plusieurs d’entre eux ont crié «Allah Akbar», d’autres insultant les forces de l’ordre. «Bande d’enculés de Français», «Venez sortez on va vous cramer», ont scandé les suspects, cagoulés mais pas gantés, qui se sont enfuis à l’arrivée des renforts. Sur les lieux, les restes de 115 projectiles ont été retrouvés. L’attaque a suscité une vague de colère dans la profession. Dans un communiqué publié vendredi, le syndicat Alliance a dénoncé un assaut d’une «violence inouïe». Évoquant des «policiers à bout, au bord de la rupture», le syndicat s’inquiète de la situation de «souffrance» de ce commissariat de l’Eure, en manque d’effectifs et de moyens. D’après une source syndicale, contactée par Le Figaro, le même bâtiment avait été la cible d’une offensive du même type en juillet 2018. Le Figaro
Nobody would have the balls today to write ‘The Satanic Verses’, let alone publish it. Writing is now timid because writers are now terrified. Hanif Kureishi
What we are talking about here is not a system of formal censorship, under which the state bans works deemed offensive. Rather, what has developed is a culture of self-censorship in which the giving of offence has come to be seen as morally unacceptable. In the 20 years since the publication of The Satanic Verses the fatwa has effectively become internalised. Kenan Malik (2008)
It was after Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses that many Western publishing houses began bowing to Islamist intimidation. Christian Bourgois, a French publishing house that had bought the rights, refused to publish The Satanic Verses. It was the first time that, in the name of Islam, a writer was condemned to disappear from the face of the earth — to be murdered for a bounty. Rushdie is still with us, but the murder in 2004 of Theo van Gogh for producing and directing a film, « Submission », about Islamic violence toward women; the death of so many Arab-Islamic intellectuals guilty of writing freely, the Danish cartoon riots and the many trials (for instance, here and here) and attempted murders (such as here and here), the slaughter at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the attacks after Pope’s Benedict speech in Regensburg, the books and scripts cancelled, the depictions of Muhammad closeted in the warehouses of museums, and the increasing threats and punishments, including flogging, to countless journalists and writers such as Saudi Arabia’s Raif Badawi, should alarm us — not bring us to our knees. As the Saatchi Gallery’s capitulation shows, freedom of speech in Europe is now exhausted and weak. So far, we have caved in to Islamic extremists and Western appeasers. It is the tragic lesson of the Rushdie case 30 years later: no author would dare to write The Satanic Verses today; no large publishing house such as Penguin would print it; media attacks against « Islamophobes » would be even stronger, as would the bottomless betrayal of Western diplomats. Also today, thanks to social media as a weapon of censorship and implicit mass threats, any author would probably be less fortunate than Rushdie was 30 years ago. Since that time, we have made no progress. Instead, we have been seeing the jihad against The Satanic Verses over and over again. The Rushdie affair also seems to have deeply shaped British society. The Saatchi Gallery’s surrender in London is not unique. The Tate Britain gallery shelved a sculpture, « God is Great », by John Latham, of the Koran, Bible and Talmud embedded in glass. Christopher Marlowe’s « Tamburlaine the Great » was censored at the Barbican Centre. The play included a reference to the Prophet of Islam being « not worthy to be worshipped » as well as a scene in which the Koran is burned. The Whitechapel Art Gallery in London purged an exhibit containing nude dolls which could possibly have upset the Muslim population. At the Mall Galleries in London, a painting, « ISIS Threaten Sylvania », by the artist Mimsy, was censored for showing toy stuffed-animal terrorists about to massacre toy stuffed-animals having a picnic. At the Royal Court Theatre in London, Richard Bean was forced to censor himself for an adaptation of « Lysistrata », the Greek comedy in which the women go on a sex strike to stop the men who wanted to go to war. In Bean’s version, Islamic virgins go on strike to stop terrorist suicide bombers. Unfortunately, in the name of fighting « Islamophobia », the British establishment now appears to be submitting to creeping sharia: and purging and censoring speech on its own. Recently, some major conservative intellectuals have been sacked in the UK. One is the peerless philosopher Roger Scruton, who was fired from a governmental committee for saying that the word « Islamophobia » has been invented by the Muslim Brotherhood « to stop discussion of a major issue ». Then it was the turn of the great Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, whose visiting fellowship at Cambridge University was rescinded for posing with a man wearing an « I’m a proud Islamophobe » T-shirt. Professor Peterson later said that the word « Islamophobia » has been « partly constructed by people engaging in Islamic extremism, to ensure that Islam isn’t criticised as a structure ». The instances of Scruton and Peterson only confirm the real meaning of « Islamophobia », a word invented to silence any criticism of Islam by anyone, or as Salman Rushdie commented, a word « created to help the blind remain blind ». Where is the long-overdue push-back? Writing in 2008, The Telegraph’s Tim Walker quoted the famous playwright Simon Gray saying that Nicholas Hytner, director of London’s National Theatre from 2003-2015, « has been happy to offend Christians, » but « is wary of putting on anything which could upset Muslims. » The last people who did so were the journalists of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. They paid with their lives. By refusing to confront the speech police, or to support freedom of expression for Salman Rushdie, Roger Scruton, Jordan Peterson, Charlie Hebdo and Jyllands-Posten — just the tip of a huge iceberg — we have started down the road of submission to sharia law and to tyranny. We all have been covering up our supposedly « blasphemous » culture with burqas to avoid offending people who do not seem to mind offending us. Giulio Meotti (Il Foglio)
We have what I would call a concentration camp system and the definition of that in my book is, mass detention of civilians without trial. There’s this crystallization that happens. The longer they’re there, the worse conditions get. That’s just a universal of camps. They’re overcrowded. We already know from reports that they don’t have enough beds for the numbers that they have. As you see mental health crises and contagious diseases begin to set in, they’ll work to manage the worst of it. [But] then there will be the ability to tag these people as diseased, even if we created [those conditions]. Then we, by creating the camps, try to turn that population into the false image that we [used] to put them in the camps to start with. Over time, the camps will turn those people into what Trump was already saying they are. « What those camps had in common with what’s going on today is they involved the wholesale detention of families, separate or together, » Pitzer says. « There was very little in the way of targeted violence. Instead, people died from poor planning, overloaded facilities and unwillingness to reverse policy, even when it became apparent the policy wasn’t working, inability to get medical care to detainees, poor food quality, contagious diseases, showing up in an environment where it became almost impossible to get control of them. The point is that you don’t have to intend to kill everybody. When people hear the phrase ‘Oh, there’s concentration camps on the southern border,’ they think, ‘Oh, it’s not Auschwitz.’ Of course, it’s not those things, each camp system is different. But you don’t have to intend to kill everyone to have really bad outcomes. In Cuba, well over 100,000 civilians died in these camps in just a period of a couple years. In Southern Africa during the Boer War, fatalities went into the tens of thousands. And the overwhelming majority of them were children. Fatalities in the camps ended up being more than twice the combat fatalities from the war itself. There’s usually this crisis period that a camp system either survives or doesn’t survive in the first three or four years. If it goes past that length of time, they tend to continue for a really long time. And I think we have entered that crisis period. I don’t yet know if we’re out of it. Unless there’s some really decisive turn away, we’re going to be looking at having these camps for a long time. It’s particularly hard to engineer a decisive turn because these facilities are often remote, and hard to protest. They are not top-of-mind for most citizens, with plenty of other issues on the table. When Trump first instituted the Muslim Ban—now considered, in its third iteration, to be Definitely Not a Muslim Ban by the Supreme Court—there were mass demonstrations at U.S. airports because they were readily accessible by concerned citizens. These camps are not so easily reached, and that’s a problem. We have border patrol agents that are sometimes arresting U.S. citizens. That’s still very much a fringe activity. That doesn’t seem to be a dedicated priority right now, but it’s happening often enough. And they’re held, sometimes, for three or four days. Even when there are clear reasons that people should be let go, that they have proof of their identity, you’re seeing these detentions. You do start to worry about people who have legally immigrated and have finished paperwork, and maybe are naturalized. You worry about green-card holders. Let’s say there’s 20 hurdles that we have to get over before we get to someplace really, really, really bad. I think we’ve knocked 10 of them down. Andrea Pitzer (journalist)
What’s required is a little bit of demystification of it. Things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz. Concentration camps in general have always been designed—at the most basic level—to separate one group of people from another group. Usually, because the majority group, or the creators of the camp, deem the people they’re putting in it to be dangerous or undesirable in some way. At one point, [the administration] said that they were intentionally trying to split up families and make conditions unpleasant, so the people wouldn’t come to the U.S. If you’re doing that, then that’s not a prison. That’s not a holding area or a waiting area. That’s a policy. I would argue, at least in the way that [the camps are] being used now, a significant portion of the mentality is [tied to] who the [detainees] are rather than what they did. If these were Canadians flooding across the border, would they be treated in the same manner as the people from Mexico and from Central and South America? If the answer is yes, theoretically, then I would consider these places to be perhaps better described as transit camps or prison camps. But I suspect that’s not how they’d be treated, which then makes it much more about who the people are that you’re detaining, rather than what they did. The Canadian would have crossed the border just as illegally as the Mexican, but my suspicion is, would be treated in a different way. It’s a negative trajectory in at least two ways. One, I feel like these policies can snowball. We’ve already seen unintended consequences. If we follow the thread of the children, for example, the government wanted to make things more annoying, more painful. So they decided, We’re going to separate the children from the families. But there was no infrastructure in place for that. You already have a scenario where even if you have the best intentions, the infrastructure doesn’t exist to support it. That’s a consequence of policy that hasn’t been thought through. As you see the population begin to massively increase over time, you do start to see conditions diminishing. The second piece is that the longer you establish this sort of extralegal, extrajudicial, somewhat-invisible no-man’s land, the more you allow potentially a culture of abuse to develop within that place. Because the people who tend to become more violent, more prejudiced, whatever, have more and more free rein for that to become sort of the accepted behavior. Then, that also becomes a new norm that can spread throughout the system. There is sort of an escalation of individual initiative in violence. As it becomes clear that that is acceptable, then you have a self-fulfilling prophecy or a positive feedback loop that just keeps radicalizing the treatment as the policy itself becomes radicalizing. Waitman Wade Beorn (University of Virginia)
In the origins of the camps, it’s tied to the idea of martial law. I mean, all four of the early instances—Americans in the Philippines, Spanish in Cuba, and British in South Africa, and Germans in Southwest Africa—they’re all essentially overriding any sense of rights of the civilian population. And the idea is that you’re able to suspend normal law because it’s a war situation. It’s important here to look at the language that people are using. As soon as you get people comparing other groups to animals or insects, or using language about advancing hordes, and we’re being overrun and flooded and this sort of thing, it’s creating the sense of this enormous threat. And that makes it much easier to sell to people on the idea we’ve got to do something drastic to control this population which going to destroy us. « Unless there’s some really decisive turn away, we’re going to be looking at having these camps for a long time, » Pitzer says. It’s particularly hard to engineer a decisive turn because these facilities are often remote, and hard to protest. They are not top-of-mind for most citizens, with plenty of other issues on the table. When Trump first instituted the Muslim Ban—now considered, in its third iteration, to be Definitely Not a Muslim Ban by the Supreme Court—there were mass demonstrations at U.S. airports because they were readily accessible by concerned citizens. These camps are not so easily reached, and that’s a problem. The more authoritarian the regime is, and the more people allow governments to get away with doing this sort of thing politically, the worse the conditions are likely to get. So, a lot of it depends on how much pushback there is. But when you get a totally authoritarian regime like Stalin’s regime in the Soviet Union, there’s no control, or no countervailing force, the state can do what it likes, and certainly things will then tend to break down. It’s more of a political question, really. Are people prepared to tolerate the deteriorating conditions? And if public opinion isn’t effective in a liberal democratic situation, things can still get pretty bad. Jonathan Hyslop (Colgate University)
The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border, and that is exactly what they are. They are concentration camps, and if that doesn’t bother you . . . I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that we should not ⁠— that ‘never again’ means something. And that the fact that concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice in the ‘Home of the Free’ is extraordinarily disturbing, and we need to do something about it. This week, children ⁠— immigrant children ⁠— were moved to the same internment camps where the Japanese were held in the early ⁠— in the earlier 20th century . . . This is not just about the immigrant communities being held in concentration camps being a crisis. This is a crisis for ourselves. This is a crisis on ⁠— if America will remain America in its actual principles and values or if we are losing to an authoritarian and fascist presidency. I don’t use those words lightly. I don’t use those words to just throw bombs. I use that word because that is what an administration that creates concentration camps is. A presidency that creates concentration camps is fascist, and it’s very difficult to say that. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez
This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying. And for the shrieking Republicans who don’t know the difference: concentration camps are not the same as death camps. Concentration camps are considered by experts as ‘the mass detention of civilians without trial. And that’s exactly what this administration is doing. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez
Cette administration a installé des camps de concentration à la frontière sud des États-Unis pour les immigrés, où ils sont brutalisés dans des conditions inhumaines et où ils meurent. Il ne s’agit pas d’une exagération. C’est la conclusion de l’analyse d’experts. Et à tous les républicains geignards qui ne connaissent pas la différence : les camps de concentration et les camps de la mort ne sont pas la même chose. Les camps de concentration sont considérés par les experts comme les lieux “de détention de masse de civils sans procès”  et c’est exactement ce que ce gouvernement fait. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez
Whether we call them concentration camps, mass detention centers or cages for children, they are a moral abomination. The real question is not what we call these mass detention sites growing all over the country, the question is: What is every government official and citizen doing to stop this evil? Our government is scapegoating, demonizing and terrorizing immigrants. These policies echo the worst of Jewish history and the worst of American history. Anyone distracting from these clear facts with manufactured outrage is subverting Jewish history and trauma, and that is shameful. Jewish Americans overwhelmingly reject the hateful, anti-immigrant policies being perpetrated by the very people pretending to be offended on our behalf. Stosh Cotler (Bend the Arc: Jewish Action)
As [a] historian of fascism & [the] Holocaust, I would also call these centers concentration camps. As a Jewish person who lost family in [the] Holocaust, I regret that some Republicans use memory of the Holocaust to defend racist policies of Trumpism. Federico Finchelstein (The New school)
I know what concentration camps are. I was inside two of them, in America. And yes, we are operating such camps again. George Takei
This nation has a long and tragic history of separating children from their parents, ever since the days of slavery. We must end this practice. It is barbaric. George Takei
On Monday, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez referred to US border detention facilities as “concentration camps,” spurring a backlash in which critics accused her of demeaning the memory of those who died in the Holocaust. Debates raged over a label for what is happening along the southern border and grew louder as the week rolled on. But even this back-and-forth over naming the camps has been a recurrent feature in the mass detention of civilians ever since its inception, a history that long predates the Holocaust. At the heart of such policy is a question: What does a country owe desperate people whom it does not consider to be its citizens? The twentieth century posed this question to the world just as the shadow of global conflict threatened for the second time in less than three decades. The dominant response was silence, and the doctrine of absolute national sovereignty meant that what a state did to people under its control, within its borders, was nobody else’s business. After the harrowing toll of the Holocaust with the murder of millions, the world revisited its answer, deciding that perhaps something was owed to those in mortal danger. From the Fourth Geneva Convention protecting civilians in 1949 to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the international community established humanitarian obligations toward the most vulnerable that apply, at least in theory, to all nations. The twenty-first century is unraveling that response. Countries are rejecting existing obligations and meeting asylum seekers with walls and fences, from detainees fleeing persecution who were sent by Australia to third-party detention in the brutal offshore camps of Manus and Nauru to razor-wire barriers blocking Syrian refugees from entering Hungary. While some nations, such as Germany, wrestle with how to integrate refugees into their labor force—more and more have become resistant to letting them in at all. The latest location of this unwinding is along the southern border of the United States. So far, American citizens have gotten only glimpses of the conditions in the border camps that have been opened in their name. In the month of May, Customs and Border Protection reported a total of 132,887 migrants who were apprehended or turned themselves in between ports of entry along the southwest border, an increase of 34 percent from April alone. Upon apprehension, these migrants are temporarily detained by Border Patrol, and once their claims are processed, they are either released or handed over to ICE for longer-term detention. Yet Border Patrol itself is currently holding about 15,000 people, nearly four times what government officials consider to be this enforcement arm’s detention capacity. On June 12, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that Fort Sill, an Army post that hosted a World War II internment camp for detainees of Japanese descent, will now be repurposed to detain migrant children. In total, HHS reports that it is currently holding some 12,000 minors. Current law limits detention of minors to twenty days, though Senator Lindsey Graham has proposed expanding the court-ordered limit to 100 days. Since the post is on federal land, it will be exempt from state child welfare inspections. In addition to the total of detainees held by Border Patrol, an even higher number is detained at centers around the country by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency: on a typical day at the beginning of this month, ICE was detaining more than 52,500 migrants. The family separation policy outraged the public in the 2018, but despite legal challenges, it never fully ended. Less publicized have been the deaths of twenty-four adults in ICE custody since the beginning of the Trump administration; in addition, six children between the ages of two and sixteen have died in federal custody over the last several months. It’s not clear whether there have been other deaths that have gone unreported. (…) Even with incomplete information about what’s happening along the border today and what the government plans for these camps, history points to some conclusions about their future. Mass detention without trial earned a new name and a specific identity at the end of the nineteenth century. The labels then adopted for the practice were “reconcentración” and “concentration camps”—places of forced relocation of civilians into detention on the basis of group identity. Other kinds of group detention had appeared much earlier in North American history. The US government drove Native Americans from their homelands into prescribed exile, with death and detention in transit camps along the way. Some Spanish mission systems in the Americas had accomplished similar ends by seizing land and pressing indigenous people into forced labor. During the 245 years when slavery was legal in the US, detention was one of its essential features. Concentration camps, however, don’t typically result from the theft of land, as happened with Native Americans, or owning human beings in a system of forced labor, as in the slave trade. Exile, theft, and forced labor can come later, but in the beginning, detention itself is usually the point of concentration camps. By the end of the nineteenth century, the mass production of barbed wire and machines guns made this kind of detention possible and practical in ways it never had been before. (…) These early experiments with concentration camps took place on the periphery of imperial power, but accounts of them nevertheless made their way into newspapers and reports in many nations. As a result, the very idea of them came to be seen as barbaric. By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, the first camp systems had all been closed, and concentration camps had nearly vanished as an institution. Within months of the outbreak of World War I, though, they would be resurrected—this time rising not at the margins but in the centers of power. Between 1914 and 1918, camps were constructed on an unprecedented scale across six continents. In their time, these camps were commonly called concentration camps, though today they are often referred to by the more anodyne term “internment.” Those World War I detainees were, for the most part, foreigners—or, in legalese, aliens—and recent anti-immigration legislation in several countries had deliberately limited their rights. (…) Local camps appeared in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921, after a white mob burned down a black neighborhood and detained African-American survivors. In Bolshevik Russia, the first concentration camps preceded the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922 and planted seeds for the brutal Gulag system that became official near the end of the USSR’s first decade. While some kinds of camps were understood to be harsher, after World War I their proliferation did not initially disturb public opinion. They had yet to take on their worst incarnations. In 1933, barely more than a month after Hitler was appointed chancellor, the Nazis’ first, impromptu camp opened in the town of Nohra in central Germany to hold political opponents. Detainees at Nohra were allowed to vote at a local precinct in the elections of March 5, 1933, resulting in a surge of Communist ballots in the tiny town. Locking up groups of civilians without trial had become accepted. Only the later realization of the horrors of the Nazi death camps would break the default assumption by governments and the public that concentration camps could and should be a simple way to manage populations seen as a threat. However, the staggering death toll of the Nazi extermination camp system—which was created mid-war and stood almost entirely separate from the concentration camps in existence since 1933—led to another result: a strange kind of erasure. In the decades that followed World War II, the term “concentration camp” came to stand only for Auschwitz and other extermination camps. It was no longer applied to the kind of extrajudicial detention it had denoted for generations. The many earlier camps that had made the rise of Auschwitz possible largely vanished from public memory. It is not necessary, however, to step back a full century in American history to find camps with links to what is happening on the US border today. Detention at Guantánamo began in the 1990s, when Haitian and Cuban immigrants whom the government wanted to keep out of the United States were housed there in waves over a four-year period—years before the “war on terror” and the US policy of rendition of suspected “enemy combatants” made Camps Delta, X-Ray, and Echo notorious. Tens of thousands of Haitians fleeing instability at home were picked up at sea and diverted to the Cuban base, to limit their legal right to apply for asylum. The court cases and battles over the suffering of those detainees ended up setting the stage for what Guantánamo would become after September 11, 2001. In one case, a federal court ruled that it did have jurisdiction over the base, but the government agreed to release the Haitians who were part of the lawsuit in exchange for keeping that ruling off the books. A ruling in a second case would assert that the courts did not have jurisdiction. Absent the prior case, the latter stood on its own as precedent. Leaving Guantánamo in this gray area made it an ideal site for extrajudicial detention and torture after the twin towers fell. This process of normalization, when a bad camp becomes much more dangerous, is not unusual. Today’s border camps are a crueler reflection of long-term policies—some challenged in court—that earlier presidents had enacted. Prior administrations own a share of the responsibility for today’s harsh practices, but the policies in place today are also accompanied by a shameless willingness to publicly target a vulnerable population in increasingly dangerous ways. (..;) What kind of conditions can we expect to develop in these border camps? The longer a camp system stays open, the more likely it is that vital things will go wrong: detainees will contract contagious diseases and suffer from malnutrition and mental illness. We have already seen that current detention practices have resulted in children and adults succumbing to influenza, staph infections, and sepsis. The US is now poised to inflict harm on tens of thousands more, perhaps hundreds of thousands more. Along with such inevitable consequences, every significant camp system has introduced new horrors of its own, crises that were unforeseen when that system was opened. We have yet to discover what those will be for these American border camps. But they will happen. Every country thinks it can do detention better when it starts these projects. But no good way to conduct mass indefinite detention has yet been devised; the system always degrades. When, in 1940, Margarete Buber-Neumann was transferred from the Soviet Gulag at Karaganda to the camp for women at Ravensbrück (in an exchange enabled by the Nazi–Soviet Pact), she came from near-starvation conditions in the USSR and was amazed at the cleanliness and order of the Nazi camp. New arrivals were issued clothing, bedding, and silverware, and given fresh porridge, fruit, sausage, and jam to eat. Although the Nazi camps were already punitive, order-obsessed monstrosities, the wartime overcrowding that would soon overtake them had not yet made daily life a thing of constant suffering and squalor. The death camps were still two years away. The United States now has a vast and growing camp system. It is starting out with gruesome overcrowding and inadequate healthcare, and because of budget restrictions, has already taken steps to cut services to juvenile detainees. The US Office of Refugee Resettlement says that the mounting number of children arriving unaccompanied is forcing it to use military bases and other sites that it prefers to avoid, and that establishing these camps is a temporary measure. But without oversight from state child welfare inspectors, the possibilities for neglect and abuse are alarming. And without any knowledge of how many asylum-seekers are coming in the future, federal administrators are likely to find themselves boxed in to managing detention on military sites permanently. President Trump and senior White House adviser Stephen Miller appear to have purged the Department of Homeland Security of most internal opposition to their anti-immigrant policies. In doing so, that have removed even those sympathetic to the general approach taken by the White House, such as former Chief of Staff John Kelly and former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, in order to escalate the militarization of the border and expand irregular detention in more systematic and punitive ways. This kind of power struggle or purge in the early years of a camp system is typical.  The disbanding of the Cheka, the Soviet secret police, in February 1922 and the transfer of its commander, Felix Dzerzhinsky, to head up an agency with control over only two prisons offered a hint of an alternate future in which extrajudicial detention would not play a central role in the fledgling Soviet republic. But Dzerzhinsky managed to keep control over the “special camps” in his new position, paving the way for the emergence of a camp-centered police state. In pre-war Germany in the mid-1930s, Himmler’s struggle to consolidate power from rivals eventually led him to make camps central to Nazi strategy. When the hardliners win, as they appear to have in the US, conditions tend to worsen significantly. Is it possible this growth in the camp system will be temporary and the improvised border camps will soon close? In theory, yes. But the longer they remain open, the less likely they are to vanish. When I visited the camps for Rohingya Muslims a year before the large-scale campaign of ethnic cleansing began, many observers appeared to be confusing the possible and the probable. It was possible that the party of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi would sweep into office in free elections and begin making changes. It was possible that full democracy would come to all the residents of Myanmar, even though the government had stripped the Rohingya of the last vestiges of their citizenship. These hopes proved to be misplaced. Once there are concentration camps, it is always probable that things will get worse. The Philippines, Japanese-American internment, Guantánamo… we can consider the fine points of how the current border camps evoke past US systems, and we can see how the arc of camp history reveals the likelihood that the suffering we’re currently inflicting will be multiplied exponentially. But we can also simply look at what we’re doing right now, shoving bodies into “dog pound”-style detention pens, “iceboxes,” and standing room-only spaces. We can look at young children in custody who have become suicidal. How much more historical awareness do we really need? Andrea Pitzer
Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez drew a firestorm of criticism this week after she appeared in an Instagram video claiming that the Trump administration « is running concentration camps on our southern border. » (…) Republican lawmakers were quick to push back against Ocasio-Cortez’s statement, which she repeated on Tuesday and Wednesday, arguing that the Congresswoman was disrespecting the memory of the 6 millions Jews who died in Nazi concentration camps by comparing these facilities to the ICE detention centers. But many experts were quick to point out that, by definition, the ICE detention facilities are concentration camps. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a concentration camp as, « a place where large numbers of people (such as prisoners of war, political prisoners, refugees, or the members of an ethnic or religious minority) are detained or confined under armed guard. »Many argue that this definition matches the detention centers currently set up on the southern border. « Why are they called concentration camps? Well, to state the obvious, it’s because large numbers of people are ‘concentrated’ in camps. A better question is, why don’t we just call them prisons? We don’t say ‘prisons’ because prisons are a part of the formal legal system, » Lester Andrist, a sociologist who has studied indefinite detention, tweeted. Andrist argues that the U.S. has a long history of establishing such facilities, including the Japanese-American internment camps that existed during World War II and, mostly recently, Guantanamo Bay. George Takei, the 82-year-old American actor of Japanese descent who is best known for his role in the Star Trek movies and television show, took to Twitter to share his perspective. « I know what concentration camps are. I was inside two of them, in America. And yes, we are operating such camps again, » the Takei tweeted. The Takei family was interned in Arkansas and California in the 1940s. Federico Finchelstein, a historian at the New York-based New School, agreed that the progressive congresswoman is right to call the ICE facilities concentration camps. « As [a] historian of fascism & [the] Holocaust, I would also call these centers concentration camps, » Finchelstein tweeted. « As a Jewish person who lost family in [the] Holocaust, I regret that some Republicans use memory of the Holocaust to defend racist policies of Trumpism. » In May, a top Pentagon official called China’s detention camps holding Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities « concentration camps » despite the fact that genocide has not been committed there. Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the holocaust, however, was one of the institutions that pushed back against Ocasio-Cortez’s claims. « Concentration camps assured a slave labor supply to help in the Nazi war effort, even as the brutality of life inside the camps helped assure the ultimate goal of ‘extermination through labor,' » the organization tweeted on Wednesday. But the young Congresswoman stood by her position, noting that concentration camps are not the same as extermination camps. Newsweek
Recent assertions by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., that U.S.-run detention centers for migrants are « concentration camps » drew immediate rebukes from some politicians, Jewish groups and social media users. « This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying. This is not hyperbole. It is the conclusion of expert analysis, » she tweeted June 18. Her tweet didn’t specifically mention Nazi Germany, but she used the term « never again » on her Instagram, a phrase often used as a warning to prevent another genocide like the Holocaust. In a subsequent tweet, Ocasio-Cortez offered a distinction between « concentration camps » and « death camps. » « And for the shrieking Republicans who don’t know the difference: concentration camps are not the same as death camps. Concentration camps are considered by experts as ‘the mass detention of civilians without trial.’ And that’s exactly what this administration is doing. » (…) Historians we contacted said it was possible to make a case that the term « concentration camp » is a more general term than just referring to camps in Nazi Germany. However, these historians said Ocasio-Cortez glosses over some important differences. They also said that the strong, longstanding association of the term « concentration camps » with Nazi Germany likely overwhelms any technical similarities the two types of camps may have. We won’t rate this item on our Truth-O-Meter for that reason. (…) Nazi Germany was not the first nation to use concentration camps. The term dates from the eve of the 20th century, when it was used to describe policies used in at least three conflicts: South Africa’s Boer War, Spain’s campaign against Cuban insurrectionists and the United States’ campaign against Philippine insurgents. The intent was to « cut insurgents off from their support, » said David J. Silbey, a Cornell University historian. « It was an effective tactic, but a brutal one, uprooting people from their homes and often leading to mass outbreaks of disease and starvation among the captive populations. » Beginning in 1917, the Soviet Union used what were commonly known as « forced labor camps » to repress dissidents. The Soviets also forced people from the Baltic States and Poland into camps following their invasions of those countries in 1939. Germany established concentration camps shortly after Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933. Contrary to the popular image of concentration camps as killing factories, most facilities were initially designed for slave labor. « Systematic killing didn’t begin until the invasion of the Soviet Union, and it wasn’t until the January 1942 Wannsee Conference that the Nazis formally decided on a policy of extermination, » said Stephen Shalom, a political scientist at William Paterson University. These became what historians often refer to as « death camps. » Over time, the distinction in the popular mind between the different types of camps blurred. The reality, though, is that the early camps produced deaths from neglect or overwork, rather than carrying out executions. « None of the camps were pleasant, but the death camps were certainly the worst, » said Lance Janda, a military historian at Cameron University. The United States operated camps to hold Japanese-Americans following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, which drove the U.S. into World War II. Though generally referred to as « internment camps » or « relocation camps, » these complexes have occasionally been referred to as « concentration camps, » including by Chief Justice John Roberts in 2018. The American Heritage Dictionary defines « concentration camp » as « a camp where persons are confined, usually without hearings and typically under harsh conditions, often as a result of their membership in a group the government has identified as dangerous or undesirable. » Ocasio-Cortez and her staff have pointed to such linguistic precedents to argue that U.S. detention camps for migrants can be reasonably described as « concentration camps. » Some scholars agree that similarities exist. « As historian of fascism & Holocaust, I would also call these centers concentrations camps, » tweeted The New School historian Federico Finchelstein. Colgate University sociologist Jonathan Hyslop, who was also quoted in an Esquire magazine article that Ocasio-Cortez has cited, told PolitiFact that the definition of « concentration camp » is more elastic than most people think. (…) Adult immigrants in federal custody who are either waiting to be deported or waiting for a resolution of their immigration case are held in government-run centers or other contracted facilities. Immigrant rights advocates have long warned about poor standards and the mistreatment of detainees at some detention facilities. Generally, information about detention facilities can be difficult to obtain, inconsistent and outdated, and overall lacking in transparency. The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security on June 3, 2019, issued a report detailing concerns about Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee treatment and care at four detention facilities. The report is based on unannounced 2018 inspections, in which investigators « observed immediate risks or egregious violations of detention standards at facilities. » Among the issues documented: overly restrictive segregation, inadequate medical care, unreported security incidents, and significant food safety issues. (…) Overall, experts described the U.S. detention facilities as being far different from those of the earliest concentration camps, or from the Nazi camps — even from the ones that weren’t « death camps. » « The original purpose of concentration camps was to remove the populace from areas that were controlled or contested by guerrillas and thus deny the guerrillas popular support in its tangible forms — food, shelter, information, recruits, and so on, » said Texas A&M University historian Brian McAllister Linn. « This is not the purpose of the detention facilities in the Southwest. » Janda — who emphasized that he is unhappy with the current U.S. detention policy — nonetheless drew a distinction based on intent. « What we’re doing is just not the same as what the Nazis or the Soviets did, and it’s a disservice to people suffering under dictatorships around the world to act like it is, » Janda said. « We’re not rounding up legal citizens, or going after specific minority groups and holding them indefinitely to squash dissent. » Richard Breitman, an American University historian, was among several experts who said they would have avoided the term « concentration camp. » While the term « does show where abuse and dehumanization might lead, » he said, « it confuses more than it explains. » Politifact
People have become numbers, they’ve become statistics. People talk about immigrants in the absence of their humanity. As sad as it is, I think we need to show the photo. Fernando Garcia (Border Network for Human Rights)
I have avoided those kinds of photos all my career and in all my books. At a moment like this, maybe this step has to be taken. To me this is the official Stephen Miller portrait. Luis Alberto Urrea (novelist)
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) joins others who are disturbed and concerned over a tweet by the Associated Press which includes an exploitative and dehumanizing photograph of a father and child, drowned in the Rio Grande. (…) Men, women, and children cross the border daily often escaping terror with hopes of a better life, knowing the peril that awaits them as they attempt to make the long journey to America. The thoughtless use of this picture only seeks to take advantage of a sensational situation. Ultimately, NAHJ’s objection is not about the photograph. Instead, our protest encompasses a bigger picture about the way visual journalism is utilized. While pertinent to the struggles of migrant families crossing the border, the picture, as the “website card” is both insensitive and disrespectful. It dehumanizes the plight of a community that are risking their lives, and the lives of their families, out of desperation. Pushing people to look at a shocking image that isn’t in context, is not beneficial for the viewers, it is not beneficial for journalists, and it is absolutely detrimental to the immigrant community. National Ass. of Hispanic journalists
There didn’t seem much room for Democrats to move left on immigration, but they’ve found it. On the first night of the Democratic debates, Julian Castro made a big issue of his call to repeal Section 1325 of Title 8 of the United States Code, which says it’s a federal crime to enter the country without authorization. This felt like a ploy for attention from the periphery of the second-tier debate stage, yet last night seven out of the ten candidates raised their hands for the idea, including top contenders Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg. The collective posture of the party is getting closer and closer to open borders, only without embracing the label. (…) The repeal of Section 1325 would send a message of permissiveness that would create another incentive for migrants to come across the border, and remove a tool for going after coyotes (it can be difficult to prove their offense, so prosecuting them for illegal entry is a backstop). Section 1325 has been on the books for 90 years, and it reflects the commonsense view that entering the United States without lawful permission should be a crime. Yes, it’d still be a civil offense to be present in the United States without papers, and in theory, still possible to be deported — although this brings us to the rest of the Democratic approach to immigration. Asked if an illegal immigrant in the interior of the country who hasn’t committed another crime should be deported, Joe Biden replied that such a person “should not be the focus of deportation.” Kamala Harris said he “absolutely” should not be deported, and Representative Eric Swalwell said “that person can be part of this great American experience.” This is a promise to gut interior enforcement that, coupled with the latitudinarian attitude at the border, would be a huge step toward open borders. If there were any doubt that Democrats want to welcome illegal immigrants and treat them like U.S. citizens, seeing every single candidate on the stage last night promising to provide government health insurance to illegal immigrants removes it. This, obviously, would be even more of a magnet to illegal immigration, and would erode the difference between U.S. citizens and people who literally showed up the day before yesterday in violation of our laws. Besides, the U.S. government is under enough fiscal strain providing promised benefits to citizens and legal residents without, in effect, extending the safety net to some percentage of the population of Northern Triangle countries. The Democrats’ radicalism on immigration is certainly a political mistake that will give President Trump ready fodder next year. We’d say it’s impossible for Democrats to get any further out on this limb, but the next round of debates is only a month away. National Review
In this week’s Democratic debates, it wasn’t just individual candidates who presented themselves to the public. It was also the party itself. What conclusions should ordinary people draw about what Democrats stand for, other than a thunderous repudiation of Donald Trump, and how they see America, other than as a land of unscrupulous profiteers and hapless victims? Here’s what: a party that makes too many Americans feel like strangers in their own country. A party that puts more of its faith, and invests most of its efforts, in them instead of us. They speak Spanish. We don’t. They are not U.S. citizens or legal residents. We are. They broke the rules to get into this country. We didn’t. They pay few or no taxes. We already pay most of those taxes. They willingly got themselves into debt. We’re asked to write it off. They don’t pay the premiums for private health insurance. We’re supposed to give up ours in exchange for some V.A.-type nightmare. They didn’t start enterprises that create employment and drive innovation. We’re expected to join the candidates in demonizing the job-creators, breaking up their businesses and taxing them to the hilt. (…) On closer inspection, the message got even worse. Promising access to health insurance for north of 11 million undocumented immigrants at a time when there’s a migration crisis at the southern border? Every candidate at Thursday’s debate raised a hand for that one, in what was surely the evening’s best moment for the Trump campaign. Calling for the decriminalization of border crossings (while opposing a wall)? That was a major theme of Wednesday’s debate, underlining the Republican contention that Democrats are a party of open borders, limitless amnesty and, in time, the Third World-ization of America.  (…) Eliminating private health insurance, an industry that employs more than 500,000 workers and insures 150 million?  (…) Since Democrats are already committed to destroying the coal industry and seem inclined to turn Silicon Valley into a regulated utility, it’s worth asking: Just how much of the private economy are they even willing to keep? And then there are the costs that Democrats want to impose on the country. Warren, for instance, favors universal child care (estimated cost, $70 billion a year), Medicare-For-All ($2.8 trillion to $3.2 trillion annually), student-debt cancellation and universal free college ($125 billion annually), and a comprehensive climate action plan ($2 trillion, including $100 billion in aid to poor countries), along with a raft of smaller giveaways, like debt relief for Puerto Rico. As Everett Dirksen might have said: A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money. Someone will have to pay for all this, and it won’t just be the very rich making between seven and 10 figures a year. It will be you. Throughout the debates, I kept wondering if any of the leading candidates would speak to Americans beyond the Democratic base. Bret Stevens
A gentleman of early middle age in Kansas City wrote to say he’d sat out the 2016 election because he was dissatisfied with both parties. But now he’s for Donald Trump, and the reason “runs deeper than politics.” America’s elites in politics, media and the academy have grown oblivious to “the average Joe’s intense disgust” at being morally instructed and “preached to.” (…) and (…) “in Donald Trump, voters found a massive sledgehammer that pulverizes the ridiculous notion that Americans aren’t good enough.” Mr. Trump doesn’t buy the guilt narrative. “It’s surely not about the man at this point. It stopped being about Trump long ago. It is about that counter-punch that has been missing from our culture for far too long.” (…) A reader who grew up upper-middle-class in the South writes on the politics of the situation. His second wife, also a Southerner, grew up poor. She is a former waitress and bartender whose politics he characterizes as “pragmatic liberal.” (…) “She told me, ‘He speaks my language, and there’s a lot more of me than there is of you.’ ” I have to say after a week of reading such letters that emotionally this cycle feels like 2016 all over again. Various facts are changed (no Mrs. Clinton) but the same basic dynamic pertains—the two Americas talking past each other, the social and cultural resentments, the great estrangement. It’s four years later but we’re re-enacting the trauma of 2016. And the Democrats again appear to be losing the thread. They’ve spent the past few months giving the impression they are in a kind of passionate lockstep with a part of their base, the progressives, and detached from everyone else. And in the debates they doubled down. (…) what Night One did was pick up the entire party and put it down outside the mainstream and apart from the center. (…) They are, functionally, in terms of the effects of their stands, for open borders. They are in complete agreement with the abortion regime—no reservations or qualms, no sense of just or civilized limits. They’re all in on identity politics. One candidate warned against denying federally funded abortions to “a trans female.” Two said they would do away with all private health insurance. Every party plays to its base in the primaries and attempts to soften its stands in the general. But I’m wondering how the ultimate nominee thinks he or she will walk this all back. It is too extreme for America, and too extreme for the big parts of its old base that the Democrats forgot in 2016. It was as if they were saying, “Hi, middle-American people who used to be Democrats and voted for Trump, we intend to alienate you again. Go vote for that jerk, we don’t care.” Another problem: America has a painful distance between rich and poor, but it is hard to pound the “1%” hammer effectively in a nation enjoying functional full employment. Our prosperity is provisional and could leave tomorrow, but right now America’s feeling stronger. “Grapes of Wrath” rhetoric resonates when people think they’re in or entering a recession or depression. The debaters Wednesday night looked like they were saying, “Who ya gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?” (…) Night two was more raucous but similarly extreme. The first 15 minutes included higher taxes, free college and student-loan forgiveness. Most candidates agreed on free health insurance for illegal immigrants. They also appeared to believe that most or all U.S. immigration law should be abolished. (…) It was an odd evening in that it was lively, spirited, at moments even soulful, and yet so detached from reality. Peggy Noonan
If you want to know why there’s a surge at the border it’s not just because things are bad in Central America. It’s because we’re giving away permanent residence, free school, and maybe soon free health care, etc. to anyone who arrives. (…) I don’t think most Americans agree with open borders. That’s still a fringe position. But as long as the left can label opposition to open borders racist, a lot of people will hesitate to speak up in opposition to it. And as long as the media lets Dems talk as if there is only upside to illegal immigration, most people won’t ever hear about what all this generosity is costing them. John Sexton
There is now a photograph that sums up everything wrong about America’s broken and overwhelmed immigration system. You’ve seen it, and it is hard to let it leave the mind or the conscience. Together with the accounts of horrifying abuse of children in detention — and “abuse” is not hyperbole — we can see the crisis as it is. We can no longer look away. The starkness of the crisis is a good thing, though. Until now, many have denied that any crisis existed at all. They have, in fact, denied that the highest levels of mass immigration since the Bush years are an issue at all. As Byron York has noted, Speaker Pelosi called the arrival of close to a million asylum seekers “a fake crisis”; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that hundreds of thousands of men, women, and many children, overwhelming any attempt to process them with the current resources, was “a crisis that does not exist.” This included many Never-Trumpers, like Bill Kristol (“a fake crisis”), and Max Boot (“a faux crisis”). The editors of the Washington Post denied the facts reported by their own Nick Miroff, claiming it was “a make-believe crisis.” None of these people will admit they were gravely mistaken, or that their denial and delay in acting clearly exacerbated the situation. But now that we’re on the same page, the question is: Where do we go with this now? (…) Since 2014, there has been a 240 percent increase in asylum cases. As Fareed Zakaria has pointed out, the number of asylum cases from Honduras, Guatemala, and Venezuela has soared at the same time as the crime rate in those countries was being cut in half. (…) But somehow the courts have decided that you qualify for asylum if there is simply widespread crime or violence where you live, and Ramirez was also going to use that argument as well. A government need not persecute you; you just have to experience an unsafe environment that your government is failing to suppress. This so expands the idea of asylum, in my view, as to render it meaningless. Courts have also expanded asylum to include domestic violence, determining that women in abusive relationships are a “particular social group” and thereby qualify. In other words, every woman on the planet who has experienced domestic abuse can now come to America and claim asylum. Also everyone on the planet who doesn’t live in a stable, orderly, low-crime society. Literally billions of human beings now have the right to asylum in America. As climate change worsens, more will rush to claim it. All they have to do is show up. Last month alone, 144,000 people were detained at the border making an asylum claim. This year, about a million Central Americans will have relocated to the U.S. on those grounds. To add to this, a big majority of the candidates in the Democratic debates also want to remove the grounds for detention at all, by repealing the 1929 law that made illegal entry a criminal offense and turning it into a civil one. And almost all of them said that if illegal immigrants do not commit a crime once they’re in the U.S., they should be allowed to become citizens. How, I ask, is that not practically open borders? The answer I usually get is that all these millions will have to, at some point, go to court hearings and have their asylum cases adjudicated. The trouble with that argument is that only 44 percent actually turn up for their hearings; and those who do show up and whose claims nonetheless fail can simply walk out of the court and know they probably won’t be deported in the foreseeable future. Immigration and Customs Enforcement forcibly removed 256,086 people in 2018, 57 percent of whom had committed crimes since they arrived in the U.S. So that’s an annual removal rate of 2 percent of the total undocumented population of around 12 million. That means that for 98 percent of undocumented aliens, in any given year, no consequences will follow for crossing the border without papers. At the debates this week, many Democratic candidates argued that the 43 percent of deportees who had no criminal record in America should not have been expelled at all and been put instead on a path to citizenship. So that would reduce the annual removal rate of illegal immigrants to a little more than 1 percent per year. In terms of enforcement of the immigration laws, this is a joke. It renders the distinction between a citizen and a noncitizen close to meaningless. None of this reality was allowed to intervene in the Democratic debates this week. (…) What emerged was their core message to the world: Get here without papers and you’ll receive humane treatment while you’re processed, you’ll never be detained, you’ll get work permits immediately, and you’ll have access to publicly funded health care and a path to citizenship if you don’t commit a crime. This amounts to an open invitation to anyone on the planet to just show up and cross the border. The worst that can happen is you get denied asylum by a judge, in which case you can just disappear and there’s a 1 percent chance that you’ll be caught in a given year. Who wouldn’t take those odds? This is in a new century when the U.S. is trying to absorb the largest wave of new immigrants in our entire history, and when the percentage of the population that is foreign-born is also near a historic peak. It is also a time when mass immigration from the developing world has destabilized liberal democracies across the West, is bringing illiberal, anti-immigration regimes to power across Europe, and was the single biggest reason why Donald Trump is president. I’m told that, as a legal immigrant, I’m shutting the door behind me now that I’ve finally made it to citizenship. I’m not. I favor solid continuing legal immigration, but also a reduction in numbers and a new focus on skills in an economy where unskilled labor is increasingly a path to nowhere. It is not strange that legal immigrants — who have often spent years and thousands of dollars to play by the rules — might be opposed to others’ jumping the line. It is not strange that a hefty proportion of Latino legal immigrants oppose illegal immigration — they are often the most directly affected by new, illegal competition, which drives down their wages. (…) When I’m told only white racists favor restrictionism, I note how the Mexican people are more opposed to illegal immigration than Americans: In a new poll, 61.5 percent of Mexicans oppose the entry of undocumented migrants, period; 44 percent believe that Mexico should remove any undocumented alien immediately. Are Mexicans now white supremacists too? That hostility to illegal immigration may even explain why Trump’s threat to put tariffs on Mexico if it didn’t crack down may well have worked. Since Trump’s bluster, the numbers have measurably declined — and the crackdown is popular in Mexico. I can also note that most countries outside Western Europe have strict immigration control and feel no need to apologize for it. Are the Japanese and Chinese “white supremacists”? Please. Do they want to sustain their own culture and national identity? Sure. Is that now the equivalent of the KKK? Andrew Sullivan
Résidence permanente, scolarité et soins gratuits, élargissement toujours plus large des critères d’accueil jusqu’à la violence domestique, décriminalisation de l’entrée illégale …
Y-a-t-il une mesure pro-migrants clandestins que les Démocrates n’auront pas préconisée ?
A l’heure où en Europe, sur fond d’une soumission à une police de la pensée de plus en plus étouffante, les attaques de commissariat aux cris d’Allahu akbar commencent à se banaliser …
Où une militante écologiste se fait mousser sur le dos d’une quarantaine de migrants clandestins …
Alors que les caméras de Frontex viennent de démontrer les véritables mises en scène auxquelles se livrent les passeurs …
Et que sur fond d’une immigration sauvage complètement hors contrôle – jusqu’à l’arrestation de djihadistes égyptiens au Nicaragua …
Le NYT nous refait sur le Rio Grande (avant probablement Hollywood ?) le coup du petit noyé syrien de Méditerrannée
Pendant que pour un problème qui date principalement de l’Administration Obama, chercheurs, célébrités et parlementaires voient des camps nazis ou de l’esclavage partout …
Comment ne pas être frappé …
De l’incroyable légèreté des candidats démocrates pour la présidentielle de l’an prochain …
Qui après avoir passé deux ans à nier la réalité de la crise migratoire en sont …
Comme le rappellent l’ancien blogueur Andrew Sullivan ou l’ancienne plume de Reagan Peggy Noonan

A nier la réalité elle-même ?

New York magazine

There is now a photograph that sums up everything wrong about America’s broken and overwhelmed immigration system. You’ve seen it, and it is hard to let it leave the mind or the conscience. Together with the accounts of horrifying abuse of children in detention — and “abuse” is not hyperbole — we can see the crisis as it is. We can no longer look away.

The starkness of the crisis is a good thing, though. Until now, many have denied that any crisis existed at all. They have, in fact, denied that the highest levels of mass immigration since the Bush years are an issue at all. As Byron York has noted, Speaker Pelosi called the arrival of close to a million asylum seekers “a fake crisis”; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that hundreds of thousands of men, women, and many children, overwhelming any attempt to process them with the current resources, was “a crisis that does not exist.” This included many Never-Trumpers, like Bill Kristol (“a fake crisis”), and Max Boot (“a faux crisis”). The editors of the Washington Post denied the facts reported by their own Nick Miroff, claiming it was “a make-believe crisis.”

None of these people will admit they were gravely mistaken, or that their denial and delay in acting clearly exacerbated the situation. But now that we’re on the same page, the question is: Where do we go with this now?

Yesterday was a sign of real bipartisan progress. The House passed a Senate bill to spend $4.6 billion to relieve the humanitarian crisis and tackle some of the structural inadequacies of the current failed system. The left wing of the Democratic caucus wanted to insist on various restrictions on the use of the $4.6 billion, primarily to ensure that none of it is earmarked (God forbid) for enforcement of the law. The problem with waging a longer fight would be that Congress would break for its July 4 recess having done nothing to help. Pelosi put children before politics, and it’s hard not to admire her humane pragmatism.

So it’s a start. What’s next? The good news is that the Democrats are finally beginning to announce policy plans that offer some solid ideas. A new bill for an overhaul of the entire system called the Northern Triangle and Border Stabilization Act has been introduced in the House. It proposes increased U.S. aid to Central American countries, to tackle the problem at its roots; a big investment in border facilities to ensure far more humane treatment of asylum seekers; a much stricter monitoring system to keep track of them after processing to make sure they turn up for their court hearings; many more immigration judges to reduce the massive backlog of cases; and it allows for asylum claims to be made in home countries, rather than at the border.

These are all good ideas and certainly worth trying. But what they don’t address is the larger problem of how to reduce levels of mass immigration. The Democrats want to raise the cap on refugees from Central America to 100,000 a year and propose no tightening of asylum law. But it’s the asylum law that needs to change. Since 2014, there has been a 240 percent increase in asylum cases. As Fareed Zakaria has pointed out, the number of asylum cases from Honduras, Guatemala, and Venezuela has soared at the same time as the crime rate in those countries was being cut in half.

Take the tragic tale of Oscar Ramirez and his young daughter Valeria, the father and daughter captured in death in that heartbreaking photograph. Ramirez’s widow explained to the Washington Post why her husband wanted to move to America: He wanted “a better future for their girl.” This is an admirable goal, but it is classic economic immigration, and it would appear, based on what we know, that it has absolutely nothing to do with asylum. Here again is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services definition: “Refugee status or asylum may be granted to people who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion.”

But somehow the courts have decided that you qualify for asylum if there is simply widespread crime or violence where you live, and Ramirez was also going to use that argument as well. A government need not persecute you; you just have to experience an unsafe environment that your government is failing to suppress. This so expands the idea of asylum, in my view, as to render it meaningless.

Courts have also expanded asylum to include domestic violence, determining that women in abusive relationships are a “particular social group” and thereby qualify. In other words, every woman on the planet who has experienced domestic abuse can now come to America and claim asylum. Also everyone on the planet who doesn’t live in a stable, orderly, low-crime society. Literally billions of human beings now have the right to asylum in America. As climate change worsens, more will rush to claim it. All they have to do is show up.

Last month alone, 144,000 people were detained at the border making an asylum claim. This year, about a million Central Americans will have relocated to the U.S. on those grounds. To add to this, a big majority of the candidates in the Democratic debates also want to remove the grounds for detention at all, by repealing the 1929 law that made illegal entry a criminal offense and turning it into a civil one. And almost all of them said that if illegal immigrants do not commit a crime once they’re in the U.S., they should be allowed to become citizens.

How, I ask, is that not practically open borders? The answer I usually get is that all these millions will have to, at some point, go to court hearings and have their asylum cases adjudicated. The trouble with that argument is that only 44 percent actually turn up for their hearings; and those who do show up and whose claims nonetheless fail can simply walk out of the court and know they probably won’t be deported in the foreseeable future.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement forcibly removed 256,086 people in 2018, 57 percent of whom had committed crimes since they arrived in the U.S. So that’s an annual removal rate of 2 percent of the total undocumented population of around 12 million. That means that for 98 percent of undocumented aliens, in any given year, no consequences will follow for crossing the border without papers. At the debates this week, many Democratic candidates argued that the 43 percent of deportees who had no criminal record in America should not have been expelled at all and been put instead on a path to citizenship. So that would reduce the annual removal rate of illegal immigrants to a little more than 1 percent per year. In terms of enforcement of the immigration laws, this is a joke. It renders the distinction between a citizen and a noncitizen close to meaningless.

None of this reality was allowed to intervene in the Democratic debates this week. At one point, one moderator tellingly spoke about Obama’s record of deporting ” 3 million Americans.” In that bubble, there were no negatives to mass immigration at all, and no concern for existing American citizens’ interests in not having their wages suppressed through this competition. There was no concession that child separation and “metering” at the border to slow the crush were both innovated by Obama, trying to manage an overwhelmed system. Candidates vied with each other to speak in Spanish. Every single one proposed amnesty for all those currently undocumented in the U.S., except for criminals. Every single one opposes a wall. There was unanimous support for providing undocumented immigrants immediately with free health care. There was no admission that Congress needed to tighten asylum law. There was no concern that the Flores decision had massively incentivized bringing children to game the system, leaving so many vulnerable to untold horrors on a journey no child should ever be forced to make.

What emerged was their core message to the world: Get here without papers and you’ll receive humane treatment while you’re processed, you’ll never be detained, you’ll get work permits immediately, and you’ll have access to publicly funded health care and a path to citizenship if you don’t commit a crime. This amounts to an open invitation to anyone on the planet to just show up and cross the border. The worst that can happen is you get denied asylum by a judge, in which case you can just disappear and there’s a 1 percent chance that you’ll be caught in a given year. Who wouldn’t take those odds?

This is in a new century when the U.S. is trying to absorb the largest wave of new immigrants in our entire history, and when the percentage of the population that is foreign-born is also near a historic peak. It is also a time when mass immigration from the developing world has destabilized liberal democracies across the West, is bringing illiberal, anti-immigration regimes to power across Europe, and was the single biggest reason why Donald Trump is president.

I’m told that, as a legal immigrant, I’m shutting the door behind me now that I’ve finally made it to citizenship. I’m not. I favor solid continuing legal immigration, but also a reduction in numbers and a new focus on skills in an economy where unskilled labor is increasingly a path to nowhere. It is not strange that legal immigrants — who have often spent years and thousands of dollars to play by the rules — might be opposed to others’ jumping the line. It is not strange that a hefty proportion of Latino legal immigrants oppose illegal immigration — they are often the most directly affected by new, illegal competition, which drives down their wages.

I’m told that I’m a white supremacist for believing in borders, nation-states, and a reduction in legal immigration to slow the pace of this country’s demographic revolution. But I support this because I want a more successful integration and Americanization of immigrants, a better future for skilled immigrants, and I want to weaken the populist and indeed racist movements that have taken the West by storm in the past few years. It’s because I loathe white supremacy that I favor moderation in this area.

When I’m told only white racists favor restrictionism, I note how the Mexican people are more opposed to illegal immigration than Americans: In a new poll, 61.5 percent of Mexicans oppose the entry of undocumented migrants, period; 44 percent believe that Mexico should remove any undocumented alien immediately. Are Mexicans now white supremacists too? That hostility to illegal immigration may even explain why Trump’s threat to put tariffs on Mexico if it didn’t crack down may well have worked. Since Trump’s bluster, the numbers have measurably declined — and the crackdown is popular in Mexico. I can also note that most countries outside Western Europe have strict immigration control and feel no need to apologize for it. Are the Japanese and Chinese “white supremacists”? Please. Do they want to sustain their own culture and national identity? Sure. Is that now the equivalent of the KKK?

The Democrats’ good ideas need to be put in contact with this bigger question if they are to win wider support. In the U.S. in the 21st century, should anyone who enters without papers and doesn’t commit a crime be given a path to citizenship? Should all adversely affected by climate change be offered a path to citizenship if they make it to the border? Should every human living in violent, crime-ridden neighborhoods or countries be granted asylum in America? Is there any limiting principle at all?

I suspect that the Democrats’ new position — everyone in the world can become an American if they walk over the border and never commit a crime — is political suicide. I think the courts’ expansion of the meaning of asylum would strike most Americans as excessively broad. I think many Americans will have watched these debates on immigration and concluded that the Democrats want more immigration, not less, that they support an effective amnesty of 12 million undocumented aliens as part of loosening border enforcement and weakening criteria for citizenship. And the viewers will have realized that their simple beliefs that borders should be enforced and that immigration needs to slow down a bit are viewed by Democrats as unthinkable bigotry.

Advantage Trump.

Voir aussi:

The 2020 Democrats Lack Hindsight
They ignore reality and march in lockstep with their base. Did they learn anything from 2016?
Peggy Noonan
June 28, 2019

I’ve received tens of thousands of letters and other communications from Trump supporters the past few years, some of which have sparked extended dialogues. Two I got after last week’s column struck me as pertinent to this moment, and they make insufficiently appreciated points.
A gentleman of early middle age in Kansas City wrote to say he’d sat out the 2016 election because he was dissatisfied with both parties. But now he’s for Donald Trump, and the reason “runs deeper than politics.”
America’s elites in politics, media and the academy have grown oblivious to “the average Joe’s intense disgust” at being morally instructed and “preached to.”
“Every day, Americans are told of the endless ways they are falling short. If we don’t show the ‘proper’ level of understanding according to a talking head, then we are surely racist. If we don’t embrace every sanitized PC talking point, then we must be heartless. If we have the audacity to speak our mind, then we are most definitely a bigot.” These accusations are relentless.
“We are jabbed like a boxer with no gloves on to defend us. And we are fed up. We are tired of being told we aren’t good enough.” He believes the American people are by nature kind and generous—“they would give you the shirt off their back if you were in trouble”—and that “in Donald Trump, voters found a massive sledgehammer that pulverizes the ridiculous notion that Americans aren’t good enough.” Mr. Trump doesn’t buy the guilt narrative.
“It’s surely not about the man at this point. It stopped being about Trump long ago. It is about that counter-punch that has been missing from our culture for far too long.”
The culture of accusation, he says, is breaking us apart.
A reader who grew up upper-middle-class in the South writes on the politics of the situation. His second wife, also a Southerner, grew up poor. She is a former waitress and bartender whose politics he characterizes as “pragmatic liberal.” They watched Mr. Trump’s 2015 announcement together, and he said to her, “He doesn’t have a chance.” She looked at him “with complete conviction” and said, “He’s going to win.”
As the campaign progressed, she never wavered. At the end, with the polls saying Hillary, “I asked my wife how she could be so certain Trump was going to win.” He found her response “astute and telling.”
“She told me, ‘He speaks my language, and there’s a lot more of me than there is of you.’ ”
I have to say after a week of reading such letters that emotionally this cycle feels like 2016 all over again. Various facts are changed (no Mrs. Clinton) but the same basic dynamic pertains—the two Americas talking past each other, the social and cultural resentments, the great estrangement. It’s four years later but we’re re-enacting the trauma of 2016.
And the Democrats again appear to be losing the thread.
They’ve spent the past few months giving the impression they are in a kind of passionate lockstep with a part of their base, the progressives, and detached from everyone else.
And in the debates they doubled down. Both nights had fizz. There was a lot of earnestness and different kinds of brightness.
But what Night One did was pick up the entire party and put it down outside the mainstream and apart from the center.
This is what the candidates said:
They are, functionally, in terms of the effects of their stands, for open borders.
They are in complete agreement with the abortion regime—no reservations or qualms, no sense of just or civilized limits.
They’re all in on identity politics. One candidate warned against denying federally funded abortions to “a trans female.”
Two said they would do away with all private health insurance.
Every party plays to its base in the primaries and attempts to soften its stands in the general. But I’m wondering how the ultimate nominee thinks he or she will walk this all back. It is too extreme for America, and too extreme for the big parts of its old base that the Democrats forgot in 2016.
It was as if they were saying, “Hi, middle-American people who used to be Democrats and voted for Trump, we intend to alienate you again. Go vote for that jerk, we don’t care.”
Another problem: America has a painful distance between rich and poor, but it is hard to pound the “1%” hammer effectively in a nation enjoying functional full employment. Our prosperity is provisional and could leave tomorrow, but right now America’s feeling stronger.
“Grapes of Wrath” rhetoric resonates when people think they’re in or entering a recession or depression. The debaters Wednesday night looked like they were saying, “Who ya gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?”
After these big facts, candidate-by-candidate analysis seems secondary. Beto O’Rourke’s fatuous, self-actualizing journey makes the Democrats look sillier than they have to. Elizabeth Warren was focused and energetic, and her call to break up concentrations of power, including big tech, was strong and timely. She made a terrible mistake in holding to her intention to do away with private health insurance. An estimated 180 million Americans have such policies. Why force potential supporters to choose between her and their family’s insurance? Who does she think is going to win that? Why put as the headline on your plan, “This is what I’m going to take away from you”? Why would she gamble a serious long-term candidacy on such a vow? It is insane.
If she is extremely lucky Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won’t endorse her soon and make it worse.
Bill de Blasio had the best moment in the first half-hour, suggesting Democrats shouldn’t bicker about policy differences but instead unite as progressives. He has that air of burly, happy aggression that is the special province of idiots. Tulsi Gabbard broke through when it became clear she was the only explicitly antiwar candidate on the stage; this had the interesting effect of showing the others up.
Night two was more raucous but similarly extreme. The first 15 minutes included higher taxes, free college and student-loan forgiveness. Most candidates agreed on free health insurance for illegal immigrants. They also appeared to believe that most or all U.S. immigration law should be abolished.
The big dawgs did OK. If Kamala Harris was not a big dawg, she is now. Joe Biden sort of held his own but seemed to flag. Bernie Sanders seemed not as interesting as last cycle, more crotchety and irritable.
Eric Swalwell’s uncorking of a memory from when he was 6—ol’ Sen. Biden came to town and talked about passing the torch to younger leaders—was an attempt at slyness that so widely missed its mark, was so inelegant and obvious, that it was kind of fabulous. By the end of the night Mr. Swalwell had flamed out from sheer obnoxiousness.
The nonpolitician Marianne Williamson was delightfully unshy, sincere and, until her daffy closing statement, sympathetic. Kirsten Gillibrand yippily interrupted—“It’s my turn!”—and did herself no good.
It was an odd evening in that it was lively, spirited, at moments even soulful, and yet so detached from reality.
Voir également:

A Wretched Start for Democrats
The party seems interested in helping everyone except the voters it needs.
Bret Stephens
The New York Times
June 28, 2019

Amigos demócratas, Si ustedes siguen así, van a perder las elecciones. Y lo merecerán.
Translation for the linguistically benighted: “Democratic friends, if you go on like this, you’re going to lose the elections. And you’ll deserve it.

In this week’s Democratic debates, it wasn’t just individual candidates who presented themselves to the public. It was also the party itself. What conclusions should ordinary people draw about what Democrats stand for, other than a thunderous repudiation of Donald Trump, and how they see America, other than as a land of unscrupulous profiteers and hapless victims?

Here’s what: a party that makes too many Americans feel like strangers in their own country. A party that puts more of its faith, and invests most of its efforts, in them instead of us.

They speak Spanish. We don’t. They are not U.S. citizens or legal residents. We are. They broke the rules to get into this country. We didn’t. They pay few or no taxes. We already pay most of those taxes. They willingly got themselves into debt. We’re asked to write it off. They don’t pay the premiums for private health insurance. We’re supposed to give up ours in exchange for some V.A.-type nightmare. They didn’t start enterprises that create employment and drive innovation. We’re expected to join the candidates in demonizing the job-creators, breaking up their businesses and taxing them to the hilt.

That was the broad gist of the Democratic message, in which the only honorable exceptions, like Maryland’s John Delaney and Colorado’s John Hickenlooper, came across as square dancers at a rave.

On closer inspection, the message got even worse.

Promising access to health insurance for north of 11 million undocumented immigrants at a time when there’s a migration crisis at the southern border? Every candidate at Thursday’s debate raised a hand for that one, in what was surely the evening’s best moment for the Trump campaign.

Calling for the decriminalization of border crossings (while opposing a wall)? That was a major theme of Wednesday’s debate, underlining the Republican contention that Democrats are a party of open borders, limitless amnesty and, in time, the Third World-ization of America.

Switching to Spanish? Memo to Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker: If you can’t speak the language without a heavy American accent, don’t bother. It just reminds those of us who can that the only thing worse than an obnoxious gringo is a pandering one.

Eliminating private health insurance, an industry that employs more than 500,000 workers and insures 150 million? Elizabeth Warren, Bill de Blasio, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris support it (though the California senator later recanted the position). Since Democrats are already committed to destroying the coal industry and seem inclined to turn Silicon Valley into a regulated utility, it’s worth asking: Just how much of the private economy are they even willing to keep?

And then there are the costs that Democrats want to impose on the country. Warren, for instance, favors universal child care (estimated cost, $70 billion a year), Medicare-For-All ($2.8 trillion to $3.2 trillion annually), student-debt cancellation and universal free college ($125 billion annually), and a comprehensive climate action plan ($2 trillion, including $100 billion in aid to poor countries), along with a raft of smaller giveaways, like debt relief for Puerto Rico.

As Everett Dirksen might have said: A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money. Someone will have to pay for all this, and it won’t just be the very rich making between seven and 10 figures a year. It will be you.

Throughout the debates, I kept wondering if any of the leading candidates would speak to Americans beyond the Democratic base. But Joe Biden seemed too feeble, oratorically and intellectually, to buck the self-defeating trend. Pete Buttigieg was, as always, fluent, knowledgeable and sincere. But his big moment — a mea culpa for a racially charged policing incident in South Bend — felt like another well-mannered white guy desperate to put his wokeness on display.

Harris, meanwhile, came across as Barack Obama in reverse, especially with her scurrilous attack on Biden for the sin of having had a functional political relationship with two former segregationist senators in the 1970s. This was portrayed as a clever debate move but it will come to haunt her.

Obama’s political genius was to emphasize what Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, authors of ‘The Coddling of the American Mind,” have called “common-humanity identity politics”— he made you feel comfortable no matter the color of your skin. Harris’s approach, by contrast, is “common-enemy identity politics.” Making white Americans feel racially on trial for views they may have held in the past on crime, busing and similar subjects is not going to help the Democrats.

None of this means that Democrats can’t win in 2020. The economy could take a bad turn. Or Trump could outdo himself in loathsomeness. But the Democratic Party we saw this week did even less to appeal beyond its base than the president. And at least his message is that he’s on their — make that our — side.

Bret L. Stephens has been an Opinion columnist with The Times since April 2017. He won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary at The Wall Street Journal in 2013 and was previously editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post. @BretStephensNYT Facebook

Voir de même:

The Party of Illegal Immigration

There didn’t seem much room for Democrats to move left on immigration, but they’ve found it.

On the first night of the Democratic debates, Julian Castro made a big issue of his call to repeal Section 1325 of Title 8 of the United States Code, which says it’s a federal crime to enter the country without authorization. This felt like a ploy for attention from the periphery of the second-tier debate stage, yet last night seven out of the ten candidates raised their hands for the idea, including top contenders Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg.

The collective posture of the party is getting closer and closer to open borders, only without embracing the label.

Illegal immigrants aren’t typically prosecuted under Section 1325, although the Bush administration started a program called “Operation Streamline” to increase prosecutions, hoping to discourage would-be crossers and especially to create a deterrent against illegal reentry (illegal entry is a misdemeanor often punished by time served, whereas illegal reentry is a felony). Such prosecutions were a key element of Trump’s family-separation policy that had to be quickly abandoned.

The repeal of Section 1325 would send a message of permissiveness that would create another incentive for migrants to come across the border, and remove a tool for going after coyotes (it can be difficult to prove their offense, so prosecuting them for illegal entry is a backstop). Section 1325 has been on the books for 90 years, and it reflects the commonsense view that entering the United States without lawful permission should be a crime. Yes, it’d still be a civil offense to be present in the United States without papers, and in theory, still possible to be deported — although this brings us to the rest of the Democratic approach to immigration.

Asked if an illegal immigrant in the interior of the country who hasn’t committed another crime should be deported, Joe Biden replied that such a person “should not be the focus of deportation.” Kamala Harris said he “absolutely” should not be deported, and Representative Eric Swalwell said “that person can be part of this great American experience.” This is a promise to gut interior enforcement that, coupled with the latitudinarian attitude at the border, would be a huge step toward open borders.

If there were any doubt that Democrats want to welcome illegal immigrants and treat them like U.S. citizens, seeing every single candidate on the stage last night promising to provide government health insurance to illegal immigrants removes it. This, obviously, would be even more of a magnet to illegal immigration, and would erode the difference between U.S. citizens and people who literally showed up the day before yesterday in violation of our laws. Besides, the U.S. government is under enough fiscal strain providing promised benefits to citizens and legal residents without, in effect, extending the safety net to some percentage of the population of Northern Triangle countries.

The Democrats’ radicalism on immigration is certainly a political mistake that will give President Trump ready fodder next year. We’d say it’s impossible for Democrats to get any further out on this limb, but the next round of debates is only a month away.

Voir de plus:

États-Unis : Barack Obama sous pression face à l’afflux d’enfants clandestins

La Maison-Blanche a demandé mardi au Congrès américain le déblocage en urgence de 3,7 milliards de dollars pour faire face à l’entrée illégale de dizaines de milliers d’enfants.

Le président américain reconnaît lui-même que son pays fait face à «une situation humanitaire d’urgence». Barack Obama a demandé formellement au Congrès mardi de débloquer 3,7 milliards de dollars (2,7 milliards d’euros) pour répondre à l’afflux croissant d’enfants clandestins à la frontière avec le Mexique. L’objectif: augmenter les capacités d’accueil des sans-papiers et le nombre de juges gérant leurs dossiers, renforcer la surveillance de la frontière… mais surtout améliorer les conditions de détention de ces enfants arrêtés à la frontière après avoir tenté la traversée du Rio Grande au péril de leur vie. «Sans crédits supplémentaires, à moins de prendre des mesures extraordinaires, les agences ne disposeront pas des ressources suffisantes pour répondre à la situation de façon appropriée», a insisté la Maison-Blanche.

Car sur le terrain, les besoins sont colossaux. Depuis le mois d’octobre, pas moins de 52.000 sans-papiers mineurs venus seuls, surtout d’Amérique centrale (Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador), ont été interpellés à la frontière entre le Mexique et les États-Unis. Sans compter les milliers d’autres arrêtés en compagnie de leurs proches. Le phénomène est loin d’être nouveau, mais les chiffres ont doublé par rapport à l’an dernier. Au total, plus de 90.000 enfants pourraient être interpellés cette année, soit 15 fois plus qu’en 2011, selon une note officielle.

Ces enfants, parfois âgés de 3 ou 4 ans seulement, arrivent affamés, déshydratés, après un périple de plusieurs milliers de kilomètres. Ils se retrouvent dans «des conditions terribles», «n’ont pas de lit et dorment par terre», déplore auprès de l’AFP Domingo Gonzalo, membre de l’association Campaña Fronteriza qui oeuvre au Texas. La Croix-Rouge américaine a même dû venir en aide aux autorités en fournissant des couvertures et des kits d’hygiène pour les jeunes détenus, tandis que des bases militaires sont transformées en centres d’accueil d’urgence, en Californie ou au Texas.

Un hangar faisant office de centre de détention, en Arizona.

Le message pro-immigration du président, principal coupable selon les républicains

Parmi ces mineurs, beaucoup fuient la pauvreté, la violence liée au narcotrafic de leur pays. L’Agence des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés, citée par les Los Angeles Times, rappelle que ces mineurs ne s’exilent pas seulement aux Etats-Unis: ils cherchent aussi à atteindre d’autres pays comme le Mexique, le Costa Rica ou le Nicaragua. Mais s’ils affluent à la frontière américaine, c’est que beaucoup disent être venus profiter d’une «nouvelle» loi qui leur donnerait des «permisos», des permis de séjour pour mineurs, une rumeur qui se répand depuis des mois dans ces pays d’Amérique centrale, à en croire des migrants interrogés par le New York Times. Rumeur alimentée par les passeurs qui profitent de ce trafic.

Pour les républicains toutefois, le principal responsable de cet afflux massif s’appelle Barack Obama: avec son message pro-immigration, il a selon eux donné des espoirs aux jeunes clandestins. La reforme que défend le président prévoit en effet de faciliter un peu l’accès à la nationalité pour les enfants sans-papiers, contre un renforcement du contrôle de la frontière mexicaine. «Apparemment, on se passe le mot qu’une fois appréhendé par les agents à la frontière, grâce au laxisme de cette administration, on ne sera jamais expulsé», accuse ainsi le représentant républicain Bob Goodlatte.

Le gouverneur du Texas Rick Perry estime que cette «crise humanitaire» menace la sécurité intérieure du pays. «La bonne décision est de mon point de vue d’expulser immédiatement» ces enfants. Comme l’a rappelé sur CNN un élu démocrate du Texas, Henry Cuellar, «si vous êtes Mexicain, vous êtes renvoyés (…) mais si vous venez d’un pays qui n’est pas frontalier avec les Etats-Unis comme les pays d’Amérique centrale, alors la loi dit que vous devez être pris en charge par les services fédéraux de la Santé et qu’ils vont vous placer» dans un centre d’accueil ou une famille. Or pour le républicain Rick Perry, «leur permettre de rester ne fera qu’encourager le prochain groupe à entreprendre ce très dangereux voyage».

Obama, qui doit se rendre au Texas mercredi pour s’entretenir avec Rick Perry, a fait de la réforme de l’immigration un chantier majeur de son deuxième mandat. Se heurtant au blocage de la chambre des représentants dominée par les républicains, il s’est engagé à agir par décret pour faire avancer les choses. Dans son camp, on affirme qu’il ne faut pas faire d’amalgame entre ce qui se passe en ce moment à la frontière et l’urgence d’une réforme migratoire, qui ne régulariserait que certaines personnes arrivées avant 2011. Les démocrates rappellent aussi que leur plan prévoyait la construction de centaines de kilomètres de nouvelles barrières frontalières et le renforcement du nombre de policiers.

Visiblement dépassée par l’ampleur du phénomène, l’administration Obama répète que la plupart de ces enfants clandestins ne seront pas autorisés à rester dans le pays. Le président s’est même adressé aux parents d’Amérique centrale le mois dernier dans une interview télévisée: «Notre message est sans équivoque: n’envoyez pas vos enfants seuls, sur des trains ou par des passeurs», a-t-il déclaré sur la chaîne américaine ABC (vidéo ci-dessous). «S’ils réussissent à arriver ici, ils seront renvoyés. Mais surtout, ils risquent de ne pas arriver». Malgré ses efforts, des centaines de mineurs clandestins continuent de gagner la frontière chaque jour.

Voir encore:

Why The Times Published a Photo of Drowned Migrants

We asked top editors about the decision-making process: “These are not easy images to use.”

Lara Takenaga
The New Yort Times
June 26, 2019

After The Times published a haunting photo this week of two migrants, a father and his young daughter, who had drowned in the Rio Grande, many readers said they appreciated the attention it brought to the national conversation around immigration.

Some have questioned the decision, however.

“I understand that the photograph you have with your story is meant to somehow transmit a message, perhaps convey pain and trauma, make us feel shame and sadness, and thereby ignite change,” one reader commented on the article accompanying the image. “But somehow I also find it a thoroughly humiliating (disrespectful) photograph, too.”

To give readers insight into our editorial process, we asked several top editors how The Times decided to run the photo.

At least a dozen editors discussed the image, which came from The Associated Press, at length on Tuesday after seeing it on social media. Once the photo’s legitimacy had been verified, editors decided to publish it online that evening with an article that reported on the victims, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria, and explained the image’s significance in the immigration debate. The photo appeared prominently on The Times’s front page on Wednesday.

Beth Flynn, our deputy photo editor, said the editors decided to run the image because it bore witness to what is happening at the border between the United States and Mexico right now.

“It’s important for our readers to see and understand that,” she said.

The photo reminded the editors of other powerful images, including the photo of a 3-year-old Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, whose body washed ashore in Turkey, that have brought world tragedies into greater focus and humanized the victims, said Tom Jolly, the associate masthead editor who oversees The Times’s print operations.

Among the questions the editors discussed were whether prominent use of the image on the front page would be seen as gratuitous (they decided it wasn’t) and whether it added important context to our coverage of the border, Ms. Flynn said. While The Times has written about migrants who died attempting to cross the Rio Grande, there have not been images of that plight. This photo “has such impact” as a result, Ms. Flynn said.

They also considered whether they would feel the same about the photo if it showed two white Americans.

“In this case, after an almost two-hour conversation involving people with different backgrounds and perspectives, we felt that yes, this photo was an iconic moment that represented something bigger than just the image itself,” Mr. Jolly said.

One concern about running the photo at the top of the front page was whether it would give the appearance of The Times making a political statement, Mr. Jolly said. But the editors were confident that the image stood on its own, reflecting the perils migrants on the border face, not a position on the issue of immigration.

There are some places the photo hasn’t appeared: The Times has a longstanding policy of not using graphic images in social media posts, except in extremely rare circumstances.

“It’s one thing to feature graphic photos on the homescreen or in an article,” Cynthia Collins, our off-platform editor, said. “It’s quite another thing to serve a graphic image in tweets and Facebook posts that can appear in the newsfeeds of people who didn’t deliberately seek out the news and editorial judgment of The New York Times.”

After readers criticized a photo of dead bodies that ran with a January article about an attack in Nairobi, Kenya, top editors in our photo department compiled internal guidelines for the publication of graphic or sensitive photos. Phil Corbett, our standards editor, summarized them for us:

  • Editors are advised to take enough time to discuss such a decision thoroughly, and to consult high-ranking editors as needed.

  • They should consider a series of questions and factors, including the newsworthiness of the event; how crucial the photo is to telling the story; the likely impact on loved ones, survivors and the community affected; and whether our judgment would be the same regardless of who the victims were or where the events occurred.

The conversations are never taken lightly.

“These are not easy images to use,” Mr. Jolly said. “They’re as difficult for us to look at as anyone. We do not do it without a tremendous amount of thought.”

Voir de plus:

An Expert on Concentration Camps Says That’s Exactly What the U.S. Is Running at the Border

« Things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz. »

New Tent Camps Go Up In West Texas For Migrant Children Separated From Parents

Joe RaedleGetty Images

Surely, the United States of America could not operate concentration camps. In the American consciousness, the term is synonymous with the Nazi death machines across the European continent that the Allies began the process of dismantling 75 years ago this month. But while the world-historical horrors of the Holocaust are unmatched, they are only the most extreme and inhuman manifestation of a concentration-camp system—which, according to Andrea Pitzer, author of One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps, has a more global definition. There have been concentration camps in France, South Africa, Cuba, the Soviet Union, and—with Japanese internment—the United States. In fact, she contends we are operating such a system right now in response to a very real spike in arrivals at our southern border.

“We have what I would call a concentration camp system,” Pitzer says, “and the definition of that in my book is, mass detention of civilians without trial.”

Historians use a broader definition of concentration camps, as well.

« What’s required is a little bit of demystification of it, » says Waitman Wade Beorn, a Holocaust and genocide studies historian and a lecturer at the University of Virginia. « Things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz. Concentration camps in general have always been designed—at the most basic level—to separate one group of people from another group. Usually, because the majority group, or the creators of the camp, deem the people they’re putting in it to be dangerous or undesirable in some way. »

« Things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz. »

Not every concentration camp is a death camp—in fact, their primary purpose is rarely extermination, and never in the beginning. Often, much of the death and suffering is a result of insufficient resources, overcrowding, and deteriorating conditions. So far, 24 people have died in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the Trump administration, while six children have died in the care of other agencies since September. Systems like these have emerged across the world for well over 100 years, and they’ve been established by putative liberal democracies—as with Britain’s camps in South Africa during the Boer War—as well as authoritarian states like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. Camps set up with one aim can be repurposed by new regimes, often with devastating consequences.

History is banging down the door this week with the news the Trump administration will use Fort Sill, an Oklahoma military base that was used to detain Japanese-Americans during World War II, to house 1,400 unaccompanied migrant children captured at the border. Japanese internment certainly constituted a concentration-camp system, and the echoes of the past are growing louder. Of course, the Obama administration temporarily housed migrants at military bases, including Fort Sill, for four months in 2014, built many of the newer facilities to house migrants, and pioneered some of the tactics the Trump administration is now using to try to manage the situation at the border.

Roll call is taken by the army at Japanese internment camp, Tule Lake, CA.

Roll call is taken by the army at a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II in Tule Lake, CA in 1944.

Carl MydansGetty Images

The government of the United States would never call the sprawling network of facilities now in use across many states « concentration camps, » of course. They’re referred to as « federal migrant shelters » or « temporary shelters for unaccompanied minors » or « detainment facilities » or the like. (The initial processing facilities are run by Border Patrol, and the system is primarily administered to by the Department of Homeland Security. Many adults are transferred to ICE, which now detains more than 52,000 people across 200 facilities on any given day—a record high. Unaccompanied minors are transferred to Department of Health and Human Services custody.) But by Pitzer’s measure, the system at the southern border first set up by the Bill Clinton administration, built on by Barack Obama’s government, and brought into extreme and perilous new territory by Donald Trump and his allies does qualify. Two historians who specialize in the area largely agree.


Many of the people housed in these facilities are not « illegal » immigrants. If you present yourself at the border seeking asylum, you have a legal right to a hearing under domestic and international law. They are, in another formulation, refugees—civilian non-combatants who have not committed a crime, and who say they are fleeing violence and persecution. Yet these human beings, who mostly hail from Central America’s Northern Triangle of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador—a region ravaged by gang violence and poverty and corruption and what increasingly appears to be some of the first forced migrations due to climate change—are being detained on what increasingly seems to be an indefinite basis.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration continually seeks new ways to stop people from applying for asylum, and to discourage others from attempting to. The current regime has sought to restrict the asylum criteria to exclude the exact issues, like gang or domestic violence, that these desperate people often cite for why they fled their homes. The administration has sought to introduce application fees and work-permit restraints. They have tried to prohibit migrants from seeking asylum « if they have resided in a country other than their own before coming to the U.S., » which would essentially eliminate anyone who traveled to the border through Mexico. Much of this has been struck down in federal court.

But most prominently, Trump’s Department of Homeland Security has used « metering » at the border, where migrants are forced to wait for days or weeks on the Mexican side—often sleeping in makeshift shelters or fully exposed to the elements—until they are allowed across border checkpoints to make their asylum claims and be processed. That processing system is overwhelmed, and the Obama administration also used metering at various points, but it remains unclear whether the wait times need to be as long as they are. (DHS did not respond to a request for comment.) There are no guarantees on how long migrants will have to wait, and so they’ve increasingly turned to crossing illegally between checkpoints—which constitutes « illegal entry, » a misdemeanor—in order to present themselves for asylum. This criminalizes them, and the Trump administration tried to make illegal entry a disqualifier for asylum claims. The overall effort appears to be to make it as difficult as possible to get a hearing to adjudicate those claims, raising the specter that people can be detained longer or indefinitely.

All this has been achieved through two mechanisms: militarization and dehumanization. In her book, Pitzer describes camps as “a deliberate choice to inject the framework of war into society itself. » These kinds of detention camps are a military endeavor: they are defensible in wartime, when enemy combatants must be detained, often for long periods without trial. They were a hallmark of World War I Europe. But inserting them into civil society, and using them to house civilians, is a materially different proposition. You are revoking the human and civil rights of non-combatants without legal justification.

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A migrant family sits inside an Immigration Detention Center in Nogales after they were detained by border patrol agents.

J.Emilio FloresGetty Images

« In the origins of the camps, it’s tied to the idea of martial law, » says Jonathan Hyslop, author of « The Invention of the Concentration Camp: Cuba, Southern Africa and the Philippines, 1896–1907, » and a professor of sociology and anthropology at Colgate University. « I mean, all four of the early instances—Americans in the Philippines, Spanish in Cuba, and British in South Africa, and Germans in Southwest Africa—they’re all essentially overriding any sense of rights of the civilian population. And the idea is that you’re able to suspend normal law because it’s a war situation. »

This pairs well with the rhetoric that Trump deploys to justify the system and his unconstitutional power grabs, like the phony « national emergency »: he describes the influx of asylum-seekers and other migrants as an « invasion, » language his allies are mirroring with increasing extremism. If you’re defending yourself from an invasion, anything is defensible.

That goes hand-in-hand with the strategy of dehumanization. For decades, the right has referred to undocumented immigrants as « illegals, » stripping them of any identity beyond an immigration status. Trump kicked off his formal political career by characterizing Hispanic immigrants as « rapists » and « drug-dealers » and « criminals, » never once sharing, say, the story of a woman who came here with her son fleeing a gang’s threats. It is always MS-13 and strong, scary young men. There’s talk of « animals » and monsters, and suddenly anything is justifiable. In fact, it must be done. Trump’s supporters have noticed. At a recent rally, someone in the crowd screamed out that people arriving at the border should be shot. In response, the president cracked a « joke. »

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Trump’s rhetoric about the border has served the purpose of militarizing the system and dehumanizing its subjects.

SAUL LOEBGetty Images

« It’s important here to look at the language that people are using, » Hyslop says. « As soon as you get people comparing other groups to animals or insects, or using language about advancing hordes, and we’re being overrun and flooded and this sort of thing, it’s creating the sense of this enormous threat. And that makes it much easier to sell to people on the idea we’ve got to do something drastic to control this population which going to destroy us. »

In a grotesque formulation of the chicken-and-the-egg conundrum, housing people in these camps furthers their dehumanization.

« There’s this crystallization that happens, » Pitzer says. « The longer they’re there, the worse conditions get. That’s just a universal of camps. They’re overcrowded. We already know from reports that they don’t have enough beds for the numbers that they have. As you see mental health crises and contagious diseases begin to set in, they’ll work to manage the worst of it. [But] then there will be the ability to tag these people as diseased, even if we created [those conditions]. Then we, by creating the camps, try to turn that population into the false image that we [used] to put them in the camps to start with. Over time, the camps will turn those people into what Trump was already saying they are. »

Spanish Refugees At The Camp In Perthus, France 1939

Spanish Republican refugees are held at a concentration camp in Perthus, France, in 1939. Tens of thousands fled the Spanish civil war and were kept in French camps, which were turned over to the Nazis when France fell a few years later.

Keystone-FranceGetty Images

Make no mistake: the conditions are in decline. When I went down to see the detention facility in McAllen, Texas, last summer at the height of the « zero-tolerance » policy that led inevitably to family separation, Border Patrol agents were by all appearances doing the very best they could with limited resources. That includes the facilities themselves, which at that point were mostly built—by the Clinton administration in the ’90s—to house single adult males who were crossing the border illegally to find work. By that point, Border Patrol was already forced to use them to hold families and other asylum-seekers, and agents told me the situation was untenable. They lacked requisite staff with the training to care for young children, and overcrowding was already an issue.

But according to a report from Trump’s own government—specifically, the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security—the situation has deteriorated significantly even since then. The facilities are overcrowded, underfunded, and perhaps at a perilous inflection point. It found adult detainees are « being held in ‘standing-room-only conditions’ for days or weeks at a border patrol facility in Texas, » Reuters reports. But it gets worse.

Single adults were held in cells designed for one-fifth as many detainees as were housed there and were wearing soiled clothing for days or weeks with limited access to showers, the report said. Pictures published with the report show women packed tightly together in a holding cell.

“We also observed detainees standing on toilets in the cells to make room and gain breathing space, thus limiting access to toilets,” the watchdog wrote.

This was at Paso del Norte, a facility near El Paso, which has a stated capacity of 125 detainees. But when DHS inspectors visited, it was holding 900. For a period, Border Patrol tried housing migrants in cage under a nearby bridge. It was ultimately scrapped amid public outcry. When migrants and asylum-seekers are transferred to ICE, things can get worse. Queer and trans migrants face exceptionally harsh treatment, with reports of high levels of physical and sexual abuse, and the use of solitary confinementconsidered torture by many psychologists—is widespread. As a reminder, by DHS’s own assertion, these detainments are civil, not criminal, and are not meant to be punitive in the way of a prison. Many of these people have not even been accused of a crime.

U.S. Customs And Border Protection Agency Holding Detained Migrants Under Bridge In El Paso

Migrants awaiting processing are held in temporary fencing underneath the Paso Del Norte Bridge on March 28, 2019 in El Paso, Texas.

Christ ChavezGetty Images

Again: these are inhuman conditions, and crystalize the dehumanization. So, too, does the Trump administration’s decision, reported by The Washington Post, to cancel classes, recreational programs, and even legal aid for the children held at facilities for unaccompanied minors. Why should these kids get to play soccer or learn English? Why should they get legal assistance? They’re detainees.

The administration is citing « budget pressures » related to what is undoubtedly a dramatic spike in arrivals at the border last month: 144,000 people were detained in May. It remains unclear how much of this is tied to the Trump administration’s border policies, like metering, which have severely slowed the process of declaring oneself for asylum and left people camped on the Mexican border for days or weeks after a thousand-mile trek through Mexico. Or Trump’s recent all-out push to seize money for a border wall and declare « we’re closed, » which some speculate led to a surge of people trying to get over the line before that happened.

It’s also in dispute how many of these people actually need to be detained. Vox‘s Dara Lind suggests releasing migrants from Guatemala or Honduras isn’t straightforward as « many newly arrived asylum seekers aren’t familiar with the US, often speak neither English nor Spanish, and may not have appropriate clothing or funds for bus fare. » But release with ankle bracelets has proven very effective as an alternative to detention: 99 percent of immigrants enrolled in one such program showed up for their court dates, though ICE claims it’s less effective when someone is set to be deported. Those subjected to the bracelets say they are uncomfortable and demeaning, but it’s better than stuffing a detention cell to five-times capacity. Unless, of course, that’s exactly what you want to happen.

« Over time, the camps will turn those people into what Trump was already saying they are. »

« At one point, [the administration] said that they were intentionally trying to split up families and make conditions unpleasant, so the people wouldn’t come to the U.S., » Beorn, from UVA, says. « If you’re doing that, then that’s not a prison. That’s not a holding area or a waiting area. That’s a policy. I would argue, at least in the way that [the camps are] being used now, a significant portion of the mentality is [tied to] who the [detainees] are rather than what they did.

« If these were Canadians flooding across the border, would they be treated in the same manner as the people from Mexico and from Central and South America? If the answer is yes, theoretically, then I would consider these places to be perhaps better described as transit camps or prison camps. But I suspect that’s not how they’d be treated, which then makes it much more about who the people are that you’re detaining, rather than what they did. The Canadian would have crossed the border just as illegally as the Mexican, but my suspicion is, would be treated in a different way. »


It was the revelation about school and soccer cuts that led Pitzer to fire off a tweet thread this week outlining the similarities between the U.S. camp system and those of other countries. The first examples of a concentration camp, in the modern sense, come from Cuba in the 1890s and South Africa during the Second Boer War.

« What those camps had in common with what’s going on today is they involved the wholesale detention of families, separate or together, » Pitzer says. « There was very little in the way of targeted violence. Instead, people died from poor planning, overloaded facilities and unwillingness to reverse policy, even when it became apparent the policy wasn’t working, inability to get medical care to detainees, poor food quality, contagious diseases, showing up in an environment where it became almost impossible to get control of them.

Boer War Camp

A camp for British prisoners of war during the Boer War.

Van HoepenGetty Images

« The point is that you don’t have to intend to kill everybody. When people hear the phrase ‘Oh, there’s concentration camps on the southern border,’ they think, ‘Oh, it’s not Auschwitz.’ Of course, it’s not those things, each camp system is different. But you don’t have to intend to kill everyone to have really bad outcomes. In Cuba, well over 100,000 civilians died in these camps in just a period of a couple years. In Southern Africa during the Boer War, fatalities went into the tens of thousands. And the overwhelming majority of them were children. Fatalities in the camps ended up being more than twice the combat fatalities from the war itself. »

In-custody deaths have not reached their peak of a reported 32 people in 2004, but the current situation seems to be deteriorating. In just the last two weeks, three adults have died. And the Trump administration has not readily reported fatalities to the public. There could be more.

« There’s usually this crisis period that a camp system either survives or doesn’t survive in the first three or four years. If it goes past that length of time, they tend to continue for a really long time. And I think we have entered that crisis period. I don’t yet know if we’re out of it. »

Camps often begin in wartime or a crisis point, and on a relatively small scale. There are then some in positions of power who want to escalate the program for political purposes, but who receive pushback from others in the regime. There’s then a power struggle, and if the escalationists prevail over the other bureaucrats—as they appear to have here, with the supremacy of Stephen Miller over (the reliably pliant but less extreme) Kirstjen Nielsen—the camps will continue and grow. Almost by definition, the conditions will deteriorate, even despite the best intentions of those on the ground.

« It’s a negative trajectory in at least two ways, » Beorn says. « One, I feel like these policies can snowball. We’ve already seen unintended consequences. If we follow the thread of the children, for example, the government wanted to make things more annoying, more painful. So they decided, We’re going to separate the children from the families. But there was no infrastructure in place for that. You already have a scenario where even if you have the best intentions, the infrastructure doesn’t exist to support it. That’s a consequence of policy that hasn’t been thought through. As you see the population begin to massively increase over time, you do start to see conditions diminishing.

« The second piece is that the longer you establish this sort of extralegal, extrajudicial, somewhat-invisible no-man’s land, the more you allow potentially a culture of abuse to develop within that place. Because the people who tend to become more violent, more prejudiced, whatever, have more and more free rein for that to become sort of the accepted behavior. Then, that also becomes a new norm that can spread throughout the system. There is sort of an escalation of individual initiative in violence. As it becomes clear that that is acceptable, then you have a self-fulfilling prophecy or a positive feedback loop that just keeps radicalizing the treatment as the policy itself becomes radicalizing. »

And for a variety of reasons, these facilities are incredibly hard to close. « Unless there’s some really decisive turn away, we’re going to be looking at having these camps for a long time, » Pitzer says. It’s particularly hard to engineer a decisive turn because these facilities are often remote, and hard to protest. They are not top-of-mind for most citizens, with plenty of other issues on the table. When Trump first instituted the Muslim Ban—now considered, in its third iteration, to be Definitely Not a Muslim Ban by the Supreme Court—there were mass demonstrations at U.S. airports because they were readily accessible by concerned citizens. These camps are not so easily reached, and that’s a problem.

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Migrants board buses to take them to shelters after being released from migration detention as construction of a new migrant processing facility is underway at the Customs and Border Protection – El Paso Border Patrol Station on the east side of El Paso on April 28, 2019.

PAUL RATJEGetty Images

« The more authoritarian the regime is, and the more people allow governments to get away with doing this sort of thing politically, the worse the conditions are likely to get, » Hyslop says. « So, a lot of it depends on how much pushback there is. But when you get a totally authoritarian regime like Stalin’s regime in the Soviet Union, there’s no control, or no countervailing force, the state can do what it likes, and certainly things will then tend to break down.

« It’s more of a political question, really. Are people prepared to tolerate the deteriorating conditions? And if public opinion isn’t effective in a liberal democratic situation, things can still get pretty bad. »

Almost regardless, the camps will be difficult to dismantle by their very nature—that extrajudicial « no-man’s land » Beorn mentioned. The prison at Guantanamo Bay is a perfect example. It began in the early 1990s as a refugee camp for people fleeing Haiti and Cuba. The conditions were bad and legally questionable, Pitzer found, and eventually the courts stepped in to grant detainees some rights. In the process, however, they granted the camps tacit legitimacy—they were allowed to continue with the approval of the judiciary.

Suddenly, they were enshrined in the law as a kind of gray area where detainees did not enjoy full human rights. That is actually why it was chosen by the Bush administration to house terror suspects: it was already rubber-stamped as a site for indefinite detention. By the time President Obama came into office with promises to close it, he found the task incredibly difficult, because it had been ingrained in the various institutions and branches of American constitutional government. He could not get rid of it. As courts continue to rule on the border camp system, the same issues are likely to take hold.

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Border agents detain a group of migrants.

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Another issue is that these camp systems, no matter where they are in the world, tend to fall victim to expanding criteria. The longer they stay open, the more reasons a government finds to put people in them. That’s particularly true if a new regime takes control of an existing system, as the Trump administration did with ours. The mass detention of asylum-seekers—who, again, have legal rights—on this scale is an expansion of the criteria from « illegal » immigrants, who were the main class of detainee in the ’90s and early 2000s. Asylum seekers, particularly unaccompanied minors, began arriving in huge numbers and were detained under the Obama administration. But there has been an escalation, both because of a deteriorating situation in the Northern Triangle and the Trump administration’s attempts to deter any and all migration. There is reason to believe the criteria will continue to expand.

« We have border patrol agents that are sometimes arresting U.S. citizens, » Pitzer says. « That’s still very much a fringe activity. That doesn’t seem to be a dedicated priority right now, but it’s happening often enough. And they’re held, sometimes, for three or four days. Even when there are clear reasons that people should be let go, that they have proof of their identity, you’re seeing these detentions. You do start to worry about people who have legally immigrated and have finished paperwork, and maybe are naturalized. You worry about green-card holders. »

In most cases, these camps are not closed by the executive or the judiciary or even the legislature. It usually requires external intervention. (See: D-Day) That obviously will not be an option when it comes to the most powerful country in the history of the world, a country which, while it would never call them that, and would be loathe to admit it, is now running a system at the southern border that is rapidly coming to resemble the concentration camps that have sprung up all over the world in the last century. Every system is different. They don’t always end in death machines. But they never end well.

« Let’s say there’s 20 hurdles that we have to get over before we get to someplace really, really, really bad, » Pitzer says. « I think we’ve knocked 10 of them down. »

Voir encore:
‘Some Suburb of Hell’: America’s New Concentration Camp System

Andrea Pitzer
New York review of books
June 21, 2019
Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

Barbed wire, fences, and security cameras surrounding a tent city constructed in 2007 to house undocumented immigrants in Raymondville, Texas

On Monday, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez referred to US border detention facilities as “concentration camps,” spurring a backlash in which critics accused her of demeaning the memory of those who died in the Holocaust. Debates raged over a label for what is happening along the southern border and grew louder as the week rolled on. But even this back-and-forth over naming the camps has been a recurrent feature in the mass detention of civilians ever since its inception, a history that long predates the Holocaust.

At the heart of such policy is a question: What does a country owe desperate people whom it does not consider to be its citizens? The twentieth century posed this question to the world just as the shadow of global conflict threatened for the second time in less than three decades. The dominant response was silence, and the doctrine of absolute national sovereignty meant that what a state did to people under its control, within its borders, was nobody else’s business. After the harrowing toll of the Holocaust with the murder of millions, the world revisited its answer, deciding that perhaps something was owed to those in mortal danger. From the Fourth Geneva Convention protecting civilians in 1949 to the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the international community established humanitarian obligations toward the most vulnerable that apply, at least in theory, to all nations.

The twenty-first century is unraveling that response. Countries are rejecting existing obligations and meeting asylum seekers with walls and fences, from detainees fleeing persecution who were sent by Australia to third-party detention in the brutal offshore camps of Manus and Nauru to razor-wire barriers blocking Syrian refugees from entering Hungary. While some nations, such as Germany, wrestle with how to integrate refugees into their labor force—more and more have become resistant to letting them in at all. The latest location of this unwinding is along the southern border of the United States.

So far, American citizens have gotten only glimpses of the conditions in the border camps that have been opened in their name. In the month of May, Customs and Border Protection reported a total of 132,887 migrants who were apprehended or turned themselves in between ports of entry along the southwest border, an increase of 34 percent from April alone. Upon apprehension, these migrants are temporarily detained by Border Patrol, and once their claims are processed, they are either released or handed over to ICE for longer-term detention. Yet Border Patrol itself is currently holding about 15,000 people, nearly four times what government officials consider to be this enforcement arm’s detention capacity.

On June 12, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that Fort Sill, an Army post that hosted a World War II internment camp for detainees of Japanese descent, will now be repurposed to detain migrant children. In total, HHS reports that it is currently holding some 12,000 minors. Current law limits detention of minors to twenty days, though Senator Lindsey Graham has proposed expanding the court-ordered limit to 100 days. Since the post is on federal land, it will be exempt from state child welfare inspections.

In addition to the total of detainees held by Border Patrol, an even higher number is detained at centers around the country by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency: on a typical day at the beginning of this month, ICE was detaining more than 52,500 migrants. The family separation policy outraged the public in the 2018, but despite legal challenges, it never fully ended. Less publicized have been the deaths of twenty-four adults in ICE custody since the beginning of the Trump administration; in addition, six children between the ages of two and sixteen have died in federal custody over the last several months. It’s not clear whether there have been other deaths that have gone unreported.

Sergio Flores/Washington Post via Getty Images

Migrants at a makeshift Customs and Border Protection detention center, El Paso, Texas, March 27, 2019

Conditions for detainees have not been improving. At the end of May, a Department of Homeland Security inspector general found nearly 900 migrants at a Texas shelter built for a capacity of 125 people. On June 11, a university professor spotted at least 100 men behind chain-link fences near the Paso del Norte Bridge in El Paso, Texas. Those detainees reported sitting outside for weeks in temperatures that soared above 100 degrees. Taylor Levy, an El Paso immigration lawyer, described going into one facility and finding “a suicidal four-year-old whose face was covered in bloody, self-inflicted scratches… Another young child had to be restrained by his mother because he kept running full-speed into metal lockers. He was covered in bruises.”

If deciding what to do about the growing numbers of adults and children seeking refuge in the US relies on complex humanitarian policies and international laws, in which most Americans don’t take a deep interest, a simpler question also presents itself: What exactly are these camps that the Trump administration has opened, and where is this program of mass detention headed?

Even with incomplete information about what’s happening along the border today and what the government plans for these camps, history points to some conclusions about their future. Mass detention without trial earned a new name and a specific identity at the end of the nineteenth century. The labels then adopted for the practice were “reconcentración” and “concentration camps”—places of forced relocation of civilians into detention on the basis of group identity.

Other kinds of group detention had appeared much earlier in North American history. The US government drove Native Americans from their homelands into prescribed exile, with death and detention in transit camps along the way. Some Spanish mission systems in the Americas had accomplished similar ends by seizing land and pressing indigenous people into forced labor. During the 245 years when slavery was legal in the US, detention was one of its essential features.

Concentration camps, however, don’t typically result from the theft of land, as happened with Native Americans, or owning human beings in a system of forced labor, as in the slave trade. Exile, theft, and forced labor can come later, but in the beginning, detention itself is usually the point of concentration camps. By the end of the nineteenth century, the mass production of barbed wire and machines guns made this kind of detention possible and practical in ways it never had been before.

Under Spanish rule in 1896, the governor-general of Cuba instituted camps in order to clear rebel-held regions during an uprising, despite his predecessor’s written refusal “as the representative of a civilized nation, to be the first to give the example of cruelty and intransigence” that such detention would represent. After women and children began dying in vast numbers behind barbed wire because there had been little planning for shelter and even less for food, US President William McKinley made his call to war before Congress. He spoke against the policy of reconcentración, calling it warfare by uncivilized means. “It was extermination,” McKinley said. “The only peace it could beget was that of the wilderness and the grave.” Without full records, the Cuban death toll can only be estimated, but a consensus puts it in the neighborhood of 150,000, more than 10 percent of the island’s prewar population.

Today, we remember the sinking of the USS Maine as the spark that ignited the Spanish-American War. But war correspondent George Kennan (cousin of the more famous diplomat) believed that “it was the suffering of the reconcentrados, more, perhaps, than any other one thing that brought about the intervention of the United States.” On April 25, 1898, Congress declared war. Two weeks later, US Marines landed at Fisherman’s Point on the windward side of the entrance to Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. After a grim, week-long fight, the Marines took the hill. It became a naval base, and the United States has never left that patch of land.

As part of the larger victory, the US inherited the Philippines. The world’s newest imperial power also inherited a rebellion. Following a massacre of American troops at Balangiga in September 1901, during the third year of the conflict, the US established its own concentration camp system. Detainees, mostly women and children, were forced into squalid conditions that one American soldier described in a letter to a US senator as “some suburb of hell.” In the space of only four months, more than 11,000 Filipinos are believed to have died in these noxious camps.

Meanwhile, in southern Africa in 1900, the British had opened their own camps during their battle with descendants of Dutch settlers in the second Boer War. British soldiers filled tent cities with Boer women and children, and the military authorities called them refugee camps. Future Prime Minister David Lloyd George took offense at that name, noting in Parliament: “There is no greater delusion in the mind of any man than to apply the term ‘refugee’ to these camps. They are not refugee camps. They are camps of concentration.” Contemporary observers compared them to the Cuban camps, and criticized their deliberate cruelty. The Bishop of Hereford wrote to The Times of London in 1901, asking: “Are we reduced to such a depth of impotence that our Government can do nothing to stop such a holocaust of child-life?”

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A mother and child in a concentration camp built by the British to hold civilians during the Second Boer War, South Africa, 1901–1902

Maggoty meat rations and polluted water supplies joined outbreaks of contagious diseases amid crowded and unhealthy conditions in the Boer camps. More than 27,000 detainees are thought to have died there, nearly 80 percent of them children. The British had opened camps for black Africans as well, in which at least 14,000 detainees died—the real number is probably much higher. Aside from protests made by some missionaries, the deaths of indigenous black Africans did not inspire much public outrage. Much of the history of the suffering in these camps has been lost.

These early experiments with concentration camps took place on the periphery of imperial power, but accounts of them nevertheless made their way into newspapers and reports in many nations. As a result, the very idea of them came to be seen as barbaric. By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, the first camp systems had all been closed, and concentration camps had nearly vanished as an institution. Within months of the outbreak of World War I, though, they would be resurrected—this time rising not at the margins but in the centers of power. Between 1914 and 1918, camps were constructed on an unprecedented scale across six continents. In their time, these camps were commonly called concentration camps, though today they are often referred to by the more anodyne term “internment.”

Those World War I detainees were, for the most part, foreigners—or, in legalese, aliens—and recent anti-immigration legislation in several countries had deliberately limited their rights. The Daily Mail denounced aliens left at liberty once they had registered with their local police department, demanding, “Does signing his name take the malice out of a man?” The Scottish Field was more direct, asking, “Do Germans have souls?” That these civilian detainees were no threat to Britain did not keep them from being demonized, shouted at, and spat upon as they were paraded past hostile crowds in cities like London.

Though a small number of people were shot in riots in these camps, and hunger became a serious issue as the conflict dragged on, World War I internment would present a new, non-lethal face for the camps, normalizing detention. Even after the war, new camps sprang up from Spain to Hungary and Cuba, providing an improvised “solution” for everything from vagrancy to anxieties over the presence of Jewish foreigners.

Some of these camps were clearly not safe for those interned. Local camps appeared in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921, after a white mob burned down a black neighborhood and detained African-American survivors. In Bolshevik Russia, the first concentration camps preceded the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922 and planted seeds for the brutal Gulag system that became official near the end of the USSR’s first decade. While some kinds of camps were understood to be harsher, after World War I their proliferation did not initially disturb public opinion. They had yet to take on their worst incarnations.

In 1933, barely more than a month after Hitler was appointed chancellor, the Nazis’ first, impromptu camp opened in the town of Nohra in central Germany to hold political opponents. Detainees at Nohra were allowed to vote at a local precinct in the elections of March 5, 1933, resulting in a surge of Communist ballots in the tiny town. Locking up groups of civilians without trial had become accepted. Only the later realization of the horrors of the Nazi death camps would break the default assumption by governments and the public that concentration camps could and should be a simple way to manage populations seen as a threat.

However, the staggering death toll of the Nazi extermination camp system—which was created mid-war and stood almost entirely separate from the concentration camps in existence since 1933—led to another result: a strange kind of erasure. In the decades that followed World War II, the term “concentration camp” came to stand only for Auschwitz and other extermination camps. It was no longer applied to the kind of extrajudicial detention it had denoted for generations. The many earlier camps that had made the rise of Auschwitz possible largely vanished from public memory.

Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

A US Marine walking the outer perimeter of Camp X-Ray, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, 2002

It is not necessary, however, to step back a full century in American history to find camps with links to what is happening on the US border today. Detention at Guantánamo began in the 1990s, when Haitian and Cuban immigrants whom the government wanted to keep out of the United States were housed there in waves over a four-year period—years before the “war on terror” and the US policy of rendition of suspected “enemy combatants” made Camps Delta, X-Ray, and Echo notorious. Tens of thousands of Haitians fleeing instability at home were picked up at sea and diverted to the Cuban base, to limit their legal right to apply for asylum. The court cases and battles over the suffering of those detainees ended up setting the stage for what Guantánamo would become after September 11, 2001.

In one case, a federal court ruled that it did have jurisdiction over the base, but the government agreed to release the Haitians who were part of the lawsuit in exchange for keeping that ruling off the books. A ruling in a second case would assert that the courts did not have jurisdiction. Absent the prior case, the latter stood on its own as precedent. Leaving Guantánamo in this gray area made it an ideal site for extrajudicial detention and torture after the twin towers fell.

This process of normalization, when a bad camp becomes much more dangerous, is not unusual. Today’s border camps are a crueler reflection of long-term policies—some challenged in court—that earlier presidents had enacted. Prior administrations own a share of the responsibility for today’s harsh practices, but the policies in place today are also accompanied by a shameless willingness to publicly target a vulnerable population in increasingly dangerous ways.

I visited Guantánamo twice in 2015, sitting in the courtroom for pretrial hearings and touring the medical facility, the library, and all the old abandoned detention sites, as well as newly built ones, open to the media—from the kennel-style cages of Camp X-Ray rotting to ruin in the damp heat to the modern jailhouse facilities of Camp 6. Seeing all this in person made clear to me how vast the architecture of detention had become, how entrenched it was, and how hard it would be to close.

Without a significant government effort to reverse direction, conditions in every camp system tend to deteriorate over time. Governments rarely make that kind of effort on behalf of people they are willing to lock up without trial in the first place. And history shows that legislatures do not close camps against the will of an executive.

Just a few years ago there might have been more potential for change spurred by the judicial branch of our democracy, but this Supreme Court is inclined toward deference to executive power, even, it appears, if that power is abused. It seems unlikely this Court will intervene to end the new border camp system; indeed, the justices are far more likely to institutionalize it by half-measures, as happened with Guantánamo. The Korematsu case, in which the Supreme Court upheld Japanese-American internment (a ruling only rescinded last year), relied on the suppression of evidence by the solicitor general. Americans today can have little confidence that this administration would behave any more scrupulously when defending its detention policy.

What kind of conditions can we expect to develop in these border camps? The longer a camp system stays open, the more likely it is that vital things will go wrong: detainees will contract contagious diseases and suffer from malnutrition and mental illness. We have already seen that current detention practices have resulted in children and adults succumbing to influenza, staph infections, and sepsis. The US is now poised to inflict harm on tens of thousands more, perhaps hundreds of thousands more.

Along with such inevitable consequences, every significant camp system has introduced new horrors of its own, crises that were unforeseen when that system was opened. We have yet to discover what those will be for these American border camps. But they will happen. Every country thinks it can do detention better when it starts these projects. But no good way to conduct mass indefinite detention has yet been devised; the system always degrades. 

When, in 1940, Margarete Buber-Neumann was transferred from the Soviet Gulag at Karaganda to the camp for women at Ravensbrück (in an exchange enabled by the Nazi–Soviet Pact), she came from near-starvation conditions in the USSR and was amazed at the cleanliness and order of the Nazi camp. New arrivals were issued clothing, bedding, and silverware, and given fresh porridge, fruit, sausage, and jam to eat. Although the Nazi camps were already punitive, order-obsessed monstrosities, the wartime overcrowding that would soon overtake them had not yet made daily life a thing of constant suffering and squalor. The death camps were still two years away.

The United States now has a vast and growing camp system. It is starting out with gruesome overcrowding and inadequate healthcare, and because of budget restrictions, has already taken steps to cut services to juvenile detainees. The US Office of Refugee Resettlement says that the mounting number of children arriving unaccompanied is forcing it to use military bases and other sites that it prefers to avoid, and that establishing these camps is a temporary measure. But without oversight from state child welfare inspectors, the possibilities for neglect and abuse are alarming. And without any knowledge of how many asylum-seekers are coming in the future, federal administrators are likely to find themselves boxed in to managing detention on military sites permanently.

President Trump and senior White House adviser Stephen Miller appear to have purged the Department of Homeland Security of most internal opposition to their anti-immigrant policies. In doing so, that have removed even those sympathetic to the general approach taken by the White House, such as former Chief of Staff John Kelly and former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, in order to escalate the militarization of the border and expand irregular detention in more systematic and punitive ways. This kind of power struggle or purge in the early years of a camp system is typical. 

The disbanding of the Cheka, the Soviet secret police, in February 1922 and the transfer of its commander, Felix Dzerzhinsky, to head up an agency with control over only two prisons offered a hint of an alternate future in which extrajudicial detention would not play a central role in the fledgling Soviet republic. But Dzerzhinsky managed to keep control over the “special camps” in his new position, paving the way for the emergence of a camp-centered police state. In pre-war Germany in the mid-1930s, Himmler’s struggle to consolidate power from rivals eventually led him to make camps central to Nazi strategy. When the hardliners win, as they appear to have in the US, conditions tend to worsen significantly.

Is it possible this growth in the camp system will be temporary and the improvised border camps will soon close? In theory, yes. But the longer they remain open, the less likely they are to vanish. When I visited the camps for Rohingya Muslims a year before the large-scale campaign of ethnic cleansing began, many observers appeared to be confusing the possible and the probable. It was possible that the party of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi would sweep into office in free elections and begin making changes. It was possible that full democracy would come to all the residents of Myanmar, even though the government had stripped the Rohingya of the last vestiges of their citizenship. These hopes proved to be misplaced. Once there are concentration camps, it is always probable that things will get worse.

The Philippines, Japanese-American internment, Guantánamo… we can consider the fine points of how the current border camps evoke past US systems, and we can see how the arc of camp history reveals the likelihood that the suffering we’re currently inflicting will be multiplied exponentially. But we can also simply look at what we’re doing right now, shoving bodies into “dog pound”-style detention pens, “iceboxes,” and standing room-only spaces. We can look at young children in custody who have become suicidal. How much more historical awareness do we really need?

What Is a Concentration Camp? Experts Agree With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Border Facilities

Freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez drew a firestorm of criticism this week after she appeared in an Instagram video claiming that the Trump administration « is running concentration camps on our southern border. »

« They are concentration camps, » Ocasio-Cortez affirmed in the video, referring to detention facilities where U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is holding undocumented migrants and asylum seekers who have fled to the U.S. « I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘never again’ means something. The fact that concentration camps are now an institutionalized practice in the ‘home of the free’ is extraordinarily disturbing and we need to do something about it. »

Republican lawmakers were quick to push back against Ocasio-Cortez’s statement, which she repeated on Tuesday and Wednesday, arguing that the Congresswoman was disrespecting the memory of the 6 millions Jews who died in Nazi concentration camps by comparing these facilities to the ICE detention centers.

But many experts were quick to point out that, by definition, the ICE detention facilities are concentration camps. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a concentration camp as, « a place where large numbers of people (such as prisoners of war, political prisoners, refugees, or the members of an ethnic or religious minority) are detained or confined under armed guard. »

Many argue that this definition matches the detention centers currently set up on the southern border.

« Why are they called concentration camps? Well, to state the obvious, it’s because large numbers of people are ‘concentrated’ in camps. A better question is, why don’t we just call them prisons? We don’t say ‘prisons’ because prisons are a part of the formal legal system, » Lester Andrist, a sociologist who has studied indefinite detention, tweeted.

Andrist argues that the U.S. has a long history of establishing such facilities, including the Japanese-American internment camps that existed during World War II and, mostly recently, Guantanamo Bay. George Takei, the 82-year-old American actor of Japanese descent who is best known for his role in the Star Trek movies and television show, took to Twitter to share his perspective.

« I know what concentration camps are. I was inside two of them, in America. And yes, we are operating such camps again, » the Takei tweeted. The Takei family was interned in Arkansas and California in the 1940s.

Federico Finchelstein, a historian at the New York-based New School, agreed that the progressive congresswoman is right to call the ICE facilities concentration camps.

« As [a] historian of fascism & [the] Holocaust, I would also call these centers concentration camps, » Finchelstein tweeted. « As a Jewish person who lost family in [the] Holocaust, I regret that some Republicans use memory of the Holocaust to defend racist policies of Trumpism. »

In May, a top Pentagon official called China’s detention camps holding Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities « concentration camps » despite the fact that genocide has not been committed there.

Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the holocaust, however, was one of the institutions that pushed back against Ocasio-Cortez’s claims.

« Concentration camps assured a slave labor supply to help in the Nazi war effort, even as the brutality of life inside the camps helped assure the ultimate goal of ‘extermination through labor,' » the organization tweeted on Wednesday.

But the young Congresswoman stood by her position, noting that concentration camps are not the same as extermination camps.

« And for the shrieking Republicans who don’t know the difference: concentration camps are not the same as death camps, » Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Tuesday. « Concentration camps are considered by experts as ‘the mass detention of civilians without trial.’ And that’s exactly what this administration is doing. »

Voir enfin:

Recent assertions by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., that U.S.-run detention centers for migrants are « concentration camps » drew immediate rebukes from some politicians, Jewish groups and social media users.

« This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying.

This is not hyperbole. It is the conclusion of expert analysis, » she tweeted June 18.

Her tweet didn’t specifically mention Nazi Germany, but she used the term « never again » on her Instagram, a phrase often used as a warning to prevent another genocide like the Holocaust.

In a subsequent tweet, Ocasio-Cortez offered a distinction between « concentration camps » and « death camps. »

« And for the shrieking Republicans who don’t know the difference: concentration camps are not the same as death camps. Concentration camps are considered by experts as ‘the mass detention of civilians without trial.’ And that’s exactly what this administration is doing. »

Some had strongly negative reactions.

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., tweeted, « This is wrong @AOC. These are incredibly dangerous and disgusting words that demean the millions murdered during the Holocaust. »

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democratic presidential candidate, said Ocasio-Cortez « was wrong. You cannot compare what the Nazis did in the concentration camps. »

We decided to take a closer look at whether historians believe the label « concentration camp » can be reasonably applied to the migrant detention camps now being operated in the United States.

Historians we contacted said it was possible to make a case that the term « concentration camp » is a more general term than just referring to camps in Nazi Germany. However, these historians said Ocasio-Cortez glosses over some important differences.

They also said that the strong, longstanding association of the term « concentration camps » with Nazi Germany likely overwhelms any technical similarities the two types of camps may have. We won’t rate this item on our Truth-O-Meter for that reason.

When did the concept of a « concentration camp » emerge?

Nazi Germany was not the first nation to use concentration camps. The term dates from the eve of the 20th century, when it was used to describe policies used in at least three conflicts: South Africa’s Boer War, Spain’s campaign against Cuban insurrectionists and the United States’ campaign against Philippine insurgents.

The intent was to « cut insurgents off from their support, » said David J. Silbey, a Cornell University historian. « It was an effective tactic, but a brutal one, uprooting people from their homes and often leading to mass outbreaks of disease and starvation among the captive populations. »

Beginning in 1917, the Soviet Union used what were commonly known as « forced labor camps » to repress dissidents. The Soviets also forced people from the Baltic States and Poland into camps following their invasions of those countries in 1939.

Germany established concentration camps shortly after Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933. Contrary to the popular image of concentration camps as killing factories, most facilities were initially designed for slave labor.

« Systematic killing didn’t begin until the invasion of the Soviet Union, and it wasn’t until the January 1942 Wannsee Conference that the Nazis formally decided on a policy of extermination, » said Stephen Shalom, a political scientist at William Paterson University. These became what historians often refer to as « death camps. »

Over time, the distinction in the popular mind between the different types of camps blurred. The reality, though, is that the early camps produced deaths from neglect or overwork, rather than carrying out executions.

« None of the camps were pleasant, but the death camps were certainly the worst, » said Lance Janda, a military historian at Cameron University.

Japanese-American internment camps

The United States operated camps to hold Japanese-Americans following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, which drove the U.S. into World War II.

Though generally referred to as « internment camps » or « relocation camps, » these complexes have occasionally been referred to as « concentration camps, » including by Chief Justice John Roberts in 2018.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines « concentration camp » as « a camp where persons are confined, usually without hearings and typically under harsh conditions, often as a result of their membership in a group the government has identified as dangerous or undesirable. »

Ocasio-Cortez and her staff have pointed to such linguistic precedents to argue that U.S. detention camps for migrants can be reasonably described as « concentration camps. »

Some scholars agree that similarities exist.

« As historian of fascism & Holocaust, I would also call these centers concentrations camps, » tweeted The New School historian Federico Finchelstein.

Colgate University sociologist Jonathan Hyslop, who was also quoted in an Esquire magazine article that Ocasio-Cortez has cited, told PolitiFact that the definition of « concentration camp » is more elastic than most people think.

Today’s migrant detention facilities in the United States

So where do today’s detention centers in the United States fit in?

Adult immigrants in federal custody who are either waiting to be deported or waiting for a resolution of their immigration case are held in government-run centers or other contracted facilities.

Immigrant rights advocates have long warned about poor standards and the mistreatment of detainees at some detention facilities. Generally, information about detention facilities can be difficult to obtain, inconsistent and outdated, and overall lacking in transparency.

The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security on June 3, 2019, issued a report detailing concerns about Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee treatment and care at four detention facilities. The report is based on unannounced 2018 inspections, in which investigators « observed immediate risks or egregious violations of detention standards at facilities. »

Among the issues documented: overly restrictive segregation, inadequate medical care, unreported security incidents, and significant food safety issues.

On June 21, the Associated Press reported that a legal team that interviewed 60 children at a facility near El Paso found that « kids are taking care of kids, and there’s inadequate food, water and sanitation for the 250 infants, children and teens at the Border Patrol station. »

Separately, there are about 13,700 immigrant children in the federal government’s care, at an average length of 44 days in May 2019, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services told PolitiFact. These children crossed the border illegally alone, without a parent or guardian, and are also waiting for a decision on their immigration case.

As government officials seek sponsors for the children, the detainees receive a bed, meals, medical care, and showers. But the facilities have recently been directed to scale back some services, such as education and recreation, citing lack of sufficient funds.

Some historians point to ‘intent’ as a major distinction

Overall, experts described the U.S. detention facilities as being far different from those of the earliest concentration camps, or from the Nazi camps — even from the ones that weren’t « death camps. »

« The original purpose of concentration camps was to remove the populace from areas that were controlled or contested by guerrillas and thus deny the guerrillas popular support in its tangible forms — food, shelter, information, recruits, and so on, » said Texas A&M University historian Brian McAllister Linn. « This is not the purpose of the detention facilities in the Southwest. »

Janda — who emphasized that he is unhappy with the current U.S. detention policy — nonetheless drew a distinction based on intent.

« What we’re doing is just not the same as what the Nazis or the Soviets did, and it’s a disservice to people suffering under dictatorships around the world to act like it is, » Janda said. « We’re not rounding up legal citizens, or going after specific minority groups and holding them indefinitely to squash dissent. »

Richard Breitman, an American University historian, was among several experts who said they would have avoided the term « concentration camp. »

While the term « does show where abuse and dehumanization might lead, » he said, « it confuses more than it explains. »

Voir par ailleurs:

Un migrant salvadorien et sa fille d’environ deux ans se sont noyés en tentant de traverser le Rio Bravo pour entrer aux Etats-Unis depuis le Mexique. Les corps d’Óscar et Valeria Martínez Ramírez ont été retrouvés, lundi 24 juin, sur la rive du fleuve dans les environs de Matamoros, dans l’Etat mexicain de Tamaulipas, selon un rapport de la justice mexicaine auquel l’AFP a eu accès.

Selon ce rapport judiciaire, Óscar Martínez Ramírez, un cuisinier âgé de 25 ans, sa compagne Tania Vanessa Ávalos, âgée de 21 ans, et leur petite fille Angie, 2 ans, étaient arrivés la semaine précédente à Matamoros, après avoir traversé tout le Mexique. Dimanche après-midi, la famille a décidé d’essayer de gagner à la nage la rive américaine du Rio Bravo, qui longe la frontière entre le Mexique et les Etats-Unis, accompagnée d’un ami.

Le père a pris l’enfant sur son dos en la calant à l’intérieur de son tee-shirt pour traverser le fleuve. Mais, emportés par des courants violents, tous deux se sont noyés, sous les yeux de la mère, laquelle a pu retourner en vie sur la rive mexicaine, selon les explications qu’elle a fournies aux autorités locales. Les photographies des corps du jeune père et de l’enfant, flottant sur le ventre sur la rive mexicaine du fleuve, ont choqué l’opinion publique au Salvador, mais aussi aux Etats-Unis, où CNN (en anglais) les compare à la photo d’Aylan Kurdi, cet enfant syrien de 3 ans dont le corps avait été découvert sur une plage en Turquie, en 2015.

Un « mur invisible »

Le gouvernement mexicain est la cible de vives critiques ces derniers jours pour son attitude envers les migrants. Quelque 15 000 militaires ont été déployés à la frontière avec les Etats-Unis et une photographie de l’AFP, prise pendant le week-end, montre deux femmes et une fillette arrêtées par des membres lourdement armés de la Garde nationale. Des opposants y voient un « mur invisible », référence à la promesse de campagne du président américain, Donald Trump, de faire ériger un mur entre les deux pays aux frais du Mexique.

Le président mexicain, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, a démenti, mardi, qu’un ordre ait été donné aux militaires pour interpeller les migrants qui traversent la frontière avec les Etats-Unis. « Aucun ordre n’a été donné dans ce sens (…) ce n’est pas notre rôle », a déclaré le chef de l’Etat lors de sa conférence de presse quotidienne.

Voir également:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez compare les centres de rétention à des « camps de concentration »

Les propos de la jeune élue démocrate ont déclenché un tollé chez les Républicains.

L’Obs

L’étoile montante démocrate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez est au coeur d’une vive polémique mardi 18 juin après avoir qualifié les camps de rétention pour migrants érigés à la frontière sud des Etats-Unis de « camps de concentration ».

« Les Etats-Unis gèrent des camps de concentration à la frontière sud, c’est exactement ce qu’ils sont », a déclaré la jeune élue du Congrès lundi soir dans une intervention vidéo en direct sur Instagram. « C’est extrêmement dérangeant et il faut réagir », a ajouté l’élue d’origine portoricaine que partisans et détracteurs appellent AOC.

« Une présidence qui crée des camps de concentration est fasciste », a-t-elle asséné, déclenchant des réactions outrées chez les républicains.

« C’est une faute @AOC. Ce sont des mots dangereux et écoeurants qui portent atteinte aux millions de personnes tuées dans l’Holocauste », a tweeté le sénateur républicain Rick Scott.

« S’il vous plaît @AOC, rendez-nous service et passez quelques minutes à réviser l’Histoire », a renchéri la représentante Liz Cheney, fille de l’ancien vice-président Dick Cheney. « Six millions de juifs ont été exterminés dans l’Holocauste. Vous salissez leur mémoire et vous vous déshonorez avec ce type de commentaires ».

AOC contre-attaque

La démocrate, très habituée aux joutes sur les réseaux sociaux, n’a pas tardé à contre-attaquer.

« A tous les républicains geignards qui ne connaissent pas la différence : les camps de concentration et les camps de la mort ne sont pas la même chose. Les camps de concentration sont considérés par les experts comme les lieux “de détention de masse de civils sans procès”  et c’est exactement ce que ce gouvernement fait », a écrit mardi matin sur Twitter.

Les Etats-Unis enregistrent depuis des mois une forte hausse des arrivées de migrants à la frontière avec le Mexique. En mai, les garde-frontières américains y ont arrêté plus de 144.000 personnes, dont 57 000 mineurs.

Le Congrès finance plus de 40 000 places dans des centres de rétention, trop peu pour faire face à ces flux. De nombreux migrants sont donc remis en liberté, quand les autres s’entassent dans des structures surchargées.

Voir enfin:

Masquer notre Culture pour « ne Pas Offenser »
Giulio Meotti
Gatestone institute
27 juin 2019

  • Récemment, au Royaume-Uni, d’éminents intellectuels conservateurs ont été écartés. Roger Scruton, philosophe d’une exceptionnelle stature a été limogé d’une commission gouvernementale …
  • Puis ce fut le tour Jordan Peterson. L’Université de Cambridge a annulé la bourse de recherche de ce psychologue canadien de réputation internationale…
  • En refusant de dénoncer la censure, en ne défendant pas le droit à la liberté d’expression de Salman Rushdie, de Roger Scruton, de Jordan Peterson, de Charlie Hebdo et du Jyllands-Posten – la pointe d’un énorme iceberg – nous avons pris le chemin de la soumission à la charia et à la tyrannie. Notre culture soi-disant « blasphématoire » a été revêtue d’une burqa pour éviter d’attenter à la sensibilité de personnes qui elles, ne semblent pas gênées de nous offenser.

Il y a trois ans, le gouvernement italien a pris la honteuse décision de voiler d’antiques statues romaines pour ne pas attenter à la sensibilité islamique du président iranien Hassan Rouhani, en visite officielle en Italie. Les statues nues ont été enfermées dans des caissons blancs. Il y a un an, à Florence, une autre statue de style gréco-romain représentant un homme nu, a également été recouverte à l’occasion de la visite du prince héritier d’Abou Dhabi. Aujourd’hui, l’une des plus fameuses galeries d’art britanniques a masqué deux tableaux sur plainte de visiteurs musulmans dénonçant leur caractère « blasphématoire ».

À la Saatchi Gallery de Londres, deux tableaux de nus accolés à une citation en arabe de la shahada, l’un des cinq piliers de l’islam, ont suscité l’ire de visiteurs musulmans. Leur demande de retrait des peintures de l’exposition Rainbow Scenes (Scènes Arc en Ciel) n’a pas été satisfaite, mais les deux œuvres « offensantes » ont été voilées. « Saatchi se comporte comme l’Arabie saoudite, les œuvres qui blasphèment contre l’islam sont cachées au public », a commenté Brendan O’Neill dans la revue Spiked. Un expert a vu dans cette affaire un « retour des Versets sataniques ». Il faisait ainsi référence au roman publié en 1988, qui valut à son auteur, Salman Rushdie, citoyen britannique, d’être condamné à mort par le « Guide suprême » iranien, l’ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. La prime sur la tête de Rushdie a été portée à 4 millions de dollars en 2016 après qu’un groupe d’Iraniens a augmenté la « récompense » de 600 000 dollars – sans que cela provoque une quelconque protestation de la Grande-Bretagne.

De nombreuses maisons d’édition occidentales ont cédé à l’intimidation islamiste. L’éditeur Christian Bourgois qui avait acheté les droits des Versets sataniques pour la France, a refusé de les publier. Pour la première fois, au nom de l’islam, un écrivain a été condamné à disparaître de la surface de la terre – et à voir sa tête mise à prix.

Rushdie a survécu, mais Theo van Gogh lui, a été assassiné en 2004 pour avoir produit et réalisé « Soumission », un film sur la violence islamique à l’égard des femmes ; la mort de tant d’intellectuels arabo-musulmans coupables d’avoir écrit librement ; les émeutes qui ont suivi les caricatures danoises, les nombreux procès (ici et ici ), les tentatives de meurtre (ici et ici), l’exécution de la rédaction du magazine satirique français Charlie Hebdo, les violences qui ont suivi le discours du pape Benoît à Ratisbonne, les renoncements à publication et la réécriture de textes littéraires, les musées qui enferment dans leurs caves des représentations de Mahomet, les menaces et sanctions croissantes, y compris la flagellation, infligées à d’innombrables journalistes et écrivains tels que Raif Badawi en Arabie saoudite… tous ces évènements auraient dû nous mettre en garde au lieu de nous mettre à genoux.

La capitulation de la galerie Saatchi montre que la liberté de parole en Europe est faible et en voie d’extinction. Les extrémistes islamiques et les apaiseurs occidentaux ont obtenu gain de cause. C’est la tragique leçon de l’affaire Rushdie : aujourd’hui, après 30 ans, aucun auteur n’oserait plus écrire Les Versets Sataniques ; aucune grande maison d’édition comme Penguin n’oserait plus l’imprimer ; les attaques des médias contre les « islamophobes » sont plus fortes aujourd’hui qu’hier, et la trahison des diplomates occidentaux est abyssale. Aujourd’hui, face aux médias sociaux, outil de censure et menace de masse implicite, un auteur serait probablement moins chanceux que ne l’a été Rushdie il y a 30 ans. Plus le temps a passé et moins nous avons progressé. Le jihad contre Les Versets sataniques s’est reproduit encore et encore.

« Personne n’a plus les c… d’écrire Les Versets sataniques, et encore moins de les publier », a déclaré l’écrivain Hanif Kureishi. « L’écriture devient timide parce que les écrivains sont terrifiés ».

En 2008, Kenan Malik écrivait :

« Aucune censure formelle n’est à l’œuvre, et aucun État n’interdit la publication d’œuvres offensantes. Une culture de l »autocensure se développe qui a rendu moralement inacceptable d’attenter à la sensibilité d’autrui. Dans les vingt années qui ont suivi la publication des Versets sataniques, la fatwa a été intériorisée ».

L’affaire Rushdie a transformé en profondeur la société britannique. La reddition de la Saatchi Gallery à Londres n’a rien d’exceptionnel. La Tate Gallery a remisé une sculpture de John Latham intitulée « Dieu est grand » laquelle emprisonnait dans du verre le Coran, la Bible et le Talmud. « Tamerlan le Grand » de Christopher Marlowe a été censuré au Barbican Centre : la tirade affirmant que le prophète de l’islam « ne méritait pas d’être vénéré », et la scène ou le Coran était brûlé ont été retirées. La Whitechapel Art Gallery de Londres a expurgé une exposition des poupées nues qui auraient risqué d’incommoder la population musulmane. Aux Mall Galleries de Londres, un tableau de Mimsy intitulé « ISIS Threaten Sylvania » (L’Etat islamique menace Sylvania) qui représentait des peluches terroristes sur le point de massacrer d’autres peluches en train de pique-niquer a été censuré.

Au Royal Court Theatre de Londres, Richard Bean a été contraint de censurer son adaptation de « Lysistrata », la comédie grecque dans laquelle les femmes font la grève du sexe pour empêcher les hommes de partir à la guerre. Dans la version de Bean, des vierges islamiques agissaient de même pour arrêter les kamikazes.

Désormais, au nom de la lutte contre « l’islamophobie », l’establishment britannique rampe vers la charia : il purge et censure lui-même.

Récemment, au Royaume-Uni, d’éminents intellectuels conservateurs ont été écartés. Roger Scruton, figure de proue de la réflexion sur le conservatisme, a été limogé d’une commission gouvernementale pour avoir déclaré que le mot « islamophobie » avait été inventé par les Frères musulmans « pour mettre fin à la discussion sur un problème majeur ».

L’Université de Cambridge a annulé la bourse de recherche du distingué psychologue canadien Jordan Peterson, parce qu’il avait posé au côté d’un homme revêtu d’un t-shirt « I’m a proud Islamophobe » (Je suis un fier islamophobe). Le professeur Peterson a déclaré peu après que le mot « islamophobie » avait été « imaginé par des extrémistes musulmans, afin de garantir que l’islam ne soit jamais critiqué en tant que structure ».

Les cas Scruton et Peterson confirment – s’il était besoin – que « l’islamophobie » a bel et bien été inventée pour faire taire toute critique de l’islam, ou encore, comme l’a commenté Salman Rushdie, ce mot a été « créé pour aider les aveugles à rester aveugles ». La réaction en retour se fait toujours attendre.

En 2008, Tim Walker du Telegraph, citant le célèbre dramaturge Simon Gray, a expliqué que Nicholas Hytner, directeur du National Theatre de Londres de 2003 à 2015, « s’est employé à offenser les chrétiens » en prenant bien « garde de ne jamais mettre en colère les musulmans ». Les journalistes du magazine satirique français Charlie Hebdo, les derniers qui ont tenté de rire de l’islam, l’ont payé de leur vie. En ne défendant pas le droit à la liberté d’expression de Salman Rushdie, de Roger Scruton, de Jordan Peterson, de Charlie Hebdo et du Jyllands-Posten – la pointe d’un énorme iceberg – nous avons pris le chemin de la soumission à la charia et à la tyrannie. Nous avons habillé notre culture soi-disant « blasphématrice » d’une burqa pour éviter d’attenter à la sensibilité de personnes qui elles, ne semblent pas du tout gênées de nous offenser.

Giulio Meotti, journaliste culturel à Il Foglio, est un journaliste et auteur italien.


Gilets jaunes: C’est la violence mimétique, imbécile !

13 janvier, 2019

La violence n’est jamais perdue pour la violence. René Girard
Ceux qui niaient le christianisme élevant la voix et ceux qui croyaient encore faisant silence, il arriva ce qui s’est vu si souvent depuis parmi nous, non seulement en fait de religion, mais en tout autre matière. […] Ce qui n’était encore que le sentiment d’une partie de la nation parut ainsi l’opinion de tous, et sembla dès lors irrésistible aux yeux mêmes de ceux qui lui donnaient cette fausse apparence.Tocqueville
Il n’en reste pas moins qu’une minorité, même très mobilisée, même bénéficiant d’un soutien de l’opinion publique, ne peut pas se substituer à la majorité et effacer les résultats des élections. Les gilets jaunes sont un mouvement d’ampleur, mais on n’a jamais eu plus de 300 000 personnes dans la rue. La foule n’est pas le peuple et 300 000 personnes ne peuvent pas décider pour le peuple. Que faire, en effet, si 300 000 personnes défilent pour demander l’interdiction de la chasse, et si la semaine d’après 300 000 défilent pour demander son maintien ? Quand les opposants au mariage pour tous ont défilé en masse, et durablement, le gouvernement aurait-il dû retirer sa loi ? Comment distinguer les revendications légitimes, qui doivent être prises en compte, des autres ? Dans le cas du mouvement des gilets jaunes, le gouvernement aurait dû comprendre plus tôt qu’il était l’expression d’un fort mécontentement chez une partie substantielle du corps électoral. Les premières réactions – ou l’absence de réaction – n’ont fait que mettre de l’huile sur le feu et cultiver chez les citoyens mobilisés l’idée qu’ils étaient déconsidérés. Il n’en reste pas moins que, dans une démocratie représentative, on ne peut laisser la rue gouverner, sinon toute réforme – qui fait généralement des gagnants qui s’ignorent et des perdants qui se mobilisent – serait exclue. En outre, comment intégrer la violence à cette équation ? Une manifestation violente est-elle plus ou moins légitime qu’une manifestation pacifique ? Certains estiment que la violence est un indice du degré de mécontentement des manifestants (de « désespoir », diraient ceux qui les soutiennent) et que le gouvernement doit être plus à l’écoute en cas de débordements. Mais, une fois encore, peut-on gouverner un pays ainsi ? Ce qui caractérise le mouvement des gilets jaunes depuis le premier jour, c’est la méconnaissance des règles habituelles de la mobilisation, qui doit opérer à travers un ensemble d’outils démocratiques et pacifiques : pétitions, tribunes dans la presse, manifestations (déclarées et encadrées), contacts avec les élus, grèves… Le mouvement avait trouvé, avec le gilet jaune, un marqueur de mobilisation très astucieux : chaque automobiliste français était équipé de cet accessoire visible, facile à porter ou à mettre en évidence sur son tableau de bord. Mais les initiateurs du mouvement ont choisi d’emblée d’opter pour des formes d’action illégales : manifestations non déclarées en préfecture et dépourvues de responsable et de service d’ordre, blocages de routes et de commerces, violences envers les automobilistes récalcitrants et les forces de l’ordre, dégradations et incendies volontaires… Ils ont en outre, par principe, refusé de rencontrer les représentants de l’État et cherché à imposer leurs revendications de manière unilatérale, dans une logique du « tout ou rien ». Si n’importe quelle organisation – mouvement politique, syndicat, association, collectif – s’était rendue coupable du dixième des exactions commises par le mouvement des gilets jaunes, elle aurait sans doute été rapidement dissoute. En l’espèce, l’impunité règne, car le mouvement n’a pas de structure et de représentants officiels : chacun peut s’improviser porte-parole des gilets jaunes auprès de médias très complaisants, sans endosser la moindre responsabilité, ou se livrer à une surenchère sur les réseaux sociaux. Certains commentateurs relativisent cette violence structurelle. Ils opposent la violence du gouvernement, qui étrangle de taxes les classes laborieuses et fait montre d’arrogance, et celle des manifestants. Ils comparent les débordements des gilets jaunes à ceux des supporters de foot les soirs de victoire ou à ceux du Nouvel An. Ils renvoient dos à dos casseurs et forces de l’ordre. Le citoyen qui se promène aujourd’hui dans les rues désolées de Paris, Bordeaux, Saint-Étienne ou Toulouse, entre carcasses de voitures brûlées, barricades et devantures de magasins défoncées, pourra difficilement considérer que ce ne sont que les inévitables effets collatéraux d’un mouvement fondamentalement non violent. La question de la violence est le nœud de ce conflit. Elle en constitue alternativement la légitimité (« Il faut prendre en compte les revendications de ces gens en colère ») et l’illégitimité (« On ne cède pas aux casseurs et aux factieux »). Car, sitôt que le pouvoir accède à des revendications exprimées avec violence – et le gouvernement n’a eu d’autre choix que de le faire, pour que la pression retombe –, on encourage d’autres groupes sociaux à adopter des comportements inciviques et délictueux. Pourquoi faire grève des semaines durant ou se réunir pacifiquement – à la manière du mouvement Nuit debout – pendant des mois sans rien obtenir si, en mettant à sac les Champs-Élysées ou en incendiant une préfecture, l’on provoque un recul immédiat du gouvernement ? La manière dont certains lycéens se sont récemment « mobilisés » – en brûlant des voitures et en s’équipant pour en découdre avec les forces de l’ordre – montre que le recul face à la violence crée des effets de contagion difficilement contrôlables. Les partisans des gilets jaunes argueront que le gouvernement n’a pas cédé à la violence, mais à l’opinion publique. Que les sondages établissent que les citoyens ont pris fait et cause pour les gilets jaunes, contre le Président. Mais qu’en est-il réellement ? D’abord, que veut dire « soutien aux gilets jaunes » ? On ne reviendra pas ici sur l’inanité de certains sondages. Interroger les gens sur leur comportement passés ou futurs (« pour qui avez-vous/allez-vous voter ? » ou sur leurs préférences « quelle est votre sensibilité politique ? ») a du sens, mais interroger les gens sur des questions vagues ou très complexes, donne des résultats qui doivent être considérés avec prudence. Éprouver une forme de sympathie pour des citoyens qui protestent contre la hausse des taxes, réclament plus de pouvoir d’achat et de services publics, s’élèvent contre des réformes impopulaires, et dénoncent le mépris des élites, ne revient pas à valider l’ensemble de leurs revendications ou à souscrire à un changement de pouvoir ou de régime. On rappellera alors que 80 % des Français désapprouvent l’action du Président. Mais qui peut se dire satisfait de son action alors que la France vit une situation insurrectionnelle, que les citoyens sont empêchés de circuler à leur guise ou de travailler, que les chaînes de télévision passent en boucle des images de guérilla urbaine ? Le citoyen de bonne foi ne peut que constater que le Président s’y prend mal pour gouverner le pays. Pour autant, est-ce que les 80 % de sondés seraient prêts à porter Jacline Mouraud ou Éric Drouet au pouvoir, ou l’un des leaders de l’opposition ? Jean‑Luc Mélenchon, Marine Le Pen, Laurent Wauquiez et Olivier Faure soufflent sur les braises depuis le début du mouvement, en espérant tirer leur épingle du jeu et rejouer la présidentielle, mais les citoyens ne sont pas dupes : les sondages les plus récents montrent qu’aucun ne tire bénéfice du mouvement et ne constitue une alternative politique crédible. Nul ne sait où va ce mouvement. La mobilisation est numériquement en baisse, mais les plus radicaux pensent leur heure venue et ne vont sans doute pas relâcher la pression. Les échauffourées ne sont plus le fait de gilets jaunes, mais d’extrémistes, de casseurs et d’opportunistes. (…) On rappellera aussi que le mouvement des gilets jaunes n’a, initialement, guère laissé le choix au quidam. Face à un barrage, il était contraint, plus ou moins aimablement, d’enfiler son gilet jaune, de prêter allégeance à la cause, d’y contribuer éventuellement par une obole, afin de pouvoir aller travailler ou conduire ses enfants à l’école. Nombreux étaient les automobilistes qui arboraient un gilet jaune dans leur véhicule, « au cas où ». Face à ces pressions, face à la quasi-unanimité des responsables politiques, des commentateurs et des leaders d’opinion, il semblait difficile pour le citoyen de faire part de ses doutes. Mais, sauf à penser que l’électorat modéré, qui a dominé les élections l’an passé, s’est subitement volatilisé ou a radicalement changé d’orientation politique, on peut faire l’hypothèse qu’une partie des citoyens a dissimulé ses préférences. Il y a près de deux siècles, Tocqueville avait révélé les falsifications auxquelles pouvaient conduire certaines contraintes, en prenant l’exemple du sentiment religieux durant la Révolution française. Selon lui, les pressions qui s’exerçaient sur les croyants, qui jugeaient malvenu d’exprimer leur attachement au christianisme, avaient fait apparaître l’opinion publique comme antireligieuse, alors qu’elle ne l’était pas. Ce phénomène s’entretenait de lui-même, la faiblesse supposée du nombre des croyants au sein de la société française les incitant à continuer de taire leurs convictions. Olivier Costa
Lorsqu’une foule se réunit autrement que pour former le cortège d’une marche blanche (Denis Salas), dès qu’elle prend une couleur quelconque, même la plus claire d’entre elles en l’occurrence, le jaune, elle peine à maîtriser la violence, quand elle ne la déchaîne pas par la provocation pour se placer en situation de légitime défense victime des forces de l’ordre. Il aura donc suffi d’une série de maladresses et de contretemps politiques de la part du Président de la République et du gouvernement pour donner l’occasion à la violence de rappeler qu’elle est le principal objet du politique, vérité que ses instances ne cessent pourtant de refouler. La boîte à revendications a été ouverte et, dans le même temps, la supériorité de leur expression violente a été accréditée par les concessions d’un pouvoir rétif à tenir compte de revendications pacifiquement exprimées dans le respect du cadre légal. Cette boîte sera bien difficile à refermer. Si ces revendications sont contradictoires et donc impossible à toutes satisfaire simultanément, elles se retrouvent sous un même dénominateur, la forme politique du désir mimétique, à savoir la revendication d’une égale puissance d’être. Cette REPE, la mode étant aux sigles, est suscitée par la promesse de la citoyenneté démocratique. De ce point de vue, la réponse en termes de pouvoir d’achat, même si elle pouvait être généreuse, ce qui ne sera pas le cas, serait très loin du compte. Le référendum d’initiative citoyenne (RIC) vient, s’il en était besoin, à l’appui de cette assertion. Dans cette hypothèse, les citoyens ont l’initiative, font rapport (comme le suggère l’étymologie de referendum) et décident. Les représentants élus ou issus des corps intermédiaires sont disqualifiés dans ces trois domaines. Chacun détient sa puissance d’être d’une manière égale (un citoyen, une voix) qu’il doit pouvoir exprimer à son initiative. L’alternance quinquennale (voire plus rapprochée), pourtant quasi-systématique depuis la fin des années 1970, ne suffit plus à l’expression périodique de ses opinions. La REPE se manifeste dans les cahiers de doléance, dont les premières synthèses remontent, d’abord et avant tout par la contestation des élites considérées comme privilégiées, notamment les hauts fonctionnaires, les élus nationaux et les représentants des corps intermédiaires. La fonction de maire échappe à cet opprobre. Sans doute parce que la plupart des maires sont perçus comme au service de ses administrés plus qu’en position d’augmenter son propre pouvoir, ce qui est particulièrement vrai dans les petites communes rurales où résident la plupart des contributeurs aux cahiers de doléance. Le rétablissement de l’ISF est un autre marqueur de ce désir mimétique en forme d’envie : à défaut d’augmenter sa propre puissance d’être suffisamment, diminuons celle des nantis. Quant aux préoccupations relatives à l’immigration, elles traduisent la crainte d’un partage de cette puissance d’être avec des nouveaux venus qui feraient mécaniquement diminuer celle des citoyens nationaux, selon la logique de ces derniers. On retrouve ici comme un écho aux revendications des niveleurs dans la première moitié du XVIIe siècle en Angleterre. Nous assistons aussi à l’affrontement de deux souverainetés, celle du pseudo-monarque sacré de nos institutions, éternel bouc émissaire en sursis (comme nous l’avions suggéré dans ce même blogue il y a deux ans), et celle du peuple comme nombre, ou du moins ceux qui s’estiment assez nombreux et suffisamment soutenus pour parler en son nom. (…) Cet affrontement de deux revendications concurrentes à l’incarnation de la souveraineté du peuple est, dans l’état actuel, en attente d’une décision qui tarde à venir de la part de l’opinion publique : celle-ci se sent concernée par les revendications exprimées dont elle attend un bénéfice mais souhaite aussi pouvoir retrouver la paix publique. Selon un schéma bien connu, notamment en situation insurrectionnelle, on assiste à la lutte entre deux minorités, celle des soutiens du pouvoir et celle des gilets jaunes activistes, qui rivalisent pour s’approprier un même objet, l’opinion publique majoritaire, laquelle oscille entre ces deux attracteurs avant de basculer franchement d’un côté. Du point de vue de l’opinion, les effets de l’information en continu peuvent donner une illusion trompeuse sur le nombre et donc la puissance des gilets jaunes. L’information instantanée et sans recul est également manipulée dans une surenchère victimaire par l’évocation des blessés du côté des manifestants et de celui des forces de l’ordre. Lors d’un épisode tragi-comique, une cagnotte a été constituée pour la défense d’un ancien boxeur ayant agressé des gendarmes mobiles, ces derniers témoignant sous couvert d’anonymat de leurs blessures ; et leur situation a suggéré illico au président du conseil régional Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Renaud Muselier, l’idée d’une cagnotte symétrique pour les forces de l’ordre victimes de la violence de certains manifestants. Plus largement, le traitement actuel d’une information susceptible de glisser sur la pente de la propagande en faveur d’un des protagonistes inquiète le Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel qui a diligenté une enquête. Quoi qu’il en soit, ce mouvement acéphale donne à travers sa persistance et ses manifestations violentes une image des enfants du ressentiment contemporain. Ils recherchent une puissance d’être que l’individualisme ambiant leur assigne d’obtenir dans une action collective que nul ne maîtrise. Et ils dénient à leurs leaders autoproclamés successifs d’acquérir une puissance d’être supérieure à la leur. Jean-Marc Bourdin

C’est la violence mimétique, imbécile !

La boîte de Pandore est plus facile à ouvrir qu’à refermer

Jean-Marc Bourdin

« La violence n’est jamais perdue pour la violence » comme nous le rappelle souvent notre ami Bernard Perret puisant cette assertion dans le fonds girardien.

Lorsqu’une foule se réunit autrement que pour former le cortège d’une marche blanche (Denis Salas), dès qu’elle prend une couleur quelconque, même la plus claire d’entre elles en l’occurrence, le jaune, elle peine à maîtriser la violence, quand elle ne la déchaîne pas par la provocation pour se placer en situation de légitime défense victime des forces de l’ordre.

Il aura donc suffi d’une série de maladresses et de contretemps politiques de la part du Président de la République et du gouvernement pour donner l’occasion à la violence de rappeler qu’elle est le principal objet du politique, vérité que ses instances ne cessent pourtant de refouler.

La boîte à revendications a été ouverte et, dans le même temps, la supériorité de leur expression violente a été accréditée par les concessions d’un pouvoir rétif à tenir compte de revendications pacifiquement exprimées dans le respect du cadre légal. Cette boîte sera bien difficile à refermer.

Si ces revendications sont contradictoires et donc impossible à toutes satisfaire simultanément, elles se retrouvent sous un même dénominateur, la forme politique du désir mimétique, à savoir la revendication d’une égale puissance d’être[1]. Cette REPE, la mode étant aux sigles, est suscitée par la promesse de la citoyenneté démocratique. De ce point de vue, la réponse en termes de pouvoir d’achat, même si elle pouvait être généreuse, ce qui ne sera pas le cas, serait très loin du compte. Le référendum d’initiative citoyenne (RIC) vient, s’il en était besoin, à l’appui de cette assertion. Dans cette hypothèse, les citoyens ont l’initiative, font rapport (comme le suggère l’étymologie de referendum) et décident. Les représentants élus ou issus des corps intermédiaires sont disqualifiés dans ces trois domaines. Chacun détient sa puissance d’être d’une manière égale (un citoyen, une voix) qu’il doit pouvoir exprimer à son initiative. L’alternance quinquennale (voire plus rapprochée), pourtant quasi-systématique depuis la fin des années 1970, ne suffit plus à l’expression périodique de ses opinions.

La REPE se manifeste dans les cahiers de doléance, dont les premières synthèses remontent, d’abord et avant tout par la contestation des élites considérées comme privilégiées, notamment les hauts fonctionnaires, les élus nationaux et les représentants des corps intermédiaires. La fonction de maire échappe à cet opprobre. Sans doute parce que la plupart des maires sont perçus comme au service de ses administrés plus qu’en position d’augmenter son propre pouvoir, ce qui est particulièrement vrai dans les petites communes rurales où résident la plupart des contributeurs aux cahiers de doléance. Le rétablissement de l’ISF est un autre marqueur de ce désir mimétique en forme d’envie : à défaut d’augmenter sa propre puissance d’être suffisamment, diminuons celle des nantis. Quant aux préoccupations relatives à l’immigration, elles traduisent la crainte d’un partage de cette puissance d’être avec des nouveaux venus qui feraient mécaniquement diminuer celle des citoyens nationaux, selon la logique de ces derniers.

On retrouve ici comme un écho aux revendications des niveleurs dans la première moitié du XVIIe siècle en Angleterre.

Nous assistons aussi à l’affrontement de deux souverainetés, celle du pseudo-monarque sacré de nos institutions, éternel bouc émissaire en sursis[2] (comme nous l’avions suggéré dans ce même blogue il y a deux ans), et celle du peuple comme nombre, ou du moins ceux qui s’estiment assez nombreux et suffisamment soutenus pour parler en son nom. La souveraineté du peuple est effectivement inscrite en toutes lettres dans la Constitution : le principe de la République française est le « gouvernement du peuple, par le peuple et pour le peuple » (article 2). L’article 3 précise : « La souveraineté nationale appartient au peuple qui l’exerce par ses représentants et par la voie du référendum. Aucune section du peuple ni aucun individu ne peut s’en attribuer l’exercice. » Quant au Président de la République, l’article 5 de ce même texte dispose qu’il « veille au respect de la Constitution. Il assure, par son arbitrage, le fonctionnement régulier des pouvoirs publics ainsi que la continuité de l’État. Il est le garant de l’indépendance nationale, de l’intégrité du territoire et du respect des traités. » De telles attributions lui confèrent une part importante de la souveraineté exécutive, part accrue par la pratique institutionnelle qui amène le corps électoral à lui fournir le plus souvent une majorité à l’Assemblée nationale et donc la faculté de décider des lois à adopter ou à abroger.

Cet affrontement de deux revendications concurrentes à l’incarnation de la souveraineté du peuple est, dans l’état actuel, en attente d’une décision qui tarde à venir de la part de l’opinion publique : celle-ci se sent concernée par les revendications exprimées dont elle attend un bénéfice mais souhaite aussi pouvoir retrouver la paix publique. Selon un schéma bien connu, notamment en situation insurrectionnelle, on assiste à la lutte entre deux minorités, celle des soutiens du pouvoir et celle des gilets jaunes activistes, qui rivalisent pour s’approprier un même objet, l’opinion publique majoritaire, laquelle oscille entre ces deux attracteurs avant de basculer franchement d’un côté.

Du point de vue de l’opinion, les effets de l’information en continu peuvent donner une illusion trompeuse sur le nombre et donc la puissance des gilets jaunes. L’information instantanée et sans recul est également manipulée dans une surenchère victimaire par l’évocation des blessés du côté des manifestants et de celui des forces de l’ordre. Lors d’un épisode tragi-comique, une cagnotte a été constituée pour la défense d’un ancien boxeur ayant agressé des gendarmes mobiles, ces derniers témoignant sous couvert d’anonymat de leurs blessures ; et leur situation a suggéré illico au président du conseil régional Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Renaud Muselier, l’idée d’une cagnotte symétrique pour les forces de l’ordre victimes de la violence de certains manifestants. Plus largement, le traitement actuel d’une information susceptible de glisser sur la pente de la propagande en faveur d’un des protagonistes inquiète le Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel qui a diligenté une enquête.

Quoi qu’il en soit, ce mouvement acéphale donne à travers sa persistance et ses manifestations violentes une image des enfants du ressentiment contemporain. Ils recherchent une puissance d’être que l’individualisme ambiant leur assigne d’obtenir dans une action collective que nul ne maîtrise. Et ils dénient à leurs leaders autoproclamés successifs d’acquérir une puissance d’être supérieure à la leur.

Nous en sommes là à l’heure où j’écris (11 janvier 2019).

Pandore, dotée de tous les dons par Zeus, disposait aussi de celui de la séduction et de la tromperie. En ouvrant sa boîte (ou sa jarre) reçue en cadeau de mariage malgré l’interdiction qui lui avait été faite, elle libéra tous les maux qu’elle contenait, lesquels se répandirent sur la Terre. Seule l’espérance resta enfermée. Un grand débat national et quelques RIC seront-ils en mesure de libérer l’espérance et de refermer simultanément ce réceptacle sur les revendications qui ne pourront être satisfaites à leur issue ?

*

L’article d’Olivier Costa, Directeur de recherche au CNRS / Directeur des Etudes politiques au Collège d’Europe –, Sciences Po Bordeaux éclaire ce point de vue en rappelant dans son article ci-après, paru dans TheConversation le 10 décembre 2018 : « Débat : La foule n’est pas le peuple ».

https://theconversation.com/debat-la-foule-nest-pas-le-peuple-108487?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=La%20lettre%20de%20The%20Conversation%20France%20du%2010%20dcembre%202018%20-%201182710758&utm_content=La%20lettre%20de%20The%20Conversation%20France%20du%2010%20dcembre%202018%20-%201182710758+CID_c5cfc373a932a52e01eb3cc31b2326e4&utm_source=campaign_monitor_fr&utm_term=Dbat%20%20La%20foule%20nest%20pas%20le%20peuple

Je signale également le texte d’un prêtre, Jean Casanave, qui pose la question de l’espérance dans son blogue « Éclats de vie, réflexions d’un curé de campagne ».

http://jeancasanave.blogspot.com/2019/01/france-quas-tu-fait-de-lesperance.html

[1] Telle que je la nomme dans mes deux derniers essais.

[2] L’actuel Président de la République a au demeurant fait beaucoup pour concentrer sur lui toutes les animosités et faire de son départ le préalable à tout apaisement chez de nombreux gilets jaunes.

Voir aussi:

On a entendu, depuis un mois, beaucoup d’approximations sur ce que la démocratie est censée être, du côté des gilets jaunes et des responsables politiques qui entendent récupérer leur mouvement, mais aussi du côté de certains journalistes et chroniqueurs.

Au nom du peuple…

Certains affirment à satiété depuis un mois que « les gilets jaunes sont le peuple ». C’est un raccourci problématique à plusieurs égards. Dans un système démocratique, « le peuple », c’est la communauté formée par l’ensemble des citoyens. C’est une abstraction, un idéal qui permet de penser le vivre en commun.

Il reste à savoir ce que veut le peuple. Par convention, on peut s’en approcher par le suffrage universel. Aux présidentielles de 2017, rappelons que 37 millions de citoyens se sont rendus aux urnes. On peut insister sur l’importance de l’abstention et du vote blanc et nul, mais 37 millions, cela reste 100 fois plus que les plus importantes mobilisations de gilets jaunes.

La règle majoritaire est une approximation de ce que « veut » le peuple. En France, pour certaines élections du moins, notamment pour les présidentielles, le mode de scrutin veille à ce qu’une majorité se dégage. Au second tour, on contraint les électeurs à choisir entre deux candidats seulement, de sorte que le vainqueur puisse clamer avoir été élu par une majorité. C’est là encore une illusion, mais les électeurs jouent habituellement le jeu. Ainsi, ils confirment toujours le résultat de l’élection lors des élections législatives, car ils savent que – en France du moins – l’existence d’une majorité claire est indispensable au bon fonctionnement des institutions et à la conduite de l’action publique.

Certes, cette majorité est un peu artificielle, et Emmanuel Macron a sans doute perdu de vue qu’il a été élu par de nombreux citoyens qui entendaient, avant tout, s’opposer à Marine Le Pen. En outre, la démocratie ne s’épuise pas dans le vote, et la majorité ne peut pas tout imposer. Les citoyens doivent pouvoir s’exprimer entre deux élections. C’est la raison pour laquelle la démocratie garantit le droit de s’exprimer, de s’engager dans un parti, un syndicat ou une association, de manifester, de faire grève, de signer une pétition. Par ailleurs, les droits des minorités doivent être défendus par la Constitution et le droit, et par les autorités.

Distinguer les revendications légitimes

En France, la démocratie reste largement fondée sur la représentation. Les mécanismes de démocratie participative jouent un rôle modeste, les corps intermédiaires sont traditionnellement considérés avec suspicion, les juges ont une influence relativement modeste, et les élus ont une grande autonomie d’action. En effet, les députés ne sont pas censés représenter leurs électeurs, mais la Nation, et le Président jouit d’importantes prérogatives, dans une approche de sa fonction très gaullienne, voire bonapartiste.

La crise des gilets jaunes est sans doute l’occasion de repenser tout cela, et de donner plus de poids à des mécanismes de démocratie participative et délibérative. Elle est aussi une salutaire mise en garde pour les gouvernants qui ont trop fait abstraction de la manière dont certaines mesures ont été perçues par la population. Réforme de l’ISF, baisse des APL, hausse de la CSG pour les retraités, limitation à 80 km/h ou fiscalité sur le gazole sont autant de décisions qui ont suscité de fortes récriminations qui n’ont pas été entendues, au nom de l’idée que le Président avait un mandat clair et un projet pour la France, et qu’il devait garder le cap.

Il n’en reste pas moins qu’une minorité, même très mobilisée, même bénéficiant d’un soutien de l’opinion publique, ne peut pas se substituer à la majorité et effacer les résultats des élections. Les gilets jaunes sont un mouvement d’ampleur, mais on n’a jamais eu plus de 300 000 personnes dans la rue. La foule n’est pas le peuple et 300 000 personnes ne peuvent pas décider pour le peuple.

Que faire, en effet, si 300 000 personnes défilent pour demander l’interdiction de la chasse, et si la semaine d’après 300 000 défilent pour demander son maintien ? Quand les opposants au mariage pour tous ont défilé en masse, et durablement, le gouvernement aurait-il dû retirer sa loi ? Comment distinguer les revendications légitimes, qui doivent être prises en compte, des autres ?

Dans le cas du mouvement des gilets jaunes, le gouvernement aurait dû comprendre plus tôt qu’il était l’expression d’un fort mécontentement chez une partie substantielle du corps électoral. Les premières réactions – ou l’absence de réaction – n’ont fait que mettre de l’huile sur le feu et cultiver chez les citoyens mobilisés l’idée qu’ils étaient déconsidérés.

Il n’en reste pas moins que, dans une démocratie représentative, on ne peut laisser la rue gouverner, sinon toute réforme – qui fait généralement des gagnants qui s’ignorent et des perdants qui se mobilisent – serait exclue.

La logique du « tout ou rien »

En outre, comment intégrer la violence à cette équation ? Une manifestation violente est-elle plus ou moins légitime qu’une manifestation pacifique ? Certains estiment que la violence est un indice du degré de mécontentement des manifestants (de « désespoir », diraient ceux qui les soutiennent) et que le gouvernement doit être plus à l’écoute en cas de débordements. Mais, une fois encore, peut-on gouverner un pays ainsi ?

Ce qui caractérise le mouvement des gilets jaunes depuis le premier jour, c’est la méconnaissance des règles habituelles de la mobilisation, qui doit opérer à travers un ensemble d’outils démocratiques et pacifiques : pétitions, tribunes dans la presse, manifestations (déclarées et encadrées), contacts avec les élus, grèves…

Le mouvement avait trouvé, avec le gilet jaune, un marqueur de mobilisation très astucieux : chaque automobiliste français était équipé de cet accessoire visible, facile à porter ou à mettre en évidence sur son tableau de bord. Mais les initiateurs du mouvement ont choisi d’emblée d’opter pour des formes d’action illégales : manifestations non déclarées en préfecture et dépourvues de responsable et de service d’ordre, blocages de routes et de commerces, violences envers les automobilistes récalcitrants et les forces de l’ordre, dégradations et incendies volontaires…

Ils ont en outre, par principe, refusé de rencontrer les représentants de l’État et cherché à imposer leurs revendications de manière unilatérale, dans une logique du « tout ou rien ». Si n’importe quelle organisation – mouvement politique, syndicat, association, collectif – s’était rendue coupable du dixième des exactions commises par le mouvement des gilets jaunes, elle aurait sans doute été rapidement dissoute.

En l’espèce, l’impunité règne, car le mouvement n’a pas de structure et de représentants officiels : chacun peut s’improviser porte-parole des gilets jaunes auprès de médias très complaisants, sans endosser la moindre responsabilité, ou se livrer à une surenchère sur les réseaux sociaux.

La question de la violence, nœud du conflit

Certains commentateurs relativisent cette violence structurelle. Ils opposent la violence du gouvernement, qui étrangle de taxes les classes laborieuses et fait montre d’arrogance, et celle des manifestants. Ils comparent les débordements des gilets jaunes à ceux des supporters de foot les soirs de victoire ou à ceux du Nouvel An. Ils renvoient dos à dos casseurs et forces de l’ordre. Le citoyen qui se promène aujourd’hui dans les rues désolées de Paris, Bordeaux, Saint-Étienne ou Toulouse, entre carcasses de voitures brûlées, barricades et devantures de magasins défoncées, pourra difficilement considérer que ce ne sont que les inévitables effets collatéraux d’un mouvement fondamentalement non violent.

La question de la violence est le nœud de ce conflit. Elle en constitue alternativement la légitimité (« Il faut prendre en compte les revendications de ces gens en colère ») et l’illégitimité (« On ne cède pas aux casseurs et aux factieux »). Car, sitôt que le pouvoir accède à des revendications exprimées avec violence – et le gouvernement n’a eu d’autre choix que de le faire, pour que la pression retombe –, on encourage d’autres groupes sociaux à adopter des comportements inciviques et délictueux.

Pourquoi faire grève des semaines durant ou se réunir pacifiquement – à la manière du mouvement Nuit debout – pendant des mois sans rien obtenir si, en mettant à sac les Champs-Élysées ou en incendiant une préfecture, l’on provoque un recul immédiat du gouvernement ? La manière dont certains lycéens se sont récemment « mobilisés » – en brûlant des voitures et en s’équipant pour en découdre avec les forces de l’ordre – montre que le recul face à la violence crée des effets de contagion difficilement contrôlables.

Les sondages, un outil à manier avec prudence

Les partisans des gilets jaunes argueront que le gouvernement n’a pas cédé à la violence, mais à l’opinion publique. Que les sondages établissent que les citoyens ont pris fait et cause pour les gilets jaunes, contre le Président. Mais qu’en est-il réellement ? D’abord, que veut dire « soutien aux gilets jaunes » ? On ne reviendra pas ici sur l’inanité de certains sondages. Interroger les gens sur leur comportement passés ou futurs (« pour qui avez-vous/allez-vous voter ? » ou sur leurs préférences « quelle est votre sensibilité politique ? ») a du sens, mais interroger les gens sur des questions vagues ou très complexes, donne des résultats qui doivent être considérés avec prudence.

Éprouver une forme de sympathie pour des citoyens qui protestent contre la hausse des taxes, réclament plus de pouvoir d’achat et de services publics, s’élèvent contre des réformes impopulaires, et dénoncent le mépris des élites, ne revient pas à valider l’ensemble de leurs revendications ou à souscrire à un changement de pouvoir ou de régime.

On rappellera alors que 80 % des Français désapprouvent l’action du Président. Mais qui peut se dire satisfait de son action alors que la France vit une situation insurrectionnelle, que les citoyens sont empêchés de circuler à leur guise ou de travailler, que les chaînes de télévision passent en boucle des images de guérilla urbaine ? Le citoyen de bonne foi ne peut que constater que le Président s’y prend mal pour gouverner le pays.

Pour autant, est-ce que les 80 % de sondés seraient prêts à porter Jacline Mouraud ou Éric Drouet au pouvoir, ou l’un des leaders de l’opposition ? Jean‑Luc Mélenchon, Marine Le Pen, Laurent Wauquiez et Olivier Faure soufflent sur les braises depuis le début du mouvement, en espérant tirer leur épingle du jeu et rejouer la présidentielle, mais les citoyens ne sont pas dupes : les sondages les plus récents montrent qu’aucun ne tire bénéfice du mouvement et ne constitue une alternative politique crédible.Une vaste majorité attachée aux institutions et à la paix sociale

Nul ne sait où va ce mouvement. La mobilisation est numériquement en baisse, mais les plus radicaux pensent leur heure venue et ne vont sans doute pas relâcher la pression. Les échauffourées ne sont plus le fait de gilets jaunes, mais d’extrémistes, de casseurs et d’opportunistes.

Les chercheurs en sciences sociales n’aiment pas faire de prédictions : ils sont scientifiquement mal équipés pour cela et préfèrent plus prudemment « prédire le passé », en analysant le déroulement d’événements dont on connaît l’issue. On peut néanmoins penser que, à ce stade du mouvement, l’opinion publique va se retourner.

L’émotion passée, les citoyens français, dont la vaste majorité est attachée aux institutions, à l’ordre public et à la paix sociale, s’entendront sans doute pour considérer qu’une insurrection hebdomadaire n’est pas le moyen le plus sûr d’améliorer le sort des Français, et que le coup de semonce à l’endroit du gouvernement était suffisant. Désormais, rares sont les personnalités et les acteurs de la société civile qui affichent leur soutien à un mouvement marqué par une ligne politique confuse, par sa fascination pour la violence et par son refus de la négociation.

Les Français ont, dans un premier temps, largement approuvé les gilets jaunes parce qu’ils partageaient leurs revendications, étaient déçus par le gouvernement ou manifestaient une certaine sympathie pour un mouvement inédit. Certains étaient sans doute aussi mus par une forme de suivisme, de culpabilité de classe, de griserie médiatique ou de romantisme révolutionnaire. D’autres refusaient d’afficher leur soutien à un gouvernement sourd aux revendications, et désapprouvaient le discours de ceux qui affichaient leur mépris pour cette mobilisation populaire ou dénonçaient un peu rapidement la « peste brune ».

On rappellera aussi que le mouvement des gilets jaunes n’a, initialement, guère laissé le choix au quidam. Face à un barrage, il était contraint, plus ou moins aimablement, d’enfiler son gilet jaune, de prêter allégeance à la cause, d’y contribuer éventuellement par une obole, afin de pouvoir aller travailler ou conduire ses enfants à l’école. Nombreux étaient les automobilistes qui arboraient un gilet jaune dans leur véhicule, « au cas où ».

« Ce qui n’était encore que le sentiment d’une partie de la nation parut ainsi l’opinion de tous… »

Face à ces pressions, face à la quasi-unanimité des responsables politiques, des commentateurs et des leaders d’opinion, il semblait difficile pour le citoyen de faire part de ses doutes. Mais, sauf à penser que l’électorat modéré, qui a dominé les élections l’an passé, s’est subitement volatilisé ou a radicalement changé d’orientation politique, on peut faire l’hypothèse qu’une partie des citoyens a dissimulé ses préférences.

Il y a près de deux siècles, Tocqueville avait révélé les falsifications auxquelles pouvaient conduire certaines contraintes, en prenant l’exemple du sentiment religieux durant la Révolution française. Selon lui, les pressions qui s’exerçaient sur les croyants, qui jugeaient malvenu d’exprimer leur attachement au christianisme, avaient fait apparaître l’opinion publique comme antireligieuse, alors qu’elle ne l’était pas.

Ce phénomène s’entretenait de lui-même, la faiblesse supposée du nombre des croyants au sein de la société française les incitant à continuer de taire leurs convictions :

« Ceux qui niaient le christianisme élevant la voix et ceux qui croyaient encore faisant silence, il arriva ce qui s’est vu si souvent depuis parmi nous, non seulement en fait de religion, mais en tout autre matière. […] Ce qui n’était encore que le sentiment d’une partie de la nation parut ainsi l’opinion de tous, et sembla dès lors irrésistible aux yeux mêmes de ceux qui lui donnaient cette fausse apparence. » (De la démocratie en Amérique. Laffont, p. 1045)


Bobologie: On a trouvé pourquoi les riches ne votent plus à droite ! (Party of the people: What happened to the Hamptons ?)

17 avril, 2018

Three Figures and Portrait (Francis Bacon, 1975)

 Nous qui vivons dans les régions côtières des villes bleues, nous lisons plus de livres et nous allons plus souvent au théâtre que ceux qui vivent au fin fond du pays. Nous sommes à la fois plus sophistiqués et plus cosmopolites – parlez-nous de nos voyages scolaires en Chine et en Provence ou, par exemple, de notre intérêt pour le bouddhisme. Mais par pitié, ne nous demandez pas à quoi ressemble la vie dans l’Amérique rouge. Nous n’en savons rien. Nous ne savons pas qui sont Tim LaHaye et Jerry B. Jenkins. […] Nous ne savons pas ce que peut bien dire James Dobson dans son émission de radio écoutée par des millions d’auditeurs. Nous ne savons rien de Reba et Travis. […] Nous sommes très peu nombreux à savoir ce qu’il se passe à Branson dans le Missouri, même si cette ville reçoit quelque sept millions de touristes par an; pas plus que nous ne pouvons nommer ne serait-ce que cinq pilotes de stock-car. […] Nous ne savons pas tirer au fusil ni même en nettoyer un, ni reconnaître le grade d’un officier rien qu’à son insigne. Quant à savoir à quoi ressemble une graine de soja poussée dans un champ… David Brooks
Vous allez dans certaines petites villes de Pennsylvanie où, comme dans beaucoup de petites villes du Middle West, les emplois ont disparu depuis maintenant 25 ans et n’ont été remplacés par rien d’autre (…) Et il n’est pas surprenant qu’ils deviennent amers et qu’ils s’accrochent à leurs fusils ou à la religion, ou à leur antipathie pour ceux qui ne sont pas comme eux, ou encore à un sentiment d’hostilité envers les immigrants. Barack Obama
Pour généraliser, en gros, vous pouvez placer la moitié des partisans de Trump dans ce que j’appelle le panier des pitoyables. Les racistes, sexistes, homophobes, xénophobes, islamophobes. A vous de choisir. Hillary Clinton
Ces idées ont un nom : nationalisme, identitarisme, protectionnisme, souverainisme de repli. Ces idées qui, tant de fois, ont allumé les brasiers où l’Europe aurait pu périr, les revoici sous des habits neufs encore ces derniers jours. Elles se disent légitimes parce qu’elles exploitent avec cynisme la peur des peuples. (…) Je ne laisserai rien, rien à toutes celles et ceux qui promettent la haine, la division ou le repli national. Je ne leur laisserai aucune proposition. C’est à l’Europe de les faire, c’est à nous de les porter, aujourd’hui et maintenant (…) Et nous n’avons qu’un choix, qu’une alternative : le repli sur nous frontières, qui serait à la fois illusoire et inefficace, ou la construction d’un espace commun des frontières, de l’asile et de (…) faire une place aux réfugiés qui ont risqué leur vie, chez eux et sur leur chemin, c’est notre devoir commun d’Européen et nous ne devons pas le perdre de vue. (…) C’est pourquoi j’ai engagé en France un vaste travail de réforme pour mieux accueillir les réfugiés, augmenter les relocalisations dans notre pays, accélérer les procédures d’asile en nous inspirant du modèle allemand, être plus efficaces dans les reconduites indispensables. Ce que je souhaite pour l’Europe, la France commence dès à présent à le faire elle-même. Emmanuel Macron
J’entends les voix apeurées qui nous appellent à construire des murs. Plutôt que des murs, nous voulons aider les gens à construire des ponts. Mark Zuckerberg
Mes arrière-grands-parents sont venus d’Allemagne, d’Autriche et de Pologne. Les parents de [mon épouse] Priscilla étaient des réfugiés venant de Chine et du Vietnam. Les Etats-Unis sont une nation d’immigrants, et nous devrions en être fiers. Comme beaucoup d’entre vous, je suis inquiet de l’impact des récents décrets signés par le président Trump. Nous devons faire en sorte que ce pays reste en sécurité, mais pour y parvenir, nous devrions nous concentrer sur les personnes qui représentent vraiment une menace. Etendre l’attention des forces de l’ordre au-delà des personnes qui représentent de vraies menaces va nuire à la sécurité des Américains, en dispersant les ressources, tandis que des millions de sans-papiers qui ne représentent aucune menace vivront dans la peur d’être expulsés. Mark Zuckerberg
We can suggest what you should do next, what you care about. Imagine: We know where you are, we know what you like. A near-term future in which you don’t forget anything, because the computer remembers. You’re never lost. Eric Schmidt (Google)
I don’t believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time. (…) Let’s say you’re walking down the street. Because of the info Google has collected about you, we know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are. (…) I actually think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next. Eric Schmidt
The average American doesn’t realize how much of the laws are written by lobbyists (…) Washington is an incumbent protection machine. Technology is fundamentally disruptive. (…) Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it. Google implants, he added, probably crosses that line. (…) With your permission you give us more information about you, about your friends, and we can improve the quality of our searches. We don’t need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less now what you’re thinking about. Eric Schmidt
There’s such an overwhelming amount of information now, we can search where you are, see what you’re looking at if you take a picture with your camera. One way to think about this is, we’re trying to make people better people, literally give them better ideas—augmenting their experience. Think of it as augmented humanity. Eric Schmidt
J’appelle stratégies de condescendance ces transgressions symboliques de la limite qui permettent d’avoir à la fois les profits de la conformité à la définition et les profits de la transgression : c’est le cas de l’aristocrate qui tape sur la croupe du palefrenier et dont on dira «II est simple», sous-entendu, pour un aristocrate, c’est-à-dire un homme d’essence supérieure, dont l’essence ne comporte pas en principe une telle conduite. En fait ce n’est pas si simple et il faudrait introduire une distinction : Schopenhauer parle quelque part du «comique pédant», c’est-à-dire du rire que provoque un personnage lorsqu’il produit une action qui n’est pas inscrite dans les limites de son concept, à la façon, dit-il, d’un cheval de théâtre qui se mettrait à faire du crottin, et il pense aux professeurs, aux professeurs allemands, du style du Professor Unrat de V Ange bleu, dont le concept est si fortement et si étroitement défini, que la transgression des limites se voit clairement. A la différence du professeur Unrat qui, emporté par la passion, perd tout sens du ridicule ou, ce qui revient au même, de la dignité, le consacré condescendant choisit délibérément de passer la ligne ; il a le privilège des privilèges, celui qui consiste à prendre des libertés avec son privilège. C’est ainsi qu’en matière d’usage de la langue, les bourgeois et surtout les intellectuels peuvent se permettre des formes d’hypocorrection, de relâchement, qui sont interdites aux petits-bourgeois, condamnés à l’hypercorrection. Bref, un des privilèges de la consécration réside dans le fait qu’en conférant aux consacrés une essence indiscutable et indélébile, elle autorise des transgressions autrement interdites : celui qui est sûr de son identité culturelle peut jouer avec la règle du jeu culturel, il peut jouer avec le feu, il peut dire qu’il aime Tchaikovsky ou Gershwin, ou même, question de «culot», Aznavour ou les films de série B. Pierre Bourdieu
Bourdieu chose to make it his life’s work to debunk the powerful classes’ pretensions that they were more deserving of authority or wealth than those below. He aimed his critiques first at his own class of elites — professors and intellectuals — then at the media, the political class and the propertied class. “Distinction,” published in 1979, was an undisputed masterwork. In it, Bourdieu set out to show the social logic of taste: how admiration for art, appreciation of music, even taste in food, came about for different groups, and how “superior” taste was not the result of an enchanted superiority in scattered individuals. This may seem a long way from Wellington-booted and trucker-hatted American youth in gentrifying neighborhoods. But Bourdieu’s innovation, applicable here, was to look beyond the traditional trappings of rich or poor to see battles of symbols (like those boots and hats) traversing all society, reinforcing the class structure just as money did. (…) The power of Bourdieu’s statistics was to show how rigid and arbitrary the local conformities were. In American terms, he was like an updater of Thorstein Veblen, who gave us the idea of “conspicuous consumption.” College teachers and artists, unusual in believing that a beautiful photo could be made from a car crash, began to look conditioned to that taste, rather than sophisticated or deep. White-collar workers who defined themselves by their proclivity to eat only light foods — as opposed to farmworkers, who weren’t ashamed to treat themselves to “both cheese and a dessert” — seemed not more refined, but merely more conventional. Taste is not stable and peaceful, but a means of strategy and competition. Those superior in wealth use it to pretend they are superior in spirit. Groups closer in social class who yet draw their status from different sources use taste and its attainments to disdain one another and get a leg up. These conflicts for social dominance through culture are exactly what drive the dynamics within communities whose members are regarded as hipsters. Once you take the Bourdieuian view, you can see how hipster neighborhoods are crossroads where young people from different origins, all crammed together, jockey for social gain. One hipster subgroup’s strategy is to disparage others as “liberal arts college grads with too much time on their hands”; the attack is leveled at the children of the upper middle class who move to cities after college with hopes of working in the “creative professions.” These hipsters are instantly declassed, reservoired in abject internships and ignored in the urban hierarchy — but able to use college-taught skills of classification, collection and appreciation to generate a superior body of cultural “cool.” They, in turn, may malign the “trust fund hipsters.” This challenges the philistine wealthy who, possessed of money but not the nose for culture, convert real capital into “cultural capital” (Bourdieu’s most famous coinage), acquiring subculture as if it were ready-to-wear. (Think of Paris Hilton in her trucker hat.) Both groups, meanwhile, look down on the couch-­surfing, old-clothes-wearing hipsters who seem most authentic but are also often the most socially precarious — the lower-middle-class young, moving up through style, but with no backstop of parental culture or family capital. They are the bartenders and boutique clerks who wait on their well-to-do peers and wealthy tourists. Only on the basis of their cool clothes can they be “superior”: hipster knowledge compensates for economic immobility. All hipsters play at being the inventors or first adopters of novelties: pride comes from knowing, and deciding, what’s cool in advance of the rest of the world. Yet the habits of hatred and accusation are endemic to hipsters because they feel the weakness of everyone’s position — including their own. Proving that someone is trying desperately to boost himself instantly undoes him as an opponent. He’s a fake, while you are a natural aristocrat of taste. That’s why “He’s not for real, he’s just a hipster” is a potent insult among all the people identifiable as hipsters themselves. The attempt to analyze the hipster provokes such universal anxiety because it calls everyone’s bluff. And hipsters aren’t the only ones unnerved. Many of us try to justify our privileges by pretending that our superb tastes and intellect prove we deserve them, reflecting our inner superiority. Those below us economically, the reasoning goes, don’t appreciate what we do; similarly, they couldn’t fill our jobs, handle our wealth or survive our difficulties. Of course this is a terrible lie. And Bourdieu devoted his life to exposing it. Those who read him in effect become responsible to him — forced to admit a failure to examine our own lives, down to the seeming trivialities of clothes and distinction that, as Bourdieu revealed, also structure our world. Mark Greifntrepreneurs do not just create bigger fortunes. They also cast longer shadows. The Economist
Many of the more privileged Americans who frequent fancy restaurants, stay in hotels and depend on hired help for lawn and pool maintenance, home repair and childcare don’t think illegal immigration is that big of a deal. Those in the higher-paid professions do not fear low-wage competition for their jobs in law, medicine, academia, the media, government or the arts. And many who have no problem with the present influx live in affluent communities with good schools insulated from the immediate budgetary consequences of meeting the needs of the offspring of the 11 million here illegally. These wealthier people aren’t so much liberal in their tolerance of illegal immigration as they are self-interested and cynical. In contrast, the far more numerous poor and lower middle classes of America, especially in the Southwest, are sincerely worried — and angry. (…) For the broad middle class, the poor and minorities — people who dine mostly at home, travel infrequently, mow their own lawns and change their children’s diapers — inexpensive service labor is not seen as much of a boon to them. Plus, lower- and middle-class Americans live in communities where schools are more impacted by an influx of Spanish-only speakers. And as janitors, maids, groundskeepers, carpenters, factory workers and truckers, they fear competition from lower-wage illegal alien laborers. Legal immigrants who wait years in line to enter the United States legally can be particularly unsympathetic to others who cut in front — in violation of the law. Victor Davis Hanson (October 6, 2006)
The furor of ignored Europeans against their union is not just directed against rich and powerful government elites per se, or against the flood of mostly young male migrants from the war-torn Middle East. The rage also arises from the hypocrisy of a governing elite that never seems to be subject to the ramifications of its own top-down policies. The bureaucratic class that runs Europe from Brussels and Strasbourg too often lectures European voters on climate change, immigration, politically correct attitudes about diversity, and the constant need for more bureaucracy, more regulations, and more redistributive taxes. But Euro-managers are able to navigate around their own injunctions, enjoying private schools for their children; generous public pay, retirement packages and perks; frequent carbon-spewing jet travel; homes in non-diverse neighborhoods; and profitable revolving-door careers between government and business. The Western elite classes, both professedly liberal and conservative, square the circle of their privilege with politically correct sermonizing. They romanticize the distant “other” — usually immigrants and minorities — while condescendingly lecturing the middle and working classes, often the losers in globalization, about their lack of sensitivity. On this side of the Atlantic, President Obama has developed a curious habit of talking down to Americans about their supposedly reactionary opposition to rampant immigration, affirmative action, multiculturalism, and political correctness — most notably in his caricatures of the purported “clingers” of Pennsylvania. Yet Obama seems uncomfortable when confronted with the prospect of living out what he envisions for others. He prefers golfing with celebrities to bowling. He vacations in tony Martha’s Vineyard rather than returning home to his Chicago mansion. His travel entourage is royal and hardly green. And he insists on private prep schools for his children rather than enrolling them in the public schools of Washington, D.C., whose educators he so often shields from long-needed reform. In similar fashion, grandees such as Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg and Univision anchorman Jorge Ramos do not live what they profess. They often lecture supposedly less sophisticated Americans on their backward opposition to illegal immigration. But both live in communities segregated from those they champion in the abstract. The Clintons often pontificate about “fairness” but somehow managed to amass a personal fortune of more than $100 million by speaking to and lobbying banks, Wall Street profiteers, and foreign entities. The pay-to-play rich were willing to brush aside the insincere, pro forma social-justice talk of the Clintons and reward Hillary and Bill with obscene fees that would presumably result in lucrative government attention. Consider the recent Orlando tragedy for more of the same paradoxes. The terrorist killer, Omar Mateen — a registered Democrat, proud radical Muslim, and occasional patron of gay dating sites — murdered 49 people and wounded even more in a gay nightclub. His profile and motive certainly did not fit the elite narrative that unsophisticated right-wing American gun owners were responsible because of their support for gun rights. No matter. The Obama administration and much of the media refused to attribute the horror in Orlando to Mateen’s self-confessed radical Islamist agenda. Instead, they blamed the shooter’s semi-automatic .223 caliber rifle and a purported climate of hate toward gays. (…) In sum, elites ignored the likely causes of the Orlando shooting: the appeal of ISIS-generated hatred to some young, second-generation radical Muslim men living in Western societies, and the politically correct inability of Western authorities to short-circuit that clear-cut connection. Instead, the establishment all but blamed Middle America for supposedly being anti-gay and pro-gun. In both the U.S. and Britain, such politically correct hypocrisy is superimposed on highly regulated, highly taxed, and highly governmentalized economies that are becoming ossified and stagnant. The tax-paying middle classes, who lack the romance of the poor and the connections of the elite, have become convenient whipping boys of both in order to leverage more government social programs and to assuage the guilt of the elites who have no desire to live out their utopian theories in the flesh. Victor Davis Hanson
Illegal and illiberal immigration exists and will continue to expand because too many special interests are invested in it. It is one of those rare anomalies — the farm bill is another — that crosses political party lines and instead unites disparate elites through their diverse but shared self-interests: live-and-let-live profits for some and raw political power for others. For corporate employers, millions of poor foreign nationals ensure cheap labor, with the state picking up the eventual social costs. For Democratic politicos, illegal immigration translates into continued expansion of favorable political demography in the American Southwest. For ethnic activists, huge annual influxes of unassimilated minorities subvert the odious melting pot and mean continuance of their own self-appointed guardianship of salad-bowl multiculturalism. Meanwhile, the upper middle classes in coastal cocoons enjoy the aristocratic privileges of having plenty of cheap household help, while having enough wealth not to worry about the social costs of illegal immigration in terms of higher taxes or the problems in public education, law enforcement, and entitlements. No wonder our elites wink and nod at the supposed realities in the current immigration bill, while selling fantasies to the majority of skeptical Americans. Victor Davis Hanson
Who are the bigots — the rude and unruly protestors who scream and swarm drop-off points and angrily block immigration authority buses to prevent the release of children into their communities, or the shrill counter-protestors who chant back “Viva La Raza” (“Long Live the Race”)? For that matter, how does the racialist term “La Raza” survive as an acceptable title of a national lobby group in this politically correct age of anger at the Washington Redskins football brand? How can American immigration authorities simply send immigrant kids all over the United States and drop them into communities without firm guarantees of waiting sponsors or family? If private charities did that, would the operators be jailed? Would American parents be arrested for putting their unescorted kids on buses headed out of state? Liberal elites talk down to the cash-strapped middle class about their illiberal anger over the current immigration crisis. But most sermonizers are hypocritical. Take Nancy Pelosi, former speaker of the House. She lectures about the need for near-instant amnesty for thousands streaming across the border. But Pelosi is a multimillionaire, and thus rich enough not to worry about the increased costs and higher taxes needed to offer instant social services to the new arrivals. Progressives and ethnic activists see in open borders extralegal ways to gain future constituents dependent on an ever-growing government, with instilled grudges against any who might not welcome their flouting of U.S. laws. How moral is that? Likewise, the CEOs of Silicon Valley and Wall Street who want cheap labor from south of the border assume that their own offspring’s private academies will not be affected by thousands of undocumented immigrants, that their own neighborhoods will remain non-integrated, and that their own medical services and specialists’ waiting rooms will not be made available to the poor arrivals. … What a strange, selfish, and callous alliance of rich corporate grandees, cynical left-wing politicians, and ethnic chauvinists who have conspired to erode U.S. law for their own narrow interests, all the while smearing those who object as xenophobes, racists, and nativists. Victor Davis Hanson
For the last two decades, Apple, Google, Amazon and other West Coast tech corporations have been untouchable icons. They piled up astronomical profits while hypnotizing both left-wing and right-wing politicians. (…) If the left feared that the tech billionaires were becoming robber barons, they also delighted in the fact that they were at least left-wing robber barons. Unlike the steel, oil and coal monopolies of the 19th century that out of grime and smoke created the sinews of a growing America, Silicon Valley gave us shiny, clean, green and fun pods, pads and phones. As a result, social media, internet searches, texts, email and other computer communications were exempt from interstate regulatory oversight. Big Tech certainly was not subject to the rules that governed railroads, power companies, trucking industries, Wall Street, and television and radio. But attitudes about hip high-tech corporations have now changed on both the left and right. Liberals are under pressure from their progressive base to make Silicon Valley hire more minorities and women. Progressives wonder why West Coast techies cannot unionize and sit down for tough bargaining with their progressive billionaire bosses. Local community groups resent the tech giants driving up housing prices and zoning out the poor from cities such as Seattle and San Francisco. Behind the veneer of a cool Apple logo or multicolored Google trademark are scores of multimillionaires who live one-percenter lifestyles quite at odds with the soft socialism espoused by their corporate megaphones. (…) Instead of acting like laissez-faire capitalists, the entrenched captains of high-tech industry seem more like government colluders and manipulators. Regarding the high-tech leaders’ efforts to rig their industries and strangle dissent, think of conniving Jay Gould or Jim Fisk rather than the wizard Thomas Edison. (…) The public so far has welcomed the unregulated freedom of Silicon Valley — as long as it was truly free. But now computer users are discovering that social media and web searches seem highly controlled and manipulated — by the whims of billionaires rather than federal regulators. (…) For years, high-tech grandees dressed all in hip black while prancing around the stage, enthralling stockholders as if they were rock stars performing with wireless mics. Some wore jeans, sneakers, and T-shirts, making it seem like being worth $50 billion was hipster cool. But the billionaire-as-everyman shtick has lost his groove, especially when such zillionaires lavish their pet political candidates with huge donations, seed lobbying groups and demand regulatory loopholes. Ten years ago, a carefree Mark Zuckerberg seemed cool. Now, his T-shirt get-up seems phony and incongruous with his walled estates and unregulated profiteering. (…) Why are high-tech profits hidden in offshore accounts? Why is production outsourced to impoverished countries, sometimes in workplaces that are deplorable and cruel? Why does texting while driving not earn a product liability suit? Victor Davis Hanson
Tout ce que demande aujourd’hui le Kansas, c’est qu’on lui donne un petit coup de main pour se clouer à sa croix d’or.(…) Votez pour interdire l’avortement et vous aurez une bonne réduction de l’impôt sur le capital (…). Votez pour faire la nique à ces universitaires politiquement corrects et vous aurez la déréglementation de l’électricité (…). Votez pour résister au terrorisme et vous aurez la privatisation de la sécurité sociale. Thomas Frank
One of the reasons that inequality has probably gone up in our society is that people are being treated closer to the way that they’re supposed to be treated. Larry Summers
Purity of thought — mental cleansing of all possible bias — is demanded of the populace. (…) We were living in a form of dictatorship without knowing it . . . a dictatorship of elite moral narcissists who decided between right and wrong . . . before we could even begin to evaluate the facts for ourselves. Roger L. Simon
Nothing is more characteristic of the liberal class than its members’ sense of their own elevated goodness.” The liberals’ need to repeatedly signal their virtue has become ever more tortured, as with the “civil rights” struggle for gender-neutral bathrooms. Thomas Frank
In his new book, the social critic Thomas Frank ­poses another possibility: that liberals in general — and the Democratic Party in particular — should look inward to understand the sorry state of American politics. Too busy attending TED talks and ­vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard, Frank argues, the Democratic elite has abandoned the party’s traditional commitments to the working class. In the process, they have helped to create the political despair and anger at the heart of today’s right-wing insurgencies. They may also have sown the seeds of their own demise. (…) Frank has been delivering some version of this message for the past two decades as a political essayist and a founding editor of The Baffler magazine. “Listen, Liberal” is the thoroughly entertaining if rather gloomy work of a man who feels that nobody has been paying attention. Frank’s most famous book, “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” (2004), argued that Republicans had duped the white working class by pounding the table on social issues while delivering tax cuts for the rich. He focused on Kansas as the reddest of red states (and, not incidentally, the place of his birth). This time Frank is coming for the Ivy League blue-state liberals, that “tight little network of enlightened strivers” who have allegedly been running the country into the ground. Think of it as “What’s the Matter With Massachusetts?” Frank’s book is an unabashed polemic, not a studious examination of policy or polling trends. In Frank’s view, liberal policy wonks are part of the problem, members of a well-educated elite that massages its own technocratic vanities while utterly missing the big question of the day.  (…) As Frank notes, today some people are living much better than others — and many of those people are not Republicans. Frank delights in skewering the sacred cows of coastal liberalism, including private universities, bike paths, microfinance, the Clinton Foundation, “well-meaning billionaires” and any public policy offering “innovation” or “education” as a solution to inequality. He spends almost an entire chapter mocking the true-blue city of Boston, with its “lab-coat and starched-shirt” economy and its “well-graduated” population of overconfident collegians. Behind all of this nasty fun is a serious political critique. Echoing the historian Lily Geismer, Frank argues that the Democratic Party — once “the Party of the People” — now caters to the interests of a “professional-managerial class” consisting of lawyers, doctors, professors, scientists, programmers, even investment bankers. These affluent city dwellers and suburbanites believe firmly in meritocracy and individual opportunity, but shun the kind of social policies that once gave a real leg up to the working class. In the book, Frank points to the Democrats’ neglect of organized labor and support for Nafta as examples of this sensibility, in which “you get what you deserve, and what you deserve is defined by how you did in school.”  (…) The problem, in Frank’s view, is not simply that mainstream Democrats have failed to address growing inequality. Instead, he suggests something more sinister: Today’s leading Democrats actually don’t want to reduce inequality because they believe that inequality is the normal and righteous order of things. As proof, he points to the famously impolitic Larry Summers, whose background as a former president of Harvard, former Treasury secretary and former chief economist of the World Bank embodies all that Frank abhors about modern Democrats. (…) No surprise, under the circumstances, that the working class might look elsewhere for satisfying political options. (…) Frank gives Obama a middling-to-poor grade — something in the D range, let’s say — for what he deems to be the president’s vague and rambling answer to the “social question.” Frank compares Obama unfavorably with Franklin Roose­velt, another Democratic president who inherited an economic crisis from his Republican predecessor. Roosevelt took advantage of the Great Depression to reshape American society in fundamental ways, introducing social welfare and labor protections that shifted real power into the hands of the middle and working classes. (Frank largely gives Roosevelt a pass on the New Deal’s own structural inequalities, including its exclusions of women and nonwhite workers.) Obama, by contrast, let the crisis go “to waste,” according to Frank, tweaking around the regulatory edges without doing anything significant to change the economic balance of power. (…) Frank sees this uneven recovery as a tragedy rather than a triumph, in which Obama “saved a bankrupt system that by all rights should have met its end.” He says little, however, about what sort of system might have replaced it, or about what working-class voters themselves might say that they want or need. In a book urging Democrats to pay attention to working-class concerns, there are decidedly few interviews with working people, and a lot of time spent on tech conferences and think tanks and fancy universities. Beverly Gage
Thomas Frank, who wrote the bestselling What’s the Matter with Kansas? (2004), admonishes the Democratic party for its residual moderation, and Roger L. Simon, a playwright and novelist and one of the founders of PJ Media, writes from a conservative perspective. They come at the issue from different angles but reach surprisingly congruent conclusions. “Today,” notes Frank, “liberalism is the philosophy not of the sons of toil” but of the winners in the “knowledge economy”: “Silicon Valley chieftains, the big university systems, and the Wall Street titans who gave so much to Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.” Similarly, Simon shows how “moral narcissism has allowed the Democratic party to become a hidden party of the rich, thus wounding the middle class.” Frank traces the origins of today’s liberal elitism back to the McGovern years and the influential arguments of Washington lobbyist Fred Dutton. Dutton’s book The Changing Sources of Power (1971) showed that the professional upper middle class, once a mainstay of the GOP, had in the Nixon years migrated to the anti-war wing of the Democratic party. Contemptuous of blue-collar America, the upper-end professionals wanted to become the party of the “aristocrats — en masse.” Likewise, Simon reflects on the ways in which liberal “compassion” became a “masquerade for selfishness, a way for elites to feel good about themselves” while insulating themselves from accountability. Simon describes this masquerade as a form of narcissism in which “what you believe, or claim to believe or say you believe — not what you do or how you act or what the results of your actions may be — [determine] how your life will be judged.” Kim Holmes of the Heritage Foundation, in his new book, describes the same disconnect, in which words are judged independently of actions, but he calls it “postmodernism.” “The postmodernist Left,” he writes, “is radically subjective, arguing that all truth is merely a matter of interpretation.” And liberals, because they hold largely uncontested power in Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and most of the media, generally get to decide which interpretation shall prevail. Liberalism’s dreams of an American aristocracy, as I explained in my 2014 book The Revolt against the Masses, were integral to the modern ideology from its very inception in the aftermath of World War I. High-toned New Deal liberals looked down on Harry Truman, the Kansas City haberdasher, but liberal social snobbery emerged with full force in the Kennedyites’ open disdain for Lyndon Johnson. LBJ biographer Robert Caro described the denizens of Camelot as people who were “in love with their own sophistication”: They were “such an in-group, and they let you know they were in, and you were not.” “Think of the snotty arrogance displayed,” Caro continued, “as these people laughed at LBJ’s accent, his mispronunciations, his clothes, his wife.” In the years since Kennedy, liberal politics has been driven by an alliance of the top and the bottom, the over-credentialed and the under-credentialed, against the middle. Liberals, notes the American-born British journalist Janet Daley, have taken on the pseudo-aristocratic tone of disdain for the aspiring, struggling middle class that is such a familiar part of the British scene. Rather than face up to the failures of the Great Society to fully incorporate African Americans into the general American prosperity, liberals have lost interest in social mobility: The aim now is to make the marginal more comfortable. (The problem is not solely with liberals: Social snobbery blinded most politicians to the rumblings that emerged as Trumpism.) Bill Clinton, explains Kim Holmes, was strongly influenced by the political philosophy of John Rawls. When President Clinton criticized the welfare system as “trapping” people in poverty, he was, says Holmes, “trying to find a balance,” as Rawls did, “between liberty and the welfare state.” Thomas Frank will have none of it: Against those Democratic-party moderates who found Clinton preferable to the Republicans, he thunders: “Bill Clinton was not the lesser of two evils. . . . He was the greater of the two.” Frank denounces both the 1994 crime bill and welfare reform as perfidious acts, without providing empirical evidence to support his assertions. Holmes points out that, in recent years, liberals have jettisoned any affection for the evidence-based arguments of the Clinton years and adopted instead an “epistemic relativism” that assumes that “all knowledge is expedient and politicized.” Holmes describes postmodern liberalism as “schizophrenic”: In the name of an identity politics advancing the interest of putative victims, it marries epistemological skepticism and the absolute certainties of politically correct posturing. Obama exemplifies this double game. Obama the cultural relativist, who is not a Muslim but has a strong affinity for Islam, insists that the Islam he encountered as a young boy in Indonesia was a religion of peace (even as he asserts that Western civilization should still be doing penance for the Crusades). At the same time, notes Roger Simon, Obama can say with great confidence that ISIS — the Islamic State — is not Islamic. Frank has a point when he notes that the incestuous relationships among Hollywood, Washington, Wall Street, and Silicon Valley that define the Obama years had already blossomed in the Clinton era. But with Obama, the ties have grown even tighter. Ninety percent of the first Obama administration’s staffers had a professional degree of some kind; some 25 percent had either graduated from Harvard or taught there. The situation Frank describes is a government of, by, and for the increasingly self-interested professionals. When the Russians recently invaded parts of Syria, the worst thing the Obama administration could think to say about them was that their actions were “unprofessional.” Fred Siegel
Ce film merveilleux montre le courage incroyable de BHL et la force de l’ancien président Nicolas Sarkozy, tout en mettant en lumière l’inestimable leadership du président Barack Obama et de la secrétaire d’État Hillary Clinton. Il permet au public américain de plonger dans les coulisses où le gouvernement de notre pays et celui de la France ont œuvré ensemble pour faire cesser le massacre de civils innocents et ont brillamment réussi à renverser un régime. Harvey Weinstein
Il est évident que nous n’avons pas fait assez pour empêcher ces outils d’être utilisés de façon mal intentionnée. Et cela vaut pour les fausses informations, les ingérences étrangères dans les élections et les discours de haine … C’était une grosse erreur.  C’était mon erreur et j’en suis désolé. Mark Zuckerberg
I really do hate to denigrate strippers and porn stars by comparing any of them to Jim Comey. But there really is no other way to describe the political peep show going on in America right now. Charles Hurt
Une vague d’optimisme a balayé le monde des affaires américaines… De France on ne se rend pas compte a quel point la baisse du chômage dans ce pays est spectaculaire. De nouvelles usines, de nouveaux équipements et des mises à niveau d’usines qui stimulent la croissance économique, stimulent la création d’emplois et augmentent les salaires de manière significative. (…) Le taux de chômage nominal officiel est descendu à 4,1%. Il a diminué de 2% au cours de la seule dernière année. C’est le plus bas depuis 17 ans. (…) Le chômage a diminué pour les travailleurs dans tous les niveaux d’éducation. Parmi les diplômés du secondaire qui n’ont jamais fréquenté l’université et qui ont 25 ans et plus, il a atteint son plus bas niveau. Le Bureau of Labor Statistics indique que le taux de chômage des travailleurs noirs et hispaniques a chuté au plus bas depuis 1972. C’était il y a 45 ans ! Des générations complètes de défavorisés n’avaient jamais connu une telle demande d’embauche et le plein emploi. Les personnes dépendantes de « food stamps » ont diminué de plus de 2 millions en 2017. Les « food Stamp » sont des bons d’achat à échanger dans les commerces alimentaires pour les personnes et familles à faible ou aucun revenu, les migrants et les étudiants vivant dans le pays pour se nourrir. L’économie, revitalisée par l’enthousiasme des perspectives d’avenir, se développe à nouveau. L’indice de confiance des consommateurs du Conference Board est à son plus haut niveau depuis 17 ans et l’Indice des perspectives de l’Association nationale des manufacturiers est à sa moyenne annuelle la plus élevée de son histoire. La Federal Reserve Bank d’Atlanta a publié une estimation de la croissance du PIB 2018 d’un taux de 5,4%. Comme dans les années glorieuses. Même le journal expert en misérabilisme, de gauche, le New York Times a dû admettre : « Une vague d’optimisme a balayé les chefs d’entreprise américains et commence à se traduire par des investissements dans de nouvelles usines, équipements et mises à niveau d’usines qui stimulent la croissance économique, stimulent la création d’emplois. et peut enfin augmenter les salaires de manière significative. « (…) Selon les estimations les plus récentes du Département du Trésor, 90% des personnes verront, dès février 2018 une augmentation de leur salaire net. Une autre étude conclut que plus d’un million de travailleurs recevront des augmentations de salaire en 2018. Les entreprises ont commencé à anticiper la baisse de l’impôt sur les sociétés de 38 à 21%. 300 entreprises ont annoncé des augmentations de salaire et des primes. (…) Le PIB a atteint 3% au cours des deux derniers trimestres de 2017. (Au cours des 32 trimestres de la « reprise » d’Obama, il n’a enregistré que deux fois un PIB de plus de 3%). Les entreprises américaines ont créé plus de 1,7 million de nouveaux emplois, dont près de 160 000 emplois manufacturiers et 58 000 autres emplois dans l’exploitation minière et l’exploitation forestière. L’extraction de pétrole et de gaz dont la réglementation anti-libérale interdisait l’exportation a été ouverte. En décembre, 1,5 million de barils ont été exportés hors des États-Unis. La guerre des prix avec les pays producteurs de l’OPEP qui devait mettre l’industrie pétrolière des gaz de schiste américaine à genoux a fait l’inverse. Elle a stimulé l’innovation, les embauches et les seuils de rentabilité ont étés abaissés. Le tribulations à la baisse de l’OPEP, n’ont servi qu’a mettre les pays de l’OPEP dans la difficulté. Les salaires ont progressé en taux annualisé de 2,9%, soit le rythme le plus rapide en plus de huit ans. (…) Au 1er janvier, les accords patronaux devant l’embellie du marché ont augmenté le salaire minimum dans 18 états. Agoravox
Colin Powell, le plus grand génie militaire de notre temps, soutient le président Obama. Et les militaires l’adorent. J’ai fait ce film. Je connais les militaires. Ils respectent cet homme pour ce qu’il a fait. Il a tué plus de terroristes dans le bref exercice de ses fonctions que George W. Bush en huit ans. C’est lui, le vrai faucon. Harvey Weinstein
J’ai une profonde estime pour Harvey Weinstein. Au-delà de sa réussite cinématographique, il est d’abord pour moi l’homme qui a lancé Amnesty International aux États-Unis, lutté contre la peine de mort, et l’un des rares, côté américain, à avoir mené la bataille contre les lyncheurs de Polanski. Bernard-Henri Lévy
La vente aux enchères privée et le défilé de mode ont été suivis d’un dîner et d’une vente aux enchères publique dirigée par le patron de Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, qui, cette année, a non seulement mis en vente un massage par [la top-modèle] Heidi Klum, mais aussi persuadé [l’acteur Kenneth] Branagh et [l’acteur James] Caan d’ôter leurs chemises et de servir de cobayes pour une démonstration de ses talents. Le massage est parti pour 33 000 dollars. “Karl Marx est mort”, a observé le réalisateur James Gray. Roger Ebert
Harvey Weinstein (…) était aussi, et surtout, un partisan inconditionnel de M. Barack Obama et de Mme Hillary Clinton. Nul n’incarnait mieux que lui les ambiguïtés de ce gratin démocrate représenté par la Fondation Clinton. Les soirées caritatives qu’elle organisait assuraient la même fonction que les bonnes œuvres passées de M. Weinstein : celle d’une chambre de compensation sociale où les nouveaux entrants dans le beau monde reçoivent leurs lettres de noblesse — en France, autrefois, on appelait cela une « savonnette à vilain ». Participer à un événement de la Fondation Clinton revient à faire un plein de bonté à gros indice d’octane. Vous y rencontrez une ribambelle de célébrités, un éventail de personnages glorifiés pour leur altruisme et leur infaillible valeur morale et qui, bien souvent, portent un nom simple, comme le chanteur Bono ou la jeune Pakistanaise Malala, Prix Nobel de la paix. Des personnages sanctifiés, béatifiés, au contact desquels s’opère un échange de bons procédés qui permet aux gros poissons du monde des affaires de se procurer à coups de contributions financières un brevet de bon Samaritain. Au centre de ce jeu de passe-passe, les Clinton jouent les maîtres de cérémonie. Ils ont un pied dans chaque camp, celui des grandes âmes vertueuses et celui, moins reluisant, de l’affairisme entrepreneurial. M. Weinstein personnifiait mieux que quiconque cette Bourse des valeurs morales. (…) Le progressisme de M. Weinstein se mesurait en lauriers au moins autant qu’en dollars. Le prodige de Hollywood siégeait au conseil d’administration de divers organismes à but non lucratif ; les films de sa société, Miramax, récoltaient Oscars et Golden Globes à foison ; en France, il a même reçu la Légion d’honneur. En juin 2017, quatre mois avant qu’éclate le scandale de ses agressions et de ses manœuvres pour réduire au silence les victimes de sa tyrannie sexuelle, le club de la presse de Los Angeles lui décernait encore le Truthteller Award, le prix du « diseur de vérité ». (…) Dans le monde de M. Weinstein, l’engagement politique se place sous le patronage de l’industrie du luxe, à Martha’s Vineyard comme dans les Hamptons — deux hauts lieux de la jet-set américaine —, au gala de soutien d’un candidat comme à une soirée de bienfaisance. (…) Dans le monde des grandes fortunes, le progressisme fait office de machine à laver pour rendre sa rapacité plus présentable. (…) Bien des gens de gauche se perçoivent comme des résistants à l’autorité. Mais, aux yeux de certains de ses dirigeants, la gauche moderne est un moyen de justifier et d’asseoir un pouvoir de classe — celui notamment de la « classe créative », comme certains aiment à désigner la crème de Wall Street, de la Silicon Valley et de Hollywood. L’idolâtrie dont font l’objet ces icônes du capitalisme découle d’une doctrine politique qui a permis aux démocrates de récolter presque autant d’argent que leurs rivaux républicains et de s’imposer comme les représentants naturels des quartiers résidentiels aisés. Que cette gauche néolibérale mondaine attire des personnages comme M. Weinstein, avec leur capacité prodigieuse à lever des fonds et leur révérence pour les « grands artistes », n’a rien pour nous surprendre. Dans ces cercles qui mêlent bonne conscience et sentiment de supériorité sociale, où se cultive la fiction d’un rapport intime entre classes populaires et célébrités du showbiz, le cofondateur de Miramax était comme un poisson dans l’eau. Ils sont légion, les habitués de ce milieu qui, sachant parfaitement à quoi s’en tenir, prennent à présent de grands airs scandalisés devant les turpitudes d’un des leurs. Leur aveuglement est à la mesure de leur puissance. Ces temps-ci, les voici qui errent dans un labyrinthe de miroirs moraux déformants en versant des larmes d’attendrissement sur leurs vertus et sur leur bon goût. Thomas Frank

On a trouvé pourquoi les riches ne votent plus à droite !

A l’heure où le valeureux défenseur des ponts et pourfendeur des murs nous jure la main sur le coeur qu’il n’a pas eu de relations sexuelles avec nos données personnelles …

Et où, à l’instar d’une certaine ancienne strip-teaseuse, l’ancien patron du FBI s’embarque dans un financièrement prometteur peep show politique

Pendant qu’entre chute du chômage et de la distribution de bons alimentaires et création d’emplois et hausse des salaires …

L’amélioration de la situation des minorités et des plus démunis sous l’Administration de l’honni Trump devient – même pour le NYT – de plus en plus difficile à dissimuler …

Retour à l’occasion de la sortie française du dernier livre de l’auteur Pourquoi les pauvres votent à droite

Via un article décapant de Thomas Frank dans le Monde diplomatique concernant l’affaire Weinstein …

Sur ces riches qui désormais votent à gauche …

La gauche selon Harvey Weinstein

Le Monde diplomatique
Février 2018

C’était aussi, et surtout, un partisan inconditionnel de M. Barack Obama et de Mme Hillary Clinton. Nul n’incarnait mieux que lui les ambiguïtés de ce gratin démocrate représenté par la Fondation Clinton. Les soirées caritatives qu’elle organisait assuraient la même fonction que les bonnes œuvres passées de M. Weinstein : celle d’une chambre de compensation sociale où les nouveaux entrants dans le beau monde reçoivent leurs lettres de noblesse — en France, autrefois, on appelait cela une « savonnette à vilain ».

Participer à un événement de la Fondation Clinton revient à faire un plein de bonté à gros indice d’octane. Vous y rencontrez une ribambelle de célébrités, un éventail de personnages glorifiés pour leur altruisme et leur infaillible valeur morale et qui, bien souvent, portent un nom simple, comme le chanteur Bono ou la jeune Pakistanaise Malala, Prix Nobel de la paix. Des personnages sanctifiés, béatifiés, au contact desquels s’opère un échange de bons procédés qui permet aux gros poissons du monde des affaires de se procurer à coups de contributions financières un brevet de bon Samaritain. Au centre de ce jeu de passe-passe, les Clinton jouent les maîtres de cérémonie. Ils ont un pied dans chaque camp, celui des grandes âmes vertueuses et celui, moins reluisant, de l’affairisme entrepreneurial. M. Weinstein personnifiait mieux que quiconque cette Bourse des valeurs morales.

Voilà ce champion d’humanité accusé de violences sexuelles d’une fréquence et d’une gravité invraisemblables. Voilà que cet infatigable défenseur de la liberté de la presse se dévoile comme un virtuose dans l’art de manipuler les journalistes, quitte à les molester lorsqu’ils s’entêtent à poser des questions gênantes (2). Mais le producteur-vedette de Hollywood savait aussi présenter un visage avenant, se tisser un réseau d’obligés, recevoir et renvoyer l’ascenseur.

En 2012, il achète les droits d’exploitation sur le territoire américain du Serment de Tobrouk, un documentaire réalisé par un essayiste français élégamment vêtu, Bernard-Henri Lévy, et destiné à promouvoir sur la scène internationale la destruction en 2011 du régime de Mouammar Kadhafi — destruction mieux connue aux États-Unis sous le nom de « guerre de Hillary » et dont la Libye, sept ans plus tard, ne s’est pas remise. La description qu’en donne M. Weinstein illustre le niveau d’emphase et de pédantisme qu’il est possible d’atteindre en un seul paragraphe : « Ce film merveilleux montre le courage incroyable de BHL et la force de l’ancien président Nicolas Sarkozy, tout en mettant en lumière l’inestimable leadership du président Barack Obama et de la secrétaire d’État Hillary Clinton. Il permet au public américain de plonger dans les coulisses où le gouvernement de notre pays et celui de la France ont œuvré ensemble pour faire cesser le massacre de civils innocents et ont brillamment réussi à renverser un régime. » Ce qui lui vaudra ce retour d’affection de Bernard-Henri Lévy : « J’ai une profonde estime pour Harvey Weinstein. Au-delà de sa réussite cinématographique, il est d’abord pour moi l’homme qui a lancé Amnesty International aux États-Unis, lutté contre la peine de mort, et l’un des rares, côté américain, à avoir mené la bataille contre les lyncheurs de [Roman] Polanski » — le réalisateur de Chinatown et de Rosemary’s Baby, poursuivi pour le viol d’une mineure âgée de 13 ans.

Le progressisme de M. Weinstein se mesurait en lauriers au moins autant qu’en dollars. Le prodige de Hollywood siégeait au conseil d’administration de divers organismes à but non lucratif ; les films de sa société, Miramax, récoltaient Oscars et Golden Globes à foison ; en France, il a même reçu la Légion d’honneur. En juin 2017, quatre mois avant qu’éclate le scandale de ses agressions et de ses manœuvres pour réduire au silence les victimes de sa tyrannie sexuelle, le club de la presse de Los Angeles lui décernait encore le Truthteller Award, le prix du « diseur de vérité ».

Une imposture grossière ? Il est certain que sa conscience politique ne brille ni par sa consistance ni par sa profondeur. Il a par exemple vigoureusement désapprouvé la candidature de M. Bernie Sanders aux primaires démocrates de 2016. Le soir de l’élection présidentielle de novembre 2008, il acclamait la victoire de M. Obama au motif que les « cours en Bourse [allaient] grimper partout dans le monde ». Et son humanisme se teinte parfois de vert-de-gris. Le 5 novembre 2012, à l’occasion de la diffusion de Code Name Geronimo (SEAL Team Six en version originale), un film à la gloire du commando américain qui a tué Oussama Ben Laden, coproduit par sa société, il se fendait d’un hommage enflammé à l’un des artisans les plus discrédités de la guerre d’Irak : « Colin Powell, le plus grand génie militaire de notre temps, soutient le président Obama. Et les militaires l’adorent. J’ai fait ce film. Je connais les militaires. Ils respectent cet homme pour ce qu’il a fait. Il a tué plus de terroristes dans le bref exercice de ses fonctions que George W. Bush en huit ans. C’est lui, le vrai faucon. »

Dans le monde de M. Weinstein, l’engagement politique se place sous le patronage de l’industrie du luxe, à Martha’s Vineyard comme dans les Hamptons — deux hauts lieux de la jet-set américaine —, au gala de soutien d’un candidat comme à une soirée de bienfaisance. Roger Ebert, un influent critique de cinéma, racontait ainsi une réception qu’il avait donnée en 2000 à Cannes en faveur de la recherche contre le sida : « La vente aux enchères privée et le défilé de mode ont été suivis d’un dîner et d’une vente aux enchères publique dirigée par le patron de Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, qui, cette année, a non seulement mis en vente un massage par [la top-modèle] Heidi Klum, mais aussi persuadé [l’acteur Kenneth] Branagh et [l’acteur James] Caan d’ôter leurs chemises et de servir de cobayes pour une démonstration de ses talents. Le massage est parti pour 33 000 dollars. “Karl Marx est mort”, a observé le réalisateur James Gray (3).  »

Chaque parti a ses vicelards ; M. Donald Trump est là pour nous le rappeler chaque semaine. Même à l’aune de cette règle, pourtant, M. Weinstein émerge du lot. Rarement un homme qui défendait si fastueusement les bonnes causes s’était autant appliqué à les piétiner. Comment comprendre qu’il ait pu s’identifier à des idées de gauche ? Par goût du pouvoir, peut-être, pour jouir du frisson de compter parmi les amis d’un William Clinton. Ou alors par désir d’absolution morale, celui-là même qui incite Walmart, Goldman Sachs ou ExxonMobil à parrainer des œuvres de charité. Dans le monde des grandes fortunes, le progressisme fait office de machine à laver pour rendre sa rapacité plus présentable. Ce n’est pas un hasard si, en guise de première réplique désespérée aux accusations accumulées contre lui, M. Weinstein a promis de croiser le fer avec la National Rifle Association (NRA, le puissant lobby américain des amateurs d’armes à feu) et de financer des bourses d’études réservées aux femmes (The New York Times, 5 octobre 2017).

Avec cette affaire, sans doute s’agit-il aussi de quelque chose de plus profond. Bien des gens de gauche se perçoivent comme des résistants à l’autorité. Mais, aux yeux de certains de ses dirigeants, la gauche moderne est un moyen de justifier et d’asseoir un pouvoir de classe — celui notamment de la « classe créative », comme certains aiment à désigner la crème de Wall Street, de la Silicon Valley et de Hollywood. L’idolâtrie dont font l’objet ces icônes du capitalisme découle d’une doctrine politique qui a permis aux démocrates de récolter presque autant d’argent que leurs rivaux républicains et de s’imposer comme les représentants naturels des quartiers résidentiels aisés.

Que cette gauche néolibérale mondaine attire des personnages comme M. Weinstein, avec leur capacité prodigieuse à lever des fonds et leur révérence pour les « grands artistes », n’a rien pour nous surprendre. Dans ces cercles qui mêlent bonne conscience et sentiment de supériorité sociale, où se cultive la fiction d’un rapport intime entre classes populaires et célébrités du showbiz, le cofondateur de Miramax était comme un poisson dans l’eau.

Ils sont légion, les habitués de ce milieu qui, sachant parfaitement à quoi s’en tenir, prennent à présent de grands airs scandalisés devant les turpitudes d’un des leurs. Leur aveuglement est à la mesure de leur puissance. Ces temps-ci, les voici qui errent dans un labyrinthe de miroirs moraux déformants en versant des larmes d’attendrissement sur leurs vertus et sur leur bon goût.

Thomas Frank

Journaliste et écrivain, auteur de Pourquoi les riches votent à gauche, Agone, Marseille, à paraître le 12 avril. Ce texte reprend et complète un article paru dans The Guardian le 21 octobre 2017.

(1Le groupe Mothers Opposing Bush s’est constitué pour empêcher la réélection d’un président censé nuire aux « valeurs d’honnêteté, de compassion, de communauté et de patriotisme » qui caractériseraient l’Amérique.

(2C’est ce qui serait arrivé en novembre 2000 au journaliste du New York Observer Andrew Goldman. Cf. Rebecca Traister, « Why the Harvey Weinstein sexual-harassment allegations didn’t come out until now », The Cut, 5 octobre 2017.

Liberals may be experiencing mixed emotions these days. The prospect of a Trump presidency has raised urgent fears: of the nation’s fascist tendencies, of the potential for riots in the streets. At the same time, many liberals have expressed a grim satisfaction in watching the Republican Party tear itself apart. Whatever terrible fate might soon befall the nation, the thinking goes, it’s their fault, not ours. They are the ones stirring up the base prejudices and epic resentments of America’s disaffected white working class, and they must now reap the whirlwind.

In his new book, the social critic Thomas Frank ­poses another possibility: that liberals in general — and the Democratic Party in particular — should look inward to understand the sorry state of American politics. Too busy attending TED talks and ­vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard, Frank argues, the Democratic elite has abandoned the party’s traditional commitments to the working class. In the process, they have helped to create the political despair and anger at the heart of today’s right-wing insurgencies. They may also have sown the seeds of their own demise. Frank’s recent columns argue that the Bernie Sanders campaign offers not merely a challenge to Hillary Clinton, but a last-ditch chance to save the corrupted soul of the Democratic Party.

Frank has been delivering some version of this message for the past two decades as a political essayist and a founding editor of The Baffler magazine. “Listen, Liberal” is the thoroughly entertaining if rather gloomy work of a man who feels that nobody has been paying attention. Frank’s most famous book, “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” (2004), argued that Republicans had duped the white working class by pounding the table on social issues while delivering tax cuts for the rich. He focused on Kansas as the reddest of red states (and, not incidentally, the place of his birth). This time Frank is coming for the Ivy League blue-state liberals, that “tight little network of enlightened strivers” who have allegedly been running the country into the ground. Think of it as “What’s the Matter With Massachusetts?”

Frank’s book is an unabashed polemic, not a studious examination of policy or polling trends. In Frank’s view, liberal policy wonks are part of the problem, members of a well-educated elite that massages its own technocratic vanities while utterly missing the big question of the day. To Frank, that question hasn’t changed much over the last few centuries. “It is the eternal conflict of management and labor, owner and worker, rich and poor — only with one side pinned to the ground and the other leisurely pounding away at its adversary’s face,” he writes. Today, polite circles tend to describe this as the issue of “inequality.” Frank prefers an older formulation. “The 19th century understood it better: They called it ‘the social question,’ ” he writes, defined as “nothing less than the whole vast mystery of how we are going to live together.”

As Frank notes, today some people are living much better than others — and many of those people are not Republicans. Frank delights in skewering the sacred cows of coastal liberalism, including private universities, bike paths, microfinance, the Clinton Foundation, “well-meaning billionaires” and any public policy offering “innovation” or “education” as a solution to inequality. He spends almost an entire chapter mocking the true-blue city of Boston, with its “lab-coat and starched-shirt” economy and its “well-graduated” population of overconfident collegians.

Behind all of this nasty fun is a serious political critique. Echoing the historian Lily Geismer, Frank argues that the Democratic Party — once “the Party of the People” — now caters to the interests of a “professional-managerial class” consisting of lawyers, doctors, professors, scientists, programmers, even investment bankers. These affluent city dwellers and suburbanites believe firmly in meritocracy and individual opportunity, but shun the kind of social policies that once gave a real leg up to the working class. In the book, Frank points to the Democrats’ neglect of organized labor and support for Nafta as examples of this sensibility, in which “you get what you deserve, and what you deserve is defined by how you did in school.” In more recent columns, he has linked this neglect to the rise of a figure like Sanders, who says forthrightly what the party leadership might prefer to obscure: Current approaches aren’t working — and unless something dramatic happens, Americans are heading for a society in which a tiny elite controls most of the wealth, ­resources and decision-making power.

The problem, in Frank’s view, is not simply that mainstream Democrats have failed to address growing inequality. Instead, he suggests something more sinister: Today’s leading Democrats actually don’t want to reduce inequality because they believe that inequality is the normal and righteous order of things. As proof, he points to the famously impolitic Larry Summers, whose background as a former president of Harvard, former Treasury secretary and former chief economist of the World Bank embodies all that Frank abhors about modern Democrats. “One of the reasons that inequality has probably gone up in our society is that people are being treated closer to the way that they’re supposed to be treated,” Summers commented early in the Obama administration.

“Remember, as you let that last sentence slide slowly down your throat, that this was a Democrat saying this,” Frank writes. From this mind-set stems everything that the Democrats have done to betray the masses, from Bill Clinton’s crime bill and welfare reform policies to Obama’s failure to rein in Wall Street, according to Frank. No surprise, under the circumstances, that the working class might look elsewhere for satisfying political options.

Frank is hardly the first critic to remark upon a disconnect between the lives of wealthy liberals and the grittier constituencies they supposedly serve. As the historian Steve Fraser demonstrates in his wide-ranging new book, the idea of the “limousine liberal” has a long and messy history all its own. The term originated during the 1969 New York mayoral campaign, when the Democratic candidate Mario Procaccino charged the highborn Liberal Party incumbent John Lindsay, formerly a Republican, with acts unbecoming to his social class. Procaccino’s accusation differed slightly from Frank’s: Procaccino believed that Lindsay genuinely sought ambitious programs to empower the poor and the black and the disenfranchised. The problem was that Lindsay did it all from the “silk-stocking district” of the Upper East Side, where his wealth insulated him from the dire consequences of his actions.

Though Procaccino lost the mayoral election, his biting phrase went on to have an illustrious political career of its own. “Nowadays,” Fraser writes wryly, “Hillary Clinton serves as ‘Exhibit A’ of this menace,” “the quintessential limousine liberal hypocrite.” Despite its title, however, Fraser’s book is not really about liberals and their supposed foibles. Instead, he seeks to describe how “right-wing populists” have insulted, vilified, mocked and analyzed those liberals in both the present and the past.

According to Fraser, suspicion of highborn reformers extends back at least to the Progressive Era, when the idea of an activist government administered by well-educated experts began to take hold. Since then, these villains of American consciousness have labored under a variety of epithets: “parlor pinks,” “Mercedes Marxists,” “men in striped pants.” In each iteration, what seems to drive the attacks is not only the tincture of hypocrisy but the unrestrained confidence with which such liberals express their expert views. In that sense, Frank’s fuming at the smug knowledge workers of Boston might have come straight from the pages of National Review, circa either 1955 or 2015.

Fraser does not deny a certain reality behind the “limousine liberal” image. “Limousine liberalism was never a myth,” he writes, however “absurd and scurrilous” the political rhetoric may have been. Something did change beginning in the early 20th century, as the complexities of modern society began to demand new forms of expertise and new institutions to coordinate them. Resentment of “limousine liberals” is nothing less than a reaction to the modern condition, Fraser argues, though some politicians have more effectively navigated its challenges than others. Franklin Roosevelt managed to transcend his patrician upbringing to emerge as a genuine champion of the “little man” — and to become enormously popular while doing it.

Fraser agrees with Frank that the Democratic Party can no longer reasonably claim to be the party of the working class or the “little man.” Instead, he argues, the Republican and Democratic parties now represent two different elite constituencies, each with its own culture and interests and modes of thought. Fraser describes today’s Republicans as the party of “family capitalism,” encompassing everyone from the mom-and-pop business owner on up to “entrepreneurial maestros” such as the Koch brothers, Linda McMahon and Donald Trump. The Democrats, by contrast, represent the managerial world spawned by modernity, including the big universities and government bureaucracies as well as “techno frontiersmen” like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. These are two different ways of relating to the world — one cosmopolitan and interconnected, the other patriarchal and hierarchical. Neither one, however, offers much to working-class voters.

One liberal whose reputation still seems to be up for grabs is Barack Obama, now on his way out of office and into the history books. Frank gives Obama a middling-to-poor grade — something in the D range, let’s say — for what he deems to be the president’s vague and rambling answer to the “social question.” Frank compares Obama unfavorably with Franklin Roose­velt, another Democratic president who inherited an economic crisis from his Republican predecessor. Roosevelt took advantage of the Great Depression to reshape American society in fundamental ways, introducing social welfare and labor protections that shifted real power into the hands of the middle and working classes. (Frank largely gives Roosevelt a pass on the New Deal’s own structural inequalities, including its exclusions of women and nonwhite workers.) Obama, by contrast, let the crisis go “to waste,” according to Frank, tweaking around the regulatory edges without doing anything significant to change the economic balance of power. “Our economy has been reliving the 1930s,” Frank mourns. “Why hasn’t our politics?”

Part of the answer may be that our economy did not, in fact, relive the 1930s. By the time Roosevelt won his first presidential election, the economy had been in free-fall for more than three years and the stock market had lost nearly 90 percent of its value. Three years into the Great Recession, the stock market had begun its climb toward record highs, though that prosperity failed to trickle down to the middle and working classes. Frank sees this uneven recovery as a tragedy rather than a triumph, in which Obama “saved a bankrupt system that by all rights should have met its end.” He says little, however, about what sort of system might have replaced it, or about what working-class voters themselves might say that they want or need. In a book urging Democrats to pay attention to working-class concerns, there are decidedly few interviews with working people, and a lot of time spent on tech conferences and think tanks and fancy universities.

Perhaps as a result, Frank’s book ends on a pessimistic note. After two decades of pleading with liberals to think seriously about inequality, to honor what was best about the New Deal, Frank has concluded that things will probably continue to get worse. “The Democrats have no interest in reforming themselves in a more egalitarian way,” he writes. “There is little the rest of us can do, given the current legal arrangements of this country, to build a vital third-party movement or to revive organized labor.”

But this conclusion, too, may rest on a faulty analogy with the 1930s. Franklin Roosevelt did not suddenly decide on his own to enact Social Security or grant union rights. Those ideas came up from below, through decades of frustration and struggle and conflict. If Americans want something different from their politicians, there is no alternative to this kind of exhausting and uncertain hard work. In the end, it is the only way that liberals — or conservatives — will listen.

LISTEN, LIBERAL

Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?

By Thomas Frank

305 pp. Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt & Company. $27.

THE LIMOUSINE LIBERAL

How an Incendiary Image United the Right and Fractured America

By Steve Fraser

291 pp. Basic Books. $27.50.


Macronie: Le FN et l’islamisme du surclassé (Flip-side to class-based politics: If you replace the old left-right divide with the divide between the haves and the have-nots, haven’t you created a monster of a different sort?)

23 février, 2018

Image result for Bombe politique : mais comment recréer du lien social dans cette France où les classes favorisées ont fait sécession ?

Je n’oublie pas d’où je viens. Je ne suis pas l’enfant naturel de temps calme de la vie politique. Je suis le fruit d’une forme de brutalité de l’histoire, d’une effraction parce que la France était malheureuse et inquiète, si j’oublie tout cela, ce sera le début de l’épreuve. Emmanuel Macron
We want our country back ! Marion Maréchal
La jeune génération n’est pas encouragée à aimer notre héritage. On leur lave le cerveau en leur faisant honte de leur pays. (…) Nous, Français, devons nous battre pour notre indépendance. Nous ne pouvons plus choisir notre politique économique ou notre politique d’immigration et même notre diplomatie. Notre liberté est entre les mains de l’Union européenne. (…) Notre liberté est maintenant entre les mains de cette institution qui est en train de tuer des nations millénaires. Je vis dans un pays où 80%, vous m’avez bien entendu, 80% des lois sont imposées par l’Union européenne. Après 40 ans d’immigration massive, de lobbyisme islamique et de politiquement correct, la France est en train de passer de fille aînée de l’Eglise à petite nièce de l’islam. On entend maintenant dans le débat public qu’on a le droit de commander un enfant sur catalogue, qu’on a le droit de louer le ventre d’une femme, qu’on a le droit de priver un enfant d’une mère ou d’un père. (…) Aujourd’hui, même les enfants sont devenus des marchandises (…) Un enfant n’est pas un droit (…) Nous ne voulons pas de ce monde atomisé, individualiste, sans sexe, sans père, sans mère et sans nation. (…) Nous devons faire connaitre nos idées aux médias et notre culture, pour stopper la domination des libéraux et des socialistes. C’est la raison pour laquelle j’ai lancé une école de sciences politiques. (…) La Tradition n’est pas la vénération des cendres, elle est la passation du feu. (…)Je ne suis pas offensée lorsque j’entends le président Donald Trump dire ‘l’Amérique d’abord’. En fait, je veux l’Amérique d’abord pour le peuple américain, je veux la Grande-Bretagne d’abord pour le peuple britannique et je veux la France d’abord pour le peuple français. Comme vous, nous voulons reprendre le contrôle de notre pays. Vous avez été l’étincelle, il nous appartient désormais de nourrir la flamme conservatrice. Marion Maréchal
Le journaliste de TMC (….) s’est livré à une manipulation et a tendu une embuscade (…) il n’a pas fait un travail d’enquête, il a contacté les élèves en amont, manipulé l’un d’entre eux pour le convaincre d’enregistrer ces propos dans mon dos et à mon insu, pour ensuite en sortir ces extraits, dans une rupture totale du contrat de confiance. (…) Quel est mon grand crime ? D’avoir une parole libre ? (…) J’ai eu droit à un défouloir médiatique pendant 4 jours. (…) Il y a deux poids deux mesures. (…) La droite a souvent fait l’objet de procès médiatiques. (…)  Si je suis venu sur votre plateau, c’est pour vous dire que ça ne m’impressionne pas, que ça ne me fera pas reculer et que ma détermination n’a jamais été aussi forte. (…) J’ai bien compris que j’étais une cible du travail de démolition de certains journalistes. (…) Donald Trump n’est pas mon modèle. Laurent Wauquiez
Tout racisme est un essentialisme et le racisme de l’intelligence est la forme de sociodicée caractéristique d’une classe dominante dont le pouvoir repose en partie sur la possession de titres qui, comme les titres scolaires, sont censés être des garanties d’intelligence et qui ont pris la place, dans beaucoup de sociétés, et pour l’accès même aux positions de pouvoir économique, des titres anciens comme les titres de propriété et les titres de noblesse. Pierre Bourdieu
Ce qui est nouveau, c’est d’abord que la bourgeoisie a le visage de l’ouverture et de la bienveillance. Elle a trouvé un truc génial : plutôt que de parler de « loi du marché », elle dit « société ouverte », « ouverture à l’Autre » et liberté de choisir… Les Rougon-Macquart sont déguisés en hipsters. Ils sont tous très cools, ils aiment l’Autre. Mieux : ils ne cessent de critiquer le système, « la finance », les « paradis fiscaux ». On appelle cela la rebellocratie. C’est un discours imparable : on ne peut pas s’opposer à des gens bienveillants et ouverts aux autres ! Mais derrière cette posture, il y a le brouillage de classes, et la fin de la classe moyenne. La classe moyenne telle qu’on l’a connue, celle des Trente Glorieuses, qui a profité de l’intégration économique, d’une ascension sociale conjuguée à une intégration politique et culturelle, n’existe plus même si, pour des raisons politiques, culturelles et anthropologiques, on continue de la faire vivre par le discours et les représentations. (…) C’est aussi une conséquence de la non-intégration économique. Aujourd’hui, quand on regarde les chiffres – notamment le dernier rapport sur les inégalités territoriales publié en juillet dernier –, on constate une hyper-concentration de l’emploi dans les grands centres urbains et une désertification de ce même emploi partout ailleurs. Et cette tendance ne cesse de s’accélérer ! Or, face à cette situation, ce même rapport préconise seulement de continuer vers encore plus de métropolisation et de mondialisation pour permettre un peu de redistribution. Aujourd’hui, et c’est une grande nouveauté, il y a une majorité qui, sans être « pauvre » ni faire les poubelles, n’est plus intégrée à la machine économique et ne vit plus là où se crée la richesse. Notre système économique nécessite essentiellement des cadres et n’a donc plus besoin de ces millions d’ouvriers, d’employés et de paysans. La mondialisation aboutit à une division internationale du travail : cadres, ingénieurs et bac+5 dans les pays du Nord, ouvriers, contremaîtres et employés là où le coût du travail est moindre. La mondialisation s’est donc faite sur le dos des anciennes classes moyennes, sans qu’on le leur dise ! Ces catégories sociales sont éjectées du marché du travail et éloignées des poumons économiques. Cependant, cette« France périphérique » représente quand même 60 % de la population. (…) Ce phénomène présent en France, en Europe et aux États-Unis a des répercussions politiques : les scores du FN se gonflent à mesure que la classe moyenne décroît car il est aujourd’hui le parti de ces « superflus invisibles » déclassés de l’ancienne classe moyenne. (…) Toucher 100 % d’un groupe ou d’un territoire est impossible. Mais j’insiste sur le fait que les classes populaires (jeunes, actifs, retraités) restent majoritaires en France. La France périphérique, c’est 60 % de la population. Elle ne se résume pas aux zones rurales identifiées par l’Insee, qui représentent 20 %. Je décris un continuum entre les habitants des petites villes et des zones rurales qui vivent avec en moyenne au maximum le revenu médian et n’arrivent pas à boucler leurs fins de mois. Face à eux, et sans eux, dans les quinze plus grandes aires urbaines, le système marche parfaitement. Le marché de l’emploi y est désormais polarisé. Dans les grandes métropoles il faut d’une part beaucoup de cadres, de travailleurs très qualifiés, et de l’autre des immigrés pour les emplois subalternes dans le BTP, la restauration ou le ménage. Ainsi les immigrés permettent-ils à la nouvelle bourgeoisie de maintenir son niveau de vie en ayant une nounou et des restaurants pas trop chers. (…) Il n’y a aucun complot mais le fait, logique, que la classe supérieure soutient un système dont elle bénéficie – c’est ça, la « main invisible du marché» ! Et aujourd’hui, elle a un nom plus sympathique : la « société ouverte ». Mais je ne pense pas qu’aux bobos. Globalement, on trouve dans les métropoles tous ceux qui profitent de la mondialisation, qu’ils votent Mélenchon ou Juppé ! D’ailleurs, la gauche votera Juppé. C’est pour cela que je ne parle ni de gauche, ni de droite, ni d’élites, mais de « la France d’en haut », de tous ceux qui bénéficient peu ou prou du système et y sont intégrés, ainsi que des gens aux statuts protégés : les cadres de la fonction publique ou les retraités aisés. Tout ce monde fait un bloc d’environ 30 ou 35 %, qui vit là où la richesse se crée. Et c’est la raison pour laquelle le système tient si bien. (…) La France périphérique connaît une phase de sédentarisation. Aujourd’hui, la majorité des Français vivent dans le département où ils sont nés, dans les territoires de la France périphérique il s’agit de plus de 60 % de la population. C’est pourquoi quand une usine ferme – comme Alstom à Belfort –, une espèce de rage désespérée s’empare des habitants. Les gens deviennent dingues parce qu’ils savent que pour eux « il n’y a pas d’alternative » ! Le discours libéral répond : « Il n’y a qu’à bouger ! » Mais pour aller où ? Vous allez vendre votre baraque et déménager à Paris ou à Bordeaux quand vous êtes licencié par ArcelorMittal ou par les abattoirs Gad ? Avec quel argent ? Des logiques foncières, sociales, culturelles et économiques se superposent pour rendre cette mobilité quasi impossible. Et on le voit : autrefois, les vieux restaient ou revenaient au village pour leur retraite. Aujourd’hui, la pyramide des âges de la France périphérique se normalise. Jeunes, actifs, retraités, tous sont logés à la même enseigne. La mobilité pour tous est un mythe. Les jeunes qui bougent, vont dans les métropoles et à l’étranger sont en majorité issus des couches supérieures. Pour les autres ce sera la sédentarisation. Autrefois, les emplois publics permettaient de maintenir un semblant d’équilibre économique et proposaient quelques débouchés aux populations. Seulement, en plus de la mondialisation et donc de la désindustrialisation, ces territoires ont subi la retraite de l’État. (…) Même si l’on installe 20 % de logements sociaux partout dans les grandes métropoles, cela reste une goutte d’eau par rapport au parc privé « social de fait » qui existait à une époque. Les ouvriers, autrefois, n’habitaient pas dans des bâtiments sociaux, mais dans de petits logements, ils étaient locataires, voire propriétaires, dans le parc privé à Paris ou à Lyon. C’est le marché qui crée les conditions de la présence des gens et non pas le logement social. Aujourd’hui, ce parc privé « social de fait » s’est gentrifié et accueille des catégories supérieures. Quant au parc social, il est devenu la piste d’atterrissage des flux migratoires. Si l’on regarde la carte de l’immigration, la dynamique principale se situe dans le Grand Ouest, et ce n’est pas dans les villages que les immigrés s’installent, mais dans les quartiers de logements sociaux de Rennes, de Brest ou de Nantes. (…) In fine, il y a aussi un rejet du multiculturalisme. Les gens n’ont pas envie d’aller vivre dans les derniers territoires des grandes villes ouverts aux catégories populaires : les banlieues et les quartiers à logements sociaux qui accueillent et concentrent les flux migratoires. Christophe Guilluy
La Corse est un territoire assez emblématique de la France périphérique. Son organisation économique est caractéristique de cette France-là. Il n’y a pas de grande métropole mondialisée sur l’île, mais uniquement des villes moyennes ou petites et des zones rurales. Le dynamisme économique est donc très faible, mis à part dans le tourisme ou le BTP, qui sont des industries dépendantes de l’extérieur. Cela se traduit par une importante insécurité sociale : précarité, taux de pauvreté gigantesque, chômage des jeunes, surreprésentation des retraités modestes. L’insécurité culturelle est également très forte. Avant de tomber dans le préjugé qui voudrait que « les Corses soient racistes », il convient de dire qu’il s’agit d’une des régions (avec la PACA et après l’Ile-de-France) où le taux de population immigrée est le plus élevé. Il ne faut pas l’oublier. La sensibilité des Corses à la question identitaire est liée à leur histoire et leur culture, mais aussi à des fondamentaux démographiques. D’un côté, un hiver démographique, c’est-à-dire un taux de natalité des autochtones très bas, et, de l’autre, une poussée de l’immigration notamment maghrébine depuis trente ans conjuguée à une natalité plus forte des nouveaux arrivants. Cette instabilité démographique est le principal générateur de l’insécurité culturelle sur l’île. La question qui obsède les Corses aujourd’hui est la question qui hante toute la France périphérique et toutes les classes moyennes et populaires occidentales au XXIe siècle : « Vais-je devenir minoritaire dans mon île, mon village, mon quartier ? » C’est à la lumière de cette angoisse existentielle qu’il faut comprendre l’affaire du burkini sur la plage de Sisco, en juillet 2016, ou encore les tensions dans le quartier des Jardins de l’Empereur, à Ajaccio, en décembre 2015. C’est aussi à l’aune de cette interrogation qu’il faut évaluer le vote « populiste » lors de la présidentielle ou nationaliste aujourd’hui. En Corse, il y a encore une culture très forte et des solidarités profondes. À travers ce vote, les Corses disent : « Nous allons préserver ce que nous sommes. » Il faut ajouter à cela l’achat par les continentaux de résidences secondaires qui participe de l’insécurité économique en faisant augmenter les prix de l’immobilier. Cette question se pose dans de nombreuses zones touristiques en France : littoral atlantique ou méditerranéen, Bretagne, beaux villages du Sud-Est et même dans les DOM-TOM. En Martinique aussi, les jeunes locaux ont de plus en plus de difficultés à se loger à cause de l’arrivée des métropolitains. La question du « jeune prolo » qui ne peut plus vivre là où il est né est fondamentale. Tous les jeunes prolos qui sont nés hier dans les grandes métropoles ont dû se délocaliser. Ils sont les pots cassés du rouleau compresseur de la mondialisation. La violence du marché de l’immobilier est toujours traitée par le petit bout de la lorgnette comme une question comptable. C’est aussi une question existentielle ! En Corse, elle est exacerbée par le contexte insulaire. Cela explique que, lorsqu’ils proposent la corsisation des emplois, les nationalistes font carton plein chez les jeunes. C’est leur préférence nationale à eux. (…) La condition de ce vote, comme de tous les votes populistes, est la réunion de l’insécurité sociale et culturelle. Les électeurs de Fillon, qui se sont majoritairement reportés sur Macron au second tour, étaient sensibles à la question de l’insécurité culturelle, mais étaient épargnés par l’insécurité sociale. À l’inverse, les électeurs de Mélenchon étaient sensibles à la question sociale, mais pas touchés par l’insécurité culturelle. C’est pourquoi le débat sur la ligne que doit tenir le FN, sociale ou identitaire, est stérile. De même, à droite, sur la ligne dite Buisson. L’insécurité culturelle de la bourgeoisie de droite, bien que très forte sur la question de l’islam et de l’immigration, ne débouchera jamais sur un vote « populiste » car cette bourgeoisie estime que sa meilleure protection reste son capital social et patrimonial et ne prendra pas le risque de l’entamer dans une aventure incertaine. Le ressort du vote populiste est double et mêlé. Il est à la fois social et identitaire. De ce point de vue, la Corse est un laboratoire. L’offre politique des nationalistes est pertinente car elle n’est pas seulement identitaire. Elle prend en compte la condition des plus modestes et leur propose des solutions pour rester au pays et y vivre. Au-delà de l’effacement du clivage droite/gauche et d’un rejet du clanisme historique, leur force vient du fait qu’ils représentent une élite et qu’ils prennent en charge cette double insécurité. Cette offre politique n’a jamais existé sur le continent car le FN n’a pas intégré une fraction de l’élite. C’est même tout le contraire. Ce parti n’est jamais parvenu à faire le lien entre l’électorat populaire et le monde intellectuel, médiatique ou économique. Une société, c’est une élite et un peuple, un monde d’en bas et un monde d’en haut, qui prend en charge le bien commun. Ce n’est plus le cas aujourd’hui. Le vote nationaliste et/ou populiste arrive à un moment où la classe politique traditionnelle a déserté, aussi bien en Corse que sur le continent. L’erreur de la plupart des observateurs est de présenter Trump comme un outsider. Ce n’est pas vrai. S’il a pu gagner, c’est justement parce qu’il vient de l’élite. C’est un membre de la haute bourgeoisie new-yorkaise. Il fait partie du monde économique, médiatique et culturel depuis toujours, et il avait un pied dans le monde politique depuis des années. Il a gagné car il faisait le lien entre l’Amérique d’en haut et l’Amérique périphérique. Pour sortir de la crise, les sociétés occidentales auront besoin d’élites économiques et politiques qui voudront prendre en charge la double insécurité de ce qu’était hier la classe moyenne. C’est ce qui s’est passé en Angleterre après le Brexit, ce qui s’est passé aux Etats-Unis avec Trump, ce qui se passe en Corse avec les nationalistes. Il y a aujourd’hui, partout dans le monde occidental, un problème de représentation politique. Les électeurs se servent des indépendantismes, comme de Trump ou du Brexit, pour dire autre chose. En Corse, le vote nationaliste ne dit pas l’envie d’être indépendant par rapport à la France. C’est une lecture beaucoup trop simpliste. Si, demain, il y a un référendum, les nationalistes le perdront nettement. D’ailleurs, c’est simple, ils ne le demandent pas. (…) [Avec la Catalogne] Le point commun, c’est l’usure des vieux partis, un système représentatif qui ne l’est plus et l’implosion du clivage droite/gauche. Pour le reste, la Catalogne, c’est l’exact inverse de la Corse. Il ne s’agit pas de prendre en charge le bien commun d’une population fragilisée socialement, mais de renforcer des positions de classes et territoriales dans la mondialisation. La Catalogne n’est pas l’Espagne périphérique, mais tout au contraire une région métropole. Barcelone représente ainsi plus de la moitié de la région catalane. C’est une grande métropole qui absorbe l’essentiel de l’emploi, de l’économie et des richesses. Le vote indépendantiste est cette fois le résultat de la gentrification de toute la région. Les plus modestes sont peu à peu évincés d’un territoire qui s’organise autour d’une société totalement en prise avec les fondamentaux de la bourgeoisie mondialisée. Ce qui porte le nationalisme catalan, c’est l’idéologie libérale libertaire métropolitaine, avec son corollaire : le gauchisme culturel et l’« antifascisme » d’opérette. Dans la rhétorique nationaliste, Madrid est ainsi présentée comme une « capitale franquiste » tandis que Barcelone incarnerait l’« ouverture aux autres ». La jeunesse, moteur du nationalisme catalan, s’identifie à la gauche radicale. Le paradoxe, c’est que nous assistons en réalité à une sécession des riches, qui ont choisi de s’affranchir totalement des solidarités nationales, notamment envers les régions pauvres. C’est la « révolte des élites » de Christopher Lasch appliquée aux territoires. L’indépendance nationale est un prétexte à l’indépendance fiscale. L’indépendantisme, un faux nez pour renforcer une position économique dominante. Dans Le Crépuscule de la France d’en haut (*), j’ironisais sur les Rougon-Macquart déguisés en hipsters. Là, on pourrait parler de Rougon-Macquart déguisés en « natios ». Derrière les nationalistes, il y a les lib-lib. (…) L’exemple de la Catalogne préfigure peut-être, en effet, un futur pas si lointain où le processus de métropolisation conduira à l’avènement de cités-Etats. En face, les défenseurs de la nation apparaîtront comme les défenseurs du bien commun. Aujourd’hui, la seule critique des hyperriches est une posture trop facile qui permet de ne pas voir ce que nous sommes devenus, nous : les intellectuels, les politiques, les journalistes, les acteurs économiques, et on pourrait y ajouter les cadres supérieurs. Nous avons abandonné le bien commun au profit de nos intérêts particuliers. Hormis quelques individus isolés, je ne vois pas quelle fraction du monde d’en haut au sens large aspire aujourd’hui à défendre l’intérêt général. (…) [Pour Macron] Le point le plus intéressant, c’est qu’il s’est dégagé du clivage droite/gauche. La comparaison avec Trump n’est ainsi pas absurde. Tous les deux ont l’avantage d’être désinhibés. Mais il faut aussi tenir à l’esprit que, dans un monde globalisé dominé par la finance et les multinationales, le pouvoir du politique reste très limité. Je crois davantage aux petites révolutions culturelles qu’au grand soir. Trump va nous montrer que le grand retournement ne peut pas se produire du jour au lendemain mais peut se faire par petites touches, par transgressions successives. Trump a amené l’idée de contestation du libre-échange et mis sur la table la question du protectionnisme. Cela n’aura pas d’effets à court terme. Ce n’est pas grave car cela annonce peut-être une mutation à long terme, un changement de paradigme. La question est maintenant de savoir qui viendra après Trump. La disparition de la classe moyenne occidentale, c’est-à-dire de la société elle-même, est l’enjeu fondamental du XXIe siècle, le défi auquel devront répondre ses successeurs. (…) On peut cependant rappeler le mépris de classe qui a entouré le personnage de Johnny, notamment via « Les Guignols de l’info ». Il ne faut pas oublier que ce chanteur, icône absolue de la culture populaire, a été dénigré pendant des décennies par l’intelligentsia, qui voyait en lui une espèce d’abruti, chantant pour des « déplorables », pour reprendre la formule de Hillary Clinton. L’engouement pour Johnny rappelle l’enthousiasme des bobos et de Canal+ pour le ballon rond au moment de la Coupe du monde 1998. Le foot est soudainement devenu hype. Jusque-là, il était vu par eux comme un sport d’ « ouvriers buveurs de bière ». On retrouve le même phénomène aux États-Unis avec le dénigrement de la figure du white trash ou du redneck. Malgré quarante ans d’éreintement de Johnny, les classes populaires ont continué à l’aimer. Le virage à 180 degrés de l’intelligentsia ces derniers jours n’est pas anodin. Il démontre qu’il existe un soft power des classes populaires. L’hommage presque contraint du monde d’en haut à ce chanteur révèle en creux l’importance d’un socle populaire encore majoritaire. C’est aussi un signe supplémentaire de l’effritement de l’hégémonie culturelle de la France d’en haut. Les classes populaires n’écoutent plus les leçons de morale. Pas plus en politique qu’en chanson. Christophe Guilluy
En Europe comme aux Etats-Unis, la contestation émerge sur les territoires les plus éloignés des métropoles mondialisées. La « France périphérique » est celle des petites villes, des villes moyennes et des zones rurales. En Grande-Bretagne, c’est aussi la « Grande-Bretagne périphérique » qui a voté pour le Brexit. Attention : il ne s’agit pas d’un rapport entre « urbains » et « ruraux ». La question est avant tout sociale, économique et culturelle. Ces territoires illustrent la sortie de la classe moyenne des catégories qui en constituaient hier le socle : ouvriers, employés, petits paysans, petits indépendants. Ces catégories ont joué le jeu de la mondialisation, elles ont même au départ soutenu le projet européen. Cependant, après plusieurs décennies d’adaptation aux normes de l’économie-monde, elles font le constat d’une baisse ou d’une stagnation de leur niveau de vie, de la précarisation des conditions de travail, du chômage de masse et, in fine, du blocage de l’ascenseur social. Sans régulation d’un libre-échange qui défavorise prioritairement ces catégories et ces territoires, le processus va se poursuivre. C’est pourquoi la priorité est de favoriser le développement d’un modèle économique complémentaire (et non alternatif) sur ces territoires qui cumulent fragilités socio-économiques et sédentarisation des populations. Cela suppose de donner du pouvoir et des compétences aux élus et collectivités de ces territoires. En adoptant le système économique mondialisé, les pays développés ont accouché de son modèle sociétal : le multiculturalisme. En la matière, la France n’a pas fait mieux (ni pire) que les autres pays développés. Elle est devenue une société américaine comme les autres, avec ses tensions et ses paranoïas identitaires. Il faut insister sur le fait que sur ces sujets, il n’y a pas d’un côté ceux qui seraient dans l’ouverture et de l’autre ceux qui seraient dans le rejet. Si les catégories supérieures et éduquées ne basculent pas dans le populisme, c’est parce qu’elles ont les moyens de la frontière invisible avec l’Autre. Ce sont d’ailleurs elles qui pratiquent le plus l’évitement scolaire et résidentiel. La question du rapport à l’autre n’est donc pas seulement posée pour les catégories populaires. Poser cette question comme universelle – et qui touche toutes les catégories sociales – est un préalable si l’on souhaite faire baisser les tensions. Cela implique de sortir de la posture de supériorité morale que les gens ne supportent plus. J’avais justement conçu la notion d’insécurité culturelle pour montrer que, notamment en milieu populaire, ce n’est pas tant le rapport à l’autre qui pose problème qu’une instabilité démographique qui induit la peur de devenir minoritaire et de perdre un capital social et culturel très important. Une peur qui concerne tous les milieux populaires, quelles que soient leurs origines. C’est en partant de cette réalité qu’il convient de penser la question du multiculturalisme. Christophe Guilluy
[Macron’s] views mirror those held by most of this “elite” class. He thinks the left-right divide should be transcended. He doesn’t care about outworn ideologies, but about solutions that work, wherever they come from. He thinks startups are cool and the economy should be generally entrepreneurship-friendly, but he also wants some sort of welfare state. He’s got no problem whatsoever with gay marriage. He believes immigration is desirable for both economic and moral reasons. But he doesn’t just think like an elite. He embodies many elites’ idealized lifestyle. He did very well academically (but not too well, having failed the entrance exam to the ultra-prestigious ENS civil service school), in a way that suggests some depth of mind (master’s degree in philosophy), but also practical success (ENA’s graduates run the country’s public and private sectors), because come on, how many people actually want to be philosophers? He did very well in investment banking, but not too well. His marriage to a much older woman who was once his drama teacher is socially transgressive to just the right degree. He’s handsome, but not too handsome. In other words, Emmanuel Macron is the Donald Trump of the elite class. He’s not just their representative—he’s their avatar. Trump’s die-hard followers love him with such devotion not just because they like what he says, but because his image is that of the guy they wish they were or could be. It’s the same thing with Macron and his own elite base. And this is the stuff out of which Messianic movements are made. (…) His brand of pragmatic centrist politics is really just class-interest-based politics. As Christophe Guilluy, a sociologist and leading analyst of contemporary society, pointed out, Macron’s supporters can be boiled down to one word: They are the “haves.” They are the people who rode the waves of change that have inundated the West over the past few decades—globalization, technological transformation—to great success. Education is the best predictor of voting for Macron, which makes sense, since it correlates not just with financial capital but also with cultural capital. Another predictor is age, although in a perhaps-unexpected way: Macron is highly popular with the elderly, whose pensions protect them from the liberalizing reforms Macron campaigned on, and very unpopular with the young, who disproportionately come out the losers in France’s contemporary economy. This explains why, after having used the oddities of the French electoral system to get elected as an alternative to worse candidates, Macron is extremely unpopular. Non-elite French people smell exactly what the elites smell, and their reaction is equally predictable. Now, Macron supporters don’t believe that they support him for the crass reason that he will benefit their class at the expense of the rest of the country; instead, they just believe that what’s good for them is good for the country. Call it “trickle-down economics.” But, of course, nobody believes they support a certain policy simply because it’s good for them. Building the U.S.-Mexico border wall is cast as being about American identity, something all Americans can identify with, not about a protectionist barrier for the wages of Trump supporters at the expense of the well-heeled beneficiaries of low-wage immigration.There’s nothing uniquely bad about this: Groups defending their interests just is what politics is. Democratic politics endures because it’s the least-bad mechanism we’ve come up with for handling precisely that. But there’s a flip-side to Macron’s class-based politics: If you decide to replace the old left-right divide with the divide between the haves and the have-nots, haven’t you created a monster of a different sort? The Macron tsunami has hit, and the traditional parties of the French left and right are deeply wounded and struggling to survive. But two people are doing fine: Jean-Luc Mélenchon, France’s leading far-left firebrand, and the infamous Marine Le Pen, France’s hard-right populist leader. In fact, it’s in Macron’s political interest for them to do well, to squeeze the last pangs of breath out of the traditional parties that might supplant his new centrist party. The better Mélenchon and Le Pen do, the worse the traditional parties do, and the more Macron looks like the only alternative to candidates the majority of French people still reject. This might work to get him re-elected. But here’s what many don’t understand about Macron’s attempt to steer French politics away from the left-right divide we invented: If it is successful, it will mean that the opposition party (whatever it looks like, whoever its leader is) will be the anti-elite party par excellence. Put Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Jeremy Corbyn, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and Marine Le Pen in a bottle, shake vigorously—and, in a Macronified politics, whatever comes out is almost guaranteed to run the country. Not today. Not tomorrow. But, if Macron’s bet is successful, at some point. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
L’association de financement de la campagne de Jean-Luc Mélenchon, elle, n’a versé que 7 949 euros de salaires pour toute la campagne. Moins que François Asselineau ou Jacques Cheminade. Comment l’expliquer ? Jean-Luc Mélenchon a fait le choix très inhabituel de faire salarier une large partie de son équipe de campagne dans des structures extérieures, dirigées par certains de ses proches. Celles-ci lui ont ensuite refacturé leurs services. Ce type de montage a nourri les soupçons du rapporteur de la CNCCFP qui claqué la porte avec fracas avant la fin de sa mission. Il s’est demandé si l’association de financement de la campagne de Jean-Luc Mélenchon n’avait pas accepté des surfacturations avant d’en demander le remboursement par l’État. Comme l’ont déjà expliqué nos confrères du Monde, une association a particulièrement tiré profit de la campagne présidentielle de Jean-Luc Mélenchon. Il s’agit de L’Ere du peuple, fondée à la veille du début de la campagne électorale par des proches de l’ancien ministre socialiste. L’Ere du peuple a salarié, selon nos informations, quatre permanents de l’équipe de campagne de Mélenchon, dont les deux actuels députés France insoumise Bastien Lachaud et Mathilde Panot. Nous avons eu accès au détail de ces marchés : il apparaît que l’association a refacturé très cher les « prestations intellectuelles » de ces membres du staff de campagne. Un exemple : Bastien Lachaud a été payé 29 000 euros brut pour son rôle de coordonnateur du pôle « action de campagne et événements ». Or, L’Ere du peuple a refacturé ses services 129 000 euros à l’association de financement du candidat Mélenchon. Un différentiel incompréhensible pour la Commission des comptes de campagne. La CNCCFP se demande si L’Ere du peuple, présidée par un très proche de Jean-Luc Mélenchon, le conseiller d’État Bernard Pignerol, n’a pas cherché à surfacturer plusieurs prestations. Plus de 11% des dépenses de campagne de Jean-Luc Mélenchon (plus de 10 millions d’euros au total) ont bénéficié à une société : Mediascop, créée et dirigée par Sophia Chikirou, la directrice de communication de la campagne, qui en est également la seule actionnaire. Les 1 161 768 euros qu’elle a facturés pendant la présidentielle ont également éveillé la curiosité des rapporteurs. Ils ont constaté qu’un certain nombre de prestations étaient facturées au-dessus de la grille tarifaire de la société. Surtout, Mediascop semble n’exister que pour porter la communication de Jean-Luc Mélenchon. La société n’a pas de locaux, pas de salariés en dehors des périodes de campagne, pas de matériel. Ce qui ne l’empêche pas de réaliser des profits importants : Mediascop affichait une rentabilité nette de 47% en 2016, alors que les premières factures de la présidentielle venaient de lui être réglées. Si l’association de campagne de Jean-Luc Mélenchon a payé étonnamment peu de salaires, c’est aussi parce qu’elle a eu recours à l’auto-entreprenariat. D‘après nos informations, une dizaine de membres de l’équipe de campagne ont été payés en honoraires via une société, créée souvent pour l’occasion. Certains l’ont d’ailleurs fermée juste après la campagne. Parmi eux, Alexis Corbière. Le porte-parole du candidat Mélenchon n’était pas salarié, mais a perçu 28 700 euros d’honoraires pendant la campagne. Jean Luc Mélenchon a pourtant maintes fois brocardé ce statut, qu’il avait même promis de supprimer s’il était élu en 2012, le qualifiant « d’arnaque de première grandeur ». FranceTVinfo
Pourquoi nous ne parlons pas du manque de cohérence du Gouvernement en matière d’immigration qui présente un texte qui n’a qu’une fermeté de façade ? Pourquoi ne pas parler de la baisse du pouvoir d’achat des Français depuis l’élection d’Emmanuel Macron ? Quand on voit l’énergie déployée pour attaquer Laurent Wauquiez on se dit que le Gouvernement est prêt à tout pour dissimuler son échec sur le pouvoir d’achat : choc fiscal de 4.5 milliards pour les ménages (8 nouvelles taxes et impôts en 9 mois), hausse de 25 % de la CSG pour 8 millions de retraités, hausse du diesel  (+4.6 € par plein), baisse brutale des dotations de l’Etat de 216 millions d’euros… Malheureusement comme je l’ai dit précédemment cela n’est pas nouveau. Jacques Chirac avait été brocardé, le traitement médiatique réservé à Nicolas Sarkozy a été d’une rare violence sous la Ve République, ce qui lui a couté sa réélection. Enfin, n’oublions pas non plus l’élection présidentielle de 2017 et cet acharnement contre François Fillon qui a, non seulement privé les Français d’un débat sur les programmes, mais pire encore, qui a fait changer leur vote. A travers plusieurs documentaires certains ont tenté de maquiller un assassinat politique en suicide. Nous avons assisté à un véritable tribunal médiatique (…) Tout le monde se refuse à parler de « complot » mais rappelons-le, au moment où la campagne de François Fillon redémarrait après le Trocadéro, les médias informés sortent l’affaire des costumes dans un seul but : « détruire François Fillon » selon l’instigateur de cette affaire. Le résultat nous le connaissons aujourd’hui, une abstention record et un véritable hold-up démocratique. Maquiller l’assassinat de François Fillon en suicide simplifie tout et justifie l’indéfendable. Bref, comme les idées de la droite sont majoritaires dans notre pays (et le succès de la Primaire de la Droite en est la preuve), il faut détruire la réputation des leaders de notre famille politique. Les médias ont été plus discrets lorsque Emmanuel Macron, alors en visite au Centre régional opérationnel de surveillance et de sauvetage d’Etel s’est essayé à une plaisanterie sur les frêles embarcations de l’Océan indien sur lesquelles ont péri de nombreux migrants voulant rejoindre Mayotte: « le kwassa-kwassa pêche peu, il amène du Comorien, c’est différent. » Ou encore lorsqu’il a méprisé les Français en parlant « d’alcooliques », de « fainéants » de « ceux qui foutent le bordel », de ceux « qui ne sont rien » et tout cela de manière officielle, allant même jusqu’à critiquer les Français à l’étranger. Jamais Laurent Wauquiez n’a tenu des propos blessants contre les Français. Enfin, alors que l’actualité nationale et internationale ne manquait pas de sujets majeurs, les médias se sont mobilisés pour feuilletonner cette affaire d’enregistrements volés. Par exemple, les dernières expertises dans l’affaire Théo, rendues publiques vendredi confirmait que la version des policiers était la bonne. Le silence autour de ces informations a été inversement proportionnel au battage médiatique où une partie de la classe politique s’était précipitée pour bafouer l’honneur de nos policiers avec les hommages d’Emmanuel Macron qui avait exprimé il y a un an « toute [sa] solidarité à l’égard de Théo et de sa famille » reprenant le slogan #JusticePourTheo. Il est étonnant de voir que personne n’ait demandé au Président de la République comment comptait-il rendre aux policiers leur honneur bafoué par ceux qui criaient avec les loups ? Malgré les méthodes utilisées contre Laurent Wauquiez, qui sont lamentables et condamnables, malgré le « deux poids, deux mesures », le Président de notre famille politique a démontré hier soir la force de ses convictions. Rien ne le détournera de son objectif, celui de donner à la France un projet de redressement fort. Valérie Boyer
Contrairement à ce que beaucoup de commentateurs ont voulu laisser entendre, 58 % des Français de droite ont dit ne pas juger « choquantes » ses déclarations. Valeurs actuelles
L’islamisme, c’est le FN du musulman déclassé. Hakim El Karoui
Emmanuel Macron a su « mettre en marche » une nouvelle génération de dirigeants politiques. Il faut faire exactement la même chose  chez les musulmans de France. L’Algérie, le Maroc et la Turquie sont comme les vieux partis qui se déchiraient  tout en se partageant les places avec souvent la ferme ambition de ne rien faire. Place à une nouvelle génération, soucieuse non pas des pays d’origine, mais de la France… engagée dans la vie de la cité, et respectueuse des us et coutumes de la République Française. (…) Et puis surtout, il faut changer le discours. Il est temps de faire preuve de responsabilité et d’arrêter de se cacher derrière des discours lénifiants et sympathies ( « l’islam est une religion de paix », « l’islam est l’ennemi de la violence ») évidemment vrais mais qui font litière du fait que l’islam c’est aussi ce qu’en font les musulmans. Et notamment ceux qui font le plus de bruit. Par ignorance collective des textes sacrés, personne n’est capable de répondre à la propagande des salafistes. Hakim El Karoui
Chère Mennel Official L’affaire dure. Je l’ai découverte tardivement, du fait de déplacements successifs hors de France. Je pourrais en rire et railler, voilà, dès que je m’éloigne, ce pays s’égare. Mais cette histoire ne donne guère envie de plaisanter. D’abord l’essentiel : votre voix, imbibée d’émotion et de chaleur, est pleine de personnalité. Et cette interprétation que vous donnez d’Hallelujah est un enchantement. Leonard Cohen la chantait divinement dans ses récentes années. Jamais la spiritualité et la sensualité ne furent mêlées dans une voix et un corps d’homme avec autant de grâce et de puissance. Comme un vin de glace ou un rhum vieux qui aurait fait mine de s’être assoupi dans un fût de chêne ou de wapa d’Amazonie. Il chante, implore, exalte et sublime. Dance me to the end of love s’en approche, mais Hallelujah transcende tout, si merveilleusement. Et que vous, si jeune, rendiez un tel hommage à cet immense poète, si tendre, si triste, si raffiné et qui nous demeure si indispensable, donne envie de renouer avec un optimisme d’essence et d’existence. Chaque fois que je vais au Canada je ramène un recueil de ses poèmes que j’achète en librairie à Montréal, Québec ou Ottawa ; et comme je les ai déjà tous, je les offre. Vous l’avez probablement vu ou entendu chanter The Partisan. Cohen fait partie de mes grandes amours des années soixante-dix, du temps de mes études universitaires. Ce fut d’abord Suzanne, évidemment, puis le temps passant je l’ai poursuivi de concert en concert. Vous avez vu comme il tient son micro lorsqu’il interprète So long, Marianne, tout en joie et en mélancolie ? Et ce solo de violon… Nous imaginons, vous et moi, ce que donnerait, en notes plus graves, un solo de oud ou un duo violon-oud. Mais revenons à l’hystérie. On vous reproche votre ‘turban’, disent-ils. Il vous sied délicieusement, sans rien dissimuler de votre beauté encore en éclosion. Ils vous reprochent de chanter en arabe… incultes, ils ne savent pas finir la phrase : en arabe la chanson d’un Juif magnifique. Quelle somptueuse audace, et quelle promesse pour notre monde ! On vous reproche des tweets passés. Vos références intellectuelles étaient loin d’être recommandables. Je ne me situe pas dans le champ moral, il est le moins fécond. Sur le plan philosophique d’une conception de la vie, du rapport à l’autre, de l’exigence envers soi-même, d’une vision de la socialité possible et souhaitable, ces deux références sont simplement indigentes et lamentables. Manifestement fourbes, parfois immondes. Ils ne sont pas les seuls. Le souci, c’est la fascination qu’ils parviennent à exercer sur de jeunes esprits, même brillants. C’est cela le seul sujet, pour nous autres adultes. Vous vous êtes excusée et vous avez bien fait. N’en ayez surtout aucun regret, c’est votre hauteur. Et tant pis si les fâcheux eurent le dernier mot sur les pusillanimes et les commerciaux. Ce n’est qu’un avant-dernier mot. Le dernier, c’est vous qui l’aurez si vous décidez qu’il vous revient de tracer vous-même votre chemin de vie. Les seules personnes que vous devez avoir à l’esprit sont les familles et les proches des victimes de l’attentat à Nice ainsi que celles du père Jacques Hamel. Il y a tout lieu de croire, pour ce que nous savons de sa bonté, que lui aurait su vous offrir une écoute et vous dire en quoi vous faites gravement erreur. Vos excuses sont la marque de votre dignité. Elles ne doivent pas vous exonérer d’une vigilance sur la sensibilité des autres, sur les plaies qui ne referment pas, sur ces cicatrices qui saignent et saigneront encore, selon les mots du poète Antara. Le philosophe Emmanuel Levinas confiait que son père, s’adressant à ses fils, les adjurait de s’installer en France, c’est là qu’il faut aller vivre, dans ce pays où l’on est capable de se déchirer pour l’honneur d’un capitaine juif, le capitaine Dreyfus. Tant d’agressions antisémites, de défiance et d’injures à l’encontre des musulmans, d’actes et de propos racistes, de déchaînement xénophobe, de résurgence homophobe, d’arrogance sexiste, laisseraient accroire que ce temps est révolu, que l’intolérance règne sans partage. En attestent les victoires des pleutres à pseudonymes, aux doigts fébriles sur leurs claviers. Il n’en est rien. La France reste une terre de passion et de générosité, elle est une béance du monde d’où surgissent, toujours vives, des querelles et des fureurs qui n’ont jamais su dissoudre ses ardeurs fraternelles. C’est bien là qu’il faut vivre. Et d’abord, c’est votre pays. Ne vous le faites pas voler. Christiane Taubira
Pour élaborer son rapport, Gilles Clavreul s’est déplacé entre le 22 octobre et le 15 janvier dans des départements à «dominante urbaine», à savoir les Bouches-du-Rhône, l’Ille-et-Vilaine, la Loire-Atlantique, le Nord, le Bas-Rhin, le Rhône, les Yvelines, et un département rural, la Meuse, au contact des acteurs associatifs et des agents de l’État. Son constat est clair: les «manifestations d’affirmation identitaire se multiplient et se diversifient», avec, sur certains territoires – agglomérations de Lille, Maubeuge, Toulouse, Marseille, Lyon ou dans les Yvelines – des «contestations de la laïcité». Ces troubles sont majoritairement le fait d’un «islam rigoriste voire radical» et concernent également des mouvements de «catholiques intégristes», et «évangéliques et juifs orthodoxes». Ils ont été identifiés dans le cadre d’activités scolaires, culturelles et sportives. Ce sont, par exemple, des assistantes maternelles exerçant à domicile qui portent le voile et refusent parfois de remettre l’enfant au père, le cas d’auxiliaires en milieu scolaire «faisant acte de prosélytisme», des célébrations «spectaculaires» de certaines communautés juives, l’organisation de prières collectives chrétiennes et musulmanes. En ce qui concerne la restauration collective et le débat autour des fameux «repas de substitution», Gilles Clavreul note l’existence de cantines à Strasbourg qui proposent des menus halal et casher, ce qui peut porter atteinte au principe de laïcité. «Dans les lieux où la population de confession musulmane est présente, parfois de façon très majoritaire, le rapport à la République se tend sous l’effet d’une foi de plus en plus ouvertement revendiquée», est-il expliqué, entraînant la «différenciation et séparation croissante entre les hommes et les femmes», «le développement d’une offre éducative alternative», «la remise en cause des principes républicains et plus particulièrement de la laïcité, perçue comme une ‘arme contre les musulmans’». Le phénomène de radicalisation est notamment présent dans les structures sportives avec des tentatives de prosélytisme mais aussi des «parents qui exigent le voilement de leur fille». «L’adhésion aux principes républicains recule par endroits», constate Gilles Clavreul, ce qui génère «le désarroi et l’inquiétude parmi de nombreux agents publics et responsables associatifs». Autre enseignement notable: la sensibilisation à la laïcité et à la citoyenneté, qui a progressé après les attentats de 2015, «menace de retomber». «Ce fléchissement de la mobilisation doit être corrigé», exhorte Clavreul. L’auteur du rapport n’est pas n’importe qui. Gilles Clavreul est un préfet engagé. Ancien conseiller à l’Elysée de François Hollande, où il suivait les dossiers de politique intérieure, il est devenu au fil des mois un proche de Manuel Valls, dont il partage aujourd’hui les combats. C’est d’ailleurs ce dernier qui l’avait nommé à la tête de la Dilcrah, la Délégation interministérielle à la lutte contre le racisme, l’antisémitisme et la haine anti-LGBT, où il est resté en poste jusqu’au changement de majorité. Sortant volontiers de son devoir de neutralité, Gilles Clavreul s’est rapidement attiré les foudres sur les réseaux sociaux de nombreuses associations comme le Collectif contre l’islamophobie en France (CCIF), mais aussi du journaliste Edwy Plenel ou du chercheur Pascal Boniface. Il est par ailleurs l’un des membres fondateurs du mouvement «Printemps républicain», avec le politologue Laurent Bouvet, qui bataille pour une vision stricte de la laïcité. Ses prises de position s’inscrivent dans une ligne plus dure que celle portée par l’Observatoire de la laïcité, de Jean-Louis Bianco. Ce dernier a d’ailleurs vivement réagi dès jeudi après-midi, dans un communiqué au vitriol publié sur Twitter. «Je regrette le manque de rigueur méthodologique de ce rapport (…) et la méconnaissance d’actions déjà mises en œuvre par les pouvoirs publics», assène-t-il notamment, estimant que le travail de Gilles Clavreul «ne répond pas directement à la demande» de Beauvau. Le Figaro
Les musulmans sont, de loin, ceux qui expriment le plus faible sentiment national. Plus la foi de ces jeunes est affirmée, plus leur adhésion à l’Etat est faible (…) seulement 30,7% des collégiens musulmans disent se sentir français, alors que leurs camarades catholiques répondent oui à 76,8%. L’Express
Il faut préciser que nous avons tout fait pour cela. Nous avons cassé tous les lieux où s’opérait le mixage social. Le rapport parle du service militaire, qui n’était d’ailleurs plus depuis longtemps le principal lieu de brassage : tous les jeunes des classes supérieures partaient en coopération et ne moisissaient plus dans les casernes. Mais plus encore : sous prétexte de principe de précaution, on a rendu le scoutisme carrément impraticable – or c’était un lieu suprême pour le brassage social. Il en va de même pour les écoles libres : en leur imposant cette limite non-écrite mais réelle des 20%, on en fait des écoles d’élite, alors que si elles pouvaient se développer elles seraient davantage des lieux d’éducation pour ceux qui en manquent. Car le problème aigu, c’est la place qu’a pris l’éducation dans la vie sociale. Ce qui importe est moins à présent de savoir que de savoir-être. On va embaucher un jeune moins en raison de son diplôme que parce qu’il sera arrivé à l’heure au rendez-vous et sans chewing-gum dans la bouche. Et cela ne s’apprend que dans la famille, ou bien dans une troupe scoute, ou bien dans certaines écoles plus attentives que d’autres… Il faut bien convenir que nos gouvernements ont tout fait pour déconsidérer tous ces lieux éducatifs et jeter sur eux la dérision. Evidemment E.Macron est le représentant typique de cette classe supérieure désormais détachée du peuple. Pour être élu il lui a fallu déborder largement cette couche sociale, qui demeure très restreinte. Mais il en demeure le prisonnier typique : apparemment il ignore que les autres classes existent, et ne les a jamais rencontrées. C’est inquiétant. Le « séparatisme social » qui s’est développé en France dans les catégories les plus favorisées a progressivement engendré un recul du sentiment d’appartenance à la communauté nationale. Et si le populisme pouvait être un outil qui, dosé avec une juste mesure, permettrait de renouer ce lien social perdu ? N’est-ce pas, dans un certaine mesure, ce qu’essaye de faire Emmanuel Macron avec le service civil pour renforcer la cohésion nationale ? Chantal Delsol
Emmanuel Macron a obtenu un score massif au deuxième tour à Paris alors qu’il ne faisait que 66% au niveau national; Il y avait cette polarisation très forte de son électorat sur Paris intra-muros et Emmanuel Macron a d’abord été le candidat de cette France qui va bien, de celle qui s’en sort et qui est optimiste et regarde la mondialisation plutôt comme une opportunité plus qu’une menace. D’autant qu’il a été soutenu par les grandes métropoles dont Paris en premier lieu et il a été massivement été soutenu par les Français de l’étranger, les fameux expatriés. Electoralement il correspond en parti à cette mutation sociologique. Néanmoins une partie des catégories moyennes et populaires ont voté pour lui, ne serait-ce que pour faire barrage à Marine Le Pen au deuxième tour. (….) Les catégories moyennes et populaires ont pleinement conscience d’avoir été abandonnées et que les catégories les plus favorisées et une partie de l’élite a « largué les amarres » et résonne non plus dans un cadre national mais dans un cadre global et est guidée non plus par les intérêts nationaux mais par ses propres intérêts. Jérome Fourquet
L’idéologie de la gauche est grandement responsable de cet état de fait. La fuite vers les écoles privées ? La dégradation de l’école publique ne doit-elle pas aux effets conjugués du pédagogisme et du refus de l’autorité ? La disparition des fils d’ouvriers dans les grandes écoles au refus de la sélection ? Quant au regret de la fin d’un service militaire « creuset de la nation », qui peut surprendre chez une gauche volontiers antimilitariste, le service « égalitaire » relève partiellement du mythe, certains fils d’archevêques le faisant dans des conditions bien différentes des autres, entre planqués de Balard et vacanciers de nos ambassades. La fin des « jolies colonies de vacances », dont s’écartent non des riches, qui n’y ont jamais envoyé leurs enfants, mais plutôt des classes moyennes qui ne bénéficient pas des aides sociales, ne doit-elle pas aussi au refus de l’autorité cette fois conjugué à la volonté de ne pas stigmatiser de nouvelles catégories peu soucieuses de s’intégrer aux jeux de plage ? Quant à l’exil fiscal, la fiscalité français est telle qu’elle ne conduit plus seulement à l’exil des riches, mais aussi à celui des retraités des classes moyennes. Il est donc permis de se demander si la sécession des « riches » n’est pas partiellement due aux excès commis par une certaine gauche idéologique et sectaire. Mais c’est aussi parce que, dans les trente années envisagées, ces « riches » ont changé. Fini les « notables » d’antan qui participaient à la vie sociale locale, ces notaires, avocats, pharmaciens, médecins, magistrats et autres. Cette catégorie, pour qui le statut social ne se résumait pas au pouvoir d’achat et dont la propriété était enracinée, généralement à droite, a été remplacée par des « nouveaux riches » déterritorialisés, dont l’écart de revenu avec le salaire de base s’accroît sans cesse, et qui professent volontiers un libéralisme individualiste hédoniste qui trouve son origine… à gauche. Christophe Boutin
Attention: un repli peut en cacher un autre !
A l’heure où nos belles âmes de la politique et des médias n’ont pas de mots assez durs …
Pour dénoncer le franc-parler la « trumpisation » du président des Républicains Laurent Wauquiez …
A l’encontre précisément d’une majorité d’électeurs de droite qui continuent à le soutenir …
Pendant qu’au pays de Trump justement et sans parler de la bombe à retardement démographique africaine
Marion Maréchal-Le Pen vient de rappeler la menace à la fois islamiste et politiquement correcte …
Et qu’après le casse du siècle de l’an dernier en France les doutes se précisent sur la sincérité des comptes de campagne du « candidat du peuple »
Comment ne pas en voir la confirmation …
Dans ces deux rapports qui viennent de sortir …
Sur tant l’emprise toujours plus forte du communautarisme islamiste sur des pans entiers du pays …
Que le repli (pardon – la sécession) de la France d’en haut
Et ne pas se ranger à l’avis de la philosophe Chantal Delsol …
Quand elle se demande si une certaine dose de populisme ne pourrait pas « permettre de renouer ce lien social perdu »  …
Contre ceux qui persistent à le dénoncer …
A l’instar justement de ces gagnants de la mondialisation (pardon: de « l’ouverture ») …
Dont le macronisme n’est en fait …
Pour reprendre (et détourner) la formule du Monsieur « Islam-religion de paix » auto-déclaré Hakim El Karaoui
Que le FN et l’islamisme du surclassé ?

Charles Jaigu : «Musulmans de France, encore un effort!»

CHRONIQUE – L’essayiste Hakim El Karoui décrit un islam de France très contrasté et parie sur sa génération, parfaitement assimilée, pour réussir la «contre-insurrection» face à l’islam salafiste en expansion.

Charles Jaigu

­Ha­kim El Ka­roui a la sil­houette souple et lon­gi­ligne, l’élé­gance ur­baine et feu­trée, et l’air tran­quille­ment dé­ta­ché. Il a créé son ca­bi­net de consul­tant il y a deux ans et il tra­vaille place de l’Étoile. Avant ce­la, il a pas­sé plu­sieurs an­nées dans la banque Roth­schild, « en même temps qu’Em­ma­nuel (Ma­cron, NDLR) ». Il n’était pas pré­dis­po­sé à ce mé­tier de fi­nan­cier, lui qui a com­men­cé comme jeune nor­ma­lien char­gé d’écrire les livres et dis­cours de Jean-Pierre Raf­fa­rin avant et pen­dant Ma­ti­gnon. Un « stage de mise à ni­veau pen­dant cinq mois » lui a per­mis de trou­ver ses marques. Son père, uni­ver­si­taire tu­ni­sien, lui a trans­mis sa pra­tique du Co­ran, sa mère, pro­tes­tante de l’est de la France, et brillante ma­thé­ma­ti­cienne, lui a lais­sé cette li­ber­té. À 46 ans, il est donc un en­fant heu­reux de l’is­lam à la fran­çaise. Sa trajectoire est in­té­res­sante : briè­ve­ment che­vè­ne­men­tiste, Ha­kim El Ka­roui a fi­na­le­ment re­joint les rives de la droite li­bé­rale parce qu’il était aga­cé par « la gauche mo­rale » des an­nées Jos­pin. En 2004, il est fa­vo­rable à l’in­ter­dic­tion du voile à l’école. Puis il se re­tire de la vie pu­blique en 2007 pour de­ve­nir ban­quier. Mais les at­ten­tats de jan­vier 2015 ont été un ré­veil brutal. Et même s’il s’agace de la de­mande des Fran­çais que les mu­sul­mans ma­ni­festent leur so­li­da­ri­té, il a en­ten­du l’ap­pel. « Je ne pou­vais pas res­ter les bras bal­lants, j’ai vou­lu prendre mes res­pon­sa­bi­li­tés à ma ma­nière. » Il en est ré­sul­té, en sep­tembre 2016, la pré­sen­ta­tion d’une grande en­quête me­née par l’Ins­ti­tut Mon­taigne sur l’is­lam en France.

Le livre qu’il pu­blie en est la suite, et tombe à pic au mo­ment où Em­ma­nuel Ma­cron pro­pose de ré­for­mer les ins­ti­tu­tions qui le re­pré­sentent. Mais il faut re­ve­nir sur le constat, qui trouve sa cré­di­bi­li­té grâce à l’état des lieux très dé­taillé de l’en­quête de l’Ins­ti­tut Mon­taigne. El Ka­roui pointe à nou­veau la si­tua­tion très contras­tée de l’im­mi­gra­tion mu­sul­mane en France. Une si­tua­tion qui donne rai­son à la fois aux pes­si­mistes et aux op­ti­mistes. Il dé­crit en ef­fet une com­mu­nau­té très hé­té­ro­gène et cli­vée entre d’une part une classe moyenne nou­velle, une élite mu­sul­mane en for­ma­tion ; et de l’autre une po­pu­la­tion en per­di­tion.

On peut par­ler d’op­ti­misme pour la moi­tié des 5,1 mil­lions de Fran­çais mu­sul­mans – et non pas les dix ou vingt mil­lions comme on peut l’en­tendre de la part des alar­mistes, soit en­vi­ron 8 % de la po­pu­la­tion fran­çaise. Ceux-là sont en train de trou­ver leur place dans la so­cié­té, grâce aux ma­riages mixtes. Ce qui au­to­rise El Ka­roui à af­fir­mer qu’il y a en France une « as­si­mi­la­tion par l’amour » qui marche et qui est une des ori­gi­na­li­tés re­mar­quables du mo­dèle ré­pu­bli­cain – par op­po­si­tion aux mo­dèles mul­ti­cul­tu­ra­listes an­glo-saxons où la sé­pa­ra­tion des com­mu­nau­tés est la règle, ce qui fa­vo­rise moins la mixi­té conju­gale. Par ­de­là les des­crip­tions apo­ca­lyp­tiques, l’as­cen­sion so­ciale des mu­sul­mans se fait donc. Le pro­blème, sou­ligne El Ka­roui, est qu’elle ne se voit pas. Et que « ceux des mu­sul­mans qui en bé­né­fi­cient ne sou­haitent pas, con­trai­re­ment à leurs équi­va­lents juifs ou pro­tes­tants, jouer la carte de l’en­ga­ge­ment com­mu­nau­taire au tra­vers d’as­so­cia­tions cultuelles ou cultu­relles ». Ce livre veut convaincre les mu­sul­mans trop bien as­si­mi­lés de s’en­ga­ger fi­nan­ciè­re­ment ou per­son­nel­le­ment en fa­veur de l’af­fir­ma­tion d’un is­lam de France : « Pour eux, la re­li­gion est vrai­ment de­ve­nue une af­faire pri­vée », ré­sume El Ka­roui. Il pro­pose no­tam­ment de pré­le­ver une taxe sur le com­merce du hal­lal, dont il dé­crypte très bien l’im­pos­ture mar­ke­ting et théo­lo­gique. Il sug­gère aus­si de fa­vo­ri­ser les dons pri­vés au tra­vers d’une fon­da­tion afin de mettre un terme à la main­mise des ca­pi­tales arabes sur la for­ma­tion des imams et la construc­tion des mos­quées. Car, c’est une réa­li­té, en France, l’is­lam reste plus pra­ti­qué par les mu­sul­mans, y com­pris as­si­mi­lés, que le ca­tho­li­cisme par les ca­tho­liques : « 5 % des 27 mil­lions de ca­tho­liques de plus de 15 ans sont des pra­ti­quants ré­gu­liers, soit 1,35 mil­lion ; 75 % des 3,7 mil­lions de mu­sul­mans de plus de 15 ans sont pra­ti­quants, soit 2,5 mil­lions ». Chiffres cruels pour la fille aî­née de l’Église.

Mais il le re­con­naît, la ré­no­va­tion de cet is­lam ins­ti­tu­tion­nel ne se­ra pas ca­pable à elle seule de contrer la pro­pa­ga­tion sau­vage d’un fon­da­men­ta­lisme qui contourne aus­si les mos­quées et qui sé­vit via You­Tube. « L’imam Google », voi­là l’en­ne­mi. Il veut « une contre-in­sur­rec­tion cultu­relle » sur In­ter­net pour ne pas lais­ser les plus ex­tré­mistes écra­ser de leurs pro­pa­gandes les jeunes in­ter­nautes fas­ci­nés par le mode de vie hal­lal et la conver­sion au dji­had.

Car El Ka­roui ne sous-es­time pas le dan­ger que re­pré­sentent les deux mil­lions et de­mi de mu­sul­mans, dont la moi­tié est jeune, qui sont de plus en plus ten­tés par une pra­tique très conser­va­trice de l’is­lam.

Il re­con­naît qu’il a lui-même été sur­pris de consta­ter com­bien « la pra­tique re­li­gieuse s’est ren­for­cée au fil des an­nées » chez ces jeunes qui uti­lisent l’is­lamisme comme un po­pu­lisme, et en font une ban­nière an­ti­sys­tème. « L’is­la­misme, c’est le FN du mu­sul­man dé­clas­sé », ré­sume-t-il.

On no­te­ra au passage que l’au­teur uti­lise le terme d’as­si­mi­la­tion, qui est en ef­fet le meilleur car il est au plus près de l’his­toire fran­çaise. Le mot in­té­gra­tion brouille le dé­bat. Ce mo­dèle as­si­mi­la­tion­niste est « na­tu­rel­le­ment xé­no­phobe », avance l’au­teur, car il to­lère mal que l’étran­ger de­ve­nu fran­çais d’adop­tion af­fiche son étran­ge­té ou sa dif­fé­rence. Il est xé­no­phobe, en ef­fet, comme dans 90 % des cas de par le monde, où le mul­ti­cul­tu­ra­lisme n’a pas cours. Plu­tôt que xé­no­phobe, qui est tou­jours accompagné du soup­çon de ra­cisme, sug­gé­rons le terme d’eth­no­cen­tré. L’au­teur prend d’ailleurs la peine d’écar­ter toute al­lé­ga­tion d’un ra­cisme fran­çais : les Fran­çais ne le sont pas.

Fort de ce constat, El Ka­roui re­fuse les des­crip­tions qui font de la com­mu­nau­té mu­sul­mane un tout in­di­vi­sible, ani­mé d’une vo­lon­té de conquête. Il ré­clame avec convic­tion de la nuance, ce qui l’amène à cri­ti­quer le chro­ni­queur avec qui nous par­ta­geons cette page – Éric Zem­mour – ain­si que d’autres com­pa­gnons de route de ce jour­nal, tels Alain Fin­kiel­kraut ou Pas­cal Bru­ck­ner aux­quels il re­proche leur nos­tal­gie d’une Ré­pu­blique idéa­li­sée. Pour­tant, ils ont ré­ar­mé le dis­cours pro­ré­pu­bli­cain face à la ten­ta­tion mul­ti­cul­tu­ra­liste qui pré­va­lait dans la gauche fran­çaise et sup­po­sait la gé­nu­flexion pé­ni­ten­tielle face à l’étran­ger idéa­li­sé. Mais El Ka­roui s’en prend aus­si à Edwy Ple­nel et son or­chestre de contemp­teurs de l’is­la­mo­pho­bie. Comme il le montre, sta­tis­tiques en main, les actes is­la­mo­phobes n’ont ces­sé de bais­ser en France de­puis 2015. Mal­gré les at­ten­tats, les Fran­çais n’ont ja­mais fait le fa­meux « amal­game » entre l’is­lam et les dji­ha­distes. Fort de ce constat, El Ka­roui re­fuse les des­crip­tions qui font de la com­mu­nau­té mu­sul­mane un tout in­di­vi­sible, ani­mé d’une vo­lon­té de conquête. Il ré­clame avec convic­tion de la nuance, ce qui l’amène à cri­ti­quer le chro­ni­queur avec qui nous par­ta­geons cette page – Éric Zem­mour – ain­si que d’autres com­pa­gnons de route de ce jour­nal, tels Alain Fin­kiel­kraut ou Pas­cal Bru­ck­ner aux­quels il re­proche leur nos­tal­gie d’une Ré­pu­blique idéa­li­sée. Pour­tant, ils ont ré­ar­mé le dis­cours pro­ré­pu­bli­cain face à la ten­ta­tion mul­ti­cul­tu­ra­liste qui pré­va­lait dans la gauche fran­çaise et sup­po­sait la gé­nu­flexion pé­ni­ten­tielle face à l’étran­ger idéa­li­sé. Mais El Ka­roui s’en prend aus­si à Edwy Ple­nel et son or­chestre de contemp­teurs de l’is­la­mo­pho­bie. Comme il le montre, sta­tis­tiques en main, les actes is­la­mo­phobes n’ont ces­sé de bais­ser en France de­puis 2015. Mal­gré les at­ten­tats, les Fran­çais n’ont ja­mais fait le fa­meux « amal­game » entre l’is­lam et les dji­ha­distes.

Voir encore:

Bye bye les pauvres
Bombe politique : mais comment recréer du lien social dans cette France où les classes favorisées ont fait sécession ?
Une étude de la Fondation Jean Jaurès montre qu’alors que de nombreux observateurs ont souligné le développement de communautarismes ethnoreligieux dans certains quartiers, la cohésion de la société française est également mise à mal par un autre processus, moins visible à l’œil nu mais lourd de conséquences : un véritable séparatisme social qui concerne toute une partie de la frange supérieure de la société.
Atlantico
22 Février 2018

Jérôme Fourquet : On peut faire un lien avec les phénomènes décrits de séparatisme social et ce qu’il s’est passé au premier tour et au deuxième tour de la présidentielle. Mais un lien partiel seulement. On voit par exemple que Emmanuel Macron a obtenu un score massif au deuxième tour à Paris alors qu’il ne faisait que 66% au niveau national; Il y avait cette polarisation très forte de son électorat sur Paris intra-muros et Emmanuel Macron a d’abord été le candidat de cette France qui va bien, de celle qui s’en sort et qui est optimiste et regarde la mondialisation plutôt comme une opportunité plus qu’une menace. D’autant qu’il a été soutenu par les grandes métropoles dont Paris en premier lieu et il a été massivement été soutenu par les Français de l’étranger, les fameux expatriés. Electoralement il correspond en parti à cette mutation sociologique.

Néanmoins une partie des catégories moyennes et populaires ont voté pour lui, ne serait-ce que pour faire barrage à Marine Le Pen au deuxième tour, mais aussi au premier où il obtient des scores qui ne sont pas négligeables (aux alentours de 15% dans les communes rurales ou populaires par exemple). Il ne faut donc pas tordre le bâton à l’extrême et occulter le fait qu’il y avait une assise minimale dans ces catégories de population. Néanmoins il avait un soutien beaucoup plus important dans les catégories qui sont décrites dans cette note.

Ce qui est aussi intéressant, en reprenant le cas de Paris, lorsque l’on parle d’une homogénéisation idéologique de ces catégories supérieures, il faut noter qu’il y a encore des différences (au premier tour Macron n’est pas majoritaire à Paris),  mais au deuxième tour il y a quand même un 90/10 en faveur du président.  Ce que Macron est ensuite parvenu à faire et ce qu’il continu à faire, c’est-à-dire poursuivre cette recomposition politique en agrégeant des gens qui viennent du PS, du Modem et des Républicains, on remarque qu’il y a de plus en plus de passerelles et de points de convergence qui sont encore plus fréquents dans ces milieux favorisés.

Christophe Boutin : Relativisons d’abord certains éléments de cette note. Le premier critère présenté comme prouvant cette rupture est que « la densité de cadres vivant dans le cœur des métropoles ne cesse de se renforcer ». Elle est effectivement multipliée par deux, mais dans la même période les cadres supérieurs sont passés en France de 8% à au minimum 12, et selon certaines études 16%, ce qui modère l’interprétation. Viennent ensuite comme éléments de preuve les questions scolaires : plus de catégories CSP+ dans les écoles privées, par ailleurs moins « défavorisées » (un critère qui n’est d’ailleurs pas expliqué et semble négliger l’aide étatique spécifique destinée aux établissements « à problèmes »), ou moins d’ouvriers dans les grandes écoles. Troisième critère, la fin du brassage social par le service militaire, auquel tous participaient de manière égale. Puis la fin du même brassage social dans les colonies de vacances. Enfin, la progression de l’exil fiscal.

L’idée est on le voit assez simple, pour ne pas dire simpliste : les « riches » font sécession et restent entre eux, abandonnant une nation de laquelle ils devraient pourtant se sentir solidaires. Mais la Fondation Jean Jaurès qui a commandité cette note gagnerait à faire ce constat : l’idéologie de la gauche est grandement responsable de cet état de fait.

Reprenons. La fuite vers les écoles privées ? La dégradation de l’école publique ne doit-elle pas aux effets conjugués du pédagogisme et du refus de l’autorité ? La disparition des fils d’ouvriers dans les grandes écoles au refus de la sélection ? Quant au regret de la fin d’un service militaire « creuset de la nation », qui peut surprendre chez une gauche volontiers antimilitariste, le service « égalitaire » relève partiellement du mythe, certains fils d’archevêques le faisant dans des conditions bien différentes des autres, entre planqués de Balard et vacanciers de nos ambassades. La fin des « jolies colonies de vacances », dont s’écartent non des riches, qui n’y ont jamais envoyé leurs enfants, mais plutôt des classes moyennes qui ne bénéficient pas des aides sociales, ne doit-elle pas aussi au refus de l’autorité cette fois conjugué à la volonté de ne pas stigmatiser de nouvelles catégories peu soucieuses de s’intégrer aux jeux de plage ? Quant à l’exil fiscal, la fiscalité français est telle qu’elle ne conduit plus seulement à l’exil des riches, mais aussi à celui des retraités des classes moyennes.

Quant au lien avec le vote en faveur d’Emmanuel Macron, si effectivement il existe avec cette catégorie de nouveaux riches, rappelons que ces derniers n’ont pas été les seuls à porter au pouvoir l’actuel chef de l’État et qu’il faut ici être prudent avant d’en faire le « président des riches ».

Chantal Delsol : Tout cela est bien connu et même, hélas, palpable. Rappelez-vous Cicéron qui racontant le songe de Scipion, disait : Scipion s’étonne d’avoir vu deux soleils dans le même ciel, alors qu’il devrait plus encore s’étonner de voir deux peuples dans la même république. Et c’est bien ce qui nous arrive.

Il faut préciser que nous avons tout fait pour cela. Nous avons cassé tous les lieux où s’opérait le mixage social. Le rapport parle du service militaire, qui n’était d’ailleurs plus depuis longtemps le principal lieu de brassage : tous les jeunes des classes supérieures partaient en coopération et ne moisissaient plus dans les casernes. Mais plus encore : sous prétexte de principe de précaution, on a rendu le scoutisme carrément impraticable – or c’était un lieu suprême pour le brassage social. Il en va de même pour les écoles libres : en leur imposant cette limite non-écrite mais réelle des 20%, on en fait des écoles d’élite, alors que si elles pouvaient se développer elles seraient davantage des lieux d’éducation pour ceux qui en manquent.

Car le problème aigu, c’est la place qu’a pris l’éducation dans la vie sociale. Ce qui importe est moins à présent de savoir que de savoir-être. On va embaucher un jeune moins en raison de son diplôme que parce qu’il sera arrivé à l’heure au rendez-vous et sans chewing-gum dans la bouche. Et cela ne s’apprend que dans la famille, ou bien dans une troupe scoute, ou bien dans certaines écoles plus attentives que d’autres…  Il faut bien convenir que